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PvP 101: How To Become A Contender!

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > PvP
PvP 101: How To Become A Contender!

flem's Avatar

05.31.2012 , 01:01 AM | #91
Please ignore the threadjack.

In fact, Republic dominates 50 on quite a few servers, *including some where they are at a numerical disadvantage*.

If you and your friends can't win... sorry. Don't pretend it's universal or half as interesting as the bulk of this OP.
Jedi Covenant | Formerly: Squadron 840; Shii-Cho | Bring back warzone pets!

Ragetacular's Avatar

05.31.2012 , 09:16 AM | #92
How about this? The more often you pvp and join warzones, the more likely you are to learn who is a good player. Some people do a lot of damage, some people heal for a lot, and others really know how to win based on the objectives. So the more you play, the more you recognize names. TALK to people. Ask them questions. Make friends and if you're by yourself ask people if they would be interested in pvping with you. If you're trying to get better then the majority of the swtor player base will help you out. Since the game has been out for awhile now, many of us expect everyone to know how to play and we get mad when pugs lose and we just call everyone else bads. Clearly that is not always the case. Swtor is VERY unforgiving, and that's just how this game works. One team with only 6 geared people and 2 less geared people will generally have a much more difficult time winning against a fully geared team (assuming everyone knows what they should be doing). On the flip side, if you assume everyone is geared then a team with 6 people who know what to do will have a tough fight against a team of 8 who know what to do. The point is: just keep playing, try to make friends and learn how to work together (even with people you're not on vent with), and try to have fun.

budoy's Avatar

06.05.2012 , 01:07 AM | #93
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunez View Post
UPDATED: 5-17-12
Big thanks to everyone who helped to make this guide sticky.

I want to start off by saying that as a relatively new player myself, I realize how hard it can be to compete as a fresh ungeared level 50 in the PvP arenas, where you are up against players that are much more skilled and geared than you. For those that want to overcome this challenge, then this guide is for you!

Before you read the guide below, you should know a few things about your server, and the faction you play on that server, aka Imperial versus Republic:

(1) Your server may not be balanced. Don't fret, this will be fixed with the server merger and/or cross server PvP. Just relax and wait for the glory days to come. It's not uncommon to have one faction be significantly stronger than the other. On some servers, the Republic outweighs the Imperial, or visa versa. This causes a lot of people to claim that the PvP is unbalanced, but in reality, PvP balance has nothing to do with it, and has more to do with the lack of playerbase within that faction.

(2) You must understand that as a fresh level 50, you will not, nor should you, be able to instantly be a top contender. You shouldn't even expect to be a moderate contender. What you should expect is that you will get pwned, a LOT, and this is actually a good thing because it teaches you both humility, as well as the limitations/strengths of your class. Eventually however, you will learn how to PvP better, I promise you, but for now, you need to earn your stripes in the school of hard-knox.

Now for the section that most of you probably skipped ahead to read. Step by step rules of engagement on how to become a contender int he PvP world, starting with a table of contents, followed by detailed explanations for each:

1) Daillies, Commendations, and Valor
  1. Commendation Management
2) Gearing up for Warzones
  1. Level 1: Recruit
  2. Level 2: Battlemaster
  3. Level 3: War Hero
3) Expertise: What is it and what does it do?

4) Joining a Guild
  1. Teamwork
  2. Pre-Made Groups
  3. VOIPs
5) Consumables, Rotations, and Skills
  1. Consumables
  2. Rotations / Priorities
  3. Skills: Taunt
6) The DO's and DON'T's of PvP

7) Warzone Guides
  1. Hando's Civil War Guide
  2. Malissant's Civil War Guide
  3. Almar's Civil War Guide
  4. Highcommander's Huttball Guide
  5. Almar's Hutball Guide
  6. Almar's Voidstar Guide
  7. YouTube: The Holoterminal Ep. 10- SWTOR Warzone Tips - SWTOR Guides & News
  8. YouTube: SWTOR - Warzone HuttBall PvP - Walkthrough
  9. YouTube: SWTOR - Warzone HuttBall PvP - Walkthrough
  10. YouTube: SWTOR - Warzone PvP Civil War - Walkthrough
  11. YouTube: SWTOR - Warzone PvP Voidstar - Walkthrough
8) Conclusion

1) Daillies, Commendations, and Valor

Your goal from level 11-49 is primarily to learn how to navigate the maps and how to successfully complete game-winning mission objectives. Your secondary goals are to reach Valor Rank 40+ and to collect your Commendations. Go out there and die, attack, defend, guard, anything at all that will get you that one medal you need in order to get experience, credits, and warzone comms. For those of you that think this is impossible, it's not, simply standing at your node "defending" gets you a medal.

