Friday, 25 May 2012

Ranked Warzones are coming at 1.3!

Good news everyone! Rated Warzones are officially announced for 1.3!

Mindspore: Any update on Ranked Warzones in 1.3?

Daniel: Ranked Warzones is on track for 1.3. All the heavy lifting (ratings, group persistence exiting warzones, etc) is done and right now we are working through some emergent conflicts with Group Finder and the process of queuing for multiple activities at once with multiple temporary groups.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

1.3 Group Finder Rewards

To recap the details we know so far for group finder (SERVER ONLY):

You can queue for:
-Normal and Heroic Flashpoints
-Story Mode Operations
-Planet's Heroic Quests

You can select the role you can fill. The roles are limited from you Advance Class.

It would teleport you to the Flashpoint when your group is assembled.

You can select the specific content you want to do or you can select a random queue.


Normal Flashpoints
5 Daily Commendations
HM Tier 1 Flashpoints
5 Black Hole Commendations
HM Tier 2 Flashpoints
5 Black Hole Commendations
Story Mode Operations
5 Black Hole Commendations

Monday, 21 May 2012

Preview of group finder for 1.3!

Here we got a preview of the group finder UI that would be introduced on patch 1.3.

As you can see, on the left side are the role that you can fill and on the right the different modes that you can experience. The most interesting part is that the list of the HM Flashpoints that you'll get a group for are, is different from what is now on Live. You can only play Lost Island, The Battle of Ilum, The False Emperor, Directive 7, Kaon Under Siege. As they are only 5 HM Flashpoints that you can queue for, I wouldn't be surprised if the change the loots that you'll obtain from the final bosses and just give a different set piece from each one. Finally we can see that only Denova Story Mode would be on the LFG.
1.3 is going to hit the PTS servers soon, so stay tuned for more infos and insights for the upcoming patch.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Server transfers next week?

In twitter, Stephen Reid the Community Manager of SWTOR answered a question from a player and said that server transfers are coming BEFORE 1.3 and would expect more news next week. I would probably been expecting an update to the transfers like details about the procedure and even applies for a server transfer.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Next patch name: "Allies"

Apparently during Q4 financial report Bioware announced that the 2 next patch would be introduced in the next quarter and would be named "Legacy" and "Allies". I would say "Legacy" is patch 1.2 and I would add 1.3 as the incoming patch is mostly a tool's patch than a continuation to PvE and PvP endgame. "Allies" would probably be the new tier of operations and etc so let's see what else would be added in summer.

SWTOR's James Ohlen shares the formula behind PvP nerfs

Massively: A forum post states that the expertise stat is now a lot more valuable in PvP than it used to be. The slope on the diminishing returns appears to be less steep now, and PvPers definitely seem to like that concept a lot more than when they would mix other armor types together in order to level out their stats. Can you explain the reason behind the changes, and specifically, what that means to players stepping into PvP with a fresh level 50?

James Ohlen: One of the functions expertise serves is to divide our PvP gear and PvE gear. For example, we don't want a situation where you want to play the PvE operations endgame, but the best way to do that is to spend several weeks playing warzones in order to get a PvP gear set. Thus, a PvP set will have significantly lower raw stats than a PvE set of the same level and will receive a budget of expertise to compensate. The bonuses you get from that expertise in PvP should effectively reverse the situation, so a player in a PvE set will be at an equivalent disadvantage if he jumps into PvP without earning the lower-level PvP gear set first.

What we found prior to patch 1.2 is that because the PvP endgame was much more accessible than the PvE endgame, many PvE guilds were using warzones to get endgame gear instead of playing through the flashpoints and normal-mode operations. In addition, the original PvP gear only had expertise on the armoring, hilt, and barrel, which made the modifications and enhancements in that gear more effective than intended in PvE.

To address these issues in patch 1.2, we increased the gap between PvE and PvP on the new War Hero gear, sacrificing a greater percentage of stats and giving more expertise in return. We also extended this to the modification and enhancement item mods, introducing expertise there and further increasing the total expertise budget. In fact, the final expertise budget on War Hero was so high that we had to retroactively add some "bonus" expertise to the existing PvP gear in order to avoid creating too much of a gap between the top and bottom end PvP players.

