Tactical Flashpoints (Knights of the Fallen Empire)

Yesterday I was finally able to complete the class story on my Guardian (Jedi Knight story is very very good-if you have not tried it yet you will be blown away-I went for a Dark Side Knight), so while working through companion conversations before starting the KotFE story I queued in Group Finder for the Tactical Flashpoints.  While In have heard of some horror stories about impassibility due to over-tuning, I had some wonderful groups along with me.

First queue pop was Tactical False Emperor with me (Guardian Tank) and 2 level 65 DPS (Guardian and Commando I think?) along with one level 60-something DPS (I think a Shadow).  We had a little trouble at first, but overall a pretty decent run.  I died once on two separate bosses (one was the Commander that includes the ship that you must take out with the gun).  By the time we got to HK and Malgus we were unstoppable.  Commando throwing off-heals or hitting the Kolto stations.  By the third wave of Malgus’ “control” the DPS Guardian was focused with Malgus at 2% HP remaining.  That was a terrifically fun run with a more than competent group.

Second was the one flashpoint that I always swore I would rip my eyes out rather than make another run at it, Kuat Drive Yards. Again my tank and 3 DPS (lowest level was 52 I think?).  This one want off with no issues and we were down to the Sith Boss.  I died once, Rocket Boost back to the boss, taunt, and we burned him down quick.  I think the issue here was the necessity of movement and DPS being unable to trigger the Kolto while I kept aggro on the boss.  I could have done a little better turning that cleave though.

Finally, the star of the evening was Mandalorian Raiders.  I have always loved this flashpoint, and we even got a trinity group for it.  Lowest level was in the low 40’s (I want to say 42), which should have caused no issues seeing as how the suggested level for Mando Raiders used to be in the 30’s, if I recall correctly.  This run was a smash hit.  I missed a few mobs that started chewing on the healer, but was able to get them back fairly quickly.  DPS helped me out by peeling the mobs off the healer too.  I don’t think anyone even died during that run.  Explained the corner tanking strategy for the Boarding Party and stressed the necessity of burning the turrets during Matrix Varad. 

I guess what I am getting at is that the doom-and-gloom mentality that seems to follow expansions (especially in SWTOR) is generally blown completely out of proportion.  Any flashpoint is difficult to complete when you have one or more members that have trouble pulling their own weight; it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is broken.  I, for one, don’t want to come into group content for a roflstomp.  If you want an easy run, opt for one of the solo Flashpoints.  I understand that this was not always an option, just like these tactical Flashpoints weren’t always available.  I am glad that I tried them out for myself rather than listening to all the nay-sayers.  Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each player to decide what kind of content they want to run.

What have your experiences been since the launch of KotFE, especially about the game outside of the cinematic story.

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Certified Organic Meatbags

Now that 4.0 has been live for a week (for early access players at least), I have had the chance to run with a great little 8-person raid team through Fortitude that have been given the name “Certified Organic Meatbags”.  Due to some real life issues, I wasn’t able to join them Friday, but yesterday we were able to get through Dread Fortress Story Mode and took down Scum and Villainy’s Dash’roode in Story Mode.  I was able to break out my new Guardian to start tanking these!

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Sham’hat (Guardian Tank)

Prior to Knights of the Fallen Empire we had gotten together to do some runs to get to know each other, and I, for one, feel like we have all been able to mesh together.  I know that I am by far the worst player in our group, but I think as I get to know these Operations better (most of them I have only run once or twice) I will be a better player.  For example, on Brontes I just ran right into the death beam when it came out because I wasn’t sure that this phase was approaching.  That would probably not happen again.  I was also having trouble trying to get her near a wall so that when I would get knocked back I would be knocked into a wall.  I know this made things difficult for my team because I was getting knocked across the entire room.

I am glad to be part of a raid team like this- a group that understands that I am just starting out when it comes to Operations.  It is nice that the Story Mode bolster allows you to just focus on mechanics, but I wish the story mode mechanics hadn’t been nerfed to hell.  I fear that hard mode will be a pretty steep learning curve for me-especially that cybernetic rancor (Grob-thok?).  I look forward to the upcoming runs and getting better as a player.  What about you?  Have you tried any Operations since Knights of the Fallen Empire has gone live? What do you think about the Operations changes or the Story Mode bolster?  What are you hoping to see as we continue through the upcoming months?

Have you tried the new Tactical Flashpoints?  I have heard that they are severely over-tuned in regards to trash pulls but the patch that just went live (4.0.1) did nothing to address this so I am beginning to think that they may be working as intended.  I would like to hear your thoughts on the adjustments coming through during this content cycle.

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First Impressions of KotFE Game Changes

Since my main for 4.0 has moved from Zernebog, my Juggernaut, to my Guardian, Sham’hat, I didn’t want to dive right into the story expansion for Knights of the Fallen Empire. I have, however, been enjoying many of the other changes that the 4.0 expansion has brought.  Though this expansion has increased the level cap to 65, I was able to get my Guardian to the previous cap of 60 Tuesday. Because of the Level Sync feature, this occurred on Voss while I was back-tracking Voss and Corellia to finish my second class story (perfectly enough, it is the story of the Jedi Knight, the mirror to my previous main, a Sith Warrior).

