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

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Public Test Server
Hive of the Mountain Queen on PTS! How to Get Geared Up and in, and What to Expect.
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Equeliber's Avatar

12.19.2018 , 07:39 AM | #11
Quote: Originally Posted by nicolask View Post
Why do you need PTS for a single boss?!
Come on... you ignore people's bug reports and suggestions on PTS (gearing and other stuff) and 5.10.1 will be released as broken as 5.10, you are wasting everyone's time.

How bad the developer team of AAA studio should be if they can't release fully working boss?

Also I can see that you keep removing posts from this and other threads, so much for "open communication"...
I fail to understand how putting ANYTHING on PTS can be considered a bad thing. People asked for more stuff on PTS for ages and now that they are putting even single boss encounters there, you are mad and angry...
Klorea, Sith Marauder Ael Vienne, Sith Sorcerer Eirinn, Sith Juggernaut Darth Malgus

Rion_Starkiller's Avatar

12.19.2018 , 10:19 AM | #12
Can the Hive of the Mountain Queen have this music?
In the Hall of the Mountain King

Quote: Originally Posted by fastwalker View Post
All that and nothing about a
Quote: Originally Posted by nicolask View Post
Why do you need PTS for a single boss?!
Come on... you ignore people's bug reports and suggestions on PTS (gearing and other stuff) and 5.10.1 will be released as broken as 5.10, you are wasting everyone's time.

How bad the developer team of AAA studio should be if they can't release fully working boss?

Also I can see that you keep removing posts from this and other threads, so much for "open communication"...
MattP designs the operations. Get a clue, and get your own thread.
Beruhl / Zenovia / Lobotomy / Sejanos / Warpunk
ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ
Quote: Originally Posted by Trolltar View Post
I believe he's quoting a frequent contributor to these forums. His name is Strawman.
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunafox View Post
Thanks Rion Starbrah.

LordAppius's Avatar

12.19.2018 , 10:49 AM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by MattPucevich View Post

These two matters are orthogonal at this point

(That aside, I believe Musco's otherwise got you covered
-> )
They should be polysynodal and work as fast and be as meticulous as you can on both. Still waiting to play kedi under bug on my main character .... can't progress beyond the first mission due to the simple fact that i can't summon major anri. Bug that i reported right away and over a week ago.

P.s.: which Bioware or the devs did not deem to reply, frustrating from ym position...
Swtor ruined after 4.0

LordAppius's Avatar

12.19.2018 , 10:55 AM | #14
Quote: Originally Posted by Rion_Starkiller View Post
Can the Hive of the Mountain Queen have this music?
In the Hall of the Mountain King

MattP designs the operations. Get a clue, and get your own thread.
Well for once i really enjoied the area, a bit short, but enjoyable
Swtor ruined after 4.0

Murder_Toys's Avatar

12.19.2018 , 12:30 PM | #15
The op boss and tunnels look great and thank you for adding a hidden short cut. ^^ Bomb area,, did nt kill us ... honest..

I was a healer so i can only speak from that point of view we under man it with 7 people 2 healers 1 tank 4 dps
it was very easy . I saw the yellow and red circle but was nt on voice chat to understand what they were.

was SM bolstered? everything just seem super easy .

Now on to Hard mode

Besrkers add some nice dots .. that hit hard so it was fun fight. some of the add guards the queen etc. at 7 man 1st pull we got it to 42 % system with the adds is nice . ofc if u hit the eggs... your in for problem with a short buff..

I would imagine VM 16 man this is beyound easy as a team member can die and take the short cut back and be back in the fight with in 20 secs

as a super special snowflake I demand ^^ a title for clearing this boss

the title should be " Killer queen"

its a hell of a good rock song so why ^^ not
MurderToys | Empire | MurderToy | Republic
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EricMusco's Avatar

12.19.2018 , 02:14 PM | #16 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Quick heads up. Matt's original post had a typo where it listed Tier 5 as 256, that should have been 258. It is now corrected above.

