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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!

mikedee's Avatar

05.18.2012 , 05:35 AM | #51
Should add something about rerolling to fatman on there now. Can't be a contender on a dead server.
Kinrath Spider ----------------------------->The Fatman
Michael - Sage ---------------------------->Mike'Dee - Sage
Tebow - Guardian -------------------------> Timmy'Tebow - Guardian

darkusnite's Avatar

05.18.2012 , 05:41 AM | #52
Quote: Originally Posted by Dracosz View Post
I wouldn't consider gear to be the biggest determinant of how someone performs in a WZ. Mechanics (which you sort of brush in the last part of the article with VOIP communication) are the best way to better one's performance in a game, this can range from keybinding to general class knowledge.

Remember friends, knowledge is power
And knowing is half the battle!
***Mazikon/ 50 Marauder***

-Eternal-'s Avatar

05.18.2012 , 08:09 AM | #53
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunez View Post
UPDATED: 5-17-12
Please help get this guide stickied by giving it a 5-star rating.

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!

PVP 101: How to become a contender
Roll a marauder. Case closed.
Eternal (Mercenary) & Xternal (Powertech)

"Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god."

JediDuckling's Avatar

05.18.2012 , 08:19 AM | #54
only problem is you can follow tha guide and still not want to pvp as pvp in this game is so buggy broken unbalanced and pathetic at times.

everyone just plays all the overpowerd broken FOTM crap all the time, is it because they cant pvp and want easy wins, is it because they are lazy and only want to press 1 button for easy wins,or is it both because abusing all this just makes the legit players or the new pvp'ers want to quit, because its not fun at all how pvp is right now.
its not a l2p issue its a game breaking screw up issue.

JediDuckling's Avatar

05.18.2012 , 08:20 AM | #55
Quote: Originally Posted by darkusnite View Post
And knowing is half the battle!
gear > class/spec > skill

your gera pretty much gives you all the skill you need with the 1 button wonder class you pick.

Ragetacular's Avatar

05.18.2012 , 09:56 AM | #56
Please highlight the fact that pvp warzones are objective driven. As you're learning how to play, make sure to understand what each warzone requires in order to win. If all you care about is doing the most damage, then you most likely are not helping your team win. If you are not actively paying attention to something you're supposed to be defending, then you're not really defending it. If you're in a good position for someone to pass the huttball to, then don't feel forced to move around, it's ok to be patient for the ball to be passed to you (and don't run outside of the pass circle when they do pass). Fundamentally defending is easier than attacking. You do not need to kill every person attacking you, you just need to survive and interrupt their action until help gets there.

Also fundamental: If you are fighting someone, and an enemy healer is healing that person, then you are effectively doing nothing. Either kill or cc healers in order to more easily kill enemies. On the flip side, try to protect your healers by killing or ccing enemies attacking them. A healer healing himself cannot heal you.

Hethroin's Avatar

05.18.2012 , 10:23 AM | #57
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunez View Post
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...
I don't think I like your attitude.
Corellian Run formerly Mind Trick
<White Talons>: Tigerwoods - Vanguard, Limbaugh - Sentinel
<Black Talons>: Ereldys - Assassin

flem's Avatar

05.18.2012 , 10:36 AM | #58
And the forum nonsense starts to spill over into this thread
Jedi Covenant | Formerly: Squadron 840; Shii-Cho | Bring back warzone pets!

Geawiel's Avatar

05.18.2012 , 11:00 AM | #59
Quote: Originally Posted by flem View Post
Forget the Valor Rank stuff.

DPS should definitely get the mainhand first. It's a *huge* difference. It also lets you swap out crystals for 41 more expertise.

WZ medpac/adrenal is better than the Rakata equivalent, but it's really something you can only stockpile when you're fully geared. Always being stimmed is nice though.

I suggest that your main mission 10-49 is to pile up commos and to *learn the maps*. At the Recruit level it's to understand the more advanced 50 bracket tactics both on the engagement level (resolve/CC management, using/negating guard/crossheal setups, etc.) and on the overall wz level (where to go when, anticipating team behavior, classic plays used to get/stop objectives, etc.).

Don't forget DO *call inc*. On first contact, not when you're dead. And DON'T *zerg*. If 4-5 teammates are already responding to an inc call, don't mindlessly follow and leave your point under (or un) defended. Gaaah.
This happens to me CONSTANTLY. DON'T leave just 1 person to gaurd a node. You should have 2 to gaurd the node, unless you're losing really really badly. I can usually hold up against another player but, it's usually not just one player.

Suggested adds to the OP:
MARK THE HEALERS! If you see a healer on the opposite team, mark them. Concentrate on that mark. You won't kill **** until you do.

Watch your resolve builders. Blindly throwing up something to a ball carrier, for example, doesn't help the team at all. It only makes it so that the person waiting to hit them with the knockback can't do it now. Don't use anything that breaks on dmg.

Try not to run "in the open" to get to a node. For example, in Civil War. Dropping off the bike just ot immediatly cut to grass lets the opposing team know what the plan is. They can see you doing that. Instead, go to a side that you hold and cut under mid (preferrably as a group.)
Rest is good for the blood....and your rest shall be eternal!

Lunez's Avatar

05.19.2012 , 06:12 PM | #60
Quote: Originally Posted by flem View Post
And the forum nonsense starts to spill over into this thread
I want to sort of nip something at the bud here, because as this quoted poster noted, I'm starting to see some rather counter-productive, misleading information spilling into this thread. Please don't post in this thread about how you should just change servers, create a specific class, or anything else that goes against the nature of this thread.

Please keep all complaints, gripes, whining, pessimism, unnecessary chatting, and any other spam that would derail the topic from what the mission-statement implies, on the other threads, as I believe they are better suited for catering to that sort of topic.

PvP 101, and How to be a Contender. This is a simple thread, and I'm looking to keep it clean, productive, and continuously growing.

Thanks everyone for your help and contributions in keeping this topic on course!