Life in the PvP Instance

I wrote about how servers were split into PvE and PvP instances when it first happened back in early 2016... gosh, has it really been that long already? Aside from levelling my Ebon Hawk Star Forge Commando in them for a while, I didn't pay much attention to the system for the longest time... but recently I've been spending some more time flagged for PvP on my home server Darth Malgus too.

Simply put, the big incentive for this has been Conquest. (Surprise!) I remember thinking when the system was first introduced how weird it would be to be able to kill Commanders completely unopposed in PvE instances from now on. However, Bioware did think of that (whether immediately or later on I don't know), so Commanders actually only spawn in PvP instances now, giving guilds an incentive to go there every so often if nothing else. Even if you don't consider yourself much of a PvPer, entering a PvP instance as part of a big ops group is fairly safe. What's the worst that could happen? That you run into a full enemy ops group and end up engaging in some random world PvP instead? The horror!

When normal world bosses are in high demand for Conquest, it's worth looking for them in the PvP instance as well, as the same rules apply. However, even while flying solo switching instances can have its advantages. I already noted back in 2016 that it's a great way of escaping competition in heroic areas, and due to their locations, you're pretty unlikely to run into enemies in most of them. (That said, I guess if your goal were to jump people, a heroic area for the opposing faction would be the perfect place to hang out. Hmm...)

Eventually I even decided to brave the PvP instance for normal questing, specifically after I got a bit fed up with how depopulated Rishi's PvE instance was becoming during a week during which Rishi featured with rampage (random mob kill) objectives for Conquest. It helped that I was on my Scoundrel at the time, as stealth allows you to hide from the enemy most of the time anyway, should you actually encounter one.

And so I did! I was just running across a bridge on the northern island, not even in stealth, when a Sith warrior started crossing the same bridge from the opposite side. I quickly jumped into stealth - my initial response to encountering hostile players tends to be fear, as I always assume that my enemy is better/stronger than me and will kill me. However, the warrior made no moves that indicated that he had seen me or was intent on throwing me out of stealth. So I hesitated - and noticed that he was randomly running around with less than full health... and just like that, I went from shy to vicious, and next thing you know I had gone and killed him.

I suspect that most people who quest in PvP instances are actually like me, which is to say they aren't primarily there to kill people. (I think SWTOR isn't really a particularly attractive game for killer types.) However, they also aren't necessarily completely opposed to PvP, and might take a chance if an opportunity arises. I would say the golden rule for avoiding world PvP in the PvP instance is to quickly turn away if you run into an enemy, avoid eye contact and create distance between you. Chasing you is effort, and probably not something most people are very keen on. If you stand around though, and give them time to inspect your gear level, while mulling over their chances in their heads... even comparatively peaceful people might get ideas.

Anyway, last week things kind of came to a head since it was Rakghoul Resurgence once again, and the Rakghoul Tunnels are a pretty small map. The place was crowded. For some reason I had got it into my head that I really wanted to kill the Catalyst on my Gunslinger (though I probably could have gained the same amount of Conquest points more efficiently elsewhere), and for those not in the know, the Catalyst is a rare spawn in the tunnels that can appear in one of five different spots to replace the neutral mobs that usually spawn there. So if you're not feeling lucky and have a lot of time on your hands, you can force the issue by camping one or two of those spots and just killing the neutral mobs over and over until the Catalyst spawns.

As I said though, it was crazy busy. In the PvE instance, all the camping spots were taken. So I decided to try my luck in the PvP instance again, even knowing that I was taking a much bigger risk this time, what with the small size of the area, plenty of Imps around, and me having no clue how to PvP on a Gunslinger. On the plus side, since all the camping spots are in little niches off to the side of the main tunnel, you can kind of "hide" in them from people who aren't too curious about side objectives.

I did OK for a while alternating between the two spots in the northern half of the map, until two Imps jumped and killed me. I shrugged it off, respawned and decided to relocate to the southern half instead. I did notice quickly that while overall numbers in the PvP instance were small, there were still way more Imps than Republic players. My peace in the southern half didn't last very long, as I was accosted by a group of no less than four Imps this time. Luckily for me, they were less quick on the uptake though, so I spammed every cooldown I had while making a run for the entrance to the Eyeless' lair, which is a sanctuary area (safe zone). I made it just in time and felt ridiculously gleeful as I regenerated my health safely next to the quick travel point while the four Imps stood outside the area, eyeing me like a pack of hungry wolves.

After that I decided to take another look at the PvE instance, but it was still packed, so I braved the Imperial threat once again. This time I relocated to the sole spawning point inside the heroic area, and found that people left me blissfully alone there, as I wasn't attacked again all evening. I did have one brief scare when I caught a glimpse of a stealthed Assassin appearing next to me, but he was apparently just as scared of me as I was of him, or at the very least not interested in fighting, as he immediately slunk off again and didn't come back.

For what it's worth, I eventually got the Catalyst to spawn after 80-something kills of neutral Rakghouls, at which point I had accumulated four of the rare purple material drops you can get from them, and one of the rare pets. It was an unusually adventurous night that felt surprisingly rewarding.


  1. "Unusually adventurous" play sessions are always the best ones, in my opinion. :-)
    Sounds like great fun.

  2. Hehe, I had originally rolled on Jar'kai Sword at launch, but even with all the rush of people leveling there wasn't ever much PvP - sure a few fights here and there but it was *nothing* like playing on a WoW PvP server. I think I was camped exactly once and then just did what I always do: log out and do something else and I've never seen anyone camp my corpse longer than 30 mins...

    Since the merge and thus the abandoning of PvP servers per se I haven't checked back, but I've also not had the problem of having to switch. Rampage on CZ-198 is a bit annoying this week, but so far it has worked out...

    1. I didn't dare to tackle CZ in the PvP instance because that area is so small, I feared it would be impossible to avoid the enemy, hehe. Plus the only part where overcrowding really hurts it the heroic mission to kill the big droid, and that can be alleviated to some extent by throwing group invites to everyone else who seems to be waiting for it to spawn.


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