Hi, my name is Ne'laa, a regstar scrub from the Red Eclipse and this is my guide intended to help new players perform better in PvP. The first part of this guide deals with game mechanics in general (and is possibly useful to PvE'ers too), while the second part discusses the warzones themselves. If you have any questions, found an error or have some ideas for improvement, feel free to contact me in the game, send me (Schoock) a PM on the official forums or open an issue here on GitHub.
The contents of this guide have been updated to game patch 5.9 (3rd of May, 2018).
PvP in Star Wars: The Old Republic is an inherently group-oriented game mode. Various roles in groups focus on various aspects of combat. The optimal 4-man group composition for most content, PvP included, is having 1 tank, 2 damage dealers and 1 healer, while for 8-man it's the double of each.
|Tank||Tanking is all about protecting your allies from damage and is probably the hardest of all roles to perform properly, especially in PvP. A good tank can easily turn a minor defeat into a glorious victory, but PvP tanking is more of an art than just a job, and beginners are probably better off playing damage dealers first to gain some experience and see how tanking works. Unlike healing, taking is always proactive, which makes it quite hard to play properly. This role is limited to Assassins, Juggernauts and Powertechs.|
|Damage||The job of a damage dealer (also called DPS for reasons beyond my understanding) is to kill stuff. You will have good damage, but limited survivability. Every advanced class can be a damage dealer.|
|Heal||As a healer you will be focusing on restoring the health of your allies. While you can take some proactive measures as a healer, this role is mostly reactive: you have to heal whoever's taking damage. Only Sorcerers, Operatives and Mercenaries have healing disciplines.|
Player characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic belong to one of 4 base classes, each having 2 advanced classes. Before patch 5.0 you used to create characters of base classes when starting at level 1, then choose an advanced class at level 10. That's not how it works anymore (thanks to Bioware for unnecessarily simplifying just another aspect of the game): you choose your advanced class at character creation. You cannot have characters of the base classes anymore (except if you have them from before 5.0, but even then, when you log on to them, you'll be forced to choose an advanced class).
Above every character's head, on their nameplate is a small icon called the class icon. This small feature makes it easy to immediately identify your enemy's class. The icons for base classes are not really seen in the game anymore, but they're included here as they're used throughout this guide to refer to both advanced classes.
|Advanced class||Base class|
|Sith Sorcerer||Sith Inquisitor|
|Sith Juggernaut||Sith Warrior|
In addition to your advanced class, you should also choose a discipline. Each advanced class has 3 disciplines: at least 2 of these are for dealing damage (3 in case of Marauders and Snipers), while the 3rd can be for healing (Sorcerer, Operative, Mercenary) or Tanking (Assassin, Juggernaut, Powertech). While there is no way to change the advanced class of a character (other than deleting it and completely starting over), discipliness can be changed at almost any time, but not in warzones or while being in the PvP queue. (This is not entirely true because of a bug. When you queue up as a group, only the person that queued cannot change disciplines, the rest can.)
The following table contains an overview of all the disciplines available in the game. For each I will also provide a rating based on how much I'd recommend that spec to try in PvP. Note that this rating is highly subjective and does not directly represent class viability for any particular purpose, especially not ranked PvP.
The dark side of the Force provides many benefits, including the ability to ward off death itself. By conjuring a series of arcane Force abilities from out of harm's way, the Corruption Sorcerer can sustain injured allies, allowing them to fight on with the power of the dark side's twisted gift.
If you want to play healer in PvP and this is your first time, even after a severe gutting recently, Sorcerer is still your best choice. Strong burst heals combined with good kiting and focus escapes make Sorcerers the strongest PvP healers at the moment.
Of all the dark arts of the Sith, little can match the spectacle and devastation of Force lightning. Summoning intense discharges of pure Force energy, the Lightning Sorcerer overwhelms enemies with punishing damage from a distance, leaving them shaken and vulnerable--if not dead.
Lightning is Sorcerers' burst damage discipline, except it hits like a wet noodle. Sadly not only its burst is lacking, but its survivability is bad, too, relying almost only on kiting. On the good side, its energy management is virtually nonexistent and its rotation is easier. There's about nothing in Lightning that Madness doesn't do better.
Delving ever deeper into the dark side of the Force can lead to madness, but it can also lead to immense power. Attacking multiple enemies simultaneously and instilling terror in their hearts, all while sapping their very life essence from afar, the Madness Sorcerer is a dark threat unlike any other.
Madness is the discipline utilizing mostly periodic damage to wear opponents down. Once there were no warzones without Madness Sorcerers, but those days have long passed. Recent buffs have once again made them an okay choice for playing damage Sorcerer.
In darkness, there is protection. A Darkness Assassin acts in defense of their allies, using the dark side of the Force to ward off attacks and launch powerful channels of Force lightning while standing their ground against even the most formidable enemies.
Despite wearing only Light Armor, Darkness Assassins make decent tanks. Combined with their ability to stealth out from a fight, they are not easy to kill and with their many great utilities they make an outstandingly good choice for objective-minded players.
From the murky depths of the dark side, the Deception Assassin emerges with a calculated plan. As the Assassin presses the attack, Force lightning accumulates within their double-bladed lightsaber and culminates in a massive discharge that can ravage the Assassin's opponent before they even know what hit them.
Strong single target burst, mostly 10 meter range, stealth, lots of control abilities – that's Deception. While it's not hard to play relatively well, if you're looking for something godmode, look elsewhere.
Hate fuels the dark side of the Force, and no one knows this better than the Hatred Assassin. Able to command dark Force powers that assault many targets at once or sap an enemy's very essence from a distance, the Hatred Assassin can also stand face-to-face against any foe.
The Assassin version of Madness, Hatred is strong in fights with many stacked enemies. Good overall damage potential but there are few reasons to play it over Deception.
As the toughest of the Warriors, the Immortal Juggernaut can withstand even the most brutal assaults. Using the Force to turn nearly invincible for short bursts of time and to deliver crushing blows to the enemy, this Juggernaut is capable of taking a beating and giving one, too.
You can't get closer to classical tanking than playing an Immortal Juggernaut. This discipline is a beast: lots of very strong defensives, Heavy Armor and your mighty pocket healers will make you truly immortal. And you have Backhand. Do I need to say more?
When embracing the dark side of the Force, vengeance can be a powerful ally. With sustained and ruthless lightsaber thrusts delivered in the lithe Shien Form, the Vengeance Juggernaut increases damage without sacrificing defense--an ideal combination of tenacity and viciousness.
Vengeance is the periodic damage discipline of Juggernauts, but the direct attacks do pretty decent burst damage themselves. While people like to write it off as "fluff damage", Vengeance can be a strong and sturdy discipline in the right hands with some of the highest overall DPS potential in PvP.
Fuelled by extreme rage, a Sith Warrior can reach new heights of destructive power. Furiously striking at one or more foes with bursts of hate and anger, the Rage Juggernaut forges ahead, the dark side of the Force providing ever more opportunities to crush and obliterate the enemy.
If you like big hits, Rage has them. While there probably aren't many reasons to choose this over Vengeance, a good burst spec always has its place. Sadly, it's inferior to its Marauder counterpart, Fury, in almost every way.
Annihilation doesn't have to be instantaneous--and that's how the Annihilation Marauder likes it. With lightsaber and Force attacks designed to bleed their foe and increasing their potency with an aggressive combat form, the Annihilation Marauder causes deep, rupturing wounds that add up until it's too late.
Still quite bursty for a damage over time discipline, Annihilation, while often termed a PvE discipline, has its place in PvP, especially in pressure compositions. Proper management of your DoTs is necessary to get this discipline right, but it is rewarding.
Agile and swift, the Carnage Marauder wins the day by way of sheer volume. As a devastating flurry of dual lightsaber strikes and Force attacks overwhelm their foe, each successful blow can serve to embolden the Carnage Marauder in their assault, making them all the more deadly.
Carnage has recently gone through a few changes that, according to diehard players of the discipline, ruined its "beauty", but it's still debated whether this made the discipline better or worse in PvP. It still features an absurd burst, but there's little reason to choose this over Fury now.
The dark side can be a powerful ally when one channels their inner fury, and no one knows this better than the Fury Marauder. Faced with one opponent or many, the Fury Marauder strikes with raging bursts of power while maintaining a balanced stance that offers protection against the enemy's attempts at obliteration.
Probably the most overpowered discipline in the game at the moment, the only thing Fury lacks is self-healing. Incredible damage reduction paired with unparalleled control immunity and a very high burst, Fury is the top damage discipline for… anything, really.
As an accomplished practitioner of the medical arts, the Medicine Operative serves as the preservative backbone of any combat team. Deploying a full complement of sophisticated gadgets to dispense healing kolto and reparative nanotech clouds to one or more targets, the Medicine Operative ensures their allies remain fit for fighting.
Easier to pin and burst down than Sorcerers, Operative healers are still not bad for PvP, especially for the objective-based warzones. Packed with stealth for team utility and lots of AoE for potentially high HPS numbers, their lack of good burst healing and relatively easy shutdown still make them somewhat inferior to Sorcerers. Also, because of the need for HoT micromanagement, Operatives are noticeably harder to play properly than the other two healers.
Striking from the shadows, the Concealment Operative surprises the enemy with a flurry of calculated attacks designed to stun and debilitate. Then, before the fight gets out of hand, the Concealment Operative can return to a position of stealth, biding their time until the time to strike reveals itself again.
Concealment is known as the king of duels, and that's it. Decent burst potential with an excessive need to keep yourself alive doesn't make the Concealment experience a pleasant one. As a discipline that's expert at running and healing up, Operatives still make good objective trolls, but little else.
The Lethality Operative firmly believes the one true gift that keeps on giving is poison. Dispensing potent toxins using a variety of methods, the Lethality Operative's attacks take a toll over time, corroding the enemy from within until all that's left is a whithered husk that only thinks it still has a chance.
If you check the damage rankings you might be fooled into thinking Lethality is a good discipline to play, but not really seeing any in any warzones might give you a hint it's not so. The discipline is strongly based on periodic damage, but its setup time is too long and its burst is easy to negate. There isn't really a good reason to play Lethality besides being bored with Concealment.
One perfect shot has the potential to change everything, and no one is more precise than the Marksmanship Sniper. From the safety of cover, the Marksmanship Sniper ambushes the enemy and follows up with an encore of penetrating blasts that make extra sure the Sniper's job is done.
Like Immortal Juggernauts are as close to classical tanking as you can get, the same can be said about Marksman Snipers and sniping. High damage, single target hits that can hurt for a real lot if unmitigated. Being the only discipline that has virtually no yellow damage, the effectiveness of Marksman is a little more determined by who you're going against.
Technology--and its application in deploying advanced weaponry--sets the Engineering Sniper apart from the rest. A variety of probes at their disposal allows the Engineering Sniper to attack from a distance with explosions, electrical jolts and waves of destructive plasma designed to eliminate any target.
If I had to summarize Engineering in one word, ridiculous would be it. 50% slow in a 8-meter wide area, infinitely replaceable. Ranged stun. Strong burst. Despite being nerfed a bit after everyone was playing this in 5.0, Engineering is still a powerful discipline.
