20/05/2012

PvP Ponderings

I realised that I write very little about PvP on here, which is strange considering that I spend quite a bit of time playing warzones each week. I suppose that my silence mostly stems from the fact that I still consider myself a PvE player first and foremost, regardless of what I'm actually doing in my game of choice at the time, so PvE is the content that I really think about. In WoW this became slightly strange when towards the end of my time with the game, I stopped doing PvE content altogether and only logged on to do rated battlegrounds. I do think that was a clear sign that I wasn't really enjoying the game anymore - PvP can only ever be a PvE supplement for me, never a substitute.

That said, I think one of the main reasons I spend as much time doing warzones as I do is that they fill an important "time slot" in SWTOR, by offering an activity that you can do for as little as half an hour and still feel like you accomplished something. In comparison, you don't really want to plan on less than an hour for a flashpoint unless you've got an experienced team that you can rely on to clear that particular content quickly, and while questing can theoretically be done in pretty small chunks, it only really feels satisfying in my opinion if you can take your time with it (to listen to all the conversations and follow the story). If you're not sure how much time you'll be able to spend playing, hopping into a warzone or two is the ideal solution (provided the queues allow it).

I don't remember where exactly I read it, but I remember Bioware commenting somewhere that they themselves were surprised by just how enthusiastic SWTOR players were about PvP, considering that it's not the main focus of the game. I'm guessing that many players are in the same boat as me and enjoy it as their bite-sized bit of fun between doing larger pieces of content. Not to mention that The Old Republic's warzones are simply extremely fun.

Thinking about it, it occurred to me the other day that PvP is probably the part of SWTOR that has seen some of the most drastic changes since the game's release. First there was all the drama surrounding Ilum, which I completely missed in game since I wasn't even fifty yet at the time. (I still haven't even been to the PvP area on Ilum, since it has now become pretty much irrelevant.) Then there were various tweaks to the rate at which you acquired PvP commendations, and 1.2 finally changed the gear progression system from the ground up. This actually did affect me, though not as badly as I had initially feared.

Basically, I was close to completing my Champion gear set and Valor rank 58 or so just before 1.2 hit, which made me sad in so far as it meant that gear of equal quality to what I was wearing and had worked for was immediately going to become available for credits to everyone, and I was going to reach Battlemaster just after it stopped having any practical use. Oh joy.

In practice however it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I just transitioned smoothly from buying Champion gear to buying Battlemaster gear with my commendations, and when I did get the Battlemaster title I still felt proud of it regardless. The only thing that baffled me a little is that the weekly PvP quest now gives the exact same rewards as the daily, which feels a bit pointless, but Bioware keeps making small quality of life changes in that area as we speak. Only the other week they changed the daily requirements from winning three matches to playing six, with a win counting for two. If you can just win three games in a row that changes absolutely nothing for you, but for those of us who are often on the losing side it means that we finally get at least something for doggedly going into one losing match after another, instead of never reaping any rewards at all.

It's only now that I've completed my Battlemaster set that the prospect of grinding for ranked commendations to upgrade to War Hero is starting to look a bit daunting. I suspect that my play in that area will slow down a bit - however, I still have my Jedi knight in the levelling bracket, and I finally bit the bullet and bought some Recruit gear for my Sage so that I can start getting her into the action at max level as well.

I have to admit, I'm not at all anxious to see ranked warzones and cross-server grouping, even though I understand why more hardcore PvPers are probably itching to get into it. I haven't got any real close "PvP buddies", but I don't need to play with close friends to feel joy in recognising familiar names in each warzone, being greeted by a tank who puts his guard on me because he remembers me being a healer, or sharing a joke in ops chat with everyone's favourite fat twi'lek.

3 comments :

  1. I, literally, *just* started PVPing this week. It has re-ignited my passion for TOR. Snipers are completely OP.

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  2. You're really into this game. I wish I enjoyed it at all, I'd join you. Still, you're my one stop shop for news on SWTOR these days so thanks :)

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad that you're still reading even if SWTOR wasn't for you.

      I still think that the game gets a lot of things right in managing to recreate many of the reasons that originally made me fall in love with WoW. Too bad that many people aren't able to experience that same magic for a second time.

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