Daillies are your new best friend and since the recent update, changing the system into a 6 point Daily (1 point for Loss, 2 points for Win), it's now easier than ever to get your Daillies done in no time at all. Every time you complete a Daily, you receive a reward. Level 50 rewards grant you Commendations, and these will become very helpful in buy your equipment faster.

Level 11-49 Reward: Experience + Box
Level 50 Reward: Warzone and Ranked Warzone Commendations.

Commendation Management:

As you PvP your way up to level 50, you'll find yourself with fist-fulls of Warzone Commendations. You'll max out at 2000 so it's important to find things to spend them on so you're not wasting Commendations. Purchasing PvP items such as Warzone Stims and Medpacks are a good choice if you're Valor Rank 1-39. Once you reach Valor Rank 40, you can convert your overflow Warzone Comms into Ranked Warzone Comms. Ranked Comms will be important later on when you're ready to purchase War Hero gear.

Max Warzone Comms: 2000
Max Ranked Warzone Comms: 3500

NOTE: When converting/spending Warzone Comms, make sure you have nearly max (2000) upon reaching level 50 so you can begin purchasing Battlemaster gear straight out of the gates. Assuming you are Valor Rank 40 by then, and have enough Ranked Warzone, you can immediately purchase and convert your Battlemaster piece directly into a War Hero piece, which would give you a significant boost straight out of the gates.

Another route that some have suggested is if you have converted enough surplus Warzone Comms into Ranked Warzone Comms by the time you reach level 50, you can start buying Battlemaster pieces with your initial 2000 Warzone Comms, and convert Ranked Warzone Comms back into regular Warzone Comms in order to expedite purchasing your Battlemaster set. Since converting Ranked Comms back into Regular WZ Comms is a 1:1 ratio, you can essential start out at level 50 with 5500 Warzone Comms to purchase Battlemaster with.

30 Warzone Comms ----converts----> 10 Ranked Warzone Comms
10 Ranked Warzone Comms ----converts----> 10 Warzone Comms

2) Gearing up for Warzones

Level 1: Recruit

Once you're level 50 and are prepared to get serious about beginning the long glorious road to PvP greatness, you need to start by buying a set of Recruit gear from the PvP vendor. The only exception to this rule is if you already have enough Warzone Comms to purchase a Battlemaster piece, but in the end, you will have to fill in whatever is left with Recruit. (This is essential.)

Make sure to buy the right gear for your class. If you want to start playing prior to having the Recruit set, this is fine, but prepare to get squished. A full set of Recruit armor will run you 320k in credits, (as outlined below). A small price to pay for a hefty upgrade to your PvP potential.

Once you've gotten your set of Recruit gear (implants and relics included, the whole works) then you're ready to start learning the basics of tactical Warzone strategy. Break out those Warzone medpacks and Adrenals that you've been potentially hoarding while leveling up, and get yourself into the arena as much as possible. Team up with others often, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Those who don't ask, don't receive. Whatever you do, DONT get discouraged. Your glory days have just begun!

Piece ............. Credits
Chest ............. 31,700
Legs ............... 31,700
Head .............. 31,700
Gloves ........... 26,200
Boots ............. 26,200
Belts .............. 20,500
Bracers ......... 20,500
Ear ................ 17,000
Implant .......... 17,000 x2
Offhand ........ 19,300
Mainhand ..... 38,600
Relic ............ 11,300 x2
Total ........... 320,000

Level 2: Battlemaster

This is the part where most people get discouraged and fall to the wayside on. This is going to be a long tedious road, but not nearly half as tedious as acquiring the War Hero set, so stay focused and be relieved that Battlemaster is so readily available to you. Your primary goal at this stage is to reach Valor Rank 60 and to complete your Battlemaster set. (Don't forget your offhand, relics, and implants!)

This is going to be where you start seeing some serious advancement to your PvP experience. It's often suggested that you start with the most expensive pieces (chestpiece, weapon, or offhand), because they often offer the largest boost to your potential stat increase (including Expertise which is outlined in a later section). Another route is to simply buy the cheapest pieces first to ensure that you increase in prowess quicker. Buying cheaper items quickly also provides you with set bonuses earlier on, which will add to the gearing process of your power-creep.

