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In Depth PvP at SDCC 2011

Discussion in 'SWTOR News' started by TeHpUmKinKiNg, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. TeHpUmKinKiNg

    TeHpUmKinKiNg OMG Member

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    Found a VERY in-depth article by a guy in Ex VOTOS who managed to play the PvP flashpoint an amazing 13 times at Comic Con. He describes everything in near perfect detail- so read up on what PvP in SWTOR is like so far!


    Okay, okay. I was able to hang out at Bioware Base for 4 days and maybe was able to play some PVP matches while camping the lines. It may or may not have been 13 times.


    Muawhahehahehah. Jealous? I know I would have been if it wasn't me. It's taken a bit to collect my thoughts and type all the details up on all my matches, but here it is, folks. I hope there's no typos or horrific grammar, but this has been a long few days working on this. Be gentle. Enjoy. Click to read more.


    [​IMG]


    THE 13TH WARRIOR


    How to go over my experience there? First, I'll go over the general idea for those of you wondering how it was all set up and what not. Second, the good stuff. Afterwards, I'll interview myself for a quick Q&A of questions I think others would be likely to ask. In closing, I will give you guys - the actual readers of our website - the chance to have me answer any questions that YOU might have for me. Ready?


    TAKING IT BACK


    Let's go back to the beginning. Okay not THAT far back, but let's go back to the opening day of Bioware Base and Comic Con 2011...


    FOUR DAYS


    So here's the rough schedule I pulled off not including my travel time:

    • Thursday - 9AM until 7PM - 10 hours
    • Friday - 10AM until 8PM - 10 hours
    • Saturday - 3PM until 8PM - 5 hours
    • Sunday - 1PM until 5PM - 4 hours


    We're talking some long days, my friends. Keep in mind Bioware Base opened at 12 noon each day so the first 2 days I was pretty early.


    ARRIVING AT BIOWARE BASE


    First you have to understand that getting down to San Diego for me meant about 2 hours (each way and each day so about 4 hours total) of riding the public bus system. Being a student has its sucky points and all - like the part where you are poor as hell and typically unemployed. That said, I arrived early expecting waiting lines similar to what was described for PAX East earlier this year. Those lines were over 7 hours just to play for 15-20 minutes. I wanted to at least play once each day if the lines were that long.


    Initially, I just planned on Thursday and Friday. Then I won one of the 1 hour special invites from David Bass to play the Esseles Flashpoint on Saturday. That made it 3 days I had to go now. I didn't really think to go on Sunday at all. I really had no idea what demo they would have for us to play at Bioware Base today.


    Once at the Hilton Gaslamp, I was able to find out that Bioware Base was going to have the Aldaraan Warzone available to play for the first time. I would have been thrilled to play anything SWTOR, but Warzones? OMG! Better than I hoped. Previously at SWTOUR when the fansites got to visit Austin, Texas, they were able to PVP in that same Warzone. Some of them were able to play about 2 times. Today, we get to play that. I found the front of the line for Bioware Base and of course Darth Hater was already there en masse including Pete Trerice and Mako. The line got longer and longer as the 12 noon opening for Bioware Base got closer, but at least I was almost at the front. It was also a decently hot day which was great for line waiting.


    Right off I didn't quite make the 1st PVP match, but I can say I was in the 2nd. For the Republic, right? I squeezed in 5 matches on Day 1. You didn't always get to pick which side you wanted. First in the room, first choice. Most people went straight for the Empire each time. This was PUG PVP at its most basic level. Random. Generally groups of friends tended to go all Empire so the Empire tended to win a little more since they had better teamwork overall.


    With 5 matches on my belt, I aimed to grab all 16 Advanced Classes. Surely, I would get more classes the next day, right?


    DAY 2


    On the second day, things just got real hot outside. It was a scorcher if you were in the open sun. The lines just sucked, but my determination held. Despite being my longest day, I only got 4 matches in. 9 total now. It did not seem like I was going to make my goal of playing all 16 classes by end of day tomorrow. I saw the costume contest live. A lot of work that people sink into cosplay. I finally waited in the Mass Effect 3 line to play the demo of that game. It seemed good and all (I did play ME1 and ME2), but I am definitely not a console player and I loathe those dual joysticks. Plus Star Wars trumps Mass Effect anyday.


    DAY 3


    My birthday. Great way to spend a birthday, right? Playing SWTOR PVP? Of course it was. I wanted to hop online before I started heading downtown to give a quick update for my guildies and people who actually read my site so I got there a little later. Thanks for reading us BTW. The lines were pretty jacked today. I only got in a total of 2 matches today.


    Highlights of the day for me were meeting the amazing SWTOR fans waiting in line and getting a temporary Republic tattoo from Community Coordinator Alyson Bridge who was applying them with squirt guns.


    I also had my Esseles Flashpoint scheduled for this evening. Bioware was nice enough to allow me a guest, but the people I asked backed out due to work or prior commitments. I thought I would offer the spot to TORWars.com as one fansite to another, but found out later on, they had a similar offer from someone else. I'll keep trying. Take 4! I offered the one spot to a family of 3 from Arizona (who were all huge SWTOR and SWG fans) waiting in the SWTOR PVP line with me. The dad ended up as my guest. I made his day for sure, but that's my other experience. This writeup is about PVP, baby.


    Two matches. Total facepalm. 11 total matches now. Plus one of those was a repeat. So only 10 Advanced Classes played. Oh yeah, I did get a signed copy of the new Darth Bane book by Drew Karpyshyn and a copy of Sean William's Fatal Alliance to boot.


    DAY 4


    I decided to return again to give her another shot. I'm glad I did. It was a nicer day, too. I met more SWTOR fans including 2 guys from Old Republic Dads (one was GameWizX from SWTOR forums), and some guys who came all the way from Saskatchewan, Canada. The lines eeked along ever so slowly today with many more fans in line, but almost looked like I wouldn't even get more than 1 match. I was actually able to get 2 total matches in with the second one being the VERY LAST match of Bioware Base before they shut things down. Win.


    WHAT DID I GET OUT OF IT ALL?


    So yes, as you can see I clearly had favoritism in going 13 times and day or two of going in all day with only 2 runs to show for it. No, it was all random luck getting as few or as many runs as I did - depending on how you look at it. There were some line mix-ups and long lines on top to boot in the burning sun with some occasional shade, but hours of waiting in line won't kill my passion for gaming or Star Wars or The Old Republic. Neither will waiting for a Holiday 2011 game launch.


    Let's take a peek at what I got from this whole thing:

    • 13 Aldaraan Warzone matches (each was about 20 minutes, but some were as long as 30 minutes)
    • 1 Esseles Flashpoint run (1 hour total)
    • 13 Posters (1 per match as a trophy, but I only took 6 total instead of 13 - See? I saved Bioware money! There were 3 different posters. I had 2 of each type - Cover Art, Jedi, Sith versions)
    • 2 Mass Effect inflatable biotic claws
    • 3 SWTOR books (1 signed by Drew himself - saaweeet)
    • 3 Mass Effect dogtags
    • Met great fans
    • Saw some fansites like Darth Hater, TORWars, and ORD. I knew other fansites were likely to have had some people there as well.
    • Actually met some of the Bioware team
    • Only saw Stephen Reid (he was all over the place - busy guy) and James Ohlen (but they did answer my question in the Q&A)
    • Saw the creator of Mass Effect
    • Saw some of the voice actresses of Mass Effect and SWTOR including the Jennifer Hale (the voice of 'Fem Shep') and Ali Hillis (voice of Liara from Mass Effect)
    • Saw many hotties and great costumes to boot
    • Had a great time regardless


    That's just me, but watching everyone's face when they left the demo room after each match clutching their SWTOR poster with pride - I'd say that's a complete success.


