The Recruit Experience

I always imagine that a woman in labour must definitely be having second thoughts about this whole "having children" thing. The memory of the fun involved in making the baby is so distant as to be unreal, and any fantasies about the joy of rearing miniature versions of yourself in the future are probably also forgotten in the harsh light of the hospital lamps. What the hell was I thinking? Oh god the pain.

Jumping into level fifty PvP in SWTOR is sort of similar. Gone are the carefree days of casually running warzones while levelling up, and any dreams of rocking the house in full Elite War Hero gear are shattered by the harsh reality of regularly being reduced to a bloody smear on the floor in the blink of an eye. What the hell was I thinking? Oh god the pain.

Terrible analogies aside, it's kind of comical how the awfulness of jumping into warzones in Recruit gear surprises me every single time, even though I've been through the process of gearing up at level fifty several times by now. Somehow it never seems quite as bad in hindsight. Going through it again right now, I really can't blame anyone for not wanting to bother with PvP at fifty. However, at least it doesn't take very long to gear up these days.

Here are some tips to help you survive "The Recruit Experience":

1. Actually, you won't.

You'll die. A lot. Seriously. I remember when I was gearing up my Guardian, I once played a Voidstar match where the scoreboard revealed that I had died literally once every thirty seconds. When you take into account the time you spend waiting behind the force field to get out of the respawn area, that's a shockingly short amount of time to be alive.

That kind of thing is never going to be truly fun, but approaching the situation with the right attitude certainly helps. Just try to think of it as the beginning of your personal montage as you go from Recruit to War Hero. You've got to fail some at first to experience any visible progress.

2. Don't go in alone.

Sure, if you have stealth, try to cap the door while nobody is looking... but as a general rule you want to avoid getting caught in combat on your own at all costs. Unless you are extremely lucky and end up facing off against another Recruit-geared player of similar or lesser skill than yourself, you will always lose in a one-on-one, and quickly. Running in alone and dying in three seconds is just a waste of your and everyone else's time really.

If you stick with others, your output still won't be great, but at least you'll be contributing something instead of simply dying instantly.

3. Run away!

Self preservation is a useful skill for any PvPer really, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets a bit lazy sometimes on characters that are already geared. So what, let this guy hit me some more. He won't kill me anyway, and I'll just kill him first. 

As a Recruit-geared player, excuses like that simply won't fly. If you let them get you, they will kill you. Nothing teaches you how to hide behind bunkers, hump pillars and generally stay out of sight of the hard hitters on the enemy team like knowing that a swift death is an absolute certainty if you let them catch you.

4. Your gear sucks... so focus on abilities and tasks that are gear-independent.

Run in and cap/plant while your more robust team mates kill or slow the enemy. Use pulls, push-backs, stuns and other crowd control to distract and delay opponents.

If you have taunts, use them, even if you're not tank-specced. If you have stealth, stand guard for your faction where your enemies can't see you.

In Huttball, pick up the ball and pass it on quickly. Trap enemies in the fire and let the flames do the work for you.

Again, most of this is pretty good advice regardless of your gear level, but at higher levels you usually have a choice between doing these things and trying to engage in straight-up combat. Knowing that the odds are stacked against you in combat as a freshly-dinged level fifty, focusing on providing utility is definitely the better bet.

And if you play your cards just right, every victory will only feel all the sweeter, knowing that you managed to pull it off despite of being the underdog.


  1. Or do what I did yesterday on Mel, run in guns blazing and hope you and Free could keep me up! I know the pain though, although at least we get recruit now a days, I remember gearing my juggernaut using tio/columi/champion gear against full battle masters and getting destroyed in seconds :O

    1. I would say that your strat on Mel falls under "not going in alone". ;)

  2. I have a rough time in warzones on my Scoundrel at the best of times - mostly because I have no idea how to play him properly. I might skip Recruit and lvl 50 PvP, take the cash and run.

    I really should revisit my Trooper and sort her PvP gear out though.

  3. Good tips. I will admit that going from well-geared to barely-okay-geared after a break was a similar experience, particularly in a role designed to soak damage.

    I'm awful at number 3, though, tactical movement aside. Disengaging just feels wrong. :)

  4. I've found that leveling as a Cata-era Warlock via BGs is a nice way to reintroduce yourself to humility. That Voidstar game you had? I've been there in Warsong Gulch many, many times. I know your pain.

    And thanks for the tips.


Share your opinion! Everyone is welcome, as long as things stay polite. No sign-in required. I also read comments on older posts, so don't be shy. :)