Unfortunately, this also meant that players stepping into PvP with a fresh level 50 who has no expertise will be destroyed by players with expertise, leading to a very frustrating experience (and this experience was already pretty rough prior to patch 1.2). To address this, we introduced a relatively cheap "recruit" set of PvP gear designed to give them enough expertise to get into the PvP game and allow them to starting earning the good stuff. As PvP gear continues to advance in future seasons, new "recruit" sets will be introduced to ensure fresh 50s always start at a reasonable point.

Prior to 1.2, the stat bonuses to damage, damage reduction, and healing from expertise were fairly even across the board. Now we are seeing pretty significant differences between those three bonuses. I understand the expertise stat is designed so that changes like that can be made fairly easily without disrupting the PvE game. What were you seeing prior to 1.2 that prompted that type of significant change?

Expertise was designed so that the damage bonus and the damage reduction effectively cancel out for two players with the same amount of expertise, and this should remain true in patch 1.2 as well. However, the way the damage bonus and damage reduction are applied changed in patch 1.2, and this resulted in the two values no longer being the same on the character

Prior to patch 1.2, these values were additive, like so: Damage * (1 + Attacker_Exp – Target_Exp)

This system was simple and worked for players with similar amounts of expertise but breaks down for large differences in expertise values. For example, consider player A with 50% expertise fighting player B with 0% Expertise. When A attacks B, he does 150% damage, and when B attacks A, he does 50% damage. This means Player A gets a 50% damage boost as intended, but that 50% DR boost means he gained 100% survivability (player B is doing 50% damage, so he now must deal twice as much damage to kill player A).

In patch 1.2, this formula was changed so that these values are now multiplicative, like so: Damage * (1 + Attacker_Exp) / (1 + Target_Exp)

So using our 50% expertise example again: When A attacks B, he still does 150% damage, but now when B attacks A, he does 1 / (1 + 0.5) ~= 67% damage. On player A's character sheet, this shows up as 50.00% damage boost and 33.33% damage reduction, which are inverses of each other (player A deals 50% more damage to player B, and player B must deal 50% more damage to order to kill player A). Note that they'll still cancel out for two people with the same Expertise value, just as they did pre-patch 1.2.

Healing is on a completely separate balance axis, where we use expertise vs. trauma to get the healing rate we want in PvP. We were pretty happy with the healing rates before patch 1.2, but the expertise budgets on the PvP items increased dramatically, and that in turn increased the healing bonus to unacceptable levels. We considered increasing trauma to compensate but didn't like how much this penalized healers without expertise, so instead we decided to reduce the percentage of healing boost per point of expertise. The goal was that a player in full Battlemaster should end up with approximately the same percentage of healing boost before and after patch 1.2, despite the increased amount of expertise on his gear.

Sorcerers and Sages were hit pretty hard in the update. Some players have said, "Good, they needed to be nerfed," because there have been instances of Operatives and Mercenaries being passed up for flashpoints and operations because Sorcerers could "do a better job." However -- and I'm sure you've heard it -- Sorcs and Sages are complaining that their viability in PvP has been greatly reduced because when they face, for instance, a Sentinel, he can literally prevent them from ever being able to drop their major heal. Did this change accomplish what you'd hoped, and why do you think players are having these reactions?

We've actually answered this question publicly several times, but it seems when players don't like the answer, they keep asking hoping it will change. The fact is, Sorcerer and Sage healers were in a position where they could completely bypass resource management, which is intended to be a large factor of successful healing gameplay. In PvE, they're right where we want them. In PvP, there are ways to counter the health hit you take in managing your resources, and short of telling players what to do and when to do it, we're comfortable with how things are playing right now. That's not to say that we're "done," and things won't change again. But healers are actually closer to target than they've ever been in the past.

In PvP specifically, I think it would be a fine argument to make that we've increased the minimum skill required to play a Sorcerer or Sage healer, but currently we're not buying that they are ineffective or have less potential than other healers. What I am concerned about and have my eyes on, specifically, is that this skill requirement is too high for comfort. The difficulty in addressing this issue comes from finding just the right way to improve ease of use and accessibility without affecting throughput and resource management. Again, we're never "done," and it's likely that future changes to Sorcerer and Sage healers will aim at addressing this specific issue, but it's extremely unlikely that we'll go "whoops, we went too far" and undo what we've already done. So don't keep asking if that's what you're hoping to hear.

The post says, "We will likely take some minor to moderate action about the overall DPS being higher in the near future by adjustments to the magnitude and duration of offensive relics." Can you elaborate on what some of those changes are going to be?

