Hyperspace Beacon: Why PVPers are abandoning SWTOR – again

    
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I don’t usually like to jump into the PvE-v-PvP debate because no one wins, but I have started to see an exodus of PvPers from Star Wars: The Old Republic recently. Of course, many of the top PvPers have already left because they were bored or fed up with some system or another. But it can’t be said that BioWare isn’t trying to make improvements. But like everything that BioWare does to this MMORPG, it’s one step forward and two steps back.

Let’s take a few moments to talk about the latest fumble.

Amazing PvP items being added

At first, you might think that there is no reason to want to leave the game when there is so much being added for PVPers in Update 5.10. As someone who is not really a part of the PvP community, I can certainly see that perspective, and in a lot of ways, I agree with that sentiment.

In the last update, players were able to purchase the Rishi stronghold. Besides being the largest stronghold you can buy, it is the most PvP-centric stronghold we have. In fact, it’s the only stronghold with PvP mechanics built into the design. Players can group up and PvP in one of two arenas. One arena even has the ability to play Huttball. For a game that seemed to be opposed to player creating their own content since the beginning, the addition of PvP to any stronghold is a major shift in what I would consider the right direction.

Then in this next update groups and guilds will be able to battle each other in the PvP map of their choosing, which adds a level of control to the player that BioWare has never allowed on anything in the past. Even the open-world PvP hasn’t been this open in the past. Many bloggers and complainers seem to be skipping over this major boon to the PvP community.

Equal in all things

As many of you know, I came from Star Wars Galaxies where everything was integrated. There weren’t even different instances of the dungeons there. It was all open world. So the idea of having separate armor for PvP and PvE was foreign to me. I never really understood. it. We are all playing the same game, right? PvP was built into the game’s design. Although there were balance issues all the time, there wasn’t really a PvP community and a PvE community. At the same time, there wasn’t really any raids with heavy boss mechanics until late in the game’s life. I didn’t understand why there needed to be different armor and mechanics for the two different play styles, and to be honest, there really weren’t two different playstyles.

I’ve lived in this new world with instanced dungeons and instanced PvP for eight years now. This world has boss mechanics that are complicated and ever-evolving and a PvP meta that literally changes from week to week as players better understand the mechanics of their classes and the strategies of the different maps. So I understand the desire to have this separation. And as power-creep sets in, this separation can be more and more important for balancing purposes.

All things unequal

However, BioWare decided that PvP and PvE needed to be one and the same when it comes to armor. Expertise was the stat that players used to want in their PvP armor because it created additional damage in PvP only. Expertise also weakened that player against PvE content. But when Command Ranks dropped, the developers did away with that separation. And given the purpose of Command Ranks, I understood that combination, even though I completely disagree with the Command Rank system, in general.

As Command Rank rightfully fell out of popularity, BioWare started a component system that allowed players to purchase armor with components earned through Command Rank or other means. When developing this system to substitute out the Command Rank system, BioWare made it more difficult for PvPers to earn new armor because they would have to go through multiple steps to get the armor because they were given components of components instead of just components like PvEers. And as time has gone on and update after update was added, it has become more and more difficult for PvPers to earn the best armor.

Many PvPers now believe that PvPing to earn your armor is pretty much worthless when 5.10 launches. That’s why they left. They don’t want to be forced to PvE in a game where they have no interest in that kind of gameplay.

Image via Dulfy.net

Turnabout is fair play

As I mentioned on my last livestream with MJ, it’s about time that PvPers have to bend to PvE. For too many years PvEers have had their classes nerfed and gameplay ruined because the PvPers are usually some of the most vocal, and dare I say, whiny voices on gaming forums and other internet communities. It’s about time that PvPers had to deal with it working the other way around.

But as much as I want to say, “It’s about time the PvPers got screwed over, too,” I understand that keeping this game around will require making both the PvPers and PvEers happy. I think we all saw the population drop off when Knights of the Eternal Throne focused on only one aspect of the game. PvEers need PvPers and PvPers need PvEers to bolster a healthy playerbase – BioWare needs both to keep the game alive. I think that’s why it’s rumored that separate armor sets are coming back with the next expansion.

In fact, I believe that the next expansion should a step further and separate the abilities, too. I don’t necessarily believe that they have to change any specific ability sets, but rather have the abilities perform differently when they hit a PC than when hitting an NPC.

Where do you sit in the PvP-vs.-PvE debate? Do you think it’s about time that PvPers drew the short straw this time? Do you think the upcoming changes are terrible? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Every other week, Larry Everett jumps into his T-16 back home, rides through the hypergates of BioWare‘s Star Wars: The Old Republic, and posts his adventures in the Hyperspace Beacon. Drop him a holocom on Twitter @Shaddoe or send him a transmission at larry@massivelyop.com. Now strap yourself in, kid — we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!