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Jerba's Avatar

12.28.2018 , 05:59 PM | #17
My biggest concern is the balancing of this new boss. Let's consider the following four types of raid groups.
  1. Casual group: can kill all SM bosses and the easiest VM bosses
  2. Determined group: can kill most VM bosses, and none or very few MM bosses
  3. Semi-progression: can kill all VM bosses, and most MM without GftM and Brontes etc.
  4. Hardcore progression: can kill all MM bosses

TL;DR: SM should be clearable by raid groups A-D as well as PuG groups. VM should be easily clearable by C & D, and with a lot of work also by group B. Outside of bugs, the boss is correctly tuned right now IMO.

We are an above-average group (C); we have killed all bosses except for GftM MM and are generally good at mechanics though we are usually low on DPS so we can't "burn through" boss mechanics like hardcore progression groups (D). On PTS today, we were fully equipped in 258 gear. Even on the live servers, by the time the boss releases, we will be in full 258 gear except for the MH/OH (right now we are only waiting for weekly caps to reset so we can hit Legend reputation). (Our biggest gearing concern is not so much the lower stats from the 252 MH/OH but that we will not hit the Alacrity breakpoints required for 1.3s/1.4s GCDs without using additional Alacrity augments.)
Today, we tried the boss for 4 hours. We killed it in SM on our first try. In VM, in our best try we got to 40% when the soft enrage starts (4 minute mark). With more time invested, I am confident we could kill the boss in the current form so we'd need to find a way to increase DPS. Outside of bugs, the boss is tuned correctly right now IMO.

From a gearing perspective, this boss reminds me of the Colossal Monolith on Ziost. Back then, most of the gear tier was released with Ravagers/ToS in 3.0, while only the MH was released with 3.2.
We are now in a similar situation with most of the 258 gear available from the Ossus daily area, and the MH/OH only dropping from the Mutated Geonosian Queen.

In theory, this is a great way to manage gearing. Progression players (D) can kill the hardest bosses to get gear, while semi-progression groups (B+C) will have to wait slightly longer and can then face an easier boss to catch up with gearing.
However, in practice this hardly works. In 3.0, the Coratanni exploit disrupted the gearing process, giving players BiS gear way too early. In 3.2, the Monolith fight had a weeks-long bug where the Breaking the Rift channel would auto-interrupt; that way you could ignore the most important boss mechanic. Now in 5.10, you can get nearly a full 258 gear set without entering GftM MM or any operation at all.

I estimate that the 6.0 expansion will arrive around 3-6 months after 5.10.1.
Ideally, above-average raid groups like ours (C) should need at most 2 weeks (8-10 raid hours) to kill the boss. Afterwards, you still have to kill the boss 7 more times so that everyone in the raid group gets the loot.
This will be faster than 7 weeks because we can do split runs (most progression players have legacy gear with multiple alts), though you have to consider that some players may have multiple classes or there are substitute players (i.e. more than 8 players per raid group).
So for those groups (C), having everyone with a 258 MH after at most 6-8 weeks is a fair timeframe. This leaves enough time to enjoy the content in the nerfed state but not enough time to get bored before 6.0 arrives.

Determined raid groups (B) should not be able to kill the new boss that fast. If they put in a lot of effort, they might kill it in 2 months time.
I remember during 2.X/3.X, many HM raid groups (B) had no trouble with DF/DP HM but then Rav/ToS HM turned out to be too difficult, causing those raid groups to lose interest and then disband. Similarily when GftM VM released, the bosses were too difficult for them so the sticked to the older VM operations. Now that GftM has been nerfed with 5.10, these groups may finally have a chance to kill it but from what I heard, most of these groups are currently progressing on bosses like Revan VM and have no interest in GftM, and I don't see them having an interest in this new boss either. However, in one year from now during 6.X, I can see these groups (B) wanting to progress on it then, and by that time the boss will be nerfed enough that these groups have an easy time on it.

