The Old Republic Flashpoints
While playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, it’s hard to remember sometimes that you are actually in a multiplayer game. The story telling and plot development in SWTOR is so personal and detailed that you can’t help to feel like you are a part of the Star Wars universe. If it wasn’t for other players stealing your mobs or running around nearly naked, it feels like you are playing a single player game over the internet.
But SWTOR is NOT a single player game, this MMO has endless benefits for cooperative play. The ‘Flashpoints’ are the multiplayer PVE instances in SWTOR. Even though they involve multiple players, the story elements are still strong.
When a conversation moment happens – each player makes a choice and a random number is generated to see whose choice happens. If you pick a choice that is light or dark side you get the points you picked regardless of what happens in the conversation. So if I picked a dark side choice that happens in the conversation but my tank picked a light side option, she still gets light side point despite how the story developed.
Flashpoints only have four characters in it. This is one less than the traditional ‘5-man instances.’ By “4” characters, I’m also including companions. If there are four players then no one can use companions. If there are three players, there can be one companion. This set ups usually involves a tank, healer, and two DPS characters. Ideally, you have one character from each class to benefit from all four class buffs. The tank should hold agro, the healer should focus on healing the tank, and the two DPS should put out as much damage as humanly (alienly?) possible. Healers can often add to DPS in non-boss battles.
How many times have you grinded an instance over and over and over again because that ONE guild mate wanted a certain pair of pants to drop of the LAST boss. He never drops the pants while that guildie is there. It’s almost like the boss knows, mocks you, and enjoys your suffering. Flashpoints have opportunities to be somewhat different each time. Certain conversation choices and crew skills can make for different outcomes. For instance, if you have high enough scavenging you can operate a giant drill to create a shortcut in the Hammer Station. If you decide to kill or capture someone, the ending will be different. Each Flashpoint can only be completed once a day, looks like you’ll never get those pants.
My Personal Experience:
When doing the Hammer Station Flashpoint, Sith Side, of proper level - the boss fights toke a few minutes. I was healing as a healing speced Sith Sorcerer, we did not have a tank, and out DPS was lower level. Our “tank” was an operative. Despite this weird group, no one ever died but I feel the fights took longer than they were designed to be. From a healer perspective, boss fights would drain my force if I had to heal multiple targets due to our lack of tank and agro holding. The boss fights all involved lots of movement due to AOE attacks.
I found the story elements to be fun though. Even though I was only grouped with one person I knew, it was still smooth. The ability for every class to get back all their health and “mana” at the end of any combat situation really enhances pacing and momentum. I look forward to doing more Flashpoints at release. It is rumored that there will be Flashpoints every few levels.