I’m hoping this article will be the first in a series of articles where I compare various aspects of Star Wars The Old Republic and Wildstar.
Some of you would know by now that I have gone back to playing Wildstar for the last couple of months and started PvPing a month ago. Most of you would also know that while I am no longer actively playing SWTOR. I used to be a very avid PvPer. I would never say I was among the best, but I was pretty decent at my favourite class (Mercenary Healing). Either way, I’ve found PvP to be a major source of enjoyment in the MMO’s I’ve played (despite the minimal attention it seems to get from developers).
So here is my perspective on PvPing in Wildstar verses PvPing in SWTOR.
SWTOR, in my view, has a better gearing system then Wildstar. It is simple, cheap and quick to gear and, with the ability to transfer Warzone Commendations (PvP Currency) to alts, it makes gearing your characters even easier. Unfortunately, there is no way to transfer Prestige (Wildstar’s PvP currency) to your alts. However Wildstar does have an excellent alternative method of earning Prestige which I’ll talk about below in the Open World PvP section.
SWTOR’s PvP stat is also better ultilised which makes PvP in SWTOR more skill based then gear dependent. There is one PvP stat called Expertise which is capped at 2018 on all tiers of gear. Meaning if all your characters’ gear slots have PvP gear in them, they will have 2018 expertise. This means those with only a basic set of PvP Gear can hold their own against those who are fully geared and optimised but overall, they still won’t perform as well. Gearing then is essentially about optimising the other stats.
Gearing in Wildstar, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. The PvP stats are PvP Power and PvP Defense and they work in a similar manner to Expertise in SWTOR. Unfortunately, higher tiered gear has more PvP Power and Defense then basic PvP gear. This means that people starting out get wrecked by fully geared players. This makes PvP in Wildstar more gear based rather then skill based. It takes a while of getting pounded (and patience) before you can start to perform on par with geared players. It is quite a frustrating process. SWTOR had this same issue as well, to an extent, in it’s vanilla days. Perhaps Wildstar could to take some pointers from SWTOR and improve the gearing process so new players/fresh max level characters can have a better time getting into PvP.
Both SWTOR and Wildstar have quests which give rewards for participating in PvP. In SWTOR these take the form of daily quests and a weekly quest. These quests simply reward Credits and WZ Comms.
In Wildstar however, there are a few different ways of earning Prestige as well as additional rewards. There is a Contract system which dispenses daily quests/objectives which get refreshed daily. Each Contract is worth a certain amount of points. When you complete and turn in a Contract, you not only earn a Loot Box with Prestige and Gold but the points you earn count towards getting additional rewards. Every 1000 points you earn gets you an additional reward of your choosing. There are a variety of Contracts you can do which mostly involve doing instanced PvP. Some are tailored to objectives in specific Battlegrounds while others are simple kill 20 players or complete a Battleground.
Additionally in Wildstar, you have the option when queuing for a Battleground to queue for a random one which rewards 20 Gold, XP (Elder Gem) and an extra Loot Box. After each Battleground you complete, you get a minimum of two Loot Boxes which contain Prestige, Gold, Rune Crafting materials and occasionally A piece of Gear, Housing Decorations or Toys.
Wildstar also offers Open World PvP Daily Quests to complete in daily area’s which reward Prestige.
Overall Wildstar has a better reward system than SWTOR offering more opportunities and means to earn PvP Currency and additional rewards. Perhaps SWTOR could improve how it rewards it’s players who PvP and take some cues from Wildstar.
Queue Times and Queuing
Again, SWTOR wins (if you’re on the right server anyway). On the most populated server in SWTOR, The Harbinger (US), queue pops occur almost 24/7 in all level brackets.
Unfortunately in Wildstar, PvP never pops in the under 50 brackets. At 50 PvP does pop but only from roughly mid afternoon until late evening US Central time (this does vary a bit from day to day).
