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Hive of the Mountain Queen on PTS! How to Get Geared Up and in, and What to Expect.

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Hive of the Mountain Queen on PTS! How to Get Geared Up and in, and What to Expect.
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Jerba's Avatar

01.04.2019 , 06:51 PM | #21
January 4th, 2019 (part 3)

All in all, I'd say that VM is not a walk in the park. Even in our first hour where we ended up killing the boss on VM, we had a couple wipes.
  • For example, our tanks were frequently dying because they forgot to use their stun break after Overhead Skewer. The boss really should have a cast bar or do some special animation (similar to the Guard's Staggering Strike) so tanks will easily notice when they are stunned.
  • But we also wiped whenever we got too many Berserkers. This happened whenever the DPS didn't place their Pheromonic Blast on a red egg in the first minute. Eventually those red eggs would hatch and the Berserkers would kill 1-2 players, leading to a wipe.
So despite the low boss HP, players must follow mechanics as a single mistake is very punishing. Therefore, please be very careful when increasing the boss HP. Without corresponding nerfs, the boss will become too difficult for VM groups.

I was happily surprised that you can easily stealth rez multiple players during the Rallying Call cast. During the last year, it has become much harder to stealth rez players since you'd randomly be put into combat. It's great to finally get a boss again where you can make use of stealth rez.
And no, there's no need to add a random AoE ability to prevent stealth rezzes. If a DPS player is dead for a minute until getting a stealth rez, you lack a lot of damage. So having a stealth rez is no guarantee your group will be able to kill the boss.

Bugs and suggestions

We are concerned that at the beginning of a raid, a stealth player can walk to the tunnel, place the explosives and unlock the shortcut by himself. Yes, trash is boring and players want to skip it but this will lead to hostile behaviour in SM PuG groups.
Imagine a new player's experience, first time seeing the operation. Of course he wants to explore and see the instance. Instead he's being told: "No, wait here until player X has run through, then kill this first trash group and go to the boss."
In a recent patch, you added a door to the NAHUT trash that only opens after all trash groups have been killed, and the same thing MUST be added to the Hive of the Mountain Queen. Don't allow trash skipping.

When the boss dies, all adds automatically despawn. However, we noticed that the Caustic Drones would not despawn, they would remain while all other adds disappeared: Video recording (This was in 8-man VM).
Please ensure that when the boss dies, the Caustic Drones will despawn as well.

And as I'm sure you are aware, the boss drops no loot and grants no achievement upon kill. This must be fixed before the boss is released.

On the phase entrance door on Ossus, the VM icon is not centered. Please fix the phase door so that the icon shows up correctly. (Screenshot)

I noticed that on 16-man VM, the Berserker adds have a new buff that reduces AoE damage taken. This buff is not present on 8-man VM, is this intended?
But please don't remove it; I think this buff is a good idea for 16-man.

Last week, I reported that Pheromonic Blast would sometimes interrupt and then be casted again on a different player. Today, we noticed the same issue during multiple tries. Often it happened with the second Growth Hormone but it can also happen later in the fight.
One of our theories is that it happens whenever the boss changes its target (e.g. because a tank taunts). The second Pheromonic Blast happens at roughly the same time as Overhead Skewer where our tanks sometimes swap, which could explain the increased occurrences. But this is just a theory, we don't have exact steps to reproduce.

In SM, I did not see the Growth Hormone cast that turns the eggs red. Instead, a single egg would randomly turn red. Very rarely, there'd be a blue beam connecting the boss to the egg. However, once the boss reaches the "Save the Queen!" phase, she'd constantly cast Local Growth and turn three eggs red, similar to VM's Growth Hormone.
Please ensure that even in SM there is a visible Growth Hormone cast and a beam connecting the boss to the egg so that players become aware of this mechanic.

