SWTOR PvP Review – From A PvP Players Perspective

So onto the SWTOR PvP review (as you can see it doesn’t score well in my eyes). You will probably already know that I’m a huge PvP fan, it’s where I spend all my time. And had high hopes for The Old Republic PvP offerings. The devs had introduced some fairly unique-to-mmo additions, while also adopting some of the things that worked well in other PvP MMO’s. And let’s face it, if you are going to make a Star Wars MMO – there has to be a huge PvP element to it.

The Jedi vs Sith/Republic vs Empire conflict has raged for millenia – the whole mantra is about the ongoing struggle between the dark and light. I wanted to be part of this epic, aeon’s old conflict – who wouldn’t. How could a Star Wars MMO be designed without PvP being as much as apart of the game as PvE instance and raid farming.

There is noway it could, right? WRONG!

It pains me to let you know the PvP is currently sooooo bad it makes me want to cry like a little boy who broke his new bike on Christmas day.

Just to let you in on the scope of how bad that is – my experienced and dedicated PvP guild crashed before the game had been out a month (and we are not alone). They all cancelled their subs and went back to WAR free trial, DAoC and League of Legends.

I’ve plodded on because I love Bioware’s story elements (and hope they will make some changes), but yes I’m back on the WAR free trial, and playing League of Legends for my PvP fix too.

I have heard The Old Republic coined as the worst PvP MMO ever. I don’t agree with that statement but I think it is the BIGGEST PvP disappointment of all time!

Why It Is So Bad

Many of the early impressions had given us PvP’ers great hope and high expectations – things like no stupidly high critical hits that can take 50-80% of a players health off. Varied and creative Warzones. Tough battles that took team work and co-ordination to win. And epic open world MEANINGFUL PvP – PvP that will unite a faction to attack and defend their territory and not just farm in circles for gear and tokens.

Well in my opinion that have NOT delivered in any area – this has basically killed my PvP guild and friends from playing.

Why do many feel this way? Well here is a list of the main issues we found, which some we do not think (or believe Bioware will backtrack on) are fixable – I will explain more as the report progresses.

The Big Issues:

Expertise Rating

This is one of the biggest errors in judgement in our eyes. A flat stat that increases a players damage, healing and damage reduction by a percentage is major. Resilience wasn’t received well in WoW, but compared to The Old Republics “Expertise” it is damn amazing.

Here is an example; I have a high valor rank Sorcerer with most of the top level PvP gear you can obtain in the game (giving me about a 10+% boost in damage/heal/toughness).

The first major problem with this is that I got all this within a few weeks of early access – without hardly any trouble (the last big PvP MMO I played was WAR and it took me over a year of pretty solid game time (a few hours everyday and many hours at the weekend ) to get high enough PvP rank to get the best PvP gear, then you had to actually lay siege to the opposing capitals faction to have a chance of getting this gear – it wasn’t something that could be done overnight! It took blood, sweat and tears. And overcoming great challenges makes the rewards oh so sweeter. Not so in Star Wars, without much effort other than farming Warzones and the cringe worthy open world PvP.

Any other player below 50 or without equal gear I came up against stands absolutely NO CHANCE. They do hardly any damage and I can completely nuke them in a few seconds with very little effort or skill involved. That includes fighting against 2, 3 or even 4 opponents.

I like a balanced PvP game that rewards you for playing as a team, using tactics, and skill to win – SKILL and TEAMWORK should govern PvP outcomes not how much time you have to farm gear for some fabled PvP rating. This expertise rating makes you pretty much INVINCIBLE unless you are fighting someone of equal gearing.

Bioware statement that it won’t matter if you have PvP or PvE gear was so highly inaccurate. There is little chance a good and experienced team of non-PvP geared players (or even medium PvP geared) could win against a pug PvP team with high PvP gear – It is that Bad!

As the game progresses and more PvP gear is made available the void between new and veteran players will become so large people will never be able to win or find enjoyment in PvP.

Potential of Fix: Slim – it seems a central part of their PvP design, which says a ton for all PvP in SWTOR – which is not good.

Constant CC

This is very, very bad. Players can be stunned over and over again for what feels like an eternity – basically you can get stunned at full health and be killed without the chance to fight back or make an escape. Bioware bigged up the Resolve mechanic which is supposed to fill as you get stunned. It just doesn’t work well enough, it fills way to slow and drains even quicker. So much so I must have only seen a handful of times it has kicked into gear.

Potential of Fix: High – it will be easy to make the resolve more effective or have short immunities following any CC.

Open World PvP – Meaningless and Boring

This is my biggest issue, and one I just can’t overlook. Biowares effort in open-world PvP is Ilum. Basically a large zone with and Empire base at the north and Republic at the South. With a number of objectives littered throughout. Prior to patch 1.1 the whole thing was a complete farce (after 1.1 it is arguably even worse)

Most of the zone is just for eye candy, with NPC dog fights kicking off just above your head, NPC AT-AT style walkers firing blaster bolts at each other. BUT these have absolutely no gameplay value other than being cosmetic (which stays attractive and interesting for about 30 seconds). Then there is the way the objectives work….

