SWTOR Has Repeated RIFT’s Mistakes in Endgame PVP


It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, as I’ve been busy with corporate work and leveling up my Gunslinger to 50.

I just played my 83rd warzone at level 50 on my Gunslinger, and I wanted to share my blunt thoughts on the state of SWTOR PVP at endgame, from the perspective of a new character.

Let me open by framing my preparation for making my Gunslinger as effective as he could be as a fresh 50 character. Prior to dinging level 50, I did the following:

  1. Reached the limits of 3500 RWZ (Ranked Warzone) commendations and 2000 WZ commendations, so that I could immediately purchase the War Hero mainhand blaster weapon at endgame
  2. Saved up the credits to purchase a full set of Recruit gear (aside from the War Hero mainhand weapon)
  3. Stockpiled Warzone Adrenals, so that I would not need to spend WZ commendations on them
  4. Leveled Biochem to 400 and crafted the reusable Rakata Medpac, so that I would not need to spend WZ commendations on Warzone Medpacs

I am probably in the very small minority of the population who undertook steps 1-3 above (especially step #1). So keep in mind that my experience was probably better than people who were not as prepared.

As I wrote over a month ago, Patch 1.2 had a very negative effect on the quality of PVP.

Some of the issues were addressed by BioWare:

  • Prices of warzone consumables was reset back to what they were pre-1.2
  • Rewards were improved for the losing side of a warzone match
  • Recently BioWare also changed the PVP daily quest to be based on warzone participation not wins, which was another positive change because it discouraged quitting mid-match

That being said, I was expecting 50 PVP with a new character to be a fairly rough experience. And it’s even worse than I expected.

Issue #1: PVP gear scales too much across tiers

Before stepping into a 50 warzone, I acquired the War Hero mainhand weapon and 13 pieces of Recruit gear. With the Trooper 5% HP buff, that put me at ~13.4k HP, but with a Recruit weapon that would have been ~13k HP.

The issue is that the Recruit gear doesn’t provide a sufficient amount of stats to enable a fresh 50 to be competitive with players decked out in some or mostly War Hero gear, because the latter have:

  • ~17k+ HP, or even 18k HP with augmented gear for non tanks. A 17k HP player has 30% more HP than a Recruit-geared player
  • Higher stats in every category: more Expertise (which affects damage done, damage taken, and healing), higher primary stats, and higher secondary stats. So they hit (or heal) harder, crit more often, have higher crit bonus damage, avoid more attacks, and have their attacks avoided less often

On top of the gear scaling, a compounding issue with SWTOR’s PVP itemization is that the type of stats on a given slot changes between tiers. The Gunslinger Force Tech’s Battlemaster gear is woefully under-budgeted for Surge, whereas the War Hero versions of Force Tech have a lot of Surge. Surge equals burst, and as the old adage goes, burst damage kills but steady damage is easily healed through. My understanding is that the lack of Surge on BM gear is not isolated to my class.

This makes gear a primary determining factor in PVP performance, just as it was back in Vanilla WoW. This was the exact same problem with RIFT last year, where the gap between Rank 2 gear and Rank 4, and R4 and R6, and R6 and R8 actually increased the higher rank you reached. It created a faceroll advantage for R8 players in RIFT Patch 1.4 – even after Valor (the PVP stat) was normalized.

Unfortunately, BioWare has repeated RIFT’s mistake of having PVP gear scale too much across tiers.

It took months of iteration for Trion to sort out the gear scaling. As you may recall, RIFT went through the following progression:

  • Having ranks of gear with increasing overall stats (those related to HP / damage / healing) and an increasing PVP stat (called “Valor”, which provided mitigation only), to
  • Having ranks of gear with increasing overall stats but with the PVP stat normalized across all gear tiers (e.g. the Valor normalization that I was a huge proponent of), to
  • Having gear scale much more gradually, with more ranks than 8

Let me state that even the 2nd bullet point above was insufficient: R8 still had a faceroll advantage over R2. And such is the case when comparing WH-geared players to Recruit-geared players.

Is having gear such a big factor in PVP outcomes healthy for a game? My strong belief is no.

It’s a deterrent for new players to try PVP at endgame and enjoy it because they’ll get their ass kicked repeatedly until they can gear up (hundreds of warzones), and it’s a hurdle for existing players to gear up alts at endgame. This is not to say people won’t do it – the most hardcore PVP guilds on my server are full of FOTM re-rollers (notably Sentinel/Marauder, Shadow/Assassin 31-pt tank, and for healing Scoundrel/Operative).

Issue #2: Class Compositions Influence Outcomes

As I stated consistently before Patch 1.2, SWTOR had the best class balance of any MMORPG on the market.

This was not to say it was perfect – pre-1.2 Watchman Sentinel/Annihilation Marauders, Shadow/Assassin 31-pt tanks, and Assault Spec Vanguards/Pyrotech Powertechs were overpowered, and Scoundrel/Operative healers were underpowered.

I loved PVP in SWTOR pre-1.2 in both the 10-49 and 50 brackets. Raved about it consistently here and elsewhere. Why? Pre-1.2, we could run comps with a wide variety of classes/specs and do well in warzones. What mattered the most were the players behind the keyboard. That’s the way it should be.

But after 1.2, that is no longer the case – the class balance gaps are too significant to ignore from a mechanics standpoint. With the sweeping changes to classes in 1.2, PVP outcomes are now heavily influenced by which classes your group contains. The same healer playing a Sage/Sorc versus Operative/Scoundrel will heal much more effectively with the latter. I know this from talking to multiple players who re-rolled and from killing them.

The parallel between RIFT and SWTOR in terms of the progression of class balance is striking. RIFT was trending in the right direction in terms of class balance from 1.0->1.4, and then 1.5 and 1.6 went in the wrong direction. SWTOR PVP in terms of class balance was trending in the right direction from 1.0->1.1.5, but then 1.2 launched :(

Issue #3: The Grind

If there is one word I would use to describe the experience of playing Patch 1.2, it’s “grindy”.

With respect to PVP, to be competitive you not only need to grind many hundreds of warzones to get a full set of War Hero gear, but you also need to acquire augmented crafted War Hero gear, which requires purchasing crit-crafted gear and then paying to yank out the mods from the vendor War Hero gear so that you can insert them into the augmented gear. You also need to purchase augments, which as acknowledged by James Ohlen typically run for 75k+ credits each on the AH, roughly the same pricing I’ve seen on Ajunta Pall.

To give a concrete example of the grind, buying a WH mainhand weapon costs ~3.5k RWZ comms plus ~1.5k WZ comms, which equals 12k WZ comms ((3.5k x 3) + 1.5k). Assuming you earn 100 WZ comms per match, that’s 120 warzones to fill one of your weapon slots. Or 240 warzones to fill both weapon slots. Filling in the other 12 slots costs tens of thousands of additional WZ comms, which again is hundreds of more warzones.

Granted, WH gear should be easier to earn once the Ranked Warzones system goes live, but we haven’t received a date for that yet, so it is what it is until then.

Some people claim that pre-1.2 was more grindy, but let me make a correction: for a long time, pre-1.2 PVP gearing was RNG-based, not grind-based because you were limited by your dailies, until they added a change where you could acquire BM bags with commendations.

Closing Thoughts

My server, Ajunta Pall, has been consistently top 10 in terms of active population according to torstatus.net since January. In recent weeks, we’ve gone from having a critical mass of players – typically 100-170 on the Republic Fleet during primetime – to 50 or less. The result has been increasingly long queue times – for much of the weekend I was waiting for 10+ minutes per pop.

SWTOR is losing players, and it’s not simply because other games have launched. As BioWare has previously stated, PVP has been (unexpectedly) very popular ever since launch. But the majority of players I’ve talked to agree that the quality of the PVP has tanked with 1.2.

There are some players who believe that the Ranked Warzone system is the silver bullet for keeping PVP players engaged. While it is a much-desired piece of content, the issues with SWTOR PVP are more fundamental: the emphasis on gear and increasing class imbalance need to be looked at. SWTOR 10-49 PVP is still very entertaining, but there needs to be sticky PVP content at endgame to retain players.

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Posted in Commando / Mercenary, Game Design, Guardian / Juggernaut, Gunslinger / Sniper, PVP, RIFT, Sage / Sorcerer, Scoundrel / Operative, Sentinel / Marauder, Shadow / Assassin, SWTOR, Vanguard / Powertech
131 comments on “SWTOR Has Repeated RIFT’s Mistakes in Endgame PVP
  1. On top of everything you said I came to the realization that while pre 1.2 was easily the best PVP experience i’ve had in a MMO. I just got bored…. I even tried the FOTM reroll and that got boring not even having to work for a kill is not fun.

    My original toon (Balance shadow) was the one of the more unique classes i’ve had the pleasure of playing. But it hit me like a out hybrid tanky brick. That I am 100% squishier then my tankier counterpart while doing marginally more dps! (Dps I had to work harder to get.) Why not just switch then? Sure I could and I did for a time being. But again that was not where the fun was at for me. Pre 1.2 I saw how strong tank shadows were and had HIGH hopes that they would align the other 2 specs to be on par. Then the PTR patch notes hit and we got visual changes. =(

    I have since quit about a week ago feeling burned by what BW has done. Its really not the same game. I just cant bring my self to Log in anymore. But between Tera and D3 I stay occupied but I hope BW finds what its doing before its to late. I for one probably wont go back to try anything new just because the bottom line is….. we don’t have to! Their is way to many other options out now! Heck I even loaded up Everquest and checked out their F2P model!!

    Anyways I just wanted to rant and had no where else to post my opinion not that any of you care bout it but there it is! Great post as always Taugrim!

    • taugrim says:

      Stephen Robert Woodhouse :

      On top of everything you said I came to the realization that while pre 1.2 was easily the best PVP experience i’ve had in a MMO. I just got bored…. I even tried the FOTM reroll and that got boring not even having to work for a kill is not fun.

      The only thing SWTOR was lacking pre-1.2 was a good World PVP environment (map / objectives / no lag). But otherwise I agree with what you wrote.

      This is partly when makes the changes in 1.2 so disheartening. SWTOR PVP was so much fun.

      Stephen Robert Woodhouse :

      My original toon (Balance shadow) was the one of the more unique classes i’ve had the pleasure of playing. But it hit me like a out hybrid tanky brick. That I am 100% squishier then my tankier counterpart while doing marginally more dps! (Dps I had to work harder to get.) Why not just switch then? Sure I could and I did for a time being. But again that was not where the fun was at for me. Pre 1.2 I saw how strong tank shadows were and had HIGH hopes that they would align the other 2 specs to be on par. Then the PTR patch notes hit and we got visual changes. =(

      This is why class / spec balance is so important. When there is significant disparity between trees for a class or across classes, it functionally limits the choices that players have.

      And no one enjoys feeling pigeon-holed.

      Stephen Robert Woodhouse :

      I have since quit about a week ago feeling burned by what BW has done. Its really not the same game. I just cant bring my self to Log in anymore. But between Tera and D3 I stay occupied but I hope BW finds what its doing before its to late.

      BioWare needs to agree that there is an issue with class balance first. I read Larry Everett’s piece last week and didn’t get the impression that they feel the same way the players do:
      http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/05/15/hyperspace-beacon-swtors-james-ohlen-shares-the-formula-behind/

      • josh says:

        Ed. I think you would have had a much better experience in your first 50 warzone’s had you NOT went right to the WH weapon. I recently leveled a dps Jugg and did the same thing. I capped normal and rated comms, however I also used my cybertech to craft the epic level 49 armorings and mods. When I hit 49 I put them in. Then when I hit 50, I bought the battlemaster saber and war hero earpiece and an implant, I only bought 3-4 pieces of recruit gear to round out my belt, offhand, other implant, etc. I ended up with 700+ expertise and right around 15k hp doing this. I felt the stat loss, particularly in strength from going to the recruit gear was too steep for the 150-200 more expertise I would have gotten. I think people buying full recruit gear is a bad idea.

        On paper, it looks good, but the other stats you lose by doing so deflates any advantage that extra 200 expertise gives you. I see people in full recruit gear with the war hero weapon all the time and they just fall over. I think my method is a bit better and am doing the same with my level 25 operative.

        That being said…nerf marauders and powertechs, I’d like to play my arsenal merc sometime soon :D

        Enjoy your blog and The Republic. (I envy your 10 minute queues…30+ on Saber of Exar Kun PVP east)

  2. I think BioWare doesn’t want to admit their is a problem. Maybe Delusions of grandeur? They seem to be turning a blind eye to the blatant server population troubles. So to say they don’t “see” a class balance issue isn’t a stretch in my mind.

    I to can admit that I didn’t want to believe of the class imbalances at first. No way this was happening in a game I loved. But the more you play the more it wears on you. Now look at me I look like one of the loons on the PVP forums saying X is more op then Y because it has 4 points instead of 3!

    • taugrim says:

      Stephen Robert Woodhouse :

      They seem to be turning a blind eye to the blatant server population troubles. So to say they don’t “see” a class balance issue isn’t a stretch in my mind.

      I think they’re well aware of how many servers have low pops.

      Knowing there’s a problem, and having a working solution (i.e. server transfers), are 2 different things.

  3. O'reilly says:

    hey taugrim,

    im still leveling my first toon to 50 ( currently lvl 45 bountyhunter ), i started late with the game :)
    i was wandering the following.
    you said you bought the war hero mainhand with the 3500 + 2000 comms.
    i allready have the 3500 and the 2000 coms, but as far as i have seen, it would be more beneficial to buy 4 BM pieces ( not the chest ) for the 4 set bonus + BM mainhand weapon.

    that would leave you with better stats and expertise to start out as a a fresh lvl 50 in pvp.

    just my thoughts :)

    greets,
    O’reilly ( The Red Eclipse )

    • taugrim says:

      O’reilly :

      you said you bought the war hero mainhand with the 3500 + 2000 comms.
      i allready have the 3500 and the 2000 coms, but as far as i have seen, it would be more beneficial to buy 4 BM pieces ( not the chest ) for the 4 set bonus + BM mainhand weapon.

      that would leave you with better stats and expertise to start out as a a fresh lvl 50 in pvp.

      just my thoughts :)

      greets,
      O’reilly ( The Red Eclipse )

      This is what I wrote to another player on the forums who suggested a similar thing. Don’t take it personally, I was responding to a rude jackass so keep that in mind:

      http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=4442212#post4442212

      You would propose downtrading RWZ commendations to WZ commendations to buy BM gear? Downtrading is 1:1. Trading up from WZ to RWZ commendations is 3:1.

