The Order: Preparing your Guild for Operations.

Welcome again to The Order, where we talk about raiding and guilds on the oceanic horizon. If you’ve got a topic you’d like covered, drop Rick a line and we’ll work on it for a future column.

If you are an astute GM, you will have levelled/recruited a squad of at least 8 players to start attempting to clear the different raids, or as they are called in SWTOR, Operations.

Why Operations?

It’s a good question. What motivates players to educate, co-ordinate and then clear high-end Operations? Why not just focus on Flashpoints, space missions or even PvP? Why are Operations time and time again the core focus of so many guilds out there? The main reasons that come to mind are these:

Gear: The best gear in the game comes from the most challenging instances.
Renown: In many games and of course SWTOR, guilds are measured by their progression through end-game PvE content.
Challenge: Nothing beats the challenge of being in sync with a large group of players and beating the various different mechanics a boss will put you through.

However, not all guilds are successful in completing many of these Operations. Many guilds have been torn apart by failing at similar instances in other games and in SWTOR, the same pressure to succeed applies. Failure too many times usually results in your members leaving to join other more successful guilds – it’s a selfish MMO reality. However, when you achieve results as a team, the feeling is amazing – it bonds your members together and breeds loyalty and attracts new members.

Most people who play MMOs know all about end game raiding. So I am not going to harp on about what it is and why it is such a core focus for people. Instead, we are going to cover what the general requirements are for starting to raid in Operations in SWTOR.

So what are some of the basics requirements to begin SWTOR Operations with your guild?

Eternity Vault:

  1. For the most part, you want your DPS/Healers to have their main stats around 1150-1250 for their main stat. You do this by running Hard Mode Flashpoints to gear up to an adequate standard. Crafted implants and moddable gear can also be used to achieve this benchmark.
  2. You should only need 1 tank for this whole instance. This allows you to stack 5 DPS and 2 Healers into your group. Just make sure your tank has great survivability. High-end Flashpoints such as Kaon Under Siege and False Emperor are great test runs for your tank. Directive 7 is a great benchmark for your healers.
  3. Prepare your squad by hording Stims, Adrenals and Medpacks. Biochem is your friend! And research the boss fights. Make sure your squad is all watching the same source video or walkthrough so you all know what you are meant to be doing. For progression, we stopped for 5 minutes prior to each boss to enforce that all members had watched the video and re-watched it.
  4. Plan well – set realistic expectations. “The Order” is clearing EV Normal in about 40 minutes flat now that it is on farm. However, for your first run with freshly geared members, you will want to allow yourselves atleast 3 hours.

Karagga’s Palace:

  1. This is definitely a harder Operation. You will want your main stats to be around 1200-1300 – your secondary stats should be well on their way to maxxed out too, not including diminishing returns.
  2. You will need 2 tanks for this. A main tank and an offtank for the second, third and fourth bosses. Then 2 Healers and 4 DPS which are in minimum Tionese/Columi. Centurion PVP gear won’t usually cut it.
  3. Unlike EV, KP has a lot more trash and you will need to be on your toes on some of the trash pulls. Use Crowd Controlling skills and good communication as you WILL wipe if you lower your concentration.
  4. Allow around 3-4 hours on your first run of this. On farm, you should get this down to 80-100 mins.

Remember, in Normal Mode Operations, most gear loot is chosen and distrubuted to you by the game itself. We still use Master Looter, but this is merely for distributing other loot which the game deems non class-specific.

By running Normal Mode, your goal will be to completely gear your squad with Columi (Tier 2) PVE gear. However, you can accomplish this objective as well by running Hard Mode Flashpoints. Don’t ask me why Bioware created it this way – perhaps they wanted to go easy on the opening generation of players. Another thought is there is a bigger picture behind it. If how the gear looks is anything to go by, upcoming expansions and content will be something craved for quickly.

It was intended that the Normal Modes be easy enough for pick up group players or “PUGs”. This was so that everyone could at least experience the storyline without a guild. Also, for most guilds, the skill level of Normal Mode serves as a  “training” version of the actual Operation.

Our next article will be about moving past the Normal Modes and into the Hard Mode version of the Operations. Until then, good luck! If you have any Operation-specific questions focused around guild preparation or organisation, please feel free to drop me a line!

More impressive oceanic guild clears: Karagga’s Palace

I love weekends because all the news flows in on guild clears. This weekend is no exception. Last night I had Khaotikk from the guild Chaos Theory drop me a line:

Hey Guys,

Wanted to drop you a line and let you know Chaos Theory (Empire Swiftsure) have just cleared Hard Mode Karagga’s Palace. As far as we’re aware this makes us the first Oceanic guild to down Karagga’s in hard mode.

Then I heard from Fenix at Redemption:

As I messaged you last night, we cleared Nightmare Karagga’s Palace for (I believe) an oceanic first. We just killed Soa on Nightmare mode also, which I believe makes us Oceanic first for all Nightmare content 🙂

Here’s a pic of Karagga The Unyielding, as downed by Redemption in Nightmare mode (full sized version):

Congrats to both guilds and I’ll let you fight it out on who did what first 😉

New Flashpoint and expanded Karagga’s Palace Operation announced

Talk about not resting on one’s laurels. Bioware’s James Ohlen has provided a sneak peek on some new content launching next month.

Not much is being given away about either but here’s Ohlen’s teaser:

Next month we’re going to be releasing a new Flashpoint and an expanded Operation. The new Flashpoint involves a plague that could have significant repercussions across the galaxy. It takes place on a brand new world and involves some pretty epic battles. I can’t go into much detail, but be prepared for something different. The expanded Operation takes the existing Karagga’s palace scenario and more than triples it in size. It includes three new boss monsters and some pretty epic set pieces.

The last boss of the Karagga Operation is pictured in this post. I haven’t checked out any of the current Operations yet, so talk about me needing to play catch-up!

On the SWTOR forums, there’s already some debate over releasing new content versus fixing bugs in current content. Stephen Reid has responded on that as well:

And so begins the eternal MMO battle between ‘more new stuff’ and ‘fix the bugs’.

The development team is large enough that essentially, we can do both. We have many people working on analysing, triaging, fixing, testing and deploying new fixes to ensure the game’s stability – and we also have many other developers expanding the game and creating new content.

How about you – are you keen on new content already?