Harder Better Stronger?

When I first tried this whole flashpoint levelling thing four years ago, it took my Mercenary one day and a bit less than nine hours of /played time to hit the then-level cap of 65. My newest Shadow has now passed this milestone, though with this being 2020, she has another ten levels left to go of course.

Still, I was curious how my levelling speed so far would compare, considering that things had felt considerably slower to me this time around... so I did a /played after hitting level 65, and was shocked to find that despite of the levelling feeling slower to me, Nautalie had actually hit 65 in seven hours less (or 20% faster) than it took my Merc back in the day. I'm curious what my final stats at the end of this whole experiment will look like.

In the meantime...

Assault on Tython
I levelled: 63-63

Having trimmed down my list of desirable targets to only five flashpoints for the time being, I still got an almost instant pop, this time for Assault on Tython. I got all excited because this actually happened to be the instance I needed to continue the Forged Alliances storyline.

However, after I walked up to the first pull in stealth, one guy ran away, apparently expecting me to handle it stealthily or something? I said that I didn't know how to do that here, and me and the two others killed it the old-fashioned way, after which the first guy just left without a word.

We queued for a replacement and walked up to the next pull, but then another player left without saying anything. Me and the one remaining person eventually realised that this had bugged the group finder (I had this happen before when someone leaves while the system's already trying to replace a previous quitter). Whenever I was group leader it claimed that we were already in the queue (but with no option to leave), and with the other person as leader it said that we were not in the queue and they weren't able to queue us either. Somewhat disappointed, we both left. I had to relog entirely before my group finder unbugged and I was able to queue again.

Assault on Tython
I levelled: 63-64

As it happened I got put right back into Assault on Tython though, just with three different people this time. I was a bit worried when someone died on the very first pull, considering that the previous group has fallen apart over less (just slowness with the pulls as far as I could tell?), but the defeated person simply dusted themselves off and got back up, and after that everything proceeded normally and we finished the flashpoint just fine.

Czerka Corporate Labs
I levelled: 64-64

This run featured a healer, a female Miraluka Guardian in a bikini, and a Nautolan Sentinel. I don't know why I still get so excited every time I see another Nautolan. I guess with them being the newest species, not free for everyone and quite alien-looking, I still view them as somewhat rare. Sadly my fellow squidhead left the group after only a few pulls and without ever having said a word.

That aside, the run was perfectly smooth once again, and I was pleased to once again complete the weekly mission to run five veteran flashpoints. It may sound silly, but I think that having unlocked that quest has also helped to motivate me somewhat, because having that extra incentive of wanting to complete it each week really works for me.

Unfortunately the extra XP wasn't enough to actually get Nautalie to level up after this run.

Hammer Station
I levelled: 64-65

Once again I started a new week with a stab at the full random selection, and once again I didn't actually mind ending up in Hammer Station for this particular run as I was playing early in the morning before work and only had limited time to spare anyway. I got grouped with three competent level 75 damage dealers and everything went very smoothly.

Battle of Ilum
I levelled: 65-65

That evening I decided to queue for ten selected flashpoints and got Battle of Ilum again. Once again we had a total of three stealthers and killed almost nothing, which made for a very fast run but also gave me very little XP (and no level-up).

An evil Gunslinger called Facey McFaceshot or something lived up to her name and shot Talsa-ko in the face at the end, which was shocking as it almost never happens.

Directive 7
I levelled: 65-66

The first thing I noticed about this run was that it had two Togruta in it, which is not something I see often. We had a tank and three dps, ranging from levels 53 to 75, but only one 75 and she wasn't geared.

We started off by having a near-wipe on the very first trash pull, with only one person surviving and just finishing off the last mob before they would have died too. Then our tank declared that she wasn't really a tank. Not that it matters in vet mode, but it was still good to know. This declaration and the near-wipe struck me as one of those inflection points where the impatient usually leave, but in this group nobody seemed particularly fazed by anything that had happened.

That was a good thing - however, what was less good was the general level of fail we displayed as we continued. I didn't even think about bonuses this time around, because it was obvious that it was going to be enough of a challenge to get this group through the flashpoint as it was, what with people focusing on the single gold mob in each pull while a whole pack of weak ones was shooting them and similar shenanigans.

We did the most common bits of trash skipping, and there is this one section where you run/ride along a pipe where I've seen people get stuck in the terrain before, so of course that happened to someone in this group as well. This didn't prevent another person from pulling a big group of trash while we were a man down though, resulting in a wipe. Then while we were running back, another person got stuck on the same pipe!

I don't know if they did a /stuck or died from aggro, but either way they pulled another group of mobs that then came running for the rest of us after that person had died. Fortunately we managed to dispatch them without another wipe.

It's worth noting though that we wasted so much time on people getting stuck and wiping for the sake of skipping one trash pull, we probably could have killed every single mob in the instance up to that point in the same amount of time. I couldn't make this sort of stuff up if I tried.

When people made a beeline for the infamous tents I commented to Mr Commando "I wonder how we're going to fail on this one" and someone did indeed fall off.

We continued to bumble our way through the various boss fights. On the assassin droids I was the only one to switch targets as the shields rotated. On the Replicator only me and the Sage killed adds, while the other two kept hitting the boss throughout his immunity for the entire fight. On Bulwark it was once again down to just me and the Sage to kill adds as they spawned - one of them nearly got a repair off too.

On Mentor himself I actually did see one of the overheated cores get repaired before we could blow it up, something I hadn't seen happen in literal years. But eventually he died and we were done, after what had felt like an eternity to me but had apparently only been forty minutes or so. But hey, at least I could go and tell Director Rigel that we'd saved the galaxy from the droid apocalypse.


  1. I always chuckle when a group struggles at the first pull with the droids and turrets in Directive 7. When you're driving down avoiding mobs you get a voice over clue on how to make things easier. In all my years playing I've yet to see a group actually pay attention and detour to click the button that calls in air support to simplify that first pull.

    1. Wait, what? I don't know what you're talking about either, haha! Not that clicky thing for the bonus, right?

    2. My memory is playing tricks and I was wrong, it's just part of the bonus. I thought it strange that you'd didn't know about it so checked on Vet and Solo. Now I need to figure out why I thought it was a thing. Sorry for the bad info.

    3. Haha, no worries. You had me all excited there about the game potentially still holding some surprises for me after eight years...


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