The launch date for BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is upon us, and taking a break from the excitement of being able to roll a character that won’t inevitably be deleted – I’ll take a moment to discuss the two ‘lowbie’ Flashpoints you’ll experience in SWTOR on either the Republic or the Empire side, depending on the Faction you choose.
We’ll take a look at the Imperial & Republic Fleets where you’ll access your first Flashpoint, the Bosses of each Flashpoint, and how the story shapes up between both.
**Note: This information is based off my playtime during the SWTOR Beta and as such – all information is subject to change upon release and as the game continues to mature. Also please note spoilers, in terms of enemies, bosses, and some story elements, will be revealed below via text and some images, so if you want a completely fresh experience – beware!**
Your Faction’s Fleet and Diving into Flashpoints
Once your Hero has completed the tasks of cleaning up the mayhem and mischief on your Origin World, you’ll be given the opportunity to move on to the Republic or Imperial Fleet. The Fleets are basically hubs that serve as a connecting point to various Flashpoints, they contain Crew Skill & Class trainers, vendors for various Planet Commendations, general goods, and more.
The main hubs are a great place to hang out, where you also pick up your Advanced Class, and naturally – begin your foray into multiple Flashpoints. The Fleets serve as a gathering place for those looking for missions, with multiple Flashpoint quest hubs existing on either Fleet.
These hubs are really convenient, and also serve as a place to use any Commendations that you may have left over from questing on various planets (which happened to me often) – as there are multiple Commendation vendors from past planets selling their warez on each Faction’s Fleet. Commendations aside, you can always train up your Crew Skills, or just hangout as you prepare to run a Flashpoint, or use the ‘Galactic Trade Network’ – the Auction House System of SWTOR.
The first Empire and Republic Flashpoints are similar in some ways, both ultimately offering you a flight to your next destination, which is Coruscant for the Republic or Dromund Kaas for the Empire. You’ll want to check out these Flashpoints at around level 10, technically being able to be completed by two level 10ish players and their Companions; that’s not to say you can’t take a full boat of four party-members though, which may be better for first timers. Certainly your character can choose to move on to your next planet, without completing said Flashpoint and quests, but where is the fun in that?
To begin your journey on the Imperial side, when on the Imperial Fleet, head to ‘Dromund Kaas Depatures’ and seek out the ‘Black Talon Valet’ character. For Republic characters on their Fleet ship, you’ll head to ‘Coruscant Departures’ and look for the ‘Priority Transport Officer’. The quest givers for both of these should have quest indicators above them, and for future reference – these quests are repeatable!
The first tip before entering your first Flashpoint; keep a look out for explosive barrels/actionable world objects throughout the Flashpoints. Some of these can be clicked on and then they’ll explode – causing damage to or inflicting status affects on nearby enemies. Nifty! Alright, let’s dive in.
The Empire Looks Good On You – Invading the Black Talon
“The captain of an Imperial transport refuses official orders to intercept a Republic transport, and your team must seize control of the transport and carry out the mission. Will you kill or spare the captain?”
The Black Talon is a fancy little starship that is the perfect cruiser for any budding Imperial soldiers to use for a raid on Republic Transports, and that’s pretty much how things go down.
Each Flashpoint offers moral and conversational decisions that can actually change the way the Flashpoint is played out, and in the case of the Black Talon, that decision comes slightly sooner than the Esseles. Without giving any spoilers away, the first boss you face depends on your decision. With that in mind, we’ll discuss the first possible boss on the Black Talon.
The GXR-5 Sabotage Droid, for the most part, will be your typical ‘Tank and Spank’. Your Tank will grab the boss; while the rest of the party attempts DPS. The biggest thing to watch out for with the Sabotage Droid is he spawns droid adds that will self-destruct, causing a lot of damage. So it’s important for them to be kited or for targeted party members to move away before they blow up after a few seconds.
The opposing choice will face you off against Sergeant Boran and His Squad. Boran has a Healer with him, along with some ranged DPS. Typically, you’ll want to burn down the Healer first, while the Tank holds Boran’s attention. With the death of Boran’s Healer, you can choose to quickly destroy the remaining DPS or Focus-fire on Boran.
Next up is Commander Ghulil, who is one of my favorite alien species in the Star Wars Universe, a Mon Calamari. Ghulil has two Healers on each side of him that you’ll want DPS to take out, while the Tank focuses on Ghulil. Once the Healers have been taken out, it’s mostly straight forward, dealing damage to Ghulil himself. However, he will occasionally call down a droid that attacks with an AoE fire attack, with a DoT that stacks. You’ll want to avoid this attack by moving around, and continuing to focus fire Ghulil.
There is an optional boss available in the Black Talon, the GXR-7 Command Droid, that you can attempt to rough up once you’ve destroyed all the target ‘Munitions Power Consoles’ (part of a Bonus Objective). Upon completion of that task, a nearby door will open and our
friendly murderous Droid will come out for battle.