      If you are suggesting, for example, that I should have traded in my 3.5k RWZ comms for 3.5k WZ comms to buy Battlemaster gear, when 3.5k RWZ comms are worth 10.5k WZ comms, well, let’s just say you and I have a fundamentally different understanding of basic arithmetic. I can’t say it any other way without potentially getting flagged by the mods.

      It’s far more efficient to spend RWZ comms on WH gear.
      I had 4-pc BM within a few days of dinging 50.

  4. Ears says:

    I have to agree.

    1.2 was quite simply a disaster for many other reasons too:

    1) Drastic class changes that were not needed.
    2) Introduced a lot of bugs.
    3) Focussed too much on RP/Story with “legacy” being a focus. The important features like 8man pre-mades and server transfers were lower down on the prio list obviously.

    Real shame, I hope they can pull it back because I like playing games for the long term….

  5. Livein says:

    Problems with 1.2 goes deeper than you just wrote here. It’s not only about WH having faceroll advantage vs recruits (you can get BM easly enough). Real problem lays with balance, or lack of it. OP classes. I’m a 78vRank lvl sorc, closing at full WH (19,3k hp buffed with my fully augmented WH gear), I’m PvP player with madness/lighting pvp specc. Been playing this class since forever, and all I can say, is that Assassin tanks running in dps gear and good Marauders – if played well – melt me.

    You mention it at The Republic, peepz tend to reroll those two, for obvious reasons. Both those classes posses incredible defensive CD’s. Assassin has stealth, and Mara – hits like a truck.

    And if that was not enough, you actually can’t outkite them. Assa tank has sprint, slow, ranged stun and pull. Also if he is in trouble he can vanish and close the distance.

    Marauder… marauder has SPAMMABLE 12s SNARE (50%). It is a physical debuff, so my sorc can’t even purge it. You basically can’t loose him, and that leaves you with no chnaces of winning. Good sorc can sometimes win vs mara only cause they so used to nab SI, who just facetank them, and so they don’t use snares at all.
    So.. 12 permanent 50% snare. Also, they can charge every so offen, and if they are in trouble they have force camo and predation as gap closers. So yeah, people who’re saying L2P (meaning learn to kite) are just trolling.

    Some may say, PvP isn’t balanced around 1v1. Then I ask, how else should you try to attain balance?

    Let’s think of hypthetical situation. Alderaan. My sorc is left with guarding duty (after capping side node at the begining), while rest fight for middle. Then I see Marauder incoming. Marauder with all his CD’s is like one man army. I’m pretty sure I’ll need one more just to keep the node. But what if there are 2 maras? Will 3 players be enough?

    What if there are 2 maras and someone to heal them? I would have to call like 4 others. I’m going to post some movie about sorc vs mara on PvP forum soon (one that is there already seems like a bad joke *lighting sorc pvp really?*).

  6. Tommythepower says:

    Nice post, and very true.1.2 tankes pvp in swtor.

  7. Shred says:

    You have to give something for players to work towards, be it gear or abilities. I have a Warlord rank 90 assassin that I have played since early release, but there’s no way I would have grinded the amount of war zones that I have if there was no reward.

    It’s a balancing act for the devs to manage the disparity. I think DAoC had the best pvp system. In the golden age of DAoC every level 50 could buy player crafted gear and mod it how they wanted. You couldn’t max out all stats and resistances so it was up to the player to min max. So every one had the same lvl of gear but you could buy passive or active abilities with points attained through realm ranks, such as extra crit, cc breaker, special attacks etc. Of course, you still ended up with realm rank 10 players facerolling fresh 50 s but it wasn’t as bad as swtor and the long time players had their rewards without much of a stat/gear disparity.

    • taugrim says:

      Shred :

      You have to give something for players to work towards, be it gear or abilities. I have a Warlord rank 90 assassin that I have played since early release, but there’s no way I would have grinded the amount of war zones that I have if there was no reward.

      I loved PVP pre-1.2, because it was fun, not because there was a carrot.

      Even if there is a carrot (better gear), there is no reason to make the upper-tier gear so much better than the entry level gear that it provides a faceroll advantage. Do you need a carrot that big?

  8. KurttKrueger says:

    While I agree somewhat with you analysis Ed, are you doing anything to flag these issues up to the devs? Has this been posted on the official boards, or Google+ and other social media where the devs are known to frequent?

    This sort of issue really needs high visibility for changes to happen.

  9. jasonnewington says:

    Prior to 1.2 I loved the PvP however post 1.2 it all feels way to much like hard work and not really fun at all.

    My main is a close to rank 70 Gunslinger and god help me if I get noticed by a Marauder. I seem to stand no chance at all against equally geared Marauders whereas any that out gear me just destroy me in a matter of seconds. I’m an optimistic kind of guy and never give up in a fight however it says allot about the state of the class balance when I feel that there’s no point in even bothering against certain classes.

    Sure over the course of a warzone I can still pump out decent overall DPS due to the amount of damage sponges currently out there (Tanks specced Assassins, Juggernauts and Powertechs) however my killing blows have suffered markedly. I don’t begrudge any class that specs for survivability actually being able to soak up damage just as long as they’re DPS output is on a suitable par and let’s face it Tank specced Assassins are overtuned DPS wise.

    I recently started trying to gear up my fresh level 50 Vanguard. Got the full recruit set with the BM weapon and suffice to say my arse hurts so much I won’t be able to sit down for a week.

    And on top of any balance issues I’m now waiting 10-15 mins for a warzone to pop, and that’s at peak time. Off-peak I’ve given up trying and just level an alt or go play something else. Bioware are ignoring population issues and seem to be reluctant to implement cross server queues. There seems to be a fear of the negative publicity that server closures/mergers might produce . . . as if that’s more negative than people leaving the game.

    I’ve since cancelled my subscription. It’s due to run out sometime in June but not sure I’ll log in much between now and then.

    But hey, at least we got the wonderful legacy features ;)

  10. I gotta go with GW2’s system here.

    If a PvP game needs better gear as a carrot, it fails at being fun enough on it’s own.

  11. Lightning says:

    I appreciate your reasoning and I agree with some points, but I also have other thoughts on the issues with the game popularity.

    1. Gearing up
    I agree that getting full WH set is too grindy atm. However, we must consider that it was expected that it’ll be gathered via ranked WZs which would have been 3 times faster. The fact that ranked WZ failed on the PTS is another issue. Second, there are loads of people who grind. They were in full BM long before 1.2, and if BW have not given them something new to grind for, they’d left right away.

    Also, I don’t agree that BM-WH gap is that big. It’s actually pretty close, especially if you have the money to itemize the BM gear which is the biggest problem (dunno how it is for other classes, but for Gunslingers BM itemization is awful, while WH is very good). And since getting full BM is quite fast now, you won’t struggle for long.

    So it may be not the best gearing system in the world, but I don’t see how it makes players quit.

    2. Balance
    I don’t know why you jump on sorc/sages nerf that much. Have you played against a team of hybrid sorc healers pre-1.2? It was ridiculous. Your team would have managed to have like 4-5 kills for the entire match. True, they did not do that much DPS, but they were unstoppable in defense. A lot of the sage/sorcs did admit that they were OP pre-1.2, even if the nerf was too big in some things.

    Also why don’t you mention that Commando/Merc DPS is close to useless now, that Scoundrel/Op DPS is completely useless, while the Vanguard/PT DPS is insane and is one of the FOTM reroll classes.

    So in the end we can see that 1) balance is not ideal, and 2) it’s very subjective. However, I don’t agree that it’s worse than it was before 1.2. And people did not quit solely because of balance per-1.2, they don’t do it now as well. Those who want to continue playing (and not just looking for a reason to quit) just reroll and wait for balance changes. And of course we’ll see those changes and tweaks in the future.

    3. Other issues
    There are other issues that affect game popularity and are as important as the ones you mentioned.

    Lack of content variety. I know a low of people who complain about having to queue up and do the 4 WZs all the time. However stupid Ilum was, it did provide some refreshment, and I think BW made a mistake by killing it and adding nothing is return. The same is true for PvE content as well, especially without the LFG system.

    Overestimation of playerbase capacity by BW. I think this is what leads to empty servers and it turn to more people quitting, causing chain reaction. And I don’t agree that other games did not affect SWTOR. Diablo 3 caused a huge loss of population last week. Probably they won’t play D3 for that long, BUT, BW have to give them something new to return to.

    I really hope this is solved by the patch 1.3 and other anticipated changes – LFG, transfers, ranked WZs. Because if BW messes this up or waits too long to pick up players back from D3, the game will be dead.

    • taugrim says:

      Lightning :

      2. Balance
      I don’t know why you jump on sorc/sages nerf that much. Have you played against a team of hybrid sorc healers pre-1.2? It was ridiculous. Your team would have managed to have like 4-5 kills for the entire match. True, they did not do that much DPS, but they were unstoppable in defense. A lot of the sage/sorcs did admit that they were OP pre-1.2, even if the nerf was too big in some things.

      The nerf broke the class for healers.

      I agree Sage/Sorc healers in 1.1.5 needed to be toned down, I said as much many times on social media and on the GAMEBREAKER weekly show.

      Lightning :

      Also why don’t you mention that Commando/Merc DPS is close to useless now, that Scoundrel/Op DPS is completely useless, while the Vanguard/PT DPS is insane and is one of the FOTM reroll classes.

      The goal of my post was not to point out every current class balance issue.

  12. cerberias says:

    Only thing that I must disagree with is that you’re saying Op/Scound healers were bad pre 1.2 – they weren’t – they were just the hardest to play. IMO they were the best healer even pre 1.2 – now they’re just miles ahead.

    • taugrim says:

      cerberias :

      Only thing that I must disagree with is that you’re saying Op/Scound healers were bad pre 1.2 – they weren’t – they were just the hardest to play. IMO they were the best healer even pre 1.2 – now they’re just miles ahead.

      You are probably the only person I’ve ever heard say this. Literally.

  13. Chaz says:

    Well, I may be one of the few that has interest in PVP in swtor so instead of just nodding along I am going to make some counterpoints. Where do I start?

    Issue# 1: Recruit PVP Is Not Supposed To Cut It

    I am actually glad there is entry level gear at all, pre 1.2 I would have to be completelly destroyed in Warzones for days without any expertise until the RNG favored me enough that I could get some Champion gear, and you are saying that pre 1.2 was Better? Please! Yes, recruit gear has worse stats than BM and WH, and it should only last you for a few days until you get BM. I know this is not GW2 where all the gear is normalized, but is really 3 or 4 days so unbearable? Even if it is, I stand by my statement that it was much worse for new 50s pre 1.2

    Issue #2: Class Compositions

    Yes, yes Watchman Sentinel/Annihilation Marauders, Shadow/Assassin 31-pt tanks, and Assault Spec Vanguards/Pyrotech Powertechs were very powerful, wait… why didn’t you mention Concealment Operative/Scrapper Scoundrel? Is this a Joke?

    Do you, and I mean everyone on this blog, know why a cooldown was added to Hidden Strike/Shoot First?

    Now that the ability was fixed is safe to say that if you used Shoot First+Dissapearing Act+Shoot First a bug would trigger a 3rd Shoot First, so we are talking about a burst close to 15k Damage. Pre 1.2 you could be killed in single GCD by one player, one player people. How can anyone think that state of PVP was more balanced then than now? Even post 1.2 I fear the terrible burst that class has.

    Issue #: The Grind?

    Getting War Hero gear is a grind, I’ll give you that, without Ranked Warzones there is no easy way for us to get Ranked Warzone Commendations. But is really more grindy than getting those damn Battlemaster Commendations pre 1.2? Well it depends if you were favored by the RNG gods or not.

    What about the other tiers of PVP gear? As I said on Issue#1, I think recruit and bm are dumb easy to get, easier than centurion and champion gear ever was. Before everyone hated RNG, the pvp forums were full of hate posts about RNG, ok now you just buy the gear with commendations and now you say “It’s too grindy” ok, give them a freaking break, they made many of thse changes based on player feedback, all the crafters wanted to be relevant at endgame, so hate it or love it the augmented gear changes were based on player feedback too.

    In conclusion, I think you and many people are turning a blind eye to all the huge and gamebreaking problems in 1.1 and you are painting it as if it was this pvp paradise, when in fact the game hasn’t really changed that much, people are just losing interest in general and they are already looking forward to the next “messiah” of MMOs, be it TSW, GW2, TES or TITAN. And in turn I think players will lose interest in those games too, some maybe able to disguise the loss of players better than others, GW2 doesnt need to declare how many subs they have every quarter because it’s not a subscription based game, so they wont need to play “the numbers game”.

    • Yamirashi says:

      I don’t know how people think it takes “a few days” to get full BM. Some people don’t have near the amount of time to play as you seem to. And even when we do we spend some nights only getting between 5-10 warzones and most if not all of them only have 5-6 team mates. If we EVER get a full team of 8 its typically after the match is well out of hand.

      For balance, yes the Ops/Scoundrels had an insane burst pre-1.2. That’s one class that had an advantage that could completely wreck one person if they had all their cooldowns up. Don’t know of a single match myself where that was an issue that completely swung the match one way or the other. A 1v1 fight does not typically decide the outcome of the match, and face it, other than globaling one person in the huge fight at mid in Alderaan what else did said Op/Scoundrel bring to that fight? They had stealth and a nasty opener but really nothing else for a group fight. They were annoying, but I didn’t think they broke the game at all.

      As for the grind, I’ve had other people mention the RGN from pre 1.2. and say that players got exactly what they asked for. Yes that RNG system was dumb and it needed to die. I also LOVED the system they added in, right up until they canceled Rated Warzones but left the WH gear in. You mean to tell me you added a tier of gear without adding the tier of content to make that gear relevant? That makes LOADS of sense. And to add to the gap and grind, 1.3 seems to be adding even more to the augment system. Where at one point it seemed the game was heading in the right direction it seems to have turned around.

      I love this game. I played the original KOTOR series over and over again before I was introduced to MMO’s and found out there was a KOTOR style MMO on the way. I was looking forward to this game for a LONG time. I’ve been labeled a fan boy more times than I can count. When 1.2 dropped Taugrim here was one of the first I heard complaining about some of the changes, and I called him and all the other people I heard saying it whiners. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it and thought they were just being whiny and picky in trying to say there was. Now here I am saying you know what? They were right all along. You may not have gotten to that point yet, but I’ve not met anyone I play with who hasn’t started that way at this point.

      • Chaz says:

        My point is that, despite all the flaws PVP currently has, it’s still better post 1.2. All the issues that Taug mention (and I didnt mean not flame him, I was just making some counterpoints) were pre existant before 1.2, instead of gear grind we had RNG, some of the classes that are powerful now were even more overpowered before, I mentioned scrapper scoundrel and the Assault spec Trooper was able to spam HIB for tons of damage, and fresh 50s had an even harder time before because there was not even an entry level gear, and they were at the mercy of RNG until they could get champion gear.