Either way, you need this, and you probably will continue to suck until you get 2-3 pieces towards your set, and are able to take advantage of some of the set bonus'. Either route you take, dont give up. Only quiters give up, and only the extraordinary from here on out shall rise above the newbs who arn't willing to follow this path to PvP greatness.

Before you know it, you're going to start getting kills off of your fellow newbs and you're going to feel stronger--not as strong as the geared elites, but stronger than the newb fodder, and for this, you shall relish in your small victories. Zerg forward, do not look back, and do not pity the weak. Only the determined shall win the Warzone.

Piece ............. WZ Commendations
Chest ............. 1,425
Legs ................. 975
Head ............. 1,075
Gloves ............. 875
Boots ............... 875
Belts ................ 625
Bracers ........... 550
Ear .................. 625
Implant ............ 625 x2
Offhand ........ 1,550
Mainhand ..... 1,550
Relic ................ 550 x2
Total ........... 12,475

Level 3: War Hero

If you've made it to this step, then you probably don't need this guide, and therefore I will not be discussing this chapter in any great detail other than this is only obtainable after you have completed the previous Battlemaster stage. In order to convert Battlemaster into War Hero however, you'll need to exchange both the Battlemaster piece AND Ranked Warzone Commendations. NOTE: Ranked Warzone Comms are only obtainable by converting Warzone Comms at the Warzone vendor, or by completing Level 50 Daillies.

The moment your Battlemaster set is complete, start converting WZ Comms into Ranked WZ Comms!

Another important piece of information that people often forget is to make sure you remove your mods from your Battlemaster armor before converting the armor into War Hero gear. NOTE: There are multiple reasons to rip mods and will later be explained in future updated sections dedicated to Mod-Ripping.

3) Expertise: What is it, and What does it do?

To most newbs, expertise is one of those great mystery stats that you see on gear, but don't know enough about which often results in the newb ignoring it altogether. Truth is, it's an essential PvP stat that is critical in maximizing the effectiveness of your PvP prowess. Expertise comes in tier levels, and for each tier, you gain a PvP bonus that can be viewed under the PvP tab on your character screen.

What people don't often realize is that Expertise has a cap in which it begins to provide diminishing returns. The deminishing returns on your Expertise bonus occurs roughly around 20% and to go beyond 20% is basically a wasted gear slot that could be utilized far greater with a different stat combination. Ways to maximize this effort are accomplished by either exchanging that item slot with a piece of non-PvP armor, or more effectively, ripping out select mods and replacing them with superior mods that boost your stats in a more beneficial manner. NOTE: Guides on Mod-RIpping will be added in later updates.

The following is a chart that lists the Expertise tier levels, and their relative bonuses: NOTE: The following chart is slightly outdated, but it still provides you with a solid foundational idea of how the Expertise tier system works. When a post v1.2 patch chart is made available, I'll be sure to update the post accordingly.

The following is a screenshot of the character screen for one of my Jedi toons. The toon is wearing a complete set of Battlemaster War Leader's gear, including Relics, Implants, earpieces, the whole works. Take note of his PvP Damage Boost in particular which is over 22%:

Technically, if all I cared about was PvP Damage Boost, I could displace one of his Expertise items, such as his relics, Implants, etc, with something else in order to reduce his PvP Damage Boost to the 20% cap level, and increase other, more important stats, with one that would provide a greater overall boost to my performance. Jedi for instance, benefit from Strength and Endurance, so I could swap out those Expertise Relics for something that is mopre Str/End heavy. As brushed upon in previous sections of this guide, one can also obtain maximum effects by ripping mods.

For more detailed information on Expertise, how it works, and it's deminishing returns, please check out the following website. It provides a great deal of charts and other nifty visuals that even the pro's like me find fascinating. Stat Guide

4) Joining a Guild

I can't emphasis this enough. JOIN A GUILD. Unfortunately, not all guilds are created equal. If you want to excel at PvP, you probably don't want to stick around in your social guild that just wants to chat and complain about how unfair the game is. They can't help you, and likely, they can't help themselves either. Find yourself an ORGANIZED PvE guild. The reason I say this is because often within an ORGANIZED PvE guild, you will also find PvP'ers with good gear who are willing to help you gather gear, or more importantly, join you in some Warzones to team up against your enemies.

