20/06/2013

My favourite warzones

On Tuesday, Maldwiz made a pretty detailed post about SWTOR's warzones, how they work, and what he likes or dislikes about each of them. This reminded me that I've been meaning to make a similar post for ages, though with less focus on describing how each warzone works and more on why I like some of them more than others.

As a general rule, I like warzones that manage to strike a good balance between objectives and raw PvP. All warzones in SWTOR are objective-based, but said objectives aren't always equally important. I do like it when the game encourages you to fight strategically instead of getting caught up in random skirmishes "on the road", however at the same time consistently defeating your opponents should be rewarded. Objectives that encourage running away or avoiding the enemy are generally not among my favourites.

The other major factor that affects my fun is personal responsibility. I like warzones where your success depends largely on how good your team is as a whole. I do not like it if too large a burden is placed on individual players, to the point where the whole team can quickly end up being "punished" with a loss due to a single person's mistake. Call me lazy, but it stresses me out when I'm the one who suddenly has all the responsibility, and it also frustrates me when I'm forced to leave an important job to somebody else and they mess it up. I prefer to feel like "we're all in this together" and success depends more on co-operation than on each individual's duelling skills.

Like Maldwiz, I like Novare Coast best of all. In my eyes at least, it does all of the things I mentioned above just right. Holding the encampments is crucial obviously, but due to the way capping works in this warzone, the best way to hold them is to overpower the other team. You do have to pay attention or you might get people trying to cap sneakily even in the busiest melee, but it's generally pretty obvious.

Also, again due to the way the capping works - and the scoring - a single person's contribution doesn't generally make or break the game. If your node guardian goes down and you lose your "home" encampment it's obviously bad, but if you've got a good team you should be able to get it back quickly enough.

Alderaan Civil War is probably my second favourite, probably due to being similar to Novare Coast, even if the capping and scoring mechanics are different. Since a cap requires a long and uninterrupted cast, it's quite hard to make a node change hands, requiring either some serious PvP domination or catching your opponents unawares. The only downside from my point of view is that being left to guard a node on your own against a team with clever stealthers can be quite taxing, as the difficulty of actually making a cap means that your team will likely be very cross with you if you lose a turret.

Huttball is very much a mixed bag for me. On high mobility classes I love it, on low mobility classes I don't. It's probably the warzone that's most heavily weighted towards raw objectives, and theoretically you can win without even doing much actual PvP if you set up a good pass line. I don't really consider that a positive, but it's made up for by the fact that Huttball also provides some of the most fun ways of offing your opponents in PvP (via knockbacks and fire traps).

While you occasionally get a "star player" who pretty much seems to win you a match on his own by scoring repeatedly, most of the time it feels very much like a team effort, even in a pug, and not necessarily like the whole game rests on a single perfect pass or intercept, which is something that I do like.

There are no warzones that I absolutely loathe, but Voidstar and Ancient Hypergates are probably tied for being my least favourite. In practice my actual like or dislike of each one varies depending on where I'm currently suffering the worst losing streak.

My "problem" with Ancient Hypergates is that it's actually a bit too PvP-focused. In theory you've got all these objectives to consider, whether to steal the enemy pylon or gather orbs, but in practice I've found that most games simply come down to each team holding one pylon and the one with the better kills-to-deaths-ratio claiming victory. There is some potential fun to be had with last-minute stealth caps of the enemy pylon, but that requires you to actually have one or more skilled stealthers on your team, and the enemy has to be fairly negligent.

This does sort of lead into what I said about personal responsibility earlier and which gives me another reason to dislike Hypergates. Due to the way the scoring works the responsibility of guarding the pylon feels enormous, as losing it to the enemy at the wrong moment will completely cancel out any successes your team might've had that round, and likewise someone on your team who can cap the enemy pylon at the right moment can easily win you the game. As someone who mostly plays support (healers), most of my matches seem to consist of trying to keep people alive in the big melee in the middle and praying that whoever is doing stuff at the pylons is good enough at their job to win us the game.

Voidstar actually has a pretty decent balance of PvP vs. objectives in my opinion, but the thing that makes me like it less than other warzones is the fact that it's the most punishing one in regards to individual mistakes. If you've ever started a game on defense and lost the first door within thirty seconds because the lone defender on what appeared to be the "quiet" side wasn't paying attention, you'll know what I mean. If it's particularly bad, you might find yourself slowed at the back or stuck behind a forcefield while the attackers continue to cap the next two points as well (again, avoiding your opponents is rewarded) - and all because of one guy's mistake. It's not a guaranteed loss quite yet, but it immediately puts your team at such a massive disadvantage that you'll probably end up struggling with motivation for the rest of the match.

Which are your favourites?

1 comment:

  1. It’s clear that you are very knowledgeable when it comes to PvP presumably due to a lot of experience in that area. I didn’t even start doing Warzones regularly until about a year after launch. You also illustrated quite nicely why Novare Coast is such an amazing Warzone and I certainly agree with your statement that Huttball is a lot more fun on a high mobile character, e.g. due to Force Speed. Jedi Consular’s have the additional advantage of a handy little knockback to really make the best of those pesky fire traps.

    I must admit that – as a solo player – I’m not really that interested in PvP and I don’t think that I’ll be bothering very much with the finer details.

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