First off, I apologise for not doing one of these last week. With all the excitement for Star Wars Celebration and the disappointment from the SWTOR Cantina, I figured I’d written enough other blog posts for the week. I decided to take a break from writing to try and find some enjoyment in SWTOR but you’ll hear more about that in a second.
But in any case, this week was pretty quiet on the Bioware front up until Friday when they made a few dev posts about various things like PTS changes, bugs and a new story blog. I’ll cover those briefly, then, I’m going to discuss something that’s been slowly making a dent in parts of the SWTOR Community.
The Golden Legion of Posts *cough splutter*
So the main gold posts this week were to do with class changes and Game Update 3.2.1 which is now live on the PTS. They’ve introduced new class changes for all healing classes and for Marauders/Sentinels. You’ll be able to read more on what I think of the Mercenary/Commando healing changes soon when I finish the blog post. They also added more gold to talk about Game Update 3.2.
Another Story Line
They released another story blog, The Sixth Line: Part One. It’s about a group of Jedi who will be introduced in Game Update 3.2. They’re like spy Jedi I suppose.. It’s an intriguing start and depicts the fine line this particular group of Jedi walk.
What did I get up to?
I took the time to play SWTOR some more this week PvPing on my Mercenary and Commando Heals almost everyday. I did premades with my guildies and I hung out with TankMikeGolf a couple of times on his stream and PvPed with him. It did feel good to take some time to enjoy playing SWTOR and I did have fun socialising and PvPing with guildies and friends. But I’ll be honest with you guys, I’ve been struggling to play SWTOR and am undecided on what I’ll be doing after 3.2. But anyway there’s something I want to discuss…
It is becoming increasingly clear that there a quite a few people in the community who are not happy with SWTOR. On the same token, it also seems that there are others in the community who are happy with SWTOR and are either oblivious to community concerns or who don’t understand why some people in the community are pissed off. So they get annoyed at the negativity or tell those of us who are still playing to stop playing if we don’t like SWTOR. So, I’m going to attempt to explain why some of us are getting increasingly frustrated and/or pissed off with SWTOR and also, why many of us might still play despite our frustration.
So why are some people unhappy with SWTOR?
There are of course many reasons one could be unhappy about SWTOR. But the main reasons I want to highlight are to do with, you guessed it, PvP. What is wrong with PvP?
Well a few things; there’s been no new content (as in new maps) for over a year now, population is an issue for most servers (cross-server), ranked is completely fucked (primarily due to population) I’ll elaborate further in a bit, class balancing screw up’s (it’s complicated) and the lack of attention, development time and care the Devs put into PvP. So let’s talk about these points a bit more.
The lack of new PvP content, for many, gives off the message that the devs simply don’t care or can’t be bothered to put the time and effort into developing more PvP content. Throwing fluff rewards at us for ranked arenas seems to be content enough for them. They’re too lazy to do anything else. This is the perception most PvPers get based on the lack of communication and lack of content. Another explanation for the lack of PvP attention could be the lack of funds, but we don’t know enough about what is happening inside Bioware Austin’s walls to know what’s up.
Population. I don’t know how many fucking years people have been asking for cross server, or something similar, to help solve the population issues with PvP. It’s ridiculous. If we’d had cross server tools in place even 1 year ago, PvP would be in a better state then it is now. As it stands those who really want to PvP have to pay to transfer to more populated servers. Most people who don’t have the funds or don’t want to pay for transfers just stop playing.
Ranked sucks. For many reasons. The TLDR version is the ELO system is inadequate for the small population pools on the majority of servers. Cross server would help to make the ELO system work more effectively making it more likely that you’ll be matched with and against people of similar skill/rating to you. Also the ranking system, especially for solo ranked is pointless as it is impossible to measure who is the best at what class across the game. People on more populated servers have the advantage over those on low population servers who find it difficult if not impossible to get ranked to pop. So it will never be a true reflection of who the skilled players are unless it is possible to play against everyone regardless of server; like cross server would allow.
