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Testing Heroics in a Future PTS, Testing Group Content

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Public Test Server
Testing Heroics in a Future PTS, Testing Group Content

arunav's Avatar

07.28.2021 , 02:08 AM | #1
I think it may help if the BW team/players test out all heroics, both Republic and Empire, on the original 1-50 planets especially, with the new class ability sets and whatever new "bolster/level sync" system may be deployed.

As mentioned in other threads, it's difficult to imagine all PVE and PVP content will be able to be retrofitted to the changes being made to classes in time for a December release. I'm assuming some content will be prioritized over others, at least prior to 7.0.

Heroics are an important part of the leveling and endgame experience, the latter being tied to Conquest. For testing purposes, they also demonstrate what mobs on leveling planets do to solo players with fewer abilities and passives at their disposal well, as regular types of mobs on planets and class stories, at least currently, pose basically no challenge and very rarely cause death.

Groups of enemies in heroics tend to have more damage abilities and stuns that are used against player characters, and force a player to sometimes use what might now be considered an expendable ability or passive, or react to a stun, or cleanse a dot or debuff.

If these work as on the current live servers at, say, level 15, 30, 50, and then level cap with a companion of reasonable influence (20? 25?), the team can be more assured the most basic single player combat is at least functional.

On a separate matter, it is very much worth testing something more subjective: are the various advanced classes and roles still "fun" and "engaging" with the changes?

This would probably be better done in Vet and MM FPs, SM and Vet Ops, Regular 8v8 and arena PVP.

Perhaps in the later PTS stages we can separately test group content types?

I'll freely admit to being in the pool of players that isn't optimistic about the class changes, and would have preferred seeing some new utilities, redesigned passives or abilities rather than very significantly changing what is currently on the live servers, i.e. altering SWTOR's basic class design after 10 years.

Since it seems BW is going that route, potentially to attract new player populations, perhaps similar to what was done on Steam last year, can we at least try and thoroughly test the redesigned classes in actual game content, allowing for some improvements that keep more of the core identity and feel of the current advanced classes?

Without doing so, I'm concerned the game will lose many players, those who don't keep up with SWTOR news and simply think a new expansion is in the works for a December release.
"In the end, cowards are those that follow the dark side."

captainbladejk's Avatar

07.28.2021 , 06:29 AM | #2
I like this idea. Until the other classes hit the PTS I don't think we can get that great of data from flashpoints, at least until we have a healer class on PTS. While all melee DPS is a valid group comp, it limits the quality of the test. However I see no such issues with heroics.

To establish a benchmark of live vs PTS, this is what I would propose folks do, and what I intend to do.
1: Pick 2-3 heroics from different planets in different level brackets. Such as 2 from the starting planet, 2 from the 20-30 bracket, 2 from the 40-50 bracket, 2 from the 75 bracket. Pick a companion you're comfortable taking through heroics. If you take the comp through as a healer, then on PTS you would take them through as a healer and so on.
2: Measure how long it takes you to complete the heroic mission on the live server. Repeat the same mission on PTS and measure how long it takes you to complete.
3: Compare ease of heroic on live vs that of PTS. Make note of differences you felt positively or negatively impacted the experience.

Since some heroics are in areas that multiple people can be in at once, folks should only count how much time it took them to advance their quest. Meaning do not count time spent waiting on a mob to respawn as part of the quest, but assume the mob was always there and only count your time fighting said mob. That should eliminate the randomness factor and make the data more consistent.

When making notes for data, folks should note "heroic A took 3 minutes to complete on live but took 5 minutes on PTS" as just one hypothetical example. Did it feel like the rotation bogged down at any point or they were just sitting there doing nothing? If there is a significant difference between PTS and Live, what do people feel contributed to that difference? Does it feel like the experience has been impacted positively or negatively?

Overall that should give them some greater data to work if they're interested in feedback. Biggest bits is consistency.

LordCamTheGreat's Avatar

07.28.2021 , 07:25 AM | #3
I was just playing heroics earlier on my new Guardian, specifically Search and Rescue on Tatooine - a heroic where to reach the objective you have to fight through groups of up to 4 elites and a few strong enemies. I needed to use my defensives to survive even with a healing companion, I even had to use awe at one point to allow time to heal. As I was playing through the first part of the heroic I was thinking that it would be great to be able to try out this heroic on the PTS to see if it's even possible to complete.

