Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Return to Normalcy: More Pugging in SWTOR

It definitely felt weird looking at the large block of free time the other night* and thinking to myself "I could actually run more a couple of flashpoints tonight!"

I've been playing that Jedi Shadow I'd originally started on Red Eclipse (pre-merge) and is now on Darth Malgus (post merge), and since she is at the end of Chapter 1 I figured she's at the perfect point to run some low-mid level flashpoints.**, so I queued up for several and got in without much fuss.

You have to understand that when the following is the case:

  • I queued as DPS
  • It's about 3 AM server time in Europe
  • I specified about 4-5 flashpoints in my queue

that typically I'd have to wait about 15-30 minutes before something popped. However, I got into a flashpoint within 5 minutes at the most. I should know, because I figured I could get some chores done while waiting but I nearly got caught missing the flashpoints because I was AFK when they popped.

But really, that was the worst thing that happened through the entire evening.

The flashpoints were quick, clean, and even the "all DPS" flashpoint (Athiss) was easily handled by my team. I'll freely admit that while I requested DPS, I geared as a tank, because in an all-DPS flashpoint you're going to potentially be called upon to be either a tank or a healer in a moment's notice. Besides, I had enough tanking gear in my inventory courtesy of previous flashpoint runs, so I was covered just enough to not feel like a noob wearing PvE gear into a Battleground.***

While the lack of drama and wipes were the best part of the evening, I found myself in several flashpoints with a couple of the same people. I wasn't so thrilled about one (who kept saying "whatever, bb" when someone would say something to her), but the other was a really good DPS and pinch healer Smuggler. When we were down to just two of us on the last boss of one of the Hammer Station runs, she took out the last boss pretty much by herself while I "tanked".****

I'd have to go back to Wrath era WoW, when I used to get up at 6 AM to play for an hour before getting the (then) little mini-Reds ready for elementary school or preschool, to when I got to know most of the regular instance runners on a server. It was oddly comforting, knowing that the same people who worked so well together were still around, running the same instances. Perhaps it is better to think of the early morning crew as essentially a mini-guild, held together by the common goal of getting an instance completed.

I never got that sense of camaraderie when I ran BGs in WoW, because a) I no longer logged in early in the mornings, b) there were the server don't-call-them mergers that brought a larger pool of players together than before, and c) in the 40x40 BGs that I preferred the fights were so big that you rarely got the chance to know people to the same degree. I wondered once whether the 40-man BGs approached the scale of fight that you had in the old 40-man raids, but I concluded that wasn't the case because you could kind of putz around in  Mists-era Alterac Valley and not be missed at all, but everybody (and I do mean everybody) had a role to play in AQ40; people noticed if you weren't pulling your own weight.

Still, it's nice to find some regulars to run with from time to time. I'm not planning on joining a guild, since my free time is pretty imaginary most days, but it's nice to have that guild-esque feel to some in-game activity.

Without all the drama.

*Courtesy of the Olympics, my wife was glued to the television and let me have free rein of the desktop.

**With the leveling adjustments done in flashpoints these days, the concept of low-mid level range flashpoints doesn't exist. However, I'll always think of the Hammer Station through the Boarding Party / Maelstrom Prison (and Imp equivalent) level flashpoints as low-mid level.

***If you've ever been in that situation, you understand. Personally, that's why I would run the WoW 40-man BGs until I got a reasonable amount of PvP gear, because one person isn't typically going to make a difference in a 40-man run of Alterac Valley. Typically, anyway.

****There was only so much damage mitigation you can do when you're specced DPS as a Jedi Shadow, and I was tanking pretty much from the beginning of the fight when the "tank" died early in the fight before one of us could reach the healing station. I died with just a 1/8 of the boss' health remaining, and the Smuggler was able to take out that last bit before the next round of adds spawned.

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