    Now assuming 20 minutes per PVP match and adding my Esseles time. That's roughly 5.5 hours of playtime. With some of the matches being longer, I'd venture to say it was perhaps as high as 6 hours total of hands on time with SWTOR before the game has even come out. All over a span of 4 days.


    Yes and it was all free. So thank you, Bioware, for taking the time to set up Bioware Base for us fans. I probably wouldn't have been able to go without it.


    THE GOODS


    Now here's the more exciting parts of the PVP-Aganza. The details. I played 13 Aldaraan Warzone PVP matches. Initially, I aimed to get EACH Advanced Class and play it, but had to settle for what I got. Also, in the interest of getting a more general idea of how PVP is, whether it was balanced, and the feel of the classes, it was kind of pointless and fruitless to gather information on abilities - the game is still in testing. Since they did not allow cameras or video, they probably did not want all the class abilities and talent trees on the net just yet since it is all still in testing.


    As you may or may not know, the Aldaraan Warzone is an 8 player versus 8 player PVP match. They had all the Advanced Classes in attendance - 1 of each. Here they are in the order they had them in, starting on the right side of the room:

    • Smuggler - Gunslinger
    • Smuggler - Scoundrel
    • Trooper - Commando
    • Trooper - Vanguard
    • Jedi Consular - Shadow
    • Jedi Consular - Sage
    • Jedi Knight - Guardian
    • Jedi Knight - Sentinel
    • Bounty Hunter - Powertech
    • Bounty Hunter - Mercenary
    • Imperial Agent - Operative
    • Imperial Agent - Sniper
    • Sith Inquisitor - Sorceror
    • Sith Inquisitor - Assassin
    • Sith Warrior - Marauder
    • Sith Warrior - Juggernaut


    Here's the ones I actually played:

    • Smuggler - Gunslinger - 1 time
    • Smuggler - Scoundrel - 2 times
    • Trooper - Commando - 1 time
    • Trooper - Vanguard - 1 time
    • Jedi Consular - Shadow - 1 time
    • Jedi Consular - Sage - 1 time
    • Jedi Knight - Guardian - 1 time
    • Jedi Knight - Sentinel - 1 time
    • Bounty Hunter - Powertech - 2 times
    • Imperial Agent - Operative - 1 time
    • Sith Warrior - Marauder - 1 time


    I did not get to play the Sith Inquisitor at all in either of it's AC's and really both Bounty Hunter plays I tried to get the Mercenary instead of Powertech, but I'll live (cough, cough Empire will lose, cough, cough).


    WHAT IS ALDARAAN?


    Aldaraan is a Warzone or PVP battleground match for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Touted as a PVP match for level 10 characters in the waiting lines, the characters were actually level 11 or 12 in this demo, depending on the day with level 12 being the level for the last 2 days. I believe the last time we saw this Warzone around the time of the Fansite Summit aka SWTOUR, they were playing it with level 22 characters.


    THE GOAL?


    The goal of the Aldaraan Warzone is to control 3 control points in different areas of the map - a center control point, a control point on the left side of the map, and a control point on the right side of the map. The areas are separated by various building walls and various terrain. The closest thing you can probably compare it to would be something like World of Warcraft's Arathi Basin, but with 3 control points instead of 5 control points. There are other games with similar battlegrounds, but not done quite like this.


    When your side controls that point, your side controls one of the Warzone's 3 gun turrets and it begins firing upon the other faction's capital ship up in the lower sky. Your side or faction wins once the other ship goes down in flames which happens once it gets down to 0 health. It takes approximately 6-10 seconds to grab a control point which shows as a 'casting bar'. I would guess 8 seconds. Taking any kind of damage interrupts this action which is a great way to defend the point if your team controls it and you are able to switch targets easily.


    The turrets do not seem to start firing immediately after you seize control and it also seems the turret shots might be at random intervals to keep it fun and unpredictable.


    QUEUING


    Similar to other MMORPGs, you can queue up for PVP anywhere. They had us in an area where we wouldn't get into trouble as we players are wont to do. When it matches each team up with enough opponents, each team gets a pop-up window where they can click to enter the match. In the bottom right corner of the UI, there is an icon for your faction and there are 2 ways to enter the match:

    1. Click the icon to bring up a Warzone menu and select Aldaraan that way.
    2. Right click the icon and you can queue for the Warzone with a rightclick menu instead of a nearly fullscreen pop-up.

    When the match pops, you get the typical fanfare that says your match is ready. Click to enter Warzone or there's the option to cancel out of it. First and last day we got to queue up for the matches ourselves. The middle days we entered the room already in queue.


    [​IMG]


    STARTING POINT


    At the start of the match, you are in a faction-only area on a capital ship overlooking the field below, complete with a single PVP vendor. At this level, this vendor had 3 items in the store. One item was a PVP-only 'health potion' that restores a large amount of health. The next item was a PVP-only consumable that restores your action bar. I think those 2 only cost like 1 or 2 marks. The last one cost 10 marks and was more interesting. It gave you 6 consumables and a random chance of a PVP item if I'm recalling it correctly.


    You have a great aerial view of the whole Warzone up there with 2 windows covered with force fields protecting you. After 60 seconds, speeder bikes appear at each window. You right-click the speeder bike to use it and hop on then you promptly are flying off the ship and down to the ground below.


    This is also the same point you return to when your character dies in this Warzone. Thus, it is impossible to 'camp the GY' to grief people due to this brilliant mechanic. Like it's been pointed out before, when you die, you can instantly click to respawn to this safe point. The respawn timer is really the flight down to the floor below and it also gives you a quick glimpse of things from above before you are hoofing it to the control points.


    Once your speeder lands on the ground below, the only way back up to the ship is death.


    THE MAP


    Pressing M on your map (which they had all the new people do), shows you the whole Warzone and where the 3 control points are located. I was able to test the map transparency feature when you move around with your map up in my PVP matches and in my Esseles run. I have no idea what other fansites were fussing about. The transparency was fine to me. More on that in my recap of the Esseles experience perhaps.


    The focus of the map is the center area which is a multi-level area with a control point in the middle. It has ramps going up on each side on the left and right that curve around the center control point that give a good platform to launch ranged attacks on anyone foolish to try taking your control point.


    Those ramps also had a back hallway path that lead towards the other control point area on that side. You had to jump down from the 2nd floor there, but when you land, there is a power-up. The center control point is pretty much dead center of the map.


    This center area also has a passage that ran underground and thus underneath the center control point that linked both the left and right control points. There was an awesome speed boost power up located on each side when you first go down the ramp.


    The previous screenshots we have of the Warzone are the same concept, but the map has been completely redone in a much, much improved fashion. There is far more detail everywhere you go. Grass, patches, junk, consoles, different walls. Environmental artists apparently have been going nuts on this Warzone, fleshing out the details. Hopefully, they can get us some more updated shots of the Warzone, the map, and the control points.


