18/05/2019

Mastering Blasting

Today on "boss kills that I've been chasing for so long that I was starting to doubt they were ever going to happen", let's talk about Master and Blaster veteran mode.

Similar to Revan, we didn't even get to really work on this dynamic duo pre-KotFE because Bulo and Torque were enough of a stumbling block as it were. (We did end up killing both of those during the 3.x cycle, but it took a while.) As they became smoother kills post-KotFE, we kept coming back to Master and Blaster every now and then to try and kill them too.

You can see evidence of this in my #IntPiPoMo posts to some extent: I featured shots of us wiping to them both in 2016 and in 2017, and both years I also included pictures of people chilling between said wipes.


This picture still brings back fond memories every time.

I don't recall us ever getting very far though... ultimately we always ended up abandoning the fight again and changing focus to work on something else because people were sick of the encounter.

The thing that stuck with me above anything else from those times is that most of us felt that the fight was frustratingly random. It's a very "dance-y" encounter with a heavy reliance on correct positioning, but there isn't a simple guide you can follow. There are a whole bunch of things you have to dodge at the same time, and they don't always line up in the same way.

- Blaster has a giant cone-shaped knockback that everyone but the tanks needs to stay out of, and even they need to be careful to always face the boss in the right direction when they are about to get hit by it or otherwise they'll go flying to their deaths.

- Master has a spinny move that engulfs him in flames, which forces the tank that has him to kite for a bit, and again, everyone else has to make sure to stay out of his way when that happens.

- Throughout the entire fight, mortars keep landing on the platform, covering a large chunk of the floor in giant orange circles that everyone has to stay out of.

- A couple of times throughout the fight, an ability that's aptly called "Rain of Pain" will be triggered which additionally covers most of the platform in a big red stripe that will most likely kill you if you get caught in it.

- And to top if off, players will periodically have grenades attached to them, which eventually explode for a bit of damage and knock you down... more importantly though, if two players with grenades get too close to each other, they explode for more damage and get sent flying.

I'm sure you can see how all of this together could pose a challenge. Taken on its own, none of the mechanics are hard: Don't step in the orange circles. Don't stand on a red stripe. Don't stand too close to other people. However, add it all together and there'll be moments where you're trying to dodge out of the red, but the "safe" area is mostly taken up by an orange circle instead, and there are two others right in front of you and you know that if you run into them you'll just blow up and die... and so on and so forth.

As I said, we mostly used to complain about how random it all was. With so much going on at once, sometimes things just come together in a bad way and then there's nothing you can do, right? Stupid RNG. And then we'd try again, and wipe just the same the next time.

This time though, it felt to me like our approach was different... or maybe it's just me who was seeing things differently. But as we got closer and closer to the kill, it was less of a "hell yeah" feeling for me, and more like Neo suddenly realising that he can see the Matrix. It wasn't all random. In fact, it was all very predictable - you just had to allow yourself to accept that and to realise that there were strict rules for dealing with all the different permutations. When mortars land over there, I move here. When they land over here, I stand exactly there, where there's a small spot that is always safe. And so on and so forth.

It was pretty magical to be honest. It felt less like we were beating the fight, and more like we were transcending it - seeing all the patterns and knowing just how to react to every single one of them.


For the experts among my readers, this does indeed mean that we were doing the fight "the hard way". Some time ago, a group of my guildies led by someone very experienced with the operation beat the fight with what I consider a somewhat cheesy tactic that requires a Guardian tank to use certain utilities and abilities to solo-tank the boss and eliminate a lot of the movement requirements for the rest of the group.

We tried that, but the onus of performing the cheesy Guardian magic fell on Mr Commando and he was not happy with it. Having never done it before, he kept making mistakes and wiping us... over and over, while the rest of us literally just stood there and watched him, because this particular tactic didn't require us to do anything else. It was... a bit awkward, and didn't really feel like what raiding should be about. We ended up abandoning that plan in order to go back to working on the fight as a team - making equal contributions and getting equal chances to mess up (and boy did we make use of those). Just one of those little things that I love about my guildies. We do things our own way.

Coratanni was a massive letdown afterwards by the way! We briefly read up on what we needed to do and then killed her and Ruugar on the second try, with most of us not even fully understanding what was going on with some of the mechanics. But so it goes.

4 comments :

  1. Congrats Shintar!!! I empathize with Mr. Commando. Cheese tactics don't sit well with me. For him, there was a lot of pressure to tank with limited knowledge of the tactics.

    Master and Blaster brings back memories. I will have to ask my raid leads if we ever got past them. I know for sure we got through Torque after convincing our stand-in-fire Sentinel to go Commando (pun intended!). I taught him Gunnery fairly quickly and ranged DPS doesn't have to move around as much in that fight.

    What's next on the list?

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    1. I think we agreed to do Dread Palace next, where a lot of us are missing MM Council, and many haven't done the previous bosses at level either. Other targets we're still considering are VM Monolith, MM Brontes and MM Styrak (though personally I've got the achievement for the latter).

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  2. Grats. There's nothing quite like having everything click on a difficult boss and downing them the way the fight was intended. :)

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  3. I like that description of "transcending" the fight. I've had moments like that outside of games; when it feels like a veil is lifted and you can see things nobody else can.

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