Master Mode Dread Council

Mine and my guildies' ambitions to knock out as many ops achievements as we can - before the coming expansion potentially makes the fights more difficult again - continue. The latest encounter to fall to our might was the Dread Council in Dread Palace on master mode. Unfortunately I didn't get a kill video of this one as I noticed halfway through the fight that my GeForce experience had unexpectedly stopped working, and then that very same attempt - which hadn't even felt all that great up to that point - unexpectedly turned into a kill.

The thing that made this fight particularly interesting to me is that it's one that I'd never even tried before we started working on it this time around, not even back when you could over-level the operation. I'm actually not sure why, as we did kill the first four bosses back then, but that's just how it worked out.

I also didn't really do any research on the fight or watched videos about just what was different compared to veteran mode, so I was utterly delighted the first time we reached the end of the phase with the two ghosts, when Styrak and Brontes did something totally new that they don't do on either of the two easier difficulties: they repeated additional mechanics from their solo fights in Scum/Dread Fortress. Specifically, Styrak does his "now you'll see real power" move where he grows big and you get surrounded by small copies of him that try to trap you, and Brontes summons little reaches that connect through deadly electrified beams just like she does during the first transition phase of her solo fight. I thought that was a great example of how you can make a nightmare mode fight feel different and exciting beyond just making everything more deadly, something that SWTOR hasn't traditionally been that great at.

As a healer, I didn't find the fight particularly interesting in terms of my role - the main challenge was spacial awareness, as the group has to spread out and move around a lot, so when death marks go out you have to be able to quickly run across the room to be in range of everyone you need to cleanse before they die.

That said, there is something fascinating about the fight when you watch it, which is why I'm actually a bit bummed out that I missed the opportunity to record our first kill. It's quite "dance-y" in some respects, but everyone has to do a different dance while making sure not to crash into anyone else. I always particularly enjoy watching the tank who has to handle Bestia solo run across the room like a headless chicken to get her debuff to drop off, just to then get punted all the way back to where they started. It helps to know that actually, their running isn't as random as it looks, as they have to make sure to keep a distance from the other bosses so that Bestia doesn't buff their damage, and they have to position themselves just right before the punt so that they don't go flying over the edge to their death.

Speaking of people falling to their deaths, you only die from fall damage if you're already on less than half health when you go over the edge, so every time a wipe was called it became a bit of a fun challenge to allow your health to get low enough so that you could jump off and die without incurring repair bills, but before the abilities of the masters themselves had a chance to kill you.

Also, for some arcane reason related to how it's programmed, we soon learned that every set of Brontes' reaches that spawns gives 625 Conquest points when it disappears again. I've never counted, but I think you get at least a dozen spawns throughout the phase, if not more, which meant that each attempt that at least saw us through the reaches phase (even if some people died in the process) gave a huge boost to our guild's Conquest total. Not something you can easily farm specifically for Conquest gains, but it softened the blow of each wipe to know that we'd at least contributed something to the guild in the process anyway.

Oh, and when the masters finally died they dropped a cybernetic rancor mount, which was won by one of our tanks. Looks pretty spiffy!

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