Saturday, September 17, 2011

SWTOR Community Q&A on PvP

I for one am looking forward to getting into HutBall! What's not to like about shooting the dude that just took your ball? :P Today, Principal Lead PvP Designer Gabe Amatangelo answers a few of your questions about Player-vs-Player Combat in The Old Republic.


Q: How important is the PvP community to BioWare? – Kryptorchid

A: Very important. The Old Republic’s PvP developers are avid gamers and active, long-time members of the MMO PvP community. We hold preservation and growth of the The Old Republic PvP community near and dear to our hearts.

Q: Will there be any kind of arena system? If so, which brackets will it support? - Inquiescent

A: ‘Arena System’ has come to mean two different things depending on the context: Single Elimination PvP game mode and Ranking/Tournament Systems. Whether or not we add that game mode to The Old Republic’s current lineup (domination, assault and bombing run) is TBD. However, one of the top things on our list for post launch is a rated Warzone system where players can form teams, earn team ratings, earn individual ratings, as well as participate in tournaments, etc.

Q: Are there any plans for non-combat forms of PvP, such as Pazaak or Swoop Racing? - RizzoRatchet

A: We are considering, testing and/or developing several things like that. We’ll let you know as soon as we are sure about what we’re going to add.

Q: Will we see a “Criminal” or “Bounty” mechanic so that we can persistently hunt down and torment those who hinder our progression? – Gryffin

A: Haha. Nice way of phrasing ‘how do you guys plan to deal with griefers!’ We are currently testing and iterating on a system to ensure player progression cannot be blocked by griefers on a PvP server, while still allowing for the thrill of spontaneous open world PvP conflicts.

Q: Will there be safe zones on PvP servers outside of faction-specific planets? – Zepplin

A: There are very few, but some do exist. For example, the promenade on the neutral planet of Nar’Shadda is a sanctuary.

Q: What incentives will there be for players to focus on targets outside of the typical “gank the healer” strategy; and how will factors such as burst damage, crowd control and “PvP tanking” play a role in accomplishing this? – Marsobot

A: Winning will be the incentive. Attacking the healer will be the right decision sometimes, but not always. A key contributor in ensuring this is the tanks’ Guard and Taunt abilities. Guard will redirect half of the damage through the Tank’s mitigation and avoidance. A taunted target will deliver less damage to everyone but the tauntee. Players will be able to easily visualize which Tanks are guarding and taunting, who their targets are, and when damage is deflected through clear animations and effects. This adds to the dynamics of a skirmish as players of varying skill levels can easily react to and be on their toes about who the real targets of opportunity are and when. Additionally, Tanks will be recognized and rewarded for how much damage they deflect in this fashion on Warzone scoreboards.

We have a fairly large health pool to burst damage potential ratio. This allows for burst damage to be useful when the time is right, while not letting it dictate the outcome of all skirmishes.

And as far as crowd control goes, there is ‘Resolve.’ Every time a player is crowd controlled they build up Resolve, which is pictured as a bar over the characters head (below the health bar). Once a player’s Resolve Bar is full it changes colors and starts to decay over time, during this they are immune to crowd control. The visual element helps with PvP accessibility, and tuning the Resolve values allows us to achieve a fun tempo ensuring crowd control as its place but isn’t the end all be all of PvP.

Q: Since it has been clearly stated that there will not be dual specs for characters in the game, can you explain your philosophy behind the skill trees and how you are taking into account players that want to be able to play PvP and PvE content on the same character? - illumineart

A: Dual Speccing is something we want to add soon after launch. Also, features like Guard, PvP Taunt, Resolve, etc. work to narrow the gap between PvP and PvE specialized skills (i.e. a +Block skill would be helpful in both PvE and PvP).

Q: Are waiting queues cross-server and, if so, also cross-language? - Kisskill

A: No. We believe that fostering rivalries and memorable encounters with recognizable players are important in building a good PvP community on a server. We suspect cross-server queuing compromises these key tenets. Additionally, systems like bolster and same faction vs same faction Warzones (like Hutball) help matches pop frequently and regularly.

That being said we will be keeping a close eye on the communities and re-examine the system as necessary.

Q: Are there rewards for PvP, such as Titles, Badges, Grades, etc.? – Xenthor

A: Yes. Players will earn currency for PvP Gear, Valor Ranks, titles and other privileges through PvP accomplishments, such as winning Warzone matches, claiming Open World PvP objectives, finding hidden caches in PvP areas, etc.

Q: How will the Bolster system work? – Kelremar

A: If after a time the Warzone matchmaking system has not found a match of players of the same level range, then it will start up a ‘bolstered match’ where players of varying levels will have their stats bolstered to within 20% of each other. Therefore, player skill disparity withstanding, the lowest level player will be 80% as effective as the highest level player in the match.

Thanks for checking out this month’s Studio Insider. We hope you enjoyed taking a look at what goes into creating animations in The Old Republic, as well as our Q&A on PvP. We know you have a lot of questions, so we’ve opened new Community Q&A threads in the forums and onFacebook which center on the topic of socializing in The Old Republic. Post your questions before September 30th and they may get answered in our next Studio Insider!

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