This past weekend I decided to take my Ebon Hawk Commando through all of Nar Shaddaa (except for the bonus series, which for some reason is still restricted to level sixty and up). It was a stark reminder of why I wasn't too impressed by that planet even back in the day, and it's not just due to the corridor-like environments. Honestly, its storylines simply also aren't all that engaging. Talking solely about Republic side here, there was maybe one side quest I liked, and even the main story arc was a bit meh. I suppose the Jedi war hero gone bad was at least somewhat memorable, as were the Empire's plans to commit Evocii genocide, though the whole scenario isn't as meaningful if you haven't already played through Hutta on an Imperial character and know who the Evocii are. (Also, I burst into giggles when my character randomly called them "ee-VO-chee" once... gotta love those random voice acting inconsistencies that are still hidden in various corners of the game and break your immersion like whoa.)
I suppose the problem is that Nar Shaddaa just comes across as a crappy place to be. Most quests in the game are about dealing with unpleasant situations, but at least you generally get the impression that the planet you're on is still a place worth saving or at least worth being on. Whatever good sides Hutt Vegas is supposed to have, we don't really get to see them, and I just found myself wondering over and over again why all these people even bother to stay if crime lords, drug cartels and prisons are all there is.
While doing Blood Money, I ran into another player and the usual annoyance of there not being enough mobs for this quest for more than one person/group at a time. Then it occurred to me: I could use the new PvP instance system introduced in 4.3! Switching was as easy as transferring between any two instances and immediately I had the whole area to myself. If I'd had any fears of being forced to engage in actual PvP, these quickly turned out to be unfounded because a) the Nikto Sector is a Republic-only area so the PvP instance there is pretty redundant anyway and b) the population counter in the top left corner never went above four and I don't think things were much busier on Imp side. So, if you're one of those people who loves to shout that the game is dead, switching to the PvP instance on an RP server is the perfect new way to "prove" it!
I continued my questing in the PvP instance afterwards but never ran into another soul. In some ways it was kind of neat to have all the named mobs, chests, and basically everything to myself and feel like a true hero of the Repulic. On the other hand it got kind of lonely after a while. And it got me thinking about this whole PvP instance system as a whole. I suppose it's no real surprise that it's not overly popular on an RP server, but how has it been working out in other places?
As I couldn't find much commentary on the subject while googling, I decided to ask reddit. Most of the responses seemed to indicate that those select few that choose to switch to the PvP instances tend to do so for the same reason I did: lack of competition, whether it comes to quest mobs, gathering nodes or commander kills. Going there is like an insider tip, but they are certainly not being used for their intended purpose. Someone also pointed out that the feature wasn't widely advertised when it launched and isn't particularly intuitive, so we might see more interest in PvP instances over time, once more people have realised that they exist and understand how they work.
I was particularly curious about what happened on the PvP servers though and was pleased when someone confirmed that on the former PvP servers, the players' default focus stayed PvP when the patch happened. One has to wonder about the future though. I rolled up an alt on Tomb of Freedon Nadd just for science, and even though it's not marked as such on the server selection screen anymore, I got a warning that TOFN was a PvP server, and was I sure I wanted to go there? Yet when my character loaded in, her focus was set to PvE by default. Is this just for the starter worlds and changes later? If not, one would think that PvP servers are doomed to die out eventually, what with the lack of an obvious designation and new players being defaulted to PvE focus as they join.
Have you changed your focus from PvE to PvP or vice versa yet? Do you even care?