On Friday, BioWare posted in-depth information on how the Ranked Warzones will work.
Here’s how the rating system will work…
In Game Update 1.2, any level 50 player will be able to queue up for Ranked Warzones by themselves or in a group of any size up to eight players. Performance will be tracked on every player who participates, as a rating that will be adjusted with every match won or lost (leaving counts as a loss and prevents you from re-queuing for several minutes) considering the ratings of all other players in the match. In other words, if the enemy team has an overall much higher rating than you and your team, your rating would only go down a small amount if you lost. Players will have a separate Solo and Group rating, meaning only the rating for which the player queued will be affected by each match.
…so the rating system is similar to WoW’s Rated Battleground system – i.e. rating is attached to each player not to a team. I’m glad to see that there is no requirement to create a team with a roster. Of course, players can form teams if they want, but it’s not enforced by the game itself.
As far as solo vs group queuing…
However, in order to ensure that players won’t have to wait too long for a match to occur, the system will become more ‘flexible’ over time. Solo and group queued players might be pulled together after a while if needed to launch a match.
…I don’t like this at all. I was looking forward to queuing solo for Ranked Warzones to play with and against 15 other people who queued solo. It’s the ultimate competitive PUG. Having solo players face a premade for Ranked Warzones makes no sense, because it’s unfair matchmaking.
But there’s more…
If a match cannot be made for extended periods of time, then Normal and Rank queued players (except those who queued as a group of five or more) might be pulled together to launch a ‘mixed’ match
…yikes. I’d rather wait for a longer queue pop than fight with or against players who are not queuing for the same kind of match that I am. The whole point of Ranked Warzones is to create a competitive context where you get matched up against opponents of roughly the same skill level.
At least it sounds like “flexible” and “mixed” matches will be temporary…
We know that the flexible matchmaking and mixed matches are not ideal. They are only in until cross-server queuing is available and are the primary reason Ranked Warzones in Game Update 1.2 are Pre-Season, along with the opportunity to collect data and refine various systems in preparation for Season One.
How do you avoid these issues for group Ranked Warzones during Pre-Season? The solution is to queue as a full premade of 8…
Note, Rank queued players will never be prompted to backfill a match. So you’ll never be placed in a match that is about to end that could cause you to suffer a negative rating adjustment. Additionally, the Group rating is adjusted regardless of the size of group you queued up with and groups of five or more players are never called into mixed matches. So for complete control over the fate of your group rating, we suggest you queue up with your seven closest buddies that are good at PvP!
As far as buying the new War Hero gear…
Ranked Warzone Commendations in tandem with the equivalent Battlemaster piece can be used to purchase pieces of the brand new set of PvP gear called War Hero. There are no other requirements for purchasing or equipping this gear.
…the key thing to note: in order to buy a War Hero piece, you need the equivalent Battlemaster piece. Some of us have been min-maxing by mixing different BM set pieces. E.g. I am currently using the Trooper healing (Combat Medic) implants, which have Crit/Surge instead of Power/Surge, because my goal in 1.1.5 is to get to ~400 Crit Rating. So in 1.2 I’ll need to buy the Battlemaster Eliminator (DPS) implants if I want to upgrade to the War Hero Eliminator implants.
There is a 2nd set of War Hero gear…
Additionally, there is a set of Rated War Hero Gear and mounts which do have Highest Rating requirements to purchase and wear. Rated War Hero Gear has the same stats as regular War Hero Gear, except with a more prestigious appearance.
…and thankfully this gear won’t provide a stats advantage.
The rewards at the end of the match are based on team and individual performance…
The final score for your team at the end of a match now always directly affects the rewards of all players on your team. So, high scoring games will reward more. Thereby better preserving reward meaning for continued good team performance – even if it looks like your team is losing. Experience reward is an exception to this. It will be a factor of time in the Warzone and participation.
Players who earn few to no medals will have their overall rewards reduced. For example, if a player goes ‘AFK’ for some reason and gains no medals, they will receive no rewards.
There are twelve new objective medals awarded for thresholds of objective offense and defense points which are earned for various objective accomplishments and participation (e.g. help defend a door in Voidstar, passing for score and scoring in Hutball, heal allies near an objective in Alderaan, etc.).
…and this is the way it should be. One of the things that I found most irritating in WoW was the mentality of “let them win, it’s faster Honor” when things weren’t going well in the first minute of a battleground. The game mechanics should not encourage intentionally losing matches. And one of the most gratifying experiences is turning around a match.
And finally, we’ll be able to vote to kick AFK players…
Players will be able to vote to kick AFK players out of a Warzone. Any player can vote to kick a player through the group context menu. This will not initiate a vote prompt, but rather must be actively sought out by multiple players. Once a player has received several votes they will receive a prompt indicating that they’ll be kicked from the Warzone in a few seconds if they do not engage in combat or defend an objective. A player who is kicked from the Warzone in this manner will be returned to their original location before they queued, and will not be able to queue up again for several minutes.
…although I don’t recall seeing players on my server (Ajunta Pall) on either faction who were chain-AFK’ing matches. But I do understand it’s an issue on other servers, so the addition of this functionality is a good thing.
GAMEBREAKER Host for “The Republic” SWTOR show: http://www.gamebreaker.tv/video-game-shows/star-wars-the-old-republic-video/the-republic-swtor-show/