My Thoughts on PvP Season 1

You might think it's a bit early to review the new PvP season concept, considering that Season 1 still lasts for another four weeks, but I hit level 25 on the rewards track today and I consider myself close to done, so I thought I might as well write down my thoughts now while they're still fresh.

When I first wrote about the new PvP season setup, I noted that I was worried that the incentivisation of arenas might cause me to burn out on those, considering that I was never a huge fan of them to begin with (though I didn't really mind them either). This did indeed happen pretty quickly: I'm a lot less good at playing arenas than I am at warzones, and if you combine that with the fact that the new arena weekly requires you to play twice as many matches, I just grew tired of the whole thing by week three.

Then I realised that a lot of the new PvP currency was tied to the meta achievements that require you to complete weekly PvP quests, and I wondered whether I should give it another go for the sake of the rewards. A guildie also shared a neat "trick" he'd discovered: picking up the levelling version of the PvP weekly on an alt sitting at level 79, levelling up, picking up the level 80 version of the same mission, and then proceeding to complete two weeklies at once. This does require you to have an alt at the right level, and you can only do it once per character, but as I mentioned previously, I've actually struggled to level my whole stable of alts from 75 to 80, so I had plenty of characters available. I decided to give working on the arena weeklies another go, first on my Assassin tank and then on my Operative healer. Neither are characters on whom I'd really done many arenas before, but it was just going to be one weekly worth of arenas on each, right? So who cares if I wasn't going to be great at playing them in that mode?

As it turns out, there are people in the arena queue that care a lot, almost as if they didn't get the memo that ranking is no longer a thing. Completing the arena weekly with those two alts, I'm pretty sure I had more toxicity thrown my way than I've encountered in the game for the last five years. I'm usually pretty good at not caring when people in warzones start ranting about how everybody but them sucks, because it's usually such generic venting, I don't really feel affected by it. However, I learned that in arenas, people hone in on someone to blame and will call you out by name, sometimes seemingly at random (as in, you can tell from the scoreboard that you weren't even the worst player on the team by far so I'm not sure by what criteria people get chosen), and that really took me aback.

I tried not to engage with the insults, but they still made me feel kind of anxious, so that when I queued again, I soon started watching team formation nervously, afraid of encountering those same people again. I also saw others get raked over the coals in similar ways, and would then be torn between feeling bad for those players and being secretly relieved that at least it wasn't me this match. It didn't take long for me to decide that no amount of virtual currency is worth being made to feel like that and that I was going to stay away from arenas from now on. Which is kind of a shame, because while I was never a huge fan of the game mode, I didn't used to mind getting into the occasional arena match at random, and sometimes they would even be pretty fun. Being called useless, terrible etc. just because my random alt apparently isn't "worthy" enough to try out arenas is not fun though.

I do wonder whether this is a common experience or whether I was just unlucky. I haven't heard a lot of complaining about it, but I did see a commenter on the forums express that they thought arenas were effectively becoming the new ranked (in terms of how people behaved), even with no ranking in place... and that would be a shame.

Anyway, the takeaway from this is that the main thing PvP Season 1 did was turn me off arenas, even though that's not directly tied to the season, just a change that was released at the same time. Making my way through the seasonal reward track itself was easy enough once I started ignoring the arena objectives, though I will say that I don't think it was a good idea on Bioware's part to make it so that Galactic Season 3 and PvP Season 1 would end at the same time. While both work fine on their own, I'll have to admit that trying to wrap up my remaining GS3 goals on the other servers while also keeping up with PvP on Darth Malgus felt a bit stressful at times.

That aside though, I have to admit I'm mostly left with a slight feeling of "meh". While I like both warzones and filling up bars, something about the PvP Season just left me cold. What appeals to me about Galactic Seasons is that they encourage me to play a bit differently from my normal routine for a limited amount of time, but the PvP Season doesn't really do that... or rather, I guess it tried with the arenas but that just backfired massively. And I already like warzones; the season concept just pushed me into playing a few more matches each week than I usually would, which is kind of... shrug?