    You can see the turrets firing on the capital ships, even from the ground.


    THE MAP, IN MORE DETAIL


    [​IMG]


    As a bonus feature for reading this far (and as an afterthought), I added a map I of the Warzone I tried to recall from memory. Please note that I am just sketching things as I remember them and it's not anywhere near as awesome as the real map. It's general. It's Photoshop. It's not to scale (I don't have THAT much free time). Picture the center area a little larger with the tight hallways above and below a bit narrower. With that out of the way, read on, my friend, read on:


    MAP LEGEND:


    A - Where the Republic speeders land. You can jump off the ledge there to go left or center/right. There is a wall in the middle so you have to make that choice. Similar to G for the Empire.


    B - This area has a catwalk around the center control point. There is a ramp leading up to the catwalk on each side. The catwalk is a great spot for the Sniper and Gunslinger. You can walk underneath the catwalk also so the center control point has a lot of line of sight points, open areas, and advantage points.


    C - This ramp leads down to the basement (see map below) and comes out eventually to D.


    D - This ramp leads down to the basement (see map below) and comes out eventually to C.


    E - The left control point. It's a platform with 3 ways up. Not so easy to defend unless you see the enemy coming. There is lots of debris around the platform. Might be more than the few spots I remember.


    F - The right control point. It's a platform with 3 ways up. Not so easy to defend unless you see the enemy coming. There is lots of debris around the platform. Might be more than the few spots I remember.


    G - Where the Empire speeders land. You can jump off the ledge there to go left or center/right. There is a wall in the middle so you have to make that choice. Similar to A for the Republic.


    H - A hilly ramp that leads to a health powerup.


    I - A hilly ramp that leads to a health powerup.


    J - From the catwalk (2nd floor) there's a hallway that servers as an escape route, but it ends abruptly. You have to jump. When you land, there's a 50% damage power up below you can grab on your way to the outer control point or if you want to zip down to the basement or even circle around.


    K - From the catwalk (2nd floor) there's a hallway that servers as an escape route, but it ends abruptly. You have to jump. When you land, there's a 50% damage power up below you can grab on your way to the outer control point or if you want to zip down to the basement or even circle around.


    L - Down the ramp to the basement leads to a speed boost powerup that seems to last for about 10 seconds. It's long enough to run from L up the ramp at D and over to front stairs of F.


    M - Down the ramp to the basement leads to a speed boost powerup that seems to last for about 10 seconds. It's long enough to run from M up the ramp at C and over to front stairs of E.


    [​IMG]


    POWER UPS


    Power ups were placed in various locations: there were some that healed you (white) or gave temporary 50% damage boost for a few seconds (red) or gave a temporary speed boost for a few seconds (white). I think I heard someone say one of them was an invulnerability buff for a few seconds as well.


    COMPUTER SET UP


    The computers they had set up seemed fairly beefy and beastly and had lovely 22" or 24" widescreen LCD displays. They had some fancy keyboards and mice with gazillion buttons. The 16 computers were all set up facing the computers towards the wall. I suppose you could sneak a peak at the other faction's screens then, but odds are good that's when his teammate starts going to town on your health bar by the time you figured out what you were looking for on that other guy's monitor. The chairs were notoriously uncomfortable in a way that Douglas Adams could only have described. It could have been a bear trap on a chair and fans would sit anyways just for 20 minutes of beating people with lightsabers and Force Chokes.


    The worst part for me was that they didn't want us moving abilities around on the action bars. They were not set up optimally for my play style and we could not change any hot keys. We were stuck with WASD movement. Like it or not.


    Awful for my playstyle, but hey, this is SWTOR before SWTOR even comes out. Just go with it, right? They didn't want us moving those abilities around, but this apparently there were still some that could not follow simple directions. Sometimes abilities were missing, duplicated twice, or in some absurd order that only made sense to that last guy who played on that computer. I played with whatever the computer showed me regardless. I normally set up 'T' for targeting when I can customize keys instead of TAB. In SWTOR, the 'T' key defaults to /tell and I spent some earlier fights typing wonderful whispers like '1651244252222' before I hit ESC to cancel and continue the bloodbath. My hand continued to grief me all 4 days of Bioware Base by continuing to click 'T' randomly when I wanted a new target forcing me to pay more attention to my normal habits.


    THE SHIPS


    Each faction's capital ship has 500 health points at the start of the match. The turrets seem to take this ship health bar apart bit by bit roughly 15-20 points at a time. I'm guessing a little more damage is done if you control all 3 turrets and thus ending the match faster.


    Once you ship hits 0, the match is over. You lose - the other side wins. And vice versa. We had one long match end with 15 to 0. It went back and forth constantly since we were pretty evenly matched.


    END OF MATCH


    At the end of the match when one side's ship reaches 0 health left, the summary window pops up. It shows like they said before, top damages, top heals, top kills, and pretty sure the one for tanks guarding was there (that shows the damage you helped protect a party member) although I did not hunt for it specifically.


    You could give a commendation to someone on your team on that window. Every team member is selectable except for yourself.


    You also get marks at the end of the match. Some matches I noticed 7 marks as a reward. This also shows in their current build as a buff on your character with the number of marks on the buff. One of the staff there had said 6 marks is good and 4 is not too bad if you want a reference. On matches where my team is just getting killed left and right, I could only pull off 4 marks. Other matches were we dominated, were the 6-7 mark.


    ADVANCED CLASSES


    Now onto the advanced classes. I'll touch on them in the order I played them. Going into this whole thing, I was pretty firmly set on being a Republic Trooper, Commando Advanced Class. After this whole experience, I may have to reconsider and am glad I was going with giving my guild a few weeks to muck around once we start playing - they'll need it to make up their mind. It's definitely not as easy of a choice as I had thought. Even the classes I thought would be so-so or uninteresting, were actually fun and interesting to try out. Even on the Empire side of things - Oops, did I just write that out loud?


    RACE


    The characters were a good random selection of known races including Zabrak, Twi'lek, and Mirialan. The races were looking nice. They seemed to have lots of customization and variety.


    OUTFITS


    The gear the characters wore was quite varied and decent looking. All of it was nice work. I think people will be happy even at low levels which notoriously have plain looks in other games.


    CHARACTER SHEET


    I wasn't really looking for anything much in here, but it doesn't appear to show race name in the build we played. Your character class gets replaced by your Advanced Class once you choose one. The characters were wearing all green items. Stats were 150ish for your main stats and sub-100 for the rest. Lightside/darkside bar appeared to be dead middle. It appears they made us typical low level characters. Nothing fancy.


    BODY TYPES


    There was a good assortment of body types for the classes. The Trooper and Bounty Hunter typically used the wider super-hero body type. This is definitely one thing I continued to notice is the great work put into making the bodies appear nice. You spend hours and hours staring at your character's body from every angle especially the rear. For SWTOR, I think both male and female characters look great already. Female rears will be some distracting eye candy for a change in the Old Republic as the Smuggler in 'Return' found out. Just inspecting the troops, corporal......


