One of the most exciting features of the forthcoming digital expansion is the new Operation: Scum and Villainy. Pitting players against the nefarious Hutt Cartel, who are apparently amassing an army on the distant world of Darvannis. As the chosen hero for your respective faction, you're tasked with assessing the threat, and dispatching anyone that gets in your way. For coverage of the Operation itself, including boss profiles as well as my opinion of what I was able to experience, hit the jump.
First, I'd like to acknowledge those present on the PTS that helped me experience the Operation. You'll see them in the footage and pictures below, but I thought identifying them beforehand would be a great way to say thanks for being so helpful. We had:
- Kill'bot <No Name> @ T3M4
Thanks again folks, great having you along, and the help was much appreciated.
Also, as a final note before we get to the Op itself; this is in no way intended as a guide or proper strategy for the encounter. This is merely offered up to give you a bit of a preview for the Operation itself, and to see what you might be up against. Once the expansion actually releases, we'll have a detailed strategy, but in the meantime, this is just meant to show the place off a bit. We did this encounter on Story Mode, mostly to get a feel for the environment and mechanics, as well as readier access to footage and screenshots. Now, onto the Operation itself.
Scum and Villainy
The first thing that players should do is visit their respective fleet and pick up the mission from the droid there. The video below is from the Imperial perspective.
Thanks to DH user RykFerina, we now have the Republic iteration of this cinematic, thanks!
Having been briefed on the situation by the commander in charge, you're tasked with heading to Darvannis to deal with an apparently large increase in activity by some of the galaxy's less friendly individuals.
Arriving on the surface of this apparently desert planet, you'll notice a particularly nasty looking sandstorm ahead of you; unfortunately, that's exactly where you're headed. With the Hutt compound directly behind it, your party has no choice but to carry on ahead.
After pressing forward just a short time, you'll notice that you've become afflicted by a Howling Sandstorm DoT. Dealing periodic damage from the sandstorm raging around you, long term exposure increase the effect it has on you. Moving quickly forward, you'll discover an Environmental Isolation Field Generator that, when activated, provides a shield around the immediate area, preventing the effects of the sandstorm from continuing to stack. It's important to note here that even though the effect stopped stacking, the stacks remained on us and were not removed by the shield. So, minimizing exposure to the sandstorm is crucial here. Upon activating the generator, an incredibly angry looking beast begins to charge at your group!
Dash'roode - The Sandstorm Juggernaut
A truly fearsome beast, coming in with more than 1.5 million health, our group was a bit surprised by his arrival this early in the encounter. Thanks to quick reactions, we were able to adjust. One of the first things you'll encounter with this enemy is a powerful knockback. Throwing you away from him approximately 30 meters, it knocks you very far away from the safety of the field generator, and as a result increases the stacks of Howling Sandstorm present on your character.
At a few points throughout the encounter, the field generator will run out of power, forcing a member of your party to reactivate it. Doing so will place the field around that player, and require them to move to the next power source and replace the field generator on top of it. Obviously your group will want to stand under the field during this phase of the encounter. Remaining under the effects of the sandstorm for too long will result in your character becoming lost in it, and beset by scavenging womp rats!
Keeping in mind that one stack of Howling Sandstorm is added every 6 seconds, time is of the essence here. Do your best to kill the womp rats as quickly as possible and regroup with the rest of your party, or you will die very quickly. I was unable to relocate my party in time and, as a result, died. We were, however, able to defeat the encounter and move past it. The rest of the fight is pretty much a rinse and repeat of the first few steps, it's just a matter of keeping up with your party, minimizing the effects of the sandstorm, and killing the boss.
Titan 6 - Regional Annihilation at Reasonable Rates
Moving forward through various packs of trash, you're treated to some really beautiful scenery. I have to say, I'm really impressed with the atmosphere and presentation for this Ops. The feel of it is great, and I really think the team has gone out of their way to make an outstanding experience here.