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Cory Ulvestad

If anything, PvP gear should drop in PVE almost exclusively and vis versa – so then guilds/clans would mean something again. You rely on the PvE’rs to get you your gear but don’t have to participate and in return you get free gear to improve your own kit. I think that’s the most logical solution to create a thriving gaming community and even economy. If they wanna make a WoW clone and appease all the casuals, they’re gonna lose the people that they’re really trying to cater to – the 30, 40 and 50 something’s that grew up loving the films but unable to get enough of Yoda’s Degabuh grub. They’re the ones willing to actually pay to play, and have the money to do so. If BloatWare wantsta cater to Millennials, give them the same game, but make the in-game economy fair to them – so they just have to pick and choose what they’re in it for; loot or glory. Also… I’m a 30 something, just FYI.

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Matthew Ward

I actually really like this idea… Even if its not a case of gear dropping in PVP for PVE and vice versa, at least tokenise the system so that duplicate items or crappy items can be broken down into something useful, ideally to be crafted into “any” kind of gear (natch with a penalty because its not gained from the primary role… I’m not that liberal :) )

Imagine raiding and getting a couple of useless items. You have no one in your core raid group that is screaming for an upgrade, so you break down the items and allow the PVPers in the guild to make use of the stuff.

If anything, it would trickle back more from the PVPers, because lets be brutally honest, people raiding for the story or the challenge are unicorns, but people that PVP just for the challenge and the grins are Legion!

Cross pollinate this bitch.
I’d play that game.

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Cory Ulvestad

I like the crafting aspect you suggested as well – then people that just want to be a space blacksmith (dunno if racist or punny cuz it’s space?) can just concentrate on that. Not to mention they could cannibalize the non-com classes from SWG and then the smiths could “distill” crafted items to be even more powerful versions of standard drop items. Maybe rare components drop in PvP? Then support characters could be implemented to just be the admins in clans/guilds and they don’t even really need to log-in to the game proper, just be glued to their Kindle or iPhone and keep things running smoothly. Would open up the chances to include a lot of the lore from the Expanded Universe too. Think about it – eventually adding a third faction like the Vong from those novels in the 90s? It’s like Warcraft, but in space. Mebbe George Lucas will see fit to drop Jar Jar off in the nearest blackhole… Oh wait. Disney. Kinda does look like a dopey Micky Mouse, I guess…

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Wow, what a twisted perspective. Are you bucking for a position with a studio because that’s exactly how they seem to operate.

I am primarily a PvE player. I appreciate a good story and a consistent lore. I have my explorer moments. I dabble in instanced PvP but I actively loathe the open world variety that affects PVE players. Even though I dislike certain things I recognize that those things have their fans. The problem isn’t the fans it’s the designers and much of what you’ve just bitched about are abject design failures.

There’s so much stat inflation between TOR’s end-game starter sets and the top tier that despite skill you’ll still get roflstomped by somebody with high-end gear much less optimal stats. That pretty much makes open world PvP pointless.

TOR sorta-kind mitigates that in instanced PvP with bolster but again they totally pooched it. Instead of forcing people to chase the top end they should have stat capped it so that people only needed the 1st or 2nd tier to compete. Yes it’s easy to grind those out. That’s the point. Gear progression is a PVE mechanic and adds nothing to PVP. It makes for unfair fights where skill is trumped by gear. I’m aware that certain insecure individuals are fans of that sort of thing but it’s not a healthy thing for a publisher if they value their customers’ money.

While unified gear is not the problem, unified skills are. It’s yet another throwback to the bad old days and it has been painfully obvious that it simply doesn’t work because the design goals for each mode are diametrically opposed. Again, it’s not a player problem. It’s a design failure.

srmalloy
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srmalloy

They didn’t totally screw it up, because of the way that they clustered the level ranges to more-or-less avoid PvP turning into a venue where there are too many people whose personal validation of their ‘skill’ as a PvPer is how fast their level-capped character with BiS gear can gank your level-5 character with basic starting gear — which is the experience I’ve had in too many MMOs.

They don’t want to be forced to PvE in a game where they have no interest in that kind of gameplay.

And, of course, the people who don’t want to be forced to PvP in a game where they have no interest in that kind of gameplay can just suck it up, right? I started playing City of Heroes, in part, because it didn’t have PvP. And then the devs added PvP, but they swore up and down that “We will never make PvE changes for PvP reasons”… which became “We will never make PvE changes for purely PvP reasons”… which became “We will try not to make PvE changes for PvE reasons” as they kept trying to make powers that were balanced against known NPC combat algorithms balance against the same powers employed by human opponents seeking to tweak them out to their limits. You can tweak the effectiveness of the same ability when used by and against NPCs to achieve the balance you want in PvE combat, but it’s much harder to do that same balancing between players, and as PlasmaJohn points out, once you let gear trump skill, you inevitably fracture the playerbase into two groups — the ones who are sufficiently hard-core PvPers to be willing to go through a seemingly endless period of being curbstomped because you don’t have the BiS gear while you build your gear, and the people who either don’t care about PvP, or for whom the repeated curbstomping kills whatever trace of fun they might have gotten from PvP, and go elsewhere.

