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GSF Discussion: Friction Points

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
GSF Discussion: Friction Points
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EricMusco's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 12:42 PM | #1 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Hey folks,

This week, we are creating three separate forum threads for GSF discussion. You can head to this thread to get links to each of them.

Galactic Starfighter, like all group content, is a system that we want to see being used by as many players as possible. This thread is to discuss the friction points that you see in GSF. Whether it stops you from playing frequently, or from playing at all, we want to understand that friction.

Here are some things to consider to get the conversation started:
  • Is the learning curve too steep to get into?
  • Is ship balance preventing you from playing?
  • Are you not playing because you feel GSF needs something new to bring you back in?
  • Matchmaking issues?
  • The fact that GSF is character based and not Legacy?

Let us know your thoughts!

Eric Musco | Community Manager
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Ravenschild's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 01:47 PM | #2
One of the biggest complaints I heard both on BC (when I was on that server) and have heard on EH by new players is they cannot do anything before they get killed. A large part of this is they dont understand how their missile evade works,what each ship does and how to line up shots on a moving target. With ground PVP you have 10 levels of PVE before you can queue. This allows you to learn how your character works. It is in essence the introduction to how to play the game (that is what the four starter planets are there for). The tutorial does not give an equal compensation for that. To be brutally honest I dont think anything other than GSF PVE is going to. The rail-shooter space missions do not handle like GSF,they do not have the abilities of GSF and you cannot control where your ship goes like you can in GSF.
If you get hurt,hurt them back.If you get killed,walk it off
Ravnn (Sniper) | Culainn (Commando) | Cintas (Mercenary)| Skaya (Sage)| Dar'gai (Gunslinger)| Gliocas (Sorcerer)
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Rockula's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 01:51 PM | #3
I'm super stoked to see this forum thread started up.
Here's my current list of concerns for GSF (in order):
1) Matchmaking -- on Shadowlands, pub side always dominates. There's a group of hardcore pilots that are far and away better than anyone else. If you play Imp side, you will lose. Period. I'd like to see some sort of match making changes (either cross-faction or have tiers like PVP)

2) Ship imbalance -- Strike Fighters are basically useless. Maxed out strike fighters still can get 2-shot, the same as a scout.

3) Learning curve -- I'll take responsibility for this to a point. I haven't looked at a lot of the guides; I've been trying to learn by playing. Unfortunately, there's not a good way in game to understand which upgrades to take or which crew members to use

4) The hanger is character only. If I want to GSF, I have to do it on my GSF toon, even if I want to gain CXP on another toon.

Hope this helps!
Brian - cohost of The Bad Feeling Podcast
<Has A Bad Feeling> and <Loves Twi'Leks and Spice> guilds on Star Forge

DakhathKilrathi's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 01:54 PM | #4
Is the learning curve too steep to get into?

This is a tough question. In general, maybe. The lackluster tutorial and the fact that we don't have an area where we can practice outside of a match doesn't help. In the ground game, people can duel or beat up a dummy to test out their builds. We don't have that option, and we've been asking for that for a long time.

The single biggest change you could make that would help is to add some flytext or color change to indicate when:
You miss due to evasion/deflection/RNG.
Your damage is reduced because of damage reduction.

As it stands, new players don't realize why they're missing shots due to evasion, and that leads them to believe that the game is broken. Please find some way to provide this information via flytext. Adding some visual representation of satellite capture range would be nice as well.

It doesn't help that you start everyone with terrible components in each slot by default. We've been begging for you to change the default since launch. Rapid Fire Lasers are quite literally the worst weapon in the game and both the Novadive/Blackbolt and Starguard/Rycer start with it. Many of the other defaults are questionable at best. Would you like a detailed listing of starter components that probably lead to people quitting? The list is probably fairly long.

Is ship balance preventing you from playing?