After completing the trash in these hallways and valleys, you come upon a giant circular pit with several jagged rocks sticking out of the ground. You may also notice a gigantic, menacing robot meandering about. This is Titan 6, the next boss that you have to face in order to press further into the facility.
Personally this was my favorite fight by far, not only for the mechanics, but for the concept and feel of the encounter itself.
The intial phase consists of a few important abilities, and from our perspective they were very manageable. The first ability, named Lots of Missiles, is an ops-wide AoE damage tick that is unavoidable. Ticking for around 1.5k a second for the total duration of 6 seconds, this is pretty easy to manage if your group stacks for healing. Typically after this ability, Titan 6 will then launch an Air Strike against the Operations group. This attack spawns large red circles underfoot and must be avoided. After a few seconds, these will detonate, and Titan Probes will appear from the crater. These probes are easily killed, so dispatch them and return to damaging the boss.
The next ability that you'll need to concern yourself with is the cornerstone mechanic for this fight. If you'll recall, you noticed several rocks poking out of the ground around the encounter area. Titan 6 will lift off into the air, and as a result the entirety of the encounter area will be covered in deadly fire. When this occurs, everyone will need to find a rock to hide behind; the area is illuminated with an elongated orange symbol. In our encounter, multiple people could hide behind the same rock, though I don't know if this was intentional. Anyway, duck behind the rocks and you're safe. After he lands again, more Titan Probes will spawn, and will need to be killed.
Lastly, when Titan 6 is damaged to around 20% health, he will enter the second, and final, phase for Story Mode. This is mostly a burn phase, as there is constant damage going out, and your DPS need to act quickly in order to bring him down before the damage becomes insurmountable. After downing Titan 6, your group is ready to move on.
Thrasher - Bo Zarran's Prized Pet
The next area you'll find yourself in is a large arena with another angry looking beast at it's center. No, you're not back in Karagga's Palace, but the Hutt's obviously enjoy sadistic sports, and this area is no different. Thrasher, and his particularly jaded handler Bo Zarran, are the next obstacle in your way.
Overall, this encounter was pretty easy, with only a few, but crucial, things to keep in mind.
After a minute or so of damaging the boss, Mercenary Snipers will appear around the top part of the arena, and begin attacking the group. The tend to randomly appear in one of the four corners around the area, so have someone pay attention and call it out. This is a job for your ranged DPS, and these guys died pretty quickly. After defeating them, you're free to return to the boss. They'll reappear a few more times during the encounter, and you'll need to dispatch them the same way each time.
Next, one of your players will randomly be targeted with a glowing blue circle. This indicates the arrival of the Mercenary Firebug. The player with the blue circle needs to get away from the group as fast as possible; after a few seconds, the Mercenary will appear and detonate a firebomb on their location, leaving a wreath of flame on the ground where they stood. The Firebug himself doesn't need to be defeated, as he is apparently burned alive by his own flame. These circles seemed to remain, dropping them out of the way would be recommended here.
The last mechanic that I noticed as a large AoE Roar that the boss used a few times; it's identifiable as a channeled cast from the boss, and deals damage to those around it. I'm unsure if it's based on proximity, but it's likely. At any rate, it wasn't devastating, and ended after a few seconds.
After progressing into the following room, you'll have a brief run in with Thrasher's handler, Bo Zarran. He wasn't very difficult at all, and was reminiscent of Handler Murdok from Explosive Conflict. After you dispatch him, you're free to proceed.
Keeping these mechanics in mind, this boss was a cinch. Each type of mercenary will appear a few times during the encounter, so stay vigilant and you'll soon be ready to enter Oasis City proper.
Oasis City - Infiltrate and Overwhelm
The next task put before your Ops group will be the infiltration of Oasis City itself. After clearing out several packs of trash along the way, you'll need to be clever about how you arrive at the next boss encounter. Located within Oasis City are four security teams, identified by the colors Red, Green, Gold, and Blue. At the end of a serpentine path through the city awaits the Security Chief, but as previously mentioned, you'll need to be clever about how you gain access.
