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2.0 or May the Force™ Be With You

April 15, 2013 Comments off

Yes, they actually use the trademark character, as exemplified by Damion Schubert’s valediction in the 2.0 developer blog post. Yes, it bothers the hell out of me infringes upon the serene Soresu mindset. Yes, I know: what? Star Wars? commercial?

However, it is time to accentuate the positive. I was going to write up a bitter little prune of a post tracking the further WoW-ification of TOR, with direct comparisons to past WoW-patches, but I think I have submitted my MMO of choice to enough tough love already. The truth is, I am enjoying Makeb. The expansion landed flawlessly in the technical sense, it looks great visually, and it is a pleasure to quest in.

The storyline is not bad at all, and the writing and dialogue options manage to skate the boundary between spirited and corny. Even the voice acting – on my Knight, at least – sounds a little more peppy than before. I am not much of an achievement hound – in the sense of ticking arbitrary boxes supplied by the devs – but the system is a handy tracker for the parts of exploration I actually care about, and it’s more or less industry-standard by this point. Come to think of it, I wonder whether they fixed Taris completion?

Having been one of those dumb sods who missed their pre-order EA cutoff, I am not yet in position to check out the new instances. However, mini-tanking opportunities in heroic quests are fun, and the class feels much improved. Better mobility, better cleave, better overall focus generation. People have criticised Saber Reflect for its poor synergy with avoidance stats (an avoidance streak can nullify its use entirely) but given my defensive preoccupations, the reflect component is not all that important to me. I still get a few seconds of extra safety and, through Daunting Presence, an AoE threat cooldown which is never unwelcome for a Guardian.

None of this makes me a fan of the F2P thing, and I find myself wondering how things would be if the team had managed to hold on to the sub model for a little longer. However, it is safe to conclude at the very least that the weeks of gnashing one’s teeth and looking the other way as the tacky nickel-and-diming kicked into high gear are rewarded with a quality addition to the game presumably made possible by that revenue. The question does linger as to how long this content will last, and whether it will bolster TOR’s critical mass of regular concurrent users, given that the questing itself is going rather quickly. I will always have the inexhaustible stimulation of warzones, but the game needs to hold on to its rai… uh, operators this time around.

And now, back to actually playing it.

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1.2 PvP or the Loser Reward Conundrum

April 15, 2012 1 comment

My optimism with regard to TOR’s PvP changes in patch 1.2 was a little premature. I don’t mean the absence of rated warzones, which I suspect has something to do with the recent spasm of generosity toward level 50 (later amended) subscribers. I don’t mean how fast-paced and blappy the battles have become. I mean the business about accessibility and streamlined metagame. If anything, it has turned out to exacerbate faction imbalance by another step.

I have consumed a lorry-load of humble pie over the weekend, including a minor philosophical surrender: having taken another hard look at the value of ranged and melee (as opposed to tech/Force) mitigation in PvP, I have concluded that running a pure defence spec is a quixotic enterprise. The new Commanding Awe talent alone, making Focused Defence a formidable blanket defensive cooldown, is equivalent to most of the talents sheared off the top of the Defence tree. I am still higher in Defence than most specs, but I’m finding the Vigilance talents to be very helpful with little survivability trade-off. The rest of the pie had to do with my Republic teams being roundly and consistently spanked the vast majority of the time. While 1.2 allowed more blue-on-blue matchups, Republic is still preferentially pitted against Empire, and, frankly, tends to lose.

I am, by temperament, stoic about defeat. There are limits to my own dexterity (and the overall transition from PvP healer to melee dps/TOR-unique PvP tank took a while) and there are always lessons to be learned and operand conditioning to be hammered in. I do not take it personally, and I am reluctant to blame external circumstances for it unless the evidence really is conclusive. In the end, somewhere along the way, we sucked and need to l2p. Fair enough. I am also aware of, and quite sternly vigilant about, the tendency to overestimate one’s own misfortune and suffering, leading to taking victories for granted and whining about losses. No skewed perceptions in this case.

