Starting at level 10, both the Imperial and Republic factions begin their journey through flashpoints. These hour-long instances tell one-off stories and give you, the player, a greater understanding of what is happening in the greater galaxy. During these adventures, you play a role in the stories of the galaxy's most famous figures. Grand Master Satele Shan, Darth Malgus, and maybe even a person or two from past games all make a appearance in these stories.
At the same time, these instances require strategy. Beyond the break, I will outline the first three flashpoints: the Black Talon, the Esseles, and Bringing Down the Hammer. Also, pay attention to the tips -- they may just make your first runthrough a little easier.
You can join this flashpoint as soon as you step onto Vaiken station at about level 10. However, it is my recommendation that you select an advanced class before looking for a group, especially if you are a healer. Speaking of healers, I should note that it is completely possible to complete this flashpoint without a healer if you have a lot of healing stims, but I wouldn't recommend it. You will also want one person with medium to heavy armor to act as a tank.
Protip: The flashpoint is faster easier if you do not kill the captain but not nearly as much fun.
Similar to The Black Talon, The Esseles flashpoint doesn't absolutely require you to bring the holy trinity to make it through the instance, but it is definitely recommended that you have at least one healer and someone with heavy armor. Also just like the Black Talon, this instance is available for level 10s as they meet up with the fleet.
Protip: When deactivating the tractor beam, you will face a boss that can throw you down a reactor shaft. Stay away from the edges to avoid being thrown in. In fact, if you can pull the boss down to the main area, you will be better off.
On Carrick or Vaiken space station, a droid will have a quest for you when you reach level 15. He will have a message for you from Satele Shan or Darth Malgus. From there, you will take the turbolift to the departure area of the station, where you will receive further instructions. During this flashpoint, your combat roles begin to take shape. Just as in the other two flashpoints, you will want to have a healer and definitely someone who can hold aggro. Problems arise on the second boss if you do not have the correct group balance. Two DPS characters, one healer, and one tank will balance your group effectively.
Protip: The second boss is a trio of nasties: a droid with a grappling hook and flamethrower that deals a lot of DPS, a humanoid healer that can keep the other two alive, and a melee powertech that will throw a shield up on one of the other two at random. In theory, you will want to attack whomever the powertech is not shielding. However, it's been my personal experience that it works best if you attack the healer first, that way the other two do not receive any healing. That more than makes up for the DPS lost from attacking the healer while he's shielded.
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