Bioware Reveal More on Novare Coast Warzone

BioWare have released a teaser video for the upcoming Warzone, Novare Coast, which is part of the imminent 1.2 update.

It certainly has some of the flavour of the Alderaan Warzone, with a twist. Have a look for yourself:
[Read more…]

Interview: BioWare’s Gabe Amatangelo on PvP, Server Transfers

As part of the local launch festivities, I had the opportunity for a one-on-one with Gabe Amatangelo, SWTOR’s Lead PvP designer. We had a bunch of great questions from the Oceanic community, and we managed to ask pretty much all of them. We also threw in a question about the delay with free server transfers.

Gabe was a friendly guy and it shows in his answers, so without further ado, here’s the interview:

If you had difficulty hearing all of the questions, the legends over at Torboard have done a nice summary:

Gear/Warzone/Commendation Changes

  • Lesser end-game commendations (Champion, Centurion, etc.) will not be exchangable.
  • There will be two levels of warzones. Regular and Ranked warzones.
  • Regular warzones will give out regular WZ commendations, and Ranked warzones will give out ranked WZ commendations.
  • New intro PVP set for new level 50 players to fill gap in gear.
  • There will be some “fun” uses for commendations you dont need anymore.

Ranked PVP

  • Phase one will be server specific.
  • Phase two (coming in the future) will have cross-server queuing.

General/UI Changes

  • Combat log coming soon.
  • DPS meters/Parsers will be done by 3rd party addons via combat log.
  • Free/Paid Server transfers are being worked on but no date provided. They want to make sure the process is perfect before releasing this.

Cross-Server Queuing

  • Coming in phase two of pvp changes (later than 1.2)
  • Priority is on playing with people from your own server.
  • As soon as you start choosing certain things (which warzone, ranked, etc.). It becomes more difficult for you to get a WZ with server players so you go into the cross-server queue.
Also – if you’re an RP’er or want a wider perspective on stuff from Gabe – definitely check out this brilliant piece from Ganden over at SWTOR-RP, which was completed yesterday as well. Some excellent info in there to say the least!
And for the record, here are the questions that were asked:

Are there any plans to allow lesser PVP tokens (Centurion etc) to be traded in for higher tokens (Champion etc) at a ratio? (Like Warzone tokens into Mercenary Commendations).
What is the outlook for Bioware’s rated pvp, are you aiming for an e-sport paradigm or something more casual.

When, when, when are dps meters coming out?!?!?!?

What are your impressions on the current PvP Warzones and what have you learned going forward for their future?

Are there any plans to allow trading up of Planetary Commendations like Daily’s or higher level planet commendations, I don’t think im ever going to use my 56 Tattooine Commendations anytime soon.

I heard we maybe going cross-server for warzones. How is that going to be handled? Are we going to be using battlegroups, or preferably RvR (realm vs realm)? With RvR, it’d at least keep that sense of community with your server.

Any chance we will see a larger scale instanced objective based Warzone? (Something along the lines of the epicness of Vanilla WoW Alterac Valley)

As I see it, the single biggest problem with Ilum PvP is the large scale kill trading. Why aren’t the organisers of KT (if not all participants of KT ops) banned for boosting / exploiting?

With the announcement of server transfers now not occurring until late April, there’s been some griping giving the assumption was made it’d be earlier. Is the delay due to the free transfers being part of the wider roll-out of transfers throughout the game?

Over to you: what did you think of Gabe’s answers?

Also a big thanks to Jodie at EA for videoing the interview.

Heavy Damage: Tricks of the PvP Trade Part 3

Heavy Damage is our weekly Tanking column – if you have suggestions of what you’d like covered, drop our resident Tank, Alec Bailey a line. Part 1 of this PvP roundup covering Huttball can be found here and Part 2 (Voidstar) is here 

This is the final installment of my “Tricks of the PvP Trade” series. It will be covering the offensive and defensive tactics I find useful in Alderaan Civil War (ACW) Warzone. The ACW Warzone is a three point capture and hold game. The three turrets constantly fire on the opposing team’s drop ship. The key to victory is to hold two points long enough to bring down the enemy’s drop ship and end the match. The turrets are usually referred to as left, right, middle; East, West, Centre;  or snowy side, grass side, and middle.

