SWTOR 2.4 Patch Removes 8v8 Ranked Warzones

SWTOR Arena Tatooine
SWTOR Arena Tatooine

PvPers in SWTOR are finally going to get some real love from the devs at BioWare in the form of Game Update 2.4. For the first time since launch, the next patch for Star Wars: The Old Republic will be primarily focused on PvP content. So what can you expect from 2.4? Let’s take a look.

Warzone Arenas

The most exciting and anticipated content in 2.4 would have to be the new Warzone Arenas. Currently, all the Warzones in SWTOR are objective based team combat. As a team you must complete a series of tasks in order to win. However in the upcoming Arenas, your only goal is to eliminate the other team. It is Team Death Match at its finest. And since Arenas are small maps designed for 4v4 PvP, you will be able to do your killing in a much more intimate setting.

Each Arena match will consist of three rounds, win the most rounds and your team win the match. All ability cool-down will be reset at the beginning of a round, so no need to save that long cool-down ability for those late round clutch moments.

SWTOR Arena Orbital Station
SWTOR Arena Orbital Station

Look for Arenas on Corellia, Tatooine and an Orbital Station when 2.4 hits.

Ranked Arenas

For the first time you, as a solo player, will have the ability to queue for Ranked Warzones. The new solo queue system will match you with other players of similar rating and for the first time take your role into account. This means if you are a tank, then there will be a tank of similar skill ranking on the other team. So no more four healers against four damage dealers matches. The new matching making will only apply to solo queues and will have no effect on group ranked queues. Along with these changes, you will no longer be able to re-spec while in queue or while inside a Warzone.

Good Bye 8v8 Ranked

Lets be completely honest, while the original idea of 8v8 Ranked Warzones was awesome, the fact that these had to be completely pre-made teams, made the execution of the idea far from desirable. This combined with 8v8 never being supported very well, ahem pre-season for over a year, has led BioWare to remove 8v8 Ranked from SWTOR for the foreseeable future. While the return of 8v8 Ranked is always possible, don’t put to much stock into the idea until some of the underlying problems are fixed and server population gets much more healthier.

On the topic of pre-season for ranked PvP, the plan is to allow a small period of time for you to get familiar with the new arenas before Season 1 is officially rolled out.

If you want an early start or to help out with the testing of these new Arenas and 2.4 in general, then keep a sharp eye towards the Public Test Server stating August 16.

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SWTOR 2.3 Titans of Industry Patch Now Live

SWTOR 2.3 Titans of Industry Patch
SWTOR 2.3 Titans of Industry Patch

Patch 2.3 is now live for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Titans of Industry patch, as named by BioWare, will allow players to explore a new level 55 Daily mission area along with two associated level 55 Flashpoints. Here are some highlights.

  • CZ-198, a new Level 55 Daily mission area, is now available!  CZ-198 is a small, private moon where Czerka Corporation’s most secret and dangerous data, research and technology is stored. The facility has recently entered an emergency security lockdown, and both the Empire and the Republic have descended on the moon in order to seize control.
  • New Level 55 Flashpoint: Czerka Corporate Labs! Infiltrate Czerka’s corporate headquarters on CZ-198 and take down Rasmus Blys, the Czerka scientist responsible for developing the company’s most dangerous weaponry.
  • New Level 55 Flashpoint: Czerka Core Meltdown! Race against time to stop the imminent meltdown of the CZ-198 research facility and battle against the terrifying security system known as “The Vigilant!”
  • Both new Flashpoints will feature the all-new role-neutral Story Mode, where the Group Finder will match the first four players of any role for fast queue times! Level 55 Hard Mode is also available for the new Flashpoints.
  • Tauntaun Creature Mounts! Head to Hoth, where players will find the Tauntaun Trainer and Tauntaun Handlers in Aurek and Dorn Bases.
  • New Companion Character! Treek can now be obtained as an additional Companion Character via the Cartel Market or Legacy Vendors in the new Cartel Bazaar hangar of the Fleet! Cost is 2,100 Cartel Coins or 1,000,000 Credits.
  • New Event: Bounty Contract Week! Each month, players can undertake contracts and pursue dangerous criminals throughout the galaxy! Adventures begin on Republic and Imperial Fleets with a mission given by mysterious Bounty Hunters who are toting a “friend” encased in Carbonite. The first Bounty Contract Week begins on August 14th.
  • The Cartel Bazaar is a new hangar on the Republic and Imperial Fleets with an Appearance Designer kiosk, a Galactic Trade Network kiosk, and a cantina. The Cartel Market Reputation Vendors have closed their shops in the Crew Skills area and have moved to the Cartel Bazaar.
  • PvP, Alderaan Civil War. This Warzone has been updated, and now capturing the side turrets (Objective Control Points) will not spawn a speeder that takes your team directly to that turret.

