27/02/2014

A Guide to Ancient Hypergates

So I usually don't write guides, but I've been doing more PvP again lately, and it seems to me that Ancient Hypergates is the one warzone where people most consistently do things that are detrimental to our team's chances of success, simply because they don't seem to understand how certain things work. To be fair, it is probably the most complicated warzone currently in the game, but still... I thought that instead of complaining about it, I'd try to add another resource to help people understand this particular part of the game.

The Basics


Ancient Hypergates is a warzone based around scoring points for your team to win. You'll see your current score to the right of the scoreboard, in green; your enemy's score is displayed in red. The first team to reach 600 points wins. If both teams surpass 600 at the same time, the team with the higher score wins.

How do I score points?

First you need to capture one of the two pylons on the side of the map. Capping is a six-second cast that gets interrupted by damage. Owning the pylon just by itself gives you a couple of base points, but they are not really the reason you want to go there. The reason you need a pylon is that you cannot score any points from other sources without owning one. This is important. Doesn't matter if you're totally owning everyone in the middle, without a pylon it counts for absolutely nothing.

In the room in the middle of the map, there are four cubes with glowy Gree energy orbs floating around them. Picking them up has a long cast-time and can once again get interrupted by damage. Once you've picked up an orb, you gain it as a buff. Carrying it to the pylon (by simply running over it) instantly scores your team two points, times the multiplier displayed on the side of the scoreboard. It starts at "x3" and goes up after every pylon discharge, to "x5", "x6" etc. So carrying an orb to the pylon in the first round for example nets your team six (2x3) points.

The second way of scoring points for your team is by killing enemy players. They only net you one point per player however (again, times the multiplier, plus you get extra points if the player was carrying an orb) and they don't actually get added to your score right away. They get added to the team's potential score, which is the smaller number above and below the scoring bar. Potential score gets converted into actual score when the timer at the top of the score board reaches zero. At that point the pylons discharge energy in a big yellow explosion and pylon ownership gets reset. Getting hit by the explosion also has the side effect of killing you, unless you make it to the middle of the map in time, where it's safe. (Well, relatively speaking. There'll probably be enemy players there.)

It's worth noting that you accumulate potential points even before you've captured a pylon and your potential score actually becomes visible. So even if you don't capture a pylon until mere seconds before its discharge, you'll still get credit for all your kills during that round from before you owned the pylon. Because of this, there is no point in trying to "delay" an enemy cap if you can't actually stop it - they'll still get points for everything they did before the cap.

Ok, so what does this mean in practice?

Since protecting your pylon is so important, your first instinct might be to focus on that. However, if your whole team just sits on top of the pylon, that leaves your enemy free to collect all the orbs in the middle and they will out-score you. So fighting in the middle is required.

Generally it's enough to leave one person to guard the pylon against stealth caps (assuming they will call for help if needed) and have the rest of the team fight in the middle, trying to kill as many enemies as possible and gather orbs.

Many Ancient Hypergates games do in fact simply play out like this: both teams guard their pylon and fight in the middle, and the team that gets more kills eventually wins. (Typically the team that gets more kills also gets most of the orbs, assuming anyone gets to pick them up at all in the middle of combat, which isn't easy.)

Now, there is one way for the "inferior" team in this scenario to turn the game around: by preventing the enemy from capping a pylon, so they can't score any points regardless of how many kills they get, or even better, by capturing both pylons for their own team - which doubles their own score. This can be very easy if the enemy team is neglecting their pylon defense, or very hard if they aren't.

When and how to go for the enemy pylon

I often see people go for the enemy pylon as soon as the game starts. This is a little foolish as you don't know your team's strength yet - you might have a strong group that can easily win by fighting in the middle, and by immediately going for the enemy pylon and splitting your forces you're just making things harder for your side. Going on your own you're also more likely to die and feed the enemy points. Even if you succeed, double-capping during the first round gives a much smaller return than during later rounds, and by going for the enemy pylon right away, you're immediately alerting the other team to your aspirations, meaning they'll be more likely to be on guard during later rounds when you could actually gain more from double-capping. The only advantage of double-capping in the first round is that it's seriously demotivating for the enemy team to have zero points after the first pylon discharge and you might get some of them to rage-quit.

Generally speaking, the first round is better spent sending as many people as possible to the middle and testing your strength there. Only if you're significantly falling behind should you consider going for the enemy pylon.

Once it becomes apparent that you'll need a second pylon to win because the enemy team is out-killing you, there are two approaches to getting it: stealth or brute force. Stealth obviously only works if your team has a stealther. If the enemy pylon is only guarded by a single person and that person isn't another stealther or a Vanguard/Powertech with shoulder cannon up (an ability which allows them to interrupt your capping even if you successfully crowd-control them), stealth-capping is actually very easy. Most crowd control methods last for eight seconds, while capping a pylon only takes six, meaning that you can pretty much walk up to the guard, apply the CC and cap (assuming their CC breaker isn't up, or you play a class with more than one long CC). Timing is important however. Stealth-capping early will usually just result in the enemy reinforcing the pylon and taking it back, since you're unlikely to get reinforcements of your own in time. Ideally you want to wait until shortly before the discharge to go through with your stealth cap, to make sure your opponents don't have time to respond.

