I am not much of a forum person but quite a few folks have asked me to put together some tips for running hardmode flashpoints with companions so here you go.
Running flashpoints with companions can be fun! I do that regularly and its a blast. . Made some vids along the way. You don't need raid gear for it is the best part.
Step 1: Gearing up as a fresh 50 with a buddy
-Max out affection for all your companions for extra presence.
-Take the time to do the dailies and grab some daily commendation stuff and daily reward item modifications.
-Get some crafted earpieces, implants, augments etc.
-Pick up some datacrons.
-Grind Kaon Normal Mode
Kaon Normal mode is pretty much a loot pinnata for free tionese grade armorings, mods and enhancements.
Grab some 51 mods and enhancements by running Kaon on 'NORMAL MODE' for yourself and your companions.
You can do this even with companion tanks just for fun!
Running hard modes with 2 healing companions is the most feasible as you will have 2 cleanses in the group which tends to help. You can also run it with a dps tank and player heals with 2 dps companions as well. I found certain hard modes non-doable with just companion dps due to short enrage fuses on bosses such as Bulwark (D7) and colonel Daksh (MP)
Optimum Group Combo:
-Player Tank (interrupt preferred)
-Player DPS (interrupt preferred)
-2 x Healing Companions.
Optional group combination:
-Player DPS / Off Tank
-1 x Companion DPS (Ranged)
-1 x Companion DPS (Melee)
Certain combinations you should avoid mostly because you may run into some walls on certain hard modes. Or they may start to become inefficient, time and money wise. Combinations to avoid are (player tank+player healer + dps companions) or (companion tanks+player healer+player dps). Once you are geared enough you may be able to do these other combinations. This guide focuses on running this content without op gear and shows you how you can gear up to full columi from the ground up with a team mate (aka mentor).
Gearing up as a Tank:
Focus on absorption and shield rating over endurance and defense. Stack your augments with absorption. Companions are the absolute worst in healing spike damage. While defense is great for complete mitigation, having less absorption is going to make you spike that tends to mess up your companion healing. With a player healing its fine because players can make judgement calls, companions cannot. The less damage you take from incoming attacks the better it is for companions to heal you. The spec I used to tank these hard modes 2 man is as follows:
Tanking Spec Jedi Guardian: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#50...dMdfzZcMRZ0M.1
1 pt in defiance helps as there are several knockbacks and stuns in hard modes for tanks.
If companions are healing, don't slack on Force Sweeps, Blade Barriers and Riposte. Speccing in Blade Barricade allows you to increase your defenses everytime you hit Riposte. Chain your cooldowns early so you can use them multiple times in the fight.
Gearing up your companions:
This could get expensive thanks to the no off-class loot droppings from flash points but running Kaon Norm mode could get you some great free enhancements. Farming corelia commendations also give you access to some great free companion epics and slotted gear. You can always buy some decent blue/prototype/epic or crafted gear for them from the GTN if you are one of those rich fellows.
-Stack Power and Alacrity on your heal companions.
Why? Because companions are dumb, they will not stop their casts before moving out of that circle on the floor. Most ground effects tick within 2-3 seconds. The faster they cast, the faster they finish casting, the faster they will respond to your active and passive commands which you will need to do a lot. Power tends to help companions a bit more than their primary stat. This is due to the fact that companions don't have skill trees that scale their primary trait or enhance their critical chances. (atleast not yet, wink wink)
Gearing up as a DPS:
You have to bring your A game so be on top of your best rotations and don't tunnel in the process. There are quite a few dps guides out there that will help you in this regard. I do this with a DPS sage who runs 2 diff specs, Balance (13/28) and the other spec is full Telekinetic with imp force armor. When tank is undergeared, 2 extra points in imp force armor does tend to help if you build a habit of bubbling the tank as a dps. Balance 13/28 is a bit more dps if you are falling a bit short on enrages.
Gunslingers also tend to bring some impressive dps and some good tricks up their sleeves for reducing damage and a commando trooper's off healing comes in handy as well.
Be on top of interrupts, watch your threat and minimize any avoidable damage you take because if companions start healing you, they don't heal the tank.