        These are not “new” problems and the game is not taking a “new direction”. Gear Difference and Class Balance have been an issue in swtor since launch. Most of the dissatisfaction comes because players are loosing interest in the game, PVPers have really not received much attention. in 5 month we only got one new warzone and ranked warzones were pull out.

        There is a lack of knowledge of all the issues PVP had or a lack of aknowledgement that at least Bioware has fixed many of this problems, Everyone is already looking for the next game and wants to jump ship, even if you are patient and would like to stay in swtor you are still hurt by this because your server pop drops and you cant enjoy PVP with a slow que time.

    • Greg says:

      First of all congratulations if you’re on a server that still has competitive PVP. That being said, for everything you’ve written the problem with the gear gap is that there is no competition in PVP on many servers (mine included). You can add up the HP of everyone on your team and their expertise and whichever team has it higher is going to win 100% of the time. It might be a few days if you are able to put in 10+ hours a day with queues popping but in my experience most of the pugs take several weeks to attain BM gear across all their slots. Most give up and go back to 10-49 PVP.

    • taugrim says:

      Chaz :

      In conclusion, I think you and many people are turning a blind eye to all the huge and gamebreaking problems in 1.1 and you are painting it as if it was this pvp paradise, when in fact the game hasn’t really changed that much, people are just losing interest in general and they are already looking forward to the next “messiah” of MMOs, be it TSW, GW2, TES or TITAN

      I can’t speak for everyone else, but I personally was incredibly turned off by the PVP in 1.2, from the day that the patch hit, to today. The TTK has changed unacceptably. 2 of the 3 healing classes went from being arguably overpowered in 1.1.x to having their mechanics gutted in 1.2 in ways that make no sense.

      This has *nothing* to do with how long the game has been out, what other games are coming down the pipe.

      What I want, more than anything else, is to find a game that I can actually play for an extended length of time without losing trust in the developer because of decisions they make at some point in time.

      For me, that was Patch 1.5 for RIFT and Patch 1.2 for SWTOR. Up until that point, in both games, I was overall in agreement with the direction of the patches.

      Does that mean SWTOR 1.1.x was some panacea? Heck no. Ilum was incredibly poorly designed and fell flat on its face. There were bugs in warzones that had to get sorted out. There were issues that reallllly bothered other people much moreso than me (e.g. animation / ability delays).

      If you want to lump me in with the other people who are bored with SWTOR, fine. But I am one of the very few people who didn’t jump on any of the following bandwagons: TERA, D3, TSW Beta, etc. The only game I’ve seen recently that I am really interested in is GW2. I play games because I enjoy them, not because of the shiny factor or any other reason.

      But I would much much much rather have a realistic suite of games available to me that I can play and really enjoy. SWTOR was one of those games.

      I, unlike many people, have very realistic expectations of the progress of games after launch. Probably because I’ve worked in SDLC for over a decade and know what it’s like on their side. So I could bear with the Ilum debacle and other issues in 1.1.x. But I find 1.2 endgame PVP to have too much in common with other poorly-implemented PVP systems from other games, whereas in 1.1.x it was refreshing different.

      • Chaz says:

        First, I apologize if my reply seemed to be hostile, I greatly enjoy your blog and videos, It’s just that I had to disagree with some of the points.

        I know the changes that reduced the TTK turned a lot of people off, but in the other hand I also see many positive changes that greatly increased my enjoyment of PVP, making Voidstar and Novare Coast a same faction warzone was a great idea and it means no more huttball marathon for empire, and more variety for everyone. The inclusion of new medals and the way attacker and defender points are awarded for people passing and scoring in huttball for example.

        Also, some of the less popular changes were taken back very quickly by Bioware, consumables were restored to their former price while rewards were increased, now we can earn up to 150 comms, thats %50 more rewards than pre 1.2

        Maybe Im one of those “glass is half full” guys, but the improvements of 1.2 outwheight the negatives, for me.

        • taugrim says:

          Chaz :

          First, I apologize if my reply seemed to be hostile, I greatly enjoy your blog and videos, It’s just that I had to disagree with some of the points.

          I know the changes that reduced the TTK turned a lot of people off, but in the other hand I also see many positive changes that greatly increased my enjoyment of PVP, making Voidstar and Novare Coast a same faction warzone was a great idea and it means no more huttball marathon for empire, and more variety for everyone. The inclusion of new medals and the way attacker and defender points are awarded for people passing and scoring in huttball for example.

          Also, some of the less popular changes were taken back very quickly by Bioware, consumables were restored to their former price while rewards were increased, now we can earn up to 150 comms, thats %50 more rewards than pre 1.2

          Maybe Im one of those “glass is half full” guys, but the improvements of 1.2 outwheight the negatives, for me.

          Everything you talked about above was a change to match mechanics, e.g. same faction VS and NC, different medals rewarded, etc.

          I.e. they’re nice things to have, but they’re not what makes or breaks the combat gameplay. At least for me.

          1.2 was a huge step backwards for class balance. That to me is one of the biggest mistakes a game can make.

  14. davin1023 says:

    You hit a lot right on the head. 1.2 has taken a lot out of PVP in SWTOR and I can only hope for future changes before they lose all of us.

    Over the last week my server has seen an increasing drop in players as well. The interesting thing is that the larger portion of them appear to have been Imperial (the dominant faction.) Out of the ~12 warzones I played yesterday 3/4 of them were RvR, something that used to almost never happen.

    They need to do a lot to keep people in the game right now, and unless we hear some major news this week I think we are going to see more people leave soon. Ranked warzones will help, but to be honest, population is going to be a deciding factor there as well. We need to see either server mergers or transfers, but at the very least cross server queuing. I’m going to miss seeing my Solo Queuing brothers in every warzone since I know how they think and what they will do. But 30-45 minutes for a pop is just to long.

    I’m playing a fresh 50 as of last night, full recruit gear other than the BM Mainhand + 42 Expertise Crystal and the boots (no where near as prepared as you for the change-over). The difference between my new Guardian and my War-Hero Vanguard is startling. I literally go into warzones thinking “Ok, I know I’m going to die, how can I cause as many problems for the opposite team before I do.”

    Class balance is pretty out of balance at the moment as you mentioned, and everyone knows it. You can tell by the class composition in warzones. Seems a lot of folks are playing those FOTM classes.

    I still enjoy the game, and I’ll keep playing my utility Tanks (Modified Tank Spec with DPS gear) for a while, but things need to change.

  15. EucridEucrow says:

    Yep, I unsubscribed from swtor now after having been one of the more disgusted at all of the hate flung at this game. I don’t hate swtor but I’m just not motivated to make it one of my games any more which is too bad because I developed 8 alts past 31 with all the crafts covered in anticipation of having a long experience with the game but there is just too thin a veneer, shiny as it may be, to this game. Pvp pre-1.2 was one of the bigger reasons to care and they have capsized the boat on that one so why should I continue a monthly fee? If they get their act together I may come back but there is only room for one other mmo for me once gw2 comes out and The Secret World, much to my surprise, actually does story BETTER than swtor which is THE thing they dumped all of their eggs into trying to differentiate themselves in the mmo market.

    Right now it looks like gw2 and The Secret World for me with gw2 being where I get my pvp fix and tsw for pve and story.

  16. Dean says:

    hey Taug, Rift recently announced a new 3 faction pvp system..any thoughts on this, and any plans to return to rift?

    • taugrim says:

      Dean :

      hey Taug, Rift recently announced a new 3 faction pvp system..any thoughts on this, and any plans to return to rift?

      Did Trion remove the faceroll passive procs / debuffs from the game?

      No?

      Well then I’m not really interested.

      With SWTOR at least for most strong effects you actually have to use a specific ability. With RIFT you just faceroll on the keyboard, and procs will proc.

    • Simon says:

      Will there be anyone left to play it? Rift PvP is already on life support, what is going to happen when GW2 is released?

  17. Rob says:

    After leveling my Vanguard to 50 via pve, I wanted to experience some pvp, so leveled up a Jug through PvP and space missions. I’m so lucky I made it to 50 with him before 1.2, after it released there has been a steady decline in pvp matches.

    I am able to work from home, and can sit in the pvp queue all day, the other day I popped 3 matches in an 8 hours stretch (9-5 ET), 3 matches. As a level 50, 3 matches a day doesn’t even get your daily.

    I really do love SWTOR, but if no one is playing, it no longer has the appeal.

  18. Renita says:

    I am just a little confused here and maybe it’s a server difference but pre 1.2, if you were not one of the people to rush to 50 and get full battlemaster quickly, you were destroyed in pvp. The difference between champion and battlemaster was much greater than the difference between war hero and battlemaster. I also play with a lot of guildies who started out in full recruit gear and they did very well, they understand they are squishy and don’t expect to win a one on one fight, but since when is a person’s effectiveness based on their ability to win a one on one fight, it’s all about the objectives here.

    Battlemaster gear also comes much faster than champion, or even centurion gear pre 1.2 so getting into the level 50 bracket of pvp is much easier than it used to be. Now I am not saying it is perfect, but 1.2 was certainly a step in the right direction.

    Taugrim I love your guides. I think you are a great player, but I don’t think you should get discouraged by starting out in recruit gear. You will earn battlemaster gear quickly, and my experience, at least on my server the ebonhawk, was that once you hit battlemaster gear the difference between war hero and battlemaster was really not that big. I now feel like the people who are difficult to kill are players who are playing well, not people who completely out gear me, or play a class that is impossible to kill.

    • Greg says:

      You could have a full suit of centurion on day one and the difference between centurion and battlemaster is far less than between recruit and battlemaster or war hero.

      • Renita says:

        How many games did you have to play (especially when you were not winning) to get full centurion in a day? Was this before or after they increased the amount of coms you got from bags? see post below to dispute your difference between gear theory. Note this is coming from a person who had zero BM gear when 1.2 launched and now I have pvped my way to having a mix of BM and Warhero pieces.

        • Greg says:

          My main had to go through the champ gear progression. It wasn’t bad though because I was one of the few 50’s and there weren’t enough for warzones. My alt I did not run through the grind until they increased the comms.

          Anyway, not defending the old system but they didn’t fix anything.

          Problem before 1.2 : New 50 meant you got curb stomped.
          Probably after 1.2: New 50 means you get curb stomped.

          It’s just as silly now as it was then.

      • Stu Gre says:

        “the difference between centurion and battlemaster is far less than between recruit and battlemaster”

        What? Before 1.2 I had full champ. Took me forever to get with stupid RNG drop system. My rank wasn’t high enough to wear BM yet.

        After 1.2 the first thing I did was change out nearly all the champ for recruit. Sure it had worse stats on it but the MOST IMPORTANT stat being expertise meant I had no choice.

        BW basically nullified the purpose of Centurion/Champion gear overnight.

        • Greg says:

          Battlemaster got buffed in 1.2 with a lot of added expertise. Champ to Battlemaster was a 3% difference before 1.2 came out.

          • Renita says:

            where do you get the 3% number? you cannot just look at how much more expertise the gear has, because expertise works differently now than it used to.

  19. Greg says:

    I agree with everything you’ve written here. There’s no reason to have such a massive gear gap. 3% between tiers would be fine, like champion to BM used to be in 1.1. The gear gap makes me look at my teams gear instead of who is actually playing and based on HP in the ops frame I can tell you if we’re going to win or lose a game. That’s sad.

    • Greg says:

      If they wanted to fix warzones tomorrow (and potentially break Tionese and Columni gear progression) they’d just make Battlemaster gear free. Then you’d have BM to WH as the only gear gap, which is roughly 5% net difference. That, plus a server merge and they could then refocus on fixing these new class imbalances.

      My theory for the class discrepancies is that they came out with combat logs and therefore needed to balance every class for PVE. PVP is a totally different thing, where stuff like force speed and how many casts you have that can be interrupted make a big difference in a fight. Suddenly some classes are trouncing other classes because they’re re-tuned for boss fights while ignoring what warzones are like. And for whatever reason Bioware relies on nothing but metrics completely ignoring any play experience and play experience from people who play the game.

    • Renita says:

      I disagree when you say the gap between champ and BM gear was smaller than BM and war hero. Here is my argument:

      1. you cannot just look at the stats the same way because pre 1.2 expertise worked differently, you gained the same amount of bonus in damage increase, damage mitigation, and healing. Now those values differ so you no longer have to dps as hard to kill an opponent with higher expertise, especially healers who could heal themselves at an alarming rate.

      2. from personal experience, players (not classes mind you) who I could never kill pre 1.2 while I was in nearly full champ gear and they were in full BM, became killable (not roll over and die, but killable) post 1.2 while I was in full nearly full BM and they were in nearly full war hero.

      If your team is under geared you just have to play smarter. I will take a pve example. If you go into a HM flashpoint in all blues you are going to play that same flashpoint differently than you would when you go back in and play it in full tionese, and then in full columi. Pick your battles wisely, use smart cc, line of sight, work as a team and you can beat a team that out gears you. warzones are objective based games, focus on sneaking an objective, pass often in huttball, and defend with interrupting caps, pushbacks and slows, and don’t give them full resolve too quickly. It doesn’t matter how many times you die in a warzone if you keep coming back and never lose faith, there is never a point in which it is imposiible to win, no matter how unlikely it seams, (once we took 3 nodes in alderaan with a smart stealth and held them off long enough to win, even though without taking all three, defeat was inevitable)

      • Greg says:

        You should always “play smart” – I know I always try to. Having 30% bonus to damage and HP plus another 5% DR and damage boost over my competition is a joke – I cut through them like they’re not there. It’s not fun or competitive. When I play my full BM chars I *ROLL* over newbies and it’s obvious why – the gear gap is way too big.

        Anyway, I wasn’t trying to get into a pre-1.2 vs post-1.2 – it’s bad as it is and it should be fixed.

        • Renita says:

          no, its obvious that you are playing against people who either don’t even have recruit gear, or do not know what they are doing. AKA, they are not playing smarter, seeing as you are saying that they are the undergeared, not you. I have been in plenty of matches where a lot of people on my team were in recruit gear and we won. And I have been in some matches where my team was all in BM and Warhero and we lost. We had well a fought exciting match.

  20. Scott says:

    One of the many reasons I can’t wait for GW2. I can make a brand new char and in 1 minute I am on the same level of playing field as anyone else in their structured PVP.

    • taugrim says:

      Scott :

      One of the many reasons I can’t wait for GW2. I can make a brand new char and in 1 minute I am on the same level of playing field as anyone else in their structured PVP.