Some Agents prefer a less direct method of eliminating a target, such as administering poison. Lethal toxins and all-consuming microbes are the domain of the walking biohazard known as the Virulence Sniper, who inflicts lethal shots and lobs corrosive grenades from a safe distance where they can witness the results of their handiwork.
Convert Lethality to Snipers and you get Virulence. If you like periodic damage disciplines, and you want to play Sniper, this is your choice.
The Bodyguard Mercenary specializes in personal-security services, positioning themselves as the best protection credits can buy. A varied array of kolto dispersement instruments provide the Bodyguard's targets with protective shells and time-release infusions, offering safe haven in even the most hostile environments.
Contrary to the common belief, a well-played Bodyguard Mercenary is not a bad healer to have, though it's nothing insanely outstanding. The 5.0 buffs to Mercenaries also made this discipline a nightmare to kill, but they are still easier to shut down than the other two healers. Pick this if you want more of a healing challenge.
The Arsenal Mercenary specializes in distance attacks, employing long-range weapons to demolish anyone unlucky enough to be in their sights. Devastating missile-fire combinations and relentless blaster volleys generate a spectacle of explosive brilliance and transform the Bounty Hunter into a virtual artillery platform.
With the buffs of 5.0 this discipline used to perform exceptionally well in PvP and caused the flooding of warzones with this class. Through numerous nerfs it's been somewhat weakened, but it's still an acceptable contender if you want an easy ranged class.
Taking advantage of chaos they've created is what the Innovative Ordnance Mercenary is all about. With an arsenal of explosive and piercing munitions, the I.O. Merc's barrages of missiles, grenades and weapon blasts cause lasting, destructive damage to all their enemies.
Innovaive Ordnance can still do just as much, if not a little more damage than Arsenal. There's nothing weak about it, but you have to pay some attention to proper Heat and DoT management.
Launching into the fray with a jetpack-propelled attack and able to withstand powerful offenses, the Powertech trained in the Shield Tech specification takes the brunt of the assault while employing a wide range of tech-based attacks to scorch and trip up even the most formidable adversaries.
Shield Tech lacks both the "troll power" of Assassins and the sheer in-your-face survivability of Juggernauts. Once a class featuring unparalleled AoE damage to make up for its mildly competitive tankiness, even that has been taken away from them. Shield Tech serves just as well as any to slap Guard on a healer, but it offers little more than that.
Need a light? The Pyrotech-style Powertech adds fuel to any firefight with an abundance of vivid, searing flame attacks. From fistfuls of fire to missiles loaded with highly combustible compounds, the Pyrotech's arsenal allows them to never back down while making sure their enemy burns out in a blaze of destruction.
Pyrotech is so bad in PvP it's not even funny. Too low damage to kill anyone and it's also weak on the defensives side.
When stalking dangerous prey, a selection of powerful, high-tech armaments can be a hunter's best friend. The Advanced Prototype Powertech's thermal detonators, gauntlet blades and magnetized bracers devastate their intended target while ensuring the Powertech remains on the bleeding edge of any engagement.
After their FotM status in the previous expansion the major defensive giveaway Bioware did with 5.0 somehow avoided Powertechs, making Advanced Prototype a less common choice than before. Played properly, it can still blow up unsuspecting victims, just don't expect to charge in and survive an 5vs1.
Abilities (skills, spells, whatever you like to call them) are SW:ToR's combat actions. Most abilities are defined by the class and advanced class (since 5.0 you cannot have characters of base classes in the game anymore), but you also gain a few based on the discipline you selected. Understanding how abilities work is one of the fundamental requirements to being a good player in SW:ToR.
In order to use most abilities, you will need resources. Each base class one kind of what we call a primary resource, these are Force, Rage, Energy and Heat, respectively, with some having secondary resources to manage, too. Secondary resources are required for some abilities.
Sith Inquisitors' primary resource is Force. Assassins have a Force pool of 100, while Sorcerers have 600. It does not mean that Sorcerers have it better: their abilities also cost more Force. Inquisitors passively regenerate Force with time, at a rate of 8 Force/second.
Sith Warriors rely on their Rage to execute attacks. Rage is different from all other primary resources in the sense that does not regenerate with time. Warriors have attacks and utilities that generate Rage to spend on more powerful abilities, up to a maximum of 12.
Marauders also have a secondary resource, Fury, that is gained when you spend Rage, and having 30 of it allows the use of Predeation, Berserk or Bloodthirst abilities.
The primary resource for Imperial Agents is Energy. Operatives have the base Energy pool of 100, while Snipers get an extra 10 Energy to spend via the Energy Tanks passive. The base Energy regeneration rate is 5 Energy/second, but Operatives get an extra 20% regeneration via their Preparedness passive; this, however, gradually declines if you run low on Energy. (The tooltip for the Preparedness passive claims that it increases Energy regeneration by 1 Energy per second, but this is wrong. The real Energy regeneration rates are 2.4/3.6/6.0 Energy/second, which is a 20% increase, not a flat +1 per second.)
Operatives' also have a secondary resource, called Tactical Advantage. Damage specializations can have 2 Tactical Advantage stacks at a time, while the Medicine discipline allows you an extra for a total of 3.
While it looks different, Bounty Hunters have essentially the same resource mechanic as Agents do. The Bounty Hunter resource is called Heat, and works as a "reverse Energy": your Heat dissipates over time at a base rate of 5 Heat/second, while abilities generate it. Also, if you go above 40 Heat, your dissipation rate will decrease, making it harder to cool down and propably necessitate the use of Vent Heat.
Mercenaries' secondary resource is called Supercharge, which builds upon using certain abilities. At 10 stacks of Supercharge, it can either be used to activate Supercharged Gas or the Mercenary raidbuff, Supercharged Celerity.
Related to abilities and attacking, let me first list what stats are there, then talk a little about them:
Most of your stats give, what the community likes to call them, diminishing returns. It means the respective gains from investing any number of stat points is not linear, or, in simpler words, if you get twice as much of a stat, the bonuses from it won't double. (You can see the exact formulas for example here. The only change for level 70 is that the stat divisor in the exponent is not 65 anymore, but 70.) And, while most people talk about it as if there was any, there's no single point of diminishment. The functions are monotonically increasing, meaning if you get more of a certain stat, you'll always get more powerful by it. Also, they don't have any "hard" breaking points, they decline "gracefully".
There do, however, exists numeric values of various stats from which it is more beneficial to invest in other stats, because they will provide bigger Mitigation/DPS/HPS bonuses than investing in your one stat. Finding this optimium value is not a trivial task and is almost impossible by pure experimentation. Class guides and sites like this have some guidelines on how much of each stat you should take for optimal performance. The following table lists some properties of diminishing stats:
|Stat||Hard cap||Median rating||Second tertile|
|Critical chance (critical)||30%||1144(.97)||1814(.73)|
|Critical chance (mastery)||20%||5202(.66)||8246(.02)|
Every ability has a predefined kind of target it can be activated on. These are:
|Self||The ability is activated on the caster. These can include friendly abilities (most defensives are self-targeted), or hostile ones, in which case they hit enemies in the vicinity of the caster.|
|Enemy||The ability is activated on the primary target of the caster, that must be attackable. The standard "hit the target" kind of attack.|
|Friendly||The ability is activated on the primary target of the caster, that must be friendly. Mostly heals belong here.|
|Ground||The ability is activated in an area chosen by the caster. Not all classes have access to ground targeted abilites. When a ground targeted ability is activated, the cursor temporarily turns into a targeting reticule that can be used to mark the area of effect on the ground. Ground targeted abilities can also be quickly activated centered on your main target (friendly or hostile) if you doubly activate (click the icon or press the keybind twice) the ability.|
|Ground self||This is like ground targeting, but the area of effect is not placeable, it's always at the caster's current location. (The difference between this and the self-targeted abilities is that self-targeted effects always follow the caster, while Ground Self targeting just leaves an area of effect behind at the caster's location which does not move, even if the caster does.)|
Abilities can also be single-target or AoE (area of effect), depending on whether they can only affect one or multiple targets at a time. Except for ground targeted abilities, which are by their nature area effects (exceptions like the Throw the Huttball exist, but that's a special one) each combination of targeting type and target cardinality exist.
Area of Effect abilities affect not just their primary target (if they have one) but multiple (up to a usual maximum of 4 or 8) potential targets in a certain area. The areas of effect are three dimensional bodies in space and if they have a ground marker, it is of the shape of their cross section with the ground.
|Cone (triangle)||Conal attacks are self-centered, hitting everyone in a cone of a ceratin angle in front of you.||Noxious Knives|
|Sphere (circle)||Not surprisingly, these hit in a sphere around their activation target. Most AoEs belong to this category.||Flame Sweep|
|Cylinder (rectangle)||Cylindrical AoEs are mostly used by NPCs, player abilities of this kind are few.||Dual Saber Throw|
Activation happens when you click an ability's icon on the UI or press its associated keybind. Not all abilities exert their full effects on their targets immediately, however. There are 3 types of activation times:
|Instant||Instant abilities activate instantly and their activation is not interruptible. If you can use them, they will fire. A new change in 5.0 is that melee now only have instant abilities.||Ravage|
|Channelled||Channeled abilities also activate instantly, but they apply their effects incrementally during their use. The earlier they are interrupted the less damage/healing they do.||Series of Shots|
|Cast||Casts are somewhat similar to channels in that they are interruptible, cause a cast bar to appear, but they do not do anything till they are finished. Unlike channels, casts should be interrupted as late as possible, since this causes the caster to waste the most time.||Crushing Darkness|
Historically channelled and cast abilities required their user to stand still as they were interrupted by movement. In 3.0 the game was enhanced with the ability to channel/cast while moving, and this was exposed to players via some utilities. (Force Mobility for Sorcerers, Calculated Pursuit for Snipers and Thrill of the Hunt for Mercenaries.)
Pushback is what happens when you get attacked while casting: your cast progress goes back a little so your casts take longer to complete. Most disciplines heavily dependent on casts have some passive pushback immunity/reduction, making the effects of this mechanic way less noticeable nowadays.
Most attacks have a so-called travel time while others just work with some delay. Even though the activation happens instantly, you might just launch a projectile that takes some time to reach its target. While travel time is short and usually doesn't matter, it's important to know which abilities deal damage truly instantly and which have a travel time. (It can easily mean the difference between losing an objective and keeping it!)
Some abilities are more powerful than others, and some do very high damage or have otherwise very good utility. Just being able to use them without any limitation would ruin the game. Because of this, most abilities have a cooldown, a given amount of time that must pass before a certain ability can be used again.
In order to not have the game overtaken by automated macros and give time to react, most abilities share a global cooldown. When an ablity is activated, for 1.5 seconds (by default) you cannot activate anything else that's also on the global cooldown.
If you look at the screenshot above, you should notice that not all abilities (mostly defensive and offensive buffs) have the partial shading that represents the global cooldown. These are, as we call them, off the GCD, and can be used anytime. Well, almost anytime.
