The criteria which factor into this list are pretty much the same as they were for the "most fun" encounters, just applied as the inverse; the personalities, nature of the boss fight, and exactly what happens therein will all be taken into account in this post. Additionally, whereas the last post was fairly "timeless", this post will sadly adhere to "current affairs". This is due to the fact that with the increased number of Levels, some boss fights are nowhere near as tedious as they used to be, and we have seen new fights emerge all the while.
Continuing on from last Friday's post, these are my picks for the top 5 most tedious Operation Bosses in SWTOR.
- Operation: The Ravagers
- Level: 60
- Difficulty: Hard
I've been constantly taking this out of the "top 5" and putting it back in again: I feel I'm cheating with this particular listing since I'm only focusing on Cora's half of the battle without factoring in Ruugar's. Every other fight I've tried to replace it with just doesn't "sit right" as being particularly more tedious, which is a nuisance.
Ruugar's half of the fight isn't particularly easy in its own right in Hard Mode but it's definitely an easier experience than dealing with Coratanni, hence why I'm considering the two separately. It's a steep entry-point to be sure.
Coratanni's fight in Story Mode does a decent job of showing the mechanics and even explains how they'll evolve; Ricochet shot, when both stacks are fired at the same target, will kill that target instantly and thus it needs to be diffused between two different "victims", especially if it goes to the person designated to spawn the blue circles at that time; there is a lockout preventing the same person from clicking twice. It doesn't explain how to convince the stacks to pay a visit to those victims, but thankfully it's just a case of standing next to one person at a time for a few seconds.
That isn't the only mechanic to be truly worried about. Whilst a lot of what you need to worry about is largely the same in terms of function as it is in Story Mode, it hits much harder. The Deck Guns, seemingly coordinated to align with the Blue Circles, will devastate any Players stunned therein, if they moved to cleanse themselves too early. Pearl, who of course still can't be fully-contained, is a right pest in Hard Mode as her damage makes the Healers' jobs that much harder, which is definitely not needed.
I guess the main reason why Ruugar has the semblance of being the "less tedious fight" is because he isn't as unpredictable as virtually everything within Cora's fight is. Plus, at least with Ruugar you have an easier time disliking him because he betrayed you and you have that investment in seeing him dead. With Cora you were just sweet-talked by Ruugar into helping him as a favour, and thus it's just "something to do" and thus it just seems "pointless" having to kill her for no 'real' reason other than "because this guy asked us to".
Whilst not as "consistently tedious" as some of the other fights on this list, the final pair of fights in the Ravagers Operation certainly provides its own share of tediousness.
#4: Master and Blaster
- Operation: The Ravagers
- Level: 60
- Difficulty: Hard
If the Pirate Captains do not provide the most consistent tediousness in the Ravagers, Master and Blaster fill that void nicely.
This fight is tedious mainly because of the myriad of things one has to watch out for, and they only ever increase in number and magnitude as the fight goes on. Those orange circles with roughly seven different floor patterns, the ambient explosive devices, and B0-55's Rain of Pain which can easily trap a hapless raid member if they're in the wrong place are all incredibly annoying. The orange circles in particular as they keep on being spawned in the final phases even when the others have ceased to be a problem.
Additionally, if you are using a class which has immobility-immunity with certain abilities, you do not want to use these in the final phase as they will cause Blaster's magnetising debuff to look over you and you shall duly be catapulted away from the rest of the group to meet with an inevitable demise.
Blaster has an incredibly annoying personality; he is listed in his Codex entry as having "childlike enthusiasm", and this makes itself known via gloating and constant brash statements. I've said in the past that these guys are fun to beat because of how "big and powerful" they make themselves to be, but this doesn't mean their personalities aren't in some way likeable. Blaster as a whole isn't, but maybe I'd think differently if he reacted in some way to "The Boss's" defeat rather than his only acknowledgement of his suffering being when he self-destructs.
It's a good thing B0-55 can't speak Basic
#3: The Colossal Monolith
- Operation: The Heart of Ruin (Named after Weekly as the Instance itself is unnamed)
- Level: 60
- Difficulty: Hard
Back when this fight came out, Hard Mode was bugged so that it could effectively be "cheesed" with brute healing power and ignoring the mechanics. They could still be done, it's just that there was no real penalty for ignoring them; he would only do one attack that would only damage the Tanks and thus, provided everyone else was topped up beforehand, healing was more than manageable.