      Yep, it makes the Structured PVP wildly fun.

      All characters have access to the *exact* same PVP gear modifications / sockets. It’s genius.

  21. Yamirashi says:

    Was explaining to my Brother the difference once you get to 50 (got him started recently and he LOVES pvp but has not gotten to 50 yet.) The difference for just a Vanguard in Combat Tech in Recruit vs Fully Augmented WarHero is:

    536 Aim
    518 Endurance
    392 Expertise

    That’s with the top crafted Augment, though Torhead has better ones I don’t think they’re readily available if at all. This is also Augmenting all 14 slots, which I’m not sure is doable currently. If its not now, from what I’m hearing it will be in 1.3.

    This is a HUGE difference. And when you want to go saying full BM is not hard to get, remember the people who are sitting there with this kind of disadvantage. Its getting harder every day for a new 50 to compete as more and more people get full WH.

    • taugrim says:

      Yamirashi :

      Was explaining to my Brother the difference once you get to 50 (got him started recently and he LOVES pvp but has not gotten to 50 yet.) The difference for just a Vanguard in Combat Tech in Recruit vs Fully Augmented WarHero is:

      536 Aim
      518 Endurance
      392 Expertise

      That’s with the top crafted Augment, though Torhead has better ones I don’t think they’re readily available if at all. This is also Augmenting all 14 slots, which I’m not sure is doable currently. If its not now, from what I’m hearing it will be in 1.3.

      This is a HUGE difference. And when you want to go saying full BM is not hard to get, remember the people who are sitting there with this kind of disadvantage. Its getting harder every day for a new 50 to compete as more and more people get full WH.

      I haven’t run the numbers as you have, but there is a massive difference between Augmented WH and Recruit gear.

      Some folks claim that BM gear is close to WH, but I disagree, you have to consider the cumulative effect and that it looks like WH gear has a better mix of stats (e.g. Surge and Crit) than BM.

  22. friday says:

    shudda bought the war hero implants and earpiece and 3 bits BM and the chapion relics. You’d have been way better off then wasting all your comms for the weapon.

    • taugrim says:

      friday :

      shudda bought the war hero implants and earpiece and 3 bits BM and the chapion relics. You’d have been way better off then wasting all your comms for the weapon.

      I wouldn’t consider buying a weapon in any game for a DPS class to be a “waste”, given that it’s a primary driver in the damage you deliver.

      But I understand that there are arguments as to why buying other WH gear pieces would be a viable path.

      At least you are not one of the idiots on the SWTOR forums who advocate downtrading RWZ comms to WZ comms to buy BM gear.

      • friday says:

        As to the weapon my only comment is that the difference between BM >> WH is pretty minimal. Anyway, I agree that only a complete moron would downgrade the comms.

  23. Yamirashi says:

    Forgot to add this, its one thing to have this kind of gap in PVE, where you work your way through the tiers to get to the higher stuff. Its another in PVP where you have to fight the people who have the better gear in order to get it yourself.

    • taugrim says:

      Yamirashi :

      Forgot to add this, its one thing to have this kind of gap in PVE, where you work your way through the tiers to get to the higher stuff. Its another in PVP where you have to fight the people who have the better gear in order to get it yourself.

      Exactly.

  24. Jae' says:

    I just find it amusing that post 1.2, sub 50 warzones are more fun and balanced than 50 warzones. I’ve rerolled due to server pop and non-existant queues at level 50 4 times now. I’m gonna go play Diablo until either cross-server queuing and server transfers become available or Guild Wars 2 launches, whichever comes first.

  25. Stu Gre says:

    Your blog is right on the money. Shades of Warhammer already where the lower level PVP is MUCH more fun than end game. While the bolster in warzones isn’t perfect, and level 43 or up chars are much more powerful, the chances are that there may be a couple each side and most of the time you feel as if you CAN make a difference.

    The problem with expertise is it adds far too much. Contrast it to most games gear progression where you are improving your primary stat by a few points per item of gear (usually adding up to less than 1%) and potentially gaining some set bonus. In SWTOR your expertise stat across all gear can be 20% more damage, and you still have stat increases AND the set bonus additions on top of that too.

    I love a gear grind, I really do. But I can’t exactly see the point of expertise – other than most people say it stops PVE players dominating in PVP with their gear sets. But if it must exist for that reason then why not just make expertise differences between gear sets much, much lower? There still should be an advantage, just not the ability to faceroll anyone with 400 expertise lower than you.

    With regard to class balance, shades of Warhammer again. Far too many changes far too soon. The devs are clearly overly influenced by forum QQ despite their insistence that metrics is what is driving the changes. That may be the case, but if so then the metrics results haven’t changed and only the way the Dev team is interpreting them has – purely based on the forums I suspect.

    I play both classes that have been heavily nerfed, a sorc and an op. The operative I rolled after it was nerfed twice before anyone accuses me of rolling FOTM classes and I always play a ranged DPS in MMOs so sorc was a no brainer. Operative is still a decent class played well as either DPS/heals I think – but my 43 OP heals better than my 50 sorc in PVP.

    For PVP damage my sorc is a glass water pistol often taking crits of up to 7k from mara and other classes, while not having the benefit of other classes defensive cooldowns. The only answer is to kite (hard versus Mara and a couple of other classes) but in reality where can you kite? I can’t run 10m in any warzone without running in to 1 or more players who see a sorc easy kill.

    PVE damage on a sorc is a different matter, I can pump out consistently high damage over extended boss fights no problem, I’m a demon there. But PVP? Forget it. The skill trees should reflect that – 1st tree healing, 2nd tree sustained high damage, 3rd tree burst damage and mobility for PVP.

  26. Pooch says:

    Whether or not I agree with you (and I 100% do), I unsubbed about a week and a half ago. It still surprises me because at the 1.15 patch level I thought pvp was absolutely outstanding. Sure it was frustrating dealing with teams with 4 good healers. But as a ranged (assault commando) glass cannon, I used posts, stairs, line of sight, hiding spots, etc to my advantage. And when left alone, I could deal massive amounts of damage.

    Then came 1.2 and my guild and my server (Republic side) was popping. Queues were blazing fast. Excitement was high. My 4 man pre-made was raring to go.

    And I wish I had the vent conversation recorded because it soon turned into a “what the hell is happening” as we all got nuked in seconds (and when I mean all I mean both sides). The vent conversation turned to utter concern as most of us spent half the match rezzing and running back into the fray.

    When the game ended, the general chat on fleet was experiencing the same thing. And as time wore on, it was very clear that melee on the whole dominated ranged classes.

    Being a merc (not a tracer missile merc), I didn’t have as many problems with juggs, assassins or sents that most did. But the pyro powertechs…what the hell. I would be nuked in seconds. In the stats after the game, PT’s were doubling everyone else’s dps.

    I’m a very good pvp’er and have been doing it for years. People can say L2P all they want and they can say the game is not balanced 1v1 all they want…that still doesn’t change the fact that an equally geared and skilled PT would beat a merc 100 times out of 100 in a duel and never get below 75% health.

    Then we all realized that we not only had to grind a ton of WZ’s for a piece of gear but that we then had to spend and ungodly amount of credits on an augmented piece and then rip out the modifications at 45kish each then buy an augment for 150kish. I’m just wondering where the logic is in this system.

    So after a month or so of 1.2, you got used to dying a lot. You had the occasional great game. But usually a premade (which I ran in) would just massacre the opponent.

    And each day, you saw less and less people on the fleet. Queues were taking longer and longer. And it got to the point that the only people you saw in a given game were the ones you’d see in every game for the night.

    So people can say that Taugrim is right or wrong. Regardless, the servers are dying. If you play the game on a server other than Fatman or Jedi Covenant or a few others, you have seen this firsthand.

    And the reason why my premade buddies and I unsubbed? Because we feel that the PVP team’s lack of response and information is unprofessional and borders on arrogant. The few responses that you do see from this inept group makes it seem as if they feel that everything is fine and working as intended.

    Well if this was the case, you wouldn’t see servers like Taugrim’s and mine die in a few short weeks.

  27. Erik says:

    Yamirashi :

    Forgot to add this, its one thing to have this kind of gap in PVE, where you work your way through the tiers to get to the higher stuff. Its another in PVP where you have to fight the people who have the better gear in order to get it yourself.

    It’s just as damaging in PvE long term. It forces new players to repeatedly run different content before they can join the vets. Vets have to rerun content they have had on farm for ages to get new players geared. It sucks and leads to a slow bleed of players from the game.

    As for those that see the dev’s as arrogant, I’d argue they simply are uninformed, and there company has become structured in such a way that there is a significant disconnect between those that play the game, and those that make it. I’ve seen it repeatedly with MMO’s.

    The real solution is to always make small changes to classes frequently rather than sweeping changes occasionally, and if you are going to use vertical progression the curve needs to be very shallow.

    • taugrim says:

      Erik :

      As for those that see the dev’s as arrogant, I’d argue they simply are uninformed, and there company has become structured in such a way that there is a significant disconnect between those that play the game, and those that make it. I’ve seen it repeatedly with MMO’s.

      Actually, the BioWare team has invested a massive amount of energy in reading the forums – literally every thread.

      But there is a gap between knowing that there is an issue and being able to fix it.

  28. Tina Fisher says:

    I’ll be letting BW know how I feel with my credit card number, and their lack of being able to bill it. I can barely drag myself to the game and play it, its a grind, and as a sage, I feel like I’m just feeding melee their commendations. There is no one on in the early morning est. anymore, most of the great players have moved on or gotten bored. I’m not a gaming expert, but I think Bioware got its money from the game and its 1-3-6 months subscribers, but most people will cancel before they get billed in August. But it will be TOO LATE! Q’anora *Ajunta Pall.

  29. Brewed says:

    I don’t get these “minds” behind these games who think that pvpers want a gear grind! That’s what pve players like, we prefer good fun competition and personal performance increases with our characters. Bigger stats don’t do anything for pvp but make it unbalanced and uncompetitive. It’s obvious these companies think the Warcraft way is the gold standard, which isn’t the case. Online pvp games are by far more popular today then in 06 and if you look at the most popular they have a common trend, there is no gear advantage ie better stats given to anyone, rather a even paying field where skill and knowledge is king. That’s what pvpers want. We don’t wanna grind a new teir just to then compete,we wanna log on when we want to and kick some ass…Real Simple. This is where sub games get it wrong, thinking they have to give the pvper a carrot in the form of stats. Only stats we want are our own K/D ratio, the ones that matter.

  30. Lymain says:

    Their first mistake was making the Recruit gear Centurion-level (with more expertise). Centurion gear sucked. Recruit gear should have been more like Champion gear – just a hair under Battlemaster. (If they were worried about screwing up PvE progression, they always could have just brought BM gear down a few item levels.)

    Their second mistake was prohibiting players without War Hero gear from gaining the benefits of set bonuses and augments at the same time. The gap of three item levels between BM and WH gear is appropriate, but that added bonus to WH gear throws things out of whack.

    Lastly, it obviously takes much too long to get War Hero gear without ranked war zones. I wonder if they didn’t intentionally try to hold this carrot as far in front of people as possible to keep us playing.

  31. Yamirashi says:

    Erik :

    Yamirashi :
    Forgot to add this, its one thing to have this kind of gap in PVE, where you work your way through the tiers to get to the higher stuff. Its another in PVP where you have to fight the people who have the better gear in order to get it yourself.

    It’s just as damaging in PvE long term. It forces new players to repeatedly run different content before they can join the vets. Vets have to rerun content they have had on farm for ages to get new players geared. It sucks and leads to a slow bleed of players from the game.
    As for those that see the dev’s as arrogant, I’d argue they simply are uninformed, and there company has become structured in such a way that there is a significant disconnect between those that play the game, and those that make it. I’ve seen it repeatedly with MMO’s.
    The real solution is to always make small changes to classes frequently rather than sweeping changes occasionally, and if you are going to use vertical progression the curve needs to be very shallow.

    Good point.. I don’t really PVE so I was just HOPEFUL this stuff made sense somewhere… >.<

  32. You should check out this thread on the SWTOR PvP forums for a good laugh or perhaps a good groan depending on what kind of mood you are in.

    http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=461177

    • I think I see the problems here. I’m either talking to ignorant people or to people who actually believe that advantages via gear progression should be a part of competitive PvP.

      /slaps forehead

    • Trey says:

      Started to read the responses there and had to stop and remember why I actually hate forums run by the game company itself. When you have no active subscription, you cannot post and so the official forums will, by definition, be filled with only those that can stomach what the devs are serving up. Its an echo chamber of a very narrow perspective.

      And I think this is part of the reason there seems to be a disconnect here between the playerbase’s experience and the dev’s perspectives- because the negative experiences of the game have been actively policed and minimized. It’s not just that you have no voice when your sub runs out, its that when something does bother you and you take the time to post (with an active sub), the moderators actively minimize its effect by channeling your comments into single threads of 100+ pages where they can be collectively ignored (and where no valuable back and forth can really occur). Bioware cares too much about appearances. Server consolidation could do wonders for the game right now but is it even being considered because this is a sign of a dying game?

      Bioware has done an excellent job of not hearing what they do not want to hear.

    • Trey says:

      OK. I’ve read most of the responses now and I want to vomit. Most people want to dismiss the entire post because Taugrim bought a WH item first.

      WHICH MAY IN FACT BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!!! given how easy it will be to fill out BM gear with normal WZ commendations.

      Insert deck-chairs / Titanic analogy. but the right thing to do is to get on a life boat.

      • taugrim says:

        Trey :

        OK. I’ve read most of the responses now and I want to vomit. Most people want to dismiss the entire post because Taugrim bought a WH item first.

        WHICH MAY IN FACT BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!!! given how easy it will be to fill out BM gear with normal WZ commendations.

        Insert deck-chairs / Titanic analogy. but the right thing to do is to get on a life boat.

        Multiple people were saying I should have used the RWZ comms to buy BM gear, which requires WZ comms.

        That’s a pitifully stupid argument, given that RWZ comms are 3x as valuable as WZ comms.

        There is no mathematical model which would prove that trading 3.5k RWZ comms for 3.5k WZ comms makes sense in any galaxy, even one far far away, given that they’re worth 10.5k WZ comms.

        I had my 4-pc BM set within a few days of dinging 50.

        • Edon|Jedon says:

          I guess it makes sense to re-buy BM comms if your goal is only the Battlemaster set. Or if you just have a ton of time on your hands to grind out to war hero, and you don’t want to have to deal with a couple more recruit gear pieces in your first 25-30 50’s WZs. But really, who backtracks like that…one step forward and three steps back.