During some tries in VM, it felt that the boss' Growth Hormone ability will sometimes target eggs that are already destroyed. I looked around the room and only saw 2 new red eggs, not 3 red eggs as expected.
Please verify that Growth Hormone can only target alive eggs and will ignore eggs that are dead.
However, as mentioned previously, the beams frequently show up incorrectly; they often disappear into the ground. I mentioned in last week's post that this happens whenever the boss is moving. That is not accurate; this bug will also happen when the boss is standing still. We assume that it happens whenever the targeted eggs are not in the player camera's field of view ("frustum") but we are not 100% sure.

And don't forget to look at the bugs and suggestions from my previous post last week.
Those are all still relevant, except for maybe the Staggering Strike from the Geonosian Royal Guards, that was mainly a L2P issue. Today we were better able to deal with them, and saw that they have a very noticeable animation during Staggering Strike. Also, we didn't stunlock them so our tanks were able to destroy nearly all red eggs using the cleave from the Guards. So I no longer think that the Geonosian Royal Guards require changes.
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord

Jerba's Avatar

01.04.2019 , 08:11 PM | #22
January 4th, 2019 (part 4)

To better describe our experiences and the strategy we used, here are four videos from today's raid.

  • Our 8m VM kill in 258 gear. This was around 30 seconds into the Multi-Blast phase. When the phase started, the boss was at 12% so we could just burn the boss before we were overwhelmed by adds. You can see that I place ground markers on the red eggs so that DPS know where to place the Pheromonic Blast. Any Berserkers receive a target marker so DPS can tell them apart from Bantling Lacerators and focus them. Tanks try to use the cleave from the Guards to destroy eggs. Both Caustic Drones are harpooned together by the tank for AoE.
  • Our 16m SM wipe. Here we 8-manned the 16-man SM in 248 gear. We didn't expect the boss HP to be this high so we hit hard enrage. Other than that, the fight was very easy because we were overgeared.
  • Our 8m SM wipe. We wanted to test if 8-man SM is truly beatable with bolster alone so we removed our gear. Our DPS players had around 4k DPS each, and we also had multiple mistakes accumulating over time, causing us to be overrun by adds. IMO, the boss and the adds should have lower HP in SM so they'd die sooner. Keep in mind that the average PuG will even have less DPS than us in this video.
  • Our 8m VM wipe. After SM, we went back in VM, this time with 248 gear. Unlike before, it turned out to be much more difficult because of 1) lower gear = lower DPS and 2) players had less concentration because it was late.
    The boss was at 40% at the 4 minute mark, and then the Pheromonic Multi-Blast killed us. I imagine many VM raid groups will have a similar experience to this video. They don't have high DPS so they need to continue killing adds during Pheromonic Multi-Blast, they can't burn the boss yet. Therefore, the Multi-Blast must be nerfed in VM so it truly is a soft enrage and doesn't kill the raid.
    The boss HP felt fine; if it is increased too much, VM raid groups will not be able to kill the boss. So anything higher than a 5-15% HP increase would be too much IMO. This means top-DPS groups will kill the boss very quickly but they are not the target group for this boss.
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord

Jerba's Avatar

01.11.2019 , 12:24 PM | #23
Just noticed that there is a new PTS patch to download but the PTS server is still offline. Our weekly raid starts now, so if you can get the servers online before 3pm Austin time, we'll take a look at the changes and give feedback.
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord

Jerba's Avatar

01.11.2019 , 05:17 PM | #24
Today, we tested the boss for two hours after the patch in both VM and SM.

We found all four datapads and got the achievement (but there were no rewards for it). The datapads despawn once they are clicked but the progress still counts toward the whole group.
Unfortunately, it doesn't count for players that are outside of the instance. I can see this being a problem im SM PuG runs but it's not a big issue.
The kill achievements for this boss are still missing but I assume that is a known bug.

We noticed a few changes on the trash mobs (toughness changed, new abilities, small adds no longer respawning while champion add is alive). All in all the trash felt fine, good job.
Unfortunately, a stealth player can still run through and plant the explosives without killing any trash group. Please ensure that the explosives can only be planted after you kill all trash groups to improve the experience for players in SM PuG groups.

