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PVE Gear Progression Suggestions

DarthBuckets's Avatar


DarthBuckets
10.18.2012 , 02:07 PM | #1
One of the primary motivating factors to run PVE content and the fundamental method of player advancement in endgame is gear. However, in SWTOR, while having good PVE content, contains a few interesting systems with side effects that trivialize aspects of gear progression and de-incentivizes running dedicated PVE groups. This shortens the length of time in which dedicated players run the content, eliminates a lot of the reward structure for PVE, and can increase the rate at which players get bored and/or quit.

I have outlined two issues with PVE gear progression (although Crafting is the big one), and my suggestions on how to improve them in the future.

Crafting

Situation:
* The schematics for all PVE endgame gear, including best-in-slot, can be learned by reverse-engineering a piece.
* While not the cause of the problems, schematic acquisition for modifications is accelerated greatly through the use of Legacy gear to reverse-engineer multiple components from a single drop, and being able to learn schematics from crafted pieces after placing them into slotted gear and removing them.

The Good:
* Unwanted drops get reverse-engineered for schematics and materials, which gives a heavy collecting and economic incentive to run PVE content despite not needing the gear.
* Crafting is highly valued, and is an integral part of gearing up when a new tier is released, and for new endgame players and alts.
* Old gear (or suboptimal modifications) can be broken down into schematics and materials instead of just beingvendored, making all gear acquisitions have greater value.

The Bad:
* This system completely trivializes gear progression. You can purchase best-in-slot with credits and materials, without ever participating in PVE content.
* While there is an economic incentive to run content, the gear incentive to run Operations and maintain PVE groups is lost, greatly shortening the shelf life of content for dedicated PVE players.

Suggestions:
* In future tiers, make higher sub-tiers of gear drop in Nightmare Mode Operations only and not be learnable as schematics.
* 156 Rating gear pieces can drop from HM Ops, and reverse engineering them has a chance to learn the schematic and yields Grade 9 materials to make them.
* 156 Rating commendations can be collected through weekly missions, Group Finder runs, HM and NM Operations.
* 160 Rating gear can drop from NM Ops only, and does not have commendation vendors. This gear is intended to be best-in-slot and only available to dedicated progression groups.
* Reverse-engineering unwanted 160 Rating gear results in Grade 9 materials, and a chance to learn the schematic for the corresponding 156 Rating item. (This avoids problems with Hard Mode Ops being better economically to run than Nightmare Ops if only Hard Mode yielded schematics, and maintains all the good aspects of the reverse-engineering system without trivializing gear progression).

Legacy Gear

Situation:
* Gear can be placed in Legacy gear and sent to alts, resulting in all Mods, Enhancements, Color Crystals, Barrels, and Armorings being functionally "Bound on Legacy" instead of "Bound" to a single character.

The Good:
* This helps get alts up to snuff for group composition and switching to new characters for primary PVE progression.
* This gives additional incentive to keep running content on characters, in order to get commendations and gear to send to alts.

The Bad:
* If true gear progression as detailed above exists, running Ops multiple times trivializes the raid lockout system and gating gear. Running content multiple times a week on different characters in order to gear up a main can shorten the shelf-life of the content for dedicated PVE players.
* Players can run PVE content on alts in order to receive gear for their mains. This can potentially lead to players to run content with alts and not gear hem up adequately, not pulling their weight in order to obtain rewards for a single character.
* The choice of Crew Skill for learning schematics for drops on a single-character is only relevant for Earpieces, Implants, Relics, and Belt/Bracers (which are inferior to modded).

Suggestions:
* Don't change anything at present with Legacy gear. I would like to see the game embrace the Legacy system more, as it has a lot of potential and is one of the things that sets this game apart from others. Examples of embracing Legacy would be to make all commendations/pets/vehicles/titles Legacy-wide, or adding more bonuses for completing other class content and advancing Legacy level. Alts and Legacy could be an integral part of endgame progression and advancement.
* If gear progression becomes much steeper and consistent in the future (as described above), re-assess these issues. As it is now, the stat differences between reasonably available gear (Black Hole) and difficult to obtain gear (Dread Guard) are fairly minimal and have not proved to be completely necessary for dedicated PVE players to advance, so there is not much motivation for players to do things like roll two of the same class in order to share gear and obtain upgrades twice weekly.

IronAznSnsation's Avatar


IronAznSnsation
10.30.2012 , 06:01 AM | #2
I got here from the post about RE'ing player made crafts. I don't know if you read my first ridiculously long reply(#55), but one of the reasons that not being able to copy schematics is good is the absurd price tag. Look at it like this: high prices make gearing out via crafting very prohibitive. People won't have 75-90% of their gear crafted. But again, they need to work on the way that gear is itemized, because Dread Guard is pretty awful.


Anyway - everything that you put here is excellent and well thought out. I like the idea of a nightmare tier. I hope someone at Bioware hears you.
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