Hopefully level scaling gets turned back on and companions are fixed so we can try out the actual difficult content in the game. Doing dailies is ok for finding bugs (such as blade storm aoe hitting everything in a 100m cone or combat focus causing a second force sweep and draining all your focus) but to properly test rotations and survivability outside of dummies, we need flashpoints and heroics with proper scaling.

Quote: Originally Posted by captainbladejk View Post
I like this idea. Until the other classes hit the PTS I don't think we can get that great of data from flashpoints, at least until we have a healer class on PTS. While all melee DPS is a valid group comp, it limits the quality of the test. However I see no such issues with heroics.
The point about all melee DPS in flashpoints is actually a very important one. Most of the time when you enter a flashpoint these days, you have an unbalanced group composition - no tanks, no healers, 3 of one class etc. This makes it even more important that we can test flashpoints with unbalanced group comps as if we can't comfortably complete hammer station with no healers or tanks, the amount of people playing flashpoints will decrease. Further, melee classes in general already suffer in all forms of group content over their ranged counterparts. A ranged class can sit outside aoe and keep doing damage or heals, while a melee class is forced to either tank unnecessary damage - now with less defensives - or simply not do damage at all (especially if things like saber throw are removed and placed into ABC). It would be really nice if during the NPC rebalancing, melee classes are considered and fights are properly balanced around both melee and ranged classes.
I made a website containing notes about combat styles and ABC choices for reference while testing the PTS
Jack of all classes, master of some. Always remember that cake is a lie.

LD_Little_Dragon's Avatar

07.28.2021 , 11:06 AM | #4
The sooner we see how they plan to rebalance older content the better.

The number of knockbacks/stuns we get on live now makes playing mdps/tanks a constant game of ping pong with you as the ball. Even the silver droids in hammer have ******* knockbacks.

If they remove any mobility/ranged/cc immunities from mdps/tanks, and don't also change how the NPCs encounters go ... ugh.
Stealthy heals, stealthy dps, stealthy life.

Damask_Rose's Avatar

07.28.2021 , 11:33 AM | #5
Heroic Star Forges and Eternal Championship would be good to test too.

ceryxp's Avatar

07.28.2021 , 12:00 PM | #6
There are two problems with being able to do any substantive testing on the PTS; at least based upon phase 1.

Companions were totally borked on phase 1. I had planned to try raising the influence level of a comp to see if they worked a bit better, but in phase 1 a level 1 comp on Onderon had 25k HP and would die from a couple hits. Using them in heal stance was useless as they would instantly draw all agro and die. Tank was just as useless and putting them in DPS was only marginally better (like, maybe, 1 sec longer TTK).

Build choices:
In phase 1 BW established set loadouts and loadouts could only be changed on the fleet. Not having the ability to see how choices are made, even if the interface was bare bones, caused confusion (see all the posts from people complaining that Saber Throw was gone). At the very least BW should have done a mock-up of the ability tree that identified each ability at each level and then two more for the two builds. Only being able to change loadouts on the fleet is going to make testing difficult as one will have to stop, go back to the fleet, change loadout, redo all ability bars, and then go back. Frankly, I think BW put this out way to early. And, of course, they kept back information that should have been in the first announcement such as that utilities were being rolled into the ability directly.

Only being able to change loadouts on the fleet makes testing harder, but there is no chance for meaningful testing if companions are still borked when PTS comes back up. If they are going to stick with preset loadouts for Sentinel then they really need to include a mock-up of how ability selection will work and do something about ability bars being reset ever time you change loadout.

BTW, I am neither for or against these changes. I see a lot of potential for build choices and character customization that has been lacking since they removed skill trees, but I also see a lot of potential for screwing this up monumentally. My biggest complaint with phase 1 is how BW chose to present the information for builds. They created a lot of unnecessary confusion and withheld information (their usual MO) because they decided to half-*** the announcement.
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Just your average opinionated, disabled, queer gaymer.