No. The stealth class would be nice to shake things up a little bit, but in general I don't believe there is a problem with ship balance at this time. (Outside of, you know, Strike fighters. We're still waiting for those buffs you talked about two years ago.) There is a perceived problem with balance, certainly, but I don't believe that the numbers back it up. I've seen far too many very good scout players to believe that scouts are inherently weak even in TDM. There are of course some tweaks and changes that should be made (like double checking the tier 5 talent for ion railgun, for example: it's broken and what it does isn't what the tooltip says it does. The energy lockout is 100% rather than whatever the tooltip says it is, and that's huge.)

Related to the first question: there are several individual components that are very weak in the current meta, and almost all of them can be found as the default component on one or more ships. This adds to the perception of imbalance, especially coupled with the tutorial and in game info that explain very little about how the game works.

Also please buff strikes. Somehow. You asked about and admitted they needed it literally years ago now.

Are you not playing because you feel GSF needs something new to bring you back in?

I'm still playing, but new maps or game modes or something would be appreciated. I'm not sure I want you to adjust much in terms of balance, given your track record with balancing the ground game. But yes. New features, new game modes, new cosmetics.

Something to spend all of the extra ship req I can't use on anything would be great, too.

Matchmaking issues?

This I'm not sure about. I feel like matchmaker doesn't have a large enough player pool to work with, but it behaves oddly anyway. Sometimes it seems like it prioritizes trying to make a team of similar players first, then trying to match up two similar teams. Given that there are rarely enough players to make more than two teams, this is not the right approach. Is there a way to tweak that?

The fact that GSF is character based and not Legacy?

Leveling new alts is pretty easy now, but I would still love some way to transfer requisition via Legacy. I know I'm not alone. Maybe add tokens to let us do that on some vendor like the PVPers did for commendations for a while?

And can we please, PLEASE get collections unlocks for the Cartel Market ships?

Edit: I highly recommend also reading Despon's post in this thread.

Edit 2: I also recommend reading through my guide to see a lot of the mistakes and questions that new players make or come to me with. Every item in that guide is there because I see it a lot or get asked about it just as often.

Jerba's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 01:56 PM | #5
I play GSF very rarely, on average maybe 0-2 matches a week. When GSF first came out, I was pretty good at it, often getting some MVP medals, but over the months, other players got better than me and once bombers were released, I lost interest because I did not want to invest that much time to figure out how to optimize my loadout.

When 5.2 came out, I played a lot of GSF (completing the daily every day) but I do admit that I hated every second of it. I only did it for tokens so I could upgrade my gear and not handicap my raid group for Tyth.
I hated it so much in fact that I was AFK most of the time. Either, I got lucky and was put in a match with some of my guildies who are pro at GSF (I always queue solo) and it's a guaranteed win, or I'm put against a premade and it's a guaranteed defeat. In that case, I could self-destruct to make the game go faster but I find that unfair to my team; it's easier to just go to desktop, read the Internets and come back when the match is over.
At first, I was reluctant to go AFK, but once I calculated how many matches I'd need for a full T3->T4 upgrade, I never looked back; my raid group is more important to me than any fellow GSF players. I know you don't want to read this and I probably shouldn't be writing this, but it's the truth, GSF feels that horrible to me, and that's what players will do if they are forced to do what they don't like.

For the objective maps (the ones with the 3 satellites), I can see how my contributions help toward winning (even when I don't kill anyone I can keep a satellite neutral just by flying in circles), but for TDM, I have the following theory: Since my K:D ratio is always smaller than 1, I actually contribute more toward winning by being AFK than by being active. For example, say I play correctly, then I will likely die 10 times during the match and get maybe 1-2 kills. This will get the other team a 8-9 point advantage. If I just AFK, the other team gets a 0-1 point advantage. Yes, my team has a harder time in a 7v8 situation than in a 8v8, but not enough to get an additional 8 points to make up for my deaths.

