Veteran Outlander: Chapter Difficulty, Part I

As mentioned last week, I've still got a fair few things to start talking about. Veteran Chapters, the Eternal Throne story, Uprisings, and so on and so forth. Today, I'm going to be tackling the Veteran Chapters, a new 'feature' of 5.0, whereby you can replay most of the Chapters of Fallen Empire and all of the Chapters of Eternal Throne in a harder difficulty. 

Because I want to talk about the Eternal Throne story before I discuss how each of those Chapters work as Veteran, today will be dedicated entirely to Fallen Empire's Veteran difficulty.

Let's get started!

First things first, they really have done nothing else for each of these Chapters besides making everything hit harder. I'm really disappointed by this, since I would have enjoyed having the option to learn how the fight changes with additional mechanics rather than worry about cycling defensives over and over. 

That said, there are certain fights in Veteran Fallen Empire and Eternal Throne which all but force you to play cleverly - not just with your defensives but also knowing where to move, when to move, and where your Companion is - which I do appreciate, since even though there are no new mechanics the mechanics which are there are so painful that learning how they work (and how to work around them) is imperative. 

There are some exceptions to this where things just hit hard with no mechanics to be worried about, though (there are two prime examples of this in Eternal Throne), so this can only go so far.

There's a very common trend with each of these Chapters; the fights which feature spawning-in adds are by far the most annoying fights, since everything deals increased damage which means in certain scenarios you could find yourself melting incredibly quickly. The bosses of Chapters V, X, and XIII in particular 'excel' at this.

In fact, heck, Anarchy in Paradise just excels at this in general. If you thought all the constant spawn-ins were bad when the Chapter first came out, you really haven't seen anything until you've done Veteran Mode. Not having time to heal between pulls of weak mobs isn't too bad, but when not one but two Elite Zakuul Knights decide to join the fun, things turn brutal very quickly.

In spite of this, there are actually a good number of boss fights which don't need a Healing Companion; Chapters I, III, VII, VIII, XI, and XIV are relatively easy (although XIV's can spawn adds so feel free to eliminate this if you choose) with their boss fights since for the most part it's just the big-bad and they themselves don't hit for all that much so your Companion can be set to DPS or Tank. 

The sole exception to this 'no-adds-so-easy' rule is Chapter XV's GEMINI Captain, who does hit hard thanks to her poison abilities. I'm not surprised at all that she's my pick for 'best' Veteran fight in Fallen Empire given that she was also my pick for the best fight when the Chapters came out to begin with. 

As for the fights which don't even allow you the luxury of having a Companion, they're very diverse in their own right. Heskal is by far the easiest of the three, but that isn't saying much considering that you can choose to take Valkorion's power in the second phase and receive some healing. Even so, you can still survive him without those heals, but the visions he calls in take several more hits to kill than they did before, so I imagine that this fight in Master Mode will escalate to somewhat brutal in the first phase because of them.

Arcann is somewhat brutal, particularly when you have to advance down the corridor since there'll be four of those manifestations attacking you at the same time. I personally found it more survivable to stop and wait for the manifestations to kill themselves off the shield's reflect rather than just trying to gun it.

Then there's the Monolith in Chapter II. Words cannot express how brutal this thing is if you're on a class which lacks incredibly strong defensive utilities, self-healing capability, or both of the previous options. Basically, Vanguard DPS are screwed before they even think of attempting it. Even on a Gunslinger, which has received some beautiful defensive upgrades with 5.0, it took me about five attempts to perfect my rotation of defensive cooldowns to enable me to survive this bastard.

Although at the same time, it did help that the Monolith apparently had traumatising flashbacks to Ziost and just stood still twenty metres away from me for about fifteen seconds at one point...

At this point I also have to give a shout-out to Chapter III: Outlander for being an annoying nuisance with its Achievement. Until recently, completing the Chapter rarely actually granted the Achievement; it was possible to get it but it wasn't a guaranteed certainty. With the 5.0.1 Patch this week, they seem to have fixed this Achievement, which was excellent since that was the last one I needed for the whole "Veteran Outlander" Achievement.


Prior to starting these Chapters on Veteran, I decided to spend a fair bit of Credits on getting Calph's story Companions' Influence up. To this end, I bought stacks of 100 Gifts for the twelve Companions who weren't Influence 50 (she already has Vette, Gault, and one other (is disguising spoilers still necessary at this stage?) at 50), so 12,000,000 Credits later courtesy of them making Rank 5 Purple gifts only cost 10,000 Credits, every main Story Companion is now Influence 27, 28, or 29. 

What's really interesting to note, however, is that the boss-fights (thus I'm not counting that one infernal second Knight of Zakuul when Tank-Kaliyo was at 20% HP in Anarchy in Paradise) where I've almost died - if not actually died - weren't with the medium-influence Companions

Chapter XIII of Fallen Empire has a relatively brutal boss given that it both forces you to constantly re-position yourself to avoid the boss's AoE and has adds spawning in in a concentrated manner in a very narrow corridor. Of course these adds are too spread out (and not spawning at exactly the same time) to attract their attention all at once, so Gault is quickly under a lot of pressure, particularly if you accidentally leave him in a circle while trying to kill an add behind him.

Vette, meanwhile, gets perhaps the roughest deal of them all, but that's not for this post. 

Just goes to show that even an Influence 50 Healing Companion can really struggle to keep you alive in situations supposedly 'scaled' to an Influence 20 Healing Companion. 


Ultimately, there is a very easy way to just negate this increased difficulty if you're struggling beyond all tolerance.

This has been around since 4.0, but nobody really had any business using it before, but if you form a group before a player enters a Chapter, that player can then summon their group to their story instance. Having trouble with that Monolith? Bam, instant holy-trinity group, turn that blighter into a Flashpoint boss. 

The problem with this is that, of course, only the summoner gets the credit for completing the Chapter, meaning that if you ask someone for help, don't be surprised if they then ask the same of you somewhere along the line (unless you organise this beforehand, of course, in which case nobody had better back out of the agreement!). 


So this was my take on the Veteran Mode Fallen Empire Chapter additions.

Have you tried any of these Chapters on Veteran Mode yet? If so, which fights have you had any real difficulties on?

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