What’s Wrong with PvP in SWTOR

The Problem with Warzones

Warzones form the heart of SWTOR’s PvP experience, pitting two squads of eight players against each other in an objective-based arena. Presently, SWTOR includes three Warzones: Alderaan, in which teams vie for control of three turrets; Voidstar, in which a defense team must prevent an assault team from reaching a ship’s data core; and Huttball, which is essentially a mixture of soccer and football played on an obstacle course.

The first issue with Warzones is the lack of variety, which is compounded by the fact that Huttball is the Warzone most often played due to faction imbalance. While Alderaan and Voidstar pit a Republic team against an Imperial team, Huttball is the Warzone the match-making system defaults to when it cannot balance the opposing forces.

Conceptually, Huttball is an innovative, objective-based PvP sport with a strong focus on teamwork and tactics. While not everyone enjoys Huttball due to certain PvP mechanics, the biggest complaint detractors level against this Warzone is simply over-exposure — players report Huttball comes up as often as 80% of the time they queue for a Warzone. Of course, this figure will vary from server to server and based on the time of day, but the fact remains that Huttball does come up more frequently than the other two Warzones.

The second issue with Warzones stems from Valor and Expertise, which tie into high-level PvP gear. Quite simply, players decked out in PvP gear will crush those without it with very little effort.

Formerly, all players, from levels 10 through 50, could be found in the same Warzones, and while the bolstering system does wonders to even the playing field between a level 25 and a level 35 character, the gear that level 50 characters had access to made them the giants in the playground. Once the game matured to a point where there were sufficient level 50 characters, BioWare created a separate level 50 Warzone bracket. Quality of life improved for level 10-49 players, but the problem persisted for level 50 players.

Fresh 50s with no PvP gear stand no better chance against fully-geared 50s than lower-level players, and the only way to acquire that PvP gear is to suffer through the misery of getting steamrolled repeatedly in Warzones to earn Commendations and Valor Rank. For 39 levels, Warzones present a relatively fair challenge, only to devolve into an imbalanced fiasco by the end-game. Because of this, some level 49 players deliberately remain within the 10-49 bracket by leaving Warzones early to avoid earning XP and leveling up.

That bears repeating.

Some players are deliberately halting the advancement of their characters in order to better enjoy the game.

That’s absurd — the strongest driving force of any MMO is character progression. There is something fundamentally wrong with the system if a player feels that further character progression will be detrimental to his enjoyment of the game.

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8 Comments on What’s Wrong with PvP in SWTOR


On February 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

First Bioware has to hire some more people because as of now it almost looks like they don’t have the teams present to take care of the work load.

Second they need to have one team looking at Class balance because it doesn’t matter what you do to pvp instances if classes are steam rolling over other ones. I mean right now its basically Knights of the old Jedi/Sorc Class, and its not like those classes are a little better, its almost shocking just how better some classes are then others.

Third you another team look at the PvP warzones and Ilum, right off the bat, cross server warzones, rated warzones so that a brnad new lvl 50 isn’t playing against a team of battle masters. Work on getting Arenas for 2v2 3v3 and so on. Ilum make it an instance and have people queue for that instance, when both sides have 30 people it starts, should be simple if you have all servers in the pot.

Fourth you have another team look at pvp gear, right now expertise is a game breaking stat when it comes into pvp gear, and it shouldn’t be. Gear should give you a small edge over those that don’t have it, but it shouldn’t be a blantant stat that allows you to destory everyone that doesn’t have a full set of pvp gear. My lvl 50 purple gear should at least make it a fair fight, yeah sure you should win but not by just two shooting me.

Sixth and this is a big one, have some sort of damn communicaiton with your player base, Bioware has failed in this area 100%, they have no open table discussions with their palyer base. Bioware just needs to say something, anything but instead they talk about white crystals for light sabers :(


On February 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm

First: Arguing about PVP in any [b]RPG game built around PVE[/b] is redundant. That’s like people complaining about PVP in a game like LOTR. You do know RPG games always tend to put storyline and adventuring over players mashing keys, circle jerking, and macros right?

Second: Read the first one over till you are intelligent enough to think.

Third: Read the first one over till you understand and grasp the concept of common sense.

Fourth: Turn off the internet and go outside. Perhaps research what [b]roleplaying[/b] games are about or maybe just read a book.

Hey I know, let’s complain about a lack of multiplayer in Planescape: Torment!


On February 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Okay fine call it a RPG game, make it a one player game and move on with life, but if you are going to call it a MMO, and your going to put effort into having pvp, then you might as well make it enjoyable for the vast amount of people that play these games for pvp.