In PvP, we've found that the combination of relics, adrenals, and powerful, short-duration buff abilities have led to more burst damage and shorter kill times than we originally intended. However, we are happy with the amount of sustained damage the relics offer, and our PvE content has been balanced around those values. Our current plan is to reduce the magnitude of the relic buffs but increase the duration. So they'll contribute less burst damage to a short PvP fight, but their damage contribution to a flashpoint or operation boss fight will remain approximately the same. However, this plan has not been finalized yet, and we are looking at other ways to reduce burst damage as well. So this plan may differ significantly from what eventually goes live.

Also, the post mentioned an issue with stacking debuffs. Do we have an update for that yet?

We're actually in the midst of finalizing and verifying the code that prevents like debuffs from stacking with one another. If we like what we see, we'll have this fix live "soon."

I love the overall vision for PvP in general, and it's been said that SWTOR has some of the most balanced PvP in MMOs. Where do you feel you sit with that balance currently? And what provisions have you taken to help maintain that balance or improve on it?

Balance is hard to quantify on paper but relatively easy to qualify with first-hand play experience. That means that everyone has an opinion, but those opinions are very difficult to validate. Like I've said before, all of our math comes with a great big coefficient in front of it called "assumptions," and it has a massive effect on the end result of that math. Such a massive effect, in fact, that so far whenever we find an imbalance, it's our assumptions that change and our formulas that stay the same.

Currently, we're "happy" with where we sit balance-wise in a global aspect of the game, but all that really means is that we're not up all hours of the night pulling out our hair screaming, "How do we fix this?!" Instead, we're coming in to work each day calmly asking, "How do we fix this?" That's the job, after all.

Balance going forward just means keeping up our vigilance and staying aware of current issues and coming up with valid ways to address them. Everyone has an opinion on ways to address the various balance issues that surface, but the truth is we spend the vast majority of our time finding and addressing issues that we hope to never allow to surface. The rest of the job is figuring out which fix works for the game and doesn't mess anything else up. I'm not sure it's possible to install balancing provisions (at least not any players would welcome), but we are being as proactive as possible.

Thanks, James for speaking with us. We'll talk again soon!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

1.3 patch and what is coming

A small list as to what we should expect for 1.3.


1) Flashpoints
2) Heroic Flashpoints
3) Operations (Story Mode only)
4) Planet Content (Group Quests)


The legacy perks that can be already found on the Future tab of Legacy


Social gear would adapt to the armor type of user. Bikini tanks!


Augment tables would be added to the game where players would be able to add an augment slot to any piece of wearable gear armor. No more need of crit crafting. All of end game gear would be finally equivalent.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Group Finder for Operations coming in 1.3!

Amazing news for all of you that liked the LFR in WoW and wanted that feature on SWTOR. In the latest official podcast, Damion Schubert said that in the upcoming 1.3, group finder would be used for Flaspoints, Heroic Mode Flashpoints, Group Missions and STORY MODE OPERATIONS!

Expect 1.3 to hit really really soon the live servers and let's hope that Bioware will continue to give more alpha quality content!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Critical and Surge caps!

After parsing as much as I could and while I was trying to adjust my stats to optimal. I decide to post the results of my research and the things that I find in the internet.

First of all, I'll have to determine what cap is. One rating is caped when it has reached the maximum number/percentage. For example reach 100% critical chance, when all of your attacks are critical. As you already know most of the rating have a diminishing scaling when you stack them. What I'm going talk now is soft cap. Soft cap is the point where a stat suddenly becomes less useful and another stat becomes more valuable.

Here is the graph that I found on mmo-mechanics:

As you can see, from a point and further, stats like surge and critical etc have a breakpoint, when if it reached, it stops to be optimal. Here:


Surge: 300 rating
Critical: 450 rating

An example to what soft cap, is surge rating. At 200 rating, you have 72% critical multiplier whereas 250 rating rise it to 76%. That means that the 50 rating that is spend to surge could be another stat that would benefit you more.

A general small guide to gear up is:

Accuracy, up until 100% cap
Surge, up until 300
Crit, up until 450

Power on the other hand has no cap. In general you should know that power boost your baseline attack/heal and is a stat that increase your performance directly. I would just healer to focus more to power than surge/critical as they should be depended on RNG critical heals.

Finally, a small tip. You can get critical not only from your critical rating and your main stat but also from some of the base stats of other classes.

WARRIOR/KNIGHT: Strength AND Willpower

So, if you are a min-maxer, don't forget to add some more datacrons to your hunting!