    ANIMATIONS AND EMOTES


    The animations were that part that you probably don't notice much. Running animation was good. Tested sitting down on table or chairs - it just has the sit leaning back. I think some dev had said that was getting added at some point so that chairs and the like were interactable and you sit in them. Dance was one I did on every character. Currently, the dances did not seem different, but I think the Q&A's had a response saying every class would have its own dance. You can sheathe/unsheath weapon. Many of the types you would find in an MMO like World of Warcraft or Warhammer Online are there and already animated. There is also a list of other emotes without animations like smile. Typical slash commands. We'll see if Bioware pushes the envelope a little more on adding lots of animations/emotes. I hope they do even though I don't do RP. They still have their place in day-to-day conversations or while you muck around inside an instance waiting for someone.


    CHAT


    There was a Guild channel. There was a PVP channel. There was a Party channel. You can yell. Use /say (of course). There was a General channel. I didn't try saying anything in combat although I probably should have tried. Tells are very much in game as I constantly kept hitting the tell key (set to T by default) and had to ESC out of it. I use my T key for targeting typically rather than TAB.


    DAMAGE TAKEN


    Back in SWTOUR, it appeared a character's health bar took about 1 minute to wear down to 0. They said it was getting adjusted to be less time, but still enough that you aren't getting 1-2-3 shot. Now, in this demo, that time seems to be roughly half that previous figure in the ballpark of 30 seconds, maybe a little less. If you get zerged down by the entire opposing team, um yes, you will die in 5-10 seconds. This is one thing you notice right off the bat is that unloading all your high damage abilities (which would kill or nearly kill someone in other MMO PVP) only drops someone to something like 20-25% of their health. Then the rest of the fight is managing your other abilities since those high DPS ones are on cooldown. You could literally stay alive long enough for a healer to run from middle to your position near a side control point for a heal. Not saying you will live, but he or she can definitely get to you for at least one heal.


    HEALING VERSUS DAMAGE


    One thing you notice as a healer when healing your teammates is that your ability to heal someone is nowhere near the incoming damage received. You can help keep someone alive, but only to a certain extent before that person is dead or your energy bar is empty and recharging. This is a good sign in my opinion since healing in some other games (cough cough WOW cough) is a bit too high. Healers can keep themselves or teammates alive nearly indefinitely in those games. Here in SWTOR, you won't see that. Staying alive here means strategy, position, line of sight, and range among other things. Heals alone will not cut it. You will not be able to outheal someone going to town on your health bar while you just stand there. This is at least the direction they have gone with low level PVP.


    RANGE


    The range of abilities is pretty far. Pure melee classes have charge abilities to get into the fray. Everyone else has a gun or blaster or some kind of ranged attack to use while they close in.


    CROWD CONTROL


    I can't say I saw the crowd control bar they had from earlier builds since I didn't think to look for it, but there are a few things to point out about crowd control. You can get CC'd a couple times in a row - like twice. Then it seems you're back in the clear for a few seconds. Crowd Control seems to be quite a bit effective at grabbing someone running away to dash around the corner. Many of the CC abilities are channeled which means you can spam it until you're in range - effectively making it an instant. The Empire was certainly not fond of me running away to heal with my sliver of health.


    OUT OF COMBAT HEAL


    The out of combat self heal may still need some work or may have been a bug they are working on. If you run out of combat and get away, you couldn't always count on 10 seconds or so to be enough to heal back up a full health bar. In some matches, I couldn't heal myself and died despite having the time and being out of combat. It would say I was still in combat. With a sliver of health left and that self heal not allowed, it was a mad dash for the power up heal or get hunted down quickly. Low health bars are very appealing to opposing faction players in PVP - it means less work for them to finish you off.


    I did find a work around by using one of the control points, this seemed to take me out of combat. Also, for the last day of PVP, it seemed like the out of combat healing was working as intended.


    BUFFS


    Every class had its own group buff. These buffs were mirrored on both sides. Like any PVP match, you wanted to make sure all your buffs were redone before jumping back in, including your self-buffs or stances. The group buffs did not stack from what I saw. The Trooper and Bounty Hunters brought the Endurance group buff. Smugglers and Imperial Agents brought the critical chance buff. Consulars and Inquisitors brought the +5% to all stats except Endurance as well as some resistances. The Knights and Warriors brought the Might buffs that boosted damage types. All the buffs were +5% increases so they all scale with level unlike buffs in a lot of other games. They were looking down the road with buff design and not at just the launch door.


    RUN SPEED


    Another thing that takes getting used to is the character run speed. It's not slow and it's not fast. Mostly you notice it because many other games allow characters to run fast. The speed goes with the character animations and game so don't worry there. After a bit of hands on, you stop noticing it.


    STEALTH


    Stealth in this game runs at just about the same speed as non-stealth speed. The stealth animation was a little different for Shadow and Scoundrel. One difference for stealth in SWTOR is you don't have as long to camp out next to someone before they spot you and proceed to lay some smack down.


    Get in and strike quickly or bravely run away like Sir Robin. They will see you if you linger. It's not invisibility. It's best use aside from abilities only used in stealth is to approach a control point unseen and take it without them seeing. Also, it's not a bad way for healers to start a fight without them being the first target selected.


    TARGETING


    You had to use TAB to target enemies or you could use your mouse to select them (not recommended in PVP). It worked pretty good except when your current target ran to the side or behind you. When you press TAB next, it seemed to not move. It should move to the next target farther away in visible range. That will need to be something that needs to be addressed I think. You could fix that issue by hitting ESC to clear your target (a typical MMORPG feature) and hitting TAB again to cycle through targets.


    For healers, there was no key that I found to cycle through friendly nearby targets, but I think that would be something they would or could add. They did mention at the Q&A that they would add additional features to help with healing. Your secret skill for healing so far looks like good old-fashioned point and click (either on their body or on their portrait) for targeting your heals. Again, hitting ESC clears your current target - friendly or enemy. Casting a heal without a target causes it to get cast on yourself.


    I was wondering what kind of targeting system they would go with - either the single target system like World of Warcraft or dual target system like Warhammer Online. Warhammer lets you have 2 targets - one enemy target and one friendly target which took a little getting used to, but was definitely more useful for groups and PVP which required more target juggling. I think that might a great help for SWTOR if they're avoiding addons and want to add something for healers. I guess I can hope that they add that in even though it would require some rework of the UI and current targeting system (which is single target). Dual targets is not really noticed by DPS or tank classes as much since they are concerned more with whacking whatever target is in front of them. I'd bet tanks could find it useful for Guard though.


    NOTEABLE BUGS


    In this build, the popup at the end of PVP matches didn't always come up to signify the end of the match. The first day or so it worked and the last. The middle days required the devs working the demo floor to keep their eye on the ships' health scores to see when one got shot down. So many of my matches, I could only guess how I did. There was a way to see how many marks you got through a character buff you received upon match completion. Obviously, this affected their demo, but clearly something easier to fix compared to some things and something they would most definitely fix.


    There was also a zoom in bug that I found by zooming all the way into 1st person view. You can zoom in, but not back out. They had to log me out of game and back in to fix it. Again, this would be something I'm sure they would fix. No biggie. This one only affected you if you zoomed in all the way from 3rd person view to 1st person view.


    That targeting issue mentioned above was also minor in the grand scheme of things.


    Naturally, they are still fixing things, tweaking, and polishing. Sometimes things appear in one build because of recent changes or additions. I wouldn't worry about these bugs or glitches. Bioware is not going to release crap. We heard it officially at Comic Con. I cannot tell you how many bugs the final release of Age of Conan had at launch and for the first 3 months afterwards (you couldn't even keep your computer running for more than 1 hour before it would crash, too), but in comparison, Bioware's game, SWTOR, is the total opposite, having very few bugs (minor ones at that) even in a beta demo. This bodes very well.