We started in 258 gear but without setbonus. For some reason, the armor pieces we purchased in a previous PTS patch lost their setbonus.
However, the gear currently sold by the vendors on Ossus and Odessen does have a setbonus, and it stacks with the 248 gear.
Please ensure that when 5.10.1 launches, players won't lost their setbonus on gear that they already own. Hopefully, this was just a PTS glitch and won't happen on the live servers.

In VM, we killed it in our 7th try (5m06s, kill video, DPS/HPS values). Our concentration was not very high and we were primarily testing mechanics. We noticed the following changes compared to the first PTS build:
  • Boss HP increased to 8m health (up from 7.7m).
  • Berserkers now take reduced damage from AoE attacks in 8-man VM (previously, this only happened in 16-man VM).
  • It feels like Berserkers deal more damage than before. If you don't hard stun them and quickly kill them, even a single Berserker can wipe the raid.
  • You can no longer return to area start during the boss fight.
  • It felt like it is much harder to stealth rezz now; I was randomly brought in-fight. But I didn't pay enough attention to be sure.
These are all good changes. In my previous posts, I argued for a slight HP increase, and this 3.7% increase is the right amount. The way it is currently tuned, the boss should still be beatable with 248 gear as long as groups pay attention to mechanics.

A couple issues remain, I already reported them before:
  • Berserkers and Bantling Lacerators still have the same toughness; they are both elites. This makes it difficult to notice when Berserkers spawn. Please decrease the Bantling Lacerators' toughness from elite to strong (silver).
  • Sometimes, the boss' second Pheromonic Blast is still interrupted and then casted again on a second player. (video) Edit: Check this post for details.
  • Pheromonic Multi-Blast starting at the 4:00 mark is still overpowered in VM. It feels more like a hard enrage than a soft enrage. I doubt any group lacking DPS will survive this phase for long. It feels weird that the SM fight can last much longer than the VM fight. But this is not game-breaking; the tuning is fine at the moment. Any change risks upsetting the balance, so it's better to leave it alone.
  • Caustic Drones do not automatically despawn when the boss dies, unlike all the other adds.
  • There is still no announcement for Overhead Skewer (e.g. via cast bar). Today, our tanks didn't have problems with it because by now they have learned to expect the stun. However, players new to the boss fight may still have problems with it and require an announcement of when the stun happens.
  • Red ("empowered") eggs are hard to notice. Please improve the VFX so players can quickly notice them without the raid leader having to use ground markers.
  • The blue beams from Growth Hormone do not correctly connect to an egg, especially if the egg is far away. Please ensure the beam always hits the egg so that it is easier to identify red eggs.

After we killed the boss on VM, we tested it in 8-man SM. We removed most of our armor pieces to simulate a SM group, and the fight was no challenge for us. We first stopped damage at 10% to see all the soft enrage/hard enrage phases and the damage was still easily healable until the hard enrage. Then, we killed the boss without any damage stops but with our lower gear. (4m42s, kill video, DPS/HPS values)

We noticed that the boss HP in SM was not changed, it is still at 6.2m HP. Previously, I asked that it should be lowered to 4m HP. I now realize that this would be way too low. In SM, you can survive through the soft enrage, so the HP does not have to be much lower than in VM.
Still, I'd probably reduce the HP to around 5m to 5.5m HP. Right now, you need a combined raid DPS on the boss of around 20k-25k which might be too high for some PuG groups; not sure.

Anyway, we noticed the following two bugs:
  • After you kill the boss in VM, you cannot return to area start; the option stays greyed out. Please ensure that this option becomes available as soon the boss dies.
  • It is possible to enter the acid exhaustion zones near the outer walls without receiving the Hive Goo DoT. I was able to reproduce it every time by using my Scoundrel's Exfiltrate. Other players were able to reproduce it without using any special movement abilities, they just walked in and took zero damage even when they continued standing in it. The same issue can occur with the exhaustion zones at the very last trash group.

