05/09/2012

1.4 Class and PvP Balance Changes

It's rare that I find out about SWTOR news the moment they break, but I just spotted this developer blog by Austin Peckenpaugh on the official site and all I can say is whoa! The main thing I took away from it is that both my Combat Medic and my Seer will see some big PvP buffs in the next update. I'm not used to hearing that many good news at once.

Let's look at the more general news items first. Resolve changes incoming!

We’ve adjusted the gain logic of Resolve such that simultaneous and overlapping control effects no longer linearly add together their Resolve gain values. Instead, using a crowd control ability on an already controlled target now applies reasonable Resolve gain values by comparing the incoming control effect to the greatest of existing control effects. As a result of these Resolve changes, unorganized teams will no longer pay huge penalties for overlapping control effects at critical moments.

I think the idea behind this is a noble one, but it also has me a little worried. Getting stunlocked to death isn't that unusual as it is, and if they reduce resolve gains I see a potential there to make the problem even worse, depending on how exactly the system is implemented. The way I see it there is a risk that "sloppily" letting stuns overlap might actually result in longer chain stuns than ever if it results in less than the full resolve amount being applied. However, I'm trying not to worry too much since nobody knows the exact maths behind it yet.

As far as crowd control is concerned, the most commonly used instant stuns are having their range reduced. Meh? I know that this will make it harder for me to stun people in the fire in Huttball, but it also means that they'll have a harder time stunning me in the fire. I reckon that things should even out across the board. I'm just curious whether it will have a significant effect on the outcome of the average Huttball game if people have a better chance at making a run for it.

Force Wave is seeing a bit of a nerf, as it is being turned from a 360 degree knockback around your character into a forward-facing cone with slightly longer range. That will make it harder to use it to get twitchy melee off you in PvP, but then I've never had a lot of success with that anyway. I reckon that intentionally knocking people off bridges and into hazards will remain about as viable as before, if not more so since they also plan to get rid of the animation delay which previously messed things up for me many a time.

Sages also get a whole lot of other buffs to help them escape melee attacks and stay alive!

Force Speed now has a 20-second cooldown (down from 30) for all Consulars and Inquisitors.

If I had a penny for every time I've desperately reached for Force Speed and found that it still had a few seconds left on its cooldown, I'd be a rich woman. Win!

Fadeout/Egress has been redesigned. Now causes Force Speed to remove all roots and snares and grant immunity to roots and snares for the duration.

I specced out of Egress when I noticed how completely non-noticeable the speed buff was, but this is awesome. If I had a penny for every time I hit Force Speed just to be rooted at the same time and have the cooldown go to waste, I'd be even richer. More win!

New Sorcerer/Sage ability, Unnatural Preservation/Force Mend: Heal yourself for a moderate amount. Only usable on yourself. Instant, costs no Force, 30-second cooldown. This ability is trainable at level 18.

I can't see this being a massive game changer with such a long cooldown, but I certainly won't complain about a free instant heal on myself.

Polarity Shift/Mental Alacrity now additionally grants immunity to interrupts for the duration. 

Interrupt immunity = even more win! /faints.

And that's only the changes affecting my alt. The promised future for my main looks even better.

Mercenaries and Commandos now have a 30-meter interrupt, Disabling Shot. This ability interrupts the target's current action and prevents that ability from being used for the next 4 seconds. This ability can be trained at level 18.

There is a teeny tiny part of me that is sad about this because... flavour! We were the only class balanced around not having an interrupt! However, the rest of me just goes "hell yeah". No more "sorry guys, I can't help you with interrupting this really deadly ability" and sweating with dread every time a cast comes up. At last I can take responsibility in PvE too. And well, having an interrupt in PvP is obviously going to be useful.

New Bodyguard/Combat Medic skill, Peacekeeper/Frontline Medic: While protected by your own Kolto Shell/Trauma Probe, firing Rapid Shots/Hammer Shot at an enemy triggers your Kolto Shell/Trauma Probe to heal you on a separate 3-second rate limit.

Yes! Not being able to use Hammer Shot on myself in any way always annoyed me. This change won't make it possible to heal myself with it directly - but since I try to keep Trauma Probe up at all times anyway, this will finally allow for some free self healing whenever I hammer on enemies that are attacking me.

Kolto Residue: Now additionally snares enemies struck by your Kolto Missile/Kolto Bomb by 50% for 3 seconds.

What the? Seriously? They are making Kolto Bomb affect friends and enemies now? Considering that I use this baby pretty much on cooldown in PvP, that sounds pretty amazing. Mind you, I don't think that it will actually help me get away from anyone, seeing how I'm pretty much perma-snared in every warzone I play, but at least I'll get to enjoy a little bit of payback.

Honestly, I expect a lot of this stuff to still receive some tweaking once it goes up on the PTS, but nonetheless it looks like there'll be some good times ahead for me in PvP.

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