Warzone MVP votes. As a guild, you are almost unquestionably expected to give each other the MVP vote even if you both suck. These votes increase your valor rank by 50 points each vote, among other things. Don't forget to vote for your fellow guildies!


Please please please understand that independance will always breed chaos. Only as one shall you stand strong. Very rarely does a single un-guilded player ever make it far within the PvP world without having dedicated their gaming playtime to becoming beastly in the field. Guild groups of 2-4 are awesome.

Pre-Made Groups:

You will often hear people on the forums complaining about what is often referred to as a "Pre-Made". Ignore their complaints. Those people can't help you. Working as a team in well-organized groups is one of the leading indicators of those who you want to listen to. People who habitually work alone, storm off on lone rambo crusades, or resist working in an organized group-fashion, are doomed to failure. Working as a team is the heart of what SWTOR PvP is based around.

NOTE: This should never discourage you from joining a Warzone solo. I find that the majority of my PvP time is spent from blind solo runs through Warzones, and I find it incredibly enjoyable. Over time, you will recognize others and they will recognize you, and eventually, you'll all get better at working together despite being from different guilds.


Most guilds use a voice-over-ip service such as TeamSpeak, Mumble, Vent, Skype, etc etc. They do this because its amazing fun, and you dont have to type while tromping around the warzone. You want to know why that one guild on your server always seems to work like an organized platoon of army-ants? It's because they're talking to each other, not typing. Nearly 99% of ORGANIZED guilds use chat servers during PvP Warzones and PvE Raids. Get yourself a microphone and headset, its totally worth it.

5) Consumables, Rotations, and Skills


Know your skills! I can't say this enough. Learn to be intimate with all of your skills, AND your consumables. If you're a newb, I suggest going BioChem (with Bioanalysis and Diplomacy) so you can make your own stims, medpacks, and adrenals. This is what parts the pros from the ameteurs. Consumables. BioChem also allows you to make Rakata consumables which are re-usable, meaning they don't go away. You can use them forever, without ever buying more consumables again.

NOTE: Warzone consumables are superior to BioChem consumables, and therefore are worth purchasing if you have the surplus Comms to spend on them.

Rotations / Priorities:

Rotations, also known as Priorities--- are the series of actions you take prior, during, and after combat. They often include strings of attacks interwoven with buffs that help enable or empower your maximum damage output and/or DPS (Damage-Per-Second). I highly recommend researching and testing all of your Abilities and/or Skills in order to decide for yourself which order you want to execute them in.

It is also highly recommended that you utilize one of the PvP "Training Dummies" to help yourself maximize your rotation effectiveness. You can find free-to-use Training-Dummies on the fleet, or you can purchase one for your Starship via Legacy rewards. This method of testing your rotation order can have drastic effects on improving your overall damage-output.

NOTE: Future updates to this section will include useful Rotations for each class.

Skill: Taunt

Taunt is your friend in PvP. If you have any taunts, (especially AoE taunts) spam them constantly. This will help your nearby teammates stay protected, which often in turn helps YOU gain more medals. You wouldn't believe how little people use taunts in PvP. They work, really, really well. Learn to love them.

6) The DO's and DON'T's of PvP:

  1. Work as a team
  2. KEY-BINDINGS! Use them!
  3. Pick and choose your key-bindings carefully.
  4. Use your buffs, they are your friend.
  5. Call out incoming enemies BEFORE they reach you or your node.
  6. To be continued...
  1. Try to be a lone rambo hero.
  2. Ignore your teammates.
  3. Ignore nodes and doors.
  4. Chase kills when you're supposed to be guarding.
  5. Ignore your healer.
  6. Call out incoming enemy after its too late, like when you're almost dead.
  7. To be continued...

7) Warzone Guides:

Hando's Civil War Guide
Malissant's Civil War Guide
Almar's Civil War Guide
Highcommander's Huttball Guide
Almar's Huttball Guide
Almar's Voidstar Guide

YouTube: The Holoterminal Ep. 10- SWTOR Warzone Tips - SWTOR Guides & News
YouTube: SWTOR - Warzone HuttBall PvP - Walkthrough
YouTube: SWTOR - Warzone PvP Civil War - Walkthrough
YouTube: SWTOR - Warzone PvP Voidstar - Walkthrough


Don't get discouraged when you die a bunch of times, because it's expected to die over and over and over again until you've earned the gear, skill, and prestige to become one of the elite. I know, it sounds silly, it might even sound ridiculous, but its true. You need to fail before you can succeed. The PvP mechanics in this game are incredibly fair, competitive, and accessible. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You just need to pave forward, and take the steps necessary to achieve the foundation for a better learning-curve.

