Thursday 19 January 2012

SWTOR 1.1 patch is not the PvP disaster people think it is

I say that for two main reasons:

1) It made players start fighting and doing actual PvP.
Sure it was a horrible clusterfuck of spawn camping badly tested crap. Yes it was horrible for those being spawn camped with no way out except to quit the game. And yes it demonstrated that the game simply can not handle lots of players in one area, but despite this we did actually see players fighting each other. Players doing PvP in the main PvP zone instead of standing around mostly AFK not even playing the game (not quite the point of a "game" eh?), whilst a few folks take turns to click the objective stuff and auto-complete the AFKers daily missions for them. So in that respect it is progress and is a step in the right direction. Albeit a step that led to Bioware immediately tripping over and faceplanting in a bloody mess hard on Ilum's frozen rocks.

But the main thing people will remember from yesterday was the lag. Oh... My... God... The... Lag.... In fact it lagged just as badly as the early days of WAR fortress battles, but was so worse because the number of players present in those bases on Illum was clearly far lower than we used to see in WAR. Plus SWTOR doesn't even have the excuse of collision detection complications. What Bioware need to immediately realise from this1.1 lesson is that Ilum and SWTOR will NEVER work as large scale zerg Realm vs Realm combat, that is unless they do something absolutely revolutionary with their game engine and servers. Really they need to ensure that future changes work towards making it about lots of small scale fighting all over the zone.

Not large scale combat in a small area, but instead it should be large scale combat over a large area..

Bioware's former Mythic employees should understand this, if they don't then I would question if they actually worked on WAR or just sat around smoking fags, drinking tequila and fiddling with their funky bits.

2) The major development screw ups for PvP were already made long ago. 
Yup. SWTOR was already up to it's neck in PvP problems, that is if you want anything other than arena e-sport. Firstly you can not make a balanced faction based PvP campaign with just 2 sides. It has never worked in anything and the only successful PvP campaigns are in games with 3 or more factions, be those game defined factions (DAoC) or player created ones (EVE, UO). Two faction PvP populations will decline over time as they turn into farcical alt-character switching nonsense and people get either sick of being zerged or bored of the lack of an actual campaign of any meaning.

Sure with instanced PvP you can get away with it to a point, but as the insane amount of Hutballs demonstrate, you'll either have to fight your own faction or wait a long time for those instances to pop.

Then we have PvP specific stats, in SWTOR's case "Expertise". It's always a stupid idea as it heightens vertical progression, lessens the impact of player skill and means new players (AKA new customers) join in PvP and get utterly steamrolled by those of us in fancy armour. Armour that, thanks to the expertise stat, boosts our damage against players AND reduces the damage they do, essentially doubling the percentage increase in it's effectiveness. PvP needs progression to have incentives that will appeal to a wide player base, but that doesn't mean progression has to be at the detriment of game balance and neither should it serve to alienate new players. Subtle stat gain, new abilities, different appearances and a myriad of other rewards can easily be implemented and will provide more than enough incentive. It does however require developers to think for themselves and not just dump a PvP stat on "cos that's what you do for PvP init".

Finally and as already discussed, the game just can't handle lots of players in one small area. Ilum must be redirected to spread the players across the zone and encourage them to fight all over the place. Otherwise it will always be a complete failure of a RvR zone. Which would be a tragic shame because it's a beautifully designed zone in many ways and has massive potential. But as any WAR veteran knows, waiting on potential is a right bitch.

So in summary, it was of course a bad patch and will be remembered for it's many problems, but it did at least kick off some actual PvP and perhaps more importantly highlighted some major issues that MUST be addressed if Ilum is to ever have a chance of succeeding. We just have to see if Bioware realise this.


  1. When I think of Gabe Amantangelo, I think of fail weasel. Guy seems slimy to me.
    Anyway, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I almost completely agree with everything you Say!!

  2. Seems the coders from Mythic keeps on their streak with clusterfuck coding, 2 good patches in 3 years in war and they now transfered over them to Star Wars.

    Has to say for all the faults and stuff that was in Rifts, at least they know how to code and dont mess up on the same scale at all as Mythic/Bioware does. Trion have set a bench mark for how patches should be done, since they at leats take steps forward with every patch instead of 1 step forward and 2 steps back like we seen in warhammer etc.

    I have to reconsider buying Star Wars again and see if this trends of lousy patches is extended.

    PS. Warhammer was fun 2 weeks or so after re-subbing but now its just back to a horrible, horrible grind.

  3. I can't see me resubbing to WAR anytime soon. It's too gear based now and I cba to grind the last 14 or so RRs to 100.

    Despite it's flaws with PvP I must say that I am enjoying SWTOR a lot still. The PvE is good and I am actually enjoying the warzone PvP, so happy to give Ilum a chance to get fixed.

  4. Yeah trust me Boots, been trying to level my magus and did well for awhile. It´s now 81-82ish and my shaman is 91 now. Monday to wendsday i spent roughly 6-10 hours a day playing my shaman and got not even 30% of a renown rank and i still got the bonus which ends at 92. Put that together with being smashed by very bad players in rr100 gear killed the fun of comming back to pvp. Now its just a horrible, horrible grind left and it just sucks the fun out of it.

    Seeing me spending 6-10 hours for months without any progress with the characters at all until one hits rr100 just kills the motivation to play. And i might get a job soon to which in that case i will have even less time to play which makes it even longer to get to rr100 and even gear.

    So not resubbing is the only way to go i think, when TOVL is the only real fun in the game left its time to look elsewhere i think. Think ive had like 5-10 good fights all in all the past 2 weeks in warhammer and the rest been being raped by aoe, singlebutton smashing rr100s that outnumbers yourself with twice the numbers.

    Thou i might resub on Rifts if the patch looks good, at least they seem to do a very good job at actually patching stuff and making the game better.

    Still undecided when it comes to Star Wars since i dont want to end up with a game that potentially will do a Warhammer dive into nothingness.


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Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.