Do you think WoW would have been the game it is now if it never had pvp, No it would have died after a few years. PvP player are a major part of these games and if you ignore them your MMO will die. People don’t complain about PvP in LOTR because its pretty much non-existent, you can’t complain about something that everyone knew wasn’t going to exist.

Star wars, Bioware said numerous times that Pvp in this game was going to be great, ground breaking, something to write home to mom about, and so people played it to find out that none of that was true.


On February 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm

“Every server’s goal should be a 50/50 split between Empire and Republic; so, upon character creation, a pop-up could tell you the current ratio of Empire to Republic and the associated XP bonus for joining the smaller faction.”

What populations do you take from? Only active players? Only the highest character from each account? Only level 50′s? If it is the full population, you would have a bunch of new, low level characters filling up one side to even it out. Maybe they dont make it all the way to 50, and then it even more negatively effects the level 50′s queue times. This system would raise all kinds of issues. Why not invite certain guilds to change their faction and to their mirrror’d class. It could be a one time fix, or a once a year fix, to even out the factions.

“A character can hit level 50 through PvE alone, but he can’t hit Valor Rank 60 without leveling up significantly.”

This statement makes me wonder just how well the writer even knew SWTORs PVP, as the Valor level cap IS your current level, and it doesn’t uncap until 50… So in order to reach Rank 60, you have to level up completely, not significantly.

I agree 100% at the need for a deathmatch Warzone. It could be as simple as using the Huttball map, but having 200 reinforcements for each team, each death drops 1 reinforcement. Hell you could keep the ball in the game, and each score increases your teams reinforcement by 15 or so…

And I do not understand the system of having Huttball inter-faction but not Voidstar or Alderaan. Change the dialog to ‘an enemy ship’ instead of ‘an X faction ship’ and allow for inter-faction play… Those two changes (deathmatch huttball, inter-faction Voidstar / Alderaan) would keep WZs interesting in SWTOR for at least another few months for myself personally.

And PVP is the only reason I play MMOs. SWTOR’s PVP isn’t innovative. It isn’t balanced, but few of them ever are. And thus far its been enjoyable. But there really is a ton of room for improvement. And expansion.


On February 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Since the game itself has an entire planet devoted to pvp combat, I think it’s safe to assume that the developers felt a large focus of this “roleplaying game” would be that of players fighting other players. The game has PvE. The game has PvP. The classes are being balanced (or attempting to be) to make players be on more equal footing in PvP. The story isn’t being updated, the class balance and PvP mechanics are. 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4.

Perhaps a control and hold mechanic could be added to the points. Focus was switched from objectives to kills because players were simply cap-trading back and forth. Now with kills players are simply aoe zerg trading back and forth. Returning the focus to the objectives, and then adding some sort of time limited mechanic could help. Perhaps having a dual mechanic would work.

After capping the control point, it would take X amount of time to actually gain control of it. Make this amount of time something relatively long so that players actually have to defend the point, but perhaps add in a second mechanic that reduces the time to gaining control for each player that the defending team kills within a certain radius of the objective.

Perhaps making it progressively more difficult to maintain control of an objective would help for faction imbalances. Having control of the objective could place a debuff on any nearby players that would make them take more damage, do less damage, or something of the like. That way eventually even the most outnumbering team would no longer be able to hold the objective from their weaker opponents. This buff would have to persist for some time – maybe reduce in double time from the point the objective changes hands – so that the outnumbering team wouldn’t be able to just cap it right back to lose the buff. So for example if the debuff took 30 minutes to reach full strength it would take 10 or 15 minutes to wear off completely.

I have no ideas for Huttball atm… I’ll have to think about that.

Sith Sorcerer

On February 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Make light side sith join the republic side so that we now have a purpose to play light/dark. Dark jedi can join imps. Grey jedi can choose either side if they’ve reached dark IV or above on both light and dark. If you switch sides (i.e. Light sith fighting for repubs) you gain extra social points.

I’ve never played an MMO before but all the comments seem to be a result of experiencing WoW. My suggestion seems outside the box and the easiest way to introduce a new concept into the game while balancing warzone matches.


On February 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Simplest way to balance factions is that there should be NO same faction Warzones. HuttBall should be changed to be only Republic vs. Empire.

People in WoW often would choose their faction to reduce queue times. You want to PvP without waiting go to the under represented side.


On February 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm

It doesn’t help that the Empire has amazing looking armor compared to the garbage that the Republic has.