13/12/2019

Reviewing Objective Meridian

When I talked about the part of Onslaught's story that takes place on Corellia, I said that the Objective Meridian flashpoint probably deserved a post of its own... this is that post.


Functionally, it works the same as the previous three flashpoints we got over the last couple of years (Crisis on Umbara, A Traitor Among the Chiss and Nathema Conspiracy): there is a single-player story mode that you're meant to play through while making your way through the main storyline and which has all the cut scenes and dialogue. Then there are repeatable solo, veteran and master modes that are virtually devoid of cinematics and more about having fun with the combat and pursuing rewards.

However, this is already where the commonalities between Objective Meridian and those other flashpoints end. In fact, in every other aspect they are pretty much opposites.

The three flashpoints forming the traitor storyline wowed us with beautiful new environments, with each new one more stunning than the last. Story mode aside, they were also fiendishly hard however. (Nathema Conspiracy slightly less so, but still.) I didn't view this difficulty as a bad thing exactly; instead I found the challenge interesting - but after beating every difficulty once or twice, I started to dislike having any of them pop up as my random of the day in the group finder, as it always meant having to work so much harder than in most other flashpoints.

By contrast, Objective Meridian is visually quite dull. I'm biased in that I never liked Corellia's environments much, and this is just more of the same. The trash feels old-school as well, with wide and open spaces in which groups of enemies stand around neatly spaced out so that you can actually just run past a fair number of them without even engaging. I did enjoy the story very much, but in terms of flashpoint visuals and mechanics I wasn't at all impressed on my first run.


On the other hand though... it's really fun to re-run! I'm actually happy when it pops up in the random group finder because I know it won't be too long or difficult (though like Dxun when compared to other operations, it currently seems to award less loot than the older flashpoints for some reason). The fights aren't boring - Malgus and Tau in particular are quite well done in my opinion - and you may well find yourself wiping a couple of times the first time around while figuring out the mechanics, but once you understand what's going on the tactics are straightforward enough to execute without pushing you to your absolute limits.

Speaking of fight mechanics, another thing that was a pleasant surprise for me is that while the flashpoint's layout and progression are the same for both factions, the bosses actually have different mechanics for each side. I had expected it to be more like Assault on Tython/Korriban Incursion, where you essentially deal with the same content only with a different skin. But no, here every boss actually has their own unique mechanics (and Imp side actually seems more of a pain to me than Rep side, but maybe that's because I've only done the former on master mode once and am therefore less familiar with it).


Tl;dr version: My first impression of Objective Meridian wasn't great, but it's really grown on me with each subsequent run. On the other hand I got both Crisis on Umbara and Traitor Among the Chiss as my random master mode several times over the past couple of weeks (once we even got Copero twice in a row!) and as pretty as they are, it always elicits groans. It's really made me think about the comparative value of dazzling the player with a great first impression but being tedious to repeat vs. the other way round.

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