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.