    [​IMG]














    COMMANDO








    [​IMG]






    Match 1





    The Commando is an Advanced Class of the Trooper. I started this match off with a nice yell of "LEEEEROOOOOOOOOOOY!!!!!!!".



    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Commando had:





    Group Buff + 5% to Endurance

    Self Buff - Armor Piercing - something like 25% armor piercing

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Hammer Shot (the no cost spammable shot)

    Cryo Ban grenade (AOE freeze grenade)

    Sticky Grenade

    Full Auto (channeled firepower)

    Stock Strike (melee attack with butt of rifle)

    Single target heal (1.5 sec cast I think)

    Explosive Round



    Play

    :

    This was my first match so I was getting used to everything all at once. I started off more of a DPS, killing players, and taking control points, but ended up healing to cement the win and keep teammates alive. I ended with 3rd or 4th on both damage done and healing - something like 40k healing done. I intended to top that next time I healed. Despite not being a tank, it was pretty rugged and took a good beating. You have to make sure you stop moving when using Full Auto since it's channeled or you waste that cooldown. Stockstrike gets used a bunch since some of the more dangerous classes like to get up close to deliver.





    Notes

    :

    The ammo regen was pretty comparable to other classes. My earlier examination of the Trooper Vanguard information lead me to believe the regen was slow, but did not note any energy bar issues in comparison to other classes.





    Issues

    :

    Did not have any issues with the Commando




    [​IMG]




    SAGE






    [​IMG]






    Match 2





    The Sage is an Advanced Class of the Jedi Consular. This one was a red Twilek. Good mix of abilities. The ranged nukes were good. Had a buff that was like a 5% to all stats. No stealth on bar. 1 heal like Commando. Had a bit more fun with this match. Went heals. Ended match with 44k heals. Bar setup kept making me click the PBAOE knockback when I didn't need to. Plus it was instant cast so moving after pressing it by accident didn't help. Had some close up melee attacks. Not just one. Single saber of course.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Sage had:





    Group Buff + 5% to every stat except Endurance plus some resistances

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some lightsaber strikes

    Single target heal (1.5 sec cast I think)

    Channeled nuke

    Force Stasis channeled CC

    PBAOE knockback (an AOE knockback centered on yourself for targets in range)

    Ranged nuke



    Play

    :

    This match I went part heals and part killer. This class surprised me because I didn't think I'd be interested in playing a ranged nuker again. I had actually been looking more to be a Shadow if I played a Jedi Consular. This was a very fun class to play. The PBAOE knockback was delicious in the center area since many fights are close together in that platform area and a great way to keep melee off your person while you heal or throw debris at people. The playstyle and knockback was very reminiscent of my elemental shaman even though that's where the similarity ends.





    Issues

    :

    Did not have any issues with the Sage







    MARAUDER






    [​IMG]






    Match 3





    The Marauder is an Advanced Class of the Sith Warrior. I decided to mix it up a little and go Empire this time. I saw the backside of the character and thought it was Operative at first since it had a snazzy leather outfit. It turns out it was a Marauder.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Marauder had:







    Group Buff - Force Might + 5% to damage stats - in a way similar to the World of Warcraft paladin buff for Might which gave Attack Power, but this one was for different types of damage, not just one

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some lightsaber strikes for building Rage

    Charge

    Shii-Cho stance

    Impale for spending Rage

    Force Choke channeled CC, does damage while target it held, builds rage



    Play

    :

    I had quite a bit of fun with this one. I am fairly certain I will play a Sith Warrior Marauder when I roll an Empire alt someday. You will love Charge, but your opponents won't. Since fights last a while, you can often get multiple Charges off before you finish off your opponent despite the cooldown. Force Choke is heaps of fun. It lifts them up in the air and they make a choking gesture, grasping their neck. It made me curious on how the tanking version or it's tanking version counterpart do. The Marauder had a Might buff and you wanted to be in your Shii Cho form for the damage bonus and Rage cost reduction. Very fun. You get right up in the thick of things. I can see these guys causing a lot of trouble in PVP matches and I'm betting their counterpart, the Sentinel, is the same. Now I can't remember if I was #1 on damage that time or not, but I'm sure it was up there if it wasn't. People were singling me out on that one for sure. Force Choke is a channeled DoT/CC that builds rage. That plus Charge is win.





    Issues

    :

    Did not have any issues with the Marauder.









    POWERTECH






    [​IMG]






    Match 4





    The Powertech is an Advanced Class of the Bounty Hunter. This was my first tank class played in PVP. Initially, I sat in front of the Assassin, but then moved quickly to 1 of the 2 Bounty Hunter spots hoping for playing the Mercenary, but alas it was the Powertech I had in front of me and someone else grabbed the Merc before I did and didn't want to switch. Oh well, right? Kill people anyways!





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Powertech had:





    Group Buff + 5% to Endurance

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some blaster shots

    AOE flame thrower move (you can pivot, but moving cancels effect)

    A move that shot missiles

    Rocket Punch - the flying uppercut

    Death From Above - this ability targets the ground and you have to click where you want that effect to go



    Play

    :

    In this match, I wasn't too impressed with the Bounty Hunter or Powertech. You'll see why when you read about my second match using this class later on. You definitely have some survivability. Death from Above is harder to pull off unless a group of enemies are staying in one spot for too long. Death from Above appeared to have a smaller radius (but that might have just been the targeting circle on the ground) and your target in PVP of course never wants to stand still long enough to get hit by it. You do make good use of your single blaster pistol as you close in or as your opponents try to run away. Flame thrower ability was good against melee who like to get in range for it anyways. It seems like your overall damage is lower, but your ability to take a beating is higher like the Trooper. The self heal was cool with you playing with your arm gauntlet and flying up a little bit in the air. Flame thrower AOE cone didn't need a target which was fun to play with while you waited for match to start. Rocket punch didn't seem to have too much to it. Like I said earlier, I was hoping to see how the Mercenary Advanced Class does in comparison.





    Issues

    :

    Main issue I had was with the Guard ability which was not necessarily specific to the Powertech. I was hoping to try it out, but consistently found on other classes that it did not appear to work in this build. Other players I spoke with were not able to use or figure it out either. I tried my best to make use of the Guard ability, but it appeared as if it was out of range or not highlighted when I tried to use it. I was really hoping this would be more useful to protect healers or teammates. I hope this goes in as a toggleable ability that only works if you are in a certain range of your target, but you can apply it at 30 meters assuming line of sight.




    The other issue was with Rocket Punch. It just seemed like it needed more clout to it. Bigger damage or some physics knocking someone skyward or something. Just my thoughts.