How these abilities work with the global cooldown and various activation types is nontrivial. The least problematic type of activation is instant: off-the-GCD abilities play nicely along with those. As you'd expect, you can use one instant ability per GCD, but you can use your off-the-GCD defensives anytime, even during the GCD windows between normal activations.
Channels and casts are more complicated. If you're channelling something and you use something that's off the GCD, your off-the-GCD ability will activate, but your current channel will be cancelled. For example, if you wish to pop Thermal Sensor Override before Blazing Bolts, but mistime your keypresses a bit and end up hitting it a split seconds afterwards, the Blazing Bolts channel will cancel and go on cooldown while Thermal Sensor Override remains active for the next ability. Also, if you pop Energy Shield during Blazing Bolts, you can say goodbye to the remaining damage of that channel.
Casts, on the other hand, do not get interrupted by off-the-GCD ability usage. Not only that, while casting, your off-the-GCD abilities will not be usable and only give you an error message. For example if you're playing healer and you're low on HP and you want to cast a bigger heal to get yourself back up, but in the meantime you realize it won't finish in time, quickly reaching for a defensive will not help you. What you can do in this case, is to interrupt the cast first (by pressing Esc or moving a bit), then use the defensive.
Two abilities, Stealth and Guard can be switched on and off. Their application is always subject to the global cooldown, but their removal is not. There's, however, a small bug about it. Trying to deactivate a toggled ability during an active GCD will seem to not do anything, except, if you look at your quickbars carefully, appear to reset your global cooldown. (There's no secret exploit here, the GCD does not actually get reset, only the shading on the UI does.) If you try to deactivate for a second time, you will see that now it succeeds, even if you're still within an active GCD.
Stacking Alacrity Rating is your way to speed up most things you do in combat. In particular, Alacrity speeds up: the global cooldown, cast/channel times, resource regeneration, ability cooldowns, effects you apply.
There's a subtle but important distinction when it comes to alacrity: it's not a flat time reduction, it increases the speed at which things are executed. (Think of it this way: if you double the speed at which you're doing something, i.e. you have 100% alacrity, it halves the time that thing takes, not makes it zero. So the formula is not (original time) * (1 - alacrity) but (original time) / (1 + alacrity)) If you have, for example, 8% alacrity, that means the global cooldown will be 92.59% of the original (1.38 seconds), a 2 second channel will only take 1.85 seconds, in case of an Assassin, you will regain resources at a 8.64 Force per second rate, an ability that would take 12 seconds to be usable again will be ready after 11.11 seconds, a DoT that would take 18 seconds to do its damage will be done in 16.66 seconds.
An interesting property of alacrity is how it affects DoT/HoT times, especially when they get refreshed. For example Creeping Terror, one of the main DoTs of Madness/Hatred, takes 18 seconds to do its full damage by default. With 10% alacrity, this is shortened to 16.36 seconds. Here's the part you might not know: the alacrity of a DoT/HoT is determined when it's applied and does not change when it gets refreshed on the target. Let's see how this plays with the Sorcerer ability, Polarity Shift, which, among other things, provides a 20% alacrity buff. If you apply Creeping Terror before using Polarity Shift, it will use your normal alacrity rate. If you now reapply it using Polarity Shift without letting it fall off first, you will notice that the DoT does not get a speedup. If, however, you apply it first with the 20% alacrity buff, using the 10% example above, it will keep ticking for only 13.85 seconds only. Even if you refresh it, as long as you don't let it fall off the target, it will keep this tick rate.
If you have DoT/HoT effects that can have 100% uptime on the target, it's free DPS/HPS to apply these while your alacrity is the highest and just keep refreshing them.
A poster on Reddit has noticed that alacrity isn't "smooth" when it comes to the global cooldown, as the global cooldown gets rounded up to the nearest tenth of a second. This means that if your GCD would be anywhere above 1.4 seconds, it becomes 1.5 seconds as if you didn't have any alacrity at all. A GCD above 1.3 seconds becomes 1.4 seconds and so on. The more rounding you have, the more time you waste between two activations.
The following table lists the amount of alacrity you need to obtain a specific GCD. A GCD of 1.2 seconds would need an alacrity rating of 4625, but the current stat budgets only allow for 3696. Global cooldowns below that are theoretically unobtainable with gear only, as alacrity from gear is hard capped at 30%.
|GCD (seconds)||Minimum alacrity (%)||Minimum alacrity (rating)|
Attack types determine what kind of resistance an attack is rolled against, i.e. whether they will hit at all. Attack types are:
For all intents and purposes, spell (Force and Tech) attacks are the same, they are differentiated only for lore reasons. When you hit anyone with a weapon (Melee or Ranged) attack (referred to as M/R), the flytext number that pops up on your enemy showing how much you hit for is white, therefore these attacks are usually referred to as white damage. Force and Tech (F/T from now on) attacks have their flytext colored yellow, therefore, surprisingly, they are called yellow damage attacks. It is important to know which ability is which kind, because most defensives will only work for one of the two main types. For example Force Shroud provides increased resistance to F/T attacks, but not to M/R.
While attack types determine whether an attack will hit your target at all, damage type determines how the damage is mitigated, especially by shielding, and isn't really important in most scenarios, since the active defensive cooldowns are for specific attack types, not damage types. If you're interested anyway, here are the main damage types:
Kinetic and Energy damage is subject to mitigation by armor and partial absorption by shield. Internal and Elemental damage bypasses both of these and is only mitigated by specific reductions for these damage types, like the Resistant buff applied by healers.
Damaging effects can also have some auxiliary tags attached to them which can also determine their mitigation in some cases, these are mostly: area of effect, direct, periodic damage abilities. These are not necessarily exclusive: an attack can be both area of effect and periodic. (See Toxic Haze, for example.) In some cases it is good to know which of these categories some damage belongs to; Saber Reflect, reflects single-target ranged, Force and Tech attacks only, allowing Melee and AoE of any kind to pass through it.
When you try to land a hit, it's subject to what's called an accuracy roll. The accuracy roll is governed by two main chances: the Accuracy (the chance to hit) of the attacker and the Defense Chance (the chance to avoid the hit) of the target. Accuracy over 100% reduces the target's chance to defend against the attack. Everyone except tanks has a base Accuracy of 100% (101% with the bonus from the companions) and a 5% chance to defend against M/R attacks (in case of Inquisitors, this chance is 10%) and in most cases there's no baseline resistance against F/T. (Tanks have an extra 10% accuarcy provided by their disciplines.) If the attacker's Accuracy is above 100%, the target's chance to defend is lowered by the Accuracy above 100%. That means if you're trying to hit a Sorcerer with a M/R attack and you have 104% Accuracy, your target will have their 10% base defense chance reduced by 4%, leaving it at 6% effective. If the accuracy roll fails the attack does not connect and does nothing.
Only hostile actions are subject to accuracy rolls: friendly ones (like heals) can never miss or be defended against.
Once the hit itself is confirmed, it's time to determine the type of the hit. This has 3 possible outcomes: shielded, normal and critical.
Every attack has a certain critical chance, that is, by default, determined by the caster's critical chance. Some attacks have 100% critical hit rates (we call these autocrits) while others might just receive some passive buff to their critical chance based on your chosen discipline. Also, if the target has a shield equipped in their offhand slot and the attack deals kinetic or energy damage, the target has a certain chance to shield the attack.
The type of the hit has a chance equal to the attack's critical chance to be a critical hit, a chance equal to the target's shield chance to be a shielded hit, and, if these do not cover all 100%, a chance to be a normal hit. If the critical chance + the shield chance are greater than 100%, then critical chance takes priority. (An attack that has a 80% chance to be a critical, if rolled against a shield chance of 25%, will have 80% chance to end up being a critical and only 20% to be a shielded hit.) Because the type of hit has only 1 possible outcome, it follows that an attack that was rolled to be a critical cannot be shielded.
If the type of hit is a critical, it does extra damage according to the attack's critical bonus. If the attack has more than 100% of critical chance, the critical bonus multiplier also gets multiplied by the critical chance. (If the critical bonus is 60%, it does 60% extra damage.) If the hit is shielded, the damage is reduced according to the target's absorption rate.
Note that an attack is not the same as an ability activation. Lots of abilities deal multiple hits (you can see multiple flytext numbers popping up). These roll mechanics are applied for each and every single hit.
If you're looking for more info on combat mechanics, I strongly recommend to check out the theorycrafting articles on Dulfy, they go into much greater detail.
I will not give precise gearing numbers for each discipline; if you are interested in those, please look up a class guide. I will, instead, just talk a bit about gearing in general. Please read and reread everything in the Abilities section until you fully understand it all.
Tanks are broken in PvP for a long time now. In PvE most of the damage done by NPCs is M/R and NPCs do not have critical hits, so tanking works properly in PvE: some of the damage is defended against while the rest has some chance to be shielded.
In PvP, tank stats are close to being outright useless. If you read carefully till now, you know that Defense Rating only increases your chance to defend against M/R attacks and has absolutely no use against F/T. Most player abilities are F/T, so having lots of Defense Rating stacked gets you absolutely nowhere.
The problem with shield-based tertiary stats is the way shielding works: critical hits and I/E damage cannot be shielded, and critical chance is prioritized over shield chance. There is an overabundance of attacks with 100% critical chance, it by design doesn't work against I/E damage, so once again, stacking high levels of Shield is close to being useless.
In PvP you do not gear a tank as a tank. The benefits you'll see from it are minimal, and the DPS loss is substantial compared to just gearing like a DPS, except do not, in any case, use Accuracy, as the required amount is already provided by your discipline. (This method of gearing is called skank gearing.)
If you're playing a skank, get tank armorings along with the tank setbonus, use a shield as an offhand (not a generator/focus), otherwise gear as a DPS, choosing high-endurance modifications (distinguished in their name with the letter B, for example Lethal Mod 52B) instead of the standard low-endurance ones. You do not need any accuracy for tanks, as the discipline passives will provide an extra 10% for you.
With the introduction of Galactic Command, properly gearing a skank is an extremely painful process, especially since the legendary B mods only drop as separate items from command crates and they have an extremely low drop rate.
As a damage dealer you should focus on Mastery/Power as your primary/secondary stat, while getting as much Critical Rating, Alacrity Rating and Accuracy as you need. (Refer to class guides for the exact propotions.)
There's an ongoing debate whether you actually need Accuracy in PvP. Some people will say no, you absolutely don't, while others will claim that some Accuracy cannot hurt.
Because most of your enemies will have 0% chance to resist F/T attacks, if most of your attacks are of this kind, it's obvious you should not use any Accuracy: the default 100% will suffice. If, however, the discipline you're playing has some significant M/R damage, it is a sane decision to have some extra Accuracy to counter the natural defenses. Personally I'd recommend 5% as it covers the base defense chance. You can also decide to not use any Accuracy at all and invest those points in higher damage, but then be prepared that some of your attacks will miss. It is up to you to decide whether the extra damage is worth the missed attacks or not.
Same as damage dealers, except you have zero need for Accuracy.
