18/02/2012

Just another day in the warzone

I was a bit wary of stepping into warzones at max level, since I was highly aware of the fact that there would be no more bolstering, gear suddenly mattered, and I would start out at the very bottom of the totem pole. However, I'm very glad that I dared to give it a go eventually, because it's been oodles of fun.

Yes, I did feel very powerless at the start. The combat medic's lack of mobility still annoys me sometimes. In a frantic PvP battle, the ability lag that so many forum posters are complaining about and that I never really noticed in PvE is apparent even to me, though I'm not sure whether "ability lag" is even the right term for it. It just feels like animations and gameplay are a bit out of sync in some cases, so a cast might not actually go off even though it looked like it, or you might find yourself stunned or rooted with no real visible indicator of what's going on (this one happens to me a lot).

And of course, at the worst of times, you might find yourself sitting in the warzone queue for a long time, just to be thrown into a match where your team is several members short (one of the "perks" of playing the less popular faction) and you end up getting farmed near the spawn point while the enemy semi-premade owns you at Huttball. Been there, done that.

However, I do love the overall feel of warzones. I'm generally not a fan of playing melee classes, but I love to watch other people's Jedi whirl through the air and slash the enemy with their lightsabers. I love how each warzone has all these ramps, tunnels, nooks and crannies that reward strategic positioning, and I'm still learning new tricks every day.

I love the goodie bags that I get from the daily quests. I've been told that gearing up for PvP is grindy and annoying, but seeing how I'm not really that focused on it, every quest reward simply feels like a welcome bonus. Getting at least a couple of pieces with expertise on them isn't that expensive either, and every little helps.

But most of all, I love the feeling of community that I see developing in the warzones. TOR PvPers are certainly no angels, and I have seen the occasional moan about how this or that enemy class is overpowered or how people aren't paying enough attention to the objectives. However, for each of these negative comments I've seen about ten useful or simply positive ones. People greet each other and talk strategy. Incomings are called out and reacted to. Enemy healers are identified and marked up by the ops leader for easier targeting. Congratulations and cheers abound when things go well. And this is all in pugs!

In the last couple of days alone I've had some particularly awesome games. There was the Voidstar where our ops leader immediately complained about the system making him leader again, and then led us to an amazing victory against what was a pretty strong enemy team. There was the Huttball game where we were 0-2 down within the first couple of minutes but then ended up turning things around and into a 5-2 victory. Or the Civil War game where I guarded the left turret on my own for the entirety of the game, but every time I needed help and called out, the same trooper came running over to rescue me and then thanked me for doing such a good job defending. I could go on and on.

I have to admit that I was a bit dismayed when I read in last week's Q&A what sounded to me like a hint that Bioware intends to introduce cross-server queuing for warzones in the future, even if they were kind of vague about it. Since PvP isn't the main focus of the game for me, I certainly wouldn't rage-quit over it or anything, but the notion does make me a little sad. I reckon that now is probably the best time to get into SWTOR PvP, balance issues and all - because I don't know how long this enthusiasm and community spirit will last.

4 comments:

  1. I find that the idea of same server PvP is much better than the reality of it. I remember back to the days of vanilla WoW pvp, when you knew who on each faction was a "good" player, and who you desperately wanted to hunt down for payback from last week... The truth is though that if you play a server in SWTOR where one faction has a decided population edge, same server pvp is no fun. If your on the hi-pop faction, its endless hutball against the same people your standing around Ilum waiting to kill stuff with. If your on the low pop side, you wait endlessly in a queue for more people when you just wanted to get a few randoms in while you had a chance. I think the change will be better for the game overall, even if it feels less "homey".

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  2. I find that the idea of same server PvP is much better than the reality of it.

    I understand your point, but it actually worked out the opposite way for me. I never thought much of the idea when WoW vets talked to me about the glorious days of same-server battlegrounds, mostly because I couldn't imagine PvPers being all that social to begin with, but now that I'm actually experiencing it myself in TOR I find it amazing.

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  3. SWTOR PVP is a complete blast. I have a commando on an empire dominant server and love it. I have been Gunnery since hitting 50, but it seems like the PVP population is finally experienced enough for healers to make a real difference.

    This brings up an interesting problem:
    Most PUG damage dealers don't pay attention enough in combat to identify who is healing and focus fire to drop them, or to see when their healers are being harassed. In premade groups this is not the case. That is the HUGE advantage that they have over PUGs.

    The other side of the coin:
    I also rolled an operative on a separate server with some RL friends. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Being on the dominant faction (empire) means that while your opponents are fewer in number, they are MUCH better coordinated out of necessity, and are almost always grouped up/on vent. This means that small groups/guilds of the dominant faction do the same, leading to:
    When queueing warzones solo, you either fight the opposing faction's premades or your own faction's premades. You are typically grouped with players that are either just trying to get their daily wins (and leave at the first indication of a probable loss), players that couldn't get into your faction's premades due to skill or gear deficiencies, or bots/mostly AFK players just trying to get some "free purps". This situation is even more demoralizing than being outnumbered 5-1 in Illum because you could play 10+ warzones in a day and not get a single win.

    Healing in warzones:
    When grouped with clueless and/or undergeared players, you will not be able to do much at all. It is possible to almost keep up with the incomming damage of one good player, but you have to skill for it (31 points) and completely sacrifice the ability to do damage otherwise its just not possible to keep your ressources manageable.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

      it seems like the PVP population is finally experienced enough for healers to make a real difference

      I think this is an interesting thing to comment on, because there's been a definite development in the last two months in terms of people getting to grips with how everything works. For me it's been quite fun to learn how to play and watch others get better at the game too.

      The issue of premades vs. pugs is not a new one, but fortunately it doesn't seem too bad on my server so far. I also noticed that while pugs obviously play with less skill overall, most of them are quite willing to listen and follow instructions, so if someone is willing to speak up and take the lead, even a pug can turn into a force to be reckoned with (as long as the skill and gear gap between your team and the enemy isn't too wide).

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