I was also able to check out the new system for Heroics. While running around following my class story objectives, I came across this mission terminal with a triangle over it. Well, since 12x XP came to an end Monday, I figured why not see what it is about!? The terminal was apparently for a Heroic 2+ in the Nightmare Lands of Voss and even though I was level sync’d from 59 to 48, I was able to solo the Heroic with Kira in Healing Mode-even the champion level mobs. Though it took forever to finish (tank spec so very low DPS) it was nice to see that it would be possible for me to die while running the Heroic. Even nicer, I was getting 15k XP for killing the elite (gold star) mobs. I am looking forward to soloing some more of these heroics for some 178 drops- especially implants and relics since I have my 186/190 armor from my Juggernaut on my Guardian (legacy bound gear for the win).

I really like the changes that came about with Companions. One thing that I don’t recall being mentioned that I really liked about companion gearing was the fact that companions are no longer armor class dependent. I was able to put heavy armor on Kira (a formerly light armor/willpower user), though I did not keep the heavy armor look on her. The fact that the companions scale up with your level was incredible because I haven’t used Kira since I got Scourge because of gearing issues. Scourge was easy to gear while running through the Forged Alliances arc because I could just take the DPS drops instead of the tank drops (Scourge used to have the same main stat and armor class as my Guardian since he was essentially a juggernaut).

Finally, I liked the changes that came with the User Interface Editor. The grid overlay makes it much easier for me to be able to line up the different components of my User Interface. I haven’t found the “snap to grid” function yet, but I have a feeling that it will be quite a handy feature. The ability to save my keybinds will also be a wonderful feature.

On a side note, I updated my laptop to Windows 10 and had a horrendous time with the game-so much so that I had done a complete un/reinstall of the game and rolled a Smuggler to poke around with while my game finished downloading. When KotFE finished patching, I had all the same issues again so I reverted back to Windows 7. I don’t know whether it is my machine or some incompatibility between SWTOR and Windows 10, but I was horribly unimpressed with the functionality of Windows 10 and felt like anything I had tried to accomplish on the OS was a struggle. This was just my experience, and I am sure many others have not had any issues with SWTOR on Windows 10.

I am looking forward to continuing the KotFE experience, but I want to finish the class stories (Chapter 3) first. Though I now have 3 level 60 characters, only one of them has had a completed story. I have a feeling I will be a late comer to the expansion and will be taking a lot of advantage of the Level Sync function (which I happen to really love).

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Gaming to Heal Kids

The first time I had ever heard about Extra Life was only about the gaming marathon aspect of it.  “That’s cool,” I thought, “but why are so many people wanting to take together for 24 straight hours?”  Even though playing SWTOR is one of the most fun things ever invented (yeah yeah I’m biased.  Because lightsabers and no Skywalkers), I didn’t know anything about the purpose behind the marathon.  Thanks to JT (@JT_Holonet) and Jessie (@UnholyAlliances) and their excellent podcast, The Passionately Casual Podcast (@PC_Podcast) I was able to hear about the Extra Life event because of Kash with Mog Nation (@MOGKash).

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Extra Life is one of the most incredible events I have ever heard of because it unites gamers together to raise money to help fund LOCAL children’s hospitals. That’s right, it helps children that love around YOU because as a participant in in the event, you are able to declare which children’s hospital you would like to donate your pledges to support. Though I cannot participate in the event this year, I would like to spotlight the Unholy Alliance and Wookiee Mistake Extra Life Team. Jessie, JT, and all those amazing people on the Harbringer have organized their own event to support the Extra Life marathon. So, if you have a character in the Harbringer, join up with Jessie and JT for in-game fun and prizes on November 7!!

But don’t take my word for it, check out this incredible video by Jessie to promote the event!!

The people in Unholy Alliance and Wookiee Mistake are an awesome group of people that all have amazingly huge hearts. And what better excuse is there to game than to help heal children? I mean really, this is a no-lose situation!!! Join Jessie and her crew for Datacron Runs, Operations Runs (I am sure @DarthPops and @IAmWillGriggs will be running their WOG Group runs as well), Leveling Events, and pretty much anything else you can possibly imagine going on in game.

Want to help fight childhood leukemia while earning some ‘Cheevo’s? Join Unholy Alliance/Wookiee Mistake’s Extra Life Team. Want to grind out some sweet sweet gear while fighting to end childhood cancer? Join the Unholy Alliance/Wookiee Mistake Extra Life Time. Did you create your fresh new level 60 character for Knights of the Fallen Empire and find yourself lost in the new aspects of the game? Join the Unholy Alliance/Wookiee Mistake Extra Life Team and find the game help you need while also healing kids!! I mean, seriously, what better excuse is there to game!? Especially if you’re going to be playing anyway!!

If you’re still reading this and are interested in joining up with Jessie and her crew, check out the Unholy Alliance and Wookiee Mistake website or get in touch with Jessie on Twitter!!!!

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