As usual I’ll break the strategies down to main points of intrest, explaining the tactics I use to help get my team the win. The main thing that sets ACW apart from the other Warzones is that your team will be playing offense and defense almost simultaneously the entire match.

Basic Strategies

Capture the Flanks! – Capping the flanks is the best plan of attack, but for some reason it is constantly over looked. Everyone wants that middle turret. I can’t figure why anyone would rush the middle turret over the flanks for the simple reason of an almost instant travel to the outside turrets through the speeders your team unlocks once the position is capped. This allows your team to react to which ever side is being hit the hardest by simply spawning and speeding straight to the turret itself. The middle turret takes the most amount of time to reach, which means you’re adding time to the gap of getting killed to reinforcements arriving.

Incoming! – Let your team know what is going on as often as you can. Calling out the incoming enemies seems common sense, but you would be surprised how often people think “It’s only one guy” then two or three stealthers pop and it’s over before they have a chance to react. Like with any team based game, communication is key – keep your team informed and on their toes.

Strong Side! – When my guild (Kan Kop) runs these together we send three people to the left side (Near side flank) and everyone else rushes the right side (Far side flank). This is a pretty decent strategy and works out more often than not. Usually we have a couple of strays (non-guildies or non-group members) who don’t listen and rush middle – even then they work out as a great distraction to the opposing faction. As a Tank and Guild leader I usually volunteer to guard the near side and kind of traffic control. Once near side is capped we keep two on and I start announcing to assault far side. Once both flanks are capped it’s usually a cake walk – just watch what side needs the help and reinforce once re-spawned.

Tank & Heals – A great strategy for a Tank to use is to find a Healer to stick with you on the original capped turret, because once you have your strong side in motion a good team will see it and could start rushing your capped turret. A Healer and a Tank can hold a few people off easily long enough to get some reinforcements.

As a Tank I try to use my pushes, pulls etc to keep opposing players off the turret caps. As with the other Warzones, use your debilitating skills as often as possible.

Troopers: when there is a group of enemies, keep your Explosive Surge debuff on enemies to help lower damage output.

Guardians: Force Sweep to lower accuracy.

Shadows: throw your Breach for its debuff and don’t forget your stuns. Keep your Guard on an ally for those defender points. Also try to throw your taunts as often as possible – as a PvP Tank your  job is to keep the enemy’s damage output on your teammates to a minimum.

As always stay frosty, and keep your team alive

May the force be with you!





Heavy Damage: Tricks of the PvP Trade Part 2

Heavy Damage is our weekly Tanking column – if you have suggestions of what you’d like covered, drop our resident Tank, Alec Bailey a line. Part 1 of this PvP roundup covering Huttball can be found here.

This week I will be going over some strategies for the Voidstar Warzone. Voidstar  involves two teams, offensive and defensive, fighting to plant or defend from the planting of bombs on blast doors. There are three sets of doors, along with two consoles that shut down ray shielding, allowing access to the second and third door. As there are two different strategies for offense and defense, I will break each Tank’s role into each category.

On the Offensive!

General Strategies 

Strong siding – a great strategy if you’re a Tank or not. Have your whole team attack one door for the first minute or so – putting a lot of pressure on one side will weaken the other side, sometimes so much that no-one is even guarding it.  Strong side is a great strategy if you have some Stealthers to attack the weak side when it’s vulnerable.

Draw them out – Leading the defense away from the doors into the middle is a great way to slip some players past to arm the bombs, this can be done pretty easily by using your pulls and ranged attacks to bring them in to the range you want.

Call it out – let your team know when you’re planting so they can swarm and defend your plant.

Advanced  Class Strategies

Vanguard – I use my Vanguard on the offensive like a walking damage reducer. Explosive Surge and Ion Pulse are used as often as I can to lower every enemy target’s damage output. When assaulting the doors I usually use my Guard ability on a Sentinel or Scoundrel, because they’re going to be putting out a lot of damage but are very squishy and go down fast. Keeping your damage dealers alive helps a lot on the offensive. Mortar Volley is key when getting those pesky bomb planters interrupted, it is also very useful when a fellow tank has several enemies grouped around him. Harpoon is also a great PvP utility skill, use it to pull attackers off of healers or damage dealers – it is also great when rooted to bring those Sorcerers close enough to Rifle Stock and Gut.

