Hammered Home

Last time on "levelling through flashpoints" I wrote about plunging my little Nautolan Shadow into the pool of "random" flashpoints at level 15 and finding out that nowadays "random" means "Hammer Station over and over". I initially tried to shrug it off as bad luck and figured that the very limited selection of flashpoints available to low levels now was at least partially to blame, so I kept going in hopes of getting a pop for something else eventually.

Hammer Station
I levelled: 23-25

*cue a heavy sigh*

At least this turned out to be my least aggravating Hammer Station run up to that point. Still, considering that we had two level 74 damage dealers and a level 60 healer, I was surprised by how much difficulty we still had with many pulls. I got the impression that the healer wasn't actually doing very much healing, though I was too busy trying to stay alive (thank god for finally getting Force Cloak) to look too closely. She definitely wasn't in the wrong spec or anything.

That said, everyone stuck together and at least visibly tried, with all kinds of cooldowns getting obvious use. I was quite amused and proud when me and the level 74 Sentinel were the last people left alive on the turrets before the bridge and skilfully finished them off with a game of what I like to call "turret tag", which had the person with aggro hiding out of line of sight while the other one did damage without getting attacked, and a role swap once aggro switched.

Our dodgy healer eventually DCed, and once we replaced her with a companion the rest went pretty smoothly (as sad as it makes me to say that).

Hammer Station
I levelled: 25-26

I was simultaneously horrified and impressed by how I was technically up to being able to queue for five different flashpoints at that point but Hammer Station was still the only one that kept popping. This is not just bad RNG but clearly some bad apples queuing for nothing else and dragging the rest of us along with them. Damn you, people.

In this run we had three level 75s, two of them from the same guild. The guildies dispatched the first couple of pulls quite quickly and skilfully, but the third player still hadn't even moved from the door by that point, which eventually prompted them to initiate a vote kick on him for "being AFK". I thought it was too soon for that and would have preferred to try talking to the person first, but since the two guildies were obviously on the same page the kick went through instantly and by the first boss a replacement had arrived.

The rest of the run was very smooth as for once everybody clearly knew what they were doing and it was actually kind of nice. If only it hadn't been Hammer Station again.

Hammer Station
I levelled: 26-28

My growing frustration with the pug-inflicted Hammer Station spam prompted me to take a break from the project for a few days. Returning to it with a fresh mind, I came back to... Hammer Station again, of course.

I will say that this was probably my nicest run so far. The group consisted of a level 75 Commando, a level 73 Gunslinger and a level 59 Sage, who were all technically dps but played it smart, which meant that the Commando and Sage threw out the occasional heal when needed, and everyone tried their best to round things up for efficient AoE. Someone even cleansed the debuff stacks on the Tunneler droid, which initially made me happy - until I realised that it had taken six runs for someone to bother doing that and then I felt sad again.

I was unsure how to proceed at this point - I simply could have unticked Hammer Station from my limited flashpoint selection and foregone the daily random reward (which is only a little bit of extra XP at my level anyway) and I doubt that it would have affected my queue times all that much, but another part of me was feeling stubborn and viewed the whole situation as being stuck in a game of chicken with the group finder: Who would give up and send me somewhere other than Hammer Station first? Would the randomiser do it or did I have to do it myself?

Hammer Station
I levelled: 28-30

I decided to give it one last try with the full random selection, playing on a Wednesday afternoon for a change since I had a half day off from work, just to see if queueing with a different crowd would make a difference. The group I got consisted of two other dps and a healer and we worked very well together: Cleanses were made on the Tunneler boss and one of the two Sages even controlled the second turret by the bridge. Too bad this synergy was wasted on Hammer Station yet again.

Enough, I say! On the next run I'm unticking Hammer Station, never mind the bonus XP for choosing a "random". (I have to put that in quotes because it really isn't.) Especially since I'm up to having six other flashpoints on my list that never pop. After fifteen levels of nothing but Hammer Station (except for that one not-very-great Athiss run) I want a change of scenery.

Plus, I'm running out of interesting new screenshots to take of my character running Hammer Station yet again.


  1. At this point I wonder how loud the forum screams would be if they level locked Hammer Station as they did Esseles/Black Talon? ^_^ Not that it would solve the issue, but it might put more FPs into rotation as the 'efficient' ones.

    I wish they would put specific gear drops in specific FPs again. That would fix this issue fixating on a single FP. Not that you wouldn't have folks dropping after not getting the item they wanted from a particular boss, but at least the group finder could (should) back fill them.

  2. You know, if it were MM/HM, I'd understand the fixation because HM is really much much much easier than others, but for vet I honestly don't get why someone does that to themselves!


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