Dividing your Operations group into four teams, you'll need to assign to people to assault each team. Engaging and subsequently defeating each team will endow those involved in the fight with a buff for that respective security team. Having these buffs will allow you to bypass a security field, on the other side of which awaits the Operations Chief, your boss encounter for this area. There are a few things to keep in mind during this infiltration. Each team is highlighted on the map below, with the Operations Chief through the northern exit.
There are security droids that patrol the area, and if you're spotted, you'll need to fight them. These are Champion level mobs and really pack a punch, so avoid them if at all possible. Typically if you can't defeat them fast enough, they will call in reinforcements; we accidentally aggro'd a few of these guys during our attempts, and it was more or less over, especially if you're caught out alone. So, try to avoid the security patrols as you make your way north. Finally, a reminder about the security teams; make sure that only the people you've assigned to each team engage these guys in combat. Once you've dealt with each security team, it's time to hit the northern door, press through the security field, and engage the Operations Chief himself.
Overall this wasn't a particularly challenging fight, as the Operations Chief only had two noticeable abilities. The first is summoning Rail Turrets to his defense. Several of these spawn around the room, but are only Strong difficulty and are dispatched with relative ease. This happens several times throughout the fight, and they'll need to be taken out as quickly as possible.
Secondly, the Operations Chief will attach Explosives to each player, and they'll detonate when they are next attacked, similar to an Explosive Probe or Sab Charge. These hit for around 6.5k, so healers will probably want to keep an eye out. Eventually the Chief will fall, and you're free to proceed to your next objective.
Droid Market - Combat and a Puzzle
Moving forward through the compound, you happen upon a shady deal between an arms dealer and various customers. Protected by two Champion bodyguards, these folks aren't taking any chances while attempting to procure illegal weapons at any cost. Upon entering the room, players will notice a few things. Firstly, the three previously mentioned people are in the room, discussing the terms of the purchase. Next to them is a console, similar to the one used in the Minefield in Explosive Conflict. Below, there is a 4 by 4 grid with droids on circular platforms. The arrangement of these droids changes each battle, and is crucial to the completion of this event.
Upon engaging the three individuals ahead, you'll notice that the Wealthy Buyer is encased in a protective forcefield; you'll need to take care of his Bodyguards first. Killing them will drop the shield on the buyer, and you're free to attack him. Upon reaching 50% health or so, the buyer surrenders and gives a random player a credit token for the nearby console. Approaching the console, you'll notice that it has a 4 x 4 layout, just like the floor with the droids below. Each spot on the console translates to the spots below, and this console is used to purchase droids to come to your defense. You select the droid that you'd like to have buy clicking it's corresponding button on the console. The droid is then transported up to the room with you, and will help engage your enemies. We found that it was most effective to choose the large Spider-like droids; we weren't sure if all droids cost the same number of tokens, but the larger ones seemed to require two clicks on the console, one from each person with a credit token.
After a long battle, the arms dealer decides that he's had enough and starts to fill the room with a deadly neurotoxin. An elevator opens in the rear of the room, and all players must run to it and use it to shuttle to the floor below. Once you arrive at the bottom of the elevator, you'll be on the same floor as the droids you had previously enlisted in combat with you upstairs. You must now work your way through a timed gauntlet, working toward the rear of the room. Unfortunately due to time constraints, our group only got a few attempts in on this encounter before we had to call it quits.
Conclusion and Thoughts
While it was regrettable that we didn't have enough time to get through the entire Ops, I was glad for the time that I did have to see what lies in wait for us all in the very near future. With some very interesting bosses, intuitive mechanics, memorable characters, and beautiful locations, I think this Operation has restored my faith in the quality of content that will be making it's way to us very soon. I was pleasantly surprised by how fun it felt to play the Operation, how solid it felt, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it when the digital expansion goes live shortly.
I'd like to hear some comments from those of you who have made their way into this Ops on the PTS, and I'm curious to hear what you thought of it. As always, thanks for reading, and look for a future iteration of this feature containing the rest of the encounter; you can also expect a more in-depth strategy guide on this in the near future.