Yes, a tuning like this means that hardcore groups (D) would complain that the boss is too easy. On the other hand, the game desperately needs easier raid bosses than GftM to cater to determined raid groups (B+C).
PuG groups will have a hard time in VM but I don't think that this boss should be puggable in VM.

I'll have another post on the boss mechanics.
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord

Jerba's Avatar

12.28.2018 , 06:16 PM | #18
From a level design/environment design perspective, the whole operation looks great. There are a lot of funny surprises (ledges and explosives) and players are introduced to some of the boss mechanics (Geonosian Royal Guards and Mutated Eggs) on their way to the boss.
In other games and movies, I'd consider the mechanic of adds hatching from eggs to be overused (e.g. Onyxia) but in SWTOR, it's only been used in one Rishi heroic (The Great Beast Hunt) and the trash mobs before SCYVA, so I didn't find it too repetitive. But please don't use this mechanic again in the next operation or it will get really boring really fast.

After four hours, we have figured out nearly all mechanics of the boss fight and have developed a good strategy to deal with it; we just need more time to internalize it.

Bug reports

Without a doubt, the most critical bug is that you can return to area start while the boss fight is active. Please ensure that players cannot release during the boss fight, otherwise dead players can just run back and rejoin the fight.

Shortly before the boss room where you need to plant the first explosives, it is possible to jump through the wall on the left side. That way, you can bug your way into the boss room without planting any explosives. Please fill the holes or put an invisible wall there to ensure players must use the explosives.

When knocking trash mobs off a ledge, they don't always die, sometimes they turn invisible but the group stays in combat. Eventually, they will show up again. Please ensure that if the mobs fall down, they are immediately killed.

In some tries, when the boss casts Pheromonic Blast for the second time (around 27 seconds into the fight), the cast bar would finish but the ability would not go through; instead the boss would then cast the Pheromonic Blast again on another player. Video:

A core part of the boss fight is figuring out which eggs are red ("empowered").
The Growth Hormone ability where three eggs are turned red has three beams that connect the boss with these eggs (example). However, when the boss moves, the direction and length of the beams is not updated (example), and you no longer see which eggs are being turned red. Please ensure that the beams stay connected to the eggs even if the boss is moving.


Our tanks had difficulty noticing when they'd be stunned by Overhead Skewer. (Our strategy is that the tank uses his stun break to avoid the subsequent Guillotine; one GCD with no advance notice does not give enough reaction time to execute a tank swap).
Please either turn Overhead Skewer from an instant to a casted ability or add a red raid warning text for the targeted player, that way tanks can counterplay this mechanic more easily.

Similarily, the Staggering Strike from the Geonosian Royal Guards is very hard to notice. As far as we can tell:
  1. The guards first cast Concentrate for half a second. This is a very short cast and easy to miss.
  2. The guards will then cast Staggering Strike; this is an instant ability. It deals as much as 170k damage to a healer/DPS. The only way to notice it is that the targeted player receives the Staggered debuff for 6 seconds and the guard now has two additional buffs: a taunt immunity, and a 4.5s GCD.
  3. The next action by the guards will be Execute, which immediately kills the player if he still has the Staggered debuff.
Maybe we are understanding it wrong but the intended strategy seems to be to wait for both Concentrate and Staggering Strike, then wait an additional 2 seconds and then put a 4 second hard stun on the guard. By the time the stun expires, the player will have lost his Staggered debuff and the guard will be dead before it can cast Concentrate a second time.
The advantage with this strategy is that the downtime of the add is minimized; you get plenty of cleaves to destroy eggs without spawning adds. This is especially helpful with red eggs to avoid the Geonosian Berserkers, or with cracked eggs so they won't immediately be destroyed by the boss' next Rallying Call.
However, in practice we would just keep the guards stunlocked so that they wouldn't even get to cast Concentrate or do the cleave. It shouldn't be possible to ignore the mechanic like that IMO. How about decreasing the cooldown on the cleave ability? Right now, 9s (even with the alacrity buff from the boss) is way too slow to destroy many eggs. With e.g. a 3s CD on the cleave, groups would be much more encouraged to not stunlock the guards.
Also, is it intended that the guards are supposed to be tanked? The Staggering Strike deals way too much damage on a DPS or healer unless he uses defensive CDs. The two guards spawn around 10-15 seconds before Rallying Call starts, which means one tank will still be busy with the boss and can't taunt a guard. Our solution was to have the off-tank take one guard while we would put a 60 second mezz on the second guard. Once the boss goes into Rallying Call, the other tank can get his guard (and by this time, the first guard would usually already be dead). Maybe decrease the damage on Staggering Strike so that DPS/healers can survive it.