    • taugrim says:

      a.k.a. Oozo (@Raggok) :

      You should check out this thread on the SWTOR PvP forums for a good laugh or perhaps a good groan depending on what kind of mood you are in.

      http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=461177

      Threads like this are the reason I don’t post articles like this on the forums.

      It’s a ticket to a flamewar.

  33. ACMessiah says:

    As my first MMO, I was confused at how gear-centric pvp was. In an fps you would go mental if your competitive play was so unbalanced. I play Battlefield, Counter Strike, Call of duty etc because the gameplay is fun and balanced NOT because I am going to be able to faceroll new players with a gear advantage. I feel this is something mmo’s don’t really understand. Competitive pvp play should be about skill, not time invested. I don’t understand the attitude that ‘I’m only playing to get better gear and be better’. If I had it my way everyone would have the same stats in PVP. It is proven in other genres that if your gametypes’ and gameplay are fun, people will play it. There are alternatives to stat upgrades that you can use for carrots, such as levels, appearance, perks etc. MMOs should look to other genres that have successful pvp – aka MULTIPLAYER. ‘Gearing up’ for pve is a fine concept, as you scale with the created content. But putting War Hero players and Recruit players together is fun for neither group. It also enhances any small unbalances between classes and compounds them. I can four shot a fresh 50 on my Pyro, then they call me unbalanced!

  34. Trey says:

    Random points:

    I think many responses here are missing the point.

    The problem is that 1.2 failed to truly address the power imbalances of the Cent/Champ/BM progression pre-1.2. It just established a new grind and reset the starting line. Who cares which gear progression was worse pre or post 1.2? Both are bad.

    Like Rift, a player’s experience as a “new” endgame character in SWTOR is and was terrible. And even worse, my experience as an “experienced” endgame player isn’t much better, as I am left waiting in long queue times to PUG warzones. Is this all there is? Yes.

    In a weird way, Taugrim is actually late to the party, since his server enjoyed better health than most.

    I can quibble with Taugrim’s assessment of class balance here and there but that too would be missing the point.

    Ironically for me, I play(ed) an OP darkness assassin, but it was only because it was so much more viable in PvP than the deception assassin I intended to play. And yes, I certainly made my opinion known in the official forums that darkness enjoyed a significant power advantage over other specs. The devs had plenty of feedback on this point and have failed to act…I suspect for PvE reasons- which, lets be honest, is where the Devs thought the real game belonged- because that’s been the main subscription engine of WoW for years and years.

    Like movies, the lifecycle of an MMO, grows shorter as the industry progresses. WoW’s model isn’t even working for WoW so much any more and it has about a decade of stickiness going for it. The life-cycle of a sub-standard clone is destined to be brief. In retrospect, Rift, despite its mistakes, has proven to be slightly more agile at evolving their game- that said, you almost never get a second bite at the apple with a subscriber. (Wheras I left and returned to GW1 many times over the years do to its revenue model).

  35. Hanshotfirst says:

    The most discouraging thing? Joining a WZ with my guildmate and getting harassed by our so-called ‘team’ simply because we both had recruit gear.

    No exaggeration; they were openly trying to get us to leave.

    Despite that, we stuck it out, won the match, and were in the top 5 (overall) in dmg/objectives/medals obtained. Of course, no apologies or acknowledgment of our contribution were given.

    And this is on a server with PvP queue times that often exceed 20 minutes. Honestly, if this becomes the norm, I’m going to have a very hard time justifying SWTOR’s $15 a month sub once GW2 goes live.

  36. Edon|Jedon says:

    Based on ~20 level 50’s warzones on my own alt gunslinger, I believe the highest priority lies with gear scaling. This was my first experience with recruit gear, and the change from 10-49 warzones to 50’s warzones has been jarring. I was nearly as prepared as Taugrim, save for the Biochem crew skill – which, by the way, is very irritating to players who don’t want Biochem (In my opinion, either the Biochem/regular medpacs should be disabled in PvP, or they should make PvP medpacs available for purchase with credits. Rude.). But anyway, the drastic gear stat differential really hinders the sport of PvP. I went from being a consistently MVP-voted player with highs in damage, players killed, killing blows, etc. (I know it’s not all about damage, these are just examples) to being hardly useful. As Taugrim said in one match, I couldn’t babysit a node in Alderaan by myself because I was in recruit gear – which says something, since gunslingers have plenty of utility for delaying opponents for enough time. As the recruit-geared player, I’m frustrated because I went from being successful to an easy target, and my ops groups are frustrated because they are put at a significant disadvantage – especially against premade groups.

    Still, I think we’ll be seeing “Ilum” in the patch notes before gear stat changes. I am under the impression that players will keep coming back for two reasons: accomplishing goals and purely having fun. Grinding is the simplest form of accomplishing a goal in games because of the time invested to gain something noticeable and tangible (Personally, I just want to have gear that looks different from everyone else with similar stats). There simply isn’t enough PvP content to keep PvPers coming back (because this is still a NEW game), so I see obtaining gear as an artificial inflation of content. My hope is that once they reconstitute Ilum world player versus player content – hopefully adding more spontaneous and meaningful gameplay – we’ll begin to see a diminished role of gear grinding. I know it’s not as simple as that, but I think it’s a good start. But this is really the first MMO I’ve played, so what do I know. Cheers!

  37. Hanshotfirst says:

    Lightning :

    Also why don’t you mention that Commando/Merc DPS is close to useless now, that Scoundrel/Op DPS is completely useless, while the Vanguard/PT DPS is insane and is one of the FOTM reroll classes.

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I’m curious…

    Why is Vanguard/PT considered superior to Commando/Merc for dps?

    I’m assuming we’re talking about builds specced heavily into Assault/Pyrotech?

    Is it a survivability issue, or is it due to traits that benefit Rail Shot/High Impact Bolt above and beyond the shared trees (like Focused Impact & Rail Loaders)?

    • Lorezhno says:

      From my understanding the main difference is that the abilities the commando needs to use the reset the cooldown on High Impact Bolt and make the next one free are cast-time abilities (which are of course prone to interrupts, knock-backs and stuns) whereas the the abilities the Vanguard uses are all instant. On top of that the Commando’s abilities are weapon damage whereas the Vanguards are elemental/kinetic. Vanguards also get an extra 60% (!) armour penetration on High Impact Bolt. At level 50 Vanguards get Battle Focus (25% extra crit chance for 15 seconds) whereas Commando’s get Emergency Medical Probe (in combat revive). Vanguards also get 2 taunts, an AoE Mezz and a pull where Commando’s get a knock-back and a cast-time stun, but it’s been a while since I played my Vanguard so maybe I missed something.

      • Greg says:

        You’re mostly right but bear in mind that you can proc HiB on each tick of the channeled abilities (they don’t need to finish – so the interrupt and pushback is not as much of an issue). Commandos scale much better with gear (as weapon damage always does, for gunslingers and sentinels as well) and have much less range dependence in the shared tree than vanguards do. Commandos will outperform vanguards when left alone and in equivalent gear, especially over 10m away.

        Anyway, they’re not as bad as people make them out to be.

    • Hanshotfirst says:

      Thanks for the responses, Lorezhno & Greg! :)

  38. Vishmaw says:

    100% Agree with you here Taugrim, being a recruit geared fresh 50 is a completely miserable experience, you are completely useless if the opposing team has any geared people on it.

    The difference between the two is staggering, I have a fresh 50 operative that is in 2 BM pieces and its rough. I tired to hidden strike a war hero geared guardian the other day and I only hit him for 300….with my hidden strike. Tooltip damage is 1800+ so my damage was reduced by 84%…that is simply ridiculous.

    The class balance really is terrible at the moment and has to be looked out before ranked warzone come out. Right now I would say that every winning team would be made up of 2 Assassin tanks, 2 Operative healers and then 4 DPs which would be a mix of maruaders and snipers. The other classes just aren’t as good in their respective roles.

    Marauders and Assassins got far stronger in 1.2 because of the shortened time to kill. Both those classes have the ability to become immune to damage for 5 seconds which is an eternity in 1.2 since fights can be over in less than 10 seconds. I see a lot of people saying that those classes are fine and not understanding why people think they are OP when they didn’t receive any changes in 1.2 What they fail to realize is that the GAME changed and they fared better than the others.

    Healing class balance is the worst of all as the Operatives are far better healers than there two competitors. Sorcerer healers really got the shaft in 1.2, they are barely even functional now especially not when compared to the other two. While they are perfectly capable of putting up the same numbers as the other two, they are not nearly as capable of sustaining healing as Operative or Mercenary.

    You would think that the forums would be ablaze with people complaining about the state of the game’s PVP and yet its mostly people either saying how great the PVP is now because they can totally murder healers without having to play intelligently or its people whining about some class being op because it killed them once.

    I originally thought that I must have been the only one that liked PVP better before 1.2, given that it was getting such positive feedback on the forums but now given the level of subscriptions SWTOR is losing, I fear it is more likely that the people who disliked the changes just left. That is not good for the health of the game. I decided I was going to stay until my free legacy month was up and then leave if things hadn’t gotten better. I wonder how many people are doing the same as me?

    Thus far Bioware’s responses have not been encouraging, they don’t seem to believe there is a problem. I think the reason for this is that they are only using metrics to gauge things, they arent actually looking at it from a practical standpoint. They probably see that Sages are doing 400k healing in warzone but don’t look to see if that healing actually made in difference in the conflict or how the Sage fared in resource usage. You simply can’t balance PVP by only using metrics.

    TLDR

    PVP was better pre 1.2, Gear imbalance is terrible, Class Balance is bad with several classes having serious advantages, Community doesn’t seem to care, Trying to balance PVP using only metrics is going to fail.

    • Renita says:

      did you pvp in centurian/champ gear vs full BM especially a full BM sage/sorc healer pre 1.2? Or worse, walk into a wz with as a fresh 50 without and expertise? If you did, think back to when you had to grind coms at an extremely slow rate if you could not win, and then you had to pray RNG would favor you, I literally got one piece of champ gear ever from those bags, I only ever got coms.

      If you were one of the people who got to 50 first or played 24/7 until you got rank 60 BM, or RNG favored you, you outgeared people for months who were playing the game at a slower pace.

      I know plenty of sages and sorc who still heal their asses off, and manage to live just fine in pvp. that’s not to say you can’t kill them, but you should be able to kill them. I even have a buddy who can heal 300k to 400k in a match and he is not even in full BM yet. (and this is in premade vs premade warzones). I know plenty of healers in general who give me a run for my money and take several minutes if not multiple people to kill.

      Now I am not saying that bioware has it perfect and they shouldn’t change anything ever again, but pvp is far more balanced, and the gear difference is so much smaller than it used to be. So its much easier for new players to start pvping than before.

      • Vishmaw says:

        I did actually PVP at 50 before 1.2 and It was still rough for an undergeared person ,there is no doubt about that. The difference for me at least is that I never encountered situations were people would die in several seconds unless there was 4 to 5 people attacking them. In 1.2 you can easily die before you can even get out of a couple stuns.

        I now play an operative healer that as I said before is mostly recruit geared, if I stop moving for even a moment I am stunned to death in seconds. More of a problem for me is that it is near impossible to heal if your team is undergeared, I have had countless times that people have been dead before I can even get a kolto injection off on them. I will start casting it when I see someone drop to 85% health and they will be dead before the 2.2 seconds are up, its kind of crazy.

        I never encountered situations like that before 1.2, I will admit It could just be my experience but even watching Taugrims streams and such I don’t recall seeing situations like that happen either.

        And yes Sages can put up big numbers the same as the others can but that isn’t a good measure of effectiveness. As I said before Metrics are a poor way to balance PVP and they are brought up constantly by Bioware and others to say a class is fine.

        Any class can go into a warzone and get a big score at the end in whatever their respective role is. This does not mean the game is balanced. Compare a DPS mercenary to a Marauder for example, I am sure both are perfectly capable of topping the DPS chart in an ideal scenario, but which one of those classes is able to operate better in a less than ideal scenario? If you focus a mercenary, they have very little they can do about it with only 2 forms of cc and 2 defensive cooldowns(one of which is terrible). Focus a Marauder and they have more defensive cooldowns than they know what to do with. The Maruader is far more effective in the DPS role than a Mercenary is.

        The major problems with Sage healers are two fold, The first being that they are completely stationary healers. They have only one heal that can be used while moving and it is completely terrible. The second is that their sustainability is very bad now in PVP. This is ironic since it used to be far too good before 1.2

        Now they are the least capable class of sustaining healing in a high pressure situation. They will run out of force in short order and unlike the other two classes they have no “Free heal” that they can use while their force recovers. They are also forced to use Noble Sacrifice to recover force which is a terrible thing to have to use in PVP, if your being focused the last thing you want to do is to drain your own HP.

        The reality is that your Sage healer friend is always going to be outclassed by operative healers that are of similar gear and skill level.

        Again the Metrics in a ideal scenario ARE balanced but that does not mean PVP balance. There is a lot more that goes in to it than simple numbers. With the Devs stating that all classes are designed to perform within 5% of each other in terms of numbers they can put out, Utility and Survivability become what determines effectiveness. Several classes simply have a significant amount more of that than the others do. That is what is causing the imbalance.

  39. aetherfox says:

    Wow, so much negativity here. Not sure if you’re reading this Taugrim, but if you are… I’m a R70 Sorc and R70 Sniper who pretty much only logs in to do PVP.

    1. I think Balance is fine. Patch 1.2 (and beyond) was a big step forward in terms of balance. I suppose it depends on who you ask – but from the view of this Sorc/Sniper, the changes were a long time coming. The hybrid Sorc build got nerfed (as it should) and Snipers got a boatload of buffs (as they should). The change from random BM tokens to a pure commendation grind was also much welcomed. I’m not here to start a debate about class balance, but I play in one of the better premades on the server (we’ve gone over a week without losing a single match) and I don’t feel that being a Sorc or a Sniper is holding me back at all: I don’t think any class in particular is underperforming or overperforming. Hint: you do not try to heal as 31pt healing spec as a Sorc/Sage, that’s a PVE build with zero defensive abilities.

    2. I think Gear is fine – this is an MMO, not a competitive PVP game. Some level of gear progressions is required to cater to the MMO audience – without gear progression, a significant population would stop playing. The question is, is the gear-gap too much?

    The difference between BM and WH is small – for most purposes, a player in BM can beat someone in WH – it comes down to team tactics and cooldowns and skill. The “gap” that people focus on is from Recruit -> BM. Yes the gap is large, especially when you consider that you can augment BM gear. But is the progression fast enough?