Prior to 1.1

PvP dailies require players to capture objectives in order to get champion PvP bags (that have a way too high chance to drop the OP PvP gear).

How it works is each faction has vehicles facing off against each other on either side of the objective – the aim being you need to destroy the oppositions vehicles to lock the objective. Once you have destroyed the oppositions vehicles they will not spawn again until the opposite faction has destroyed yours.

This descended into Empire and Republic standing by each others vehicles and destroying them in a never ending cycle to keep them respawning – all so people could complete the dailies to get PvP bags/gear. It was laughable – opposing factions standing yards from each other, running by each other and NOT FIGHTING!

Gawd forbid if you started a fight with the opposition – you get the whole zone moaning their head off about you participating in PvP – IN A PVP ZONE???? Just because they wanted that PvP gear with the overpowered expertise rating – all PvP in Star Wars is about gear farming more than any-other MMO I have ever played.

How this was not foreseen is another major cause for concern – where is the objective lockout timers, or the requirements for multi point control, defend timers – there is just no creativity and no fun to be had, so much that could have been done to make it competitive.

With Patch 1.1

Now you need to kill players and/or get drops to complete the dailies. So now all point to objectives has been lossed and it has descended in to camping the opposing factions base to get kills. However because of the population imbalance on our server poor republic are just stuck being farmed at their base. So they are not getting their dailies done, not getting any gear and having no fun in PvP.

I didn’t think Bioware could go down in PvP standards but they have – this seems like a knee jerk reaction to the broken zone that was before. It seems clear Bioware have put all their effort into PvE for release and PvP was completely forgotten, effective testing would have shown these issues from the start. One day someone will merge an MMO with this quality of PvE together with quality PvP as seen in WAR or DAoC. But it is not today!

Meaningless

What is the point in fighting in the PvP zone? Not one thought has been given to the conflict between Republic and Sith, no meaning has been given to this war. No one cares who owns what or what happends if you lose control, all everyone wants is the PvP gear because it makes you so OP. They have done absolutely nothing to build faction pride, comradry or unification. Not one person will race to defend a zone or point without some reason more than gear bags.

What consequences or bonuses are there for defending or taking objectives, or locking the zone. NOTHING – all you get (apart from the stupid gear dailies) is a valor boost – which gives you sod all apart from titles and battlemaster+ PvP gear??

Potential of Fix: Slim – they may be able to fix the mechanics of the zone but the game has not been designed with PvP conflict in mind. It would take a massive overhaul to instill faction pride via PvP (which I cover more on later).

Imbalanced Classes and Too High Damage

I have some screenshots of stealthers (which will be added soon) doing crits from stealth of 7000k, and immediately following with 3, 4, 5k crits. This kills almost anyone in less than a few seconds. I have seen both operatives and smugglers kill 4 or 5 players in a row by doing the same thing – an it’s pretty much unstoppable – healers cant heal through it and a player cant get away because of the lengthy knockdown CC.

It’s crazy to watch (and rage inducing to be the victim of) – e.g. player to the far left gets stunned and hit for 6k from stealth, teamies see and attempt respond to the players feeble plea for help (if you don’t have voice coms you’re dead before you’ve finished typing).

Healers try to heal and the others try and tie the stealther up. Now if you are quick (within a 2 seconds your teamies may get a knock back in. If not your healer cant out heal the damage output and you’re dead in-less than 2-3 seconds). Often no-one even has time to react and player 1 is dead. The stealther combat stealths away and moves to the next target. This is repeated until most of the team is dead. How is this fun for all but a very small few who enjoy no competition at all? Healers don’t even have a decent combat rez to help – that again tells me they have barley considered PvP.

Many times these one-shot-killers are in my team — it is only fun face-rolling people for a very short time. There is no sense of accomplishment or satisfaction.

You also have other imbalances like sorcs and bounty hunters having crazy damage while at the same time having uber heals. Making them (me included) almost unkillable most of the time. How this got to the live servers in this state is a cause for concern.

Potential of Fix: Moderate – most classes could do with some serious alterations, however I wouldn’t expect anything major anytime soon.

Everything is Gear Orientated

Every single aspect of PvP is about getting gear. Of course every MMO has it’s roots in getting better gear but PvP needs to be different. Not one thought has been given to the conflict between Republic and Sith, no meaning has been given to this war. No one cares who owns what or what happens if you lose control, all everyone wants is the PvP gear because it makes you so OP.

Only 3 Warzones

This is just too little for launch. There should have been around one warzone designed for each planet or region where the conflict had touched.

Potential of Fix: High – Bioware have promised many more Warzones!

Closing

First I have to say that Bioware have done some amazing things with The Old Republic. The PvE is pretty special, from the Flashpoints to the story arcs and the combat is quite fun and flowing (however I have to say the class designs are very un-imaginative, there are no special mechanics (apart from cover which is pretty useless in PvP) which means there is little skill involved in playing your class – if you have a good build with good gear you should do aswell as everyone else. It also looks pretty nice, with good art design and animation but the PvP is so bad, I can’t see ANY experienced PvP player staying around long. 

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