Of course, this being the only Operation to drop a better piece of gear than that dropped by Revan himself, this quickly made a lot of people simultaneously love and resent this fight, for obvious reasons, whilst several happily leapt away, clutching their "not-properly-earned" new prize to their bosoms. Nonetheless, a couple of weeks after it was released, the fight was finally successfully patched to work.
Oh, how the laughter ceased.
I've only seen the fight once since it was patched, and in the eight-man squad I occasionally fill in for we eventually settled on using a third healer in place of the fourth DPS as we were not gaining any considerable ground. It almost proved successful: if I recall correctly, we reached about 33% before it killed us one last time and we agreed to call it there and then after more than an hours' worth of tussling. I don't know what it's like now on sixteen-man.
The mechanics require you to be extra careful with your positioning as there is so much stuff to be aware of. The Curse of the Monolith, essentially a Force Leech which damages nearby players, the Orange Circles which pursue players, and the white circles which spawn under each and every single player all need to be watched out for. Not to forget the fact that "using" a colour means you die if you pick up the same one again and that stepping in the wrong colour kills you. Additionally, if you're colour-blind, the muted colours are really not fun to contend with.
This fight is tedious mainly because of the damage which goes out during the Rift phase; your healers need to be on the ball in order to save the team, especially if the Monolith is parked over yet another exposed Rift at the time, substantially increasing his damage. Everything else is, for the most part, manageable once you know how to deal with what occurs, but it's this which I believe makes or breaks the chance of succeeding.
#2: Dread Master Brontes
- Operation: The Dread Fortress
- Level: 55
- Difficulty: Nightmare
Dread Master Brontes always was a nuisance even when Hard Mode was the thing to do. Then everything changed when
A fight can still be hectic and be fun, mainly because of the adrenaline. It all depends on what happens; if the fight is fairly mindless then it's good, but if it requires you to pay more attention than "do this, do that", that is when it gets "chaotic". This is the best word to describe Nightmare Brontes.
- The Orbs come out in the first, third, fifth, and final phases
- Kephess does his leap from his two previous encounters
- The Overcharged Laser can go either left or right
- The Fingers knock their focused target backwards, forcing the DPS and healers to rotate clockwise to avoid being killed by those same Fingers
This earns second place on the list because it's still an incredibly difficult fight at Level 60, particularly in eight-man. I've seen a group of sixteen clear it in two attempts and a group of 8 - consisting entirely of members from the sixteen-man run, but a week later - falter several times only for the kill to be an absolute fluke with one man left standing, although he ended up dead not a second later.
This is a fight where everyone has to pull their weight, particularly in the final phase where it can go wrong incredibly rapidly. The Tanks need to be careful not to kill the rebelling Hands too early nor too late, the DPS need to push the "correct amount", and the Healers just need to keep people alive, which with everything going on is really annoying to have to do.
If I could attribute this increased difficulty to one thing, and one thing alone, it would simply be the Orbs. These things' existence in the final phase in particular is the biggest game-changer as bad timings could result in an unspent orb massacring a vital role, and they just keep coming and coming and coming. They're manageable in the other phases because there isn't that much to have to truly worry about - the Tanks position the Hands to slam down on them in the fifth phase - but that last phase is where it all counts.
Brontes herself is actually the redeeming factor of this fight. Her way of treating everyone like "experiments" or "subjects" is actually very fascinating, particularly because you get the sense that she is just playing with you until you try her patience for too long. She doesn't taunt you to make you feel weaker; she encourages you to be at your best, although that actually may be an indirect taunt which is meant to show that you aren't at your highest potential. All the same, at least she doesn't constantly affirm her superiority over you, unlike some bosses.
- Operation: Temple of Sacrifice
- Level: 60
- Difficulty: Hard
"A much more significant worry" is how I once labelled this fight compared to its Story Mode equivalent. Understatement of the year.
I can understand why they've tipped this as the most difficult fight they've ever done, but I personally believe they've taken the wrong steps in doing so. On top of everything else from Story Mode, this is what happens in Hard Mode.
