Hive of the Mountain Queen

Two weeks ago, patch 5.10.1 expanded the content available to us on Ossus with a single raid boss, the Mutated Geonosian Queen. This actually tied quite nicely into 5.10's story too, as on Imperial side Darth Malora talks about also wanting to control the local Geonosian queen - though the boss encounter doesn't entirely match Malora's descriptions of the queen's "six brood-mates" and "three bodyguard drones".

I have to admit I wasn't particularly looking forward to the boss's release as I don't have the best of relationships with SWTOR's "lair bosses" or single-boss operations. I like the ones tied to world events well enough (Xenoanalyst II, the Eyeless), but otherwise I haven't really been a fan. I made a whole post about why I found Toborro's Courtyard disappointing, and the Colossal Monolith on Ziost is probably my least favourite ops boss ever. (I didn't make a whole post about that, but I did mention him in a related post about overly "gamey" boss fight mechanics.)

Fortunately the Mutated Geonosian Queen is more fun than either of those two. A guildie quite aptly described the fight as a combination of Kil'Cik and R8-X8, the two world bosses. Like Kil'Cik, the queen summons a number of Geonosian adds that need to be dealt with in different ways, and like R8-X8, she puts circles on people that destroy items on the ground and require you to think about where to place them in order to control just how much damage you do.

The environmental artists also did a bang-up job on the queen's lair, which is quite eerie and alien-looking. Unlike previous lair bosses she also has some actual trash pulls, and they even serve a purpose by teaching you the abilities of the various adds that you'll later encounter in the boss fight. The whole thing is rounded out by the ability to unlock a shortcut that allows you to get back to the boss very quickly if you wipe, without having to rerun through the entirety of the tunnel system every time.

My favourite part is that you enter the actual lair by dropping through a hole in the ground, which leads to you falling a distance that would usually kill your character... however the floor of the lair consists of squishy goo, so you take no fall damage. Your character also lands face-down in the goo and remains prone until you move, which is just endlessly amusing to me. I always stay there with my face in the gunk for as long as possible.

It's a bit hard to see, but if you enlarge the picture and look closely, you can see me hugging the floor enthusiastically.

All that said, I'm unfortunately still not as excited about this new boss as I could have been. One reason is that my first ever run of it was a bit of a let-down, and first impressions unfortunately tend to colour my feelings a lot when it comes to raid bosses. I ended up being more or less dragged along by a group of guildies who'd already done it before, which is just not as fun to me as everyone exploring a new area for the first time together, even if it's convenient that people's pre-existing knowledge allows you to get stuff done more quickly. There was also some sort of achievement which I simply got from standing around. From what I gathered some of my guildies jumped up to touch some masks (?) but it all happened so quickly that I didn't really get to take in what was actually going on.

My other "issue" with the queen is that the rewards from the fight are weirdly structured. After 5.10 showered everyone with easily available gear (even if there was some grind and a certain degree of RNG involved), the weekly quest for the queen suddenly requires you to do the fight on veteran mode. I kept seeing people spamming LFG requests for this mission during the first couple of days, all the while wondering what they were thinking to try pugging a hardmode so shortly after its release. Apparently a few of my guildies had a go at joining some of these groups and unsurprisingly things didn't go well. Then again, can I really blame people for not immediately catching on to the fact that there was a sudden increase in requirements to get access to the new currency that allows you to purchase 258 weapons? After all those rewards for doing dailies and mindlessly zerging the bug and bot every week, requiring an organised group and having to know how to play your class all of a sudden is quite a shift.

As for story mode, that hardly feels worth doing from my point of view. It drops three of the loot boxes you also get for doing the dailies (six on 16-man), which doesn't sound so bad, but unless you start out with no 252 gear whatsoever, there's no guarantee that the item you get out of your box will actually be useful to you even if you win one of them. Being rewarded with a mere chance at better loot for doing some easy dailies feels fine, but if you actually go through the effort of putting a group together and killing an ops boss, I feel that he or she should drop something more useful than a mere pull at the slot machine.

Anyway, that's my take on the Mountain Queen. Despite of my reservations I've run her lair a fair few times already and will continue to do so as I'm enjoying earning more powerful gear, even if it's not strictly required for anything. What about you?

1 comment :

  1. "Unlike previous lair bosses she also has some actual trash pulls, and they even serve a purpose by teaching you the abilities of the various adds that you'll later encounter in the boss fight."
    That is a very cool thing indeed. I always was disconcerted by the fact that there is just no natural way to learn the mechanics for boss fights in the game. You always are supposed to know them beforehand, or you are doomed to wipe until someone figures the thing via trial and error.
    It's not hard to recall a number of fights with some debuff popping up during the encounter, that has a long description requiring about a minute of thoughtful reading to understand its actual effects, but which also kills you in a second, if you do anything wrong.

    Looking how some of the Ossus WBs' mechanics were mirrored by two Heroic bosses, which in turn were preceded by similar in some ways open world daily champions, I think developers of the last expansions had a right idea in mind. It makes me very hopeful for the future updates. There is still a long way to go, though, as these bits of information are still scarce and they aren't helpful enough in their current state.


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