Thoughts on 5.4 [Spoiler-Free]

"That's it, Choza, you're really making them fear your wrath with how far away you're standing!"
So 5.4 finally launched yesterday after two days of delays. The delays were caused by something causing the Flashpoint Crisis on Umbara to malfunction somehow, so obviously it was a necessary fix since CoU was the main focus of this Patch.

So, now that it's here, what is there that's worth seeing/doing?


Crisis of Spoiler Leakages

I shall refrain from commenting on who the Traitor is in this post, and I would appreciate it if others would do the same in the Comments. As much as I would like to comment on this situation, it needs a person more eloquent than I to really put the situation into words. Even a couple of weeks after hints of who it was started coming through thanks to data-mining I still don't know how to put my own feelings in words.

The Flashpoint itself is decent, if very hard-hitting (but then they seem to have a tendency to have harder difficulties just "hit harder"...), and has a nice mixture of counter-intuitive and "exactly-what-you'd-expect" mechanics. Indeed, on the 'hidden' Bonus Boss whenever someone in my guild has said "I'm having trouble..." someone else has immediately pipped in with "oh, did you kill the adds? Don't kill the adds" and that's the problem more-or-less immediately solved.

The final boss currently has a nasty glitch whereby if you die to the adds after killing the boss (which is insanely easy to do on Master Mode; the dying, notsomuch the killing bit) you respawn at the starting area and are unable to get back and fetch your loot. Blech.

*Waves hand* "You will ignore the fact that the sky can be seen through the shuttle's entry ramp..."
I love that in the group-instance version they've made the Traitor out to be the hooded figure contacted at the end of the Story Continuation instance. Thank you so much, BioWare. After the almost-debacle regarding Shadow of Revan spoilers for new players when all of the associated Flashpoints were made accessible from Level 15 onwards in 4.0, it's nice to see them try to go the other way and deliberately make the Traitor anonymous.

As for Umbara, it's certainly atmospheric once you get beyond the Train section. Unfortunately - a side-effect of presumably not wanting a shedton of clutter on-screen - the scenery which is visible from the train is incredibly barebones, which doesn't make for a very interesting environment at all. Seeing as this Train is also going to be the Stronghold, this is especially disappointing, but if it's the only way this section can run smoothly (even then it's still fairly laggy) I'm okay with it, I guess.

"Alright, that does it. Next time, I'm bringing a Jetpack."
As Clone Wars aficionados can probably tell, the planet does leave a lot to be desired from its previous appearance on the show, where the planet itself was really dark and thus had this eerie feel to it. Because fighting bosses in a pitch-black environment is practically a disaster in the making, again this is an unfortunately necessary sacrifice, and thus the planet just ends up being no different lighting-wise to several of the other planets. Oh well.

There is also no sign of the Sarlacc-like Vixus, one of only two species confirmed to actually exist on Umbara in-Canon alongside the Banshee. The Sarlacc not having tentacles is excusable enough, since tentacle mobs didn't exist when the Sarlacc was first created, but it would have been nice to get something which emulated the Vixus, even if it was only visibly waving its tentacles in the background.

I do have to say, the new creatures which are on Umbara remind me so much of other games or even 'real' other-world lore. The Mantorrs remind me of the Axebeaks from Dungeons & Dragons, while the Slybex and the Gladiopods are visually reminiscent of Lovecraftian monsters such as Cthulu.

I'm happy to call this a 'proper' Flashpoint. It's short, that's for sure, but it certainly has enough there to make it a worthwhile - if somewhat strenuous - activity.

Whilst I'm on the subject, I have to admit that I was disappointed that all of the Umbaran soldiers were male and all of the Umbaran Shadow Assassins were female. The depiction of soldiers is at least accurate to the show, I suppose, but in the short story released prior to 5.4, Trading Scars, one of the featured named characters is a female Umbaran soldier, with two more also being mentioned in the soldiers' tales. So female soldiers do exist in the Umbaran militia, but apparently not in a prominent enough position to join their 'brothers' in actual combat in-game. Hmph.


BioChemists Rule Once More

Reusable BioChem concoctions have been absent from the game since 3.0, at which point Purple concoctions became better than the Blues since BioChemists could of course never have been given an advantage over everyone else.

