Thursday, October 3, 2013

Patch 2.4 The “Hype” War?

Is that the PVP Patch over yonder?
Remember the times when every PVP question BioWare was asked, they would point at 2.4? Pepperidge Farm remembers. The SWTOR community remembers as well. And if you don’t, you should! It wasn’t that long ago.

Since prior to Patch 2.3, any and all PVP input from BioWare’s side was put on halt, labeled with a Patch 2.4 stamp, and shelved. The reason being that 2.4 was labeled as THE PVP patch and all questions, comments and concerns will be answered and lifted come the patch. All our PVP hopes and dreams would come true in 2.4; or at least, it would give us the reason as to why the PVP discussions were put on hiatus. BioWare did a pretty good job hyping up patch 2.4 and its effects on PVP. But, did the live up to the hype?


Fast forward to October 1; Patch 2.4, The Dread War, is released. Let’s take a look at the PVP changes that 2.4 provided.

If you would like to take a look at the original Patch Notes, just click here.

Note: For your convenience, the following Patch Notes have been edited in order to focus on PVP and reduce redundancy.

Game Update 2.4: The Dread War

Highlights
• Warzone Arenas! 4v4 Warzone Arenas are now active for Unranked, Ranked Solo, and Ranked Team play!
• Obroan is a new tier of PvP gear obtained via Ranked Warzone Vendors on the Republic and Imperial Fleets. It requires Ranked Warzone Commendations as well as the associated Conqueror piece.

Cartel Market
New Items
• A new bundle is available on the Cartel Market. The PVP Consumables Bundle offers players 10 Medpacks and 10 Adrenals that can be used in all Warzones. Cost: 200 Cartel Coins
• A new bundle is available on the Cartel Market. The Major Warzone XP Boost Bundle offers Major Warzone Experience Boosts that can help the player level up quickly while in Warzones. Cost: 180 Cartel Coins

Crew Skills
Crafting Skills
-Cybertech-
• All Cybertech grenades now bestow a new effect called Bastion on the target, in addition to normal effects. Players who have this effect applied are immune to further Cybertech grenade attacks for the duration of Bastion (3 minutes).

General
• Centurion and Mercenary Commendations have been removed. These Commendation types have been converted into Warzone Commendations at 1:1 ratio, are no longer displayed in the Currency Tab of the Inventory Window, and Warzone Vendors no longer trade items for them.

Vendors
• Ranked Gear Vendors now sell the new Obroan gear.
• Warzone Gear Vendors now sell Conqueror Gear
• Warzone Gear Vendors now sell new Conqueror Relics.
• Warzone Enhancement Vendors now sell Conqueror level Enhancements
• Ranked Enhancement Vendors now sell Obroan level Enhancements
• Warzone Enhancement Vendors no longer sell Partisan level Enhancements

Missions and NPCs
General
PvP missions have been updated:
• [WEEKLY] missions no longer require wins and now advance with one point for a loss and two points for a win in an Unranked Warzone.
• Ranked Warzones no longer count towards [DAILY] or [WEEKLY] mission progress.
• Mission requirements are now as follows:
• Under level 55 [DAILY] PvP missions: 2 completed Unranked Warzones
• Under level 55 [WEEKLY] PvP missions: 5 completed Unranked Warzones
• Level 55 [DAILY] PvP missions: 4 completed Unranked Warzones
• Level 55 [WEEKLY] PvP missions: 15 completed Unranked Warzones

PvP
Warzones
-General-
• 8v8 Ranked Warzones have been removed from the Ranked Warzone queue.
• To ensure proper matchmaking, players are no longer able to change Skill Tree points while in a Warzone queue or match.
• Bolster has been adjusted to account for the addition of the new Obroan and Dread Forged gear.

-Arenas-
4v4 Warzone Arenas are now active! These small scale PvP maps reward victory to last team standing in the best of three rounds. Missions and rewards are provided in the same manner as current Warzones.

The following Arena maps are currently active:
• Orbital Station Arena
• Tatooine Canyon Arena
• Corellia Square Arena

Arenas count as a single Warzone in the Unranked Warzone queue rotation. (Each map is not weighed individually.)