Also, just so you know, even we great and terrible PvP warlords fall in battle, there is no shame, there is only determination. Pave forward my young PvP padawan newbs, and you too, shall become PvP-Knights!
this is a good source of information for those newbs who want to succeed in wz...good job!

Sonofgun's Avatar

06.06.2012 , 07:59 AM | #94
Great post, a must read for serious newcomers. Keybinding, communication, mobility and awareness are key factors in winning WZ's. If your team is fighting 5 to 1 on a particular point, your team mates are probably getting owned 3 againts 7 elsewhere.

Might I had, when you don't have the ressources to win, gain time.

Razot's Avatar

06.15.2012 , 01:37 AM | #95
Remove part 4 and you will have some good info.

Its a matter of preference really, I am in a guild but I still hate premades vrs pugs its been what 6 months since launch and I figured most of you would be bored of face rolling pugs.. I know I am!

Pug pvp is actually fun and unpredictable while premade vrs premade and pug vrs pug is all good premade vrs pug is lame for both groups.

Lunez's Avatar

06.15.2012 , 02:31 AM | #96
With the recent changes including server transfers, and so forth, I've really come to realize just how bad so many of these random players are, and I mean, just terrible. I guess I was just spoiled and had forgotten BUT this does give me inspiration on how to make the guide even better, and I've also re-written a ton of new content.

You can all expect to see all new and improved sections, new content, and the removal of old, less important, or otherwise, not-all-that-useful compared to potential info of greater worth.

Update coming soon!

Dejected's Avatar

06.22.2012 , 03:52 PM | #97
My shadow is about to hit 50, I have 3500 ranked WZ comms, and will have 2000 regular comms when I hit 50.

My question is, Would it be better to outright buy the WH Weapon when I hit 50, and get recruit gear for the rest of it, since that piece of WH gear takes the longest to get?

Or like you said, to use all my Ranked WZ comms as regular comms and get 5500 comms worth of BM gear and then do the rest recruit?

I'm by no means a newbie when it comes to pvp, as my main is VR 7X, and my shadow leveled from ~34-49 solely through pvp and only pvp.

Question is, will my skills combined with the WH saberstaff and recruit gear be enough to make me not suck totally?

Lunez's Avatar

06.22.2012 , 11:37 PM | #98
Quote: Originally Posted by Dejected View Post
My shadow is about to hit 50, I have 3500 ranked WZ comms, and will have 2000 regular comms when I hit 50.

My question is, Would it be better to outright buy the WH Weapon when I hit 50, and get recruit gear for the rest of it, since that piece of WH gear takes the longest to get?

Or like you said, to use all my Ranked WZ comms as regular comms and get 5500 comms worth of BM gear and then do the rest recruit?

I'm by no means a newbie when it comes to pvp, as my main is VR 7X, and my shadow leveled from ~34-49 solely through pvp and only pvp.

Question is, will my skills combined with the WH saberstaff and recruit gear be enough to make me not suck totally?

Personally, I would advice NOT converting the comms back into regular Warzone comms, because that's basically throwing away 7000 regular comms. I would buy the War Hero item, and fill the rest in with lesser gear until you can afford better. This is the route I take, and advice others to take as well.

CowboyPharo's Avatar

06.26.2012 , 12:20 AM | #99
lol hope you guys work better at day jobs better then blowing smoke up the backsides of others.
being a contender or working your way to it does not require you going thru humility thats not even entertaining.
by the way you did a great job at putting an insulting post up better then the helpfull suggestions i might add.

TubaSlayer's Avatar

06.26.2012 , 05:09 PM | #100
Quote: Originally Posted by Mandragore View Post
good read. I like your style.

I would add something relative to the basic strategies (and differences therein) of each wz. Sort of a Do, and Do Not list? What do you think?
i aggre + u make it sond as if PvP is a 50's only game, if u collect ur comms while levleing, they can give u boosts at lv 20 and 40. this comes in handy and a pvp chest pice for levlers is like only 500 coms uasaly.
Fatman Player in Dead Server Refuge guild
Soloesk: Gunslinger
Bigem: Vanguard