14/03/2020

Finishing Up My Flashpoint Levelling

In real time it took much, much longer than expected - four months! - but Nautalie the Shadow has finally hit level 75. Here's how she spent her last few levels levelling through flashpoints:

Blood Hunt
I levelled: 70-70

Even with completing both the weekly to do five veteran flashpoints and my personal conquest by doing this flashpoint, I just missed out on levelling up from this one, but that wasn't entirely surprising.

When we entered, one person left instantly, presumably because that person hadn't run Blood Hunt in a while and still thought that it's the horrible pug killer it used to be a couple of years ago. We got a replacement that resulted in our group having two tanks and a healer, with me being the only damage dealer. Unsurprisingly that made for quite a slow run - Torch went through no less than four "firestorm" phases for example - but on the plus side we were never really in danger of dying.

I noticed that one of the tanks and the healer were from the same guild: Nostrum Dolus, who were known as the best SWTOR PvP guild in the world back in the days of 8v8 ranked. I remember always being relieved whenever I saw one of their members in a random warzone back in the day, because even one of them was enough to give our side a significant performance boost. They've been inactive for many years now though. I made no secret of my fond memories in party chat and they claimed to have been the guild's actual founders, who apparently hadn't played since Rise of the Hutt Cartel.


Hammer Station
I levelled: 70-71

I couldn't resist getting a quick random in on another Wednesday morning, which reliably placed me in Hammer Station. Nobody in our all dps group was level 75, which made things a little more challenging than your average run, though not terribly so.

We spent about a full minute standing in front of the elevator shortcut, waiting for someone to slice it, before we admitted to ourselves that nobody had slicing and moved on.

Someone also charged right past the turrets again, which - unsurprisingly - was not a good idea in a full group of levellers without a healer. (Remember: it traps you in combat for the rest of the flashpoint so that nobody can regenerate any health.) One guy died and was lucky in so far as I was able to stealth out and revive him afterwards.

Objective Meridian
I levelled: 71-72

With only seven of what are probably the most unpopular flashpoints selected, I wasn't surprised that I had to wait a little while for a group to be formed. Then I had a couple of pops that someone always rejected, as if they knew what might be coming... but eventually I got into what was probably the least offensive of my choices, the new flashpoint Objective Meridian.

This didn't prevent someone from leaving the moment we zoned in. I don't really get it, as this one's really quite fun and easy, but I guess just like I have a dislike for Hammer Station, for some people anything that's not Hammer Station is unacceptable. Fortunately the others weren't perturbed by this and the group leader queued us for a replacement almost immediately. Two or three trash pulls later the group was full again.

Incidentally, this was a full consular group! The other three characters were Sages. Fortunately one of them was a healer, which made things a lot smoother than they could have been otherwise. In hindsight I think this might also have been the first time that I ran this flashpoint on veteran mode - I can't tell for sure since the achievement counter treats solo and veteran mode as the same thing. Or maybe I did it with my guildies once just after Onslaught had come out.


Anyway, thanks to the healer it was mostly a walk in the park. I took it upon myself to taunt things off the Sages in an attempt to keep things simple for them too. This worked very well for the most part except for the last boss, where I just couldn't hold aggro to save my life. Also, the others enjoyed spreading out across the entire platform so that I spent more time running around chasing Malgus in circles than actually doing damage. We even wiped once, as all but one of us got knocked to our deaths near the end. (Resilience didn't save me. /cry) On the next try we got him down without problems though.

Depths of Manaan
I levelled: 72-73

I had re-queued for this one because Nautalie was at the step in the Forged Alliances arc where she needed it for story progression. I got into a group with two other damage dealers and a tank. The tank left the moment we zoned in and we replaced him with another dps.

I didn't have a great feeling when we almost wiped on the very first pull. I don't know if our damage was just that low or what, but I felt like I had to blow every single cooldown on every mob group to make it through alive.

On Sairisi I made the mistake of not asking whether everyone knew what to do, which resulted in people spending ages hitting shielded targets and being utterly useless. Meanwhile I was tanking and just running back and forth between the two kolto stations just to stay alive. (Did you know that there are only two kolto stations next to Sairisi? Made survival quite a tight affair.)

Anyway, eventually we did get him down and started watching the cut scene featuring Jakarro. I had space-barred through but apparently somebody else was watching, so I waited, and waited, and waited... and suddenly we were all kicked out of the instance as our group lead had disconnected. Now I was lead and we ran back in, but the DCed guy came back on within a minute anyway.

At this point one of the other dps quit and I queued us for a replacement. Unfortunately the previously DC-ed guy chose this moment to leave the group as well, causing the group finder to bug out in the usual manner. Disheartened by how this kind of situation had gone previously, I asked the last person remaining (a Commando and the person who had joined us after the start to replace the tank) whether she wanted to continue with companions or quit... and she wanted to go on, yay!

So I summoned my influence level 6 Qyzen to tank and she whipped out Elara to heal and we finished the instance just fine. We did have one wipe on Ortuno as my trooper friend wasn't quick enough to put Elara on passive to drag her out of the puddles of doom, but once she knew to watch out for that we downed him just fine, even if it took a while.