Class balancing. This is a little bit more of a complicated issue to deal with as many have differing opinions on how things should be done according to whatever their main or favourite class is. Popular consensus in the community, it seems is that Marauders/Sentinels aren’t much good for anything. Also if the healing changes they’re making in 3.2.1 go through there will be many unhappy people on that front too. But in any case balancing classes, especially around ranked isn’t doing the game any favours.
Keep in mind that my thought’s on the state of PvP may not be shared by everyone. But that’s the general gist of what’s up. Other people have different idea’s on how they’d fix things or want Bioware to to focus on different things. For example, there are many who’d like to see the PvP gearing system changed or to get rid of PvP gear entirely. There’s lots of idea’s floating around about gearing but I’m not going to elaborate on it further as it’s hardly the biggest issue with PvP in my view.
Some other things..
What are some other reasons people are unhappy with the game? SWTOR’s lack of communication skills, including social media skills which are ridiculously inadequate compared to other MMO’s. Seriously, go have a look at other MMO’s Twitter Pages (ESO, WildStar etc.) if you don’t believe me. The increasingly slow content cycles leave long term players bored whether PvE or PvP oriented. This could be due to lack of funds but that’s just speculation. It also feels like, to some players, that their efforts are half assed in some area’s of development. The latest example being the costume design system being introduced in Game Update 3.2. There are of course other things to be unhappy about but there’s too many to list or they’re not really as important as the stuff I’ve already listed.
One thing I will say is that if Bioware wants to have a resurgence in population they need to create the content (PvP and PvE) and the tools to sustain the population (cross server). That is what will bring the players back. The increasingly slow development time and lack of content in updates is becoming increasingly concerning. As is there obliviousness to the game as demonstrated by Musco at the recent Cantina with him being shocked at the prospect of so many people being Legacy 50.
— Wyrlok (@wyrlok) April 22, 2015
Why do people in the community who hate on SWTOR still play or stay connected with the community?
Well I can’t speak for everyone who is unhappy but still plays. But for me, I keep playing for a couple of reasons. The first reason, up until recently anyway, was because I still had hope that they might announce something to do with PvP like new content or cross server. Now, of course, I’ve all but given up hope that anything new will be announced or developed for PvP ever.
Secondly I still play because I have friends and guildies (well, sometimes) who still play and I enjoy hanging out with them. So SWTOR is becoming increasingly more of a social tool for me. And finally, I’m enjoying engaging with and creating content for the SWTOR community through this blog and my YouTube channel the quality of which is debatable but meh.
Also, one thing I’d really like to point out is you can still enjoy some parts of a medium whilst recognising that there are issues with said medium. So for me, I still log in and enjoy PvPing but I’m also unhappy with PvP because I see not just the issues, but how ‘straightforward’ (perhaps not from a development standpoint I don’t know much about that) the solutions are to the issues. It is very frustrating at times when you want something you love to be improved, and how simple the solutions seem, but they just don’t listen, talk about it or acknowledge it. For the uninitiated this has been happening to PvPer’s for years. PvPer’s have had to put up with being sidelined for years.
Yes, I know what some of you will say. PvP is a secondary concern to SWTOR. Just get the fuck over it and move on. Well no, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and be steamrolled. I’m going to fight for the part of the game I love the most even though I know it’s not going to get me anywhere. Maybe if enough people raise they’re voices they might at least hear us? Because they seem completely oblivious to most of the communities concerns, it seems, to some of us anyway.
So to sum up. I’ve been frustrated with PvP for a long time (and long before I started this blog) in SWTOR for the reasons I mentioned above. But, I have kept playing because of my social connections with my guild and in the community. I’m not sure how long my social connections will sustain me playing SWTOR though. I guess that remains to be seen.
So what did you get up to this week? Are you looking forward to Game Update 3.2? Why are you happy or unhappy about SWTOR?