Echoes of AFK-ness

6.2's Echoes of Oblivion story was a very good content update, but in terms of replayability I've found it to be quite limited as time has gone on. It's exactly the same for both factions and there are few opportunities for interesting choices or unique dialogue based on your class or previous decisions, so it feels very same-y on each subsequent visit.

Also, I strongly dislike the final boss fight. As far as I'm concerned, it's right up there with the solo version of Revan among the worst encounters in the game, due to how redundant it makes the player character feel. I don't need my fights to be difficult, but if the abilities I press make no difference to the outcome at all, if the encounter just resolves itself without me, then the whole thing would've been better off being a cut scene.

I was pondering this as I was somewhat dejectedly dragging my primary smuggler through the quests leading up to this particular set piece, in order to get her to level 80 and caught up with the current story content, when I suddenly had an idea: If the player character was really as redundant as it had felt to me on previous playthroughs, maybe I could actually avoid dealing with the fight altogether by simply going AFK and letting the NPCs do all the work! It seemed like a win-win scenario: If this experiment resulted in my character's death, I'd at least know that my input wasn't totally pointless. If not, I could be away from the keyboard doing something else for a bit while the friendly NPCs dealt with the tedium of the boss fight for me.

As a result, I was actually more excited to face down the triumvirate of Emperors than I'd been in a while. When it was time to deal with the first of the Emperor's incarnations, Valkorion, I turned on video recording and then shot him once to engage, followed by me walking away from my keyboard. I'll be honest though: At first I popped back really quickly to check whether my character was even still alive - I strongly suspected that the fight was designed to make it impossible to die, but I wasn't entirely sure. But indeed, it didn't seem to matter how much pink crap my little smuggler stood in and how low her health got, Master Satele pulled her back from the brink of death every single time. I felt comfortable getting myself a drink and busying myself with other things.

I did take a peek at the screen every few minutes though to see how things were going, and was pleased to see Valky's health slowly going down... until one of those checks suddenly showed his health having gone up again instead of further down. I didn't even remember him having a healing ability! But I thought I'd let my NPC allies have at it for a little longer to see whether they could out-damage his healing.

Unfortunately, after a total of twelve minutes or so I came back to my game to find that the fight had seemingly reset. I consulted my video recording and it showed that one of Valkorion's abilities included a very small pushback, which had gradually knocked my character further and further back (but so gradually that I hadn't noticed during my quick check-ins) until she eventually fell off the edge of the platform and died. Oh well, no full AFKing phase one then!

I re-engaged the boss and did that part of the fight "properly" this time, though even as I did so I noticed that the area was actually partially surrounded by low walls... so maybe AFKing through phase one is still technically possible as long as you position yourself correctly in order to not get pushed through one of the holes in the walls? Maybe that'll be something for me to try on the next alt that makes it to this point in the story, but I didn't feel like intentionally wiping the fight just to try AFKing through phase one a second time.

Anyway, as soon as I'd downed Valkorion and the fight transitioned to Vitiate, I stepped away from the keyboard again, because a new phase meant a new chance for my NPC allies to prove themselves. Vitiate starts with an immunity shield and a lot of adds, so that he initially didn't seem to take any damage at all, but my allies were very diligent in hunting them down and eventually his immunity ended. Whenever I checked in on them, they were making good progress and I wasn't in any danger of flying off the edge this time either. The only odd thing I noticed was that at one point when I took my usual peek to see how things were going, most of my friendly companions were standing around my character not doing anything, with only brave Darth Marr continuing to whack the big bad. The others eventually got back into the action though, and after eight minutes or so they got him down and I could only applaud their efforts.

Finally, it was time for Tenebrae, who turned out to be the weakest of the three, as my little helpers killed him in only about seven minutes or so, time that I mostly spent putting away some laundry. The ending was even a little exciting, as I returned to my PC to find that Tenebrae, too, had a little knockback, and I could see that it was slowly pushing my character across the platform and towards the edge on the other side. I considered interfering if it looked like she was about to fall off again, but wanted to hold off as long as possible... fortunately for me, he did some kind of phase transition just as I was getting close to falling off, which meant that he stopped doing the ability that kept pushing me just in time.

Instead he summoned some adds, at least one of which I saw coming my smuggler's way, just to witness Meetra Surik do a heroic intercept before it could reach me. Meanwhile Master Satele ended up in a state of perpetual indecision as the AI script that's meant to prevent healer companions from getting stuck out of range kept calling her back to me at the edge of the platform every time she tried to attack Tenebrae. In the end they got him down though, and once again without any help from me at all.

All in all, I spent a little over half an hour on the fight this way, which is of course a lot longer than it would usually take... so I guess this experiment taught me that the player's contribution isn't completely useless, as it does speed things up considerably. I'm also still not sure just how "AFK-able" phase one really is. Still, the fact that my companions were able to kill two of the three bosses with zero input from me on the first try does go to prove my initial point about this being a badly designed fight I think. Powerful NPC allies should never be so strong as to need no assistance from the player character whatsoever.


  1. You have more guts than me, that's for sure. If I started a fight I don't think I could stand simply walking away like that.

    1. Why not? The worst that can happen is that you get a small repair bill... ^^

    2. My healing partner did this all the time when we healed in Veteran Mode for a change. Sometimes he wasn't even in heal specc anymore. "You got this. You good.". What a derp. I love him.

  2. I wouldn't call it a fight. More like an interactive cut-scene. Lol

  3. When I did that fight recently I looked it up because I couldn't remember what needed to be done. I read about interrupting a long cast so that Valkorian didn't get off a heal. So I'm expecting this really long heal and, of course, missed the actual heal. So I just interrupted whatever cast I could and went from there. If the fight was trying to get me to interrupt the 'right thing' it didn't do a good job.

    When I did the Vitiate portion of the fight I'd pick a group to attack, only to find all the NPCs had run off to a different group. Several times I came close to dying because a had all the mobs in a group attacking me at once. After a couple of times of that I just followed the NPCs surging around the room instead of the usual situation of them following me.

    I find it an ugly, messy fight that's better for having been finished than actually doing. I also don't like the fact the fight autostarts for me. It probably doesn't matter, but for whatever reason I like to make sure I have everything ready before I begin a fight. Too many years of ready checks I guess. ^_^


Share your opinion! Everyone is welcome, as long as things stay polite. I also read comments on older posts, so don't be shy. :)