So, patch 2.3 hit SWToR this week. Bringing with it two new flashpoints, a new Daily area, a new companion, the premise of the first monthly recurring event, and the first animal mounts, is this patch worthwhile?
By far the most prominent of newly introduced things to the game in this patch are the new Flashpoints, Czerka Corporate Labs and Czerka Core Meltdown. Both lead into one another in a part of a new story surrounding a lockdown of the new Daily area, CZ-198. Not only are the Flashpoints themselves new, but there is a new system surrounding the Group Finder mechanism for the story-mode versions of both Flashpoints. Group Finder will not match a regular group, but a group of four of any roles – it is quite possible to get a group comprising of four DPS, four healers, or four tanks, or varieties thereof. Because the story-mode versions of each Flashpoint is a Group 2+, pretty much any group should be able to progress without any great difficulty, with mechanics only in the second being more of an issue.
The first, Labs, focuses on stopping the Lockdown, and removing the threat of Rasmus Blys. The flashpoint also uses Macrobinoculars for one part, but as soon as you know what you’re looking for, they aren’t needed at all. There are various mechanics for one group of trash in particular towards the end and in the final fight; red Flesh Raiders will be pulled by blue variants released from Kolto tubes, and they will cancel themselves out.
The second, Meltdown, focuses on eradicating the Vigiliant security system, and is perhaps the shortest Flashpoint in the entire game. There are far more mechanics in this then in the first, as the first two bosses are in biodomes with various territorial boons or troubles, which must either be exploited (poisonous plants for the Jungle) or avoided (sandstorm simulation for the Desert). The final boss has various data terminals around his arena which must all be killed beforehand, else he’ll just sit in his power-chamber throughout the entire fight and slowly kill the entire group.
For the story-mode versions, mechanics don’t matter, as the damage output of the group will often be too great. For the hard-mode versions, mechanics will be crucial, especially the electrifying of the water or the shotgun cone-blast of the first and second bosses (respectively) of the Labs flashpoint.
One thing to note is that the hard-mode versions of these flashpoints seems to be the difficulty equivalent of Lost Island before patch 2.0 in comparison with other hard-mode flashpoints. Not an issue for those geared in at least full Arkanian, but for those in level 50 or Elite (66) gear, you may have more difficulty in CCL and CCM than in any of the other four hard mode flashpoints at level 55.
The new Daily Area is, in many ways, like the Black Hole; there are numerous missions which involve you running around and grabbing items before anyone else, with the ever-constant threat of people taking them while you’re fighting surrounding enemies. And this isn’t just people of your entire faction: if you’re on a PvP server (or occasionally on a PvE server), be wary of the opposing players in the Loading Bay area. Completing missions gives you Basic commendations and reputation tokens.
The new companion, Treek, is a controversial point among many people. The main issue is the fact that she is an Ewok, a species which is shown in Episode VI to be an extremely primitive species, whereas she has full knowledge of technology, even knowing how to tote a Bowcaster. Another issue, for those at level 55, is that she comes in full level 10 gear; she is thus more of a levelling companion, although she requires Legacy Level 40 to be purchased. She can both heal and tank, being unique in the game in this respect. Whilst I haven’t been able to test her out myself, I’ve seen people saying that they find her to be very useful when properly-geared, especially as she is the second of two companion-healers to be wearing heavy armour with aim stats, something unseen by 7/8s of the classes in the game, whose healers all have medium armour with cunning stats.
The new event which has been announced, the Bounty Contract Week, looks to be very promising. The reputation rewards (including bowcasters) certainly look very tempting, but apart from that, we currently have nothing in-live to show for it and what a success it may be.
And, meanwhile, on Hoth, people are travelling all over the place to seek out nests with Tawn Fawns, with the intention of luring an adult to it pursued by a Wampa (don’t ask me how that works…). The reason?
In my opinion, this is perhaps one of the best things recently introduced to the game. Tauntauns are unique in two ways: not only are they the first living mounts, but they are also the first walking mounts – this perhaps opens the way for other walking mounts, such as an equivalent of the AT-RT.
There are two ways to get Tauntauns; the first requires a lot of patience, time (it took me about 2 hours) and luck, and the second requires a lot of in-game cash. The first way requires you to purchase lures (500 credits apiece), go out to nests, feed the Fawns within, and hope to get a Wampa to kill. Each Fawn – there are 3 per nest – can only be fed once per half-hour, so be prepared to spend a lot of time travelling between the five maps (more info can be found on http://www.dulfy.net) and switching instances. Not only that, but each Lure has a 20% success rate, so be sure to go stocked with at least 80.
The second way involves you spending 100 credits for a Domestication Data disk (which drops from the dead Wampa), and then buying the required amount for the Tauntaun you desire.
There are, currently, two Tauntauns available. The first, the white Tundra Tauntaun, costs 15 Domestication Data disks, or 1,500,000 credits, and is only available to subscribers. The second, the brown Mountain Tauntaun, costs 20 Domestication Data disks, or 2,000,000 credits, and is available to Free-to-Players as well as Subscribers. Thus, those who are Free-to-Play are rather hard-done-by in comparison to Subscribers if they wish to attain a Tauntaun, especially as, due to the Escrow account, they are relegated to farming Wampas.
So, this then is patch 2.3. It brings with it perhaps some of the most entertaining aspects in recent times, and it’s excellent to finally see some new endgame flashpoint content. The new companion is dividing, but perhaps, keeping in mind the story, species, and combat role(s) of her, this is understandable.