So whatever you do, please DO NOT force players into GSF, your anti-AFK systems are not mature enough for that. If I am interested in doing GSF, I will queue whenever I am in the mood for it, not because I need tokens.
The issue is that there is just too much content. Now that I have full 248 gear, I will play my favorite content (flashpoints, operations, daily areas, GSI) and do non-gameplay things (dealing with guild issues since I'm an officer, helping out new players, decorating the guildship), and in the remaining ~30% of my playtime, I do other things (PvP, GSF, heroics, PvE space missions, chapters, etc.). So depending on how much I play during a week, I could do anywhere from no GSF to maybe 1-2 matches during the week. And then when I do queue voluntarily, I am in the mood for GSF and I enjoy participating, and of course I won't go AFK.
But when 5.2 launched and I had to do GSF (and PvP, which I hated only slightly less), it was horrible, and I hope that when T5 launches, I can get command tokens from operations or anything that is not PvP.

Some more specific feedback on what I don't like about GSF:
  • I always play on a scout, I refuse to play a different ship. When it comes to PvE, I'm an expert at my class and know every tidbit by heart, but in GSF, I consider myself a casual GSF player.
    That is a problem because by not using the BiS loadout, gunships can one-shot me, and I envy bombers that can just hide in a satellite and do nothing while their mines automatically kill me. But I'm a scout for life. So yes, the learning curve is too high. If there was a button to auto-select the BiS loadout, sure I'll click it, but if I have to put in time to figure it out myself, no sorry, I won't do it. And I am fully aware that I am the problem, and you as a developers cannot do much about it, but like I said, I don't care about GSF, and unless you dumb down GSF so much that everyone has the same ship, it will be too complex for me.
  • The second problem is that GSF was designed for more players than are currently in a queue. Not only does it take too long for matches too pop (compared to PvP invites), there also is usually only one match at a time on my server (T3-M4), and it is always a 8v8 since there is some new player in it.
    If there were 3-5 matches at once, the game would automatically separate good and bad players. (Though because I have so much requisition and bought upgrades for my ship, even if they're not the optimal ones, I will likely end up with the good players, so this won't help...)
    And no, forcing players into GSF (like you did with Galactic Commando) is the wrong solution, it only worsens the gameplay quality for everyone. One solution I could see is redesigning the maps so you need fewer players, how about 4v4 or 6v6 maps? I know this is more work than you intend for GSF, but it's the best solution IMO since you said cross-server is off the table. A server merge with the other German servers won't make much of a difference because VC and JKS are nearly dead, and don't even consider trying to merge us with English and French players, I want to play in German with German players only.

So as requested, this is my feedback on why I don't like GSF. Like I wrote, I am a casual GSF player so I am the right target group for this thread. TBH, I care so little about GSF that I'd never write in the GSF forums, I only wrote this since you asked for feedback.

Quote: Originally Posted by Rockula View Post
1) Matchmaking -- on Shadowlands, pub side always dominates. There's a group of hardcore pilots that are far and away better than anyone else. If you play Imp side, you will lose. Period. I'd like to see some sort of match making changes (either cross-faction or have tiers like PVP)
4) The hanger is character only. If I want to GSF, I have to do it on my GSF toon, even if I want to gain CXP on another toon.
Quoting for visibility. Yes, cross-faction should be added, it will shuffle the teams. It won't help against premades but it will improve the current matchmaking.
The hangar should have been legacy-wide from the beginning, there is no excuse for why it should be character-wide only. I realize it will be difficult to merge all characters' hangars into one legacy hangar now, but it should be done.
Scoundrel healer. Raid leader. Guild officer @ Tulak Hord

UlaVii's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 01:57 PM | #6
Queue as ops groups
Please let us queue as ops groups as the current 4 person group system makes team matches very difficult

Improved kick system
Please give us a better kick system. Currently there is nothing we can do about CXP farmers that join a match and then do nothing besides fly around the outside and occasionally get killed to avoid being auto-kicked for extended inactivity. The only kick option we have is when they are flagged as inactive and then as soon as we start the kick they move and it cancels.

