Hello again Since my last post on hardmode failures and enrage timers there’s been a lot of discussion on DPS responsibility, gearing, the proper way of doing things, etc… A lot of people have linked to this blog, some with very clever commentary and others not so much but we’re not going to hold that against them.
So last time I posted here I was pretty pissed. I was angry at discovering a part of endgame that was, and still is, in need of serious work, hardmode flashpoints. But, despite our issues, I was intent on trying again to crack the nut, to see if I was missing anything and I could figure it out and my normal running group is anything but dedicated and all were willing to try again.
So taking our previous experience to heart as well as numerous comments about learning to play, working on gear and the likes, we worked on stepping up our game and trying again. So how did it go?
Before heading in we did some strategizing. For starters, we all worked hard on improving our gear. My set got a lot purpler and save for an level 50 green implant, green gear is a thing of the past. I know my co-dungeoneers worked in the same manner on their gear. Also, some people told me to review my rotation and spec. I was pretty certain I was using the right one since I had done that homework before but, in the spirit of being thorough, I did so again and so did my guildies. Then there was the choice of flashpoint. From common internet wisdom, HM Esseles is one of the harder flashpoint and it was suggested to me that either HM Taral V or HM False Emperor were the chosen destinations.
Once I knew Taral V was the destination, I went and reviewed the bosses and flashpoint in general. Taral V includes 4 bosses and 2 mini bosses for a total of six. Of those, I learned that the bonus boss was reported as being extra hard due to being very healing intensive and somewhat buggy and the last boss had a way too tight enrage timer.
So, armed with knowledge, better gear and a review of my rotation, I was ready to head in once again. Since I had a few theories of how Hardmode flashpoints are not working at the moment, I was on the lookout for these two particular elements to see if my ideas held up.
- More requirement out of the dps than the other roles: What I as looking at in particular is if the Enrage timer would be the main source of our demise. If we wiped but hit the enrage timer every single time, with equivalent levels of gear between the party members, it would prove my theory of more requirement out of the dps.
- Buggy, unforgiving mechanics would cause wipes: I felt that a lot of our wipes came from a combination of unforgiving type mechanics coupled with bugs. I was curious to see if we would see more of these here.
How did it go? Did we beat Taral V hardmode or not? Well, we did not… after 2 hours and many wipes, it was getting late, repair bills were mounting up and although we were really close, we chose to give RL priority as some people had to get up in the morning. We finished on the last boss, with our best attempt seeing him at 2k HP left only… heartbreaking but that’s what happened. However it was a very interesting run because it proved a few things as well as new ones.
Out of 6 bosses we one shotted four of them with one being pulled by mistake with the group not even ready. These bosses were beyond easy and for a moment, I was wondering if I had not gotten it all wrong in my last post and had just started with the absolute worst hardmode. We did see the enrage timer on the droid boss but only for a second at the very end so it’s not like that was a big issue.
However the bonus boss and last boss did prove all by themselves my first two points. The healing boss is incredibly healing intensive. Why? Because of a buggy mechanic. At regular intervals during the fight, he pulls you in and start channeling and aoe that you have to get out of. However, it’s impossible to get out of fast enough without taking significant damage that the healer has to heal through. The bug, which is a lot like the one we had on the last boss in Esseles is linked to movement. For some reason, the game has sometime trouble tracking player locations properly which means that someone getting out of an effect might get out a few second later than he intended to because of that bug. It’s a documented bug that Bioware has acknowledged that when you combine with a very unforgiving mechanic, can make an already hard fight close to impossible.
But that was the bonus boss… so I could have lived with a bonus boss being extra hard if the rest of the flashpoint was ok. The last boss was not… we ran into the same damn enrage timer issue we had on Esseles. Our dps is sufficient to beat easily all the previous bosses but not the last boss??? We did come very close but that was with the tank and healer pulling miracles and even then… it wasn’t sufficient.
So explain this to me? How can dps which is sufficient to complete all the previous bosses is suddenly insufficient? Did we forget how to play during the time it took us to kill the trash? I don’t think so. So it could mean two things really? Either the last boss is intended as a lot more difficult than the rest of the flashpoint… or the rest is way undertuned. Or… a more disturbing thought… could it be that hardmodes are badly balanced?
The verdict and a new theory
To make a long story short I feel my initial ideas are not wrong in and out of themselves but they don’t tell the whole story. The more I do hardmodes and play through them the more I see a pattern emerging. Either the bosses are crazy easy, or crazy hard. There’s no middle ground. More than anything this speaks to me of one big pervasive issue.
The hardmodes are simply not balanced and well tuned at the moment.
If we were undergeared or bad players, we’d be struggling on all the bosses. What we’re experiencing instead is this uneven and ultimately frustrating experience. We go from owning the place to getting owned and it’s not especially fun. I wish Bioware will fix this asap because it’s becoming a real source of frustration.