It's time to draw this series to a close.
This post will return to the more general overview of the Flashpoints, including a summary of the included story and a brief look over of the boss fights.
Without further ado:
#5: Czerka Core Meltdown
Finding a fifth Flashpoint to go on this list hasn't been plain sailing. Outside of the ones on this list, I can find more positive things (e.g. the setting, certain mechanics, and story) to say about the majority of Flashpoints than negative things.
Czerka Core Meltdown, on the other hand, has very few aspects which fall comfortably on either side of the balance. It's very much a middle-ground Flashpoint but this does set it up as the de facto fifth choice when everything above it has at least one really memorable good aspect.
To be fair, there are some interesting aspects to this, such as the environments where the Enhanced Duneclaw and Vrblther are hanging out, and the idea of an organic security system should work well in theory. It's Czerka; they're known for some crazy stuff, and this should be no exception!
However, the boss fights don't really have a great deal of interesting mechanics. The only really interesting thing of any of them is using Duneclaw's Rampage to shut off a sandstorm generator, which in itself makes little sense when you really think about it. Why is testing equipment, designed to emulate natural conditions, actually on ground-level where an easily-irritable creature can effortlessly pound it into destruction rather than in the rafters where nothing can turn it off?
Just in general this Flashpoint poses more questions than it answers, such as the necessity of shutting down the Jungle and Desert zones to unlock the next areas and why we need to destroy Data Cores to cause the Vigilant to leap down and start massacring us. They aren't keeping him up there - unless they give off some sort of pheromones, which has some disturbing connotations - and we don't even know what they contain. Additionally, Vigilant is a Flesh Raider, of course, but where did his army of fellow Flesh Raiders come from? Did he secretly mail-order them in preparation for a secret takeover bid when the opportunity arose?
Or are Czerka just so foolish that they decided that their vicious security system needed an army to do his job? Czerka: Incompetence Incorporated.
It doesn't help that there is no story to this one outside of Blys's having activated his prized security system either. Whether or not having any tidbit of information as to how this works or how that works would actually answer some of these questions, I don't know, but it could still be something to go off...
It's not in any real way tedious, but it's certainly not properly decent or memorable, either.
That said, there is one particular aspect of this which I've always despised, and it's not even a mechanic. When you enter the Flesh Raider-infested room with a cage full of Czerka scientists, approaching said cage will cause an electric device above to activate, making the most ungodly noise as it kills the scientists.
Whomever came up with this noise, my eardrums will never forgive you.
#4: Battle of Rishi
Still the most recent "true" Flashpoint added to the game, even though it's been 18 months since then.
The story of this Flashpoint is that the Republic and Imperial Fleets have been lured into open battle by the Revanites, who have traitors installed on their fleets, whilst a signal jammer below prevents any communications from revealing the deception. The players' job is thus to shut down the jammer and save both fleets.
There isn't all that much to this Flashpoint. You go through Revanites, Revanites, and you'll never guess: Revanites. The only real variety comes in the form of various droid mobs, a Wookiee Revanite, and a walker, but otherwise everything else is "been here, done that, seen that in the same Flashpoint!".
The bosses all have a lot of similarities. There are a pair of Revanite Commanders (including that Wookiee) with a lot of annoying floor markings, a Jedi and Sith with a lot of annoying floor markings, and a walker with a lot of annoying floor markings. They all also summon adds; the first summons droids which fire big long lasers, the second summons balls of lightning, and the third summons a seemingly random selection of Strong to Elite mobs as reinforcements.
Hard Mode, of course, makes this even more tedious, as the floor markings get more painful and the adds need a lot more attention.
There's also a bonus boss in Hard Mode who actually has a bit of a puzzle in how to properly defeat him. In fact, he's probably one of the only Flashpoint bosses nowadays which requires proper strategy to be known before encountering him, and he can't just be blitzed through. As glorious as this is, the knowledge required to defeat him is perhaps too intricate (seriously, he's above some bosses from pre-nerf Lost Island) for the average group, and you're thus not likely to find a lot of groups which are either willing or able to give him a shot.
A shame, really.
#3: Red Reaper
Red Reaper is one of the only Flashpoints more notorious for the sheer difficulty of its mobs than it is for its boss-fights.
The story of this Flashpoint is that the master of Darth Malgus's master Darth Vindican, Darth Ikoral, has returned from a pilgrimage into Wild Space after many, many years, bringing with him a whole host of Sith Purebloods. Unfortunately, he's come back at a time when the Empire is 'plagued' with aliens, so he's decided to use his new followers to cleanse the Empire righteously and re-establish Pureblood dominance. Players have to tear through his flagship and his cultists to defeat him.
The bosses of this one are, actually, really decent. There's a Sith who force-chokes prisoners and leaps about all over the place, a Droid who charges weapons based on red/blue power nodes, and Ikoral who summons his "Chosen" Sith who can only be killed by his otherwise-uninterruptable Force Lightning.
What makes this Flashpoint so tedious is actually getting to these bosses in the first place. Red Reaper has the most painful mobs out of any instance in the game; so much so, in fact, that they're even more painful than the bosses themselves.
