By now I’m sure that many players who wanted to try an operation have hopefully had that opportunity. Maybe you’ve even cleared them a couple of times and are thinking about trying out a hard mode. The question that lingers in your head is: Are we ready?
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to know the answer to that question until you go in and try it. Since hard modes (and nightmare) do not share the same lockout as the normals there is absolutely no reason not to give it a go! Both Bonethrasher in Karagga’s Palace and the Annihilation Droid in The Eternity Vault are excellent gear checkers for the rest of the ops because of their enrage timers. Just don’t give up after wiping once and say you can’t do it because there are some tactics that you may not be using to make things a little easier.
Prior to going in there are a few things you should consider before attempting hard mode, the first of which is gear. If I’m running with a group I’ve never run with before the first thing I do is check out their health pool. This is the quickest way to determine their gear level because a higher endurance usually translates to better gear. Now by no means should this be the only indicator, but if you’re looking for a quick glance of whether someone is hard mode ready then take a look at their health. As a healer or dps their unbuffed pool should be around 14k-15k and the tank should be at least 18k. This would mean they have a decent number of tier or energized pieces that they’ve obtained in hard mode flashpoints or normal operations. Speaking of tier pieces, don’t forget to strive to make those set bonuses. Granted, some are better than others but every little advantage helps.
The next thing you should really consider is the knowledge of fight mechanics. Do some research on the differences between the two modes because sometimes the changes are subtle and other times more noticeable. For example, Gharj in Eternity Vault simply has a larger health pool and hits harder than in normal mode. On the other hand, the Heavy Fabricator encounter in Karagga’s Palace has completely different functions to their control panels. Fortunately, the changes aren’t terribly difficult to overcome and you’ll probably pick up on them after a few attempts
Group composition is another factor you may think about before tackling the hard modes. Some guilds may not have the luxury of picking out an ‘ideal’ group make up, but having certain classes can make some encounters easier. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t do fights with 6 of the 8 classes being bounty hunters/troopers (and I have run a normal KP with that makeup), but you do miss out on some helpful buffs and abilities. Variety is the spice of life and SWTOR! Some encounters will require a secondary off tank or, at the very last, a DPS who has a tank set.
The final thing I would like everyone to remember is to persevere! Wiping over and over again is never fun, but as long as you are making progress with each attempt keep at it. The main reason I do operations is to experience the feeling of elation that you get from killing a boss after weeks of work. I’m certain that you’ll feel the same way!
Ready check done? Pulling in 3… 2… 1…