What’s Wrong with PvP in SWTOR
Many solutions have been put forth by players, some more reasonable than others. Amidst a sea of complaints can be found a trove of cogent ideas. But one question that is raised is whether or not Ilum can even be saved at this point, or if it should be scrapped entirely.
If it’s to be saved, Ilum presently needs to put its focus back on the objectives rather than on the kills. Players need to be incentivized to stop camping, to travel to, capture, and defend the control points. Gamers are predictable creatures — they will follow the path of least resistance to amass the greatest amount of in-game power. There will be no widespread movement of honor-bound players who refuse to camp for cheap kills — the game needs to stop rewarding this kind of detrimental behavior.
This mindset would help Warzones as well. BioWare needs to recognize what behavior they want to encourage and provide rewards for that behavior. More trophies should be awarded for contributing to completing objectives, such as attacking a ball carrier or passing the ball to a teammate further downfield. Rewarding players for the amount of damage they deal throughout a match only encourages them to ignore the objectives.
SWTOR’s Expertise stat is responsible for a player’s PvP prowess, and consequently, the current frustration in the level 50 Warzone bracket. Simply removing Expertise from the game would solve the balance issues, but would homogenize PvE and PvP gear, and reduce player incentive to complete PvP missions.
Rather than segregating players based on level, perhaps a system that matched players based on Valor Rank is the solution. PvP gear has Valor Rank requirements, and the only means of acquiring Valor Ranks is by participating in PvP. A character can hit level 50 through PvE alone, but he can’t hit Valor Rank 60 without leveling up significantly.
Unfortunately, server population may not be high enough to separate players based on Valor Rank without lengthening already long queues, which ties into the overarching problem with SWTOR’s PvP: faction imbalance. Reports differ on how bad this problem is, but anecdotal evidence supports the notion that there are up to four times more Empire players than Republic players on certain servers.
Cross-server Warzones would reduce queue times, allow for separate tiers of matches based on Valor Rank, and reduce the number of Huttball matches played. However, playing matches with people you’ll never see again is detrimental to the fostering of a server community, so this may not be the solution.
What is required is a system that incentivizes people to play on the faction that is suffering from low population counts — it could be as simple as an XP bonus. 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. The smaller the faction, the greater the bonus.
Once faction imbalance is resolved, BioWare will be in a better position to fix the remaining issues with SWTOR’s PvP. Allow people to queue up for Huttball separately, since it will no longer come up often by default. Include a “team deathmatch” Warzone in which there’s no objective beyond “kill the enemy.” Figure out what direction to take with Ilum.
BioWare can fix SWTOR’s PvP. They may just need a few ideas from the community.
How would you improve SWTOR’s PvP? What level are you? What do you believe is the biggest issue with SWTOR’s PvP?