Heavy Damage: Tanking The Esseles

Heavy Damage is our weekly Tanking column – if you have suggestions of what you’d like covered, drop our resident Tank, Alec Bailey a line.

The Esseles is the first flashpoint you encounter after leaving your starting planet. Upon entering The Esseles you’ll meet Ambassador Assara in disguise as a common ship passenger – an Explosion rocks the ship and you rush off to see what can be done. The explosion was caused by the Imperials, demanding that Ambassador Assara be turned over. You refuse and this is where the fun begins.

As you leave the command deck heading for the docking bay, you’ll run into some standard and gold mobs, with a group of four they should be no trouble. As you arrive at your destination you find a Mon Cal issuing orders to a squad of Republic troopers, when the blast door is blown open and the first Boss of The Esseles comes running in. Lieutenant Isric is a level 10 boss and he spawns trash mobs that tend to attack the healer so be ready to burn them down. Isric has a cone AoE blaster attack and a knock down ability so be ready for it.

After your defeat of Isric you head back to the Command deck that has been captured by Mandalorian mercenaries. Their leader is known as Iron Fist and will be your second boss encounter. Before you can fight Iron Fist you must first unlock the blast door. To unlock the doors you are faced with the option of sacrificing the crew or taking the long road and manually resetting the reactors.  This is your first Lightside or Darkside choice of the Flashpoint. Sacrificing the crew grants 150 Darkside points, and manually resetting the conduits, 150 Lightside points. Taking the Lightside option also grants you the chance to get a chest – it’s sitting behind the middle conduit.

After your decision with the engineering crew, you’re ready to fight Iron Fist. Like Isric, Iron Fist will spawn adds throughout the encounter. The best way to handle Iron Fist is to tank him, let your damage dealers burn the adds, and once the adds are down everyone gang up on Iron Fist. Iron Fist has three abilities that he’ll use during the fight: a Rocket Punch used as a gap closer, an AoE knock back, and Missile Salvo, which launches rockets onto a blue reticle (this can be avoided so try to keep an eye out for the reticle and move.)

The next boss is a large Guardian Battledroid named ISS-7. This fight is a very simple tank and spank although he will occasionally drop aggro and pick up a new target. Just watch for this and you’ll be fine. Immediately after your fight with ISS-7 you’ll have the opportunity to fight another boss if you hit the switches on either side of the room. The second boss in this area is much tougher, named ISS-994 Power Droid and he’s a force to be reckoned with. Starting out, he’s your standard Tank and Spank encounter, but he’ll use an ability that causes him to turn purple and crackle with lightning, so start kiting him. His damage is highly buffed during this phase, but his speed is lowered. He will do a lot of damage if he gets a hold of you, so watch what your doing when he has the damage buff up.

The final boss of The Esseles is a Sith named Vokk. Vokk is hard to tank because he’ll use Saber Throw and Force Choke on a random party member , both of which are unblockable. His third ability is Lightning Storm, and can be avoided by staying away from the purple reticle it leaves on the ground before activation. He also possesses an AoE knock back, so watch for that. Vokk is difficult because he has a lot of non-tankable damage, so this is a boss where you need a decent healer to pull off.

After Vokk’s defeat you’ll be faced with your second Lightside/Darkside choice – leaving Assara behind. If she’s left you’ll gain 100 Darkside points and if not 100 Lightside.

The Esseles is not a hard Flashpoint with a full group of level 10 players. I will be doing all the Flashpoints in order of level (at least the order I tanked them in),  so if you have any input or suggestions about the Flashpoints, leave a comment and I’ll look into it!

As always Stay Frosty and may the Force be with you!

Diplomatic shenanigans: Esseles Flashpoint

This week’s update from Bioware is the release of a video from Comic-Con titled The Esseles Developer Walkthrough:

The Esseles, a Republic transport that carries some of the most high-profiled members of the Galactic Senate across the galaxy, has come under siege from the opportunistic Grand Moff Kilran. Dallas Dickinson guides you along as a group of Republic heroes must band together to repel the Imperial boarding parties and retake their ship in this Developer Walkthrough.     – Bioware

The walkthrough begins with Dallas Dickinson explaining the situation on The Esseles – it’s the lowest level flashpoint being “around level nine” so you’ll be entering this Flashpoint as you leave your starting planet. The Flashpoint starts when the group discovers the dead Captain laying on the floor  and a panicking first officer looking for a solution. The party is then contacted by Grand Moff Kilran hailing the ship to announce that his forces will be boarding to capture a Republic ambassador.

The party heads to the cargo bay to reinforce the ships crew and repel an invading force of droids and Mandalorian mercenaries. After the battle the ambassador shows herself announcing that the attack the party just repelled was a rouse. The real threat is a Mandalorian named Ironfist who along with his bodyguards have secured the bridge and taken the crew hostage.

The party fights its way to the engineering deck where it’s faced with a lightside/darkside option for opening the bridge lockdown. The lightside is to destroy conduits that are spread across the engineering deck to override the lockdown status. The darkside option is to reset the system, opening the air locks, killing the engineers. The party chooses the darkside option and moves onto the bridge. Ironfist greets them as any villain should, then the fight begins.

Ironfist jet packs to the smuggler delivering a brutal uppercut. The smuggler breaks the engagement and heads for cover killing a bodyguard on his way. The trooper begins pulling the attenetion of Ironfist like any tank should, so the others can focus on killing the boss. Ironfist uses a blastback move where he vents his jet pack knocking the players to the ground, a pretty good CC move for a boss. The Trooper uses a cryonade and freezes Ironfist allowing the team to dispatch him with ease.

Be sure to check out the full video of  The Essles Developer Walkthrough here on Star Wars: The Old Republics official site.

What are your thoughts? Does this Flashpoint look fun to you?

Flashpoints unveiled, Taral V glimpses

Bioware have announced a key component of SWTOR: Flashpoints. Group-based missions with decision-driven mechanics, they’re essentially your traditional dungeon instance but with potentially a little more nuance. Because decisions / story drive next steps, then your experience will be slightly different each time – at least until you’ve run it a handful of times.

The Taral V instance is the one briefly showcased, have a look for yourself:
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