Please ensure that red eggs are much more noticeable from a distance compared to blue eggs. Increase their size, make the red glow more luminous or add a circle below them.

Also, please ensure that the Geonosian Berserkers look different than Bantling Lacerators. One simple solution would be to change their toughness (right now both are elites = gold). For example, change the Bantling Lacerators to strong (silver) or change the Geonosian Berserkers to champion. That way, you can easily see how many Berserkers have spawned by looking into their nameplates.

Right now, it takes four spits from the Caustic Drones to destroy an egg. This takes way too long and makes it unlikely players will make use of this mechanic. First of all, the hitbox on the eggs is too small; unless you are standing directly on an egg, the spit will miss. In addition, while healers have the immediate threat, most likely a DPS will get aggro before the 4th spit, meaning the egg will not be destroyed. If you have friendly NPC nameplates disabled (which I'd recommend on this fight), there is zero feedback on whether the spit hit an egg or missed it. Also, the debuff from four spits is already stacked so high that you have to spend so much time healing yourself that you don't get to heal the group anymore.
Please ensure that any spit from the Caustic Drones will one-shot an egg, and that the hitbox is slightly bigger. Otherwise, there's no point adding this mechanic if players will not use it.

My main concern, as always, is that groups with enough DPS/HPS can just burn through the boss and ignore all mechanics. There are some barriers in place (e.g. the instant kill abilities, and the Berserkers that quickly wipe the group if you don't handle the red eggs) but it's not enough reward to follow the mechanics IMO.
You need a combined raid DPS of 32k to kill the boss before the 4 minute mark where his more punishing mechanics start, which is not much. There is some downtime while the guards are alive, so let's call it 3 minutes and we get a raid DPS of 43k which is still easily reachable by good groups.
At the same time, there are groups that don't have that high DPS. For example, in our best try the boss was at 40% by the 4 minute mark, with more practice we might hit <30% but not anywhere close to 10% as I'd expect other groups to reach.
Ideally, paying attention to mechanics should be rewarded by giving more leeway when it comes to DPS checks. Instead, this boss fight is so short that top groups may not even notice the difference between blue and red eggs, or cracked and uncracked eggs. They might kill the boss before the 2nd Rallying Call finishes which I don't think is intended.
How about moving the Pheromonic Multi-Blast back to like the 6 minute mark but increasing the downtime on the boss (where he takes less or zero damage)? That way, the boss will cast Rallying Call at least a third time and players have to pay more attention to mechanics. The Pheromonic Multi-Blast can be treated like a soft enrage which should be the start of the soft enrage where you start ignoring mechanics, with the Save the Queen! channels being the burn phase where you focus on the boss.
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord

Jerba's Avatar

01.04.2019 , 05:34 PM | #19
January 4th, 2019 (part 1)

We tested the Mutated Geonosian Queen for another 4 hours today, paying special attention to the tuning of both SM and VM, compared to the difficulty targets:
Quote: Originally Posted by MattPucevich View Post
Difficulty Targets:
  • Story Mode's gear target should be covered by Bolster, so as long as you've got your gear slots filled, you should be good to go.
  • Veteran Mode is targeted for fully augmented Tier 4 Legendary (248) gear.