Players can queue for Arenas in Ranked Solo or Ranked Group modes via the PvP queue button on the UI minimap.

Czerka VX-736 Injector can no longer be used in Warzones.

These are all the notes pertaining to PVP on Patch 2.4. As one can tell, there are definitely some changes worth noting. Many which will improve the Quality of Life for PVE and PVP fans alike, whether they agree with it or not. The one that stands out the most when it comes to QoL is the change to the PVP weekly.



DEEP IMPACT


[WEEKLY] missions no longer require wins and now advance with one point for a loss and two points for a win in an Unranked Warzone.

This right here is probably the most impactful note in PVP “changes.” I know what you’re thinking, “How is that the big news!? They added arenas and took out ranked 8v8!” Well, let me explain.

The reason I believe this is the most impactful set of news is because of its potential overall effect on PVP as a whole. I am certain that this will make a HUGE difference when it comes to Warzones in the sense of interest, queue times and incentive to partake in PVP. Now, will the difference be positive? That’s arguable. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons here.

Pros:
• More people PVPing due to doable weekly.
• Faster queue due to more people playing.
• Wider range of people playing Warzones

One of the main issues of the Weekly was that it required you to win 9 Warzones. Now, to some of you, (myself included), this might not have been a huge issue. But, fact remains that, to most of the player base, especially the PVErs, which make up a vast majority of players, were indeed having issues either completing the Weekly or even being incentivized to do it in the first place because they were sure to be obligated to PVP for hours on end to attain the 9 victories.

With the weekly changing to “X” amount of PVP matches played, the Weekly has become manageable to even the most casual of players. This will bring in more players into Warzones because now they have a rather simple way attaining Warzone commendations, money, valor, and possibly some gear if they are willing to make PVP a regular part of their play.

By having more people join warzones, mathematically speaking, this will lower the queue times. Not that queue times were a huge issue, unless you speak of 8v8 Ranked WZs but, that’s no longer an issue since they have scrapped the 8v8s. Still, faster queues are always nice.

On top of it all, as more people join the PVP scenery, you will end up meeting new people. This is an MMORPG after all so the social aspect of the game is clearly a large one. This widens the door for meeting potential guildies, PVP partners, or just plain old friends. I know I’ve added people to my friends list from WZs due to a job well done. Making friends tends to be a good thing.

Now, we need to keep in mind that there are always two sides to a coin. Let’s see what the cons are for this change.

Cons:
• Inexperienced players will be joining in.
• Easy goal takes away competitive edge.
• Increase in mid-warzone drop-outs

As a vast range of people flock to join in on the PVP madness, so too, will their skills range. Nobody likes to be in a team that is just awful. They don’t listen, they ignore objectives; all they do is run around and smack each other to see who can put out the most numbers at the end of the battle. We’ve all been in teams like these and I’m sure some of you are one of the people who do indeed ignore the objectives. Keep in mind though that as this may be negative for your team, it will end up being a positive for your opponents!

True PVPers take their craft seriously. They do PVP because it’s the ultimate form of competition. Sure, PVE has its challenges but they are static. Once you learn mechanics, you are golden. PVP encounters, on the other hand, will never be identical to the previous one. Your play style becomes very situational. This means that in order to be great at PVP you need to know your class inside and out as well as your opponent’s limits and capabilities. This is the recipe to true competition. Unfortunately, with the goal of unranked PVP being just to complete an “X” amount of Warzones, you will have players who do not do their best to try and win. By players not really trying, the potential in learning your class versus others decreases significantly. You learn nothing from taking down a Juggernaut who is just standing at a node and doesn’t retaliate. This completely nullifies any competitive edge you may have been seeking.

With unskilled players, you get unskilled teams. With unskilled teams, you get lack of communication. With lack of communication, you get frustration. Frustration leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate... leads to suffering... And who wants to suffer? Nobody. So, you end up dropping out of the warzone. I hate dropping from warzones mid-fight, but I play to win. If I notice my team has been idling around since the beginning of the match, I say screw it and drop out. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that. Expect an increase in WZ dropouts is what I have to say here.