The pattern I’ve observed this weekend was consistent: slightly undermanned Republic team zones into the warzone, against a slightly better geared Imperial team. The tide turns against the Republic. Sensing the low likelihood of victory, several Republic players leave. The outcome becomes inevitable, and the rest of the team huddles forlornly at our single node. The loss rewards the Empire as victories always have, while (as of 1.2) giving the losing Republic very little. A few matches down the road, the gear disparity grows, as does Imperial unit cohesion (fewer quitters, more familiar team, better practiced patterns) and the loss pattern solidifies. The occasional weaker/new Imperial player is carried successfully and retains interest in PvP, becoming more skilled and geared. His Republic equivalent may ragequit. The pool of recruits for inter-guild premades is larger on the more successful side, leading to… and so on and so forth.

We’d been down this road before, of course. The early-quitters are making an arguably correct (if dishonourable) prisoner’s-dilemma choice, because, inexplicably, Bioware has yet to copy from WoW any penalties for leaving warzones early. I’ve seen the same person run from the sinking ship, requeue, and end up in the same match they’d left, if it took us discourteously long to lose it. The other, less straightforward issue is that of very poor rewards for the losing side.

The amount of Valor, Commendations, and credits awarded at the end of a Warzone is now based on your team’s score, with a bonus for the winning team. Experience rewards are still based on the amount of time spent in the Warzone.

I am typically the sort of fellow who would applaud this. Not quite with a snarling Gevlonesque contempt for the weak, but out of a sense of justice. A loss is a loss (is a loss) and vae victis. It should not be about punching the clock; a real stake enlivens the game. And a victory alongside the weak, against the odds, brings more satisfaction and glory. However (and it’s really not because the lash is on my hide, honest) I do wonder about the sustainability of the faction imbalance in the long run. Was Blizzard on to something when it chose to award, back in the mist-shrouded days of patch 1.8, a third of the spoils to the losing side?

Categories: Mechanics, Mentality, PvP

1.2 or Focused Defence, Humane UI, Legacy Fluff, Combat Log

April 12, 2012 2 comments

1.2 is here, 1.2 is here! Scarper downstairs in your night garments, fix rictus grins like bayonets, and tear apart the packaging on Bioware’s gifts.

It is, to be fair, mostly Good. Many bugs are fixed and quality of life has improved. Like many observers, I am left puzzled, overall, as to why some of these changes required a few months’ worth of consideration, datamining and player feedback. Quite a few of these draw directly from WoW’s experience, after all. Like, couldn’t they have simply stolen filtering by level in the /who command? Sprint at Level 1, being able to drive through orbital stations, direct to-ship shuttles… the game is becoming more convenient.  We’re embarking on a road to LFR and slack-jawed drooling. I can see it already; the way things are going, they’ll be making the Galactic Market actually usable next.  I just hope somewhere at the top of the Legacy pyramid there is a porch, an angry cane and a kid-free lawn for my rant-filled retirement.

To get the sad out of the way: white colour crystals and Korrealis mounts are gone, if not forever then for a very long time. My feelings on this tactic of creating collector value by designer fiat are mixed. In WoW, a few achievements like the Amani Warbear and other raid-related titles and mounts have been made no longer accessible once the difficulty of acquiring them was trivialised by gear and character levels. This sort of thing I can live with. There’s still a component of being fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, but it is outweighed by the pride of performance they represented. The 1.2 move, in contrast, is a purely arbitrary decision, unless someone suddenly decided that TOR is an economic attainment game and the items were actually a reward for making several million credits early. In reality, credits will flow ever easier in 1.2 thanks to the new dailies and the overall population of 50s getting larger. The economy needs its money sinks more than ever.

Esthetics:

Armour customisability and colour matching are nice. Combat ability particle effects keyed to the weapon colour crystal are nice. The option for better texturing is nice.

