Welcome back to yet another installment of the Darth Hater PvP column, where we’ll collect and update the news about PvP that matters to the PvP community. This thread will be updated periodically as necessary throughout the week, so you can refer back to it for new information. If you have any tips on current content that should be featured, or if you think your PvP video or PvP guild should be featured in a future column, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week we discuss a huge update on the upcoming PvP-driven changes to abilities and to the resolve system, we look at an explanatory video that provides strategies for Alderaan Civil War, and we get your reactions on the incoming PvP changes. Hit the jump for more PvP news!
Official SWTOR Posts:
As far as official posts on PvP go, this one is huge. Austin Peckenpaugh has confirmed numerous upcoming PvP changes including changes to the resolve system and multiple ability changes. Read on for the important excerpts from Austin’s blog post.
Crowd Control Changes
In Game Update 1.4, we’ve made adjustments to the range of control abilities under a new philosophy. We want control to be something more readable, more predictable, and less chaotic in effect. To achieve that, control needs to require a setup, an activation time, or be close range such that the controller must overextend or broadcast their intentions in some way.
In Game Update 1.4, you’ll notice the following changes:
Electro Dart and Cryo Grenade now have a 10-meter range.
Electrocute and Force Stun now have a 10-meter range.
In addition, while Overload and Force Wave make for great escape abilities, they have done so previously at a cost to the overall PvP experience. What we want for these abilities is to create distance between you and your target(s), but what frequently occurs is a bad experience for incidental nearby enemies that aren’t your intended target(s). Jet Boost and Concussion Charge behave similarly, but they are limited to the Mercenary and Commando. Changing them has a less effective impact on the game, and those Advanced Classes play better with a stronger ability on a longer cooldown.
Overload and Force Wave have been redesigned. These abilities now knock back all targets within a 15-meter 120-degree cone in front of you. Furthermore, these abilities now knock back all potential targets instantly; they no longer wait for an animation note at the end of the ability animation.
Resolve System Changes
We’ve also made adjustments to the Resolve system in Game Update 1.4. We’ve adjusted the gain logic of Resolve such that simultaneous and overlapping control effects no longer linearly add together their Resolve gain values. Instead, using a crowd control ability on an already controlled target now applies reasonable Resolve gain values by comparing the incoming control effect to the greatest of existing control effects.
As a result of these Resolve changes, unorganized teams will no longer pay huge penalties for overlapping control effects at critical moments. For example, it can frustrate players when pickup groups accidentally make a Marauder immune to Control because two or more teammates tried to stun him at once. The resulting unstoppable wrecking ball that the attacker transforms into made for a pretty poor experience for players trying to escape him. Additionally, we don’t like it when a Huttball ball carrier gets “fed” full Resolve by a disorganized pickup group trying to stop him from scoring by simultaneously landing multiple Control effects.
Mercenaries and Commandos:
- Mercenaries and Commandos now have a 30-meter interrupt, Disabling Shot. This ability interrupts the target’s current action and prevents that ability from being used for the next 4 seconds. This ability can be trained at level 18.
- Afterburners/Concussive Force: Rocket Punch/Stockstrike now immobilizes the target for 4 seconds instead of knocking it back. Damage caused after 2 seconds ends the effect. The knockback previously caused by this skill generated enough Resolve that it was actually detrimental to the Mercenary/Commando’s ability to further escape the attacker.
- Tracer Lock/Charged Barrel: Now each stack additionally reduces the activation time of your next Healing Scan/Advanced Medical Probe by 20% per stack.
- Kolto Residue: Now additionally snares enemies struck by your Kolto Missile/Kolto Bomb by 50% for 3 seconds.
- New Bodyguard/Combat Medic skill, Peacekeeper/Frontline Medic: While protected by your own Kolto Shell/Trauma Probe, firing Rapid Shots/Hammer Shot at an enemy triggers your Kolto Shell/Trauma Probe to heal you on a separate 3-second rate limit.
Sorcerers and Sages:
- Force Speed now has a 20-second cooldown (down from 30) for all Consulars and Inquisitors.
- New Sorcerer/Sage ability, Unnatural Preservation/Force Mend: Heal yourself for a moderate amount. Only usable on yourself. Instant, costs no Force, 30-second cooldown. This ability is trainable at level 18.
- Dark Resilience/Valiance: Now additionally increases the healing dealt by Unnatural Preservation/Force Mend by 15% per point.
- Fadeout/Egress has been redesigned. Now causes Force Speed to remove all roots and snares and grant immunity to roots and snares for the duration.
- Polarity Shift/Mental Alacrity now additionally grants immunity to interrupts for the duration. Improved visual FX to demonstrate this effect.
- Backlash/Kinetic Collapse: The incapacitation effect caused by this skill no longer breaks on damage.
Scoundrels and Operatives:
- Disappearing Act/Cloaking Screen now has a 2-minute cooldown.