The battle for the most part is Tank and Spank, but he will perform a ‘knock-back’ on random characters, which he’ll then focus Blaster Fire on. If there are Healers available, they should be on guard to throw some heals at those that get targeted by his focused Blaster Fire, but other then that – just wear him down.
The final boss of the Black Talon is the Jedi Yadira Ban, this battle is again mostly a Tank and Spank and she use a few abilities to keep an eye out for. At any time during the battle, she may ‘Force Charge’ party members with the highest threat, rendering them stunned for around 1.5 seconds.
Her other big ability is ‘Cyclone Nova’, which will pull all nearby party members to her location; at which point your movement speed is reduced by 70%. You’ll want to move away from her as soon as possible, as she will release a powerful AoE attack after a short period.
With the defeat of the Jedi, you have completed the Black Talon. Hopefully you got some stylin’ Imperial Gear and you’re well on your way to enjoying Flashpoints. Let’s move on to the Republic side now.
For the Republic, and Into the Esseles
“When a Republic transport secretly carrying a high-profile passenger is attacked by Imperials, your team must defend the ship and eventually must decide the passenger’s fate.”
Landing on the Esseles, you’ll find yourself in a mess of a situation. You soon realize that the Empire is coming to the Esseles looking for a ‘High-profile passenger’ and soon enough there will be explosions and mayhem drawing you into combat.
As you fight your way through the ship, you’ll find yourself engaging in some dialogue portions and shortly after that, your first boss fight.
Lieutenant Isric is, for the most part, pretty straight forward. The Tank will pickup the boss, while DPS will work to burn down his HP. Throughout the fight he will spawn melee-based adds that will attempt to cut down your Healer. Keep on an eye on these adds and either have the Tank pick them up or the DPS destroy them.
Fighting your way beyond this, you’ll be given the conversation options that can lead you on two different paths in the Flashpoint; I won’t give away any specific spoilers, but this is a really fun conversation. With that last statement in mind, let’s move on to the next boss.
Ironfist the Mandalorian can be a little bit troublesome, using AoE knock-backs along with an AoE Damage-Over-Time Missile attack, which can put on some serious hurt. While he’s attempting to blow you up into tiny pieces, there will also be adds throughout the fight to look out for.
It’s important to watch out for his AoE attack; you’ll see a blue target on the ground where he is planning on using it, so remember to flee before he reigns fire down on you and turns you into barbecue. Deal with the adds as needed, if they are damaging your Healer – take them out.
The ISS-7 Guardian Battledroid has a couple of unique things to watch out for; he has a knock-back which I did see a few players fall victim too. The ISS-7 would use his knock-back attack and helpless Jedi would tumble to their deaths off the edge of the ramp. The knock-back also appears to serve as an ‘aggro dump’, so if the Droid boss changes targets; make sure the Healer is on-task to keep the new target alive.
The ‘Bonus Boss’ for the Esseles is the ISS-944 Power Droid; he will only appear if you complete the bonus objectives for “Desperate Assault”, the last of which revolves around two party members pressing buttons at opposite locations at the same time.
While battling the ISS-944, the main thing to watch out for is his AoE Purple Lightning. Once this brute starts going purple, he will deal AoE damage to all nearby targets, while increasing his damage output against its main target. The best course of action while he is glowing is to kite him until the ability ends.
Your final battle is with the Sith Vokk, and boy does he know how to make an appearance. Sith in general are pretty good at making appearances, but I digress… Your Tank will want to grab aggro and attempt to keep his attention while Vokk unleashes a series of attacks bent on destroying your party.
Things to look out for:
- Knockback attack
- Lightsaber throw at random party member for high damage
- AoE Force Lightning attack; watch out for purple ground targeting and move out of the way.
- Force Choke will stun and damage you, you can use your class ‘escape’ ability to free yourself.
This is one battle where a healer is certainly handy. After you wear on Vokk long enough, victory will be yours and there you have it; you’ve conquered the Esseles Flashpoint! You can also check out Condemned’s Video Guide for the Esseles over HERE for some visual support.
So does the Story Deliver?
The first two Flashpoints are action-packed, with unique and interesting dialogue that actually has you wanting to interact in the ‘Social system’ while conversing with party members. It’s also a perk that the dialogue options actually offer alternative paths in each Flashpoint, adding some replay value and more flavor to the choices your character is making.
I’m also a sucker for things that go boom, and there’s plenty of explosions in both Flashpoints, with bodies laying about, fire everywhere – it’s great at pulling you in. The pacing of combat, dialogue, and music in general are all done very well providing a good sense of immersion in the events unfolding.
Both beginning Flashpoints are relatively easy, but I don’t see that as too much of a shock as BioWare is attempting to ease players into the Flashpoint experience and assure them that the story and intricacies you see in other parts of SWTOR will be prevalent there as well.
They are definitely both worth checking out, and will serve as a great starting point for players launching into Flashpoints in SWTOR. You can find more images from our very own David Moore taken from the Esseles HERE or the Republic Fleet HERE. Enjoy, TORWarriors!