How to Control your companions:
Learning how to quickly turn your companion passive and active is critical. Go under preferences and create shortcut keys for these actions on companion bars. My shorcut key to turn my companion passive is
If you have a gaming mouse with several programmable buttons, stick this to one of your mouse button 5 or something. Last thing you want to do is waste time clicking their passive ability manually.
Keep your companion in your sight at all times. If a threatening ground effect goes under them, use your shortcut key toggle to turn them passive then back to active. Maintain some distance from your companion so when turned passive he walks enough distance to get out of the ground effect.
Step 2: Your First 2 Man Hard Modes!
Kaon Under Siege: (Difficulty Easy)
Start with Kaon Under Siege due to generous enrage timers and easier boss mechanics. The trash however may present some challenges initially. You mainly wanna watch out for the Mercenaries and screamers on trash. CC them if you can or kill them asap. On Bosses, the Rakghoul boss can be done 2 ways. You can kite him around from barrel to barrel and kill him or keep him tanked near turrets for added dps if you are a bit short on dps. Once behemoth is out of the way, the final boss is fairly straightforward. Kill the 2 adds, kill the plaguebeares, kill boss. If you have multi-target dps abilities such as aoe procs and such you can keep up some damage on lt lk'graath while killing adds down.
2 Man Turret Encounter:
This encounter is fairly simple if tank gets on the turret and uses the "Mini Map" to point the turret in direction of adds instead of waiting for visual. You can spray the turret in the direction of the reds right when they spawn. Make sure to grab the elites as they spawn as well.
2 Man Rakghoul Behemoth Encounter
The mechanics of this fight are a bit of nuisance over hardness. Maintain your distance from him but not too much otherwise he jumps on you. Same goes for companions as well. Keep them away from you but not too far from the boss.
2 Man Lt. Lk'graagth
This fight is less of a pain with companions cleansing bleeds off of you. Once adds spawn, aoe them along with the boss so some damage stays on the boss throughout the encounter.
Taral V: (Difficulty Semi-Medium)
3 bosses in there have some semi-decent gear, I recommend not skipping PD-44 as he is simpler than it may seem at first and gives you some great practice.
2 man PD-44
Practice getting your companions in and out of his ground circles, this is good practice for a more chaotic fight later such as Esseles and Directive 7. With proper interrupts this fight turns into a training fight for almost any hard mode in swtor.
2 man Gen Eidgar
Key to maximize dps and beating enrage is for the tank to tank most of the drones while dps stays on boss. This can be done with medium dps and a medium gear tank as well. Watch the video for some on the spot tips. Keep your companions out of line of sight of turrets and droids.
Once you have grinded the above a few times and gotten a little more gear you can step into the next tiers which are as follows
Medium Difficulty Hard Modes
-Battle of Ilum (Columi Offhand)
-False Emperor (Columi Chest, tionese grade main hand)
Hard Difficulty Hard Modes:
-Esseles (this is a bit hard for only a bracer piece)
-Maelstrom Prison (columi boots)
Very Hard Difficulty Hard Modes:
-Directive 7 (columi legs)
Step 3: Run some medium difficulty hms
Battle of Ilum: (Difficulty Medium)
2 Man Krel-Thak
This is a tricky encounter but similar to Taral V gen Eidgar. Key is to interrupt his defense screen to maximize dps and get rid of adds fast. Killing adds quickly is one things companion AOE cannot do. A player dps aoe comes in real handy. Even if you are a healing, you will need to be ready to AOE at a moments notice.
Once you get past Krel-Thak, the final boss doesnt present much of a challenge
2 man Darth Serevin
In this encounter, interrupts are critical. Priority of interrupts is Force Explosion > Dark Blast. If you can interrupt both, well and good.
False Emperor:[(Difficulty Medium)
2 man Jindo Krey
Getting past Jindo may present some challenge at first but don't give up. Co-ordinate with your buddy for clicking turrets if you get grappled. We did a messy one at first but now we can cruise past him like he is nothing.
2 man HK-47
HK-47 drops your Tionese mainhand. This fight really is easier than it may seem at first. Tank him faced away so your group doesnt get sprayed. Drop the missile circles away from your companions so they dont take splash damage. You will need to deal considerable damage to beat his enrage. He also has a 5% enrage. If you hit the enrage, that doesn't mean the fight is lost. Tank with a couple of columi pieces can live through his enrage for an additional 10-15 seconds but anything past that probably not.
