Jumping right back into the regular 1.2 content, four of us tackled the new Lost Island flashpoint on hard mode tonight. We felt quite daring, considering that another four guild members had tried it before but hadn't been able to make it past the first proper boss at the time, and at least one of them seemed to be very traumatised by the experience and kept talking about how impossibly hard it was (/cough). To counter this constant doom-saying, our team made a point of walking around with a confident swagger all night and announcing that it was going to be a piece of cake for us. As it often happens with these things, the truth was somewhere in the middle.
We did die quite a lot, especially on the Sentinel Droid. You wouldn't believe how many ways there are to die on this guy! However, since we honestly expected it to be pretty challenging, we weren't deterred by this and just kept plugging away at it until we got him down, and everyone remained in very good spirits throughout.
I do think that attitude is important when tackling this flashpoint. Really, if you just want an easy daily run, do Taral V or something. This is serious progression content for a smaller group size. ("Oh yeah, it's progressing our repair bills alright!") To be honest I would even say that it might be a bit overtuned, considering that our party was in full Columi gear with a couple of Rakata pieces, and we barely scraped by. Considering that the bosses drop Columi, plus a Rakata chest at the end... hrm. Either way, expect to die a lot, laugh about it, pick yourself up and try again. If you can deal with that, it's certainly a very satisfying experience.
Throughout the entire run we used this guide by Dulfy as a source of information, and it was very helpful, but there were a couple of things that weren't in the guide or that weren't entirely clear to us purely from reading about them, so I'd like to share my new-found wisdom on the subject with you.
In regards to the Sentinel Droid, we mostly learned that he does an Incinerate right at the start and that it has a very long range. Why is this relevant? Well, we initially didn't really want to start tanking him in the middle, surrounded by all those grates that might erupt into fire at any moment, but if we tried to pull him backwards he'd just incinerate our tank at crazy range. We had so many silly wipes to mispulls, it was pretty funny actually. You can safely pull him into a corner by using a ranged attack and then immediately line-of-sighting him though.
From a healer's point of view, it's also worth noting that while Dulfy's guide rightly talks about Plasma Arc being less important than Incinerate, that doesn't mean that you should ignore it. (To be fair, the guide does say that it should also be interrupted... but in our heads that kind of translated into "interrupting optional".) We initially had both of our interrupters focusing on Incinerate exclusively, and the damage going around was just mad. When we finally realised that the time between Incinerates was long enough for it to be covered by one interrupter exclusively, we had the other one switch to Plasma Arcs and suddenly healing became about ten times easier.
Our most important revelation came on Project Sav-Rak though, where Dulfy notes that she found it easiest in terms of healing for everyone to stack on her. We tried this and it was a total disaster. "You can tell that this was written by a Sorcerer/Sage", I commented to my guildies, once again jealous of their AoE heals.
First off, in phase one it is notable that the boss has a cleave that places a bleed on people that are hit by it. Since it's important to stack up to not get pushed off the platform by his smash, we initially just hugged up on top of him the entire time... but this resulted in people getting cleaved, bleeding a lot, and taking enough damage that I was actually running low on ammo before we even made it to the more damage-heavy phase. So, a simple change: everyone made sure to keep a little distance and stay behind the boss whenever there wasn't a smash coming up - there is plenty of time to move in when it becomes necessary.
The pillar phase was what really threw us though, because AoE healing in the middle while one person ran to activate the pillars only resulted in massive damage and death. However, it turned out that there was a simple solution to this: me being the only one to stand in the middle, while everyone else ran towards a different pillar each and activated the consoles there all at once (more or less). Single target damage all around and the boss came down again pretty quickly. In hindsight I noticed that this is actually what Dulfy's group did in their video as well, but we hadn't watched it at the time and the text currently describes it differently.
Anyway, like I said it was a really fun and challenging experience. Any readers beaten it yet?