Legacy:

The Sims meets Star Wars. Mark your alts as your main’s family, send them hand-me-downs (even cross-faction!) decorate your ship. More pets, some great song and dance about magenta crystals… Bioware is feeling no compunction about milking fluff. To be fair, it is an intelligent design direction in this particular game where extensive alting to experience more well-written stories has a greater appeal than in others. It makes sense to support it and reward it further.

UI Improvements:

Yes. Oh, yes. If anything, it may have gone a little bit overboard. A full-fledged editor with xml save? Bioware, it’s okay. Really. We weren’t that cross. Just a little scaling and some moveable bars would have been great.

Jedi Guardians:

A few little buffs, an inexplicable nerf to Challenging Call given that AoE threat is our Achilles’ heel, and some major reorganisation.

The tree shifting, in particular the removal of Protector, seems to be a strike against the hybrid 14/27  tanking spec. While it was difficult to argue against the survivability of the rubberbanding Guardian, I have always felt that it was a bit of a hack, not a proper or desireable arrangement.

Baseline Focused Defence, a self-heal at the expense of threat, is an interesting mechanic. Guardian Slash threat boost is welcome and probably complementary to Focused Defence, although we never really had a significant single-target threat problem, even with the threat dumps of Protector use. I do cautiously predict that we will return to the primacy of the Defence tree in 1.2 (even if Commanding Awe/Focused Defence synergy begs to differ) though it will remain to be seen if our overall threat and survivability work out the same. It would help if Blade Barrier absorption were calculated post-mitigation, correcting what I believe is simply an oversight.

Combat Logging:

The choice of a parsable text file outside of the game as opposed to real-time feedback is quite interesting, and ominous. Note the patch-note phrasing, with my emphasis, directed at the enthusiasts who wish to examine ” the detailed mechanics of combat and optimizing their own character.” The Bioware team seems quite adamant to nip in the bud any notion of performance comparisons and the resultant bludgeoning over the head of weak group members. The Tobolds of the world would approve, I imagine. I am partly in that camp myself, but I feel a mite annoyed at being deprived of a useful tool in an effort to limit the impact of potential asshats. It feels like a concession. Still, this is much better than nothing.

PvP changes tend toward accessibility, streamline some of the metagame, and probably deserve a post of their own.

Categories: Mechanics

Guardian PvP or Back In The Speeder Seat

March 15, 2012 1 comment

The magpie in me couldn’t resist picking up Skyrim on Steam sale a few weeks back. I suppose everyone has to go through Skyrim – it’s like the mumps.

However, in between electrocuting Stormcloaks, I have also been playing in SW:TOR warzones a lot, in my PvE tank spec. As I consider this fact, I begin to believe that my continued enjoyment of TOR may have a lot to do with the fact that I don’t really play it as Bioware intended. I like its flashpoints (so far – I will see how bad those hardmode enrage timers are when I get there) and I have been trying to squeeze as much fun as I can out of its hit-and-miss PvP. I tried to see how far I can get in that bleedin’ space arcade game without fitting expensive mods to my corvette. The answer, by the way, is the Drexel Sweep mission – it is mathematically impossible to survive its incoming damage even with Level 3 upgrades and the power conversion module helps tremendously. I have been testing myself against group missions solo, though I did have to outlevel quite a few 4+ heroic missions to succeed. I have even indulged a bit of roleplaying. Anything but consuming the story in a linear way, which is what I am constantly told is all that SW:TOR is good for, if that.

I have been intrigued by the tank role in warzones ever since the taunting of players was mentioned as a worthwhile PvP move, back during development. Previously, the only experience I had with tank PvP was in WoW, facing protection healadins back when they were essentially broken and immortal and maybe the occasional odd-composition team using a prot warrior for control. But here is TOR giving tanks an actual tanky niche.