 

CH-CH-CHANGES


As expected, the patch came with a certain amount of changes. Was it as much as we hoped for? Probably not. Regardless, here are a select few of them and my thoughts regarding to the changes, respectively.

• Ranked Warzones no longer count towards [DAILY] or [WEEKLY] mission progress.

This is a pretty hefty change in my opinion. It affects Pre-mades, competitive players, and PVPers that just want to increase their Ranked status. But how much does it affect us, really? The only form of Ranked PVP now is Arena. This means that any team who is working on their Arena skills and Rankings will be forced to do regular Warzones to get their daily/weekly completed. And depending on the team they get tossed into, the Weekly might take longer than they would like, delaying their Arena time. Again, this is very specific to Arena Teams but, it’s a new thing so we do not know how impactful it truly is yet. The only issue I have with it is the fact that you are forcing people to do Unranked to get the extra comms. Other than that, I don’t have an issue with this change.

• 8v8 Ranked Warzones have been removed.

I think it’s safe to say that we all saw this coming. Though extremely unfortunate for all those people who moved to specific servers JUST so they could do Ranked 8v8, the fact remains that the majority of players were sitting on ridiculously long queues to get into any sort of Ranked WZ. Hopefully, it will be brought back one day. Keep in mind though that since BioWare has mentioned before that the possibilities of cross-server PVP are slim to none, the odds of Ranked 8v8 returning are quite low. Unless, of course, if they incentivize Ranked 8v8s to the point that even the casual players wouldn’t mind doing them. But, yeah, don’t hold your breath.

• Bolster has been adjusted to account for the addition of the new Obroan and Dread Forged gear.

I am EXTREMELY curious about this change. I wonder if Bolster has finally been fixed as they adjusted it for new PVP gear, or does having top tier PVE gear still trump top tier PVP gear. Not much else to say here at the moment because only time will tell.

• All Cybertech grenades now bestow a new effect called Bastion on the target, in addition to normal effects. Players who have this effect applied are immune to further Cybertech grenade attacks for the duration of Bastion (3 minutes).

Sucks for Cybertechs. Huzzah for everyone else! Now Cybers need to use these grenades at the right place at the right time instead of whenever/wherever. Should be interesting.



PATCH MEAT (NEW CONTENT)


These changes are nice and all, but none of them REALLY affects PVP directly. At least, not the PVPers themselves. The way direct change is implemented is through PVP class changes, and content. Speaking of content, let’s reduce the patch notes to display actual new content; content being the key word.

Arenas
• 4v4 Warzone Arenas are now active! These small scale PvP maps reward victory to last team standing in the best of three rounds. Missions and rewards are provided in the same manner as current Warzones. The following Arena maps are currently active:
o Orbital Station Arena
o Tatooine Canyon Arena
o Corellia Square Arena

That’s it. This is all the new content brought to us in what was labeled as THE PVP patch. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that arenas have been introduced is fantastic. It opens up the PVP world to a lot of future changes. In Arenas, classes can be observed more directly. This way, classes can be monitored and adjusted accordingly when needed. But, is it enough?

If 2.4 wasn’t as hyped up as it previously was, then I’d say sure. But, fact of the matter is that BioWare made 2.4 sound like it was going to be the answer to all of PVPers issues and concerns. And is it? Absolutely not. Is the content sufficient enough to be able to label this as THE PVP patch? Absolutely not. This patch was more of a notice to all PVPers that change is coming. Personally, I have no issue with that. But please, don’t hype something up when it’s clearly not going to meet expectations.

In conclusion, Patch 2.4 is exactly what it’s labeled as. The Dread War. It is a patch introducing more PVE content for all of us to enjoy. New planet, new dailies, continued story, new Operations. Not PVP. Let’s just hope Patch 2.5 is a little more PVP friendly since by that time there should be enough data to help balance classes and finally help us Operatives out!

‘Till next time,

Du’morte, out.