- Trail of Agony - circles which increase Damage taken by 5% which follow the then-primary Tank, necessitating a Tank Swap - is manageable on the first floor but can prove havoc on the second floor if not careful
- Essence Corruption - two stacks of a Damage-reducing and damaging Debuff which will occasionally find just the one DPS - will leap to the respective Cleanser when cleansed; thankfully, this only occurs on the first floor
- Malevolent Force Bond connects two random non-Tank Players and has to be broken around the centre beam
- HK-47 now has four Droids, three of whom have a 1.5 second cast which needs to be interrupted and the fourth killed before it can finish its cast; meanwhile HK is casting a one-shot-kill beam which needs to be taken around behind the centre beam to break
- HK's Grenades leave a big red circle when cleansed which knock down anyone caught within
- Perforated Vitals is now a stacking debuff which increases damage from the periodic effects applied by HK and acts as a Tank Swap
- The Machine Core now does a Heartbeat every fifteen seconds which alternatively knocks the group outwards and pulls them back in; being too close to either edge at the respective time will kill you, there is no minimum/maximum "range"
- One player has to "parkour" up to Revan on the rocks which appear in the centre beam from the second floor in order to allow the entire group to teleport to Revan's feet and any potential dead to be simultaneously revived
- The Unstable Aberrations on the Third Floor illuminate in a random order and, in the same order, proceed to knock back any Player not facing them when they "pop"; these continue to exist into the Machine Core phase
So, yeah, there's a lot to be aware of. The second floor is probably the most manageable but that's only because it has the least amount of things "going on", if you will. The First Floor presents an almost insurmountable leap of change and the Aberrations and the Heartbeat coexisting on the Third Floor make for one hell of a ride to the end, but not the good kind.
I've seen a lot of people refer to the Hard Modes of both Ravagers and Temple as "HardMare"; this is both a jab at the apparent unannounced future of Nightmare content and the difficulty of certain fights, especially this one. Indeed, compared to something like the Nightmare Dread Council when compared to its Story Mode, you might even mistake this Revan fight for a Nightmare fight due to the amount of things it changes from one step to the other. There is no intermediary ground; this is it, this is what people have to contend with.
So what makes this fight tedious and not just simply "difficult"? I guess the answer is simply its ridiculously high difficulty. This is the final fight of the current content and what several are now worried will be the final "current content". To have a fight which only so many Guilds can claim to have killed be the last before a suspected 'return' to older content doesn't sit right with a lot of people, and for good reason.
It seems almost pointless to talk about personalities in this fight with everything else taken on board, but for consistency's sake, here I go.
It's the Revan we saw at the end of the Foundry; it's the "Revan" who we chased from Rishi to Yavin. There is no reason to pay any attention to this character in this fight because we know what he's doing, we know that he is so set in his beliefs about his motives that he can't see any alternative. This is what the Revanites themselves state on Rishi. There is no significant twist in the tale, it's all delivered as straightforward as can be and that we've seen it all before just makes Revan in this fight incredibly tedious to listen to.
There is a minor twist in the fight in that HK of course appears, having last been seen on the apparently-self-destructed Emperor's Space Station, so how he came to be around is never explained. Annoyingly, he never appears anywhere else in the 3.0 story, not even by Revan's side in the trailers, and this is I feel one of the biggest wasted opportunities of 3.0. Whilst his personality is actually captured "okay" in this all-too-brief feature, it's not enough to truly "save" the fight in this regard.
Does this fight truly deserve its pedestal as "hardest fight in the game"? When you consider the legacy behind the opponent and the sheer magnitude of what's at stake, yes, I believe it does. Has it earned its place fairly? No, I don't believe it has. The learning curve between the two difficulties is vastly steeper than any other fight, especially when you consider that this is Hard to Story, not Nightmare.
Whatever the future of Operations shall be, I am hopeful that we shall not see a repeat of what occurred with this fight.
So, there we have it, the most tedious fights in Operations to date. I hope that this didn't come across as "whining and complaining" too much - although I must admit that I perhaps "let myself go" a few times.
I must admit that with the advent of Level 60, what is "tedious" has changed. Nightmare Dread Master Bestia and Operator IX would have both earned themselves a place on this list back at Level 55 - so too might have Nightmare Dread Council, actually - but with Level 60 and particularly the arrival of newer "more tedious fights", their edges have been blunted somewhat.
The same is also true of the old Level 50 Operations, and should any of these be boosted to 65 in a few months time, I am actually quite eager to see what these fights are like when they are once more "current" to us with no buffer zone of additional levels.
Then again, it may just spawn another round of Kephess Conspiracy Theories.