Nov 18, 2011

Posted by in News | 2 Comments

Fan Site Summit: Hammer Station Flashpoint

While we have seen the Esseles and Black Talon Flashpoints in the past, BioWare was kind enough to give us access to the second Flashpoint available to players over the course of their adventure, called Hammer Station (or, alternatively, “Bringing Down the Hammer”). This Flashpoint is “neutral” in that both sides have access, and it’s targeted to low-mid lever players around level 16.

First, a bit of a disclaimer. This instance is not completely done. This was a newly-introduced flashpoint, and thus it is still being tuned for difficulty and size. That being said, the environment was beautiful and almost completely polished – our smuggler had plenty of natural cover points, the areas exposed to space looked into space and not a gray mess of textures, and so on. The quests for it seemed to be inactive, thus there may be tasks or bonus fights that we did not get to see. Remember, it’s still in testing folks!

Our 4-man group consisted of Gnarf from R2-DB as the Jedi Guardian tank, Jesta also from R2-DB as our Commando healer, our own Lethality as our Gunslinger,  Momus  (that’s me!), as the Jedi Shadow, and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver.

It does seem that the design intent is to “book-end” your planet questing experience with some kind of Flashpoint. The Esseles is done after finishing your origin world, and Hammer Station comes roughly at the tail-end of the capital world quests. The story is told either by Satele Shan or Darth Malgus, depending, of course, on your faction.

SPOILER ALERT
The Hammer Station is an old Republic battle station that used a super-weapon that flung asteroids at a target has been found; the Republic had thought it was dismantled after the war, having decided the weapon was too indiscriminate for adequate military usage.

Both sides have different goals with the station, but the objective is clear: you must destroy the Advozsec Hegemony, who have infiltrated the station and, worryingly enough, are test firing the asteroid super-gun.
/SPOILER ALERT

This is a stand-alone space station: you are not attached to any particular world. Hence, when you come across bridges between sections, you can look out into space; in another section, you actually cross the path of the super-gun with a bridge that will deactivate after a certain amount of time. As for the instance itself, the packs of monsters generally consist of the standard and weak variety, with a smaller amount of strong and elite mobs in between.

And then the glorious, glorious bosses: there are three that we know of (making it shorter than the Esseles), though due to the iterative nature of they development I wouldn’t put it past BioWare to put a bonus boss in. Additionally, this Flashpoint contains the first few uses of Crew Skills to create shortcuts – we observed one for Scavenging, and one for Slicing. We don’t want to spoil the details on this for you though!

Each boss, of course, has its own mechanics, and I will put a small list of them here, as well as the difficulty for each. If you wish to be surprised, then skip this section!

SPOILER ALERT
The first boss is a large spider droid, the DN-314 Tunneler. It will randomly laser a target, which will require the healer to pay close attention to who it’s attacking. In addition, it will spawn numerous small droids, which flit about and attempt to explode on players after a short time. All in all, it was a fairly easy encounter so long as our healer (Jesta from R2-DB) was paying attention.

The second boss encounter was actually three bosses – Sawbones (healer), Torch (damage), and Vargan (tank). Each mini-boss had his own mechanics. Sawbones would heal, and then do moderate damage; Torch would use his flamethrower after using his lasso ability on his highest threat target; and Vargan would put Guard on one of the other bosses, reducing their damage taken significantly. These bosses proved to be a bit of a challenge as we had to learn their mechanics over time.

Of course, once we figured it out, it bugged – after killing Sawbones our tank immediately died, and wiped – but Sawbones stayed dead. It was pretty trivial from there on, leading us to believe that the whole fight hinges on killing Sawbones. Once he’s down the fight becomes much easier. And we helped Beta test it and make the fight better for everyone else!

The final boss is named Battlelord Kreshan. He is the leader of this particular sect of the Advozsec Hegemony. A couple of notes: he has two knockback abilities, a large point-blank area-of-effect knockback and as a secondary effect on the proximity mines he randomly throws at players. He also has a cone attack that he uses frequently that does a large amount of damage, but it is avoidable by simply moving out of the cone.

It is entirely possible to get knocked off his platform. In addition, the mines do a small knockback and a large amount of damage – combine that with his knockback at the wrong instant, and you could easily be flying off the ledge. In addition to these abilities, he also periodically summons low-health adds that do a decent amount of damage and usually bee-line for the healer.

This fight is about avoiding as much as possible – avoiding the cone, avoiding the mines, avoiding the knockback if you’re melee. Due to the pure chaos that occurs, especially when adds spawn, some amount of mine-eating is going to happen – the trick is to minimize it as much as possible. Additionally, he will reset if anyone in the party enters the back hallway, so it is imperative for the group to be on the ledge and positioned correctly.
/SPOILER ALERT 

All-in-all, the flashpoint is really shaping up to be fun and exciting. As mentioned earlier, it felt shorter than the Esseles, but it was still a blast. I, for one, can’t wait to see how hard it is on heroic.

If you’re interested in talking about Hammer Station or anything else from the Fan Site Summit, stop by the Ask A Jedi Cantina tonight, Friday November 18th at 9:00PM EST. We’ll be holding a live Q&A, and while we may not be able to answer everything, we’ll give it a whirl!

  1. Lady Republic says:

    The hammer is my….space station? *cough*

    Seriously, it sounds like a lot of fun. Can’t wait to try it.

    All in all, did it seem about the same level of challenge as Esseles, or easier/more challenging? (You can say now that the NDA is up, right?) Thanks!

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