It’s been over two months since the release of 1.2 and the varnish of the new operation is starting to wear off a bit. Hopefully you’ve been able to take a peek inside of Denova to see what the Explosive Conflict operation has to offer. It offers new challenges for the Rakata geared player and is a welcomed increase in difficulty over the previous ops. If you find yourself struggling with a few fights then maybe this article will shed some light on some of the boss fights. You veterans may even pick up a trick or two.
Denova, the planet the Explosive Conflict operation is on, is considered the next tier of operations. Rather than refer to the gear by tier number, players seem to be more comfortable simply referring to them by name. You will definitely need to be geared up in mostly Rakata gear to make forward progress due to the tight enrage timers and the sheer amount of damage the bosses and even the trash can do. As you progress, you’ll be able to fill out the rest of your Rakata gear from here, as well as start picking up Black Hole commendations and gear. It is at this point where Min-Maxing will start to become important as there are some mods in these pieces that aren’t as good as your Rakata pieces. With a mixture of Rakata and Black Hole gear you’ll soon be able to tackle hard mode and pick up the Campaign level loot!
- Unlike previous operations, crowd control (or cc) is extremely important in Explosive Conflict. The trash mobs hit fairly hard and some of them have abilities that can easily kill a tank if they aren’t ready for it. Make sure to make liberal use of cc when you can. It may take longer to mark but it will save time from wipes to trash.
- While there are trash mobs that can be skipped, sometimes its better to go ahead and kill them. The chances of people accidentally pulling a group are too high, especially if you are learning a boss encounter and wiping a few times. Save yourself some trouble in the long run and just kill those trash mobs.
Toth and Zorn
- Move to the back – Have the operations group fight from the back of the encounter area next to the cave entrance. This gives you more room to move around and keep those bosses at range.
- Keep em separated – Obviously, this is the main premise of the fight but make sure you keep them separated far enough so that melee doesn’t get double dipped on both of the boss’ stomps. Their AoE stomp range is 25 meters so try and keep them far enough away from each other so their stomp AoE doesn’t look like a Venn diagram.
Firebrand and StormCaller
- Auto targeting is not your friend -During the defensive systems phase of the fight, you might find it necessary to turn off the option to auto target nearest enemy under the controls portion of the preferences menu. This option will prevent your abilities from automatically targeting the shield generator that you’re not supposed to kill. You might be able to get away with an accidental hit or two to the generator in story mode, but in hard mode a single accidental hit could eliminate your shield quickly.
- To swap or not to swap – In story mode, a well geared tank can take the incinerate armor debuff that Firebrand applies but, to practice for hard mode, you might find it better to execute the tank swaps. It isn’t a terribly hard mechanic to learn so you may as well get started early. It just means that both tanks need to know how to tank both tanks. Now there’s a sentence that would make abolutely no sense if taken out of context.
- Watch the minimap for spawns – When the bosses go into defensive measures in hard mode, the adds can spawn in one of three locations: directly in front of the tank, to the side or to the rear. Taking a quick glance at your minimap will give you a head start on where they will be appearing. Just look for the red dots in the corresponding locations.
- Early start on reveals - When you first start the encounter, have a dps go up into the tower to kill the add that spawns there, so the revealer can start clicking immediately. This will give you more time to open up more squares and get you down the minefield faster.
- Practice your interupts – It’s important to get your interrupt rotation practice in during story mode because it’s essential that those are performed flawlessly in hard mode. A missed Overload interrupt can easily wipe a group and a missed cleave interrupt can one shot a non-tank.
- Move to the rear - The turrets at the end of the minefield can’t be cc’d in hard mode but the ones furthest from the cave can be outranged. Due to the tight enrage timer in hard mode, kill the turrets closest to Vorgath, then move to the far side that is closest to the cave. This will keep them off your back while you focus dps on the boss.
- Get over here! – When you first glimpse a bomber, have one of your assassins or powertechs pull them over so melee can start dpsing immediately. This will give you an extra fraction of a second for extra damage you may need to kill them. Don’t waste GCD’s on stunning the droids.
- Separate the warriors – When the packs of Trandoshians appear it couldn’t hurt to start practicing pulling the warriors out of the group. Story mode gives you plenty of time to kill those packs, but in hard mode you may end up with two or maybe three groups out at once. Pull the warriors out of the group to aoe down the big packs, then take out the warriors one at a time. Easier said than done, but it will require coordination and timing of taunts to execute it properly.
I really wish I had more to offer on Kephess but his encounter is pretty straight forward. In fact, all of the encounters, once learned, are pretty easy to breeze through in story mode. Hard mode adds a little more complexity but, with practice, those will become fairly easy, as well. The hard mode formula that Bioware seems to favor is pretty straight forward: take an encounter, add an extra mechanic or two, shorten the enrage timers, make the bosses hit harder, and give them more health. Since they have yet to include nightmare mode, I am curious as to how that will play out. They did promise that nightmare would truly be a nightmare with Denova but only time will tell. Let’s just hope we get it sooner rather than later.
Ready check done? Pulling in 3… 2… 1…