    SCOUNDREL






    [​IMG]






    Match 5





    The Scoundrel is an Advanced Class of the Smuggler. This time I went back to healing my teammates. Topped charts with 49k on that one now that I was getting more of the hang of things. Five different Advanced Classes down. End of first day.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Scoundrel had:





    Group Buff + 5% to critical chance

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some blaster shots

    Rear position blaster shot (had bleeder I think)

    Single target heal (1.5 sec cast I think)

    Stealth

    Flashbang Grenade CC

    Thermal Detonator

    Dirty Kick



    Play

    :

    I really liked the abilities on the Scoundrel. Dirty Kick is, in fact, as awesome as it sounds and a very satisfying way to finish an opponent with a little bit of health left. The Scoundrel had a nice positional blaster attack but it was like on the number 10 key and harder to reach with their set up to pull off when I wanted it but did 1200+ damage when used. At level 10-11, anything over 1000 is a big hit and some classes had abilities that hit for twice that. I made good use of the shots and thermal grenades. The group buff was Lucky Shots which boosted critical chance by 5%. Stealth was hard to get into since it was impossible to use if it considered you in combat. I kept hoping something like not getting hit for X seconds and sheathing your weapon would get you out, but didn't do it. Only when I ran off to take a control point was I able to pop into stealth again. Shooting targets trying to grab control points seemed to work very well at interrupting them from their interact with object action. One of the shots had a bleeder effect. I had a blast with this one just like the Sage.





    Issues

    :

    Did not have any issues with the Scoundrel.





    GUNSLINGER






    [​IMG]






    Match 6





    The Gunslinger is an Advanced Class of the Smuggler. It used the cover system. I asked Corey Butler about the cover system and he said that some Warzones might not have as many cover positions for the cover system to use. This means that the Smugglers and Imperial Agents will want to primarily use Portable Cover instead (pretty much the Gunslinger and Sniper AC's since the other 2 AC's rely on stealth and healing). There was a little bit of an issue with cover when you drop it, it always drops the direction that you're currently facing. This is an issue when you're running from an enemy and wanted to drop one and spin around. With the cover system using Portable Cover, when you are close enough to placed Portable Cover, your action bar changes. Wrong side of it or facing away and your action bars go back to original ones. Some abilities can only be used while in cover such as the more damaging shots for the Sniper and Gunslinger.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Gunslinger had:





    Group Buff + 5% to critical chance

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some blaster shots

    Portable Cover

    Charged blast (cover only shot)

    A ranged incendiary or grenade ala Saboteur (cover only shot I think)

    Flashbang Grenade CC

    Thermal Detonator

    Dirty Kick

    Pistol whip



    Play

    :

    This was also a very fun class to play. Still have the Flashbang Grendade and Dirty Kick which never ever ever gets tiresome of using. Lucky Shots buffs 5% to crit. It had bigger shots only usable from cover. Smuggler is looking to me like a very appealing class. Who needs stealth?





    Issues

    :

    Basically, when you drop Portable Cover, it faces the same direction your character is facing. This is useful if you are stationary or if you run then stop and need to setup in that direction you are facing. Where it becomes a pain is when you're being chased or pursued by enemies, it would be far better if that Portable Cover faces your enemy target when you drop it or faces forward if you have no target. I'm not sure if Portable Cover still reduces damage taken or provides some other benefit, but it didn't show on the tooltip if it did.







    SENTINEL






    [​IMG]






    Match 7





    The Sentinel is an Advanced Class of the Jedi Knight. I wanted to test this one to compare to the Marauder experience I had the day before. Pretty similar at least at lower levels, but totally different abilities, animations, and particle effects. A well played Sentinel or Marauder is scary in PVP at least around level 10-12. Force Stasis is very similar to the Force Choke ability of the Marauder. It's channeled CC that does damage as you hold it. Sexy.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Sentinel had:





    Group Buff - Force Might + 5% to damage stats - in a way similar to the World of Warcraft paladin buff for Might which gave Attack Power, but this one was for different types of damage, not just one

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some lightsaber strikes for building Focus

    Charge

    Shii-Cho stance

    Force Stasis channeled CC, does damage while target it held, builds Focus

    Force Storm for spending Focus

    Overhead Slash for spending Focus

    Master Strike for spending Focus



    Play

    :

    The Sentinel played pretty much mirror image to the Marauder's playstyle as I thought. Despite the warning of not playing with the action bars, it appears someone had removed my CC's off the bar. In my plays as Empire, I definitely felt the Sentinel's sting in melee and its CC Force Stasis as well.





    Issues

    :

    Did not have any issues with the Sentinel.







    SHADOW






    [​IMG]






    Match 8





    The Shadow is an Advanced Class of the Jedi Consular. This time I wanted to play the 'other' Jedi Consular AC.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Shadow had:





    Group Buff - 5% to every stat except Endurance plus some resistances

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Several lightsaber strikes

    Rear positional lightsaber strike

    Force Stasis channeled CC

    PBAOE knockback (an AOE knockback centered on yourself for targets in range)

    Stealth



    Play

    :

    This was my first shot at one of the sneaky double-bladed lightsaber classes. It had rear positional attacks for big damage. This time stealth was easier to use than the out of combat self-heal. The only way to use it was to interact with an object like the control point console (which was like 8-10 seconds to take it, damage interrupts). But that interaction seemed to turn off whatever was holding you back from using the self-heal. Out of combat heal would always say 'you're in combat' when you zip around the corner.





    Issues

    :

    I have issue and it's not really a big issue - it's just the Consular AOE knockback seems counter-intuitive to its melee purpose of closing to melee range to attack opponents. It's possible this gets tweaked to be more useful with skills that modify that from the Shadow skill trees. The other CC which holds someone in place at least seems to aid that purpose even though it does no damage.







    OPERATIVE






    [​IMG]






    Match 9





    The Operative is an Advanced Class of the Imperial Agent. Finally a chance to play one of the Empire's healers and the end of my Day 2.







    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Operative had:





    Group Buff - 5% to critical chance

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some blaster shots

    Rear positional energy shiv attack

    Single target heal (1.5 sec cast I think)

    Electro Dart CC

    Stealth



    Play

    :

    This was another Advanced Class I wanted to check out. Love the syringe heal. You jab the thing into your leg if you cast it on yourself. You shoot it at someone from your syringe gun if you target your teammates. Along same lines as the Scoundrel at least in the beginning. Instead of a Dirty Kick, they have a dirty ability with an electro dart. It's a bit more visual with the cackling electricity rippling all over the target than the Dirty Kick recipient who just hunches over in agony.This also makes my third stealth class.





    Issues

    :

    Did not have any issues with the Operative.




    At this point I still needed Vanguard, Juggernaut, Sniper, Mercenary, Sorceror, Assassin, and Guardian to get all the classes.







    VANGUARD






    [​IMG]






    Match 10





    The Vanguard is an Advanced Class of the Trooper. At this point, it was certain I would not be able to play all 16 classes, but it did seem plausible to grab all the Republic ones. I figured I would shoot for that and still try to grab as many classes as I could.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Vanguard had:





    Group Buff + 5% to Endurance

    Self Buff - Damage shield (does damage to anyone attacking Trooper)

    Self Buff - Armor Piercing - something like 25% armor piercing

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Hammer Shot (the no cost spammable shot)

    Cryo Ban grenade (AOE freeze grenade)

    Sticky Grenade

    Full Auto (channeled firepower)

    Stock Strike (melee attack with butt of rifle)

    Explosive Round



    Play

    :

    I wanted to play the Vanguard to get a feel for the Trooper tank in PVP and also because I have at least one guildie interested in playing a Vanguard tank. Just like my Powertech experience, it was able to take a beating. I remember lots of Stockstrikes in this one since all the melee wanted a piece of me.





