One thing that I know we have received a lot of varying questions around is the topic of PvP in SWTOR. As many of you have surely seen we are going to have one of our PvP Designers, Alex Modny, on our Thursday Livestream event later on today. As with most of our streams we have quite a few questions which are commonly asked by PvPers. I talked with the combat team about many of your questions and got answers to many of the commonly asked questions. Below you will find those questions/answers.
Will we ever be able to choose a specific Warzone to queue for?
From the design side, we do like the idea of allowing our players to be able to impact which Warzone they want to queue for, but it is not as simple as letting everyone select which Warzone they want and call it a day. Because of a few reasons (queue population, preventing ‘de facto’ best Warzone, making sure all Warzones are being played, etc.) it would require a fully-fledged design around that new queuing system in order to make sure the system was sustainable (in queue times, etc.). There are no current plans for the near future to implement this feature.
Have you considered implementing a Huttball League?
We have certainly seen a lot of suggestions around the creation of a Huttball League for sure! Implementing a Huttball League has a special place on our Wall of Crazy but it is not in our current roadmap.
Why is Bolster in Ranked PvP? Why not just require a high level of PvP gear?
This is a great question, and one we put a lot of thought into when the decision made to keep Bolster in Ranked PvP. As many of you likely know, in the past we had an entry level set of PvP gear called the Recruit set. Wearing this set into a Warzone would put you at an “entry level” for PvP. However, having Recruit gear in the game created two important factors:
1. The player needed to know that this is how PvP at max level worked.
2. The player needed to then get the gear and actually equip it.
Although this may seem like something which is obvious to many of you who are more seasoned and hardcore PvPers, these factors being missed led to many players first experience being that they got completely stomped in PvP. Although we understand that there are certainly “dues to be paid” when you play PvP, they shouldn’t come right at the beginning of someone’s PvP career. We also want the Ranked population to be as high as possible within the Level 55 bracket so we have Bolster in place so more players can participate in the system.
The best solution for this situation was a systematic approach which puts all players on an even footing when they enter the system. We know that some feel the best solution is to simply make everyone have the same gear and stats when in PvP so that it is purely a measure skill and skill alone. However, we feel that as an MMO, gear progression is a major cornerstone of its long term gameplay. We feel that Bolster takes both of those ideas into account and lands as a nice middle ground.
It is very unfortunate that Bolster has experienced issues since its implementation which certainly created pain points for our PvP community. However we will continue to work to ensure that Bolster is working as intended! I think we can all agree that having the first time you PvP be a positive experience will go to great lengths to ensuring that those folks stick around and continue to PvP!
Will you be implementing Cross-server queuing?
We have no plans at this time to implement cross-server queues.
Will you be introducing rewards in future Seasons to recognize those players who have achieved the highest of ratings? 1500 seems like a low bar for some players.
For starters, we have seen a lot of feedback around this very topic on the forums, please keep it coming. This is a very tricky thing to design around as no matter where you put the breakpoint, someone can potentially feel like they are not getting the rewards they deserve. We took this to heart when trying to decide where best to place the “breakpoint” for reward tiers. For us, giving the Rancor mount to only the top 5% felt like a good breakpoint since that will still make it very rare. We will continue to use player feedback as we make decisions about future seasons rewards, we have no announced changes planned at this time however.
Will you be bringing back 8v8 Ranked Warzones?
We have no plans currently of bringing back 8v8 Ranked Warzones.
Are there any plans of expanding open world PvP?
Currently we have no plans of expanding open world PvP, specifically to say we don’t have any plans to introduce any new systems which offer rewards around it. However, we will continue to encourage open world PvP in events and future content. Some examples of this would be the Oricon daily area and the shared questing areas of the Rakghoul event.
Are there any plans to address teams having healer hybrids in Arenas fighting against teams without a healer?
This is a question of how long we want to wait to pop an Arena match when it relates to hybrids. We could, in theory, create restrictions around matchmaking to pair you only against someone extremely similar to your character in both rating and “spec” layout. However if we did that, it would have very serious effects on how long a queue takes to pop. We had to make a decision to err on the side of having more matches pop than simply trying to mirror the teams exactly. The only option to address this would be to tighten restrictions on matchmaking but this will result in greatly increased queue length, which is not favorable.
What about the issue of 3v4 matches in Arenas?
This typically occurs due to a player crashing before loading into a match, which creates a situation where one team will have one less player. In this situation, we have made the decision that matchmaking will not backfill that player. This is because by the time we can accurately detect that a player has crashed, and then select a player to backfill in the crashed player’s place, the first round would already be in progress or over. In this case, backfilling would turn a negative situation for 4 players into a negative situation for 5 players, and we are not fond of that idea.
On the plus side, our rating system takes the 3v4 into account when awarding rating at the end of the match. The team with 4 will not be rewarded nearly as well for winning as they would if it was a normal match, nor will the team with 3 be punished as severely for losing.
Matchmaking will sometimes place the same Advanced Classes on the same teams. An example would be 4 Powertechs against 4 Assassins. Are there any improvements planned here?
This is a great question, we agree that this is certainly less than optimal. Matchmaking should certainly be better about how it assigns classes across each team and we will be actively looking to make improvements. No timeline right now on those changes but it is on our radar.
Huge rating gaps between players in any given Arena match….
Typically this issue occurs when there are not a lot of players in the Arena queue, I think it may help to understand a bit about how our matchmaking works. Matches are based around the original character who is entered in matchmaking and what their rating is. Let’s say a character is 1500 and enters the queue. Matchmaking will start looking for another 7 players to have them play with who are also 1500. At certain time intervals, that rating range is expanded (both up and down) in order to work to fill the match. Over time that range will continue to be expanded, so the “up” and “down” rating from that base player is why you could see a 1200 player and an 1800 player in the same game as they are both 300 rating from the original character in the queue.
What about players who “sync queue” to specifically play each other, AKA match fixing?
This is an issue which is again due to the amount of players in the queue. If a group of 8 players wanted to fix the queue to play against each other, they may be able to do so at some weird “off time” for their server. However, we have systems in place to detect these types of actions and when Season 1 ends, those players will find themselves without any rewards at all.
Do you have any plans to address overpowered Hybrid builds which are present in Arenas?
Our history of class balance shows that we attempt to discourage overpowered hybrid builds when and wherever possible. We are constantly balancing classes and will take action if something is not falling into line with class balance. We will continue to monitor these builds and adjust as necessary.
Although this may not be a comprehensive list of every PvP question ever asked, I hope that this will do a good job of answering a lot of the core questions PvPers are asking. Thank you all for your continued feedback!