R-4 Hoop Jumping

One of the things I've learned at my current place of work is that when resources to fix problems are very limited, small issues that can be worked around in some way can go unfixed for a very, very long time. After a while you pretty much consider the workaround the new "normal" way to do things without even thinking about it anymore, until you have to explain the workflow to a new starter one day, and suddenly realise that it's rather odd that whenever you want to perform a search in application A, you actually perform the search in application B and then copy and paste part of the URL string into application A, because the actual search function in application A itself has been broken for as long as you can remember and just causes the whole thing to crash. To use a totally made-up example.

What does this have to do with SWTOR? Well... I've been taking a break from progression ops in recent weeks. The frustration with the whole ops situation had just become too much for me to want to deal with. The rest of my team however, including Mr Commando, has largely soldiered on, and I haven't exactly been "away" either. I've still been chatting with my team, and once or twice I did attend an op to help out when they were a person short.

On Friday I was called upon once again and got to kill the second boss in R-4 veteran mode for the first time. I had a good time overall, but it really struck me how thoroughly broken the ops experience in R-4 is at the moment. That's to say in the sort of way I described at the start of this post, meaning that people have to apply half a dozen workarounds on a daily basis to be able to do anything at all.

First off there is the obstacle of the first boss being massively overtuned on veteran mode. Even people who've successfully killed it seem to agree, especially since the second and third boss are so much easier in comparison. This has led to the few who are actually capable of killing the first boss bartering their lockouts away to the slightly less capable, so that the latter can gear up from the second and third boss without ever having killed the first one.

My guild has also chosen to go this route, so even though none of our raiders have ever killed the first boss as far as I'm aware, some teams have been farming bosses two and three for a few weeks now. Someone just needs to have a connection to a team that can kill the first boss and then needs to organise a lockout handover before ops time every time.

Then follows the next complication: When you start the operation with the first boss dead, the second boss isn't accessible by normal means as a door that should be open bugs out and remains closed. However, someone figured out that there is a certain location on top of a crate where it's possible to have a duel, and someone with a knockback can then throw their opponent across a giant chasm if the person to be thrown also jumps into the air at just the right time. You want to choose a stealther for this manoeuvre, as once they've successfully landed on the other side, they can then stealth past the trash mobs there and unlock the train to the second boss. So this is another whole ritual that has to be performed at the start of every ops.

It's a good thing that you're able to duel inside of R-4, because generally this is disabled inside instances. It's unclear whether the fact that it's possible in R-4 is yet another bug that just happens to work in the players' favour for a change or something that Bioware intentionally enabled to make this and other workarounds possible, though I'd be very surprised if it was the latter.

Wait, I just spoke of "other workarounds" related to duelling, what else is there? Well, for a few months now there's been a bug whereby after a wipe and respawn, one or more members of the group will look dead to one or more other members of the raid, even though everyone is alive. This bug has been in the game since before 7.1, but at that point it didn't happen that frequently. Honestly, initially I thought it was just very funny - jokes were made about so-and-so being "undead" etc. - and if you're not a healer, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker that someone shows as dead in your ops frames when they're actually alive.

However, in R-4 this bug happens all the time, and it's quite annoying to deal with during progression, especially when it keeps affecting the healers (who obviously need to be able to see people's health bars accurately). Good thing there are more workarounds!

For one thing, it seems that it's possible to avoid the issue occurring if you're the last person to release and respawn. Now, obviously someone has to go first, but if the healers make sure to revive last, they'll generally be able to see everyone alive even if the bug affects other members of the ops group.

The other workaround involves duels once again - because if someone who can see the "undead" person's health normally duels them and hits them with a hard stun, they'll suddenly come back to life for everyone else in the group as well. I mean, I do enjoy being able to make sincere requests such as "someone kick Aregelle in the nuts please, he's dead to me again" but it's still a hassle.

If you make it to the third boss on veteran mode, apparently everyone has to Alt+F4 at the start and reload the game, or else they won't be able to see an important visual cue during the fight. When you exit the operation at the end, it's best to drop group before doing so, or else you'll have a high likelihood of getting stuck on an infinite loading screen. The list goes on and on...

It feels like every night in R-4 requires an obstacle course of following all the right steps to be able to raid at all, before you even get to having to learn the boss fights. I'm honestly kind of in awe of the people who have persevered in the face of all that just to get that purple 340 gear, but I've got to admit that with a bit of distance and perspective, it looks like a very weird experience.


  1. It sounds kinda horrible but I think that was the funniest thing I read this week :D

    1. Lol, you have to laugh or else you'll cry! Glad it brought a smile to your face at least. ­čśë


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