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Lead PvP Designer Gabe Amatangelo kicked off the Tuesday session with a short presentation on PvP in warzones. Many features of SWTOR warzones focus on building community behavior through the proper placement of “carrots,” which entice players away from that all-for-me mentality, and nudges them toward a let’s-coordinate-and-beat-the-other-guys strategy.
Recap of Gabe’s presentation, our warzone experiences, and Q&A highlights after the jump.
Badges, Community Building PvP
In SWTOR warzones, each player has a role to play, and each player is encouraged to play as part of a team. Badges are rewarded for an array of teamwork-oriented behaviors.
- The tanking Guard ability absorbs damage to a friendly player within fifteen meters. A bubble-like visual cue tells you the player is being protected, while a projectile animation to the tank shows that damage is being absorbed. Damage to the tank is normal, damage to those being protected is diminished.
- Defending an objective earns badges not only for the player who clicked on the turret, but also for the players nearby.
- If you collect enough badges without dying, you earn a badge streak reward.
- Commendations: at the end of the warzone, you can vote a fellow teammate as a kind of most valuable player. Commendations are awarded.
Valor, Ranks, Gear
- PvP sets are unique and are purchased with valor tokens.
- You can also buy PvP consumables and trinkets with valor tokens.
- All valor tokens are awarded at the end of the match.
- There will be ranks.
- PvP gear has approximately a ten percent edge over equivalent PvE gear.
- Resolve: any crowd control ability triggers a Resolve bar above the victim’s head. Each crowd control attack fills the Resolve bar more. When the bar is filled, the player is immune to crowd control for a certain amount of time.
- Power-Ups available on the battlefield.
- Teams that own one of the objectives gain additional taxi paths back to the action.
- When defeated you do not come back at full health. Take a minute to buy useful consumables from the nearby vendor before hopping onto the speederbike to get back to the battlefield.
The presentation ended and we were allowed to start the Alderaan warzone. After a short practice session, we started the match for keepsies. Lots of laughing and dying and killing. First match went to the Republic, second match went to the Empire. Stephen Reid warned that whoever won two out of three would earn a nerf for the entire faction. That didn’t stop the Republic team from going for the win in the final match, an exciting back and forth exchange that many times looked like a Sith victory, but always tilted back in the Republic’s favor.
“WHY CAN’T THE EMPIRE STOP LOSING???” someone shouted at one point. I think it was Dover. He likes to shout a lot.
Finally, the Republic prevailed. Stephen Reid looked at the numbers ticking down and pronounced, “It’s over.” Within another minute or so, the Republic had made a comeback of, shall we say, heroic proportions. The last seconds of the match had TOROcast’s Samm, refusing to die as he slashed, tumbled, and even somehow leapt onto the gun turret, with Empire players trying to do him in. Just when it looked like it was curtains for his Jedi Consular, the timer finally ran out and the victory message declared the Republic winners. Applause and high-fives went around the room.
One word: cinematic.
I leaned over to Samm and asked, “How did it feel?” Samm can always be counted on to give an honest, heartfelt reaction.
“Perfect,” he said. “It felt perfect.”
Q&A WITH GABE AMATANGELO
A Q&A session with Gabe was meant to begin immediately afterward, but got off to an amusing start when it seemed that no one had any questions. Apparently, we were so satisfied and pumped after our Alderaan warzone experience that our brains had melted and there just wasn’t anything to ask. Fortunately, TOROcast’s musco snapped out of it and the Q&A session began.
Our favorite reveals:
- Killing takes longer. No one-shots. Pace is more measured, so save your cooldown bursts for the end. Strategic thinking and some twitch is best combination.
- Gabe: “There’s going to be at least one spec in every Advanced Class that’s going to be that two percent competitive edge in PvP.”
- Cover users may spec into the Entrenched ability, which will make them totally immune to stuns while in cover.
- A dynamic matchmaking system selects for pre-mades vs. pre-mades, healers vs. healers, gear checks, levels, etc.
- A Bolster system brings everyone within eighty percent effectiveness of one another. Level spectrum and gear will determine the next twenty percent.
- This means skill will play a bigger role than most people are used to seeing.
- This also means that you can run warzones with your buddy even if you are twenty levels apart.
- All warzones are 8 vs. 8. For now.