Shadow – I use my Shadow as a stealth planter. I have my team assault one  door then I sneak off and plant a bomb. Shadows are also, in my opinion, the best for defending a bomb planter. When your teammate is planting a bomb, watch his back and if anyone starts getting close use Force Wave to send them flying. If it’s a ranged class, hit them with one of your stuns. Force Wave is also very useful on the bridge before the second set of doors – if any defenders are foolish enough to venture that far out, use it to blast them off the bridge for a quick kill or two. Force Speed is very useful after the second doors have been breached – I use it to get to the farthest console and shut down those ray shields.

Guardian – The Guardian does well at defending the bomb planters with his own set of skills. Saber Throw is great to get a quick hit on someone that’s trying to defuse a planted bomb. Force Sweep (when properly specced in the talent tree) is great for lowering your opponent’s accuracy, effectively lowering their damage output.  Force Push is a great ability to keep people off the bomb planter, and pushing them off the bridge before the second set of doors.

Guard it with your life!

General Strategies

Spread evenly – never leave one side unguarded, always have at least two people guarding a door, even if the other team is strong siding hard. Keep a tank and a healer on the other door. A Tank and a damage dealer works well too, but having a healer insures you’ll stay on your feet long enough to get reinforcements.

Stick close – don’t let the attacking team control where the fight takes place, stick close to the doors and pull them in with Harpoon, Force Pull, etc.

Call it out – Just like on Defense, let your team know what’s going on. Communication is a key to victory.

Advanced Class Strategies

Vanguard – When playing defense I use a very similar strategy as I do when playing offense. Ion Pulse is still used to lower opponent damage. Explosive surge is great for interrupting the bomb planters – if you don’t have time to get close up, use your Mortar Volley. Usually when assaulting I guard a healer and ask him to stick close. Having a healer to keep you standing in Voidstar can help you rack up some serious medals and defend from bomb plants. Harpoon is great on the defensive to pull enemies off a door they are trying to plant the bomb on. Don’t forget to throw those Cryo Grenades on enemies who are attacking your Guard target.

Shadow – When defending with my Shadow I use my Force Breach and Force Wave to interrupt any would be bomb planters. As with the Vanguard I recommend placing Guard on a Healer and asking them to stick close. Force Pull is great for getting enemies off the doors. Again, when assaulting the second doors keep watch for the opportunity to Force Wave opponents off that bridge. Don’t forget all the utilities this class has like its stuns and slows, they’re invaluable in slowing the enemies assault.

Guardian – The Guardian plays its defensive game a lot like the Vanguard does – very close to the offensive game with a few slight change ups in strategy. Saber Throw is now used as an interrupt for bomb planters. Force Sweep is another great ability to break a bomb planter off the door. Force Push is great for setting up Force Leap, or getting planters off the door. As with the other two classes, I suggest guarding a Healer. Force Leap is a great skill in PvP or PvE and I find myself using it a lot to close distance and throw a Taunt on enemy players. Challenging Call is another great ability for lowering the enemy team’s damage output.


Remember if you’re really wanting to get far in PvP, group up or guild up. Also when in the Warzones your Taunts are extremely useful to your teammates to lower damage output, so don’t be afraid to toss them out as soon as they’re off cool down.

As always, keep your team alive and stay frosty.

May the Force be with you!

Getting grief in open-world PvP? The Angwe Story

angwe storyWhat is there to say about the Angwe story. I just had to share this little piece of fun from WoW. Like SWTOR, WoW has PvP servers and based on this web page, some people don’t like being ganked on a regular basis. One such ganker, Angwe, has gone to the trouble to create a page documenting the aggro he causes.

There’s some funny stuff in there as well as some semi-disturbing threats made against a legitimate if not honourable means of playing the game. And yes, we know this is an older site but what the hell.

Have a look at it for yourself.

Heavy Damage: What’s your poison?

Now that I have reviewed all three Tank specs, I’ll be pitting them against each other to decide what Tank is the “best” for certain situations. I have played all three tank classes to 25. From my experience I would have to say for any situation, the best all-round Tank is going to be the Vanguard.

The Vanguard has very good mitigation and is very versatile – I love its ability to go from ranged to melee in its Tanking. Even though most of its hard tanking mechanics are up close (about 4-10 metres) it still has a wide array of damage abilities that can be used from afar. One such ability is Mortar – it is devastating to trash mobs and is a great opener (before you get Storm as a distance closer) to generate some decent threat on a harder mob. I use Mortar for clearing the way of those trash mobs that like to block paths to quest objectives.

