Datacron Hunt on Mek-Sha and Onderon

Ah, datacrons - I have such an interesting history with them. Originally I was pretty oblivious to them while levelling, to the point that I'm not sure I came across even a single one organically (the one simply lying on the ground on Coruscant perhaps...), but then other players started showing them to me and datacron hunting became both a fun social activity and something I liked doing on my alts. Then they were made account-wide with KotFE and that whole avenue of play kind of fell off a cliff... especially as Bioware didn't add any new ones either - until Ossus that is, and I wrote about my experience with those datacrons in this post.

Onderon and Mek-Sha were similar to Ossus in that guildies were offering summons to the new datacrons within days, but like on Ossus I refused because simply accepting a summon to an unknown location, clicking a cube and leaving again kind of seemed to defeat the purpose of the whole thing to me. I told myself that I'd go back to get them later, but to be completely honest I mostly forgot about them again after that. So I was delighted when my guild decided to host a guild datacron hunt for the first time in literal years and that Onderon and Mek-Sha were supposed to be the first destinations. 

We started with the endurance datacron on Mek-Sha, which follows in the footsteps of similar datacrons from the base game such as the mastery ones on Imperial Nar Shaddaa and Corellia, which both require you to jump on a small kiosk/carrier as it floats past and ride it (close) to the datacron location. I would rate the Mek-Sha one as slightly less fun than either of those though, as part of the path you ride along is a bit buggy, which is disorienting (the environment around you goes all crazy, the platform appears to disappear under your feet etc.), and after successfully jumping both on and off the floating "sign" you then still have to make another couple of (admittedly not very difficult) jumps before reaching the datacron.

My guildies and I spent some time chatting while repeatedly falling to our deaths here, but our guide for the evening made it to the finish line very quickly and was able to offer limited assistance for some classes with a Sage pull (we also found that with some skill and/or luck a Scoundrel could jump to them with Trick Move.). After a given time limit we simply used a guild flagship summon for anyone who was still struggling... but I refused to accept it, as - despite of my repeated failures - the whole thing felt very doable and I figured that I'd be able to do it the "proper" way if I just gave myself a bit more time.

Still, for the time being we moved on to the endurance datacron, which was a more straightforward jumping puzzle in a fairly small area. I actually did pretty okay with this one except for one really far jump near the end. Here we sort of moved along as a group, initially falling down and re-trying all the jumps on our own, but I wasn't the only one struggling with that one particular jump, so we eventually started to "pool" around that one and once a couple of people got across they helped others with pulls and such. I was not too ashamed to accept a little help there myself, as getting a bit of a leg up with one jump in a row of about a dozen jumps isn't on the same scale to me as simply getting a summon to the final destination. In the end we all managed to get this datacron without having to use the guild flagship summon at all.

After that we were off to Onderon, first to deal with the endurance datacron there. This was another jumping puzzle but with a deadly edge, as missing one of the first three jumps meant falling to your death. Fortunately a medical droid wasn't far away, but it was still quite silly how many times I fell to my death here. Otherwise it was a similar affair to Mek-Sha in that I eventually managed all the jumps by myself except the very last one, for which I accepted a pull since I was the only person who hadn't made it yet and people wanted to move on. We took a little group photo next to the datacron since the backdrop was quite nice up there.

Finally, there was the mastery datacron, which was introduced as "the Indiana Jones datacron" to the group and it sure lived up to its name. This one lives in a personal phase and requires you to leap across a bridge with invisible holes by following a certain pattern (in what is undoubtedly meant to be an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade reference), followed by dodging a bunch of floor spikes in the dark that insta-kill you if you step on them. This is already tricky enough one way, but then you finally get to the datacron, a little cut scene plays and some sort of electric/force field gets unleashed, forcing you to make it back the same way with the additional pressure of a timer or you die. I must have died a hundred times to that thing and was once again one of the last people to get it (cheaty Sages and their Phase Walks...) but it didn't really feel impossible at any time... it was just a matter of mastering the sequence to the point that I was able to execute it both flawlessly and quickly enough.

At this point some of my guildies moved on to Ossus, but since I already had those 'crons, I instead opted to return to Mek-Sha and went back to practising riding the sign. It took me another half-dozen attempts or so and then I made it to that datacron as well.

I'm glad that I originally decided to save getting these datacrons for a more opportune time, as getting them with my guildies was much more fun than it would have been to simply get a summon or even to follow a guide on my own.

The Indiana Jones datacron was probably my favourite, despite of being sequestered in a personal phase and causing me to die a hundred times. It was just a very fun idea, and restarting after a death was extremely fast so the failures didn't feel too punishing. Though I guess the time pressure at the end could be considered a bit harsh for the rather casual player base that the game has cultivated over the years. Sure, casual players don't "need" the stats from it either, but I just think it's a pretty fun experience to have regardless, for all kinds of players.

The endurance datacron on Mek-Sha was the sort of mini adventure that I usually like with datacrons, but I was a bit let down by the bugginess of its implementation. Also, considering that there are follow-up jumps after the sign ride that you can fail, having to wait about two minutes for the sign to come around again after each try was a bit annoying.

The two jumping 'crons were both alright - they both featured at least one pretty fiendish jump, which always strikes me as a bit frustrating when it's part of a whole series of jumps that you have to restart if you fail, but at least the run back wasn't long in either case. The Onderon one also had what you could call "save points" in the sense that if you fell off at a later point, you only had to redo the last couple of jumps and didn't have to start over from the very beginning. That was good.

I wonder if there'll be datacrons on Manaan?

PS: It's the first of August, which once again heralds the return of Blaugust! Whether you enjoy discovering new blogs, would like to promote your own writing or are maybe only just thinking about starting your own blog, I can definitely recommend checking out this community event.

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