    You can obtain a new BM piece every few days with steady playing. Thinking back to my days of playing WoW in raiding or Arena, we were lucky to get one upgrade every 2 weeks. I feel like yes, there’s a gear gap: but all MMOs have gear gaps: and the gear gap in SWTOR is closed out a lot quicker than other games. It doesn’t take long before friends I know go from fresh 50 to full BM. Yes Gunslinger / Sniper BM gear little surge, but it’s trivially easy to fix: you have two slots (BM implants) which have +Surge on them, and then you add a few augment slots worth of +Surge augments and you’re good – that’s what Augments are for. If you want even more, when you get around to buying your first WH get the boots / headgear first as they both have +Surge.

    • Renita says:

      I love this post, you said it perfectly

    • B says:

      Look at this from the perspective of your average casual player who’s had a 50 for a little bit and now wants to get into pvp. According to the Devs, Recruit is a PERFECT place to start off.

      It’s not. In recruit gear, you’re surrendering a 30 – 50 % statistical handicap to your opposition depending upon if we’re talking a BM or WH player (this is without augs). Sure, some players are going to push through it, and get their BM gear, but a more likely scenario is the player might try 2 or 3 matches and say “well, this is clearly broken, I have no chance of accomplishing anything” and just go back to doing whatever. You can amplify the disappointment experienced by how long the player had to wait for a queue to pop. That becomes one less player in the games, one more player telling other friends/guildies that there is a large barrier to entry to pvp, and its not worth the time to even start.

      That word of mouth thing will be more problematic THAN any issue outside of rapidly dwindling server populations.

  40. Pupett says:

    Hi got a short question. As I´m also leveling a sniper i currently lvl 41 with 800ranked 2000wz is it better to invest everything in mainhand weapon or to buy BM mainhand + some amor first.

    Thanks for constructive advices ;D

    • Renita says:

      get full BM before you worry much about warhero, you can upgrade something to warhero since you have the points, but don’t blow it all on one piece, try to get as many slots filled with BM or war hero as you can. I am not sure how it is on the imp side, but as for a gunslinger, it seemed like the cheaper pieces were actually bigger upgrades when it came to warhero vs, BM gear, the cheaper pieces tended to have a bigger jump in expertise and cunning, the 2 most important stats for us in pvp, now, I know the dps increase from the weapon is good, but the survivability and damage increase combo received from expertise is better. one thing that gunslingers have the unique opportunity to take advantage of is that since there was no “field tech” belt or bracers (I don’t know the name for your set pieces on emp side) pre warhero, you do not have to buy a BM piece first, so I would actually recommend you using your warhero coms to buy those when you ding 50. dont waste coms on buying a belt or bracers with battlemaster when you can skip that step and go strait to warhero. (unless of they change this before you hit 50)

      • taugrim says:

        Renita :

        get full BM before you worry much about warhero, you can upgrade something to warhero since you have the points, but don’t blow it all on one piece, try to get as many slots filled with BM or war hero as you can.

        It’s easy to earn WZ comms, but it takes 3x as long to convert them to RWZ comms.

        Converting RWZ comms to WZ comms at a 1:1 ratio, when they’re worth 3x as much, is simply bad financial advice.

        • Renita says:

          if you read what I wrote you would know that is not what I said. I said use your wz coms for BM and “upgrade something to warhero” with the ranked that you have, but don’t blow all your coms on one piece of gear; and for the sniper/gunslinger I specifically said use your ranked warzone coms to buy the bracers and belt which, as a sniper (or least as a gunslinger), do not require you to buy a BM piece first, (I just confirmed that you can still do this by checking the vender for a gunslinger). The reason you are able to do this as a gunslinger (I assume you probably can as a sniper, but maybe I am wrong) is that there is no BM field tech bracers or belt (only medic and enforcer), so for the field tech bracers/belt you can buy them without ever having bought a piece of BM. You just need the coms. This saves you wz coms because you are not buying a BM piece with coms and then spending more coms to convert that piece to war hero. And therefore its the most effective way of getting the most amount of expertise you can possibly get. I actually agree that you should never turn a ranked wz com into a wz com, and am disappointed that you would completely misread my post.

          As said in an earlier post by me, I respect your knowledge and have gotten a lot of tips from your guides, even though I play sab spec, not ss. I am surprised you could even make that comment based on the quote you took from me, considering that no where in that quote did I say convert your ranked wz coms back to wz coms, and in fact I did say “try to get as many slots filled with BM or WAR HERO as you can.” I emphasize I did say get warhero gear.

          • taugrim says:

            Renita :

            if you read what I wrote you would know that is not what I said. I said use your wz coms for BM and “upgrade something to warhero” with the ranked that you have, but don’t blow all your coms on one piece of gear

            OK, after re-reading your post, what you are saying makes sense. It’s just that you started with the following:

            Renita :

            get full BM before you worry much about warhero, you can upgrade something to warhero since you have the points

            Renita :

            and for the sniper/gunslinger I specifically said use your ranked warzone coms to buy the bracers and belt which, as a sniper (or least as a gunslinger), do not require you to buy a BM piece first, (I just confirmed that you can still do this by checking the vender for a gunslinger)

            Yes, I noticed this too in going through the vendor prices, which is why I purchased my WH Belt last week. When I checked the vendor prices across classes for Republic, Smuggler is the only class where you don’t have to buy a BM slot armor piece to tradeup for the WH piece.

            It’s probably an unintended bug.

            Renita :

            I am surprised you could even make that comment based on the quote you took from me, considering that no where in that quote did I say convert your ranked wz coms back to wz coms, and in fact I did say “try to get as many slots filled with BM or WAR HERO as you can.” I emphasize I did say get warhero gear.

            This is my bad. I’ve seen comments from multiple people who advocated the approach of trading down, and your opening statement in your previous post gave me the impression you were one of them.

            • Renita says:

              I appreciate you rereading my post, just to clarify, what I mean by “get full BM before you worry much about warhero, you can upgrade something to warhero since you have the points”
              was that you should only spend the ranked wz coms you have when you ding 50 and any you earn from questing. You should not convert any more wz coms to ranked until after you have full BM. The reason for this is that, while I do believe you can be effective in a wz in full recruit gear, being in recruit gear means you generally have to play it much safer than when you are in BM gear, and you will most likely enjoy the game more once you are in full BM. That’s not to say you won’t come up against a team that just rolls through you and wins, but that can happen even with full war hero.

    • Andy says:

      One thing I wouldn’t do is convert the ranked comms back to wz comms. If you max out at 2000 wz, 3500 ranked and then convert the 3500 ranked back to wz to buy BM gear, you’ve just wasted 7000 wz comms (it took you 3*3500 wz to get them, and you’re only using 3500 wz), which takes at least 50 warzones to get, not counting dailies!

      Some strategies with 2000 wz, 3500 ranked:

      1) Buy mainhand WH.

      2) Buy BM boots & gloves (850 wz each), upgrade one of them to WH (2000 ranked), and buy one implant/earpiece/relic (200 wz, 1450 ranked). Remember to rip out the mod & enhancement from the boots/gloves you upgraded. I think this is the best you can initially do without wasting comms by converting ranked back to wz, but you may feel bad later that you have the implant/ear/relic instead of saving some for another armor/weapon WH piece.

      3) Buy BM boots & gloves, upgrade one to WH, and save the rest so you can upgrade the other to WH after 4 dailies + 1 weekly (plus 5 extra ranked comms coming from 15 wz comms converted) while you buy BM gear with any wz comms you get. Personally I think this is the best idea, but getting the mainhand is arguable as well.

      Note that 2 and 3 give you the set bonus immediately.

      To Taugrim: Thanks for your thoughts. Any chance we can see some footage? I know it’s probably not the best marketing strategy to show us you performing poorly due to gear, but I think people will understand. I play a sage healer, and hit 50 shortly after 1.2 (started late). I’m enjoying it immensely, but I don’t have pre-1.2 to compare it to. I went with strategy 2 above (regretting the early implant purchase now a bit that I’m full BM and working on WH) and felt I could perform passably by understanding my limits. Probably early going is better for healers than for dps, because any healing helps, but low dps just can’t burst them down.

  41. Erik says:

    Pupett :

    Hi got a short question. As I´m also leveling a sniper i currently lvl 41 with 800ranked 2000wz is it better to invest everything in mainhand weapon or to buy BM mainhand + some amor first.
    Thanks for constructive advices ;D

    It depends. Getting multiple BM pieces will make you immediately more powerful than purchasing the WH mainhand will, but with BM gear relatively quick to get, and the WH mainhand being a long grind, personally I would get the warhero weapon first.

    • taugrim says:

      Erik :

      Pupett :

      Hi got a short question. As I´m also leveling a sniper i currently lvl 41 with 800ranked 2000wz is it better to invest everything in mainhand weapon or to buy BM mainhand + some amor first.
      Thanks for constructive advices ;D

      It depends. Getting multiple BM pieces will make you immediately more powerful than purchasing the WH mainhand will, but with BM gear relatively quick to get, and the WH mainhand being a long grind, personally I would get the warhero weapon first.

      Exactly.

  42. Andy says:

    Andy :Remember to rip out the mod & enhancement from the boots/gloves you upgraded.

    I didn’t mention what to do with them. Get one level 22 armoring (or better if you can afford it on the gtn) from the gtn or completing whatever level 50 daily it is that gives them out. Then replace your recruit head, chest, or legs with an orange piece with that armoring plus the BM mod and enhancement. You’ll have 50 expertise on the piece instead of 69 from the recruit piece, but you’ll have vastly more of both primary and secondary stats which more than make up for the loss of 19 expertise. This really helps.

    You can do this again when you upgrade your next piece to WH (while buying BM mainhand and offhand with the wz comms you get). This is really what makes strategy (3) in my post above a big winner, I think.

  43. Irishbrewed says:

    Sub games just suck! As in they throw stupid grinds at players just to give you a carrot to chase to keep you subbed. So instead of getting fun competitive pvp based around solid gameplay and good old fun, you get these hamster wheels of endless gear grinding that is counter intuitive to anything competitive. Why these dumbasses think the Warcraft end game is needed is stupid and another reason a subscription model is less then ideal, it ultimately leads to silly game design that feels more like a shady under handing ploy then an actual fan service. These sub models are dated and just reward the pasty basement dwellers and kill any form of true competition in pvp. This argument of I need power progression is stupid. Where as a pvper enjoys “besting” others thru skill not better stats. That’s often times the mindset of sub par players who fear even playing feilds, they are not needed in these games. Pvp is fun when all things are equal unfortunately these subscription games who mimic blizzard fail to deliver a equal pvp playing feild in order to meet bottom line demands. Just like any sport, the rules are the same and the equipment is all the same. That’s the model devs should go for. Reward comes in personal satisfaction of getting better with your chosen class/abilities and enhancing the real stats that matter such as wins/losses, kill/death etc etc…. Why these devs seem to miss these simple truths is rediculous. You can add cosmetic upgrades based on personal player performance that distinguishes good consistent players as well. But simply giving better stats is merely a ploy to force people to grind in order to compete on an even field which for the most part leads to frustration and nothing more. Once again this is design choices based around Warcrafts sub model. But you can’t mimick Warcraft, even though it’s model is very much outdated it still is very old and ppl still play based on long time investments from days of old. New games can’t expect to copy paste and succeed, you have to offer NEW things to the genre. The marketplace is changing and unfortunately for swtor theyve seemed to embrace the model/design that is getting quickly left in the dust. I say good riidiance to games that lack innovation and who shy from risk. I hope it fails and they decide to rethink the game in its entirety.

    • taugrim says:

      Irishbrewed :

      Sub games just suck! As in they throw stupid grinds at players just to give you a carrot to chase to keep you subbed. So instead of getting fun competitive pvp based around solid gameplay and good old fun, you get these hamster wheels of endless gear grinding that is counter intuitive to anything competitive

      IMO the issue is not with subscriptions themselves.

      It’s the mindset by developers, and which players grown accustomed to, is that there has to be new shiny gear as a carrot for playing a game.

      What developers have forgotten is that games are played because they are fun, first and foremost. Make a game fun, and people would play it indefinitely, even if it requires a subscription.

      Keep in mind the F2P games have their own issues. E.g. they’re too grindy without paying for things in the Cash Shop, or buy design they’re pay2win.

      I have stated elsewhere (e.g. on GAMEBREAKER) that in order to attract and retain customers, instead of having:
      a. purchase price for game, plus a monthly subscription

      What games should really have is
      b. no purchase price, but have a monthly subscription
      c. purchase price, but no monthly subscription (a la GW2)

      The latter two models more closely align the interests of the developer with those of the player.

      • Brewed says:

        Yeah this is simply a by product of the model,as in most companies as you said believe in a necessary grind is needed and it’s not. I personally believe its easier on devs in the no sub model like GW2 to bring about genuine content post launch that is not motivated around how do we keep them subscribed monthly. Requiring a monthly sub means your content has to be frequent or require long frustrating grinding or at least that’s what we’ve seen out of the model. The new F2P model is where the market is headed fore sure. Buy the box makes the most sense, that is a universal model across all platforms in the industry. Most console games release with a cash shop as well these days via DLC. The number one argument against MMOs has always been the subscription barrier. Eliminating that barrier broadens your games appeal IMO. Keep in mind a one time fee is much easier for a consumer to rationalize then a monthly bill. We are billed monthly enough already in this economy, do we really want a monthly video game bill. No we are conditioned in society to buy a product and then enjoy it. We pay bills begrudgingly. Now is the 15 bucks killing us, no! But it changes our perception on the game, meaning it has to warrant that monthly bill and in this day & age, video games are a dime a dozen, very few warrant it for very long. So for a company to base it’s business around it in this market I think it sets them up for a let down. Much easier to bank on and develop on initial sales and hope for the bonus from cash shop purchases. It’s a much more sound business model. I think Arenanet is about to set a new trend and it’s one that is already being embraced by several other MMO developers on the horizon.

  44. GL says:

    Bioware made a mistake of not pulling the War Hero gear when they pulled ranked warzones at the last minute.

    Also, for those who don’t play many hours per week, downgrading ranked wz comms back to regular wz comms to pick up more pieces of BM initially is not a bad idea especially when there is no announced ETA on when Ranked will be implemented.

  45. SubSkip says:

    How do you guys think The Secret World is going to fair in PvP, given the fact that they use a “skill wheel” vs a “gear/level” type system?

    • I was under the impression there was no PvP in SW.

      • SubSkip says:

        Yes there is PvP. Some good, some bad:
        http://crygaia.net/wiki/Player_versus_player

        • taugrim says:

          SubSkip :

          Yes there is PvP. Some good, some bad:
          http://crygaia.net/wiki/Player_versus_player

          I tried TSW for about 20 minutes at a private media session at GDC 2012. I thought it was OK, but by comparison I found GW2 to be much more engaging.