Set bonuses are advanced class/role specific bonuses you can collect. If you get a piece of gear with a setbonus, the bonus is tied to the armoring in it, so you can freely move it around while not losing the bonus. Each set has 3 bonuses, having one for 2, one for 4 and one for 6 pieces of the same set equipped. Unlike in some other games, there's no point in mixing various setbonuses, you should only go with the one that's for your discipline.
|Advanced class||Role||Setbonus name||Effects|
(6) Increases Recklessness charges by 1.
(2) Activating a healing ability has a 15% chance to grant Force-Mystic's Critical Bonus which causes your next Dark Infusion to be a critical. This effect can only occur once every 30 seconds.
(4) Consuming Darkness restore an additional 5 Force.
(6) Reduces cooldown of Innervate by 1.5 seconds.
(2) Wither increases damage reduction by 2% for 3 seconds.
(6) Deflection's duration is increased by 3 seconds and its cooldown is reduced by 10 seconds.
(4) Reduces the cooldown of Recklessness by 15 seconds.
(2) Battering Assault increases damage dealt by 2% for 15 seconds. Cannot occur more than once every 30 of seconds.
(6) Activating Ravage or Dual Saber Throw will grant Weaponmaster's/Challenger's Critical Bonus making your next Gore, Furious Strike and Annihilate critically hit. This effect can't occur more than once every minute.
(2) Crushing Blow increases damage reduction by 2% for 4 seconds.
(2) Sundering Assault increases damage dealt by 2% for 15 seconds. Cannot occur more than once every 30 of seconds.
(4) Increases the critical chance of Ravage by 5%.
(2) Activating a healing ability has a 15% chance to grant Field Medic's Critical Bonus which causes your next Kolto Injection to be a critical. This effect can only occur once every 30 seconds.
(4) Reduces the energy cost of Kolto Infusion by 2.
(6) Reduces the cooldown of Recuperative Nanotech by 3 seconds.
(4) Reduces the cooldown of Target Acquired by 15 seconds, and activating either ability restores 15 energy.
(6) Laze Target now has 2 charges and its duration is doubled.
(4) Energy Shield's cooldown is reduced by 15 seconds.
(2) Activating a healing ability has a 15% chance to grant Combat Medic's Critical Bonus which causes your next Rapid Scan to be a critical. This effect can only occur once every 30 seconds.
(4) The duration of Supercharged Gas is increased by 4 seconds.
(6) Reduces the cooldown of Healing Scan by 1.5 seconds.
(2) Heat Blast increases damage reduction by 2% for 5 seconds.
(6) Activating Flame Burst and Magnetic Blast will grant Combat Tech's Critical Bonus making one of your next Energy Burst and Immolate critically hit. This effect can't occur more than once every minute.
Consumables are single-use items you can use to power up your character.
Stims are long-lasting powerups, crafted by Biochemists. The Artifact (purple) version of the stims last for 8 hours and provides the most stats. You can either craft them for yourself or buy them from the GTN.
|Advanced Polybiotic Fortitude Stim||Increases Endurance by 240 and Defense by 99 for 480 minutes. Only one stimpack can be active at a time. This effect persists through defeat.|
|Advanced Polybiotic Proficient Stim||Increases Accuracy by 240 and Critical Rating by 99 for 480 minutes. Only one stimpack can be active at a time. This effect persists through defeat.|
|Advanced Polybiotic Versatile Stim||Increases Mastery by 240 and Power by 99 for 480 minutes. Only one stimpack can be active at a time. This effect persists through defeat.|
In general, the Fortitude stims are recommended for tanks, Proficiency ones for damage dealers that use lots of white attacks and need Accuracy in addition to what they get from gear, Versatile ones for everyone else.
Be aware that the latest stims share their names with the previous tier ones, but those provide less stats. Always be sure to check the icon before you craft/buy!
If you have Biochem as your crafting skill, you will be able to use the reusable version of the stims. While these still need to be refreshed every 8 hours, the item is infinitely usable.
|Warzone Medpac||Immediately restores 35% of maximum health. Only usable in Player versus Player environments. Only usable once per fight. (Cooldown: 1.5 minutes)|
|Advanced Polybiotic Medpac MK-2||Restores health and additional health over 15 seconds. Only usable once per fight. (Cooldown: 1.5 minutes). Health restored scales by level up to level 70.|
|Warzone Adrenal||Increases damage reduction by 15% for 15 seconds while fighting other players. Only usable in Player versus Player environments. (Cooldown: 3 minutes)|
Warzone Medpac and Warzone Adrenal come as a reward from the daily PvP missions as well as they are purchaseable from vendors both on the Fleet and in warzones (except in arenas), while Advanced Polybiotic Medpac MK-2 is crafted and only usable by Biochemists. Medpacs can be used only once per fight, but stealthers can use Force Cloak/Cloaking Screen to get out of combat and reset this limit. (All medpacs share a common cooldown, so you cannot use both during a single fight.) Adrenals don't have this restriction.
Grenades are your way to sneak in some extra CC during a warzone. They are crafted by Cybertechs, and, like stims, you can either make them yourself or buy them on the GTN. Grenades are just additional tools you can use and are not required. The most common type of grenade used by PvP'ers is the Seismic one. Players targeted by these grenades receive the Bastioned buff, making them immune to further consumable grenades for 3 minutes.
|Advanced V-9 Pyro Grenade||Sets up to 5 enemy targets in a 6 meter area ablaze, dealing elemental damage over 12 seconds. (Cooldown: 180s). Damage dealt scales by level up to level 65.|
|Advanced V-9 Electro-Stun Grenade||Shocks up to 3 targets in the area for energy damage, and stuns them briefly. Tougher enemies are stunned for a shorter duration. (Cooldown: 180s). Damage dealt scales by level up to level 65.|
|Advanced V-9 Cartel Waste Grenade||Deals kinetic damage to up to 5 targets within 6 meters of the selected area, and reduces movement speed by 70% for 9 seconds. (Cooldown: 180s). Damage dealt scales by level up to level 65.|
|Advanced V-9 Seismic Grenade||Disrupts the earth beneath all targets within 6 meters of the selected area, dealing kinetic damage and knocking them unconscious for 5 seconds. Damage causes this effect to end prematurely. (Cooldown: 180s). Damage dealt scales by level up to level 65.|
Effects, further categorized into positive (buffs) and negative (debuffs) are displayed on your UI, (by default) above your character portrait. With a few notable exceptions, buffs can be dispelled (right-click on their icon; "click off"), while you have to suffer through the debuffs.
There are 3 cases where it might be beneficial to manually click off buffs:
There are lots of effects in the game and it would be near impossible to list them all. Most of them are just damaging abilites either with the same icon as the ability they are applied by (you can, for example, see the debuff from Affliction on the screenshot above, which is just the DoT from the respective Sorcerer ability.) In the table below you will find some of the most common and important general buffs/debuffs you will meet during PvP. If you want to check out each effect the game has in detail, head over to Jedipedia, where they have all abilities dissected. Note that icons are reused a lot in the game, so it is entirely possible that you will sometime see the same icon with an entirely different effect. Again, the list is by no means exhaustive.
Positive effects (buffs)
|Unshakable||Cannot be interrupted.|
|Bastioned||Protected from Cybertech Grenades.|
|Guard||Damage taken and threat generation reduced. Redirecting 50% of damage from players.|
|Out of range|
Negative effects (debuffs)
|Slowed||Movement speed reduced.|
|Trauma||Healing received reduced by 20%.|
|Stunned||Unable to act.|
|Afraid||Unable to act. Breaks on damage.|
|Hindered||Cannot activate or benefit from high mobility actions.|
CC (Crowd Control) is the umbrella term for abilities that can be used to control your enemies. While it's mostly used to refer to incapacitating effects (hardstun/mez), it also includes ballistics (push/pull) and movement impairment (slow/root).
There are 2 kinds of incapacitating CC: hard and soft stuns (mezzes). Every class has access to a hard stun and all except Powertech have a mez. General hard stuns have a 4 second duration, while mezzes, except that of the Warriors, are 8 seconds. Tank classes also have a second, shorter hard stun.
Unlike hard stuns, mezzes end prematurely if their target takes any kind of damage. This includes damage from periodic effects. It is pointless to mez anyone that has any DoT on them or is being focused. (Except: Lethality/Virulence, as their mez doesn't break from their own DoTs.) The only exception to this rule is if you want to use your mez as an interrupt, but that's a very delicate corner case.
|Class||Ability||Duration (seconds)||Effect Type||Dispel Type||Target||Comment|
|Static Barrier||3||F||AoE (5 meters of user)||Stun only applied with the Backlash utility.|
|Whirlwind||8||F||Single||2 second cast; can be made instant with the Haunted Dreams utility.|
|Mind Trap||8||M||Single||Only usable from stealth on targets not in combat. No cooldown but only one target can be affected at a time.|
|Spike||2||Single||Only usable from stealth, except for Darkness.|
|Low Slash||4||P||Single||Deception only.|
|Intimidating Roar||6||M||AoE (8 meters of user)|
|Sleep Dart||8||M||Single||Only usable from stealth on targets not in combat. No cooldown but only one target can be affected at a time.|
|Flash Bang||8||T||Single/AoE (5 meters of primary target)||For Operatives, the mez is AoE within 5 meters of the primary target; for Sniper, it's single target.|
|Maim||4||P||Single||Ranged ability, not Force/Tech.|
|EMP Discharge||2||Single||Stun only applied to targets affected by Plasma Probe.|
|Concussion Missile||8||M||Single||1.5 second cast; cast can be avoided using Power Surge.|
|Electro Dart||4||T||Single||Can be extended to 5 seconds for Powertechs with the Enhanced Paralytics utility.|
|Carbonize||2.5||AoE (8 meters of user)||Can be extended to 3 seconds with the Enhanced Paralytics utility.|
The Effect Type colum contains the icon of the applied effects while the Dispel Type tells you what kind of cleansing can remove the effect (F = Force, T = Tech, M = Mental, P = Physical). (More on that later.)
|Effect Type||Breaks on Damage|
Hindering is a "quasi-CC" effect that doesn't count as control, but can easily be seen as one. The point of hindering is that it diables "high mobility actions and escapes", making the targets susceptible to being burst down. The main source of hindering in the game is Electro Net, a Mercenary-exclusive ability. Other sources include Marauders' Gore and the acid traps in the Quesh Huttball map. While Gore can be timed well to be effective, its 1.5 second duration of hindering usually isn't too punishing. Hindering, unlike control effects, does not build or is affected by Resolve. This means you can effectively use Electro Net on a whitebarred target to almost fully negate it.
Electro Net has 3 distinct effects: a slow, the hindering and the damage. Electo Net's damage is minimal if you don't move while it is on you, but even if you do, even with the 200% damage increase it's not your biggest concern.
It's the hindering that kills. When E-Net is applied, it comes with a 50% slow and the dreaded hindering that disables the use of escapes and high-mobility actions, and, just for the hate of Sorcerers, Force Barrier, which is neither.