After the run she whispered me asking if I wanted to join her guild. I declined politely, explaining that I already had a guild, but it still gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling.


What a hero.

Battle of Rishi
I levelled: 73-73

This was a pretty smooth and fast four-dps run. We skipped a lot of trash though (which is admittedly pretty easy in this flashpoint), which once again resulted in barely any XP for me.

Also, I was kind of bothered by how everyone just kind of expected me to stealth everything for them without even saying anything. There is this bit where you have to click on consoles in three different rooms and one guy literally just ran past all of them to the next boss and then presumably made himself a cup of tea. At least the other two hung back a little to make sure I didn't get in trouble (which I actually did once, though I cloaked and fortunately the mobs evaded instead of going after the rest of the group).

At least I did learn how you can indeed successfully stealth all three consoles. I already knew that it could be done but had never done it myself before, always failing at one in particular, but the unspoken pressure put on me in this run forced me figure it out. Yay I guess?

Legacy of the Rakata
I levelled: 73-74

Sod's Law had it that after grumbling about a run where we skipped so much trash that I barely got any XP, the next day the group finder put me into a full stealth group (two Shadows and two Scoundrels). Mind you, I think we still killed more mobs than the group in Battle of Rishi, simply because there are some objectives on Rakata Prime that require it, plus there were a couple of "oops, I forgot I wasn't actually in stealth" pulls. (Nobody called them that, but I've seen enough of this kind of thing to recognise it when I see it.)

In the end I didn't mind too much because at least a full stealth pug is something unusual and entertaining. On the last boss it was interesting to me that people prioritised killing Arkous over Darok, as I'm used to doing it the other way round.

Czerka Core Meltdown
I levelled: 74-74

Queueing for what I knew was going to be Nautalie's last levelling flashpoint, I had only four options selected: Czerka Core Meltdown and the three traitor flashpoints. I settled in for what I expected to be a bit of a wait but got a pop almost instantly - which meant that it couldn't be anything other than Czerka, seeing how most people seem to avoid and rather dislike the traitor flashpoints. And so it was.

It was another four dps group, and the Commando in the group immediately said that it was his first time. I replied that this was fine and that I'd explain bosses. Unfortunately the rest of the group wasn't quite so co-operative, and the Gunslinger pulled the first boss while I was still typing. It felt deserved that we quickly wiped on that attempt, even though I can't say for sure that it was directly related to the untimely pull.

On the next attempt we killed it just fine, with me tanking and dragging the Duneclaw around the room like a boss. Props to the other group members for clicking the kolto stations though - I couldn't reliably have done it myself without messing up the positioning, and while my health did get pretty low a couple of times, making me sweat, we all survived in the end.

We more or less repeated this performance on the next boss: me once again trying to explain for the Commando while the Gunslinger ran in and pulled anyway. At least this time we didn't wipe, though the Slinger messed up the first pod by popping it too early, before the boss was actually in range. Things went okay though once I taunted the boss off him and resumed tanking. The rest of the flashpoint went smoothly enough.

But then... we were done and I still wasn't 75! Even after handing in the Czerka story quest I was still just a sliver away from dinging.

I considered my options and didn't like either very much: queueing for another flashpoint would have been the most "true" to the project, but dinging on the second mob would have felt kind of anticlimactic and the event would have just been overshadowed by still having to run the whole rest of the flashpoint afterwards. Getting the XP somewhere else on the other hand felt a bit cheeky... but was also going to be much faster and easier... and it was really only a tiny sliver! So I went back to Coruscant to pick up Nautalie's class story again and soon dinged 75 from killing a bunch of back alley thugs.


Full debrief about the project to follow soon!

3 comments :

  1. Oh, you're right, it does feel a bit anticlimatic!

    I'm continuously amazed by the sheer amount of HS you get pulled into, as I can't say I share the same problem. And I certainly can understand people's dislikes for some of the traitor flashpoints (I mean, the buggy towers in Umbara are my one issue that would make me unselect it, but I'm not one to much worry about it; I can understand how completely frustrating it is to try and try to get through the doors and not being able to. ugh).

    But - you've made it! Congratulations! And while it did take longer than expected, it seems like you learned a couple of new tricks, so, yay? :)

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    Replies
    1. Can't say I've ever encountered any buggy towers in Umbara! Just lots of wiping due to pugs not being able to cope with some of the more hard-hitting mechanics.

      And yes, it was certainly educational. That will all go in the follow-up post.

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  2. Oh, I know which towers you mean. Two Champion turrets, placed just before the first boss (the Shadow/Technician-Duo).
    Don't know whether they are un-killable, my groups never tried fighting them, but they are seemingly placed there just to force you to jump back down into the train into a veritable Room of Doom with a lot of mobs and traps, which activate more turrets.

    Triggering the turrets on top of the train prevents you from proceeding through the door, so you have to /stuck and run back.
    And there seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to what triggers them - stealthers running under them seems to be one trigger. I consistently run into this bug, on every Umbara-run that gets past the 'Are we really going to do this flashpoint'-phase. ^^"

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