SWTOR's Invasion Flashpoints Seem to Have Overshot the Landing Zone
It hasn't been long since players of Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic have gotten new Flashpoints (the game's version of small-group content). A new form of Flashpoints was added the patch prior with Kuat Drive Yards bringing Tactical Flashpoints: role-neutral and sometimes level-neutral instances that can be completed by any group make-up of Tanks, Healers, and DPS. With the launch of 2.7, two new Flashpoints were released to the masses. But did they live up to the hype that Bioware built around them? To answer that question takes several different viewpoints.
I'm going to be quite frank here; these Flashpoints don't give much in the way of rewards. The final boss of each instance drops a piece of Black Market gear (a tier that became less valuable a while ago), which is okay if you're trying to gear out an alt. There are no daily/weekly missions for these Flashpoints, so there are no incentives there. Also, the bosses only drop Planetary Commendations. Seriously Bioware? You couldn't at least give us Basic Commendations? You know, the stuff you give us for completing dailies?
Anyway, you can also get "Recovered Relics" which are a new currency used to buy gear from the new vendors on a section of the Fleet. It looks cool... from a certain point of view. It didn't really grab me at least. One of the only cool things you get from all this is a customization kit for HK-51 that makes him look like a battle droid for your faction, something players have been asking for for a while.
However, you only need to run both Flashpoints once per faction in order to receive this reward, so it doesn't invite any repeat appearances into the instances. One of the other downsides of the lack of tangible rewards is that it makes queue times unbearably long. Nobody wants to run something that they don't get a bit closer to the carrot on a stick for doing.
What difficulty? These are tacticals, so they're meant to be easier. However, being able to smash my face on the keyboard and still put out enough damage to drop a boss is pretty sad. The boss mechanics are simple, and are recycled for both factions. Meaning, that the first boss in the Korriban Incursion Flashpoint for the Empire has the exact same mechanics as the first boss in the Korriban Incursion Flashpoint for the Republic.
I hope that they add a few more mechanics to these boss fights if they ever decide to make Hard Mode versions (which they should).
Honestly, this is the only redeeming quality of these instances. I won't spoil anything, but let's just say that the first part of Forged Alliances story arc is setting us up for a very interesting payoff down the road. If you can get through the queue times, it's definitely worth a runthrough on each faction just to see the story.
Besides a new HK-51 customization and the new addition to the overall story of SWTOR, these Flashpoints add VERY little to this game. If a hard mode version of each was released with updated mechanics and gear, maybe these would become interesting. However, in their current state of these instances I cannot in good faith say that the promises of the future make up for the failures of today. I give these Flashpoints a 4/10.