If you get netted at low health, do not expect to survive it, unless you have your CC breaker or other strong defensives available. There's only one thing that can partially counter Electro Net, and that's your CC breaker. I said partially, because while it removes the hindering effect and the associated slow, the damage-over-time component of Electro Net is unremovable, even by purging. So even if you break it, do not expect to stealth out and stay hidden for long, because the damage will break your stealth.
The only way to avoid Electro Net is to resist it altogether (have the immunity from Force Barrier, Force Shroud, Mad Dash, Exfiltrate (for Concealment), Covered Escape or some other tech resistance up when the Net hits you, or reduce the Merc's tech accuracy (if you have such an ability) and hope for a miss). Also, the slow component of Electo Net will not be applied if you are immune to movement-impairing effects when it lands.
Expect to get focused after being netted. You have to survive for 9 seconds in an environment where you cannot escape, or waste your breaker on it and enjoy the stuns afterwards. Usually there's no good way to deal with a well timed net.
Open your chat window, type /stuck, hit enter and enjoy denying them the killing blow. On a more serious note, you will not survive multiple nets without considerable support from your team.
These slow the target, reducing their movement speed. Unless the target has some kind of immunity to movement impairing effects (like Hydraulic Overrides for Bounty Hunters), slows always work.
These make it impossible for your opponent to move. Operatives have access to a specifically evil version of this effect via Crippling Slice that also disables turning. Full resolve prevents being rooted, when used on a whitebarred target, abilities that would root apply a 50% slow instead.
Pushes and pulls belong to this category. Only Darkness Assassin and Powertech (via Force Pull and Grapple) have pulls. Inquisitors have Overload, which is a frontal-only knockback, Mercenaries and Snipers have Jet Boost and Cover Pulse, which are 360° knockbacks, and Juggernauts have Force Push, which is single target. Of these Overload is the weakest (with a ballistic momentum of 1.9), followed by Jet Boost (2.2) and Cover Pulse and Force Push (3.0). Operatives can spec into a single target knockback via Mobile Strategies that also has a ballistic moment of 1.9.
In order to counter some of the control there is, the game has a (pretty badly designed) Resolve mechanic. Resolve is displayed around the character portrait on the UI (a.k.a. "the gangbang-meter"). Whenever someone suffers a CC effect that is not movement impairment (that's right: slows and roots do not build any resolve), some of the Resolve bar fills up. When a character is on full Resolve, the bar turns white (hence the term "whitebarred") and starts to delplete rapidly. While the Resolve bar is white, incapacitating CC has no effect on you and immobilizes slow you by 50% instead. Resolve is an important mechanic and not being familiar with its workings can easily mean a lost objective and eventually a lost match.
Let's see how it all looks in detail. If you hover over your Resolve bar with your mouse, it will say 0/1000 in the tooltip, or however much Resolve you currently have. A hardstun (one that does not break when taking damage), by default, generates 200 Resolve when applied for every second of its full duration, so a standard 4 second hardstun is 800 Resolve. A mez (that breaks on damage) is only 100 Resolve per every second of its full duration, but usually they also last longer. A ballistic effect goes for 200 Resolve, except for Juggernauts' Force Push, which only generates Resolve for the knockdown, which, being a 2 second hardstun, makes 400 Resolve.
Despite how the tooltip implies, your Resolve can go all the way up to 1500, but the whitebar will trigger as soon as you hit 1000. The immunity kicks in as soon as the bar turns white (so if somebody hardstuns you for 800 Resolve, then mezzes for another 800, and then you get another stun while the mez is in effect, it will not apply), but your Resolve will start to deplete only once all your incapacitating effects have worn off. What this means is that in the above scenario, while you immediately get your 1500 Resolve and a whitebar when the mez applies, your Resolve will not delpleting until that mez actually ends.
Resolve expires at a 100/second speed, providing immunity to incapacitating effect and turning any roots into 50% slows until it reaches 0, when the whole process starts over.
Your Resolve declines even if you are not whitebarred at a rate of 50 Resolve every 2 seconds, but, like the whitebar, this does not tick while you are incapacitated.
You might notice that if, as a Powertech, you Electro Dart someone and then immediately use Carbonize, the target won't end up having 1300 Resolve, but only 800. If you try to incapactiate somebody while your target already has an incapactitating effect on them, your stun/mezz will only build its normal Resolve minus the Resolve for the leftover part of the previous CC, but 0 at minimum.
In the Powertech example, Electro Dart builds 800 Resolve for 4 seconds of hardstun. One GCD (1.5 seconds) later 2.5 seconds of that hardstun remains, which equals to 500 Resolve. Carbonize, being a 2.5 second hardstun, would build 500 Resolve on its own, but from this the leftover Resolve from Electro Dart, which is 500, gets subtracted, leaving 0. If in the same example you sneak in another single-GCD ability between the two stuns, the leftover stun time from Electro Dart would be only 1 second, which means 200 Resolve, so you'll get 300 Resolve for your Carbonize. Note, however, that you cannot take Resolve away this way: if your target gets hardstunned for 4 seconds by someone and 1 second later you apply a 2 second hardstun, it will not reduce the target's Resolve, even though 400-600=-200.
Even though you cannot reduce a target's Resolve, you can easily reduce the effectiveness of the mezzes in your team if you attack/stun at the wrong time. Here's for example the Haunted Dreams passive for Assassins:
The stun from the broken Whirlwind counts as a new effect, building its own Resolve (400). What happens if Whirlwind gets broken after 7 seconds? The remaining Resolve for Whirlwind is 100, meaning the extra 1 second of incapacitation you get from Haunted Dreams will cost you 300 Resolve. If the same break happens at 2 seconds, 6 seconds of Whirlwind go to waste (600 Resolve), so not only you will lose out on 4 seconds of CC, you also won't build a single point of Resolve.
Every class has access to a "breaker" (Unbreakable Will for Inquisitors, Unleash for Warriors, Escape for Agents and Determination for Bounty Hunters), an ability that "Purges all incapacitating and movement-impairing effects", i.e. it removes any CC you have on you. Note, however, that it does not provide immunity to them; you can be CC'ed immediately after you broke. The baseline cooldown on every breaker is 2 minutes, which can be reduced by some utility choices. Even then you'll find that there's way more CC in the game than you can break, so you have to be smart about when to use your breaker.
In general, do not break the first CC you get. I know, being CC'ed is annoying, but you'll get CC'ed anyway. Save your breaker for situations where you'll actually need it, like your node is being capped or you're going to die unless you immediately break. Also take a moment to consider what you're going to do after you break, if you choose to do it. If you're on very low HP and you're getting focused hard, it might not matter if you break that stun; you'll die anyway.
Try to use the breaker when you're on full Resolve. Because full Resolve provides CC immunity, at least you won't be stunned right after you use your breaker, making it a complete waste.
Do not use breaker on anything but stuns and mezzes. Very few exceptions apply to this rule. The "Operative rooting you is annoying" is not one of them. Clearing slows using your stunbreaker is outright sacrilegious.
I could also have called this section Helping Your Allies. PvP is not a solo job; you have a team, and playing in a way that only benefits you is not only selfish, but will also limit unleashing your class' full potential. Let me put it more clearly: if you only ever care about yourself and blindly tunnel your target in PvP, you are bad.
Class buffs are abilities that provide long-term (1 hour) buffs to all members of your group. Every base class has access to a class buff. You always get the buff for your own class at level 1, and this also applies the buffs for other classes for which you have completed Chapter 2 of their respective class stories. If you do not have all class buffs unlocked, ask your teammates in chat to provide them for you.
|Mark of Power||Increases the target's Mastery by 5% and internal and elemental damage reduction by 10% for 60 minutes. If the target is a group member, all other group members are also affected.|
|Unnatural Might||Increases the target's melee, ranged, Force and tech bonus damage and healing by 5% for 60 minutes. If the target is a group member, all other group members are also affected.|
|Coordination||Increases a friendly target's critical hit chance by 5% for 60 minutes. If the target is a group member, all other group members are also affected.|
|Hunter's Boon||Increases the target's Endurance by 5% for 60 minutes. If the target is a group member, all other group members are also affected.|
Raid buffs are abilities that provide short-term (10 second) buffs to all members of your group. Originally only Marauders had access to raid buffs, but this has been expanded since. Because raid buffs last only a short while and have a 5 minute lockout (except Predation), use them only in the heat of a fight and not when running out of the spawn. Raid buffs (once again except Predation) are disabled in arenas.
|Unlimited Power||Increases mastery, endurance, and presence for you and your Operation group members within 40 meters by 10%. Lasts 10 seconds.|
|Predation||Requires and converts 30 stacks of Fury to issue Predation to you and your Operation group members within 40 meters, increasing movement speed by 50% and melee and ranged defense by 10%. Lasts 10 seconds.|
|Bloodthirst||Requires and converts 30 stacks of Fury to issue Bloodthirst to you and your Operation group members within 40 meters, increasing all damage and healing done by 10% for 10 seconds.|
|Tactical Superiority||Executes your Tactical Advantage to grant Tactical Superiority to you and your Operation group members within 40 meters, increasing critical chance by 10% for 10 seconds. Does not break stealth.|
|Supercharged Celerity||Requires and converts 10 stacks of Supercharge to issue Supercharged Celerity to you and your Operation group members within 40 meters, increasing alacrity by 10%. Lasts 10 seconds.|
Peeling for your teammates means helping them survive by getting enemies off their backs. Basic hardstun and tank skills (Guard and Taunts) not included. Here are the most imporant ones:
|Overload||Deals energy damage and knocks back up to 8 enemies within a 15-meter cone in front of you. Standard and weak enemies are additionally knocked down for 3 seconds.|
|Extrication||Lowers the target's threat by a moderate amount and, if the target is a group member, pulls the target to your location.|
|Force Pull||Uses the Force to draw the target in, instantly pulling it to your location and generating a high amount of threat. Does not work against targets in cover.|
|Force Push||Deals kinetic damage, knocks the target back several meters, and knocks the target down for 2 seconds. Force Push immediately finishes the cooldown of Force Charge.|
|Intimidating Roar||Paralyzes up to 8 nearby enemies in fear, preventing all action for up to 6 seconds. Damage ends the effect prematurely.|
|Obfuscate||Obscures the target's vision, reducing its melee and ranged accuracy by 90% for 6 seconds. Cannot be used on Operation bosses. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.|
|Flash Bang||Detonates a flash bang that blinds the target for 8 seconds. Damage causes this effect to end prematurely.|
|Cover Pulse||Detonates an emergency charge that knocks all nearby targets back several meters and immobilizes them for 5 seconds. Damage dealt after 2 seconds ends the effect prematurely. Only usable in cover.|
|Diversion||Reduces the accuracy by 45% and exposes from cover up to 8 enemies within 8 meters for 8 seconds. Cannot be used on Operation bosses.|
|Ballistic Shield||Deploys a ballistic shield that spans 10 meters around you, reducing the damage taken by all allies that remain inside by 20%. Lasts 20 seconds.|
|Jet Boost||Blasts 8 nearby enemies back and away. Targets hit by this take elemental damage and have their movement slowed by 50% for 4 seconds.|
|Carbonize||Encases up to 8 enemies within 8 meters in carbonite, dealing internal damage and stunning them for 2.5 seconds.|
|Grapple||Fires a grapple line that pulls the target to the Bounty Hunter and generates a high amount of threat. Cannot be used on targets in cover.|
Any class that has a Tank specialization (Assassin, Juggernaut and Powertech) has access to the most important tanking abilities, namely Guard and Taunt. Using these abilities correctly will get the most out of your class, even if you're playing damage dealers. If for nothing else, think of how easy it is to farm medals with getting Protection numbers; and you do like medals, right?