          The most common complaint I’ve heard about TSW combat is that it’s not engaging for the player. It doesn’t pull you in. By comparison, I found the combat in SWTOR to feel epic in terms of the animations and sound, and the number of situational abilities to manage.

          TSW and GW2 have what are more or less non-vertical scaling systems, but the combat in GW2 seems to be better designed.

          • SubSkip says:

            I agree. What I found interesting with TSW was the ability to change your spec/gear “on-the-fly”. That to me provides a huge amount of flexibility in both PvE and PvP encounters. I don’t know if GW2 has the same sort of mechanic.

            TSW could use some more polish, but I still found the beta to be very enjoyable. Only time will tell if it’s a success or not.

            /cheers

  46. Spongey says:

    how was Rift even remotely balanced from launch til 1.4?
    Sab, Red-ball Pyro’s, The godly healing of Clerics, Marksman at start of 1.4 and lets not forget the SnB/2h warriors that used loadequip macros to swap between the weapons in combat. That game wasn’t even remotely balanced then.

    I’m not defending swtor, because imho..its a terrible game anymore. 1.2 ruined pvp even for me as a Main Sentinel. It’s just no fun anymore. Combat time has been reduced dramatically and its all about dying then respawning. There is no strategy involved. Healers are cannon fodder except for scoundrels/operatives. It’s just seems dull to me.

    • taugrim says:

      Spongey :

      how was Rift even remotely balanced from launch til 1.4?
      Sab, Red-ball Pyro’s, The godly healing of Clerics, Marksman at start of 1.4 and lets not forget the SnB/2h warriors that used loadequip macros to swap between the weapons in combat. That game wasn’t even remotely balanced then.

      Who said RIFT was balance from 1.0->1.4?

      I certainly did not.

      However, I have said that the balance was gradually improving over that that. Not that it was balanced, but at least some of the glaring issues were getting addressed. E.g. instant-cast healing got a nerf in 1.4.

      That said, 1.5 was a disaster in terms of balance. Rogues went from underpowered pre-1.5 to 1.5 faceroll. And in 1.6 Pyro was buffed to a point of silliness, with a 1-sec GCD, higher damage, and more burst.

  47. Cors'nik says:

    Would it be fair to say that your SWTOR days are numbered, unless Bioware can pull a rabbit out of its hat and fix PvP before then? I get the impression that with GW2 coming out soon, and you’re very positive responses to it, that it’s going to be very difficult for you to pull from the impressive aspects of GW2 to play an inferior game (SWTOR).

    Not just that, I can’t imagine you being able to juggle two games at once, especially with the complexity of GW2 and its entire pvp system. As you said, “[t]he game takes a lot of time to get used to, which was frustrating at times. But the more you start to wrap your noodle around the combat mechanics and viable specs for a given class, the more enjoyable it becomes.”

    • taugrim says:

      Cors’nik :

      Not just that, I can’t imagine you being able to juggle two games at once, especially with the complexity of GW2 and its entire pvp system. As you said, “[t]he game takes a lot of time to get used to, which was frustrating at times. But the more you start to wrap your noodle around the combat mechanics and viable specs for a given class, the more enjoyable it becomes.”

      GW2 has very steep learning curve in PVP initially.

      I’ve already gotten over the basic hurdles of understanding how to customize my character and how the PVP content works.

      It will take quite a bit of time and testing to sort out the traits, but that’s part of any game.

  48. darthwanderer says:

    Hi Ed and others….
    i am happy to see you posted some new stuff :) i do agree with some parts you wrote, and i disagree with others. Although in general, you are right, i think you considered the situation form too narrow point of view…

    first, something about me – it is essential for you to know the bigger picture, cause it has some impact on my point of view – i am casual player in casual guild on average eu pvp server (our population index varies around 1.0 according to torstatus – that means about 30-60ppl on fleet during the day, with 100 in peak times). I play the game since release as tank SW. I dinged 50 later than ppl usually did, in mid Feb. As i do not prefer PVP to PVE, i remember to play <50 WZs to around 42 valor, and after dinging 50 about 2-4 hours a day, usually. That being said, i got complete BM set just before 1.2 hit live, so it took about 2 months to get pre-1.2 top PVP gear. 1 month from going orange to champ, and one month with realy unpleasant RNG from champ to BM set…

    I really do not agree with most ppl here complaining about gear disbalance. When 1.2 came, some ppl from my guild who play PVP were really annoyed with the fact, that before, it took at least a week (casual players!!) to get at least centurion gear, something ppl now can buy the day they hit 50, and that because of changes from very random token drop with high valor demand (i am one of unlucky guys to get first BM token after opening about 20 bags…) to wz comms oriented gear with no valor demand price, ppl usualy get full BM set in two weeks after dinging 50 compared to months in pre-1.2 game (again, speaking about casual players).

    I really think this made a lot of ppl angry, cause this gives a huge advantage to new players above the old ones. In the same breath, why should be new 50 guy competitive in WZ against someone who plays the game since the very beginning (like myself)? I mean, this is similar to putting new army trainee agains experienced confilct-scarred veterean… So, from my point of view, it is completely right that new 50s have some disadvantage in WZ represented by lower stats on the gear they can get. If you object that gear levels are bad because of huge differences (as you say, the carrot…), just remember this is a RPG game, and stepping up in gear is one of the pillars of every RPG game. If you are hc-pvp-skiller-focused guys, just go play a game where equip does not matter… IMHO it is good to give people something (like new gear) for their loyalty and persistence in playing the game.

    More about disbalanced gear, i remember ppl entering lvl 50 WZ in mixed green/blue/orange gear pre 1.2, fighting against/along BM-geared guys – that was even bigger difference than todays with recruit vs. WH set – i mean, you can buy for relatively very low price an end game set that has at least some expertise. And if you focus on playing WZ a bit, you can have BM in a week… This situation will occur again after RWZ hit live – now, 6 weeks after 1.2 patch, i have full WH set with 1.2 PVE trinkets (i prefer due to higher defense capabilities), but it will take much much less time for organized group to achieve the same without the need to change normal WZ comms to RWZ comms…

    More about the "carrot-system" – i know several hardcore pvp players, who stopped playing the game several weeks before 1.2 came, because they reached max valor level with max gear, and they had nothing to play for. The same guys returned with 1.2, and now they are out of the game again cause they got full WH sets with lvl 100 valor four weeks ago… Okay, in general, gaming is fun. But some people do enjoy playing for incentives more than playing itself. I do play WZs for fun, and i believe i have more fun today gathering RWZ comms, than pre-1.2 grinding useless no-BM-token bags.

    About class disbalance, i hear most ppl QQ about OP classes. But you forget that SWTOR PVP and especially WZs are about team play, not about 1vs1 balance… You really do care that some clases are "stronger" than yours? As i said, i play tank SW – and i really do not care that i can't beat everyone. It is not possible to have all classes at same strength, and based on common sense, support-role class like healers should never be "as strong" in 1vs1 as pure DPS like maras. IMHO, it is complete nonsense to compare classes 1vs1. You have a TEAM in WZ, so L2P by learning to fulfill your class team role correctly. Eg. – for ppl QQ about maras, go make a maras-only team and enter WZ .) you will surely enjoy the loss big time!!

    As a tank, i am still able to face average mara or powertech/vanguard in WZ and take him down. Well, to be honest, i won't be able to beat skilled HC-PVP mara player no matter the equip, and i won't be able to beat average PVP mara player in same equip i have. But in most times, thats not the case. Most ppl in WZ are average pvpers with average equip. I can eliminate their 1vs1 class advantage with better gear or (hopefully :D ) better skill usually. Hell, i can even hold an objective against two maras or prevent enemy 5-ppl team capping long enough for reinforcements to came. Sure, i can be still taken down by one skinny operative in several seconds – but such guy will have to go to some dark corner for other 2 minutes to have his CD's up again.

    In short, IMHO the overall decrease in SWTOR population is not caused by some disbalance in classes or gear. Or ppl leaving because of lack of content… (TBH, how many ppl have beaten EC in hard mode? five percent??). I wish i know what is the real reason, probably combination of tons of factors including those above… But i am sure BW with their budget have group of analysts who are digging into this. For you who QQ about PVP disbalance, alter your play style to face that. I am not saying everything is perfectly balanced – i am saying perfect balance does not exist. And i like the way the game is set up now, and i do enjoy playing WZ all the time, winning or not. And i can tell there is no better feeling (in PVP) than beating HC PVP guild premade with pug :D I was lucky to participate in that two times so far, and it was really great experience.

    Sry for another wall of text :D just my two pence…

    • taugrim says:

      darthwanderer :

      Although in general, you are right, i think you considered the situation form too narrow point of view…

      Actually, you misinterpreted a lot of what was written by me. Let me clarify for you

      darthwanderer :

      About class disbalance, i hear most ppl QQ about OP classes. But you forget that SWTOR PVP and especially WZs are about team play, not about 1vs1 balance… You really do care that some clases are “stronger” than yours?

      I wasn’t talking about 1v1 balance.

      In a *group* context, Scoundrel/Operative healers are far more effective now than Sage/Sorc healers and Commando/Merc healers.

      31-pt Shadow/Assassin tank was prior to 1.2 and still is the strongest tank spec for group play in 3 of the 4 warzones.

      Sentinel/Marauder is still the best DPS class because they not only provide good DPS but also debuffs and group buffs.

      darthwanderer :

      As a tank, i am still able to face average mara or powertech/vanguard in WZ and take him down. Well, to be honest, i won’t be able to beat skilled HC-PVP mara player no matter the equip, and i won’t be able to beat average PVP mara player in same equip i have. But in most times, thats not the case.

      You’re looking at this from the wrong framing.

      The best way to assess class balance is to assume equal spec and gear between classes, and discuss the probable outcomes.

      darthwanderer :

      In short, IMHO the overall decrease in SWTOR population is not caused by some disbalance in classes or gear.

      Well, that’s your opinion.

      I know a lot of PVP players who have stopped playing because of crappy class balance and the under-delivery of systems such as World PVP and Ranked WZs.

      If you believe the game is fine, again, that’s your opinion.

      • hey Ed,

        first, thanks for reply :) i really like to discuss this, it helps. second, when i say “you” in my previous post, i do not mean you in particullar, but swtor players in general :D

        taugrim :
        I wasn’t talking about 1v1 balance.

        The best way to assess class balance is to assume equal spec and gear between classes, and discuss the probable outcomes.

        sure, 1vs1 does not give correct comparison to characte usefulness in WZ. by equal spec, you mean comparing tank/heal/dps builds for various classes, am i right? besides the fact the skill trees are various, you would for example compare my jug tank to some assassin tank build. what would be the criteria? dmg done, dmg shielded? cause i don’t think this can be compared, cause each WZ game is special with different conditions (team composition, players skills etc etc) a such variety makes classes technically incomaparable

        well, sure, there are some “general facts” all ppl would agree – like the fact that assassin tank (or even worse – mixed assassin tank-dps spec) can do twice the damage my jug tank can do, with the same amount of damage shielded. does this make assassin class more useful? i don’t think so… what about the damage that never happened, cause the target was stunned or sapped or… does assasssin tank have four single-man CCs and one aoe CC like jug has? i haven’t played assa tank, but i don’t think so. what other class than jug can score the ball in 7 seconds singlehandedly by using only its own abilities? (well, sure, some extra conditions have to be met in this case, but the combination of intercede-jump-push-jump is unique in such case). and i am sure something like that, somethink that will help in specific situation, can be found for each class.

        i mean, of course some classes are considered to be more useful for some specific team role, but if you play your class and team role well, there is no useless class for WZ. by saying that, we can also say that classes are balanced by its own way. from this point of view, it seems to me that reroll to some “generally stronger” pvp class is only a players decision to go the easiest way…

        oh, and about my opinion that the game is fine – well, perfect balance can not be achieved, there will always be some flaws (i remember meeting 4+ sage healers rep groups in WZ pre 1.2), and each game setup will have something that could be considered OP. it is up to players to learn how to handle that

    • Yamirashi says:

      Every single pvper I’ve played with in this game has gone AWOL apart from one other person and he’s playing an Alt now just as I am. He’s rolling a Sentinel and I’m jumping between a Sentinel and a Scoundrel Healer (OP Classes? well why not, everyone else is) Every one of the people I know of who have quit playing PVP have cited class balance in team situations and gear gap as the leading cause. Basically it becomes “not fun”. Quite honestly both of us have talked several times about how crappy the PVP scene has gotten as of late.

  49. […] on 1.2 PvP Taugrim, who I respect a lot, has posted a very interesting blog post about his view on the state of PvP in 1.2. Issue #1: PVP gear scales too much across tiersThis I actually agree with. The difference feels […]

  50. Pandemico says:

    Agree with Ed totally.

    I’ve been grinding BM gear since hitting 50 and this has been the most miserable gaming experience I can remember.

    I pvped all the way to 50 and loved it but this gear imbalance allied to class imbalance in 1.2 has ruined the game for me so much that I’m very close to quitting. It’s not L2p or “play smarter”. That doesn’t come into it.

    This is amplified by having played GW2 last weekend where I jumped into WvW at lvl2 and had the best time in PvP gaming I’ve had for years.

    The gear grind is an utter joke in SWTOR. I don’t live long enough to do anything useful in the warzones and am basically a wasp annoying an elephant. I used to be able to help score a lot of points in Huttball. Now I can’t even get near the other team’s half most of the time, let alone score any goals.

    I have to stick to the crowd to have any chance at all. I can’t defend nodes on my own or in a two most of the time as I often get 2 or 3 shotted. How Marauders and Assassins are not getting nerfed in 1.3 is beyond me.

    It’s like trying to stop a tank when all you have is a rifle. Forget trying to kill a healer (as is good practice in pvp) as they can easily out-heal any pathetic damage you might do to them or there team mates. .

    It’s very disheartening and I find it hard to believe how Bioware could have created something so fun 1-49 and completely ruin it at level 50.

    If nothing changes in 1.3, which it doesn’t look like it will, I think I’ll be playing alts from now on and leave end game pvp in SWTOR alone until GW2 comes out and I can enjoy pvp again.

  51. jkwervo says:

    Hey Ed,

    Was wondering in your point about class compositions will decide the outcome instead of player skill and variety, what would be the lineup?

