I started making my way through the Shadow of Revan prologue story mission, and almost immediately was sent to a Flashpoint. You may recall from my previous post that this was not a good experience when it happened on Ilum. In this case, though, I was sent to a solo version of the Flashpoint. Eltaix and Mako were buffed way up and we were joined by a combat droid, rendering the Flashpoint enemies basically the same as those you'd find in normal combat. Some of the boss fights were still a little more difficult, but not by much. Mostly it just took a while to get through all their hit points. I don't mind seeing Flashpoints as long as I can go through in solo mode.
|The strike team. That droid is more dangerous than he looks.|
Once into the main story, it's time once again to visit a new planet. Rishi is backwater planet run by pirates, and you show up pretending to be a pirate yourself. The idea is to get information on a larger conspiracy, of course, but it's kind of fun doing silly pirate stuff. Almost every mission gives you a new piece of significantly improved gear - in comparison to the story mission rewards to this point, at least. That's a typical MMO tactic for getting casual/returning players caught up for a newly released area. Feels a little weird in my case, since I'm playing it so long after initial release, but I won't complain about getting nice stuff.
After sufficient pirate-kicking, the story moves along to tracking down and thwarting Revan's plans. I was a little disappointed when I had to fight a fellow Mandalorian bounty-hunter rather than coming to some agreement with her, but that's a minor quibble with an otherwise interesting trip across Rishi. It all culminates in another Flashpoint (also with a solo mode) that felt appropriately epic, battling on the ground to turn the tide of a massive space battle above.
The story then moves on to another planet, Yavin 4. It doesn't have as much character as Rishi; lack of pirate gangs will do that to a planet. Plenty of wild animals and overgrown jungle temples, though. This time the story actually contributed to the choice of whether to run solo or with a group: solo players had to gather NPC help for the big final battle, via some extra missions (which also are daily reputation missions for all players). I didn't try the group option, obviously, but I assume you'd do some big group fights instead of those extra missions. I thought that was a nice touch, marrying up the story and gameplay mechanics.
I found Yavin 4 to be much more heavily populated with other player characters than previous worlds. There were several times where I had to wait around for spawns since other players had killed things I needed for a mission, or wait for an object to reset so I could get credit for clicking it. Pretty typical in the MMO world - the higher level areas get crowded as more and more people progress past the lower content. Annoying, but not game-breaking. I did enjoy the fact that one mission included an actual puzzle to solve; it was ridiculously easy, but still, something different is good.
|Lots of NPC help against Revan for us solo players.|
Following Yavin 4, I also went through the epilogue story on the planet Ziost. It follows up on the ancient Sith Emperor that was referenced quite a bit in the Shadow of Revan story. Fairly short, but an important episode leading into the next expansion.
Eltaix hit the level cap of 65 partway through the story-line on Yavin 4. Doesn't really matter to me, except that it means I can finally spend my 1000 common data crystals at the level-65-only vendors. There's still more story to go through with the Knights of the Fallen Empire story-line, regardless of level advancement.