With the overabundance of Guard it is sad to see how many people are using it wrong. When you guard a teammate, they will take 5% less damage for the time of being guarded and 50% of the damage taken by the guarded teammate will get redirected to you, as long as you stay within 15 meters of the target. Guarded targets get a buff , while if you're out of range, they also get another: . If your guarded target has the blue icon, it means your guard is not redirecting damage. (Damage reduction and the Rule of Two passive for Juggernauts still work.) Since guard doesn't fall off if the guarder is out of range, the guarded cannot be given another Guard by anyone unless they click the buff off the guarder themselves removes it.
Putting a guard on someone and leaving is… That's Just Wrong! Your guarded target probably expects your help (unless they know better) if you bothered to give them guard. Do not guard anyone unless you are actually willing to be close to them to share damage.
Since Guard only does something if your target is attacked, it goes without saying (if only it would!) that if you're guarding a target that's not being attacked, and not guarding one that is, especially if you are playing Tank, doubly especially if you're playing a Tank in with tank gear, you're doing it awfully wrong. You can just select an unguarded target and put Guard on them; it doesn't even require you to remove Guard from the previous target, the game does it automatically for you. As a Tank, the single most important thing you can do in any game is proper guarding. You have to learn it. You need to switch your Guard to the targets being focused, just like healers have to switch their target when healing. Tank is a support role, just like healer; play it as such.
If you have access to Guard, you also have access to Taunt. Like Guard, Taunt works differently in PvP than it does in PvE. Specifically, a taunted target does 30% less damage for the duration of the taunt debuff on anyone but the taunter. Taunts do not cost a GCD, do not cost resources, do not cost anything. Use them.
With that said:
Cleansing used to be a useful skill for PvP before patch 3.0, as it could remove damage-over-time effects, making it an effective part of a healer's arsenal. Sadly that's no longer the case, and cleanses are, few cases aside, useless. Cleansing only removes 2 effects, and you cannot control which two. While most stuns can be cleansed, often your efforts will just remove a slow or some other useless debuff.
Force healers (Sorcerer) can only remove Force, mental and physical effects, while tech healers (Operative and Mercenary) can cleanse tech, mental and physical ones. It would be nice if mezzes were universally cleansable, but they aren't always are. (Whirlwind is a Force effect, Flash Bang is tech, while Concussion Missile is mental. It's a mess.)
|by default||if healer|
|Toxic Scan||physical, tech||mental|
Purging is a stronger version of cleansing and is only offered by a few ablities/utilities. Purging clears every removable effect from the player, even those that are not cleansable. Purging can be used to remove most player-applied effects, with the notable exception of Electro Net, Thermal Detonator and Explosive Dart. Purges only come in the form of self-purges, you cannot use them on others. Abilities that purge:
|Force Cloak||Shroud of Madness|
|Endure Pain||Consuming Rage|
|Force Camouflage||Expunging Camouflage|
|Evasion (Operative only)||None, but for Operatives only|
|Cloaking Screen||Advanced Cloaking|
Knowing your enemy in PvP is just as important as knowing your own class. Good PvP'ers will have a generally good understanding of all disciplines and classes in the game, at least to the level of knowing their most important abilities and how they work. In the following table I will list the most important things to look out for. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of every single defensive/damage reduction ability in the game, just the most important ones. Please note that hindering (Electro Net/Gore) is not listed in the Counterplay column.
|Force Speed||20 seconds||Increases movement speed by 150% for 2 seconds. Does not break Stealth.||Stun or use gap closer afterwards.|
|Phase Walk||60 seconds||Activating this ability marks your current location for 10 minutes. When this ability is activated again, if you are within 60 meters of the marked location, you instantly return to the marked location. Phase Walk goes on cooldown for 60 seconds when used to return to the marked location.||Phase Walk works while stunned, it has no effective counter other than hindering effects or Force Push. Try to stay near the marked location to make it less effective, but a good Sorcerer will do their best kite you away anyway.|
|Force Barrier||3 minutes||Projects a Force Barrier around you, granting immunity to all control, damage, and negative effects while channeled. This ability does not respect the global cooldown and can be used while controlled. While you are protected by Force Barrier charges will build up and grant Enduring Bastion, a shield that absorbs an amount of damage based off the charges that are present when Force Barrier ended. Enduring Bastion also grants immunity to interrupts.||No counter besides hindering. Switch to another target. Stun while the barrier from Enduring Bastion is up.|
|Force Shroud||60 seconds||Purges all hostile removable effects and increases your chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 200% for 3 seconds. Does not break Stealth.||Use M/R (white damage) attacks.|
|Deflection||2 minutes||Increases your ranged and melee defenses by 50% for 12 seconds. Requires a melee weapon.||Use F/T (yellow damage) attacks.|
|Saber Ward||3 minutes||Raises a lightsaber ward, increasing melee and ranged defenses by 50% and absorbing 25% of the damage taken from Force and tech attacks. Lasts 12 seconds.||Use F/T (yellow damage) attacks or switch targets.|
|Mad Dash||45 seconds||Madly dash forward 20 meters, dealing weapon damage to enemies in your path and increasing your defense chance by 100% while dashing. Cannot be used while immobilized or hindered.||No couter besides what's in the description. Since it absorbs any attack, try to avoid attacking into it.|
|Saber Reflect||1 minute||Reflects all direct single target ranged, Force, and tech attacks back to the attacker for 3 seconds. The damage done by each reflect is capped, and the cap rises with each new rank of the ability.||Use Melee attacks, DoTs or AoE.|
|Endure Pain||1 minute||Temporarily increases your maximum health by 30% for 10 seconds. When the effect ends, the health is lost.||Ignore the extra health and proceed as normal.|
|Enraged Defense||2 minutes||Empowers you with 12 charges of Enraged Defense, lasting up to 15 seconds. Whenever you take damage a charge of Enraged Defense is consumed to heal you. This ability can be used while stunned or otherwise controlled but cannot be used while above 70% health.||Preferably mez and kite as to not heal them up. If that's impossible, because your teammates are lacking situational awareness, just ignore and burn through it.|
|Cloak of Pain||1 minute||Reduces all damage taken by 20% and deals energy damage to attackers. This effect cannot occur more than once every second. Lasts 6 seconds. Cloak of Pain refreshes to its full duration when attacked, but this effect cannot last more than 30 seconds in total.||You can try to mez or kite while it drops, but since it even refreshes on DoT ticks, often times it's close to impossible to get rid of it.|
|Obfuscate||1 minute||Obscures the target's vision, reducing its melee and ranged accuracy by 90% for 6 seconds. Cannot be used on Operation bosses. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.||If you get Obfuscated, your white damage abilities will most likely miss and yellow damage ones will only do 25% of their normal damage. Try to root/stun or otherwise wait it out.|
|Undying Rage||3 minutes||Reduces the damage you take by 99% for 4 seconds.||Stun or kite. Don't attack, they go to waste.|
|Gravity Vortex||30 seconds||Force Crush triggers Gravity Vortex, granting immunity to interrupts and all controlling effects for 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds. Additionally, Obliterate and Force Crush each consume 1 less rage.||Use defensives or try to create some distance by your gap creator skill. You cannot stun/push a Marauder with Gravity Vortex up. Only available to Fury.|
|Evasion||1 minute||Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 200% for 3 seconds. Does not break Stealth.||Use F/T (yellow damage) attacks. If they also have Blow for Blow, use DoTs or AoE. Single target F/T attacks do not get absorbed, so if they're on low HP and you can eat some reflected damage, it might be worth pushing it.|
|Exfiltrate||None||Roll forward 12 meters. Activating Exfiltrate a second time within 10 seconds allows you to roll again, but puts the ability on cooldown for 10 seconds. While rolling, your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks is increased by 30%. Does not break stealth. Cannot be used while immobilized or hindered.||Root them as much as possible, as it prevents Exfiltrate from being used. Slows also reduce the roll distance. Do not attack. Be careful as the immunity effect lasts longer than the animation, don't be fooled by it.|
|Entrench||1 minute||Entrenches you into cover, becoming immune to all controlling effects. Only grants protection while in cover. Lasts 20 seconds.||Use Diversion if you're a Sniper yourself, it cancels Cover. Otherwise try to LoS and survive. No real conterplay aside from killing them.|
|Diversion||1 minute||Reduces the accuracy by 45% and exposes from cover up to 8 enemies within 8 meters for 8 seconds. Cannot be used on Operation bosses.||Move out of the area. Mad Dash/Exfiltrate/Covered Escape can fully negate Diversion if used preemptively.|
|Hydraulic Overrides||45 seconds||Grants 6 seconds of immunity from movement-impairing effects, knockdowns and physics and increases movement speed by 30%.||Stuns still work. And you can chase them.|
|Energy Shield||2 minutes||Increases damage reduction by 25% for 12 seconds.||With the maximum healing provided by
Trauma Regulators decreased to 40%, just burst through it.
|Kolto Overload||1 second||Activating this ability applies a Health Monitor that lasts up to 60 seconds, which triggers a Kolto Overload when your health is reduced to 35% or less. If your health is already 35% or less, Kolto Overload triggers immediately. Once triggered, Kolto Overload goes on cooldown for 3 minutes and rapidly heals you up to 35% of your max health for 8 seconds but will not exceed 35% of your max health.||Same as Energy Shield, CC or try bursting through.|
|Chaff Flare||45 seconds||Reduces threat towards all current enemies.||If the Mercenary is Innovative Ordnance, it gives a flat 35% chance to avoid any attack. You can probably ignore it, but you might want to not risk your heavy hitters for those 6 seconds. If they're Arsenal, either switch to M/R (white damage) attacks or quickly burn through the absorb stacks. Do not waste your high damage F/T attacks on it.|
|Electro Net||1.5 minute||Fires an electro net that ensnares the target, reducing its movement speed by 50% and dealing energy damage over 9 seconds. While affected, a target that moves takes 20% more damage from electro net, and this effect can stack up to 10 times on enemy players or 5 times on any other target. Additionally, the electro net hinders the target, preventing the use of high mobility actions and escapes such as charges, vanishes, and speed boosts. Lasts 9 seconds.||Stun, hide or defensives.|
|Responsive Safeguards||2 minutes||Activates an advanced response system that absorbs all incoming direct single target damage for the next 6 seconds, reflecting 50% of the absorbed damage back at the attacker and healing you for 5% of your maximum health each time an attack is absorbed. Can be used while stunned.||Stun, hide or use AoE or DoTs, as those aren't affected.|
Optimal user interface settings and controls are, of course, subject to personal taste and there's no "correct" way of setting them up. There are, however, various things that are simply recommended for optimal performance. Let's begin with examining settings.
