Now that you’ve hit level 50, starting furiously farming your dailies, hit up the GTN for some cheap gear, and finally gotten around to steamrolling that Alderaan Bonus Series, you might be wondering: what’s next? Sure, gear is great…but where do you put all those shiny Artifacts to good use?
Hard Modes. Classic flashpoints reimagined with the level 50 health pool and damage capacity in mind. Hard Mode Flashpoints are where you stop hiding behind your healing companion and put yourself to the test. As a reward you can earn various commendations, Tionese (or Energized) gear, and a chance at a Columi token. That’s right folks, Hard Modes drop comparable loot to Normal Operations, so let’s get cracking.
A good place to start for both Republic and Empire is also the last place you’ll be as a fresh 50: Darth Malgus’ Space Station and The False Emperor flashpoint. In order to start the flashpoint in Hard Mode, simply speak to the quest giver right outside the instance portal and select the Hard Mode option. Unlike some Hard Modes, having completed the flashpoint on normal isn’t a requirement.
The trash here isn’t any more or less complex than it was on normal, but certain mobs do hit significantly harder. Using CC, while not strictly necessary, is a great help for undergeared tanks. Try and CC the Elite droids whenever possible as well as the Trendoshan Commandos in the larger pulls.
Some of the earlier pulls will feature Mandelorians who place a nasty stacking fire DoT on people that needs to be cleansed as quickly as possible, as it will rapidly eat through even the most geared tanks.
A final note, while you may be tempted to use the hilarious Force Push to speed things up by sending trash flying, most of the trash after HK-47 will bug out if thrown into an abyss. Resist the temptation and just kill them the old fashioned way.
Drops – Tionese Crystal
The instance starts off strong with a boss that can easily wipe out a group that isn’t paying attention. Treeg waits on a bridge for you, flanked by two Weak and one Strong that respawn on a wipe. He has all the same abilities as he does on normal, but this time the Whirlwind will completely wreck anyone who gets hit by it. If you can control his use of Whirlwind, you’ve won the fight.
Start the fight by having the tank pull Treeg back towards the platform you start on. The DPS rush forward and handle the Strongs before they can aggro onto the healer. The healer should stand within range and LOS of both the DPS and the tank, healing both as necessary. If things get too hairy, this is a perfect time for the tank to use a short cooldown to let the healer focus on the squishy DPS.
Once the three adds are down, the DPS should shift to Treeg, paying special attention to his leaping attack. Occasionally he will leap to a random target, following up with a stationary whirlwind attack that can kill you in 2-3 hits. You don’t have much time to run away from this, so once he leaps to you, get moving as soon as possible. He slows the target of his leap as well. Sometimes he will select a melee DPS or the tank for his leap, which means that everybody needs to be paying attention and ready to move the second they see the channel for Whirlwind appear.
He will also do a knockback from time to time that can toss players off the platform you’re fighting on. Try to stay away from the edges, especially as a ranged class.
Otherwise his damage isn’t exceptional and the DoT he puts on random people is barely noticeable. If you can stay out of the Whirlwind and keep on the platform, he’ll go down in no time.
TL;DR – Kill the adds first, stay out of the whirlwind, and don’t get knocked off the platform. Loot crystals.
Loot: Tionese / Energized Gloves
The fight against Jindo Krey revolves around controlling his ship, which will fly into battle seconds after you engage him. Most groups that struggle on this fight simply don’t understand quite how the ship works, but once you learn how to take it out, the fight becomes little more than a tank and spank.
THE SHIP: Jindo’s ship has two states, engaged and disengaged. When the ship is engaged, it is close to the platform and will be firing missiles at random party members for light damage…at first. Every 20-30 seconds, every party member will get a stacking debuff that increases damage taken by these missiles by 100%, going all the way to 400%, at which point the damage is unhealable. This is signaled by an emote about the ship increasing its target lock.
The only way to prevent this debuff from stacking is to force the ship to disengage, which you do by using the three turrets at the edge of the platform. Each corresponds with a position the ship will take during the fight: left, center, and right. While engaged, the ship will move back and forth, staying at each position for a while before moving. You need to activate the control panel of the turret the ship is currently at in order to attack the ship and send it away, resetting the debuff.
Jindo, after being beaten on normal so many times, has finally figured out what you’re up to though, so now he will grapple the first person to attempt to use a panel at any given time, breaking their cast bar. To combat this, have two people use the bar at the same time. Jindo will grapple one while the second gets the cast off. I recommend having a healer go first, as being grappled into melee range will prevent the tank and DPS from out ranging the turret the healer is trying to use.
After being shot at, the ship will disengage, putting a limited damage absorption shield on Jindo and flying away from the platform. At this point, it will begin to launch larger missiles at the party, which will be indicated by red reticles on the ground. The missiles come fast and often, so keep moving as much as you can to avoid them. You can DPS through Jindo’s shield, so keep plugging away during this phase. This will last for about 30-45 seconds before the ship will re-engage.
After you shoot at the ship 5 times, it will explode and you can finish whatever is left of Jindo’s health in peace.
JINDO: Jindo himself has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep you busy while his ship pelts you with ballistic doom. In addition to the aforementioned grapple, he will also charge random players, knocking them back and stunning them. The knockback CAN throw you off the platform, so be careful, especially if you happen to be near a turret.
His actual damage is minimal at best (most non-tanks can easily tank the boss should the tank get thrown off and have to run back) but he does have one serious ability that can kill your melee group in the blink of an eye: Flame Sweep. In true Bounty Hunter style, Jindo will rise up on the air and spin around, spewing flame around him. Similar to Treeg’s Whirlwind, this attack will kill you in 2-3 hits. Thankfully, unlike the Whirlwind, Flame Sweep has a cast time and can be interrupted. Either interrupt this or run out when he casts it. This can be especially deadly when combined with a charge, as he can charge into a ranged class and immediately cast Flame Sweep.
Once the ship has been destroyed, Jindo has no shield and can just be killed as you see fit.
TL;DR – Two people use the turret the ship is at, get out of red targets, interrupt Flame Sweep. Loot gloves.
Loot: Tionese Crystal
These guys are quite a pushover on Hard Mode. Once you engage them, one will start a 1 minute long channeled shield that makes it invulnerable. Simply kill the one that is NOT shielded. Feel free to tank them where they stand.
There is a second ability in this fight, which is a chaining energy disc that the active droid will toss at random targets, but if your entire group stacks in melee, the disc either goes away entirely or is only fired occasionally, significantly reducing the damage. That said, it can still nail the tank if he strays too far for any reason, so be ready for some spike damage just in case.
TL;DR – Stack on the boss and DPS the droid that isn’t shielded. Loot crystals.
Loot: Tionese Weapons
That’s right meatbags, he’s back. This fan favorite is one of the most complex fights in the game, relying on specific abilities being used at a specific time. Add in a tight enrage timer and you’ve got a potential road block for even a well prepared group.
SNIPE: HK will pick a random target, emote something, and start casting a high damage attack on them. As a healer it’s easy to notice who he’s going to attack simply by looking at what direction he’s facing. The attack itself does ~7000 damage, so be ready to quickly heal up whoever gets hit.
ION CANNON: Partway into the fight, the suggestively shaped Ion Cannon on the wall behind HK-47 will activate, lobbing blasts at random targets. The target gets a blue reticle at their feet that will follow them around for about 10 seconds before turning red and sticking to the ground. If you get the blue reticle, make sure to move it away from the melee before it turns red. These blasts are the only thing that can drop the shields on the turrets.
TURRETS: Early into the fight, HK-47 will activate the two turrets on either side of him. They will spawn with an invulnerability shield that can only be broken by a blast from the Ion Cannon. That would be nice if the enrage timer was tuned so tightly that any missed DPS means a wipe. Ignore the turrets completely, focusing entirely on HK-47. Odds are good they will immediately aggro onto the healer, but they do so little damage that they should be able to heal through it. If the healer is falling behind and is the chosen target of HK-47’s stun, small off heals can save the day.
ASSASSINATION PROTOCOL: Around the 50% mark, HK-47 will emote that his Assassination Protocol has been activated, then immediately go into stealth. This is your cue to all stack on the tank, as in a few moments HK-47 will stun a random player and pop out of stealth. This stunned player will be the target of his next attack, which WILL kill them instantly unless you stop it. Shortly after stunning the player, HK-47 will pop back into stealth. This is your cue to pop all your AOE abilities to break his stealth and stop his final attack. You can also use abilities to show stealthed enemies, but if you do this remember to actually attack him, otherwise he will continue with his death strike. If a DPS does go down, there’s a very real chance that you’ll fall behind on the enrage timer, so make sure to wait until after his SECOND STEALTH to use your AOE.
POISON GRENADE: HK-47 will occasionally throw a poison gas grenade at a random player, that puts a nasty DoT on whoever is in the gas. Cleanse the DoT immediately, as it does a significant amount of damage.
GRAPPLE & KNOCKBACK: HK-47 will occasionally grapple people at range in close as well as use a knockback on people in melee range. This happens most often when people charge in using Force Leap.
The healing required for this fight is actually pretty low despite the wide range of abilities, so if you’re bumping up against the enrage timer, having the healer add in some DPS in the first 20-30% of the fight can help significantly.
If you do hit the enrage timer in the last 5-7% of his life, do not give up hope, as it’s only 200% and you can actually heal through it pretty easily as long as you don’t get hit by any of his big attacks. Assassination Protocol will kill whoever he hits first, but at that point you should hopefully have him nearly dead.
Once the fight is over, the turrets will still be up and shielded, but the shield itself has a limited duration, so just wait it out, kill the turrets, and get your random weapon that I can almost assure you nobody in your group can use. Another vibrosword? Somebody get Bowdaar out!
TL;DR – Pull blue reticles away from group, stack on assassination protocol and AOE after second stealth following the stun, ignore turrets, cleanse poison DOT, and burn HARD. Loot weapon.
Loot: Tionese crystal
Wait, was that a boss? Do random guys drop crystals now?
Loot: Tionese Implants
If you follow the bonus chain through the instance, you end up fighting this guy. He’s easily the most difficult boss of the instance, and has perhaps the tightest enrage timer of any Hard Mode. Don’t feel bad skipping this guy in favor of getting better geared, as even with full Tionese gear he can give a group a run for its money. The fight itself is rather simple, but the difficulty lies in maximizing your DPS for the entire battle.
The majority of the fight is dominated by three mechanics: Overload, Force Lightning, and his DoT. He will occasionally do an AoE knockback that will remove all the buffs of any players while doing decent damage. He also tosses a low damage DoT on a random player from time to time that needs to be healed through. The Force Lightning he does can, and should, be interrupted.
Every 25%, the boss will vanish and three adds will appear, each with a different ability. One will spew lightning from range, another will do AoE, and the last may or may not use the DoT. The important thing here is to interrupt the lightning as soon as possible and gather all the adds up to burn them down as quickly as possible. The more time spent chasing adds around the room, the less time you have to DPS the boss proper. Do not be afraid to pull aggro here, as damage is relatively light through the whole fight. This is a great time for Smugglers / Agents to pop their short cooldown AoE attack to help out, especially if they’re healing.
The fight itself isn’t very difficult, but once you get past the final add stage, there’s a very high chance you will find that the boss has enraged. When enraged, the Overload will essentially one-shot anyone, so the key is to kite him around while doing as much damage as possible. Even then, it’s hard to make it through before one of his random abilities kills you, such as the lightning.
To help with the enrage timer, have the healer DPS as much as they can during the fight, tossing out DoTs and using AoE during the add phase. The damage is rarely critical or spikey, so use your best judgment in maintaining a healthy resource pool while unloading on the boss as much as you can.
TL;DR – KILL HIM FAST. THAT MEANS YOU TOO HEALER!
Loot: Columi Chest Token, Crafting Material, Random Schematic
After Sith Entity, you may be expecting a drop-down, drag-out battle for that all valuable chest token. A final showdown with the most nefarious of enemies who has been taunting you since Act 1.
You’d be wrong.
The battle with Darth Malgus is one of the easiest battles among all the Hard Modes and even some of the normal modes.
Before you engage the four-person door, make sure everybody loots a Pulse Grenade from the nearby box, this will be important at the end of the fight. After the lengthy cutscene, Malgus will be standing in front of you. Have your tank immediately pull him to the far left side of the stairs, putting his back against the wall. All the ranged and the healer should stand on the opposite side of the stairs with their back against the opposite wall. Then begin to kill Malgus. He does a few things of note:
DOUBT: Every so often, Malgus will emote MALGUS IS FILLING PLAYER’S MIND WITH VISIONS OF DOUBT! and place a debuff on the person he’s called out. After this debuff expires, he will emote THE DOUBT WEIGHS HEAVY ON PLAYER, THEY MUST FACE THEIR DESTINY! and that same person will be stunned for ~8 seconds. After that, Malgus will emote THE TIME HAS COME! PLAYER MUST FACE MALGUS ALONE!, stunning the rest of the party. He then will focus all his attacks on the person he’s been talking about this whole time. Since Malgus does so little damage, the person in question doesn’t have to do much other than just continue to DPS during this phase. Healers, pre-HoTing the person before you get stunned helps, but otherwise feel free to use defensive cooldowns if necessary. After 10 seconds, Malgus releases the rest of the party and the fight resumes.
ULTIMATE POWER: Malgus will occasionally begin casting this. He should never finish. If he does, the whole party will be wiped out. Interrupt it with extreme prejudice.
CHARGE + KNOCKBACK: Malgus sometimes picks a random target and charges at them, sending them flying across the room (literally, so keep your back to that wall). It’s pretty easy to get thrown into one of the many pits in the room, so make sure you keep your back against a wall or in the direction of a wall at all times.
MELEE AOE: Very light damage melee range AoE he does. Heal through it lazily.
Malgus does such pitiful damage with all his attacks that a healer could disconnect, reset his router, call his ISP’s technical support, get transferred to a supervisor, fix the problem, sit in a queue, and still come back to a party above 90% health. As long as you interrupt Ultimate Power and keep your back to a wall, you should have no problems getting to 10%.
At around 15%, start moving Malgus to the middle of the room. Often this will synch up with a Doubt phase, so if you’re the target, move towards the center and try and hold Malgus there. Keep his knockback in mind as you move around. Try and keep your back towards either the entrance or Malgus’ throne while you move. If it happens during a Doubt phase, Malgus might go below 10% during it, in which case be ready for him to move to the final phase at any time once the Doubt phase ends.
At 10%, just like on normal, everything changes. Malgus will begin channeling a powerful Force Lightning on a random target, during which he becomes vulnerable to knockback abilities. Once he’s channeling, hit him with any knockback ability OR a Pulse Grenade. This will stagger him, forcing him to drop to one knee for the finishing blow. Knock him into one of the nearby pits with another knockback (or grenade) to end the fight. Watch out though, as it’s easy to push him just to the cusp of the ledge, so don’t blow all your knockbacks on the first push. Make sure there are at least 2 just in case something goes wrong.
If you don’t hurry up and kill him once he hits 10%, the Force Lightning acts as a soft enrage, growing in power until it’s virtually unhealable.
TL;DR – Put your back to a wall, interrupt Ultimate Power, tank during Doubt, and use two knockbacks during lightning channeling to knock him into a pit. Loot tokens.