I made yesterday a flashpoint: Dorin Sky (donno now if its official name). And what?
1. swtor is about STORY! What story I ask? in every flashpoint we make decision abut slaughtering innocent or captives (Imperial Side). No more. Thats no story at all. We run from boss to boss who have only to say that we will die from his hands. We have only one reply: you will die. And he dies (or not and then we are stuck in the middle of flashpoint, waiting who quit first so queue finder get a chance to reinforce, hoping that some good lvl appear) So for me flashpoint sotory is a crap. No trill at all.
2. EXP. I made abovementioned flash for about 2 hours. And got 10k exp in the middle, and 3k as a reward at the end. AWESOME REWARD DUDES. I done it as 31, but its predicted for 33, so I was hoping for little more. Doing 2h jobs on Alderaan I would probably earn 1,5 lvl... I know subscribers get more, but even for preffered it should be more attractive, or subscribers will play alone, not to mention they probably hang 1 hour on queue finder to find company...
3. GEAR. Ok, i run flash and there was some custom build drops. Only one for me (IA), but even in this case i lost a roll. Good sniper rifle took some sith healer... As a revard I won roll for vibrosword, binded when pickup... Great. I dont even have any companion to give that crap away. At the end of flash i got 1 (ONE taris comendation or green pants, worse than i was wearing 3 lvl ago). So what to pick up. I felt like got slapped in the face.
I decided not to make flashpoints, thats pointless. Pls give me at least 3 good reasons to make flaspoints, assuming that i dont have all day to play.
1) Gear -- regardless of whether you won the roll, the drops from flashpoints are the best available for your level, aside from maybe some quest rewards if you're severely underleveled.
2) Difficult PvE content -- Flashpoints are designed to require a well-coordinated team of four players who all know their role in a fight. Having players of a higher level than the mobs in the flashpoint trivializes the difficulty, but this is supposed to be relatively challenging content that segues into endgame PvE.
3) Story -- Believe it or not, the flashpoints represent a very specific chain of events that explain the state of the galaxy at endgame. You may not see the broader story arc, but it is there.
If you don't want to run flash or make flashpoints, that's fine, but it's hardly pointless.
If a Sith Sorcerer rolled "need" on the sniper rifle and took it, that's not the flashpoint's fault. That's the fault of the player behind the Sith Sorcerer, and that's not going to change. Running Flashpoints carries an inherent risk of someone trying to take all the loot they want and/or like. It's one of the most common complaints from players who regularly run flashpoints (or any group content in any game), and there are lots of discussion threads about it where it's argued to death back and forth.
Flashpoints DO have story, just not as MUCH as your ongoing CLASS story. A Flashpoint's story is part of the game-wide storyboard, as Sensical0xymoron already pointed out. One book might be less appealing to one reader, than another book, but it's still a book.
I don't run Flashpoints myself, for my own personal reasons. There's many valid reasons not to run them, but one size doesn't fit all-- they're very useful to many other players. There's as many valid reasons to run them, as not to. You have decide which reasons apply more to YOU. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but even if you see no further value in Flashpoints, doesn't mean that everybody will see it that way.
Flashpoints tell a story. I also wasn't convinced of it until I got to my 30s and ran Taral V and Maelstrom Prison. If you've run those fp and still don't think there's an over-arching story, you're missing something.
I am leveling a couple of chars after taking a year long break. I have put 4 levels on the PT in short order doing nothing but tanking FP's and has been faster then grinding quests. Maybe that is cause I am a good tank and plow through stuff ... but I do notice when I have terrible DPS along for the ride.
Main thing though is you want to "over level" planets ... which means doing enough FP's / WZ's / Space to be a good 4 levels over the planet. The issue with that is that the planet gear will all be waaaay behind. If your doing enough FP's it won't matter and you should already be *all orange* and the FP's supply you with the item modifications to keep your gear up-to-date ... meaning you really don't need any gear from quests.
So *that* the point of FP's ... it's part of the entire leveling strategy.
Its also an MMORPG, and Flashpoints are easily the best way to actually play with other people and enjoy the multiplayer aspects of the game. Even better because it really gets the different roles of healing, damage, and tanking doing their thing. Its also nice to fight bosses that have actual mechanics, rather than something that hits you while you hit it until someone dies.
As for their not being any story... all of them have story and reasons why you're there doing the things you're doing. Some of them have very strong stories that drive the entire SWTOR plot.
I tried Esseles once and even skipping the conversations it took more than two hours. By that time two partners had dropped out and there were two of us left. We made it to the last boss and were wiped out fast. Tried three more times and then gave up and abandoned the quest.
Since then I have not tried another one and have been very happy about it.