03/05/2016

Nar Shaddaa and PvP Instances

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?

8 comments :

  1. I use PvP focus all the time on Jedi Covenant (a former PvE server) characters. In the month it has been available I've never seen more than 4 folks in the PvP instance, ran across 1 person doing a heroic on my same faction, and only saw 1 person of the opposite faction.

    Ironically, the other player was on Nar Shaddaa and only saw me because I was running through a Republic taxi point to get to a MCR-99 droid for the pet. They made the mistake of following my level 65 character with their level 27 toon. I didn't kill them as I was on a tank character and they vanished in time, but hopefully they'll pay attention to character levels on flagged toons in the future. :)

    I do recommend groups doing the weekly heroics try the PvP focus for all the non-instanced heroics. There's just no competition and being in a group discourages any potential solo gankers.

    It's also handy if you are doing the old Seeker Droid searches for the legacy gear, mount parts, and titles. You have the areas to yourself while you search. :D

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    1. Yeah, I remember you tweeting about trying out the PvP instances. Surprised you managed to find at least one enemy after all. :P

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  2. This whole disregard for PvP is what has upset me most about SWTOR. Defaulting to PvE on a PvP server? That's just crazy. As you pointed out, it's not really intuitive to figure out. You may come to a PvP server to check it out, but get bored and leave, never knowing you weren't in the PvP instance.

    I'd stay in the PvP instance at max level. I can see uses while leveling - trolls will be trolls.

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    1. Thing is, officially there aren't any dedicated PvP servers anymore - but I think that only makes it worse for people looking for world PvP, because they wouldn't know that they have the option to join a PvP instance on any server... not to mention that these are busier on some servers than on others.

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  3. PvP isn't my thing, so I'm not likely to pop into a PvP instance any time soon.

    You'd think they'd draw more attention to the PvE / PvP instances, though. A lot of people DO like world PvP and they shouldn't miss out because this change was implemented poorly.

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  4. I love Nar Shadda.

    Then again, I love playing Smugglers, too. I'm sure the two are related.

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    1. Hey, I love smugglers too! I just don't think the smuggler class and Nar Shaddaa have much in common other than the name.

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  5. I haven't yet tried out the new instance types, but I have been curious to see the population differences.

    As I'm not naturally the sort of person to go out and actively seek to ruin somebody's day by engaging them in PvP, I don't think I have any real 'incentive' to visit them beyond this curiosity unless an instance is just THAT unbearably full.

    Even then, the number of people present would need to break through my high patience threshold (I did once spend seven continuous hours - literally - on CZ-198 waiting for Martinique Desler with no eventual showing), so... yeah...

    Maybe someday if the curiosity 'bites'.

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