Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR's Dread War, part 2
This past week, I finished up exploring all aspects of the new Star Wars: The Old Republic patch save for the final showdown between my guild and the Dread Council. If you have been following my livestreams, then you'll know that we should finish that up on Wednesday. In this column, I've covered everything from the history of how the Dread Masters arrived at this point to the first offensive on the moon of Oricon to the first phase of the attack on the Dread Masters' fortress. Overall, it's been exciting. BioWare concluded this chapter in SWTOR history with as much flare as it started it two years ago.

In the final confrontation between the player and the Dread Masters, we understand more about the characters of the Dread Masters and their motivation to conquer the known galaxy. We've already confronted Dread Master Styrak in the Scum and Villainy operation and Dread Master Brontes in the Dread Fortress operation from last week. Dread Masters Bestia, Tyrans, Calphayus, and Raptus remain. And that's who we will study this week.

Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR's Dread War, part 2
The seeker droid quest which released with the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion took the player from planet to planet dispelling the power of the Dread Seed. These seeds would corrupt the land and the fauna, bending them to the will of the Dark Side of the Force. In Bestia's arena, we see what could be the origin of the Dread Seed or possibly just the manifestation of its power mixed with the power of the Dread Masters.

Initially, the fight with Dread Master Bestia did not appear to be that difficult. First, we would need to kill the larva that would spawn out of the corrupted portals, then the giant monstrosities, and then Lord Bestia herself. However, with the limited aggro table of the larva and the line-of-sight issues thanks to the throne in the middle of the room, this encounter proved to be a bit more difficult than we originally anticipated. As it turns out, these limitations could be overcome by everyone simply being hyper-aware of his or her surroundings.

Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR's Dread War, part 2
Although we were able to take down Dread Master Tyrans in only two tries, I found the fight to be the most interesting and fun. His fight also requires everyone to be hyper-aware of everything that was breaking and flashing around the whole room.

The rooms consists of two layers. The top layer is where the main fight takes place, but there are holes in the platform on the top layer. If you happen to fall through these holes, you will be out of the fight for a bit on top of taking damage from the fall. And to make matters worse, Dread Master Tyrans casts a debuff on the main and then tank then a random raid member called simplification. If you happen to get hit with that, you have only a couple of seconds to find a platform square out of the way. When the debuff concludes, whichever square you happen to be standing on will disappear shortly afterwards.

Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR's Dread War, part 2
The encounter with Dread Master Calphayus has to be the most complicated and frankly makes the least amount of sense to me. I'm pretty sure that most of you have played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or A Link to the Past. Do you recall how there were some elements in the game that would change based on events you started in the past and how you couldn't complete some quests without traveling to the past to change something in the future? This encounter is very similar. And I'm not exactly sure what to think of it yet.

We did the fight. And I'm still a bit confused as to how the whole thing worked, but I'll summarize. From what I can gather, Calphayus creates portals to the past and the future so that he can gain control over a Dread Seed. However, you can stop his future encounters by moving the seed's location in the past. Of course, I am way over-simplifying the fight, but that is the gist. Perhaps watching Dulfy's video on the encounter will help you better understand what exactly is happening.

Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR's Dread War, part 2
When I first watched the videos for the Dread Master Raptus fight, I thought the encounter looked like a lot of fun. Each role in the raid group is challenged individually, and the main fight presents some interesting and fun group-wide challenges as well. However, when we finally reached this boss, we completed the challenge in one shot. Normally, winning is fun, but if you can defeat an encounter too easily, then it can seem to be a waste of time. And truthfully, our group encountered greater difficulty wading through the trash leading up to the boss than the boss himself.

At the beginning of the fight, each player channels a crystal representing his or her role in the encounter: tank, healer, or DPS. Then when Raptus hits about 75% health, he will issue a challenge to the raid and each member must hop through the portal with the coordinating color and emblem on the frame. Tanks must survive a ticking DoT, healers have to keep a prisoner alive, and DPS have to kill a monster in a very short amount of time. These tasks, which appear about every 25% of the boss' health, turned out to be extremely easy for our group, and even if we did happen to fail, the buff to the boss was easily overcome.

Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR's Dread War, part 2
In my other column, I talked about a hybrid penalty (or tax). Simply put, if a class can perform more than one role in the classic trinity, then one of its roles is diminished even if it doesn't use that role in a given encounter. In SWTOR, this has lead to classes like Sorcerers and Sages to dealing DPS overall because of innate healing abilities. This made that class and other classes like it less desirable in top-level operations because many of the boss encounters become DPS races.

These latest operations appear to take another approach to countering a hybrid penalty: movement mechanics. Each encounter in the Dread Palace required that whole group was aware of everything that happens around them, and most importantly, that each member was able to move and react quickly. These types of mechanics make it so the boss itself might have less overall health, but the encounter still retains a high-level of challenge. I'm a fan of this idea. Although I'd rather see a better balance between the classes, I believe that movement mechanics coupled with a high level of communication and group coordination makes raids more enjoyable.

If you want to see us down the bosses in Dread Palace, tune in to our livestream this Wednesday. Or if you have any questions about anything in the new SWTOR patch, feel free to ask in the comments, I will endeavor to answer the question as best I can. I will see you next week.

The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to larry@massively.com. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!

This article was originally published on Massively.