- Energy Screen has been renamed to Ghost. Fight or Flight/Ghost: Now this skill finishes the cooldown on Sneak when you exit stealth mode. Furthermore, this skill allows Sneak to be used out of stealth mode, increasing movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds. This skill still removes the healing done and healing received penalty caused by Disappearing Act/Cloaking Screen.
- Flee the Scene/Advanced Cloaking now additionally reduces the cooldown of Sneak by 7.5 seconds per point. Now reduces the cooldown of Disappearing Act/Cloaking Screen by 15 seconds per point (down from 30 seconds per point).
Shadows and Assassins:
- Force Cloak now has a 2 minute cooldown.
- Infiltration Tactics/Duplicity: Now when triggered, your next Shadow Strike/Maul deals 30% more damage and costs 75% less Force. This cannot occur more than once every 15 seconds, but each rank after the first reduces this rate limit by 3 seconds.
- Celerity/Avoidance now additionally reduces the cooldown of Force Speed by 2.5 seconds per point.
- Masked Assault/Darkswell: Now additionally finishes the cooldown of Blackout when you exit Stealth mode. In addition, Masked Assault/Blackout causes Shadow’s Respite/Dark Embrace to reduce all damage taken by 25% while active.
- Fade now additionally reduces damage taken from area effects by 15% per point. Kinetic Field/Entropic Field no longer provides this effect. Now reduces the cooldown of Force Cloak by 15 seconds per point (down from 30 seconds per point).
- Kinetic Field/Entropic Field has been redesigned. Now critical hits cause you to build a Kinetic/Entropic Field, increasing damage reduction by 1% per point per stack. Stacks up to 3 times.
- Humbling Strike/Magnetism is a new 1-point skill. Causes the target of your Spinning Kick/Spike to be slowed by 70% for 3 seconds when the knockdown effect ends.
- Clairvoyant Strike/Voltaic Slash: Using Project/Shock no longer consumes the buff provided by this ability. This change was made to better synergize with Spinning Strike/Assassinate during execute phases.
No real PvP devtracker highlights this week, but I feel confident that with today’s aforementioned PvP balance blog post we may see some responses from the Community Team soon!
PvP Patch Changes:
There have been no Patch changes affecting PvP since last week.
Around the Forums – Discussion Highlights:
fatninja asks who you cast your MVP vote for.
NeoRinTinTin asks what size health pool you aim for in your PvP gear.
Yiffinator asks for the ability to ping the minimap in PvP.
PvP Video Spotlight:
This week’s PvP video spotlight is brought to you by ConstantWarfare, playing a Saboteur Gunslinger. These strategies are specifically for Alderaan Civil War, and many of them are useful regardless of your class. I love that the video is explanatory and teaches the viewer the reason behind the moves that are made in the video. ConstantWarfare also has even more videos available on their channel: go check them out, and comment if you enjoyed them!
Op-Ed: The Scales of War
Whenever sweeping PvP balance changes are introduced, the result is often a matter of heated debate. This week’s blog post confirming upcoming PvP balancing forSWTOR is likely to be no exception. For myself, I applaud most of the changes, though I wonder why some much-needed changes are missing.
Firstly, I believe the changes to crowd control range are needed. Telegraphing your intentions by closing distance means that the other team may be able to respond (especially tanks!). I also agree with the decision to allow Snipers/Gunslingers to keep the long-distance disorient.
The changes to the resolve system are definitely going to save me a lot of grief in Huttball, too. Few things were as frustrating as watching my opponent’s resolve bar instantly turn white as my team piled stun after stun on my (already-stunned) target. While it will still remain optimal to track your opponent’s resolve, we won’t be penalized as heavily for our teammates who refuse to do so.
The stealth class revamp is intriguing, but as usual the balance of power with classes that rely on stealth is a precarious one. True, these classes had offensive specs that were underplayed, and I am happy to see BioWare respond to the community’s request for better gameplay for these playstyles. I do worry that the pendulum may have swung too far in the other direction (remember the amazing and unrivaled burst potential of Operatives/Smugglers at launch), but only time will tell and in any case we should be able to test these changes before they go live.
What I think might be missing are balance changes to other class/spec combinations, which were left out of Austin’s post. We don’t know for sure that they aren’t coming, but Austin’s blog post would have been a great time to mention them.
PvP Balance Design Philosophy - Single Choice
- I love the upcoming changes and wouldn’t change anything 0%
- The upcoming changes are good, but they could be better 69%
- I am indifferent about the changes 20.7%
- I dislike the changes overall, but they aren’t terrible 6.9%
- I strongly dislike these changes. What were they thinking? 3.4%
Last week’s poll:
The Groaner – Single Choice
Poll: If you had to choose only one, which warzone elicits a loud groan of protest when you see the loading screen?
Alderaan Civil War 0%
Novare Coast 8%
I don’t have a warzone I particularly dislike 16%