With 5.4, Reusables are back, and they're actually worthwhile. They now give the exact same stats as the Perishable versions, which does give BioChemists a slight edge but not enough to say that it's an outright unfair advantage. After all, they are no better than the Perishables, but of course it does sting to need to refresh your Adrenal/Stim/MedPac supply when your BioChemist pals are jumping up and down and going "nyeh nah nah na naaaah" (which I am totally somewhat guilty of, by the way).

Still, at least it's something worthwhile to purchase with the Alliance Recon Data, and at least they've come in now as opposed to at the start of 5.0 so there is still something of a market for them.


50 < 60

The Alliance Recon Data of course comes from the new Flashpoint, with Story Mode granting a maximum of 6, Veteran Mode a maximum of 12, and Master Mode a maximum of 25. If you can survive through the final boss and get your loot, of course.

As mentioned above, these can be used to purchase the new Reusable BioChem concoctions, but they can also be used to purchase the Umbara gear which honestly looks like it came straight from Mass Effect:Andromeda, a Mantorr Mount, Iokath Recombinators for some reason, and access to the new Umbara Stronghold vendor area.

The invitation to the Trader's Quarters - where you can buy the Stronghold and maybe eventually some Decorations - costs 60 of the Data, although there's a slight twist in the tale here. You can only get 50 per week, meaning that it is literally impossible to get this thing within one week of running Crisis unless you do the Flashpoint enough times on different characters and just wait until they make every Currency BoL, at which point it would definitely have been faster just to have farmed for two weeks.

Still, at least everything else that we can access looks decent. Ish.



Because there aren't already a ton of hair puns out there.

So yes, at long last people can look like Lana, Koth, or Senya. Or at least scalp them and wear their hairpieces as a trophy! Muahahaha!

In all seriousness, though, it is nice to have these as options, even though the Senya and Lana cuts in particular don't translate well at all to certain colours because they're just too damn shiny. Notably Lana's just makes so many colours look brighter than they need to be due to the gradient-effect. That's not to say that certain colours don't look amazing in them, but it's still not ideal.

As I originally intended - and as you've already seen in some Screenshots which I totally didn't decide to include today after originally writing this section yesterday - I decided to indulge in seeing what Senya's hairstyle looked like on my Jedi Guardian, Miorahna.
"Before" and "After". Not pictured: "After the "After" Picture was Taken".
I'm still not entirely convinced about it in Miora's characteristic red. It looks decent from certain angles, sure (the last screenshot on this page provides a view of what is arguably the better side), and of the two female hairstyles it definitely looks less 'tacky' with its sheen, but it'll definitely take some getting used to.

Meanwhile I was tempted to give the Lana hairstyle to a new character I'm in the midst of writing a post about, but because her hair was the dark-gray shade, it ended up looking silver. Similarly, the only other black-ish shade of hair for humans (which is actually very dark oily green but looks black on all base-game hairpieces) becomes very green. Shame.

Also props to them actually giving these hairstyles to Cathar among the various species. We will get all the hair available for Cathar someday...

Also, Senya's new outfit is literally just the standard Zakuul Knight Armour dyed grey and white. Compared to her personalised armour, this new look really doesn't suit her. Still, at least they did something to make it look ever-so-slightly different compared to its original gold look which definitely wouldn't look right.



Whilst they have made it so that you can log out on Manaan without declaring that you're in an unsafe area, they still haven't fixed the intro screen glitch. Also is it just me or did they up the max. amount of Occupancy this thing has? I swear it used to be 30 and now it's 35...

There have been some Sentinel Buffs and Nerfs and several Operative Nerfs, but it's okay because Operative Healing is going to get a Burst Buff soon to compensate for its simultaneous Sustained Nerf. Yay for balance!

Ranked PvP Season 9 has also begun. Hurrah, I guess?

Refined Isotope Stabilisers now only drop from Master Mode Flashpoints rather than from all Flashpoints. I'm okay with this, but I can fully-understand why a lot of people aren't.

Meanwhile, Conquest has 'broken' again. This time the schedule got reset five days early, meaning that everyone who was eligible for the Guild Rewards yesterday now has another chance to get them again for next Tuesday. Yay, I guess?


So yeah. 5.4 has been a mixed bag. A nice Flashpoint, some sour tastes, and a whole lot of confusion going forward. Now we need to wait for the 5.5 - 5.7 Roadmap which should be coming in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile I'll be spending the next few days pondering how it is that somebody can look bored while leaping out of a freaking hovertrain.

"I'm flying, who caaaaares...."

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