    Issues

    :

    Did not have any issues with the Vanguard other than Guard mentioned in the Powertech (above).









    POWERTECH






    [​IMG]






    Match 11





    The Powertech is an Advanced Class of the Bounty Hunter. This was the first Advanced Class I played twice. Again, not by my choice - it was just luck of the draw.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Powertech had:





    Group Buff + 5% to Endurance

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some blaster shots

    AOE flame thrower move (you can pivot, but moving cancels effect)

    A move that shot missiles

    Rocket Punch - the flying uppercut

    Death From Above - this ability targets the ground and you have to click where you want that effect to go.

    some CC - I think it was an Electro Dart or some kind of freeze



    Play

    :

    Strangely enough playing this class twice had a benefit to my PVP experience. I found there were a few more abilities on the Powertech's bar this time around including CC and a missile attack. I had thought the bar seemed a bit light looking at it the first time I played it. Some idiot apparently removed several abilities by accident (or possibly on purpose) before I hopped on that PC that first time on the Powertech. Now they were all here. This class was a lot more fun to play when you have CC of some kind and another ability or 2 which I should have written down in all my excitement. Not my cup of tea, but still fun.





    Issues

    :

    Still same issues as noted in the earlier description of the Powertech regarding Guard and Rocket Punch.







    GUARDIAN






    [​IMG]






    Match 12





    The Guardian is an Advanced Class of the Jedi Knight. This was the last Advanced Class I needed to have played all the Republic AC's.





    General Abilities

    :

    At this level, the Guardian had:





    Group Buff - Force Might + 5% to damage stats - in a way similar to the World of Warcraft paladin buff for Might which gave Attack Power, but this one was for different types of damage, not just one

    Self heal/recharge (out of combat only)

    Some lightsaber strikes for building Focus

    Charge

    Shii-Cho stance

    Force Storm for spending Focus

    Overhead Slash for spending Focus

    Master Strike for spending Focus



    Play

    :

    The Guardian had the same issue as my first Powertech - some abilities were missing off the bar. It's all good - I continued on. The Guardian relies on the Shii-Cho form to apply damage





    Issues

    :

    Did not have any issues with the Guardian.









    SCOUNDREL






    [​IMG]






    Match 13





    The Scoundrel is an Advanced Class of the Smuggler. This was the second Advanced Class I got to play two times. Since it was the last match of the day AND last match of Bioware Base's 4 day run, I just picked a Republic class to play for fun instead of study.





    General Abilities

    :

    Same as above except this time I saw Portable Cover on the action bar along with a channeled heal that was on the bar when I was in cover. I'm not sure if the heal required cover or just happened to be on the cover action bar that way. It may have been a skill tree ability since at level 12, the characters had 1 or 2 points floating around that some players had noticed they could spend. I'm more inclined to think it was a skill tree ability since the other healers did not have a 2nd heal.





    Play

    :

    This time around being my last match and last match of Bioware Base/Comic Con 2011. I just had fun with it and enjoyed it. I healed. I killed people. Our team wasn't as organized, but we still had a few good players and didn't make it an easy win for them. The Empire ended up winning this match and evening the day's score of 7 wins Republic to 7 wins Empire. A tie.





    Issues

    :

    Still did not have any issues with the Scoundrel.





    [​IMG]

    OKAY SELF


    Now to interview myself in the interest of being thorough. What things would I want to know if I was at home and wasn't able to come to San Diego to play? Okay self - let's do it. Let's rock.


    Was it fun?


    Yes. PVP was most definitely fun to play in SWTOR. I can easily see why Daniel Erickson said it's difficult to get people to do anything else except PVP. Time just flies by. I can imagine it's a bit more fun when it's YOUR character and your keybinds. Your own gear. Your own stats. Your own action bars.


    Did PVP seem balanced?


    PVP was very balanced at that level. I think that is really what they wanted to showcase at Bioware Base - that the harder part of PVP to work on actually is starting to get there, it's fun, and they wanted to show the changes they've made so far. Normally, MMORPGs balance only the endgame PVP but that can make it unfun if you like to PVP as you level up since those are often still unbalanced or not quite as balanced as endgame at best. I think this also makes another interesting statement for Bioware to its MMORPG brethren.


    The other thing to keep in mind here is that this is roughly a demo of very balanced level 10 PVP. At it's core - everything is definitely balanced. This allows them to build on top of that base instead of fudging things at the endgame like many other MMORPGs who rushed their product out the door and ignored low and mid-game balance. Now, each of these Advanced Classes will have additional abilities as they level up for class, advanced class, and skill trees. So each of those will need to be tweaked and balanced for PVP, but now that job is far easier with a solid reference level of where things should be and what they want to strive for at endgame.


    Which advanced class was your favorite?


    I'd say I have several favorites now - Sage, Scoundrel, Gunslinger, and Marauder stick out off the top of my head right now. I'm still not too sure about going as a healing Commando.


    Which class was your least favorite?


    The Powertech. It's just not my playstyle although playing it twice helped me form a better opinion since the second time didn't appear to have as many abilities missing off the bar.


    How long did it take to kill someone in PVP?


    That of course depends on how many people were on that person. One on one - it seemed like a good 30 seconds or more of strategic combat. WIth a whole team bearing down on you all at once, your health lasted only a few seconds before it was speeder bike time.


    Did PVP seem more strategic?


    PVP in SWTOR is definitely more strategic. You jump in - mash your most powerful abilities and the guy's still standing with 80% of his health bar. Well now what? Now it's a fight of 'how well can you manage those other abilities that aren't on cooldown?' You find that range and line of sight are much more useful now. Crowd control won't last long enough to kill someone off - what else can you use it for? Healing yourself? Can you make it out of line of sight before it wears off? Your fights now have a lot more substance to it. Your teammates or your opponent's may have time to catch up and join in, adding to the challenge and difficulty of winning that battle. Players will have to think more about what they're doing and when they use it.


    Of course there will always be some players who ignore PVP objectives and just love to run around and kill, but they will find no large numbers of player kills in SWTOR. When you finally drop someone 1 on 1, it's a great feeling.


    Were classes easy to recognize?


    The classes are very easy to recognize. Iconic. But, the Advanced Classes will take some getting used to spot them more with ease. Just like knowing what kind of spec Druid you were facing in PVP in World of Warcraft was not something you knew on your first day in PVP. You learned that over time and experience.


    Did any classes feel underpowered or overpowered?


    I thought that at first with the Powertech being underpowered, but that was just other players messing up action bars. So after realizing that and playing all these matches, it seems very balanced to me right now.


    What did the powerups do?


    These were floating on the ground at key locations. Some healed some of your health. Some gave you a HUGE movement speed boost for 10-15 sec. Another one boosted your damage done by 50%. Might be an invulnerability one or other ones, but I didn't check every inch of the map. Those first 3 there got used by me a bit - especially the speed one. Very useful for zipping under the center area to get to the other control point.


    How long did it take to grab a control point?


    I want to say it was about 8 seconds. Any damage or moving around would cancel that action.


    How much damage could each ship take?


    Each faction ship looks like it starts with 500 health points.


    Is there anything you would change to improve PVP now that you've played a few matches?


    I would fix Guard for sure. I know tanks are looking forward to using that one and healers looking forward to receiving it.