Head over to the official site for the full patch notes.

SWTOR PvP Counter-Rant 2013

Huttball
Huttball

Recently Larry Everett ranted in his weekly Hyperspace Beacon column about the current state of SWTOR PvP. After reading the column, I immediately wanted to write a response. However after some thought, I decided that I should at least wait until he had the chance to give his solutions to the problems. And after reading his newest column in which he details his solutions, I feel even more compelled to respond.

First and foremost, PvP in Star Wars: The Old Republic is not broken. To state that PvP in SWTOR is broken, especially given the platform that Larry enjoys, is at best disingenuous and at worst dishonest. There are without a doubt some, if not many, aspects of SWTOR PvP that can be done better, however it doesn’t change the fact that tens of thousands of players continue to enjoy PvP in SWTOR on a daily basis.

Larry states that PvP was “one of the most balanced and fun parts  of the game in December of 2011”, and that “changes to the system have caused this part of the game to become less and less fun over time”. He even goes on to say that “the team at BioWare needs to stop working on PvP” and that the team “is focused on the wrong aspects of the game”. Larry’s opinion seems revolve around a few issues, the first being the lack of open-world PvP. Second is the issue of the stun/resolve system. The third issue seems to be an unbalance, not between the different classes, but between PvE and PvP. And lastly the issue of griefers and hackers.

If PvP was balanced in December of 2011, it was only because the game had just launched. And while level 10-49 PvP was lots of fun, it ended the moment you hit level 50. If you were not able to get to 50 in those first few months, then PvP at max level was soul crushing. The gear difference between a new level 50 and a valor rank 60 Battlemaster meant that the moment you get hit, you were dead, period. Since then BioWare has made PvP more, and more accessible and for the first time, in max level PvP skill can overcome the gear difference.

On the subject of open-world PvP, it does not currently belong in The Old Republic. Open-world PvP means open conflict and fighting on a massive scale. The current storyline in SWTOR is that there is a uneasy peace treaty between the Republic and the Sith, which means no open fighting. All the stories on the different planets focus on planetary level conflicts and no real direct fighting between the two sides. This is why instanced PvP warzones fits perfectly into the story as of right now. Small, localized incursions by both sides. If the peace treaty is broken, then open-world PvP needs to be in game.

Novare Coast
Novare Coast

PvP at its core is about skill and knowledge. The higher your skill and the more you know, the better the player you are. The stun/resolve issue is at its heart about the player’s skill to protect himself. The system is very simple. In almost every instance, once you get stunned twice, your resolve is filled and you are immune to stuns until your resolve is empty again. This simply means, don’t use your stun break ability the first time you get stunned. It really is that simple. And that is where the skill and knowledge comes in. The majority of the complains about the stun/resolve system comes from players that feel they should do well in PvP just because. But the harsh reality of PvP is that you have to study and learn. You need to learn the builds players are using for each class so that you can counter effectively. You need to learn the map of each warzone, where to attack from and where is best to defend. You need to learn the systems of the game.

Larry feels that since “the PvP system BioWare built is still gear-based” then the reward for winning is better gear and therefore easier PvP matches. While on the PvE side, the “true reward is more difficult content”. A fact that Larry seems to have over-looked is that in PvP, the difficulty of the match depends on the players. Even if I had the best PvP gear in the game, it means nothing if I come up against an equally geared, better skilled player on the other side. And just how long will that difficult content in PvE stay difficult? It is widely know that PvE gear has the highest ratings in the game, so once you have the best gear and know how to take down every boss, is the content really still difficult? Are the bosses going to adapt new tactics?

Every MMO has hackers and griefers. There really isn’t much anyone can do about it, especially on PvP servers. There is actually a system in place that anyone can use to not be bother by hackers and griefers the majority of the time. Just put them on your ignore list. Once someone is on your ignore list, they will be excluded from your PvP and PvE queues. So for about 80% of the time you’ll never deal with those people. And seriously, hacker and griefers are some of the saddest players in any MMO, so why even spare a second thought for them.

Do you agree with Larry? Are you more along my lines of thought? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about SWTOR PvP.