11/06/2020

DvL Bosses Defeated At Last

Looking back at past blog entries, I wrote about the dark vs. light world bosses exactly twice before. Once in late 2016, when I basically went "Hey, these are a thing!" and once in mid-2018 when I noted that my guild was having another go at killing some of them for the achievement. We did kill a few of them back then, but ultimately people lost interest again before we got anywhere close to getting them all.

I think there were a number of reasons for this: All the driving around to find bosses could be quite time-consuming without necessarily leading to success, and their availability being tied to a light or dark side victory meant that going after them was often only an option at inconvenient times. They also caused a significant amount of deaths and repair bills for very little reward. I think too many people just decided eventually that they'd rather be spending their time doing other things.


The other week however, a bored officer seemed to get it into his head that we should give hunting the bosses another go, and enough people were available and happy to come along to at least make a start. We still had the issues mentioned above, but we actually got better at dealing with them, and a couple of days ago the first few people started to have their achievements pop up (though since these world boss hunts have been quite irregular, and different people have attended them at different times, we'll definitely have to keep going for at least a little longer to make sure everyone gets all the bosses they still need). I thought I would share more of what we learned along the way.

First off, general resources about these bosses still seem to be quite thin on the ground, but we found this German site which lists a lot more boss spawn locations than the old Dulfy guide. (It's quite a peculiar site; a blog set up in 2017 that clearly had ambitions to become a bigger source of guides but ultimately only posted two entries, one of which is the linked DvL post.) Back in 2018 I noted that I didn't think bosses were tied to particular planets, but this turned out to be at least partially wrong - there are a couple for each alignment that can indeed spawn anywhere in the galaxy, but most of the others are exclusive to specific planets, so if you want to catch them all you can't be too choosy about where you go hunting. The linked guide lists which boss can be found where and also which of the two ability sets each one uses.


Killing the bosses can be a challenge but simply finding them up is an even bigger one. In hindsight it feels like it was a really bad idea on Bioware's part to make these guys despawn if the first attack on them fails, particularly with no in-game indicator that this is a thing. They are way too easy to mistake for regular mobs at a casual glance, causing many a newbie to pull them and then die or run away, thus despawning them. This is an issue on all the planets but particularly aggravating on Coruscant, where it's always busy and many of the spawn points are near frequently visited quest locations, meaning that it's not unusual for a boss to get despawned by a hapless noob mere minutes after their initial appearance. We had quite a few occasions where we were just lining up to pull when a random newbie did a sudden drive-by charge-in, costing us the boss and inducing a lot of rage in some people even if I personally don't think the lowbies can be blamed for their ignorance.

We eventually learned to try and prepare for the victory state in advance: while you'll never know when it'll pop exactly, once one side seems to be on the way to winning you can extrapolate at least the rough time when the victory state will be achieved (taking into consideration that the indicator tends to move one step about once every ninety minutes). We would then make sure to form an ops group in advance and have people park themselves near various spawn points, so that anyone who laid eyes on a boss when it appeared could instantly use the guild flagship transport to summon the rest of the group to their location and grab the boss right there and then.

Also, it's good if people have characters on both sides of the faction divide, because the Dromund Kaas spawn locations are slightly more out of the way, meaning that if you had no luck on Coruscant, you could usually go there instead and still find a couple of the same bosses up in the jungle even after everything on Coruscant had already been cleared out.


As far as boss difficulty goes, we learned that while the bosses effectively all use one of just two ability sets, there can be huge variations in difficulty based on the planet they are on and the exact spawn point. The planet matters because the scaling is pretty wacky: on Coruscant and Dromund Kaas the damage is relatively mild, on Tatooine and Alderaan it's mostly manageable, but on Hoth it's a real nightmare. For example one of the boss abilities is a saber throw at a random person, and on Hoth that pretty much one-shots people if they aren't at 100% health when it hits them, causing a lot of very annoying and seemingly unavoidable deaths.

Spawn location also matters because both sets of boss abilities include people leaving circles of pain on the ground, which means that the fights are easier on open plains and super awkward in tight spaces as you quickly get boxed in. On bright, snowy terrain the circles can also be hard to see sometimes. In addition it matters whether there's a medical droid for your faction nearby: some of the boss locations are quite close to respawn points, making it easy to keep zerging back if people die a lot; others will revive you at the other end of the zone, making a wipe likely if too many people die in quick succession as they just won't have time to make it back before even more people die and things snowball from there, even if characters that can get out of combat use a guild summon occasionally to speed up the return of any fallen comrades.


One thing I already mentioned back in 2018 is that group size definitely matters: these bosses seem to have been designed for ops groups of twelve people or more, and they don't scale downwards very well at all. Basically each boss will target a certain number of characters with each of their abilities, and if there aren't enough of you? Too bad, that just means that some players are going to get more than one effect on them at the same time and will basically die within two seconds. You simply have to be able to accept that this is a thing and be willing to get up again, dust yourself off and keep going. One of our guildies who wasn't particularly fussed about the achievement but came along when first invited got so frustrated with dying constantly and having no way to prevent this through skilled play that the next time we asked him to join he said something along the lines of preferring to be kicked in the nuts for half an hour over ever doing another one of theses bosses again. So your mileage may vary!

Ultimately it remains an achievement that requires quite a lot of commitment, as you'll likely have to take part in several boss hunts over the course of days and weeks until you get all of them. (I don't know what the percentages are, but bosses aren't guaranteed to appear at each spawn point, so sometimes whole maps will be empty despite of a recent victory state.) And while getting the achievement and the associated flag decorations is definitely cool, it'll cost you a lot of time and probably also money in repair bills from all the random deaths that can be hard to impossible to avoid.

2 comments :

  1. Congrats! I had aspirations for my guild to work on these bosses and we did a few... but lost interest fast. The lull between major SWTOR updates has always been a good time to go achievement hunting though!

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    1. I hadn't really thought of us being in a lull just yet - eight months since the last expansion doesn't feel like it was that long ago, but I guess you're right. We're definitely at that point where it's a good time to look at older, still uncompleted goals and do some work on them.

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