2 man Darth Malgus
Most of this long-a** fight is smooth cruising, the tricky part comes in during his last 15% when you have to re-position him running with your companions. Run straight down the center to position Darth Malgus. Keep your companions with you or he will charge the companion then charge back to knock you off the platform.
Once positioned, wait for his force lightening cast then use a nade to stop his cast then use a knockback ability to knock him off the ledge.
Step 4: Run some harder ones
Hard Mode Esseles (Difficulty Hard)
Believe it or not, this is a hard instance to do with companions even in good gear. Your first challenge will be massive group healing and dps needed on Ironfist. Once you overcome that, Lord Vokk is no walk in the park either. Keep your nerves as calm as possible, while damage may be considerable, the companions will be able to keep you up provided you interrupt Ironfist;s headshots. Keep your companions spread apart to maximize cross healing. You may need consumables to break his enrage timer. If you have Biochem , you can use re-usable bop adrenals (why Bioware why!!). If he enrages, get on those interrupts and kill him before he goes into another missile salvo. Chances are that your companions may not be able to heal you through that.
2 man IronFist
2 man Lord Vokk:
Your PD-44 practice now comes in real handy. In this fight you will need to move your companions A LOT while tyring to burn him down. Save your oh-**** buttons for his enrage if any. You will be missing health throughout this fight but dont panic. Burn your heroic moment about half way into the fight and it will last through till the end and it will heal you through the saber throws.
Use your break free ability to get out of stuns.
Hard Mode Maelstrom Prison (Difficulty Hard)
Colonel Daksh may present a significant challenge due to the mix of mechanics and enrage. Avoid his grapple as much as you can. Stay near a crate to los his grapple. If you do get grappled, interrupt the carbonize.
Watch the video for more tips
2 man Grand Moff Kilran
This is a relatively easier encounter once you get past Daksh.
Hard Mode Directive 7 (Difficulty Very Hard)
We waited for our 4 peices to do this. Its on farm now but our first few attempts were brutal. By this time you should have enough tionese stuff to gear not only you but your companions with some tionese pieces as well.
Bulwark is an all out burn fight, a true test of tanking and dps abilities
2 Man Bulwark
Once you pass Bulwark, Mentor doesnt get any easier but on the brighter side, we didnt see any enrage on mentor. however the longer he is up the damage may get out of hand.
2 Man Mentor Hard Mode
The fight is exactly as chaotic as it looks with companions in the mix but doable. Dont worry if you have troubles with Mentor, you may have enough columi at this time to get your final piece. Save your Columi badges for your legs imo. I still recommend doing Directive 7 , 2 man. If you are looking for a challenge in swtor. This is where its at. Its a blast.
Using a Companion to Tank a hard mode
If you are really up for it and neither party member likes to tank. You can use a companion tank. I advise on running Kaon on normal mode to gear up your companion with some pieces first. Stack absorption on your companion to avoid spikes as companion armor just plain sucks! You can use a player healer with a heal companion to run hard modes with companions. This can be quite challenging but fun.
Companion Tanks Kaon & T5 Hard Mode
Submitted by PorsaLindahl
Rakata geared Powertech and Tionese geared Marauder with Tionese geared Mako and Quinn.
"The trick with Yadira is to taunt her to the center of the circle on the floor in front of where she spawns, but keep your companions on the outside the circle to avoid her smash.** Comps won't be pulled into her gravity well type ability so you don't have to worry about trying to run them out of the damage radius when she does her smash. Just taunt her back to the center of the circle after each smash, rinse and repeat until she dies. She actually enraged on us with 2% HP, but it was too little, too late.
** Powertech can use explosive dart to start combat with her - this will make her attack, but Mako will remain out of combat until the dart explodes or you do direct damage to her. Back up a couple of steps. Once Yadira's in the center of the circle, leap to her. Mako will stay where she was when you leaped in and be safe from her smash ability."
With that said, have some more fun with companions!
-Cytherion & My'a
50 - Jedi Guardian, 50 -Jedi Sage
Server: Kaas City