In VM, we now noticed that the spit from the Caustic Drones applies a slow-ticking DoT on the eggs. In other words, you don't have to hit the eggs four times; once is enough. Then you just wait until the DoT kills it. Also, the hitbox seems to be much bigger than I thought.
Therefore, we changed our strategy to make use of the spits.
  • In the first two minutes, we still use Pheromonic Blast to call Berserkers early and our tanks will use the cleave from Royal Guards to destroy eggs.
  • However, as soon as the Caustic Drones spawn, we kill one drone and keep the other drone alive throughout the boss fight. The off tank will grab the aggro and use it to destroy any red eggs. At this point, DPS will place Pheromonic Blasts only into blue eggs to avoid calling Berserks.
  • At 10 stacks (the maximum), the Caustic Acid debuff deals enough damage on a tank that it is no longer healable. Therefore, our tanks will swap at 6-7 stacks, or our Shadow tank would just Force Lift the drone until his stacks expire.
  • When the Royal Guards spawn for the second time, we'll put a 60s mezz on the Caustic Drone so we don't have to worry about it. Afterwards, our tanks continue killing red eggs with it.
I'm not sure if this is intended. If you make correct use of the Caustic Drones, you won't get a single Berserker past the 2 minute mark and can just burn the boss without worrying about adds. In VM, it shouldn't be possible to just mezz an important add for 60 seconds.
Maybe add a mezz immunity to the Caustic Drones and an enrage if they live too long.

Finally, I want to talk about the loot.
Currently, the boss has the same loot in SM and VM, it drops a single box with a random 252 piece for your spec (the same box you receive when doing 10 dailies). For SM, the loot is fine (maybe add a purple reputation trophy and some Relics of Ossus) but in VM, it must drop a 258 piece. Most players capable of running VM will already have full 252 gear if the raid launches, so they'll kill the boss once for the achievement and then never enter the instance again.
Ideally, players should be encouraged to run the content for multiple weeks. Otherwise, it will turn into another fire-and-forget content like Star Fortress, Eternal Championship and Uprisings.

Also, we noticed that the 258 gear vendor now sells MH and OH for 1 Monumental Data Crystal, 8 Masterwork Data Crystals and the 252 MH/OH. Those are acceptable prices in our opinion. Apparently the Monumental Data Crystal drops from a weekly quest similar to the world boss weekly. In that case, do you need to kill the boss in SM or VM? If it is just SM, my group won't be very motivated to do VM.
The MH/OH is the only 258 piece they are missing, and with just two alts doing SM they can easily become BiS and don't have to enter VM.

Anyway, thanks for letting us test this boss on the PTS. We've seen all the mechanics now so we won't look at it again until the next PTS build, which I understand will be the final patch before release. The encounter is in a pretty good state at the moment, with only a few clean-ups and bug fixes left to do.
In my opinion, the balancing is mostly fine. Outside of small adjustments, please don't change it. However, we only tested 8-man so I can't comment on the 16-man balancing.
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord

MattPucevich's Avatar

01.16.2019 , 04:57 PM | #25 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
I have to say, thanks a lot for taking the time to write all of this up throughout the testing window. Not only is this great feedback, but the organization really helps sort through it.

We've been keeping an eye on the feebdack points even if we're just now getting around to responding. Apologies if I don't hit every point here, as you've written quite a bit .

But hm. Where to start...

Visibility of Egg States:
I agree with you about the visibility of the egg states, and we've tweaked the FX to try and make these things easier to spot. The cracking glow on eggs and "crack shine" halo around cracked eggs is now much more pronounced. Eggs hit with Growth Hormones will now grow by ~30% and begin pulsating. The glow should now be a little more pronounced, with some black-red fire aura bits on top. Eggs that are both red AND cracked can be a bit of a ball of light, but the physical pulsing motion added to red eggs should make it possible to tell that an egg is "both" as opposed to just cracked.

Differentiating Lacerators vs Berserkers:
To be fair, the Berserkers are both physically larger, and also glow red... but speaking more practically, I can understand the point that they're not easy enough to differentiate during the encounter. Dropping the toughness to strong for the UI icon is a pretty good layer of differentiation, so you all should see that in this next refresh.