Jugginator
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Jugginator

I really think they just want it to die off while skimming money off the cartel market at this point. Maybe the next expansion will be good, but all I see is ignoring the community while pumping out bs on the cartel market. General people want major bug fixes/balancing/new battlegrounds, they respond with “Oh you want more huttball??!!” “No… Most people leave as soon as they see hut..” “More huttball it is! And more cartel stuff!” “Ok but plz. We need bug fixes at least.” “Another huttball reskin!? You got it!” “….. No. Just… Give us a new map please. One that’s fun.” “Everyone loves huttball and giving us money on the ctn! Here’s more!” “………” “You want some more huttball don’t you?” (Uninstalling) “But wait! There’s more huttball and cartel market stuff! We don’t know how to fix the bugs or balance, but everyone loves huttball!” It’s sad really. But oh well.

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Sana Tan

I think many of us really like Huttball, but the new ones (Queshball and Vandin) are a lot worse than the original, and everytime they pop we end up wishing it was the original huttball. All the new maps are worse than the originals, the designers today sadly are not at the same level.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

There’s a lot of things I like about SWTOR but its overly confusing gearing system(s) is not one of them.

When a game layers on complications over an already complicated system, it’s creating a barrier that prevents returning players from easily re-entering the world. It’s one of the reasons I don’t play SWTOR more, I just don’t have patience for the silliness at the core of gearing.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

griefers abandon ship.gif
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Witches

I think they want to decrease the population until they have a good excuse to shut down the game, for years they have been making one bad “improvement” after the other, no one is this incompetent.

This is the only MMO that REMOVES content, i doubt it was the pvp whining that made them remove most bonus quests, or remove a lot of content from Makeb, or removing the replayability of older content with the way they implement level synch, making a flashpoint where you have to jump down or climbs a lot, when the companion pathing is notoriously bad at that isn’t the pvp whiners fault.

This is a long standing BW tactic for this game, make a terrible new feature, and explain it away as being the result of listening to group X request, so groups Y and Z can blame group X, the only reason there are any groups is because BW goes out of their way to make it annoying to do multiple activities, eventually you get tired of doing things you dislike so you can do a thing you kinda like, simply not worth the hassle.

This is just another thing that they will fix to great fanfare one or two years from now, when other screwups made people forget this was something they broke just because they felt like it.

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Vicarious Fan

what are you talking about? Wow just removed one of their battlegrounds and has been removing the classic vanilla dungeons by way of remaking them. not to mention all the quests they removed in Cataclysim.

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Jadefox

What a load of BS.

“As I mentioned on my last livestream with MJ, it’s about time that PvPers have to bend to PvE.”.

PvE has always been the easy path to gear in the game. Up until they removed expertise. PvP players had to work twice as hard to get gear.

Command Crates made it a little more even, but if a PvE player ran Operations. They geared up a lot faster than a PvP player.

“For too many years PvEers have had their classes nerfed and gameplay ruined because the PvPers are usually some of the most vocal, and dare I say, whiny voices on gaming forums and other internet communities”

While that statement may be true in some games. It is not even close to being true in SWTOR. There has not been a vocal PvP group in the game for years, but make changes to healing or tanking and you would think the world ended by how vocal the PvE people are.

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starbuck1771

Yes however PvP is not the main focus of an mmorpg the pve content is. There are other game genre’s that focus on PvP. Generally in mmorpgs PvPers tend to be whiners who think a story driven game should souly focus on them. Its the same bull that caused hell in lotro for a few years because the scrubs kept whining about ettenmoores. The moral is if you want a PvP centric game then find one don’t expect everyone else to bend to pressure.

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NeoWolf

So most of the PVE’ers have gone and now the PVP’ers are leaving who does that leave exactly?? the free riders?? Things are going cactus for SWTOR PDQ.. I hope they turn it around by listening to their community rather than just a tiny portion and the muskrat who only listens to his chosen few and then presents that as if it is what we all wanted before it ends up R.I.P.

They would have returned a lot of good will bu cleaning up the god awful example of an F2p model. The story stuff was fine but then they got lazy and just put out crap and lazy daily areas as if that passed for content. And then they went all pvp, all the time for a while and all the PVe devs left leaving the muppets who think we all find joy from hitting each other and teabagging the bodies afterward (we don’t btw).

Getting back to the Sith – Republic conflict is a good idea but the quality has been SO LOW for so long expectations are pretty low.

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starbuck1771

The diehards.

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Sana Tan

Solo players, rpers, new players, or just peeps that only care about houses and cosmetics, small niches.

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NeoWolf

lol not entirely. I’m predominantly a soloer and an RP’er but I left with Iokath. Even soloers and RP’ers have limits hehe

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Purewitz

I don’t play MMORPGs for PVP. I play MMORPGS for story (Especially when the MMORPG is a well established IP.) and co-op gameplay mainly. I play for exploration and achievements as well. PVP is something I do when I’m bored. If I want to PVP, I go play Overwatch or Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017).

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spencer quinn

its not really rumored there bring back separate gears for them, eric only said on the fourms they would be looking into it in the next expansion. not certain if there doing it or not http://www.swtor.com/community/showpost.php?p=9666104&postcount=1