TL;DR: The boss' hitpoints are way out of whack.
  • SM is too difficult in both 8-man and 16-man. The hitpoints need to be decreased by 30-40% to account for low-skill players or else those groups will wipe because they're overwhelmed by adds, or hit hard enrage if they have good healers. And maybe add stacks of Determination like in WoW to make the fight easier with every wipe.
  • 8-man VM is slightly too easy in that the fight is over too quickly (by the 4 minute mark); the boss' HP can be slightly increased by 5-15%—but not much more than that, or it is no longer beatable with 248 gear.
  • In VM, the 4-minute enrage (Pheromonic Multi-Blast) is too punishing, so if the fight duration is increased (due to higher boss HP), the Pheromonic Multi-Blast (and possibly other stuff) must be nerfed significantly. Any such nerf would require extensive PTS testing to ensure the balancing is correct.

Our today's progress

Today, we started with 8-man VM in 258 gear (+4% mastery bonus from guild perk). If you remember, last week we hit the 4-minute phase with around 40% left on the boss. Today, it was much easy. At the 4 minute mark, the boss was at 20% HP and we were able to kill the boss at the 4:30 mark. This had two reasons: One, we executed the mechanics much better:
  • Placing Pheromonic Blast inside red eggs to spawn individual Berserkers early
  • Not stunlocking Royal Guards so that tanks could use the cleaves on the eggs
  • Correct use of timely stun break on Overhead Skewer, and stuns after Staggering Strike
  • Stacking the adds on the boss for more AoE and uptime on the boss
Also, we had a more experienced DPS player this time, and the higher DPS made a big difference.

Then, we decided to try 16-man SM with 8-players, using 248 gear. After reading that 8-man SM is three-mannable(?), we figured it should be trivial to 8-man the 16-man SM. However, as it turned out, the boss had way too much HP. With 248 gear, we hit the hard enrage (7m50s) when the boss was at 27%. With more time invested, we might have killed it.

Following that, we did 8-man SM. According to your forum post, players should not need gear for SM, bolster is enough, so we removed our gear (except for an empty main hand). The average SM player will be better equipped of course, say around 230 gear rating, but we are also very skilled players and know the boss mechanics, so this should even out. Yet it turned out that with a SM player's average DPS of 4k, the boss has way too much HP and the fight takes too long. By the 6 minute mark, too many mistakes piled up (e.g. battle-rezz on cooldown and another player died) and we wiped with the boss at 15% HP. Ideally, a SM group with 4k DPS per player should have already killed the boss by this time Eventually we put on a few more 248 pieces and then we were able to kill the boss.
We did notice that the Geonosian Royal Guards dealt too much damage in 8-man SM if a DPS had aggro, so please nerf those adds in SM.

Finally, we went back into 8-man VM with our 248 gear. Unlike earlier in the night, this was not a breeze. We faced similar difficulties like last week—getting into the 4 minute phase with 30-40% HP on the boss, and then wiping because of Pheromonic Multi-Blast. The main issue is that each player had lower DPS, so e.g. 8k instead of 10k. This meant the adds lived longer and there was less time to focus on the boss. In addition, players were losing concentration.
However, I'd say during these tries, we had a experience similar to what a typical VM raid group would face. Considering that the boss is supposed to be tuned for 248, it should not be buffed too much. Yes, the fight duration must be increased but the 4-minute soft enrage must be nerfed. More on that later.


Current boss hitpoints:
  • 8-man SM: 6.2m HP
  • 16-man SM: 14m HP
  • 8-man VM: 7.7m HP
  • 16-man VM: 17.3m HP

As you can see, on 16-man the boss has more than twice the HP than on 8-man, which is correct.
But when comparing the HP of SM and VM, it is only a 25% difference. A typical SM player does around 4k DPS while a typical VM player does around 8k DPS. Therefore, I propose the following hitpoints instead:

Proposed boss hitpoints:
  • 8-man SM: 4m HP
  • 16-man SM: 9m HP
  • 8-man VM: 8.5m HP
  • 16-man VM: 18m HP