There are multiple instances where Sith Troopers armed with the deadly Ion Cell absolutely rip through group members, and they always come in groups of three or more so that means a lot of death comes very, very quickly. The actual Sith Cultists themselves are only mildly annoying in comparison, until you get to a point where, unless you have an Archaeologist group-member, you have to deal with these Cultists and their Trooper buddies together.
Death, glorious death!
This Flashpoint was also tuned up to Hard Mode with 4.0, but sadly not all that much was done. Indeed, the first Sith and the Droid bosses have absolutely no new mechanics (I would have made the Droid's red charges increase damage dealt at expense of damage protection and vice-versa for blue charges to force players to 'balance' him properly throughout the fight unless they felt they could take risks) whilst Ikoral has gained an add which only chains people in place.
If this Flashpoint had received any more attention in Hard Mode than just one new add and a general scaling-up, then it would have earned itself a more favourable position on this list, if not being struck off entirely. As it is, there is no real sense of "pay-off" when you do fight through the mobs and get to the bosses, and it just feels like the scaling-up was really quite worthless.
The Sith Troopers are the only true bosses in Hard Mode.
#2: Kuat Drive Yards
The first Flashpoint to be labelled as "Tactical", Kuat Drive Yards was part of the big Galactic StarFighter push back when that actually received some love.
The story of Kuat is that the Imperials are attacking the Drive Yards whilst the Republic are driving them out. As you can probably tell just from reading that sentence, that's how they were able to split the same Flashpoint across both factions. As part of this, you're put in contact with Fleet Admirals Bey'wan Aygo and Zasha Ranken who are orchestrating the defence/offence. Aygo has of course made a return in KotFE and it would be wonderful if Ranken did too, as she's an enjoyable character.
This Flashpoint is what I call a "modular" Flashpoint; it has five 'compartments' of scenarios of which two are presented as the general 'meat' as the Flashpoint. They range from short and simple (Starfighter Assembly, Cannon Emplacement) to mid-length yet still simple (Holding Cells, Hangar Bay) to long and tedious (Central Armory), so you might get lucky and get two nice and quick options or you might get really unfortunate and have to deal with the Hangar and the Armory.
This isn't the only aspect of the Flashpoint which is randomised; there is a unique Champion in both of the 'main' sections who can occasionally be replaced by one of four other named Champions, and each faction can encounter one of three final bosses who can also be randomised, one of whom is not faction-specific, meaning that there are five bosses in total.
These bosses are a Republic/Imperial Trooper who chucks a Handful of Grenades at people, a Jedi/Sith with a lot of annoying floor circles, and a Droid who summons adds to empower himself at various points.
This modular system is why this Flashpoint is so tedious; you just cannot tell what you're going to get, and what you actually do get can receive a relatively adverse reaction from group members. For example, Armory often receives a groan of "let's get this over with" and Starship Assembly - an actual puzzle! - is often just blitzed through without taking the time to solve it properly.
There's an extra level of tediousness to this one, however: Achievements. Each scenario and boss has Achievements for competing once, five times, and ten times, meaning that you need to complete this Flashpoint at a bare minimum of fifty times if you get lucky with seeing each of the five bosses the appropriate number of times. Remember, one of these is not faction-specific!
#1: Blood Hunt
This one is tedious in all difficulties mainly because of the second boss, but we'll get to them in a bit.
The story of this one is that Theron and Lana have noticed that there is a group of mercenaries who had a falling out with the Nova Blades and the Revanites, and so they believe that they might be worthwhile investments. Upon arriving, you realise that these mercenaries are actually Mandalorians, and their leader "Torch" is none other than Shae Vizla herself. Perplexed by your presence, she's willing to let you explore and combat three of their challenges, just to see what you're made of.
It's fascinating to actually be subjected to these challenges, which include a platform home to a Jurgoran, a nest of K'lor'slugs, a volcano inhabited by Krakjya (the ever fun-to-pronounce Dralne be te Oya'Karir), a swamp full of Lurkers, a cave belonging to a Rancor, and a jungle infested with Tonitran. They show what Mandalorians consider to be 'sport', something which hasn't been done all that often up to this point.
The bosses are a Jungle Wampa which throws stunning rocks and summons adds which place really annoying ion circles, a husband-and-wife Mandalorian double-team with a lot of annoying AoE and single-target attacks (not to mention knockbacks), and Shae Vizla, who also has annoying AoE attacks as well as fire jets from the floor.
The husband-and-wife team are a formidable force - as any team of this nature should be! - but many things can go wrong in this fight on every difficulty. In Solo Mode, Companions can still get stuck on a high ledge when trying to leap to them, forcing the fight to reset, whilst their various abilities play absolute havoc on both Tactical and Hard Difficulties. For example, Jos's Maul is absolutely brutal and can kill his target if the group's healer is not on the ball (bonus points if there is no healer on Tactical), and Valk's red circles and sweeping gunfire can catch uncoordinated groups unawares and kill people very very easily.
Thankfully, on Hard Mode, there is no annoying bonus boss; you only need to complete the remaining three challenges.
With that, this post series comes to an end. I hope that you guys enjoyed it!