Let’s start this off with a positive note: Last week’s patch, and the addition of Strongholds, Guild Ships and Planet Conquests generated a very enjoyable week of gameplay (at least for me). I watched my guildmates get excited about spending time on their personal strongholds, as well as our entire guild pulling together with a plan to invade Voss and win. Which we did, by our guildies working together and completing objectives and generally playing TOGETHER for the duration of the week. It was great for morale, and overall enjoyment of the game, and the event in and of itself was fun.
That was last week…..
This week: We chose to invade Ilum. It was a little slow going at first, but we were pretty neck and neck with another guild on the leaderboard most of the day on Tuesday, and once primetime evening hours hit, we all grouped up and did some group finder Hard Mode Flashpoints, Heroic dailies and crafting to put ourselves up into the #1 spot by the time everyone logged off by around 250,000 to 300,000 points. It was a lot of work, but we had a great time and we were actually experiencing content.
On to last night (Wednesday) – We realized that the guild that we were competing against, was gaining points faster than anything we had ever seen. They didn’t have any more people online than we did (in fact they had less)… and we had around 35 people online, doing nothing but grouping for conquest objectives, and yet, the guild with roughly 20 people online was gaining points at a rate that was so fast, that even with our manpower advantage, they overtook us and then some. We were quite confused…..
Until we saw the entrance area to the Battle of Ilum flashpoint. And then it made perfect sense. Every guild that was involved with the Ilum conquest (including the guild we were competing with for the #1 spot) had people standing around the entrance to the flashpoint. At around 8pm ET last night, there were easily 40 players just standing there, and we weren’t really sure why…. And then we figured it out:
A stealth-capable level 55 player walks into Story Mode Battle of Ilum and literally just runs to the end of the flashpoint… Now, there are a few clickable objectives you need to hit throughout, but it’s possible to do them, skip the enemies and bosses, and stealth out of combat to keep running. It takes between 6 to 8 minutes for one stealth player to reach the end of the flashpoint, then they invite 3 other guild members who are standing waiting outside the door, they zone in, which puts them at the entrance to the last room, they spacebar through the final cutscene and then those 4 players kill the final level 50 Story Mode boss.
It takes a total of around 10 minutes to do, and even without a Stronghold bonus, it yields 3,000 points to all four players = 12,000 Conquest Points for 10 minutes of effort. A group of four people can obtain (without Stronghold bonus points mind you) 72,000 Conquest Points/hour.
But it’s not just 4 people doing it….. If you have say, 3 stealthers running to the end in 3 individual instances, and 3 more people standing at the entrance: you can cycle it, so that you have 4 people completing the objective every 3.5 minutes for 12,000 points minimum, which is around 200,000 points an hour, generated by 6 players farming over and over and over. Imagine the points you could gain, if you had 15, 20 or 30 people coordinating this type of points farming? Which is how I saw a guild with 20 people online, gain 3 million points in around 4 hours.
I really want to believe that this is not what the developers intended for this event.
The thing that really makes me upset about it, is that my guild wants to compete to win the planet conquest. And there’s no way we can do that without exploiting this bug. So we are faced with a choice: Do we abandon the conquest race and just play the game and have fun? Or do we try to keep up and take advantage of an obvious exploit because the ends will justify the means? I’ll be honest… we started doing it last night because we didn’t want the points situation to get out of control, but HOLY CRAP it’s boring, it’s not fun, and many of us couldn’t stomach the idea of doing it nonstop for a week….. So we went and raided, and we did complete clears of Hard Mode Flashpoints and experienced content and played together. We still gained conquest points, but not enough to gain a lead and eventually not enough to even keep it close, and at the time I logged off last night, there was a good gap between us and the top guild on the leaderboard.
I am not point fingers at anyone…. If a guild has the determination and the patience to farm something that is boring enough to make me want to just logoff and go do house-chores because it would be more entertaining? They deserve to win I guess.
But for me? This is a game, and it’s supposed to be fun, and last night???? It wasn’t fun at all.
I really hope the developers know about this, and patch it. Soon. It would be an easy fix…… Make the conquest objective for running flashpoints a DAILY repeatable, instead of infinity repeatable. Once a day, per toon. Problem solved.
*sigh* I almost don’t want to log in tonight….