Brute force means that you simply walk up to the pylon guard and kill them. This can work if you can do so quickly, before the enemy has time to react and send reinforcements. Approaching in a non-stealthy manner will be very obvious however, especially if there's more than one of you. And once you get into an all-out brawl with multiple defenders, chances of a cap shrink very quickly. (Especially if they were already out-killing you in the middle before.)

Guarding your pylon

Now all the above advice obviously applies in reverse when it comes to guarding your own pylon. You'll want to have one person guarding at all times, though it doesn't have to be the same one all the time. If people get a chance to deliver energy orbs, that's usually a good opportunity for a swap between the current guard and a carrier, to avoid anyone getting bored. Remember to stay near the pylon until six seconds before the discharge - until then, a stealther could still pop out of nowhere and make the six second cap.

As per what I wrote above, a stealther or a Vanguard/Powertech are best suited for the job of guarding, though any class can do it really. One thing to keep in mind is that unless you are a Vanguard, you should avoid standing right on top of the pylon. I see a lot of people making this mistake and then lose the pylon before they can call for help. The reason it's a mistake is that it means that a single stealther can CC you and immediately start capping. If you stay at a distance, they have to move after applying the CC and it might wear off before they can complete the cap so you can then interrupt them from range. (This is something that applies in Alderaan Civil War as well by the way.)

Be ready to reinforce your pylon guard if you're winning on kills and getting the orbs, as that means that the enemy team's only way of winning will be to cap your pylon and they'll know it.

While it's demotivating, don't panic if you lose your pylon on the first round, it's usually still possible to make a comeback from that as the score multiplier is comparatively low.

On energy orbs

You may have noticed that I talked a lot about killing enemy players and about capturing pylons, but said little about the Gree energy orbs. Why is that?

Well, sadly they are pretty irrelevant in most games. Players still carry them to the pylon in order to gain medals, but as a general rule, they rarely make a difference. As they only spawn in the middle and usually that's where most of the fighting happens, whoever wins there tends to get the points for orb carrying purely as a bonus more than anything. If it's a stalemate in the middle, then the fighting is usually fierce enough and with AoEs flying every which way, that there's no way for either team to finish an orb-gathering cast.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't care about them at all: for example it's pretty much always worth sparing an attack to interrupt an enemy who's trying to grab an orb if you can. If they do successfully manage to carry the orb off, it's after all worth as much as two kills. And there are rare circumstances when the points from a few orbs can make the difference, when the score is really close to a tie. Having a couple of people pull the enemy away from the middle and sacrifice themselves in the process (for example by feigning an attack on the enemy pylon) can still result in a net gain if your team then actually manages to grab and deliver all the orbs.

In case you ever wondered, without a speed boost and assuming you don't get slowed, carrying an orb from the middle to the pylon takes about twenty-five seconds once you've gathered it up. If the countdown's already lower than that, there's no real point in picking one up, unless you want to get some points for yourself towards an attacker medal (but only if there's really nothing else to do at that particular moment).

As an aside, since orbs are the only way to add points to your score instantly, carrying an orb to the pylon just to push your team over the 600 point threshold is the only way of winning the game between pylon detonations.

In summary

More than any other warzone, Ancient Hypergates is about understanding the balance of power between you and your enemy and reacting accordingly. If you can win on kills, just guard your pylon and enjoy your team's awesomeness. If you fall behind on points, planning an attack on the enemy pylon is usually the way to go, but think before you attack and don't just charge in randomly.

Random tidbits

While it's fun to push people into the pylon detonation to kill them, it's worth noting that this doesn't actually generate any points towards your team's score. In fact, if you're about to be killed by an enemy anyway, "suiciding" in the pylon detonation is often a preferable alternative. (Back when ranked warzones were a thing and I dabbled in them, Hypergates frequently had whole teams suiciding that way.) You'll spawn with full health and resources, and the force field around the spawning area will always be down at that point, so you can jump out right away and get back into the fray. Just make sure to wait for the detonation to finish, or you'll jump right into it and immediately die again.

There is a second "safe" area under the spawning platforms for both teams, which also contains a speed boost that allows you to rush out to cap a pylon quite quickly if you wait out a detonation under there. The only problem is that these rooms close off as soon as the timer reaches zero, so you would have to plan ahead a bit to get in there in time.

1 comment:

  1. Those are some really good comments and suggestions, and it explains one scenario I have experienced several times now, where the enemies managed to get to the pylon seconds after I got there as capper... After using my phase walk to gain time for the cap. They must have been hiding under the side platforms.

    One thing I'll have to add: If someone is going for the pylon already and is ahead of you, don't follow them in, instead delay any enemies that are also going there (pull, slow, stun, knock, etc.). Something that is also valid for Voidstar for instance (heading from doors to bridge/shields). Something I think too few people area ware of that it makes a difference.

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