When queuing for Battlegrounds in Wildstar, you have the option to queue for specific Battlegrounds. This functionality, however, isn’t that effective with such a low population. SWTOR does not have the option to queue for specific Warzones. If it did, the only way it would work effectively is if there were cross-server queues or a mega server. So I highly doubt we’ll see this feature in SWTOR.
Wildstar, without a doubt, is in a better position when it comes to class balance. All the classes do similar DPS numbers and Healing and Tanking classes are more or less on par with each other. You can play whatever class you want and do well. The only issue I’ve noticed is survivability. I’ve observed individuals (of all classes and class types) who despite being wailed on by a good number of people hold their own and don’t easily die. Again, I do not know the details of how this works, it’s simply something I’ve seen while PvPing in Wildstar.
SWTOR, however, is marred by Class imbalance issues which manifest themselves especially in PvP (Arena’s in particular). Certain classes (such as Sorcerer’s/Sages) are stacked with utilities and abilities which give them significant advantages over other classes making them far more viable in PvP. This in turn means everyone and their dog plays the class in PvP. The healing classes are unequal to each other, not just in output but also in terms of utilities. Again Sorcerers dominate healing. Tanking classes Guarding capabilities are also considered to be OP especially since classes capable of tanking who are DPS speced can Guard another player and be in Tank stance while still having decent DPS output.
Open World PvP
Generally both games have fairly minimal Open World PvP engagement. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but it usually requires organisation to make it happen. SWTOR’s terrible game engine makes large conflicts very frame rate heavy especially when a lot of AOE abilities are used. Similarly, Wildstar’s telegraph combat system also makes large scale open world combat engagements very frame rate intense.
While SWTOR has some Achievements (and Titles) to motivate participation in Open World PvP, Wildstar has Open World PvP Quests which you must complete while flagged which reward Prestige.
Also in Wildstar if you are flagged for PvP, you earn Prestige for killing NPC’s. This offers an alternative means of earning Prestige to gear faster and means you can save up a fair amount of Prestige leveling a character through questing flagged for PvP.
Flagging for PvP in the Open World works differently in both games. In SWTOR if you aren’t flagged for PvP and you heal a flagged player, you get flagged for PvP. In Wildstar if you aren’t flagged for PvP, you can’t heal someone who is flagged for PvP. So when you’re grouped in Wildstar, you don’t have to worry about accidentally getting flagged for PvP like you do in SWTOR.
Both games offer slightly different experiences depending on your preference. Wildstar is more combat intense with heavy emphasis on AOE telegraph style of combat which means you are constantly on the move. If you stand still, you die. There are 6 different classes to choose from with plenty of flexibility in choosing a build which suits your play style and the ability to easily swap builds depending on the scenario.
SWTOR PvP on the other hand, is a little less intense. There is less movement involved as more abilities require you to stand still when casting. There are 8 classes in total and each class has 3 specialisations (specs) which offer very little flexibility. However all the classes and their specs fit in well with established Star Wars lore.
The PvP Communities in both games are small compared to their PvE counterparts. But overall, Wildstar has a far smaller population of players who PvP regularly than SWTOR. Wildstar’s community seems more friendly then SWTOR’s. I actively avoided being a part of the PvP community in SWTOR when I played because of the nastiness and harassment that was prevalent. Again I’ve only been back PvPing Wildstar for a month now so I haven’t had the chance to see much nastiness. I guess time will tell. Either way, the player base seems more chill in Battlegrounds.
I feel both games have their pros and cons when it comes to PvP and I like PvPing in both games, Perhaps SWTOR and Wildstar could learn from each other and improve PvP for the players. Unfortunately in both games, PvP receives minimal attention compared to other aspects of each game. Overall though, I feel that PvP is in a healthier state in SWTOR (despite Class Balance issues) then in Wildstar.
Have you PvPed in SWTOR and/or Wildstar? What do you think of the state of PvP in either/both games?