Don't match us with those we ignore
Please give us a "don't queue with those you ignore" option. This would help with people like the one I kept sending you videos and screenshots of who choose to use multiple bots inside matches or even just those that fly on their own but suicide through matches to get the achievements. My thinking here is that if we had that option during that whole bot saga then all of us regulars would of had them on ignore and whilst we could fly together the troublemakers would not get into matches with us.

Verain's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 02:01 PM | #7
Your questions are kinda for non-players. As someone who waited for this part of the game (and largely bought the game because it was announced pre-launch, and have been happily subscribed since it came out), my responses won't really be typical.

Is the learning curve too steep to get into?
No. But it does help if you've had experience with other arcade flight/space sims. The three-space combat is unique and it is not simple or forgiving. IMO it is the best part about SWTOR though, by quite a bit.

Is ship balance preventing you from playing?
Not me, obviously, but ship balance is an issue that discourages some people. In the span of a few months, we've had threads decrying strikes being too good, missiles being too good, railguns being too good, scouts being too good, mines being too good. Fishing through this as a dev has gotta be a mess. Generally, three of the four ship types have jobs.

Ultimately, the biggest burst things in the game are what players will be discouraged by. A burst/pods type 2 scout can end the life of even the highest health bomber in mere seconds. A railsniper can end most ships in two connecting shots, the first of which requires high situational awareness to see coming (and a new player will not have that situational awareness, nor does the reasonably pinched view of the UI help you in any way when a railshot is charging). A bomber can deny a node or require you to do a wild dance to get into it safely, requiring a huge amount of skill.

I think these things discourage players more than the fact that strikes are severely underpowered, though that is definitely an issue.

Are you not playing because you feel GSF needs something new to bring you back in?
Some hardcore players would return immediately if active development resumed, based on discussions with them out of game. I play whenever my team plays, and sometimes solo. I just don't know if you'd see huge numbers return.

Matchmaking issues?
Cross server when?

I get it, that's not the question. But what should matchmaker do better? It seems to mostly work on Harbinger. Before we left Bastion, it was terrible over there. The difference is that Harb usually has enough players to make two games during most times, and sometimes many many more. The matchmaking doesn't seem smart, but I'm not sure if this is the matchmaker. Obviously, cross faction could probably give you more to work with here, I dunno.

The fact that GSF is character based and not Legacy?
I really like that it is character based, honestly. But you could definitely have some legacy hooks. I'll let those more passionate about this deliver their invectives about how it is totes needed, but I'll add this: it feels really odd that I can't unlock naked versions of cartel ships without rebuying them for each character. Given that the cartel ships only offer the ability to stack a second version of some ships, this seems odd. It also seems odd that the type 2 gunship is not available from the GUI, but whatever.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

SirUrza's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 02:02 PM | #8
I've never liked that the ships/companions/loadouts aren't mirrors of eachother. (Maybe I'm mistake by this point, but it just seemed I couldn't build my republic ship on sith side.)

Now I realize a XWing and TIE Interceptor aren't mirrors of eachother. BUT swtor makes no effort to mirror the Xwing vs TIE Interceptor trade offs either.

Lammia's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 02:03 PM | #9
The learning curve: the tutorial shows some basics, but absolutely doesn't prepare for a real match against mobile targets.

Coming into a match with little to no experience, and being grouped with experience players (who do all before you even get what to do and how to do it), and against experience players (who know how to avoid you and how to kill you a lot better than you do). Ground PvP is divided into level groups. It's be great if there was a way of matching GSF groups based on experience, "GSF level", or whatever to call it, if possible.
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docbenwayddo's Avatar

07.06.2017 , 02:03 PM | #10
I played the crap out of GSF during early access, but cannot speak to anything about it beyond official release.

This would fall under Friction Points

I liked Domination maps. I liked taking objectives. I liked defending objectives.
I have no desire whatsoever to just be dogfighting in a Deathmatch.
There was no toggle to only play Domination or never play Deathmatch, so I just stopped playing.

This is why I can't offer any other suggestions re:current state of GSF, my friction point has existed since 2.6