Pheromonic Multi-Blast
Let's call it PMB for short. This attack being unsurvivable in Veteran Mode is a bit tricky. I knew the total damage out on that attack was going to be kind of heavy, but the fact that you're still finding it unsurvivable in 258s is concerning. I *am* admittedly assuming that there's some multi-healing (i.e. AoEs and/or HoTs spread outover the raid) going on to keep up with the total volume of the damage, but maybe that's a bit too aggressive of an assumption.

In Veteran Mode, PMB does 50% of the base damage of regular Pheromonic Blast (it's 40% in Story Mode). Someone hit by all three impacts would be spiked for ~90k as you noted, which on paper shouldn't be a problem in and of itself (especially factoring defensive cooldowns), but with everything else going on... hrm.

While the higher multiplier was intended to capture a bit of the increased coordination of Veteran groups over Story, perhaps the higher base damage is enough. Maybe Veteran should be 40% as well. That'd put the individual impacts at around 24k, and thus the triple at 72k.

Pacing and Time to Kill:
I don't really mind the way the encounter is currently paced. I think it's fine to have the encounter be on the shorter end of things, and (as you've noted) we're especially due for such an encounter in the wake of GftM's longer than average encounters. It's perhaps a little weird that Story Mode can run longer than Veteran Mode, but I don't think that it's automatically a *problem*, so long as it still feels good in its own right.

The story mode groups that I've watched make it seem like Story Mode's in a pretty good place. You can get in, run around screaming, shoot some bugs, have a good time.

One note with respect to bolster testing: You said that you pulled your gear off to test in SM. If that meant that you literally pulled all your gear off and were running around naked, you were probably attempting the boss underpowered. To clarify: there's a quirk with the Bolster system in that it will understat any slot that's completely unequipped. Make sure you have *something* placed into each slot.

All that being said, given infinite time it might have been interesting to see what Veteran would look like if the boss had another 60-90s of HP. It's a bit irresponsible to try and make that large of a change at this point. Like so many things, it will have to exist in the design of our imaginations *wistful stare*.

Trash Stealth Skipping:
You're correct that this is problematic, and for the reasons you've mentioned. There's *some* mitigation for this coming in the next refresh (Guards and Grenadiers now stealth detect, there's a new group of mobs camping the first bomb site), but I kind of want to tweak around with it a bit more. We'll see how this refresh goes.

If I can at all avoid it, I don't want to have placing the bombs mechanically require that the trash is killed, as it doesn't make a ton of narrative sense. That being said, it's always there as a last resort option.

Growth Hormone FX Oddness:
This is known, and has been addressed by the FX team. The next refresh should pick that up.

Queen aborting her own Pheromonic Blast casts:
There was indeed an issue with the interactions of the Queen's ability logic that was creating situations where she would pull off of her own PB casts without reason. This problem should now be, like... 99% mitigated. I think it may still technically be possible that it happens very rarely. The side effect of this change is that in situations where the Queen was previously pulling off of the casts, she may instead wind up picking a lower priority target for the attack.

Off center Phase Gate Icon:
I think this was fixed in the last refresh, but if it wasn't it should be fixed in this one.

Getting the Monumental Data Crystal should require a VM clear. If you're not seeing that, that's a bug.
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EricMusco's Avatar

01.16.2019 , 05:11 PM | #26 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
The refresh (next PTS patch) Matt referenced a few times in his post is likely to happen before the end of this week. Barring any unforeseen issues.

Eric Musco | Community Manager
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MattPucevich's Avatar

01.16.2019 , 05:25 PM | #27 This is the last staff post in this thread.  
Musco!! NO SPOILERS! (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻
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phalczen's Avatar

01.17.2019 , 03:54 PM | #28
What are the intended sources of Monumental Data Crystals?

Is the only source of Monumental Data Crystals as a loot drop from veteran mode Hive of the Mountain Queen final boss?

Are Monumental Data Crystals tradeable?

How many drop from the boss?
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AkidaBushido's Avatar

04.22.2019 , 04:31 PM | #29
So where Levling Termianls that level you up and give you money, removed?
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