I rolled out on one of those many servers that have a vast faction imbalance in favor of the Imperials.
I knew well before launch day that the Imp’s would be the most played side in SWTOR. Though I had not gained Level 50 in beta, I was unsure how this would affect the end-game content by way of PvP.
Sure, I don’t mind playing the underdogs, but where Ilum is concerned two or three versus one in favor of the Empire makes for some fun battles and tactics. Everything else in that zone just does not stand up to what the rest of the game has to offer.
I pick up my weekly and daily quests like every other Level 50 class and head to Illum to gain my 30 or 150 kills. The only one positive side of playing Republic is that there are always plenty of Imperials to kill and you do not have to look for to find them. They could be camping outside your base in vast numbers.
Ilum is a numbers-wins area. If you control the points on the map you can shoot up the valor ranks at breakneck speed.
Yet, as it stands now, no side is really benefiting from the way it is set up. The Republic has to fight to take control of every point on the map. We can just about muster full raid groups to counter the three or four full raids that the Imp’s have. We then gain a little more valor for our efforts.
This is very short lived, and even last night it took 10 minutes to take control of one zone, and while we left to take another, we had already lost control within 30 seconds. Such are the numbers we are up against.
Playing on the Republic side of things and gaining 20 valor per kill (when it counts) is not the best way to grind. So, in more cases than not I will (like many others) turn up get my 30 kills, then leave. Sure, I may only gain 600 valor for my efforts but I gain those kills very quickly and I’m not about to give up on half my daily bags no matter what I think about this planet. It’s just a necessary evil to put up with at this time.
This is also the prime reason the Republic has so few battle masters. If, like the Imperials, I was gaining over 6,ooo valor points for my 30 kills, I would have been battle master over a month ago. Here I stand at valor rank 58 still looking at around two weeks of hard grind to be able to obtain the battle master rank.
A day or too ago the Republic had a rare day of controlling most of the points on Ilum. Within one hour I gained around 20K valor points. That amount would normally take me four to five days depending on how many warzones I could win against the fully decked-out battle masters we normally face.
You may think this is all one-sided. Sure, on my server the Imp’s do have the run of the place 99 percent of the time. Yet this has a knock on effect for them also. While they will always gain more valor per kill gaining those kills takes way longer.
Unless they turn up at the right time, they could wait hours to get just 30 kills they need for a daily quest.
No one in their right mind on the Republic side will hang around for 20 valor per kill. A loss in a warzone gaining 600-700 valor points in 20 minutes with the added commendations is a way better and more productive way to level up your valor ranks.
SWTOR’s PvP system on Ilum is the most broken system I’ve come across in my 15+ years of MMO gaming.
And there are easy ways to fix the darn thing without too much trouble.
1 – Use a bolster system like those found in warzones. If the numbers are 4-1 in the favor of one faction, bolster the stats of those that are outnumbered by 4.
2 – When you take a point on the map you gain valor for that point for 15 minutes even if it is re-taken within 30 seconds. Now this would go a long way; you could put a timer on your heads-up mission display telling you how long you have until you have lost control of that point. This would then give the incentive for group-forced attacks to restart the timer in that zone.
And I’m sure BioWare would agree that Ilum should be the open world PvP zone they hoped for.
Sure, this would mean that both faction could — and would — own the same zones at the same time. But, at the end of the day this would provide the boost that Ilum needs. It would make it so much better than anything we have be handed now.
As it stands, the in-zone of Huttball is more open world PvP than Ilum. There is nothing that screams failed open world PvP more than 100 Imperial players sitting outside the Republic base fighting over the 15 players that stand inside.
Both sides have real problems with Ilum now. The Republic players see a none use grind to gain another bag for a daily quest, and the Imp’s have to hunt down one or two players every 15 minutes which make the higher returns for kills lackluster and sometimes and even bigger grind.
Yet killing in vast numbers sure beats getting crashed by 50 lighting strikes per-second, and who knows how many stuns and CC’s at the moment of contact.
PvP in MMOs is something I have enjoyed since the days of Ultima online, but I find myself in TOR more disappointed at the state of this part of the game than anything else I’ve found in any MMO. Now and then it can be fun when the numbers are somewhat even, (I’ll even settle for two on one) though those times are few and far between. Nothing can get rid of that bitter taste you get on a daily basis while grinding away. It does feel like a real grind so soon after launch; it’s almost comical to the extreme.
If this area of the game does not have a radical rethink and remake, as soon as server transfers come along there will only be around 10 servers worth playing on that would have a somewhat balanced system. I can see these being fully loaded and leading to large waiting times to gain access.
Gaining the battlemaster rank is a real grind where its should be a fun pastime. It also doesn’t help with the many bugs I’ve encountered in warzones. Six or seven Republic facing 12+ Imps, or the times when I’ve won a match and did not get credit for the win. Like the three days I went without a registered win in over 50 matches.
I’m glad the credit for wins are now fixed and the numbers in warzones are coming in a near patch, yet this does not give back the time I’ve put into those activities and give me credit for those times.
Well, before I shoot off, I will leave you with some speeder screens I took. After all, MMOs are like riding a bike: you never forget how (or do you?)
So, until next time, MrWarlock Signing off.
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