Fan Site Summit: Gabe Amatangelo Interview
Many improvements and changes made their way into various PvP systems since we last spoke to Star Wars: The Old Republic's Gabe Amatangelo. Last month's Fan Site Summit provided an opportunity to catch up with BioWare's Lead PvP Designer to discuss Warzone reward systems, what we can expect if we choose to use PvP as our leveling method of choice, the favorite topic of crowd control in PvP, and much more after a small skirmish with the third rail of interview topics:
Gabe Amatangelo: I want to touch on open world PvP. We're going to have PvP servers, and on the PvE servers there will be designated PvP areas. On a PvE server, you aren't going to flag unless you want to flag yourself, or unless you go into a designated PvP area that is going to be completely isolated from quests and story lines and that kind of stuff. Now, we're not talking about the goals inside those areas today, but we are saying that it is there. People can go and fight each other there.
Are these Open World PvP areas guild- or faction-based?
We're not talking about the goals of those areas. I know Darth Hater and all the people who follow you are really group conscious. You guys are guilds. We want to do everything we can to accommodate that type of game play.
Today we're focusing on a few systems that we haven't talked about before. The focus of them is promoting a good, healthy PvP community and allowing players to play the role they want in PvP. There are a number of systems that roll into those two points.
Hit the jump for more interview PvP.
How would classes that can fulfill a tank role like the Juggernaut, Powertech, and Assassin (and their Republic counterparts) play in a Warzone?
Gabe Amatangelo: They are able to "guard" their allies. Building up their defense, avoidance, etc. is not going to be lost in a PvP situation. They'll be able to shift whatever kind of damage absorption they have onto their buddy. And then the scoreboard tracks every bit of damage they take on behalf of their buddy, and they are rewarded accordingly. We carrot players who aren't working as an organized team with their buddies in Warzones -- like pick up groups. They still have an incentive to throw that guard on a healer that is about to go down or that DPS that got thirty kills on the opposite faction. Basically, a tank who is a good tank will be able to switch their guard targets of opportunity when it is most viable.
Tanks won't have to switch to a DPS spec to be viable in PvP?
Correct. To clarify this a bit more, if you built yourself up to have taunts, heavy armor, and all kinds of avoidance and absorption all of that is going to be one hundred percent viable in PvP through the guard ability. If I taunt a player, they are going to do less damage to everyone except for me. And that less damage that they end up delivering -- that difference is going to be tracked on the scoreboard for me. When I guard a player, fifty percent of the damage they receive is redirected to me. And of course, all my heavy armor and avoidance is going to come into play, helping them to survive as well as myself, and all the damage I take on their behalf will be tracked for my rewards at the end of the Warzone.
Can you describe with an example how one particular Advanced Class would differ its combat style in PvP?
The Sith Assassin's tank spec is more of an avoidance type in PvP. You'll end up blocking, dodging, and that kind of stuff as opposed to having natural mitigation within your armor like a Bounty Hunter or a Trooper Vanguard.
Can you describe the different types of PvP rewards besides XP and some of the innovations you are using in the reward system?
We have a Valor Rank system which players throughout all PvP activities will earn Valor and they will go up in Valor Rank as they hit different Valor thresholds. The Valor ranks are going to award titles as well as other PvP privileges. For example, when you are in a Warzone, whoever has the highest Valor rank in the pre-match is going to be the leader of the Warzone group. So you'll be able to mark targets and that kind of thing. We're going to allow for prestigious sort of privileges for high Valor ranks.
Additionally, you're going to earn Valor Tokens which you can cash in for PvP armor, PvP consumables, and other types of PvP gear like trinkets and things of that nature. But the Valor Rank isn't going to restrict (these items) except for a couple pieces. Generally speaking, it isn't going to restrict what PvP gear you can put on. If you can afford to buy it with Valor tokens, then you can put it on.
In your opinion, what are the comparative benefits of the different kinds of PvP progress tracking systems such as ladders that you move up based on your personal achievements versus structured tournaments or brackets that involve scheduling match ups?
An Elo system lends itself to more incidental PvP; you can just PvP at any time and your win/loss ratio will play into Elo system. You'll either go up or down, and some people do some confidence modifiers to it. The tournament bracket system if you aren't there and it isn't on a schedule that caters to you, then it makes it difficult to participate. I think an Elo system lends itself more towards the casual PvP competitor, whereas the other one is the person who really has to devote to it. Any of us can take a few days off once in a while if it is once in a blue moon.
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