Under General, make sure Enable Focus Target and Use Quickslots On Key Press are on. Deselect Target upon Clicking on Terrain is optional, but Auto Target Closest Enemy, should definitely be off.
Under Camera, set the maximum camera distance to the maximum possible. This will not only allow you to see more of what's happening around you in the game, but it's also required for "peeking" into the enemy spawns in certain warzones.
Under Combat, set the Ability Action Queue Window to your personal preference. In case you're wondering, this allows you to activate abilities before they can be used (for example because of the GCD), and they will be queued to execute when possible. Quick Ground Target Activation should definitely be on, and I would also advise keeping Sticky Ground Target Reticule enabled. (If for nothing else, it comes handy when passing the Huttball.)
FlyTexts are the damage numbers and various combat actions (like "Parry", "Reflected", etc.) that pop up from characters. I recommend keeping all FlyText enabled.
It's good to have all of these enabled for PvP. Show Victory Messages in Chat will tell you if you managed to kill the pesky stealther or they got away; Defeat Messages will tell you who you need to have revenge on after respawning. Enable combat logging to file will enable you to review combat events later and is also recommended to keep on.
If you scroll down to Cooldown Settings, have all three of these options enabled. Cooldown texts will tell you exactly when an ability comes off cooldown and they're very important for timing various actions.
In the Buffs and Debuffs section have Highlight Triggered Abilities checked.
At the very minimum have Nameplate on Friendly Players, Nameplate on Enemy Players and Always Show Class Symbol enabled. The rest are really up to your preference.
It probably shouldn't be me that's giving advice about this as I'm very bad at managing this myself, but here we go, let's see some common advice for getting this correctly. Holding either main mouse button allows you to rotate the camera, while holding both at the same time also moves your character forward. You should never, ever use your keyboard to turn; get used to doing this with your mouse. (Keyboard turning is simply not fast enough for PvP.) Personally I do not recommend using both mouse buttons to move, as even if you keybind everything, there will still be plenty of things to click. Instead, if you do not like the idea of having your movement key continuously held down, use the autorun feature.
Beckpedalling, or moving backwards ("S" key by default) is a controversial topic in itself. As backpedalling is slower than forward/side movement, it is generally not recommended to do. It is my personal opinion, however, that it makes camera handling easier at times. Whether you want to be a beckpedaller is up to you and I'm sure this won't be the biggest issue you'll run into while PvP'ing.
You should try to get used to having your camera controlled manually for most of the time, and to keep it facing the objectives. This requires a bit of habit, but it's not that hard to get into: always have the objective on your screen. It makes you look stupid when you're dueling someone and a second person is planting the bomb behind your back.
This should go without saying, but still, here it is: keybind everything you can. It's no excuse that one of the best players healers in the game used to be a clicker: you likely won't be as fast. It's not the end of the world if you leave some rarely used skills unbound, but those that you use most often and those that need to be used quickly (especially defensives) must be keybound to easily reachable keys or combinations. (Exercise some caution, though: you might not want to bind your most powerful defensive to something you easily press by accident.)
Some mice and keyboards offer remappable keys or macro keys. If you bind something to these, you can set any akward keybind for the ability and the software will manage it for you. The game does not always detect the Alt key if it's replicated by some software; be careful when binding to a combination with that key. (Ctrl and Shift do not suffer from this problem.)
Under Targeting in the keybinding preferences, especially if you're playing healer/tank, setting Target Group Member 1-4 to something easily reachable allows you to quickly target your teammates in the heat of a a fight without having to click in the ops frame. Target Self makes yourself the current target, while Acquire Target's Target and Acquire Focus Target's Target do what they say; these are immensely helpful in, for example, doing proper hardswaps. The Self/Focus Target Modifiers, while pressed, temporarily target your abilities on yourself/your focus target, without having to actually switch targets. You can use the Focus Target Modifier to, for example, easily interrupt enemy healers.
Think it over which interface elements you need to have keybound and clear everything else. Not only having some random window pop up mid-fight if you press something wrong annoying, but some of those can cause a noticeable lag on opening, too.
As you propably know, chat has different channels, sometimes colored distinctively to help differentiating them, and they can be read by different groups of people.
As much as some people only queue for warzones to farm kills, or good-looking numbers on the scoreboard, warzones are not won by kills or the highest DPS/HPS, but by playing for objectives. (Which does not mean good DPS/HPS isn't welcome, or even required in some cases. But you need to have absolutely superior numbers and even then care a little to win by number farming.)
While the exact way of dealing with objectives varies from warzone to warzone, some things are common in most of them.
Most objectives are captured by right-clicking their respective control objects: this initiates a channel, which, if completes, the objective is taken for your team. This is interruptible by attacking the person trying to capture with any direct or channeled AoE attack. It does not matter how much damage your attack does; simply getting attacked is enough to be interrupted. Also because of this you usually need some clear air around objectives to be able to take them, or at least stun the people there so they cannot attack. (Some teams will just let you capture behind their back and don't even look that way. Their loss.)
As objective captures are abilities behind the scenes, they are subject to regular interrupt lockouts, too. Interrupting someone with the dedicated interrupt skill prevents them from retrying for 4 seconds. Because of this, it's a good idea to use your interrupt immediately after your CC breaker if you're not whitebarred. This way, if you get mezzed again, your attacker is screwed and they just gave you a free whitebar.
|Warzone||Mechanic||Channel time||Interruptibe by attack|
|Civil War||Turret capture||8s||Yes|
|Yavin Ruins||Turret Capture||8s||Yes|
|Yavin Ruins||Turret Capture with Fast Capture mod||4s||Yes|
|Novare Coast||Turret capture||12s (3s warmup, incremental)||Yes|
|Odessen||Objective capture||3s (no clicking)||No|
|Odessen||Mod pickup||Instant (no clicking)||No|
Note that periodic damage effects (DoTs) do not interrupt captures, nor do any attacks that only deal periodic damage. If you're playing a, say, Operative, and you put Corrosive Dart on a target, it will not interrupt whatever they're doing. This now includes non-channelled ground target AoE DoTs.
Because already captured objectives can be lost if an enemy goes and captures them, it's necessary to have someone on guard to interrupt capture attempts and warn the team. Guarding is one of the least thankful things you can do in any warzone: you'll spend most of the match just standing there doing nothing with a good chance you'll be assaulted by multiple people at once, and you can singlehandedly lose the game for your entire team.
Two things are expected from guards: call incomings and being able to defend until reinforcements arrive. Calling incomings is done in ops chat, you can type "2 lab" if two enemies are attacking the lab in Odessen, "1w" if there's a single guy at the western door in Voidstar, etc. Your team might respond quickly or not respond at all (which, sadly, happens), but you should survive reasonably long enough for help to arrive. Sometimes this is quite easy, other times not quite. Call as early as possible to give the others time to get there. Calling when you're dead or two hits away from it is completely useless. If you do not feel comfortable guarding alone, you can always ask that someone swap with you, or, as a last resort, you can guard with 2 people.
While this can be categorized as "greed" below, I find it important to emphasize that you should, when guarding, always watch the objective. Lots of people make very bad guards because when they see some red, they go chasing it. It's easy to lure these people away from the objective while a stealther goes for the cap and CC them when they are unable to get back to interrupt in time. Do not get lured, ever.
If you compare the table of warzone mechanics to the table of incapacitating effects (or just guard a few times in the game), you will soon come to realize that having an objective stolen from you isn't that hard at all. Even the longest objective capture only takes 8 seconds, and 5 of the 8 classes have CC that last that long. Using these they can take the node you're guarding without hitting you for a single point of health, so be careful.
When it comes to sapcapping, stealthers make dangerous opponents: first, they have multiple 8 seconds mezzes available to them (Mind Trap/Whirlwind, Sleep Dart/Flash Bang), and you cannot see them approaching. While I have sapcapped quite a few people on my Corruption Sorcerer too, it's not that hard to defend against, as you can see it coming, call for help, and the mezzes have a relatively (1 minute or somewhat less) long cooldown anyway.
As a defender, you have 2 tools to prevent being sapcapped: range and line of sight.
Both Mind Trap and Sleep Dart have a 10 meter range, while your ranged attacks can be used from 30 meters. After using their CC from stealth on you, it takes them time to get back to the objective to start capturing it, during which their CC on you is already ticking and expiring. The farther you stay from the objective, the longer it will take them to get back and the later they can start capturing, meaning you will have more time to interrupt their attempt.
If you play a Sorcerer, you can guard far away from the objective while keeping your Phase Walk in range. This way you can teleport back fast if something needs interrupting. Powertechs can stand right there and use Shoulder Cannon.
Do not, ever, stand within 10 meters of an objective that can be sapcapped, unless you either a) have some immunity to incapacitating effects or can interrupt while incapacitated, b) are certain all their mezzes are on cooldown, c) have no other choice. Let this stand as a reminder why you need to keep to this rule:
Using any CC requires a clear line of sight, meaning there can be no objects between the attacker and their target. If you cannot keep range, at least make sure the attacker has to chase you behind cover to CC. This is related to the previous point: your goal is to make them waste time, lure them away from the objective and if they do CC you make them be late by the time they get back.
Any stealther can mez you for 8 seconds twice in a row, then, once your resolve expires, vanish and mez you again for 8 seconds and if you used your breaker, they will be able to use their in-combat mez for a second time before your breaker is off cooldown. In general, CC is abundant, breakers are not. If you have to use your breaker, you also have to anticipate how to not get CC'ed immediately afterwards, this time with no escape. Not all classes can hold out for the same time, but in any case you do need to plan ahead.
When it comes to using breakers, you have to know exactly how long various mechanics take and pay a lot of attention to timing. We're talking about tenths of seconds accuracy here. If you see a stealther mezzing you but failing to start capturing immediately, if he's within your line of sight, you can usually interrupt without using a breaker. If you cannot attack directly, you have to consider whether the delay time difference will provide you with enough time to interrupt. This is a game that can only be learned properly by playing and failing it.
Nobody likes to die, we get it. But sometimes you will, and most warzones do not punish dying too harshly. What I see lots of people do is that they blow all their defensive cooldowns before dying, just to respawn with nothing. Unless it's an Arena, you don't have to use everything you have up if your team can hold out on their own while you respawn.
As unused as this possibility is (I must admit being guilty of almost never using it myself), you can resurrect fallen teammates in every warzone except Arenas. Sometimes reviving a fallen tank as a healer and not having to wait for them to run back can save your objective, or the game. The usual caveats of in-combat resurrection apply.
All the objective maps have some powerups lying around that can help you survive. Powerups respawn after a while.
Medals are the game's way of rewarding objectively measurable performance in warzones. Most medals are easily obtainable by performing basic things, like hitting an enemy for a certain damage. The reason why I bothered to mention them is to also note that the number of medals you get in a march does not, in any way, determine whether you are a good player or not. There's a minimal extra valor reward for getting medals, but this is capped at 8. Also, if you get 8, 14 or 18 medals in one life, you are announced as being Unbeatable, Invincible or Immortal, respectively. These "titles" don't have any benefits.