    The Portable Cover issue I brought up above when you're dropping a cover while running. Maybe - just maybe - adding something to Rocket Punch for the Bounty Hunter. Aside from that, nothing else comes to mind. The scoreboard, the fights, the map, the speeder bikes, the turrets - it's all looking good. I guess we'll see if they change or add anything more as we zip through the summer and get closer to the holidays.


    How was the Guard ability?


    Like I went over above, I wasn't able to use it. I tried to, but it was greyed out like my target was out of range even when that target was next to me. I was hoping it was a kind of toggle buff ability like the Protect ability of warrior types in other MMORPGs, but doesn't look like that so far. Other players I asked while waiting in line couldn't figure how to use it either.


    How was healing in PVP?


    Healing so far looks like there's no way to keep up with damage dished out. So you can't stand there and spam heal yourself to stay alive. Or even for a teammate. You can only prolong things a little so it's a bit more strategic. You have to decide your tactic or strategy - Do I heal myself for that little amount because they're coming for me next or do I heal my teammate who's about to die? Perhaps 2 healers spamming heals might be able to keep someone alive versus 1 enemy player by himself, but 1 by himself - no chance. You'll run out of energy or you'll find the amount you heal is not enough to keep you topped off. Aside from that it's very similar to other MMORPG experiences you might have healing.


    How was stealth?


    Stealth surprised me with the speed you move at while you are in stealth. In most other games, it's a crawl. You stealth and follow your team only to arrive long after they do. SWTOR's stealth system allows you to pretty much keep up while in stealth, but if you're near the enemy you better deliver quickly before they see you - you only have 1-2 seconds before they spot you.


    How was the out-of-combat self heal?


    I think some of my matches were bugged, but the later matches I had on Day 3 and 4 had an easier time using them. Day 1 and 2 always seemed to say I was in combat even when I wasn't. I did find a way to get around that by using a control point to get control of it then using the self-heal.


    How was the cover system?


    I did not get a chance to use the actual cover system in PVP. Per Cory Butler, it appears that they might have removed some or all of it from some Warzones. Perhaps all of them. Portable cover is your best friend in a pinch anyways.


    How did tanks do in PVP?


    Tanks could still dish out good damage and had good survivability. You can still die 1 on 1 to a DPS class so don't get too cocky.


    How did DPS do in PVP?


    I'd say the pure DPS classes were the ones you looked out for more. They're all nasty in a pinch for damage and CC. Their damage seemed to be slightly higher than tanks or healers, but I had no way to measure by how much or even if that's actually certain. Every class can DPS, but some AC's such as Sniper, Marauder, Sentinel, and Gunslinger cannot do anything but DPS. They can't tank or heal. It seemed like it was a couple % damage higher than other classes as a tradeoff for that disadvantage for these 4, but again, I can't be sure.


    How did healers do in PVP?


    Expect to be a primary target and recipient of a lot of PVP abilities. In PVP, the other team wants you dead or crowd controlled as much as possible. Don't let the heals fool you either, they can dish out good damage too. All the healer classes were quite capable of damage if they didn't want to heal. The Commando has a big gun and likes to use it. The Scoundrel has some rear attacks so you won't want to expose your back if you can help it to a Scoundrel. The Sage will nuke you down if it wants to. Same for the Empire's classes.


    How was crowd control?


    Crowd control or CC was more important on how and when it was used. At worst you might get hit with 2 CC's back to back then I think their crowd control bar immunity timer kicks in. One thing it is good for is catching someone running away. I can't tell you how many times I tried to run out of range or break line of sight only to get held in place long enough for their whole team to catch up again. Then it's speeder bike time - meaning you die, you click the respawn button, then you reappear back on your ship and jump back on the next speeder bike down to get back in the fray.


    How was the map layout?


    The map was set up very well. The respawn area, speeder bikes, building design, the walls, the control points, terrain, and even the power ups all have the signs that all the design teams are working together, things are getting tweaked and polished, and all the teams understand PVP.


    How was the speeder ride down?


    It gives you a quick view of the whole Warzone, but really you're thinking - where am I going when this thing lands? How many people at the center control point help you figure that answer out, too.


    Were there any PVP vendors?


    Yes, there was a PVP vendor in the respawn area with some consummables that are PVP only. One of them even had a chance for a PVP item it said. No idea what that chance is.


    What level characters were they?


    The Aldaraan Warzone demo'd at Bioware Base SDCC 2011 was for level 10 characters - but they were 11 and 12 when you actually sat in front of the PCs.


    Did race make any difference?


    Absolutely none aside from visual differences.


    Were there any racial abilities?


    None as far as I could tell. Per the Q&A over the 4 days there, it appears they are working on adding some kind of racials into the game. I think they also said that if it's not at launch, that feature would not be there. That makes sense. Who wants to see racials added in a year or 2 later?


    What kind of gear did each character have on?


    All the characters had very basic green items equipped.


    How much stats did classes have?


    150ish in their main stats and under 100 for the rest. Remember they're level 11 or 12.


    How many marks did you get each match?


    You received marks at the end of each match for your performance. I got anywhere from 4 to 7 depending on how well I did with that class and how much we were owning or being owned. Gotta love PUG PVP. Some people had never played PVP before.


    Have your PVP experiences made you change your mind on what class you wanted to play at launch now that you have some hands on?


    I would say definitely. I went in wanting to play the Commando healer as my main and Shadow as my alt. After trying all the classes I did, I'm not so sure now. I'll really have to re-examine what I want when I have more time to ponder.


    Any battles you want to share?


    I remember a drawn out battle on the Powertech with a Gunslinger. It took forever and came down to a single shot of health left. I got to ride the speeder bike.


    For the matches, I remember one of our matches went back and forth, back and forth. Each side fought hard for control of the control points. I honestly can't remember if we won or lost, but the capital ships had 0 and 15 damage left at the conclusion. 15 is about what 1 turret does in damage I think so it could have gone either way with that 1 turret blast. I think that was one of my middle matches where the scoreboard was bugged for some reason and wouldn't pop, too.


    There was another match where I was playing the Scoundrel or Gunslinger and the Vanguard player's computer crashed right at the start for whatever reason. We kept the match going without the Vanguard player so that was a match of 7 Republic versus 8 Empire. We actually held them off for quite a while. It was one of my longer matches before we lost. Bioware was able to get that PC up and running for the next match.


    I can remember one time where this Empire player was guarding a control point or rather thought he was. I was a Shadow I think that time - I snuck in to the control point panel. He didn't see anyone (I was sneaking in from a distance) or see any action nearby so he kept looking towards the center area and eventually ran off to find action in the middle of the map. I took that control point, unstealthing on the opposite side of the point, with him standing not too far away - laughing the whole time as he ran off to find some action. He never even knew I was there. Always guard your control points, folks. Even if you don't see anyone coming.


    KEEP IN MIND


    Remember as always, the game is still in development. Things can and will change right up until release/launch date. Since it's an MMORPG, things will continue to change even after launch.


    ENDGAME PVP?


    I really can't wait to see what endgame PVP looks like in SWTOR. I want to see how much things change at level 50 once you get all your abilities and skill trees. I am also eager to hear what this open world PVP will end up like. It sounds like we'll get more information on all that and other PVP details over the rest of the summer (which is actually coming to a close in another month or so). More Warzone details I hope, too.
     
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