Preparing for Operations

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Operations are not just a means of acquiring top notch loot, they can also be one of the more rewarding and fun experiences that SWTOR’s endgame has to offer. That being said, a romp through Eternity Vault can quickly be turned into an eternity in the Sarlaac pit for an under geared or under informed group. In this guide we go over some basics tips for those looking to start their operations career, from learning your role in a group, to remembering to pack that extra fortitude stim.

Choosing, and Learning Your Role

Either for a change of pace or maybe because there are too many DPS out there, many people choose to change their spec once they hit level 50 (ie. DPS to heals/tank or vice versa). If you fall into this category it’s best to run a few regular Flashpoints and Warzones to get a feel for your new spec, as in many cases a switch between trees can alter play style quite a bit.

Even if you do choose to stay on the same path, learning how to fulfill that role to the best of your ability is a must if you want to build a reputation, and thus be welcome in more groups. While the Old Republic lacks many of the stat comparing tools that so many of us have become accustomed to, a brief search of the official forums in your classes section will usually bring up many pages offering step by step instructions on what abilities to use when. If you’re unsure about the effectiveness of the directions, try them out in a regular flashpoint, or time a solo takedown of an elite strength Mob. If all else fails ask a fellow guildmate of the same class for their advice, or post a LF Advice in general chat, chances are there will be at least one helpful person who can steer you in the right path.

Gearing Up

One of the first, and easiest (although somewhat boring) methods to get yourself some decent gear is by completing daily missions. You can find these missions on the planets Ilum, Belsavis, and Coruscant, the full list can be found in our previous guide. Turning in these missions will award “Daily Commendations” which can be exchanged for a wide variety of high level earpieces, implants, barrels, hilts, mods, armoring, and crystals from the vendors located on each planet.

The first items you should be going for are the items modifications, which run for 8 daily commendations each. Filling a full custom set should take no time at all as you can earn 36 daily commendations per day if you complete every planets daily quest (including heroics), and the space game daily. Not to mention the mod/enhancements you will receive for completion of certain Belsavis and Ilum Heroic missions. Once you’ve sufficiently equipped yourself with mods, armoring etc. you should begin saving up for the Rakata level earpiece and implant, both of which go for 120 daily commendations and will be tough to beat for a long while.

Note:  The Corellia Heroic Missions also provide Black Hole Commendations which can be exchanged for Black Hole gear on the fleet.

By this point you should be ready to take on some Hard Mode Flashpoints. There are two varieties of these that offer slightly different loot drops. Any flashpoint that was released prior to patch 1.2 is considered a “tier 1” flashpoint and drops Tionese, Energized, and on the last boss Columni gear. The latest flashpoint, Lost Island is the first of the Old Republics “Tier 2” variety and boasts a greater difficulty but also greater rewards; each boss dropping a piece of Columni gear, with the final boss dropping a Rakata chest as well.

It’s also important to remember to pick up the daily and weekly missions for the HM Flashpoints as well. You can grab these from the mission terminal in the supply section of the fleet. The daily will award you with tionese and columni commendations which can be exchanged for their corresponding gear. The weekly provides Black Hole Commendations.

Finding a Group or Guild

The best and most fun way to run operations is with a Guild. Some of the benefits of joining a guild include but are not limited to: a set operation schedule, higher chance you will get into a group, less stressful (usually), better chance for fair loot distribution, more organization, and an all-round less stressful time.  Finding the right guild may take a few tries, but a good place to start is on the official forums where you can search your servers Guild Recruitment page and even post a LF Guild if nothing catches your eye.

For those of you afraid of commitment, you’re currently stuck trolling general chat and keeping your eyes peeled for groups with an opening.  With patch 1.3 and group finder on the immediate horizon however this won’t be the case for long.

Come Prepared

There’s nothing worse than getting half way through an operation and realizing you forgot to repair, bring stims etc. Before you head in be sure to stock up on supplies and get the most pertinent ones bound to your keyboard. If you’re a DPS class having a health pack on reserve never hurts and may get you many thanks from an overburdened healer.

Coming dressed for the occasion is also of utmost importance. You should be decked out with all the best PVE gear, mods etc. received from your hard work farming dailies and running hard mode flashpoints. Showing up in recruit PVP gear won’t just get you funny looks, it most likely will not get you invited back.

Know the Fights

Chances are if you’ve run any flashpoint during the leveling process to 50 you are aware that bosses have certain mechanics that every member of the group should be aware of. In operations it’s the same only mistakes will have larger consequences (a wipe) and leave a lot more people frustrated (you included). This is why it is always important to take a little time before hand to either watch a video, or read up on an operations boss encounters. Again the official forums (Operations Sub forum) are a great source of information, as you’re getting a variety of experiences from many different classes for each encounter. If readings not your thing a quick Youtube search of the operation in question will usually yield a full walkthrough of the boss fights, if not the full operation.

While much of an Operations sucess does depend on the skill, and teamwork of each individual group. By preparing in advance and ensuring you are fully versed in the mechanics of the fights, the chances of coming out on top improve dramatically.