02/03/2016

Datamining and PTS Thoughts

Last week a thread appeared on my guild's forums called: "PvE & PvP server merger incoming??" The subject was all over Reddit too. I don't know if it was the only source, but TOR Community had datamined that the instances that currently already exist on planets when things become too crowded were going to be split into PvE and PvP ones.

I was not pleased by this speculation. The idea of Bioware planning another round of server merges seemed to go completely against my experience of the game's bustling state, though I'm obviously biased as someone who plays on The Red Eclipse, the biggest EU server. It's fair to say though that TRE definitely doesn't need merging with anything. Not to mention all the potential issues that would come with server merges - the risk of having to rename characters yet again, four years later, plus all the new legacy functions that would throw a wrench into any plans of "easy" mergers, such as strongholds and full legacy storage.

Fortunately the PTS with the mined changes went live soon afterwards, and Eric Musco officially dispelled any rumours of incoming server merges (at least for the time being). I think that this is once again a perfect example of why datamined information always has to be taken with a grain of salt. Aside from the fact that not everything actually makes it to live (who else remembers the "stealth ships" that were planned for GSF?), people are simply prone to misinterpreting things.

As for the actual change with those instances? My reaction is a resounding "eh". Apparently the reason they spent time on implementing this was to make it easier for friends to play together? Is the old issue of "I want to play on a PvE/PvP server" really still a thing this late in the game? If so, they better update the servers' name tags as well, because it won't be much help for new players if they don't actually know about this feature.

My first thought was that it seems kind of redundant for PvE servers at least, because the whole reason we rolled here is that we don't care about world PvP, right? However, I've seen it pointed out that people might actually be more willing to engage in open PvP when they have a choice of doing so occasionally but not all the time (as opposed to the "always on" nature of pure PvP servers). With how crowded some of the heroic areas are these days, I can definitely imagine there being a certain appeal to consciously choosing the PvP instance - which will be emptier and give you the option to try and kill competitors (of the other faction at least). On the other hand, a guildie also reported that as part of this change, it looks like they are completely removing all flagging in the PvE instance: no more brawling in the Outlaw's Den or striking back at players of the enemy faction that attack a base commander. Again: eh.

What excites me more about the current PTS is the new warzone (there's also a new arena map, but I care a lot less about that). I was actually kind of surprised by my own enthusiasm since I haven't done much PvP lately, but I'm just so ready for any kind of content addition that isn't more single player story or another companion. And let's not forget that the last time we got a completely new warzone mode (not just a new map) was Ancient Hypergates back in December 2012(!).

I watched some footage of the warzone - I'm not sure if it has a proper name yet, I just know that it's set on Odessen - and it looks very confusing, buggy and unfinished at this point... but I can hardly wait to try it for myself. If nothing else, the first weeks of everyone trying to figure out how it works are bound to be oodles of fun.

8 comments :

  1. "... it looks very confusing, buggy and unfinished at this point ..."

    So, basically ready for release AMIRITE!?! HAR HAR!

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    1. Don't joke about that! Considering the kinds of bugs people reported on the forums (people bypassing the spawn barrier, nodes not capping, nodes getting capped for the enemy team), I'm definitely a bit concerned considering this is supposed to be in 4.3 (a bit over a month away)!

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  2. A fellow player on a group I was involved in recently mentioned that she missed PvP servers, but they're pretty much dead these days. I was kind of surprised by that, given my experience in PvP Stormscale back in WoW, but you know it does take a certain person to be able to handle a PvP server well.

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    1. Hm, according to realmpop.com, WoW's PvP servers are still among the biggest ones. I just wouldn't expect to see much world PvP on them because almost every single one seems to be ridiculously imbalanced towards one faction or the other (e.g. 90% Horde).

      The situation of SWTOR's PvP servers has been weird. They were hugely popular at launch, but since then they've dropped even below the RP servers in terms of population if torstatus.net is to be believed.

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  3. As you say, always treat datamining with a big grain of salt. While it can give you an idea of what the devs were thinking when the build of the game was created, never take it as a final form.

    That said, the Game Type focus option and the new space in names option are smart changes in case Bioware feels the need to merge servers in the future. It also helps people move from low pop servers to high pop servers without sacrificing their prefered gameplay style.

    The new WZ map has a lot of promise, but needs bugs fixes and definitely highlights current PvP class imbalance. Go in with a low cooldown knockback/root and/or as a healer + tank combo and you'll dominate the control points. :( It also isn't pug-friendly at all. Whenever this map goes live expect a lot of pain if you aren't queueing in a premade.

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    1. I've seen the "not pug-friendly" comment elsewhere, but that's not something I'm worried about. Huttball is hugely pug-unfriendly if you think about it, but I've still managed to have a lot of fun with it. People will scrape by once a large enough chunk of the population understands the mechanics.

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  4. As I started reading this post my first thought wasn't mergers it was "prepping for Megaservers". Probably due to it being early and me having only drunk a little coffee so far ;-)

    Megaserver based games allow players to hop "channels" so being able to choose a PVP or PVE one would be important in SWTOR.

    As for the dev comment on making it easier to play together you referenced? They could stop creating new solo-only story content for a start!

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    1. The thing is, whatever the technology in the background, they already called the original server merges a transition to megaservers. What would they call another one? Uber-Megaservers?

      As for the dev comment on making it easier to play together you referenced? They could stop creating new solo-only story content for a start!

      It burns, but it's true.

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