As a defence-specced Guardian, I am rather bad at dealing damage. I eke out the 75k medal consistently (this is in the sub-50 bracket, in my 40s) but unless I am willing to blow all my one-minute cooldowns, I frequently feel like I’m whipping an opponent with a styrofoam bat, not a lightsaber. I’ve seen defence Guardians do better, and it has a lot to do with my own skill level and playstyle, but it is a fact that we cannot match the effectiveness of, say, a vanguard/powertech tank in PvP at the moment. QQ is unbecoming of a Jedi, so we work with what we have to work with.

The most important tools at my disposal are not damage dealing tools. They are Guard, Taunt and Challenging Call. Second in importance are control abilities: Freezing Force, Force Push, Force Stasis, Hilt Strike. A Guardian’s strategic merits are longevity (defensive cooldowns, Enure) and mobility via Force Leap. Good for Huttball carrying (and allowing, once in a blue moon, for little brilliancies like Force Pushing an enemy onto his own goal ledge then leaping at him to circumvent hazards) or lasting a few extra seconds on defence of a node in Voidstar or Civil War. Actual damage-dealing – ideally some combination of Force Push/Saber Throw/Leap followed by Blade Storm/Guardian Slash, combat focus, rinse and repeat – is last in priority.

Guardians guard, which means both mitigating damage and peeling. We usually guard healers, who, if they are far-sighted, reciprocate with healing to keep their bodyguard alive. Guard has a limited range, so it is a mistake to Guard someone and then run off to the other end of the map. Guard should be hotkeyed and liberally applied to anyone who’s taking a lot of damage. Taunt should be applied to any high-damage enemy on cooldown, though I find that I generally prefer to focus on one beleaguered comrade and try to keep them safe with all the tools at my disposal, including taunting whatever’s attacking them.

To obsess over the point a little more, I’m particularly bad at dealing damage because, when I don’t run around creating friction for the enemy, I tend to fixate on objectives. I’ll be that guy clicking on the Voidstar door again and again and again  – hey, as a Guardian, if I’m forcing them to shoot at me and soaking damage, that’s success. I’d experimented once or twice with concentrating on killing people above all else – my damage numbers shot up, of course, but still weren’t especially impressive compared to dedicated dps classes, and I felt I wasn’t doing my job.

I look forward to hitting level cap with the Guardian soon – apart from Skyrim, real life had bitten hard for a little while – and sampling warzones and hardmodes with the big boys. Already mulling over some conflicting advice, such as whether to collect dps gear or proper defence gear for tank-PvP at 50.

Categories: Mechanics, PvP

Sithspawn Meets Sithstain, or SW:TOR Faceroll

January 13, 2012 Comments off

The ‘Cata was too easy/Cata was too hard’ blogosphere firestorm reignited briefly the other day, with Azuriel posting a quote by Blizzard’s Tom Chilton, to the effect that the company made the strategic mistake of trying to woo back the hardcore player base after the simplification that was Wrath – the Cata-too-hard thesis.

The daring claim that good old WoW was hard at any point in recent memory is, of course, garlic and silver bullets to a particular stripe of sandbox elitist, so one SynCainite or another pounced and off to the races they went.

My own humble (if rudely empirical) contribution to that lofty epistemological debate concerning the nature of established fact is that early Cataclysm heroics weren’t easy to me. The harsh healer mana nerf at the beginning of the expansion hurt. You had to use all the crowd control you could, remember? Mages relearning how to sheep, paladins digging out the old repentance button and staring at it in disbelief? If you didn’t slow Erudax’s adds and lay enough burst dps on them you simply didn’t get to complete heroic Grim Batol? I vas dere, Cholly. Vas you dere?

Anyway, Cata doesn’t interest me too much anymore, except in the context of genre-watching, but TOR is getting splashed with the mud from the fracas. In my view, undeservedly. Most people without axes to grind would recognise that it’s stupid to judge an MMO primarily by the challenges offered by its low-level single-player content. But if we insist, then TOR’s levelling game is not slack-jawed faceroll fodder. It is considerably and refreshingly more difficult than that of Cataclysm.

