10/01/2021

Spirit of Vengeance as a Flashpoint

When I wrote about the second part of 6.2's story update, I said that I would make a separate post about what I think of Spirit of Vengeance as a flashpoint and in terms of mechanics. It took me a bit longer than expected to write this post because I wanted to make sure that I replayed it enough times first to form a well-rounded opinion.

For a lot of people, I think it made a very bad first impression because despite of having been on the PTS for testing beforehand, it launched in a ridiculously buggy state. People falling through the floor, mobs shooting through the walls... apparently some people's story progression got stuck entirely for a while. I was shocked when the ever-positive Swtorista actually made a tweet telling people not to bother with the flashpoint on launch day as it was just too buggy. (Though I can't link it now as she ended up deleting it later.)

Personally I was relatively lucky as I only had to deal with some mob pathing issues, a slightly buggy cut scene, and of course the first boss being horribly mistuned on story mode and having master mode health values at first. You better believe that he took me bloody long to kill, especially as a healer, but that's about as bad as it got.

Still, leaving aside any bugs and despite of the fact that I enjoyed the story, something about SoV left me feeling a bit meh. I always think back to the gorgeous environments we got in the flashpoints released as part of the traitor arc, and spending half an hour running through grey ship corridors just can't compare nowadays, even if a lot of the game's launch flashpoints used a similar setup. The trash mobs are also mostly just damage sponges with lots of health and no really interesting abilities. During a run with guildies, about the most interesting thing we observed was that some of the Mandos cast a crit buff on each other and perform a sort of "woohoo" emote whenever they do so, which we thought was kind of funny, but that was pretty much it.

The bosses aren't particularly great either. Aside from Heta Kol, they all have at least one mechanic that is somewhat confusing or it's unclear how you're supposed to deal with it. In one particularly memorable master mode run, the first boss, Gorga Brak, wiped us about ten times and we weren't quite sure why. We checked the guide on Vulkk but the mechanics we saw didn't entirely align with what was described there and we just couldn't figure out what was going wrong. Yet on other runs we one-shot him with no problems whatsoever.

Similarly, I remember Bask Sunn using some sort of mechanic that tethers two players together and us wondering whether we were supposed to be close to each other or run away from each other, but ultimately it didn't seem to matter. Troya Ajak also has this long cast called Songbird Volley that - again - makes you think that you're probably supposed to do something with it, but nothing really seems to make a difference to its damage output. That sort of thing just doesn't make for the most satisfying experience.

That said, I don't want to sound like I'm all down on this flashpoint. I did quite like many of the small ways in which the devs tried to make things a bit more interesting. There are lore clickies and hidden achievements to chase for example. On the second ship, there is an easy jumping puzzle that is quite fun to race across when playing in a group. (Though in my first run on story mode, I just ran straight through the "wall of fire" that's supposed to be blocking the way and forces you into the jumping puzzle... I wonder if me being able to do that was a bug too!) And on the Ash'ad ship, they set this little trap for you where you fall through the floor into a garbage collector and get attacked by a tentacle monster, which was a genuine surprise to me the first time and quite amusing. (Though it's a really rubbish trap, considering they don't follow up on it.)

Also, similarly to Objective Meridian, I found that Spirit of Vengeance actually got more fun on repeat runs. Weird hiccups with Gorga Brak aside, you can breeze through it pretty quickly and it doesn't have any of those mechanics that seem impressive or cute the first time around but then get more and more annoying as time goes on. Which is... fine, I guess. I still think Objective Meridian did it a bit better though by having more interesting and memorable boss fights to go along with it.

3 comments :

  1. I finally got around to running the story mode. The story was fine, but I felt there was too much trash. It could stand to lose about a third of the trash for pacing purposes. For group content I suspect the trash amount is fine, but having to wade through a bunch of damage sponges is tedious.

    The only 'bug' I ran into was the jumping puzzle. For me, about half a dozen times when I tried to jump it failed and landed me in the fire. Unfortunately I can't tell if that's a me issue or a game engine issue.

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    Replies
    1. Worse than having tons of mobs, is having tons of mobs that ignore stealth.
      It's just. SO ANNOYING.
      I mean, I choose a stealth class because I wanted to AVOID unnecessary combat, not being dragged into it regardless. As if age and experience made me LESS stealthy. Come on!

      I haven't done the jumping puzzle so far, tbh. I didn't even realise it was a jumping puzzle. I just waded through fire and angled just right to jump out of it every time. Sometimes it kills me, but still pushes me forward, so...

      (And, yeah, I think the mobs are *fine* for group content, specially since they don't even hit hard).

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    2. Ooh, I haven't done the solo mode on a stealth class yet, if a lot of them see through it I agree that's got to be super annoying!

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