So let me step in here and explain why these changes were made and what we'll be doing to improve the current situation.
When Explosive Conflict was released, it was stuffed full of Black Hole Commendations in all difficulty modes, which was not actually intentional. For some guilds, this setup heavily incentivized running a single Operation twice every week to maximize their accrual rate. For other guilds, this made the prospect of attempting hard mode risky and inefficient compared to sticking with story mode. It was awkward and puzzling, but it sort of worked, so we left it as is.
With the balance adjustments to Explosive Conflict in 1.4, we took the opportunity to correct the loot packages. Story mode is intended for players who want to run Operations in a more relaxed atmosphere; it's not meant to replace or bypass hard modes, but it should offer incentives that smoothly segue into the higher difficulties. Unfortunately, we erred on the low side with those incentives and failed to communicate the changes for 1.4. We apologize for the oversight.
So here are the changes you'll be seeing in 1.4.3:
- Increased Black Hole Commendations granted by [WEEKLY] Galactic Operations from 8 to 15.
- Increased Black Hole Commendations granted by [WEEKLY] Galactic Crisis Points from 8 to 20.
- The final boss of Terror From Beyond now drops additional Black Hole pieces in story mode. (+2 in 8-man, +4 in 16-man)
- The final boss of Explosive Conflict now drops additional Black Hole pieces in story mode. (+2 in 8-man, +4 in 16-man)
The key here is that guilds running story mode aren't forced to play it safe every week, but it's perfectly valid if they'd like to. The weekly missions should provide a good avenue for guilds gearing up for the recent hard modes, especially with the upcoming addition of Campaign Armorings to the Black Hole vendors in 1.5. It also makes more sense - Operations should be the best source of gear commendations regardless of difficulty mode.
As for nightmare mode Karagga's Palace, the commendations were actually removed as a side-effect of migrating the chests out in favor of putting loot directly on the bosses; however, the updated boss loot did not make it into 1.4. In 1.4.3, the commendations will be migrated to the weekly mission, and the vanity items will be moved directly onto the bosses:
- [WEEKLY] Deadly Operations now grants 10 Black Hole Commendations.
- In nightmare mode, the Dessler Turbo is now guaranteed to drop directly from Karagga the Unyielding.
- In nightmare mode, most bosses in Karagga’s Palace now have a chance to drop the M0-GUL Thrall Droid or Karagga’s Unyielding Helm.
One of our top priorities for future updates is to shape the endgame gear progression into something more coherent. We’ll also be working harder to keep a dialogue open with you guys. Good hunting!
Good, thorough, well-reasoned answer. Need a few of these in the pvp forums.