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Boarding Party is a mid-level flashpoint available to the Empire only. Republic players have access to Taral V. As an Imperial, you can pick up the bread crumb trail from any of the flashpoint droids on the fleet (they wander around and a quest icon appears on their head when you reach level 29) who will make a call to Darth Malgus. He will send you to speak to Moff Phenir on the White Nova.

You don’t have to pick up the bread crumb trail, you can just proceed to the Missions Departure Elevator (West Wing of the Main Fleet) and select the last option”Interfleet Transport”. On reaching the shuttle bay, run to the Imperial Fleet Transport droid and select “White Nova  Shuttle”. On arrival, run to the elevator and select the only other option available: ” White Nova Command Deck.” On reaching the command deck, locate Moff Phennir (he is inside a group instanced room which will have a green eligible screen) and talk to him. After you have completed the flashpoint once, talk to Sergeant Tebar at the entry to the flashpoint to pick up the quest.

 

Now you are eligible for the flashpoint and the quest “[Group] Flashpoint: Boarding Party” will appear in your log stating the following:

The Empire has learned that a mysterious Jedi Master has rediscovered an ancient alien space station called The Foundry. You joined the force sent to capture the Foundry and eliminate the Jedi. The first step is to board a Republic cruiser, the Dorin’s Sky, and take control of the ship in order to fly it past the Foundry’s defenses. Board the Dorin’s Sky to begin your flashpoint.

Find the entrance to the flashpoint which should now be purple and run to the elevator and select the only other option “Boarding Airlock” to begin.

Game Tips & Useful Information

Crew Skills

Crew Skills can be used to unlock additional content, shortcuts and special companions as long as your skill is at the appropriate level for the instance. Keep your eyes open.

Loot Tables

The importance of appropriate gear is going up and now is a good time to start to pay attention to loot tables. Tor-loot has a good list: Boarding Party. It is a level 31-35 instance, but gear obtained within requires level 33 to equip. I would recommend waiting until at least that level before venturing in as flashpoints are becoming more challenging.

Boss Encounters

You can still enter the encounter blind, but you cannot succeed unless you figure out the strategy. There are four boss encounters plus an additional bonus boss and each have its unique strategy to succeed. If you are finding it very difficult, you’re doing something wrong. Adjust your strategy. The basic strategy for the four boss encounters are as follows:

  • HX154 Juggernaut: It’s mostly a straight forward tank-and-spank encounter. There are four generators surrounding HX and periodically when he uses them to recharge and when he does four beams that do damage will connect the generators to him, watch out for these and avoid the beams. He also has a lightning AoE attack similar to that of the Sith Sorcerer; when you see the large reticule for it on the floor, move out of its range before the attack starts.
  • Major Alvena: Major Alvena has two Battledroids as adds. You can CC them, so it’s an easy encounter.  Just take her out whilst crowd controlling the droids and then burn them down one at a time. As soon as you kill one of the robots, more adds enter the room from the side, just AoE them down.
  • Sakan Do’air: The Jedi has two adds that are both healers. Take down one healer first, interrupting heals as much as possible, whilst crowd-controlling the second healer. Sakan does break crowd-control periodically, so make sure to re-establish it quickly. Once both adds are down, shift to Sakan.
  • Chief Engineer Kels (Bonus Boss): A bonus mission will pop up during the flashpoint. Complete it and Chief Engineer Kels is added as a boss. Kels has two adds as well. Take down the first add, then the second, then Kels. If Kels dies before the adds are killed, they self-destruct and wipe the party. Periodically Kels will shield himself and one of the droids and blow up one of four reactors surrounding the area. Whenever a reactor is overload, red text will appear in the centre of your screen letting you know that it’s about to happen, the same text also appears in your general chat log and Kels will start shooting at it. It can be difficult to tell which reactor  is about to explode, the text will tell you either “front left/right” or “back left/right” reactor, defined as the ones behind Kels when you enter as the back and the ones in front of him at that time as the front and left as your left when you come in and vice versa.
  • Commander Jorland: Jorland has two adds as well, a medic and a melee DPS. Focus on the medic first, then Jorland and then the melee DPS. The medic is immune to stuns and knockbacks, so it is important that all classes with a dedicated interrupt, like “Jolt”, watch the medic’s cast bar closely and interrupt healing spells. Positioning is key as the melee DPS has a nasty AoE attack that has to be avoided. The tank should grab aggro on Jorland and the melee DPS and move them away from the healer and party so that only the tank is hit by the melee DPS’ AoE. Once the healer is down, the tank should try and position himself in the middle of Jorland and the melee DPS so that party members are further removed from the melee DPS whilst burning Jorland down. Finally kill the melee DPS last.

Exiting flashpoints

On finishing the flashpoint, a button will appear on the top right of your mini-map and on mouse-over will say “Exit Area”. Click on it to leave the instance at the end.

Accessibility

Visual Accessibility * Audio Accessibility * Physical Accessibility * Cognitive Accessibility * Conclusion

 

Visual Accessibility

Flash

There are some bright lightning effects during boss encounters in this flashpoint. The beams when fighting the first boss are bright white/blue streams of light and the reactors are very bright when Kels overloads them and they blow up. The screenshot below is of the reactors overloading from a video of the encounter that can be found here. Chief Engineer Kels is a bonus boss, so if you are worried about him, just don’t complete the Bonus mission and he will not be available.

