So patch 1.2 for SWTOR is around the corner and one of the much bally-hooed features is being removed at the last minute (the patch is today, the message yesterday) – ranked PvP. This is the ability of the game to group players based on their rank (PvP level) and therefore let fresh (level 0) 50s have a chance against level 60 (in PvP terms) 50s.
The cool thing SWTOR did for PvP from 1-49 is that the playing field is fairly even. Everyone has the same HP, power levels are the same, weapons are adjusted to be pretty close, same with armor. Basically, the only real difference between a level 8 in PvP and a level 45 is the amount of skills available. It’s not uncommon for a level 12 Bounty Hunter to go on a rampage.
What SWTOR does poorly (and I admit all PvE games do this) is include a PvP stat that increases your damage done, damage absorbed and healing done/taken. By 15%, per stat. To get that gear, you need to be max level in PvP and have enough tokens to buy it. Which you should easily have from the amount of time it took to get there. The difference is that on an even playing field, you have a ~50% chance of winning, which grants higher PvP experience. When you start putting fresh 50s in a zone with “old” 50s, you get washes. I’ve seen 3 people try to kill a single player (who was not getting healed) and all of them died. This isn’t a performance issue, this is a stat issue.
WoW and Rift both allow ranked PvP but they also allow cross-server PvP, which SWTOR doesn’t. I’m guessing that’s the true hurdle here – which is also why there’s still no LFG tool. Interestingly, TERA announced this week they will have an LFG tool, making SWTOR the only subscription based PvE MMO on the market without that feature.
Oh, and 1.2 is 6 weeks late. Here’s hoping the legacy stuff they put in keeps players in their seats.