SWTOR: Defeating Gharj (plus Space Combat Tips)

If you’re a Star Wars: The Old Republic player, then you’ve likely heard of, confronted, or are wondering how to defeat Gharj, the second boss in the Nightmare Eternity Vault.  He is one of the most difficult (and fun) bosses in SWTOR and certainly one that receives more attention and talk than others do.

So how does your group go about defeating Gharj?

Well, depends on the group, obviously, but here’s one of the better ways to go about it.  One caveat: I’ve never personally taken a SWTOR character to high enough level to do this myself, but have played others’ toons against Gharj as well as watching it being done with other players/characters/groups.  Having seen the defeat of both groups and Gharj at least a dozen times, here is the scenario that worked out best.

The Group

First, the group.  As with any instance, you’re going to need certain elements in order to complete this one.  From what I’ve seen, I recommend:

  • A front line tank.  Just one is enough, but this one should be good at keeping agro.
  • Two healers that can keep the tank running.  The tank should never fall below half health.
  • Everyone else is DPS – they should be able to dish out damage without pulling much agro or at least be astute enough to not deal damage continually so as not to become too much of a threat.  With several damage dealers, prudent striking is easy to achieve and makes the tank’s job easier.
  • A DPS that can act as an off-tank is not a bad idea, but also not required.

The Layout

The battle against Gharj is in lava pits where you fight on islands.  The layout of those islands is roughly triangular with one starting platform on which Gharj stands, another just below it, and another below and to the left as you look at the boss.  Healers should stand on the second island while the tank holds Gharj as far to the top (north) of the focal island as s/he can.  The DPS can go wherever they please, depending on their weapons.

The initial idea is to hold Gharj at the top of the island while the damage dealers do their thing and the healers keep the tank operating.  Gharj throws frontal damage in a cone, so if he’s facing away from the bulk of the party, he won’t damage the healers and ranged toons.

The Strategy and Scenario

During the battle, Gharj will “Enter a Frenzy”, a warning that indicates that he’s about to pull a maneuver that does a huge amount of damage in a radius, which will hit the ranged party components.  A series of stalactites will fall and create a path through the lava to the first island.

Gharj will jump into the air and before he lands, everyone needs to be off the island where he is and onto the next one, where the stalactite path leads.  Ranged and healers should be as far to the other side of that island as possible while melee and the tank should be on the end nearest to Gharj.

The platform shakes when he lands and causes huge area damage to anyone still there.  He’ll likely jump a couple of times and anyone on the platform will be propelled into the lava and take even more damage.  Most toons taking all of this will die.  So don’t be there when it happens.

Next, he will run towards the party and, if the tank (and off-tank, if there) should grab him again.  This requires a little coordination and communication as many DPSers are trigger happy.  Once Gharj is seized by the tank again, turn him around and proceed as before.

The jumps will continue, but not be as bad, with Gharj hopping up and down and doing area-of-effect (AOE) damage that can throw people into the lava.  When he jumps, all but the tank should back off to lessen the damage they’re taking.

Eventually, the cycle will go again and he’ll go into another rage.  Just before he does this, he’ll spawn some little cat-like adds.  If someone in the party can mass stun (as an AOE), this is the time to do it.

If stunned, when Gharj jumps and the party moves to the new platform, the spawns will die when the original platform falls into the lava.  This is the best way to deal with them without having to waste DPS and damage-taking.

The other option is to have the off-tank pull them and do his thing with one or two DPS players taking them down with him.

Bonus: SWTOR Space Combat Tips

Since I’m such a nice guy, here are some other tips for getting through space combat in The Old Republic.

First, as soon as you can, get a power conversion module.  This will help you increase the damage you do with attacks and will thus speed up your space missions and the XP you receive from them.

If you can, destroy missile and defense systems on the main target(s) first, as these are what will damage you most.  Enemy fighters can also be a pain, but the defense systems of the big ships are more likely to cause you problems than the smaller fighter ships are (with the exception of Jedi fighters, which you won’t see until more advanced levels).

Your shields regenerate when you dodge enemy attacks while not shooting (i.e. you are defensive), so do that often.  Use barrel rolls and unpredictable maneuvers to keep yourself clear of enemy fire.

In most missions, one of your primary goals will always be to survive, so ignore secondary missions unless you’re confident you can do the extras.  If you haven’t played a mission before, don’t expect to be able to do the secondary goals your first time.

Finally, remember that the space missions are on “rails” – which means that you are locked into a pre-defined pattern and most of the items/NPCs in them move on a pre-set course, so once you’ve done them a couple of times, you should have it down.

Space missions are optional, but very fun.  They add a big new dimension to SWTOR that makes the game more fun and they can be used as a distraction from the inevitable grind that most MMOs, including SWTOR, have.

Worth trying, even if it’s just to find out you aren’t really into them.  They can help you gain levels quickly, but aren’t necessary to fun game play.

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