(The adds' HP should be adjusted accordingly by the same amount)
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord

Jerba's Avatar

01.04.2019 , 06:05 PM | #20
January 4th, 2019 (part 2)

I really like the multiple levels of enrage in this fight, leading to a steady increase in difficulty as the fight goes on.
  • 0:00-4:00: normal boss fight
  • 4:00-6:30: first soft enrage (Pheromonic Multi-Blast)
  • 6:30-7:45: second soft enrage (Save the Queen!)
  • 7:45+: hard enrage (Royal Indignation)
I don't remember seeing something like that in SWTOR before, where the boss' phases are not triggered by boss HP but by time elapsed, and I like it very much. (This does mean that top-DPS groups will kill the boss without seeing all the phases but this boss should be balanced for mid to above-average skill groups, not for high-skill groups.)

Usually, the difficulty increases over time because if you lack DPS, you will not kill adds fast enough, have less downtime on the boss and will eventually wipe due to the number of adds or due to hard enrage.
As a raid leader, this is a tough problem because no matter how you change the strategy, you won't magically get your DPS players to perform better. You rely on hacks like stacking adds so they die in AoE but there is only a small amount of solutions.

On the other hand, with this multi-level enrage, there are multiple places where you can experiment with your strategy and try out new ideas. This makes for a much more enjoyable experience, especially when your group is wiping on a boss for multiple weeks in a row and unless you as a raid leader find a way to progress, the group loses motivation.

(Going off on a tangent but this is very noticeable on Tyth MM, where if you have trouble managing the first add wave, you have trouble thoughout the whole fight and there are not many places to adjust the strategy.)

Back to the Mutated Geonosian Queen.
On SM, we could notice this multi-level enrage very well. Over time, more and more adds would spawn and the fight became more hectic. But it was a very gradual increase in difficulty and no steep learning curve, until we hit the hard enrage at the end.

On VM however, the first soft enrage (4:00) is already too strong. Until that time, it is a very steady increase in difficulty with some breathing room during Rallying Call. But as soon as Pheromonic Multi-Blast starts, we would wipe within 30 seconds.
I attribute this mainly to the damage from the outer yellow circle of the Pheromonic Multi-Blast. When three players get the void, you have two choices:
  • Either the players spread out so that the circles don't overlap, and then there'll be dozens of adds spawning which cause FPS drops and wipe the group if there are some Berserkers among them.
  • Or the players stay together, slightly apart so that the inner red circle would not overlap but with the yellow circle overlapping. That way, players would only get a single Pheromonic Blast DoT, not multiple, and they would not hit as many eggs. However, this resulted in the rest of the group standing in up to 3 yellow circles and taking as much as 3 * 30k = 90k damage with every Pheromonic Multi-Blast. This is not healable.

While I am in support of increasing the HP of 8-man VM so the fight lasts longer, the Pheromonic Multi-Blast must be nerfed in VM. That way, the burn phase (where you focus on the boss and ignore the adds) can start with the second soft enrage (Save the Queen!).
We thought of the following two solutions:
  • Only place the Pheromonic Multi-Blast on two players, not three players. (Maybe add another soft enrage somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00 where three players get it, but when the Multi-Blast starts, at first only two players should get it.)
  • Decrease the damage from the red outer circle, e.g. 10k instead of 30k. The red outer circle from the earlier phases (a single Pheromonic Blast) does not need to be nerfed, only the Pheromonic Multi-Blast damage requires a nerf.
However, I am concerned whether these changes lead to a net improvement. Right now, the boss is nearly perfectly balanced in VM. The only issue is that the fight is too short compared to SM, and I am not sure if it is worth it to increase boss HP for the sake of VM players reaching the "Save the Queen!" phase. You risk severely imbalancing the fight unless there is plenty of PTS testing, but right now we're the only group giving actionable feedback and I don't expect there are many weeks left until 5.10.1 releases.
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord