Friday, July 12, 2013

Imperial SWTOR Bounty Contract Week Missions

Bounty Contract Week

The newest SWTOR monthly event, Bounty Contract Week, is up for testing on PTS. You can only do one Henchman mission per day, and completion grants a token that goes toward unlocking a tougher Kingpin encounter. It takes 5 tokens to purchase the unlock and you get a bonus reputation trophy of a size Bioware can't decide upon. Once purchased, that quest remains available for your character. One Kingpin mission can also be completed per day, but not repeated during the same week.

Check out the Bounty Brokers Association reputation rewards to see what you'll get from this world event.

Extracting information out of NPCs is done via either getting them drunk (light side) or using an interrogation probe (dark side). Some won't say anything useful, while others spill the beans and grant quest credit. Using consumables from a vendor near the mission terminal gives you much better odds of success. Occasionally you'll tick the Shady Characters off and they'll attack with level-appropriate friends at their side. These have a chance of dropping an item that gives credit towards quest completion when used.

After the Shady Characters give you a contact location (usually at a nearby Cantina), you will face a randomly chosen Henchman that spawn at different areas on a planet. This is an attempt to spread out the player base, but the Shady Character portion is a real bottleneck.

Remaining Concerns:
  • Lines forming at Bounty marks' spawn points
  • Player interference when trying to capture a foe under 10% HP

Nar Shaddaa

Assassin Bounty Contract
Click images to watch associated video.

When you've completed part one at the casino, the mission progresses to the actual battle with your marked bounty. With an old undergeared 50 copy (and the inability to respec due to a PTS bug) I still found this quite easy. I fought Novane, an enemy with a shield and two healer adds. If you break the stun grenade they hit you with, you can interrupt them without trouble.

Kingpin Arkan

Kingpin Arkan Contract

I decided to go full circle and do the Nar Shaddaa Kingpin as my first of the higher-tier contracts. Our original Cathar quest-giver tells us we've gathered enough information to hunt that original problematic character, bringing closure to the planet's bounty missions.

I'm pleased to say that these use probe droids and binoculars to find clues instead of the Shady Character interrogation. On the Lower Promenade, I released probes into the air then had to find and mark them with the binoculars. When finished, I was instructed to use the jukebox in the cantina.

This is a group quest with no number of players specified. I took Kingpin Arkan on solo as Darkness with Talos healing (because Treek's gear isn't up to snuff.) He fires an array of shots including a cryo beam and incineration round - move out of negative effects on the ground and interrupt what you can. Partway through he vanished and left a pile of ashes (or maybe coins?) on the floor that the crowd who had gathered couldn't help but look at. Of course, Arkan appeared again to continue the battle.

This isn't instanced, so I don't believe Kingpin encounters can scale. They seem to be soloable with use of Heroic Moment and an appropriate companion. On live servers, I expect the line waiting for their turn will also help out even if you're not grouped just to speed things along. I was mistaken in thinking Kingpins would award large purple reputation trophies; you still only get a medium blue one.


Alderaan Bounty Contract

A noble (who else lives on Alderaan?) wants your help clearing out the Claw. The Shady Characters for this area are in the field just outside the spaceport.

I was surprised and disappointed to find that Novane, the enemy I killed yesterday was mark... and very much alive on Alderaan. After checking the PTS forums, it appears that the enemy you face is random. This is going to make it time-consuming to complete the achievements to kill and capture each enemy.

Capturing Novane alive after killing him yesterday is extremely immersion-breaking.

A live capture floats around behind you as a carbonite slab until you turn the quest in - a nice touch.

Kingpin Claw

Alderaan Kingpin Claw

Claw turns out to be closer than I first realized - the noble's son. To reign him in, I flew out to the Juran Mountains and scanned the Rist area on the Republic side of the main river. Some probes wedged themselves in the rock face and others were atop trees.

The information led me to the path just above the scan area where he must have been living inside the crashed shuttle I fiddled with. Claw is a gunslinger, complete with cover (except he's interruptible.) His Artillery/Freighter Flyby is the most important thing to interrupt. He'll also throw out cleansable DoTs and otherwise just shoots until his Cover Screen is expiring.

When his cover is down, Claw drags his ranged enemies on top of him, places a fire bomb and rolls to a new location. Move out of the fire, although it didn't do too much harm to my healer companion who isn't bright enough to escape. Two adds will then spawn, capable of stunning you and healing the Kingpin. Take them out and repeat until you succeed. In this case, I took him home to mommy.

Dromund Kaas

Dromund Kaas Bounty Contract

I took a taxi to the far end of Kaas City to meet with my contact. He explained that a Sith Lord's minions have been troublesome, but he can't convince anyone the Sith is at fault. I assist to get my hands on the credits he fundraised to get the job done.

Once again I interrogate Shady Characters near the entrance to the Cantina and down by the statue garden that was previously a bomb target. They're not very cooperative today and I needed to fight a few of them despite using the upgraded Interrogation Probe consumables. Next, I spoke with an informant inside the Cantina.

A quick ride over to the west side of Kaas City led me to a platform with the meeting point for this bounty. A new boss showed up today - a droid. Unfortunately he followed a very similar pattern to the other enemy I fought on previous days.

All marks seem to have a stun and one unique ability. This droid's was a small knock-back into the air. Next, I got stunned while his 2 adds spawned (just like the other boss) and they use one unique ability. These did an AoE pulse which gave poor Treek in level 15 gear some trouble. When I was no longer stunned, I used Overload and they fell to their doom.

Mission accomplished, but I'm growing weary of how each Bounty Contract Mission before reaching the Kingpins are nearly identical.

Kingpin Lord Trok

Dromund Kaas Lord Trok

The Sith Lord Trok is a greedy woman who denies the Sith Code and believes she should use power to attain...credits. As a former slave, this infuriates me and I head directly to the Dark Temple approach to sniff her out. This is the location to release your seeker probes, and the walls in the area may obscure them from your view.

Trok has her eyes on a relic at the foot of a statue inside the Dark Temple. Grab it and she'll show herself. Starting off by stunning your companion or a ranged friend, this Kingpin flows into a Spinning Strike with her saber. She summons a lightning storm to give herself some breathing room while she either casts Crushing Darkness or heals herself. She is not interruptible.

At 50%, Lord Trok shields herself and lets a beastly Sith Spawn do her dirty work. It hits much harder than anything the Sith does herself and was the most difficult part of the fight for me. It's in your best interest to have it killed before her shield dissipates.

After the Sith Spawn is dead, she continues the earlier pattern and stunned me inside her Force Storm. In this case I was playing as Madness and my 30% damage reduction while stunned on top of 15% DoT protection neutralized this combination. She easily fell to my blade after that.


Hutta Bounty Contract

A shifty mission provider at Nal Hutta's spaceport points us to the Cantina that serves as the Agent and Bounty Hunter starting area as the Shady Character location. There are some in and outside this particular building - an improvement from Kaas.

After extraction, head over to the palace for a chat with your contact. Today, she sent me to the Evocii lands just outside town. I fought T'rubba, who simply cleaved with his two vibroswords. I noticed the sound for his adds spawning and used Shroud to become immune to stuns. The adds simply shot at me and were easily dispatched.

It occurred to me as I got the enemy under 10% for a capture that as my usual Madness spec with tricked-out companions, it might be pretty difficult to catch these guys before DoTs or companions finish them off. We'll likely need to put our companions on passive and use a simple Saber Strike toward the end.

Kingpin Grov the Destroyer

Hutta Grov the Destroyer

Grov's seeker droid location is a lengthy trek to the northern island on Hutta. His spawn location is in the middle of nowhere on the far east of the map - not the quickest Kingpin to reach.

Grov the Destroyer is an Evocii fighting back against the Hutts. A noble goal, but not one we're getting paid for. His primary abilities are Terminate, a strong ranged attack that knocks you back. This usually tosses you into a toxin dispenser that pulses damage and can stun you if you stay in it too long.

Two sets of adds will spawn. The first is a swarm of weaker wildlife, then the second is a tougher Kintan. Grov stays active while you deal with them and you may find them overwhelming at level 55.


Bounty Contact Voss

This mission is centralized at Voss-Ka. Your client is on the main bridge in the center of the city, and Shady Characters are near most buildings.

At a cliff near the Imperial base at the Gormak Lands, I fought a mark that did a much bigger variety of attacks. I was stunlocked for a while by grenades and a knockdown. While incapacitated, the enemy healed and vanished once. This was a much more interesting encounter than I've had the rest of the week.

Kingpin Eryn Talosa

Voss Kingpin Contract

Eryn Talosa is an Exchange crime lord who loves art. The crystals and unique architecture of Voss have caught her eye and she's been stealing them to use on her own "canvas."

The seeker probe location is by the Cantina, a very short ride from the bridge where your client is at. From there you go right up the path to the Tower of Prophecy and borrow a crystal by making an awkward sideways jump to the central platform. With that in hand, you can set up a sting on the Kingpin on the upper floor.

Eryn Talosa has Commando and Powertech abilities like an electro-net, frontal and ground targeted AoEs, and a shoulder cannon. DPS should be careful of "Reflective Shield," a short damage reflective buff. Three droids spawn at the entrance of the room late in the fight, but they didn't appear to have any special abilities.

This is the quickest Kingpin mission I've found so far. It may be the go-to quest for Bounty Brokers Association reputation once you have your achievements completed.


Tatooine Bounty Client

The Tatooine client is a short ride outside the starport. Shady Characters are located at the Cantina across the street. Take the first flight outside the city to meet up with your contact (in this case, a 3-peat for me.)

This mark was in the Dune Sea and primarily used AoE elemental attacks. The adds that spawned knocked me back into the wall I was standing near multiple times, preventing me from interrupting the main target. Once they were killed, I easily sidestepped the pulsing flames on the sand and brought our Jawa friend some peace of mind.

Kingpin Kreegan Ramar

Kreegan Ramar from Tatooine

Mandalorian Kreegan Ramar is the "armor-man" with a distaste for Jawas. After searching the canyons for seeker probe information, you'll find his spawn point at the top of a ridge on the Republic side of the path.

Kingpin Kreegan simply shoots various damage types of bullets at you for most of the fight, but he has one nasty combo. He punches you into the air and you land in a missile salvo. The missiles then knock you back again!

Shortly into the fight you'll also face a stream of strong or tougher ranged enemies, depending on your level. Try not to get thrown off the ridge while fighting the adds. Kreegan Ramar is probably one of the hardest Kingpins to solo because of how often he tosses you around.


To fully complete the achievement list you'll also need to do the bounties on two Republic worlds. This is, however outside the scope of my very Imperial blog. You can bet they follow a similar pattern as the contracts I've listed.