So my overall verdict is that I would take part again, but probably without being very excited about it, and I'd prefer it not happening at the same time as a Galactic Season. We'll see what Bioware has in store for Season 2 (whenever that's meant to happen).


  1. Arenas, such a wretched hive of villainous PvPers. I gave up trying for ranked (years back) because people on my home server would immediately start being hostile and abusive as soon as you zoned in to a ranked Arena. They made the whole experience a self-defeating one even before I could show if I was decent or not.

    Since then, I just gritted my teeth and accepted most arena matches I got instead of a warzone were going to be losses. My heart just wasn't in it. So when 7.2 was announced and the queue split was coming I was happy. My preference is warzones, not arenas.

    All this said, I did do some arenas on my original Sage to be able to recruit Forex. Those post-7.2 arenas on Star Forge weren't bad. It wasn't the PvP I like, but there were some wins and no one was unpleasant, even on the losses. Now, I know it won't be like that always, but it was good enough that I might try more arenas to be able to push further on the PvP season track. We'll see, as I'm not playing much Swtor at the moment as I'm taking a small break after finishing GS 3. (It would be nice if they had the two seasons staggered, with a bit of down time between each.)

    I do try to keep in mind this is their first pass at a PvP season, so hopefully season 2 will be more polished as GS 2 was over GS 1.

    1. Of course I have this thought, well a ramble, a few minutes after I hit Publish. Oops. ^_^

      I realized my views on different bits of PvP are always shifting somewhat. Part of it is the experience with other players, part of it is how well I perceive I'm playing, and part of it is whether I'm focused on a short-term goal or a long term one. I feel inconsistent, but I think that's part of dealing with PvP and having to fight against other players and, occasionally, some of your teammates.

      Players I can't (and shouldn't be able to) control, so I've developed a habit of putting someone on my ignore list as soon as they are a jerk. I don't mind people expressing irritation if things go wrong -- we've all been there -- but I am not going to listen to a person who attacks others. Yeah, that shutting off communication might cost me a match, but it makes my play time that much better and that's what I'm paying for: enjoyable play.

      The other two are more me trying to be realistic about how I play at my age. Being almost 60 does mean I can't out-react someone 40 years younger. Trying to look at how I could have played better instead of seeing that I just sucked helps there. Having shorter goals in the midst of longer ones helps keep my motivation to queue again going. The solo slog (for me) to Valor 100 after all these years has been long and mostly tedious. I'll get there, but I'm definitely the turtle in this race.

    2. I share your hope that Bioware will learn from this season and improve the next one. I can't imagine them not reducing the number of wins required for the arena weekly mission for example, because as far as I can tell absolutely everyone seems to agree that it's too much.

      I'm someone who's very hesitant to put people on ignore, partially because I want to give them the benefit of the doubt (we all have bad days) and partially because I always figure they might say something useful in a match at some point and I'd rather not miss it. So someone has to be pretty consistently and excessively abusive to end up on my ignore list. Sometimes I do think that life would probably be easier if I was happier to just put people on ignore more often.

      I don't think I've ever been great at twitch gameplay, but I'm turning 40 this year and have definitely noticed that I seem to have slowed down even more. It's part of why I've been finding R-4 so difficult with all the dancing around it requires. *sigh*

    3. Welcome to the slowing down club. It generally beats the alternative. ^_^

      I agree the arena numbers could easily be reduced by a third to make the season objectives less tedious. I really would like them to reduce the numbers by a half, but I doubt Bioware would go that far next season. :/

      I think you a good job of pointing up the fact that giving advice on how to deal with troublesome players is, well, awkward. We each have to find that sweet spot that suits us best or, at least, is something we can live / play with. I think that's where my tendency to be wordy comes from. I'm trying to explain my personal "whys" so that (I hope) it gives sufficient context. All I really can suggest is trying different coping strategies on alts to see if that changes anything for a person.

      All this said, I don't want to give the impression that I see a constant stream of jerks in PvP. Luckily I don't, but unfortunately arenas have that perception set in my mind. Maybe I need to be a bit less trigger happy with my ignore list.


Share your opinion! Everyone is welcome, as long as things stay polite. I also read comments on older posts, so don't be shy. :)