This is becoming, if not established fact, then at least a consensus. Tobold makes reference to it, Spinks relates how during the course of a single-player quest finale she “won, but used all my cooldowns and ended up on a sliver of health.” The forums are replete with people seeking advice on how to beat their class quest encounters, from the Trooper’s Separatist Stronghold to the Jedi Knight’s Emperor.

And if one is feeling particularly strong, the 2+ areas are soloable, just. Some classes, in particular the healing classes, may have an easier time with these, but they definitely do require, at the minimum, knowing how to interrupt, breaking out of stuns, dodging circles on the ground, staying within the high regeneration-rate level of your resource (or not wasting gcds for JK/SW) and using damage reduction and dps cooldowns.

Naturally, the difficulty of any encounter during levelling depends on the level at which it is approached. An unsoloable 2+ mission might be easier by the end of one’s tour of duty on that planet. Which is as it should be. There’s nothing wrong with allowing the individual to adjust the level of challenge to their means and mood, with a commesurate adjustment in his sense of accomplishment. Beating a quest when it is yellow is more satisfying than when it is green.

Meanwhile, I would like to extend a personal invitation to anyone who thinks SW:TOR is too easy mechanically to solo the level 15 Sithspawn from the Heroic 2+ quest ‘Shadow Spawn’ on Dromund Kass, as oh, say, a level 14 Sith Marauder. The creature is Force-resistant, which gives it a 25% chance to dodge Force attacks, and it has a nice little surprise move around 5% of its remaining health. My own successful attempt required a Presence stim and three medpacs. The cave does not offer a natural kiting path, so there was some rather hairy linear kiting while waiting for medpack cooldown to come back up. On the bright side, the inevitable single boss-smack at each direction reversal gave me a chance to hit him with a bleed and keep Fury stacks up so that I could blow the Shii-Cho version of Berserk immediately on rejoining the fight. It was important to keep rough track of when Vette did enough damage to jump her 110% aggro threshold so that I could activate her survival instincts cooldown immediately and leap back to dps while she tanked. I can safely say that my face wasn’t bovvered at all.

As always in TOR, the story made the numerous attempts at this (nearly an hour’s worth, I’m afraid) worthwhile. The creature is an iconic Sith weapon, summoned by the correct recitation of tablets that comprise the Sith Code. It feels like something that any young pureblood ought to leap at the opportunity to confront. I’ll return happily to my Jedi main soon, but these alt forays have been quite rewarding so far.

Categories: Mechanics, Other MMOs

Smuggler’s Holiday or A Little Edge Gaming

January 3, 2012 Comments off

To preserve balance in the universe, for every pious lightsaber there must be a cad with a Shakespeare beard and a blaster. A few highlights of my diversion from the serious business of taking it on the chin for the Republic:

1. Skipping all quest content, apart from what’s necessary to get off Ord Mantell, through Coruscant, and into the XS Freighter. Getting ship at 13. I mean, really, who plays this game for the story?

2. Killing a few tough enemies through the creative use of terrain. SW:TOR’s mob “leashing” is a little less tight than that of other games, and enemies are occasionally unable to make the same terrain hops as the player. A good example is the level 8 elite on Ord Mantell on the way to the shore, near the datacron. When engaged from the datacron hill, he will make a beeline for the player, but when the player hops to higher ground, he will not hop with us. He will turn around and begin taking a longer route to the player’s new position. He will not reset, because his logic dictates that the player has not become unreachable, but merely reachable differently. When the player hops down to the initial level, he turns back to seek the simpler route. The dance continues as the Vital Shot bleed is ticking.

