For the past couple of weekends I have been participating in Playtesting the new Warzone on the PTS, Odessen Proving Grounds and the new Arena, Rishi Cove. I’ve had a lot of fun on the PTS getting to play with various people in the community I normally wouldn’t get to play with. I’m really excited and happy to have had this chance to play the new Warzone on the PTS. I’ve waited years for a new Warzone and now that we’re finally getting one, I’m really happy!
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been that many people coming onto the PTS to try out the new Warzone. There’s been enough during the Playtesting sessions to get pops but, we really need more of a variety of people to come on to test the Odessen Proving Grounds Warzone.
Bioware advertising their Playtesting sessions on Social Media would be a good place to start. But, I think it’s also time to offer incentives to get more people to come on the PTS. Cartel Coins worked last Warzone Playtest session so it would certainly work again. Perhaps Bioware could do a stream to coincide with a Playtest session, as was suggested in this thread (there’s other good suggestions in that thread), or even offer special titles for those who’ve made the effort to test? Either way, there’s more Bioware can do to help get the word out and encourage testing. The players have a far smaller reach compared to Bioware.
Thoughts on Odessen Proving Grounds
I really like the concept of the Warzone and once I understood what was going on, I’ve found it to be quite enjoyable. For those who are not familiar with the new Warzone, here’s a basic rundown taken from my Odessen Proving Grounds Guide.
Odessen Proving Grounds is basically a King of the Hill type map. There are two teams, Team Yellow and Team Purple. The first team to get 600 points wins. To earn points, you capture Control Points by standing in them for 4 seconds. They spawn randomly in 5 different parts of the map. In each round there are a varying number of Control Points available to capture.
Additionally, there are Battle Mods, which aide your team by increasing the points you gain or stopping the other team from gaining points.
The key to understanding and then excelling at this new Warzone is to learn and familiarise yourself with the map.
One of my favourite things about the design of this map is the continuously changing nature of the map. I like that no one is left guarding a Control Point on their own for a whole game (like in all the other non-Huttball Warzones) and everyone isn’t stuck number farming in the one area of the Warzone for the whole match (like in all the other non-Huttball Warzones). I like that the Control Points in Odessen move around meaning that the main fight is always moving around and some poor soul isn’t always stuck guarding the same Control Point.
There are however still some things that need fixing. The Battle Mods, for instance, can be carried in stealth and Sorcerers can God Bubble and still hold a Control Point and a Battle Mod. Battle Mods in my view should be treated like the Ball in Huttball. If you stealth or use the Sorcerer God Bubble, you should lose the Battle Mod.
Some UI adjustments need to be made as well. It would be great if we could see a player carrying a Battle Mod (and which one it is) on the map so you can either assist your teammate or kill the enemy holding the Battle Mod. It would also be beneficial to have it pop up in the Operations frame in a players buff bar if a player on your team is carrying a Battle Mod.
Another thing I find annoying is one a Control Point is being captured, it flashes both yellow and purple. It would be less confusing if it only flashed the colour of the team capping the Control Point.
I do also have some concerns about the ‘difficulty’ of this new Warzone. I am quite biased because I’ve played the Warzone over 20 times, so I know it like the back of my hand. Honestly, I found it fairly easy to get acquainted with after a match or two. But a lot of people do seem to have a hard time understanding what to do in the new Warzone. I’ll admit it’s not the most intuitive Warzone (learning and understanding the map helps a lot). Hopefully Bioware will take the time to do a good tutorial load page and a voice over for Lana before the match begins to help those who can’t quite grasp it.
Another issue is the small Control Point areas (and the mechanic of standing in the area to cap the Control Point) is very advantageous to classes with knockbacks with snares and tank and healer combinations. Sorc’s by far have the best advantage for this map with all the utilities and tools perfect for guarding Control Points (stealth classes can’t stealth and hold a Control Point unlike in other Warzones). The overabundance of Sorc’s on the PTS didn’t help much and was quite frustrating at times (although not entirely surprising). To some degree the issue of OP classes and class combinations is already evident in Warzones anyway and needs to be fixed with class balancing changes. But that is a discussion for another time. Making the Control Point area’s bigger and adding in more LOS points would also help.
Something else, which I’ve seen brought up a couple of times, is the lack of recovery mechanism. Yes there are Battle Mods. But their random nature (you can get any of the four Battle Mod’s when you pick one up) means they can not always be used as a recovery tool. Having more RNG in an environment that already has a significant RNG mechanic, with the randomised Control Point locations (per round), renders player skill almost useless and means ‘luck’ plays a far bigger role then it should. The Battle Mods should not be RNG dependent and need to be a set spawn. For instance, you could two Battle Mods spawn per round which are set and not randomised. Eg. Have one Deactivate Slice and one Multiplier Slice one round then the next round have a Multiplier Slice and a Deactivate Slice up or something to that effect. I think this would be a good start anyway.
Despite my criticisms, I do feel that this Warzone has great potential and I really do hope that Bioware continues to consider our feedback. I look forward to more playtesting in the coming weeks.
Some Quick Advice and Final Thoughts
My advice to anyone who tries out Odessen Proving Grounds is to not give up so easily. Play it a few times, to get know the map, understand what’s happening, then judge it. I’ve seen a few people try out the new Warzone once on the PTS, complained about how confusing it is, then given up. I was a bit dismayed at first myself at first but I kept on playing and got to know the Warzone and found it to be very enjoyable! Sure the Warzone needs some improvements (it’s hardly perfect) but they’re heading in the right direction with it and I have hope it will turn out well.
Here’s my full, comprehensive guide to Odessen Proving Grounds: http://www.xamxamsays.com/odessen-proving-grounds-warzone-guide/ I will be continuing to update my guide as the PTS continues.
Have you been on the PTS and played the new Odessen Proving Grounds Map? Do you like it? What are your thoughts on it?