    I’ve agreed with EVERYTHING you’ve said thus far regarding the game. I’ve quit the game as well, due to the lack of direction and competence that their PvP dev team have displayed. All your assessments, a lot more concise and explained thoroughly, were almost the exact same assessments I had regarding everything that has happened up to now. Even now, in 1.3 in PTS. I feel that the change towards the Shadow/Assassin tank was a bit much. I understood the adjustments towards the HEAL, and I have nothing against that, but they also nerf the ARMOR rating in TANK stance (Combat Technique).

    I feel that Bioware is reactive and never proactive. Like you, the golden time of PvP to me in this game was pre 1.2. Not to say that pre 1.2 was perfect as it needed adjustments, but the changes made left my mind boggled.

    Regarding the optimal lineup, I’d probably have my 8 man rateds (if i was still playing) be as follows:

    2 Juggs/Vanguard/PTech/Guardian (Not necessarily a tank, but most definitely)
    4 Sentinels/marauders
    2 Operative/Scoundrel Healers

    (You can probably take out 1 marauder/sentinel and put in a sage/inquisitor healer)

    4 tanks (Guardian/Juggernaut/Ptech/Vanguard)
    4 healers (Operatives/Scoundrels/Sage/Inquisitors)

    (You can probably take out 2 tanks and put in DPS such a Gunslinger/Sniper and take one healer out and add a Marauder/Sentinel)

    Thoughts?

    • taugrim says:

      jkwervo :

      Was wondering in your point about class compositions will decide the outcome instead of player skill and variety, what would be the lineup?

      It’s going to shift in 1.3.

      In 1.2, I would say for an 8-person team:
      2 Scoundrel/Op healers
      2 (or 1) Sentinel/Marauder
      1 (or 2) Shadow/Assassin tank
      1 AS Vanguard/Pyro PT
      1 Gunslinger/Sniper
      1 DPS that can offheal

      Scoundrel/Op healers are incredibly difficult to kill, if geared and played well, and especially when protected.

      jkwervo :

      Even now, in 1.3 in PTS. I feel that the change towards the Shadow/Assassin tank was a bit much. I understood the adjustments towards the HEAL, and I have nothing against that, but they also nerf the ARMOR rating in TANK stance (Combat Technique).

      The tank specs are all getting nerfed in 1.3.

      FWIW, as Austin said, the changes to tanks were based on the desire to improve PVE tanking, esp AOE threat:
      http://www.swtor.com/blog/class-changes-and-balance-game-update-1.3

      jkwervo :

      I feel that Bioware is reactive and never proactive. Like you, the golden time of PvP to me in this game was pre 1.2. Not to say that pre 1.2 was perfect as it needed adjustments, but the changes made left my mind boggled.

      Agree that pre-1.2 PVP was the most enjoyable.

      It’s my personal belief that BioWare was forced to launch the game when it did, and that was too early. The result is a lot of scrambling post-Launch, which is visible based on how long it’s taking for fixes and new content to get added.

      jkwervo :

      Regarding the optimal lineup, I’d probably have my 8 man rateds (if i was still playing) be as follows:

      2 Juggs/Vanguard/PTech/Guardian (Not necessarily a tank, but most definitely)
      4 Sentinels/marauders
      2 Operative/Scoundrel Healers

      (You can probably take out 1 marauder/sentinel and put in a sage/inquisitor healer)

      4 tanks (Guardian/Juggernaut/Ptech/Vanguard)
      4 healers (Operatives/Scoundrels/Sage/Inquisitors)

      (You can probably take out 2 tanks and put in DPS such a Gunslinger/Sniper and take one healer out and add a Marauder/Sentinel)

      Thoughts?

      You’re missing out of buff/debuff diversity with that many Sentinels.

      • jkwervo says:

        That’s true. With that much zerging though, and if all Sents/Marauders are all on point, nothing can heal through that burst. Then again…..You’re most likely right due to the 1.3 changes. Nonetheless, I’m done with the game and I guess I just have a mild interest in it due to it being Star Wars. I’ve started a blog myself, because I feel that opinions are important.

        I’m just looking forward to GW2, and I’m beta testing TSW as well. But even with the supposed diversity and game changing of the ability wheel in TSW, I just don’t think they can put out a product that I feel like I can play without losing confidence in the dev team.

        Thanks for the response Ed. Big fan of your insights, probably because they’re the exact same sentiments I have when it comes to game mechanics and such.

        Here’s hoping Elder Scrolls Online, with Matt Firor at the helm, can recapture the magic.

        And also…..there will always be GW2.

  52. I play a straight defensive tank geared (vanguard) in BM and WM Supercommando armor I’ve always done atrocious damage but always performed well because of my durability. I was, for the most part fine with that. I could shield a healer or Sent. and and mitigate while offering a meager amount of support.

    Since 1.3, I feel like my class is made of paper. Hell, pyro specs eat my 22k hp in seconds, while I may do a few thousand points of damage to them. My shield and absorption levels.are decent: 50% shield chance and 46% absorption yet, now, I am pretty much wrecked by any class I meet in combat.

    I’m not the best player, but typically I make it in the top three of my team. I know my function and I try to play in a style best suited to my build. Unfortunately, Bioware doesn’t seem to think defensive Tank builds are worth anything in PVP. Hence my qualms.

    Recently in PVP, I went up against a badly wounded pyro with about 4k hp. It was a one on one situation and he ended up beating me. Mind you, I was at full health and I used my reactive shield.

    Now, as I said, I am not the best player but this has gotten ridiculous. Before 1.3 I could stand toe to toe with a marauder and sometimes win.Two recent games I played had two pyros dealing over 500k damage. One of the matches was huttball. Together they did more damage than my whole team.

    I’m not ranting, I just would like to read your thoughts on the matter. I don’t know much about the Imperial side. Is the class that imbalanced.or am I just frequently outclassed? I read the above article, so it is possible that fully geared in WM is the cause. For your info, I’m about half equipped in WM gear.

    • taugrim says:

      Joseph DiCristofano :

      I play a straight defensive tank geared (vanguard) in BM and WM Supercommando armor I’ve always done atrocious damage but always performed well because of my durability. I was, for the most part fine with that. I could shield a healer or Sent. and and mitigate while offering a meager amount of support.

      Yep, that was the role of a tank / meatshield that was tank-spec’d.

      Joseph DiCristofano :

      Since 1.3, I feel like my class is made of paper. Hell, pyro specs eat my 22k hp in seconds, while I may do a few thousand points of damage to them. My shield and absorption levels.are decent: 50% shield chance and 46% absorption yet, now, I am pretty much wrecked by any class I meet in combat.

      Your Shield and Absorb largely do not matter in this case.

      If you haven’t already read the following article, you must read it:
      https://taugrim.com/2012/01/19/understanding-swtors-avoidance-and-mitigation-mechanics-for-tanks-in-pvp/

      Force or Tech attacks bypass avoidance (Melee and Ranged Defense) and Shield. It’s always been that way, and it means that the Elemental damage from a Pyro PT is simply going to hurt.

      The only attack that you can avoid or shield is RS (HIB), but that has a built-in Armor pene too, so even if you do shield it, aside from the shield your armor is not going to matter much.

      Joseph DiCristofano :

      I’m not the best player, but typically I make it in the top three of my team. I know my function and I try to play in a style best suited to my build. Unfortunately, Bioware doesn’t seem to think defensive Tank builds are worth anything in PVP. Hence my qualms.

      Recently in PVP, I went up against a badly wounded pyro with about 4k hp. It was a one on one situation and he ended up beating me. Mind you, I was at full health and I used my reactive shield.

      Now, as I said, I am not the best player but this has gotten ridiculous. Before 1.3 I could stand toe to toe with a marauder and sometimes win.Two recent games I played had two pyros dealing over 500k damage. One of the matches was huttball. Together they did more damage than my whole team.

      I’m not ranting, I just would like to read your thoughts on the matter. I don’t know much about the Imperial side. Is the class that imbalanced.or am I just frequently outclassed? I read the above article, so it is possible that fully geared in WM is the cause. For your info, I’m about half equipped in WM gear.

      1.3 brought significant single-target damage nerfs to VG/PT (and Guardian/Jug). Aside from Shadow/Assassin, tank damage isn’t functional any more – the mechanics shifted too much.

      The changes were made with PVE tanking – in particular AOE threat generation – in mind, so it’s been good for PVE, but it has had an unfortunate impact on PVP. Many former tanks have simply moved to a DPS spec based on either of the two DPS trees.

  53. Blastin says:

    LMAO! Hundreds of warzones are you kidding me! I just lvled my shadow up to 50,today with 1600 RWZ and 2000 WZ comms and after like 3 hours I had 1/3 of my BM gear and I lost the majority of my matches

    • taugrim says:

      Blastin :

      LMAO! Hundreds of warzones are you kidding me! I just lvled my shadow up to 50,today with 1600 RWZ and 2000 WZ comms and after like 3 hours I had 1/3 of my BM gear and I lost the majority of my matches

      Date of your post: July 24
      Date of my post: May 20

  54. deadtor says:

    And now the game is F2P and dead. It is absolutely stunning how arrogant Bioware is. They were told in PTS the classes were severely unbalanced in PVP and that Maras were OP. They responded by banning anybody that dared to post that. They then proceeded to continue to condescendingly assert the players were all incompetent and that Bioware’s metrics told them everything was fine.

    Well Bioware, how do those metrics look for your subscriptions now? Tell me Bioware, what does a rapidly declining sub base indicate? It indicates the game has failed and now it’s going F2P. Several of the arrogant devs and CS people are now gone.

    I am convinced Bioware Austin doesn’t actually play games. They’re failed accountants/analysts. They weren’t intelligent enough to become analysts on Wall St., accountants for the Big 4, or to be attorneys or any other analysis driven profession. They got stick in games and they took it out on the player base. I don’t understand how anybody could think that would help your career, but that is seemingly their mentality.

    And now even if they did revert to pre-1.2 balance it will be too late. The best MMO balance I have ever played and they completely ruin it, probably because they thought they could just force re-rolls and more of a grind to retain subs. Or maybe they really are that clueless.

    • taugrim says:

      deadtor :

      And now the game is F2P and dead.

      A game going F2P in itself will not kill it. However based on what I’ve heard about SWTOR planned F2P system, it’s not going to work.

      deadtor :

      It is absolutely stunning how arrogant Bioware is. They were told in PTS the classes were severely unbalanced in PVP and that Maras were OP. They responded by banning anybody that dared to post that. They then proceeded to continue to condescendingly assert the players were all incompetent and that Bioware’s metrics told them everything was fine.

      I actually thought the game was reasonably balanced at launch. The problem was that there were imbalances, but what BioWare did was make drastic changes to multiple classes. Iterative tweaking, not large-scale changes, is the better approach.

      deadtor :

      And now even if they did revert to pre-1.2 balance it will be too late. The best MMO balance I have ever played and they completely ruin it, probably because they thought they could just force re-rolls and more of a grind to retain subs.

      The shift towards more grind in 1.2 and 1.3 was a mistake IMO.

      Going F2P won’t solve the grindiness.

  55. chiarna says:

    i am a pvp’er in swtor and i fully agree with what your saying. i think some sort of internal gearscore would be in order to allow more even matching of teams. . there is nothing worse that having 3-4 recruits in a wz against majority WH team (unless your WH then fun :) ). however after grinding my balls of for months (only get to play 2-3 nights a week) i would be pretty upset to have recruit maurauders,jugg’s shadows and all the other bane’s of sage healers simple walk up to me and rip my face off.

  56. Leiralei says:

    Now that ranked is out people are win trading for the gear and Bioware has tacitly encouraged this by the mechanics, and lack of punishment for the cheaters.

    When you HAVE to cheat in order to have fun playing a game, it makes you wonder about how sick the devs are. I have 3 characters to 50 and only halfway through the grind on one of them, because all the guilds on my server cheated for gear and win 98% of their matches. At 60 comms per match and unable to do ranked because I refuse to cheat, it’ll take 5 months just to get full WH, not even optimized. These cheaters get theirs in a couple of weeks and can start on optimization that fast.

    Bioware does nothing but encourage the problem via design. Obviously this is the result they wanted. People who don’t cheat in this game are simply stupid. I dislike feeling stupid for being a decent human being so I quit. At this point you could give me a time card and I wouldn’t accept it. Bioware hates it’s players.

    • taugrim says:

      Leiralei :

      Now that ranked is out people are win trading for the gear and Bioware has tacitly encouraged this by the mechanics, and lack of punishment for the cheaters.

      When you HAVE to cheat in order to have fun playing a game, it makes you wonder about how sick the devs are. I have 3 characters to 50 and only halfway through the grind on one of them, because all the guilds on my server cheated for gear and win 98% of their matches. At 60 comms per match and unable to do ranked because I refuse to cheat, it’ll take 5 months just to get full WH, not even optimized. These cheaters get theirs in a couple of weeks and can start on optimization that fast.

      Bioware does nothing but encourage the problem via design. Obviously this is the result they wanted. People who don’t cheat in this game are simply stupid. I dislike feeling stupid for being a decent human being so I quit. At this point you could give me a time card and I wouldn’t accept it. Bioware hates it’s players.

      Wow that’s awful Lei :(

      Win trading should be punished, since it goes against the spirit of competitive play.

      PVP gear tiering is a bad idea in the first place. Just a month in GW2 has confirmed how refreshing it is to have gear not matter in battlegrounds. Players can focus on fine-tuning specs and improving their gameplay, which is where the emphasis should be.

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  58. benetsicardo says:

    I just re-sub but i’ve already regreat it. At the very begginin of the game pvp was fun, people wasn’t geared, fights always take some time, at least 20 seconds, now, specially sage, you cant survive a 5 seconds, JK hitting you with a single blow taking 6k. (33% of your life in a single blow) This game’s turns stupid.

  59. Kazrath says:

    I know this is an old topic. But you went about dinging 50 completely wrong. Had you done it correctly you should have had like 3 or 4 warlord epics right at 50 and should have been able to fully suit up in a day or two of PVP’ing. It took me less than a week to fully epic out myself and two pets (DPS / Healer) in full epics.

    What made SWTOR lame to me was how friggin easy it was to get gear. Heck most MMO’s have this problem. There is no gear decay so crafting systems are always pointless and gear is just handed out willie nillie w/o any real work or accomplishment.

    Also, of course if you are running around in blues ppl in epics are going to eat your lunch. Not only do they have better gear they tend to be playing against others in much better gear and have more polished skills through experience. Some brand new 50 in even equiv gear would get face rolled by players that have polished their character.

  60. Mike says:

    I agree with Kazrath and I would like to point out.. Some ppl are just bad no matter the gear they are in. They were born with an inability to pvp or just game in general and some how they still see themselves at gods at everything they do. So they rant and complain that its character balance and or some other excuse all to avoid the obvious… they suck at pvp.. Good day.

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