The Vanguard does have some pitfalls – I’m not a huge fan of the “Ammo” pacing mechanic. I find it’s much easier to run out of Ammo than it is to run out of Focus on my Guardian. The other thing that the Vanguard is missing is an early-level closing ability. By closing ability I’m referring to an ability that closes the distance between you and your target – it could also be called an opener.

Some people might think I’m contradicting myself because a bit higher in this article I spoke of how the Vanguard was great at range, well he is, but when your group is needing a Tank like a Wookiee needs a comb, the Vanguard has to be up close and personal.

The Shadow has my vote for second best tank on the grounds that it’s probably the most versatile tank I’ve ever got to play, not to mention it’s up there in the fun factor. Having stealth on a tank doesn’t seem like a big deal, other than when you don’t feel like fighting a bunch of trash mobs on your way to an objective. Stealth in PvP is an entirely different beast altogether.  On the Alderaan Warzone it’s very useful for stealthing and capping the turrets. On HuttBall your force sprint is great. In Voidstar it’s a decent ability to pop off when playing offense to plant the bomb, if your team can distract the opposing force on the other side.

The cons on the Shadow are few but pretty big from my point of view. Being another mitigation Tank, they have substantially lower armor than the Guardian and Vanguard. The Shadow doesn’t have a distance closer other than Force Speed which only gets you close – it adds no hate or damage. Project isn’t bad but it’s no Mortar or Force leap.

The Guardian is your standard melee tank. Good mitigation and threat on a single target, and has probably the best opener of the three: Force Leap. Once you obtain Force Push, the combo of the two is extremely effective in both PvE and PvP. Another great attribute of the Guardian is that they can go from Tank to DPS with the click of a button. Switching stances can take you from a tank to an off-Tank DPS . The Guardian is also the class I recommend for any beginner Tanks, for the simple fact that it’s your most traditional tank, doesn’t involve all the focus and involvement that a Shadow does, and its ability to be a damage dealer with relative ease compared to the Vanguard. Riposte is a really big part of Guardian tanking after you start in the Tank tree of the Guardian Advanced Class, as it gives you a defensive buff that helps a lot.

One big thing about Tanking in SWTOR that you’ll have to learn (or if you’ve played other MMO’s, forget) is that DPS players are responsible for the adds and trash mobs. Your focus is the big guys. Hold their hate and keep their focus. As long as your team knows that the DPS players should be picking up the adds and burning them down, you’ll stay alive and be able to keep your team alive. In PvP, make sure you have Guard on the Huttball runner, and Guard on any healer you can talk into healing you during the Warzone.



Suggestion Box: Make Your Own Warzone

Another semi-summer weekend in the paradise that is the Oceanic region of the globe. It’s time for your input on the issues that matter in SWTOR and this week I thought I’d open up the suggestion box for dedicated and casual PvP’ers alike.

More specifically, let’s creative on Warzones: if you could create a Warzone for inclusion in the game, where would it be set and what would the gameplay mechanic be?

I personally want a speeder battle in an Endor-like forest, probably 5v5 or 10v10. Over to you – as always, the sky’s the limit so post away!

Unofficial SWTOR Oceanic PvP Server: The Swiftsure (US West)

With thanks to the dedicated Antispiral via our forums, the Oceanic Daisy Chain group have announced what the unofficial SWTOR PvP server is:

On behalf of the Oceanic Daisy Chain, I’d like to inform you all that the unofficial Oceanic PvP server for SWTOR has been chosen to be The Swiftsure (US West).

As you may be aware, the Oceanic region has been excluded from the official launch of SWTOR. That has not stopped us from building a sizeable and well organised community. Purely from the guilds signed up for the Official Pre-launch Guild Program, Oceanic PvP numbers stand at:

Republic = 751
Sith = 1210
Total registered TOR GHQ Accounts = 1961

Obviously, these numbers are only going increase.

So consider this a call to arms to all Oceanic players/guilds. We ask that even if your guild has been allocated to another server for deployment, that you reconsider and join us on The Swiftsure, for what will likely be one of the best communities in the game!

So if you’re wanting to roll your toons on a PvP server where you know a lot of other Oceanic players will be, then Swiftsure is the place to go.