Camera Movement

The camera movement is identical to the rest of the game; player controlled by default but can be fixed in the preference settings.

Text size & HUD

The User Interface is the same inside flashpoints as it is outside. Grouping with other players does add a party frame which can be converted to an operations frame in the preferences. I would recommend doing so as the operation frame is moveable and resizeable where the party frame is fixed.

Colour Blindness

I did not notice any colour blind issues. All use of colour is supplemented by text, such as phase indicators that are either orange or purple depending on your eligibility.

Audio accessibility

Subtitles & Closed captioning

Like the rest of the game, subtitles can be enabled through the preferences, but there are no closed captions. The subtitles are on the small side, but with very little dialogue that is of little consequence.

Reliance on auditory cues

There is little reliance on audio cues. For the most part, audio cues are accompanied by visual cues and as long as you can pick up on one of these, you should not have any issues.

Physical Accessibility

 

Reaction time

There are both combat and non-combat elements requiring at least moderate reaction speed and strategy is vital to success. This means that the standard combat elements are important than ever: interrupting enemy casts before they complete and crowd-controlling NPCs appropriately, running back into position after knock backs and positioning yourself so that knockbacks do not knock you over ledges or cliffs and split DPS is no longer a negligible mistake. All of these skills have time limits and unless you play within the time frame, your party is not going to have a smooth run.

A key element in boarding party is quick and efficient targeting for DPS. Three of the four encounters have a boss plus two adds. It’s vital to target the correct NPC and to quickly switch between targets as required. For example, when Chief Engineer Kels (third boss) throws up a shield over himself and one droid, you have to switch quickly to the unshielded droid. Secondly, interrupts are vital to success and require quick reactions.

Precision

A moderate level of precision is required. You have to be able to control your character quite well even during combat when you will be attacking (or healing), moving and positioning yourself correctly at the same time.

Pause and save options

It is an MMO, so there is no pause or save options. Your game saves automatically as you go along and if you want to pause, find a safe spot to stand.  If you wish to leave the flashpoint at any time you can and if you want to restart the flashpoint you can as well. You are playing with three other players and you are expected to finish a flashpoint in a single setting. Allow 1-2 hours, particularly on the first run through and if it drags out for more than an hour and/or you require more frequent breaks, ask for them at the right times. The best stopping points are just after a wipe or just after a boss-fight. Most players will be very understanding if you need a few minutes, but never afk (walk away from your keyboard) without checking that it’s okay and letting people know unless it’s an emergency.

One-handed

SWTOR, despite its incredible number of buttons, can be played with one hand. The only possible exception is if you are using two USB devices and switching between them. As flashpoints move quickly because other players tend to move quickly, it can become tricky to loot fast enough if you are switching to the mouse to loot and then moving back to the keyboard/keypad for movement and combat.

Cognitive Accessibility

 

Reading, language and vocabulary

The story of the flashpoint is simple: You will be hijacking a Republic ship called the Dorin’s Sky and fly it past an alien space station’s defenses to see what a mysterious Jedi Master has rediscovered there. After completing the flashpoint, you return to Moff Phennir and the next flashpoint “The Foundry” will pick up the story a few levels from now.

Memory, Focus, Organization & Planning

Strategy is vital. At the moment, the strategy for boss encounters are still easy but less forgiving; if you don’t follow the strategy, you will be stuck until you do. Game mechanics requires some multi-tasking with the combination of movement, attacking or healing as well as dealing correctly with attacks such as knock backs and aggro drops. If you are struggling to stay focused, establish regular break times at the start of the flashpoint. It can be tremendously helpful to have a party leader and voice communication if possible to organize the group. These are all tactics vital for end-game playing, so the sooner you begin to employ them, the easier the game will be later on.

Math and computations

There is very little reliance on math. You can keep an eye on statistics through fly text, but there is no need. Gear upgrades have to be compared with your current gear, but the comparisons are small numbers and accompanied by colour coding help; red for a downgrade and green for an upgrade.

Social Interaction

Social interaction are becoming more important. It’s not possible to complete the flashpoint for the first time, with other players who are also completing it for the first time, without adequate communication; either text or voice. There is no scripted action with NPCs, but it is time to get your flashpoint social script polished and perfect. Have a look at the SWTOR Quick Start Guide: Socializing and Grouping.

Conclusion

Boarding Party is a flashpoint that challenges your ability to work as a team. If one player targets the wrong enemy, stands in stuff or sleeps on the job, it becomes very difficult to very quickly. Make sure you know what you are doing and can do it correctly. If you haven’t done any flashpoints until now, I would recommend completing a lower level flashpoint or two first, even if you will gain very little experience and receive no upgrades, just to get the hang of grouping up. Don’t be scared off, grouping with three other players is not that big a deal and if you make a mistake or two, don’t worry about it, just keep going; next time you’ll know better. The level 30’s are where The Old Republic moves away from playing like a single player campaign and towards playing like an MMO. Come prepared and content will remain accessible and fun and will only keep getting better.