Sorry for the long absence, folks! Life and in game troubles have kept me busy, but I wanted to get a strategy guide out for the new operation before too much time has passed which it may already have. I’m working on video guides for the Scum and Villainy operation, but in the meantime I thought I would offer up some information on the changes you can expect for the old TFB operation in hard mode.
I am hesitant to really call this a strategy guide due to the fact that the mechanics of the encounters remain largely the same. What does need to be examined more closely is how you approach a few of these fights. For the most part, you shouldn’t have too much trouble if you were able to clear the content at level 50, but there are still a few considerations to keep in mind when going back in at level 55.
The Writhing Horror
If anything, this encounter has become even easier than it was at 50. With the increased damage capabilities and no new mechanics, the old girl goes down faster than ever. At 50, our team would take more than a full cycle of the Writhing Horror’s burrow locations, about 7 or 8 pop ups. These days we seem to get her before the first cycle completes, usually about the 5th position she pops up in. Keep your dps up and enjoy your loot!
The Dread Guard
You won’t see anything new with the Dread Guard encounter and, like the Writhing Horror, you may find it easier at 55 than you did at 50. Healers will have an easier time with the Lightning Field blast due to the increased health that everyone has. In addition to the extra damage that goes out, you should be able to kill Heirad quicker than ever before you move on to the others. The relic upgrades available from this encounter’s drop are a nice stat boost so kill early and kill often.
This will be your first challenge of the retuned Operation and will be a test for your DPS to meet. The data cores have more health, of course, but you may find that early in the gearing process your DPS may not be sufficient to kill the cores within the prescribed time. If you find yourself running out of time, you can always revert back to the original strategy of purposely failing the purple phase until your DPS is up to scratch. In addition, the extra Adds that appear during the second phase come out at an increased interval so be on the lookout for these guys. They don’t really pose a thread, but it is something different than what you may be used to from level 50.
Kephess the Undying
We’re back to EZ mode with the 55 Kephess encounter. You hated him back in Nightmare EC, but with your increased DPS capabilities, he’s become very easy. Previously in hard mode you had to make sure that he fell to each pillar in order to have the DPS to beat him. In the level 55 version you may not even need to use all the pillars. There is a changed mechanic in this encounter, however. Radioactive Barrage will now track its target more quickly so that person will need to be aware of this and make certain not to move into the group. Another trick that we learned was a much easier way to handle the burn phase at 10%. If the tanks run out at range and the rest of the operation group stack onto Kephess, he is less likely to drop an orange circle around the center. This doesn’t mean that it never happens so watch out for the stray circle. Having the tanks out at range seems to significantly reduce the chance of the circles being placed around the center.
The Terror from Beyond
The Terror will once again test your DPS and, to some extend, your healers. Phase one is changed at level 55 and only 3 tentacles per side need to be killed instead of 4 in order to progress to phase two. Nothing is changed in P1, but there are some things to note for P2 that you should be aware of. The first thing is that the Hypergate Anomalies will spawn almost every time the tentacles cast the ability. Keep an eye over your shoulder for this to happen and be ready to move. The second thing to note is that the Hypergate Irregularities have a bit more health so the DPS really need to hurry in this phase. You may end up with 2 or 3 Irregularities still up before the phase is through. Don’t panic, just keep at it and hope the healers are ready. This is the phase where the healers may be tested due to the AoE damage that goes out. All other mechanics remain the same so hopefully you won’t struggle too much with this encounter.
The revamped TFB operation is a nice warm up to Scum and Villainy. I would have liked it to have posed a higher difficulty with some more challenging mechanics, but at least we had something other than SV at level 55. Those of you who have already cleared TFB in hard mode will probably catch on pretty quickly, but for those who are first timers be sure to check out my strategy guides from when the content was level 50. Good luck and have fun!