Home > Mechanics, Mentality > Battlelord Kroshen, or Single-Player MMO, Yo

Battlelord Kroshen, or Single-Player MMO, Yo

December 19, 2011

Coming up for air to jot down a funny thing that happened to me while consuming my storyline content.

We were merrily working our way through Coruscant when one of my friends, who’d resolved his fps issues with the celebrated “turn off all shadows” manoeuvre, began clamouring for something to do as a group.

Having gotten past the initial shock and confusion and frantic search for the multiplayer button on this single-player RPG, we’d decided to tackle something called… Hammer Station. It’s like an instance or infestation space in those actual MMOs, but it couldn’t be that, could it?

We went in with three players and a companion. 15 Guardian tank (sort of; with much of the toolbox still missing, but at least Soresu Form available for threat), 15 Shadow Consular and 18 Commando Trooper as our healer. We switched a bit between catman and astromech for companion, but aimed for ranged dps.  The level range assessment for Hammer Station hovers around 16 to 19, depending on whom you ask.

As we proceeded through the flashpoint, it began dawning on me gradually that this isn’t your father’s Stockades or Shadowfang Keep. Yes, we were a little understrength, but looking back on it, it was rather refreshing. Coordinated crowd control mattered. Kill order mattered. Using the Force (no, really; had to Force-destroy those pipes and barrels for extra cc and dps) mattered. I counted several features of the instance which would have been more at home in Cataclysm heroics than in the second full flashpoint of the Republic. Like Tunneler’s Corla-style get-in-the-way-to-block beam.  Or the disappearing bridge of certain death. Or the profession-dependent bonus buff and bonus boss.

Battlelord Kroshen, the final boss of the instance, is a suitable finale. He summons prodigious numbers of adds in waves, and throws mines, which telegraph their explosion briefly with red circles on the ground. He also has a powerful narrow-cone attack (targetted at the tank but side-steppeable if timed well) and a knockback which may throw a player (mostly the tank)  to their doom instantly with poor positioning. His alcove has windows specifically for this purpose.

We wiped on him about seven times. A couple were foolish ‘learn to dodge the cone and mines’ wipes. But in the end, we ran into a dps issue – the adds were not going down quickly enough and swarmed the healer. The ranged companion wasn’t cutting it as the fourth player, at least not left to his own devices. After much despair, we decided to ask our Consular to switch to her tanking stance (I artificed her a shield off-hand on the fly) and tank the boss. I peeled adds off the healer and brought them to her, so that we could destroy them with our combined aoe before the next wave. This was particularly important for the later add waves, which were larger. Our healer asked, correctly, to be allowed to use his companion for the 20-minute cooldown.

With not a whit of damage going to waste, it ultimately worked. The last few percentage points of Kroshen’s health were as much of a cliff-hanger as any raid boss I’d ever downed in That Other Game. And the whole thing is in high contention for my most exhilarating TOR moment so far.

The remarkable thing is that Hammer Station has practically no story. There is a barely-logical dark-side/light-side moment that seems, quite frankly, like a bit of an afterthought. Yet it managed to make my evening, with a correctly-tuned PvE challenge and the involvement of other people.

I do think some of SW:TOR’s “KOTOR3” obituaries are being written prematurely.

Categories: Mechanics, Mentality