Hello TORWarriors and fellow Star Wars: The Old Republic fans. In case you haven’t been paying attention to SWTOR, some major news has been announced recently. The 2.0 Public Test Server (PTS) has been alive and active for a few weeks now with players testing out some of the newest content featured in this upcoming update.
Thus, in this week’s Player vs. Player (PvP) column, I will discuss these upcoming changes in SWTOR’s new expansion and its role in PvP. Please keep in mind that these changes are not permanent and can (and most likely will) change prior to the launch of the update. Though this is the golden age of PvP in SWTOR and I look forward to the upcoming changes.
This is a PvP-only stat that increases the effectiveness of three distinct areas; damage output, healing output, and damage reduction. The idea is, the more you have, the better you are facing someone with less expertise. Presently, expertise suffered from high diminishing returns (DR) or the more of a stat you have, the less you gain from each additional point of rating.
By my testing and observations, expertise suffers DR around 1,100 (depending on the opponent’s expertise). This has led to many players equipping Player vs. Environment (PvE) gear to increase other stats such as main stat, power, or endurance. I currently use PvE armorings in my belt and bracers because it provides over 100 stat increase vs. DR expertise. For example my Ask Mr. Robot account.
That is all going to change in SWTOR 2.0. According to the patch notes released on February 20, 2013, BioWare has “…Removed diminishing returns from Expertise such that each point of Expertise will now grant a consistent percentage of bonus until the hard cap is reached. Hard Caps are as follows PvP Damage Boost – 60%, PvP Healing Boost – 35%, PvP Damage Reduction – 37.5%.” What this means is SWTOR will finally implement a gear-rating system in which expertise and PvP gear are truly superior. [Link]
Senior Designer Rob Hinkle posted some comments about this subject on the SWTOR Official Forums. One of the more interesting items in his post was new PvP gear will hit the expertise cap regardless of “tier.” So, the higher tiered gear will have more main and secondary stats, not expertise. Regardless of what set you’re wearing, you’ll be on an equal playing field regarding expertise. [Link]
Also new in SWTOR 2.0 are new class abilities!
Each class gets at least one active ability and possibly a passive ability. What I’ve taken away from this is BioWare’s conscious effort to reduce the effectiveness (read nerf) of the more overpowered classes while increasing the effectiveness of the disadvantaged (read buff).
Another needed change is using the full extent of one’s class skill tree. Most of the classes I play or see are somewhat of a hybrid build, meaning they do not go fully into one skill tree or another (currently 31 points or more). BioWare has buffed up these trees adding a large incentive to finally spec fully into ones tree, but I’ll write more on this later.
Listed below are these abilities and a video posted by SWTOR Spy.
● Jedi Knight (Sith Warrior)
● Guardian (Juggernaut)
- Saber Reflect- reflects all direct, single-target ranged, Force, and Tech damage back to the attacker for three seconds. This ability is trainable at level 51.
- Visionary (Endless Rage) – builds one Focus when attacked. This effect cannot occur more than once every six seconds (passive ability).
● Sentinel (Marauder)
- Twin Saber Throw (Dual Saber Throw) – throws both Lightsabers at a target up to 30 meters away, striking everything within its path and slows the movement speed of affected targets by 50% for six seconds. This ability is trainable at level 51.
● Jedi Consular (Sith Inquisitor)
● Sage (Sorcerer)
- Force Barrier – projects a barrier around the Sage, providing immunity to all damage and effects while channeled (up to ten seconds). Force Barrier is trainable at level 51.
● Shadow (Assassin)
- Phase Walk – allows the Shadow to place a mark that can be instantly returned to at a later time, after which Phase Walk goes on cool down. This ability is usable in stealth mode and trainable at level 51.
● Smuggler (Agent)
● Gunslinger (Sniper)
- Hightail (Covered Escape) – roll players forward up to 18 meters, landing crouched in cover. While rolling, defense is greatly increased and any movement-impairing effects are broken. The ability has a 20 second cool down and is trainable at level 51.
- Ready for Anything (Spotter) – increases stealth detection while in cover, building up to 30 additional levels of stealth detection over 30 seconds. The effect ends when leaving cover (passive).
● Scoundrel (Operatives)
- Scamper (Exfiltrate) – will roll the player forward up to 12 meters. When slowed, players will only roll forward six meters. While rolling, defense is increased. Scamper does not break stealth, costs 25 Energy, has no cooldown, and is trainable at level 51.
- Street Tough – increases Energy regeneration rate (passive).
● Trooper (Bounty Hunter)
● Commando (Mercenary)
- Electro Net – ensnares a single target, reducing its movement speed and dealing periodic Energy damage which increases over time if the target is moving. While Electro Net active, the target is also hindered and unable to activate high mobility actions and escapes, such as speed boosts, vanishes, and charges. The ability is trainable at level 51.
- Mortar Salvo (Missile Salvo) – allows up to 3 weaker Explosive Rounds to be fired in a row before consuming Energy Cells and going on cool down for six seconds. This ability is trainable at level ten (passive).
● Vanguard (Powertech)
- Shoulder Cannon – loads missiles over time which can be fired at an enemy target within 10 meters, depleting one charge with each missile launched. When all missiles have been depleted, the ability goes on cool down for 1.5 minutes.
- Into the Fray (Close and Personal) – increases the duration of Reactive Shield by three seconds. In addition, suffering direct damage from area of effect attacks restores two Energy Cells and heals players for 0.25% of total health. This effect cannot occur more than once every three seconds (passive).
Check out this video highlighting some of these new abilities:
Presently there are two brackets for PvP; 10-49 and 50. A much needed change is adding brackets to this PvP system to allow fair play. BioWare has announced a new bracket system “Players will now be separated into three level brackets for normal Warzone play: 10 – 29, 30 – 54, and level 55. Ranked Warzones now requires level 55.”
Often times the capability of one player hinges on their amount of abilities. At times I avoid playing sub-50 PvP for this very fact. One team often has an enormous advantage because of the level of their players, not their skill.
This is a needed change, though I foresee a problem with the level 30-54 bracket. I think there should be a separate bracket from level 50 to 54 because only at 50 and higher can you equip the top tier gear. BioWare’s counter argument is that the new bolstering system has been updated to keep players competitive regardless of bracket. Once again, even if gear isn’t a factor, players will still have far less abilities when facing a higher level opponent, thus giving them an unfair advantage. There’s probably no right solution for this, but overall a great improvement.
Rebalanced Class Trees
As I stated previously, BioWare rebalanced each class tree and the new additions look great. Finally they have added some incentive to go up to the top of each skill tree. I can foresee most hybrid classes dying out with these changes and I’m glad. While I could write a whole article on this alone, I’ll save it for when it’s finally published. In the meantime, check out this PTS talent calculator over at SWTOR Spy and play around with it.
I honestly think the game is headed in the right direction. I thoroughly enjoy PvP and even BioWare’s attempt at open world PvP with the recent event in Ilum. Though not perfect, at least they’re trying to add new and exciting things to the game and re-balance the things that make PvP not enjoyable. I commend BioWare on their progress and hope by the time 2.0 is released, these changes become a reality.
What are your thoughts about SWTOR 2.0 and how it will affect PvP? I appreciate any feedback so please leave me a comment below.