Actually, this second point is relevant to the first, because getting your ship at 13 (which requires stealthing past the majority of Coruscant’s hostile zones to the class quest instances, and receiving very few gear rewards) is all fun and games until you have to kill a 16 elite, Fabizan, in the final showdown. Which is non-trivial, because he makes short work of poor level 13 Corso with his bomb ability. Corso never did learn to move out of the fire. And we have no gear. The answer to the problem is that Fabizan does not run as quickly as we do, stops to cast his bomb, and his grappling hook ability requires line of sight. Once Corso buys the farm, the encounter therefore turns into a kiting game. Our old friend, Vital Shot is always up and ticking, we save our Dirty Kick as the immediate response when Fabizan grappling-hooks us, and we keep running. Ducking around the corner of the corridor at the instance entrance and running up the small flight of stairs on the instance’s other end provide opportunities to cast a couple of heals without being interrupted by the grappling hook. Flashbang in emergencies – though Vital Shot tick will break it, it’ll prevent him from flamethrowing and grant a second of running time. Repeating the cycle carefully brought him to a well-deserved faceplant.

3. Slicing. Yes, yes, I know. But considering we’re not questing on this guy, the old cash cow is a legitimate tack to avoid staring into the hollow eyesockets of privation. Besides, it was a good way to find out what the buzz is all about, and post-nerf, I must cheerfully report, the going is still good. With two lackeys sent out for boxes at all times while exploring, PvPing and playing TORFox 64, aka the space combat, the smuggie is at about 360 at level 20, having made about 170,000 credits in revenue overall. No longer gamebreaking, and probably not worth it compared to questing/vendoring/crafting income at high levels, but a good life for a true independent spacer who loathes to run planetary errands.

4. Exploring. Nothing quite like gaining a  level or two solely by sneaking around and discovering areas on Hoth, Corellia and Ilum. And – maybe it’s the EVE lover in me – there’s nothing wrong with slicing a few high-level lockboxes along the way, as opposed to camping Ilum’s treasure chests, which were the source of recent banning controversy. Besides, Ilum’s overrated. For my dirty dealings, I prefer Corellia’s shipyards.

5. Levelling through PvP/space combat. It’s viable and effective, especially if one’s winning. In the warzones, I see the beginnings of a Horde/Alliance or Defiant/Guardian pattern in that the ‘bad’ guys tend to do better. In the other games, the trend is weaker than perceived, but still statistically relevant. In TOR, especially given distinct server communities, it’s still hard to state this with confidence, but it is my gut feeling. The PvP scaling system (wherein hp and coefficients are scaled up to make low-levels competitive with high-levels)  is innovative and better than nothing, but it does not confer true equality. Higher levels have access to more abilities, such as cc, more versatile healing, interrupts. And level 50s in particular, have access to expertise gear which makes them even more effective against artificially souped-up lowbies.

Still, I slid into my old role of battleground healer comfortably. And the warzones, of which I was originally skeptical, are growing on me. Alderaan Civil War feels much more dramatic than its close cousin Battle For Gilneas, thanks to the voice acting and setting; Huttball is a genuinely innovative (at least in MMO terms) take on capture-the-flag and, again, the designers did a great job of conveying an underworld bloodsport atmosphere. Huttball is the conceptual winner here: it’s actually tactically deep, and I would be interested to see two competent premade teams go at it, leveraging the z-axis and line of sight, in particular. Voidstar is very plain, and together with Alderaan, suffers from the mindless-brawl-by-flag syndrome. Moreover, in part given the number of knockbacks and crowd control available to everyone, and in part owing to the designers’ decision to allow DoTs to prevent the channelling of bomb planting and turret capture, these two battlegrounds are heavily biased toward continuous-defence strategies. In Alderaan Civil War’s case, in my experience, the early rush frequently decides the game, with very few comebacks ever taking place.

Anyway, enough of that. My Jedi Guardian halo should be returning from the dry-cleaners’ shortly, and the Scoundrel is due to cool his heels in carbonite.

 

Categories: Mechanics

Battlelord Kroshen, or Single-Player MMO, Yo

December 19, 2011 Comments off

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