At the end of each match you are shown a scoreboard with some of the numeric performance of each of your teammates. Besides the obvious data, hovering over values reveals more and often more important values about the player. For example, hovering over one's damage shows you their DPS, which is a lot better measure of one's performance than total damage done, as it doesn't depend on the length of the warzone (and even takes into consideration if the player was a backfill).
Scoreboard numbers can give you a relatively good idea about each of your mates' performance, but it is by no means complete. A node guard, for example, can have 0 of everything and only a marginal amount of objective points, yet they were standing there, bored, guarding for your team the entire time. (Or they were AFK and got lucky. You'll never know.)
It's very hard to give an objective measure of what's valuable in a warzone. High DPS/HPS/Protection is often better than low, but then again, a stealther offnoding and guarding the whole time might have won the match for you, despite them having low damage. Award your MVP to whoever you think contributed the most - whether it be by playing objectives, keeping you alive or clearing out your enemies.
Deserter Detection is an automatic mechanic that tries to make you participate in games. You get a debuff in the spawn areas that stays until you leave them. If you refuse to do so, eventually you'll get kicked from the warzone.
Most warzones have their respawn areas guarded by a forcefield that opens every now and then, letting people back into the mayhem. Not all warzones have the same respawn limit. What is common in them, though, is that the forcefields have a timer on them, which is show on the right. The number of filled quarters represent the time remaining before the door opens again. When you see recently resurrected people calling out like "2 ticks" in chat, this is what they mean.
In Civil War/Yavin Ruins there is no spawn barrier, what you have instead is a ~13 second speeder ride you have to take to get back down. Odessen also has no spawn barriers. Respawns happen in timed waves, when everyone that has fallen is revived automatically.
This has many manifestation in warzones, but take this advice to the heart, as it's the single most important strategic advice I can give you: do not be greedy. Sometimes you cannot hold all 3 objectives, and sometimes you cannot claim that kill you so much long for. Being a good PvP'er also includes knowing when to retreat and hold what you have. Countless times I have lost warzones with otherwise good teammates because they got greedy in some way, overextended and eventually caused a loss.
Let me start with some statistics: in my humble, totally non-representative opinion, over 95% of the players queueing for warzones do not understand the importance, the whys and why nots of stealth play. If there's anything you learn from this guide, let it be this sentence: Do not help stealthers.
Let me explain. The whole point of stealth play is that, if done successfully, allows a stealther to avoid having to fight for objectives and steal them while simply stunlocking the guard. But this has some very strict requirements and any mistakes made are more likely than not going to cause you needlessly take longer or to outright fail.
There are multiple things that make this kind of play effective. One is the element of surprise: the defender doesn't know you're coming. You approach them while totally invisible and strike whenever it's appropriate for you. If you're not stealth and go "help", the very first thing you're going to be doing is drawing attention. Even if the guard only sees you approaching, they will call for help. This alone gives a noticeable advantage to the defenders.
Then there's the need for being out of combat. Both Sleep Dart and Mind Trap require the target to be out of combat. Even if they cannot catch the guard at the start, they can vanish out of combat and then use their mezzes. If you are there "helping" and keeping the guard in combat, you make this impossible.
Third, most caps require precisely timed mezzes to pull of properly. Now this phrase has two things that can go wrong: precisely timed and mezzes.
Mezzes are kinds of incapacitation that break on any damage taken. If you put a DoT on the guard, it prevents mezzing. If you keep attacking, it also prevents mezzing. Almost everything you can possibly do prevents mezzing.
Then there's the precise timing. You can't just keep a guard locked down for an arbitrary amount of time, because at one point Resolve kicks in. Also the longest mezzes last 8 seconds, the exact same amount as needed to steal the objective. Any time lost, even if just tenths of seconds, works against you. If you use any CC while someone is not capping, you've ruined it. It is very, very rare that 2 (or more) uncoordinated people can successfully do a sapcap against a knowledgeable guard.
Stalling is the act of preventing the enemy team from taking some objective for themselves, leaving it in its original, neutral state. Stealing, on the other hand, is when you not only not let them cap, but also take the node for yourself. Notice the difference between the two: in the first case the objective remains neutral, in the second it will be scoring for you.
I cannot really attribute the popularity of stalling to anything but the wrong example set by some popular people. While stalling a pylon for an entire round does indeed look like professional play, as far as objectives are concerned, it's a pretty stupid thing to do.
Basically, the only case when stalling is required, is when you are certain you won't be able to take the node from the guard later or when you're so close to losing the warzone that you cannot risk it. If it looks like you'll be able to steal it later, it's better to let them take it at the beginning and then capture it, than pointlessly charge into a 2 or 3 vs 1.
With that said, unless you explicitly want to stall, just using Sleep Dart or Mind Trap and not even attempting to take the node is one of the most stupid things you can do when offnoding. Not only it is totally pointless, it also alerts the defender and gives them Resolve.
The maps that provide opportunities for this sapcap kind of stealth play are ACW, YR, AHG and VS, though all do it a little differently.
First of all, as I've no doubt mentioned this in other parts of this guide, if you're quick enough to utilize the full duration of a mez, and you do not get interrupted during your capture, it provides just enough time to pull the cap off. If you delay even a little bit, you are just giving time for the defenders to interrupt. One way of doing a sapcap is, if you're fast, doing it directly, in line of sight. Unless the defender makes a mistake, any delay will make you fail, so do this only if you're fast enough. Sadly in VS and AHG only this kind of cap is possible, as there are no objects to provide line of sight near the objectives.
The following video should illustrate the difference between a correctly timed and a slow sapcap (and some bad positioning on my part):
Luckily in ACW/YR you can use your sap and quickly move behind the node to take it. While you will lose some time doing this, the fact that you're out of LoS makes interruptions tricky. Mercenaries are pretty good at this because Sweeping Blasters can be used to attack while out of LoS, other classes have a tougher time.
Stealthers can turn most objective games a sour one if you do not know how to deal with them. A well played Operative can prevent a capture for an eternity against a group that does not know how to deal with them. This is one place where the class really shines: their ability to attack from 30 meters range, Exfiltrate allowing them total immunity to everything for 1.5 seconds, their self-heals, their damage reduction and their all-around mobility makes a good one hard to pin down.
While some will immediately reveal themselves and attempt to capture while having you knocked out or simply try to kill you, some of them will just stay in stealth and try to stall. You can of course try finding them with randomly spamming AoE attacks all over the place, but there's a good chance your hit rate against experienced stealthers will be very low. What you can do is use Resolve to your advantage: keep trying to capture. They can interrupt twice in a row, but after that you will have full resolve, and they will not be able to use CC on you anymore. They will have to reveal themselves and attack if you don't want to allow you to capture. The worst thing you can ever do while being stalled by a stealther is to let yourself get interrupted twice, then, when you finally have full Resolve, start looking for them. Do not ever do that, instead, keep trying on the objective. You will still be interrupted, but they will have to reveal themselves to do that.
There are 2 ways to deal with a stealther. One is obvious: kill them. While this is easy if you have multiple people there, if the stealther is alone, they can drag the duel on for a pretty long time, esepcially if it's an Operative. The other one involves the exact opposite: use their tools against them. Check the table about incapacitating effects above and see what you have access to. Both Operatives and Assassins have only one way to break incapacitation, so if one of you tries to capture and the other CC's the stealther, they will have no way to escape. You have to be smart about it: if you use your CC while they have some immunity is up, you just wasted lots of time. Since most stealthers will try to run from cover to cover in order to hide from you (they aren't able to survive in the open for long), rooting them in place when they're not in line of sight to interrupt also works wonders.
If you have two people there from your team and you're being harrassed by one person, it's advisable that both of you keep trying to cap, forcing them to burn their opportunities to CC in stealth and giving you Resolve. When they finally reveal, one of you should keep spamming the capture, immediately retrying if interrupted, while the other goes to CC the offender. If they break (unless you screw it up, they will have to break), just switch around and let the other person CC. This makes short work of any annoying stealther.
Oh, this is going to be short. There's no matchmaking in regular warzones. None at all. 0. (There is some soft matchmaking in solo ranked, though.) The game does not even have a best effort balancing to make matches somewhat more even, it just dumps whatever it finds in the queue into two teams and pits them against each other.
In this section I'm going to go through each warzone type, trying to point out the most important do's and don'ts in them. Such a guide, as was said in the introduction, can never be fully comprehensive, anything written here does not replace situational awareness or plain common sense. Following these guidelines will, in general, help you become a better objective player, even if you lack those qualities.
Below is the list of the warzones you can find in the regular queue, with a short summary:
Aldreaan Civil War and Yavin Ruins are gameplay-wise almost identical warzones that have few differences besides their visual setting.
There are 3 turrets on each map, one to the left, one in the middle area and one to the right. The map is designed in a way that the left turret is somewhat closer to the spawn than the right one (only slightly closer, though), with the middle one being fully symmetrical. In Alderaan, the side turrets are usually referred to as "snow" and "grass", not as east and west. If you wonder how these names came to be: "snow" (the eastern turret) has a snowy area around it, while "grass" (the western one) is on a sunny and grassy terrain. Turrets are captureable by interacting uninterrupted for 8 seconds with their respective control nodes.
In Civil War the full turret control object is clickable, in Yavin, however, it only has a small panel on its side for interaction. Despite this design, the panel can be clicked from a long enough distance that capturing from the opposite side of the turret is still possible. The turret objects themselves, on both maps, provide opportunities for breaking line of sight.
In the Civil War map the sides of the middle structure are exit-only, as they require you to drop down and not be able to come back up without going back all the way to the spawn areas. In Yavin Ruins, however, this part has been changed to stairs, which allows quick movement back to the middle from the sides. The most important directions of movement are marked on the annotated map with white arrows. There's a tunnel under the middle turret (gray line) which also has 2 speedup mods to help you get from one side to the other fast.
A new addition to the Yavin map, not seen anywhere before in the game is the Fast Capture mod. These are pickup items like all the other powerups, they last for 75 seconds and decrease the time it takes to capture an objective by 50%, that is, down to 4 seconds. What this means is that taking a turret with this mod is now possible under the duration of a standard hardstun. The mod does not transfer to enemy players on death and is lost following a successful capture. Carrying the mod prevents the use of stealth.
Each team starts with a score of 600, the first team to lose this all and get down to 0 loses. At the start of the match all 3 turrets are inactive: they do not score for either team and appear grey in the scorecard. Turrets becomes active when they get captured first and cannot be deactivated: once someone captures them, they remain active for the rest of the match. They start firing 10 seconds after being first captured, which does not reset on further changes of ownership. Their DPS is 0.5 in both maps though the Yavin turrets fire every 4 seconds, while those in Alderaan only do it every 20 seconds. Turret activation times can be important: the turrets are not syncronized, they do not fire at the same time. If the warzone happens to go in a way that only 1 turret gets captured (and held) by both teams and one remains inactive throughout the warzone, the outcome of the match depends on which team captured first.
Once one team's score falls below half of that of the other team, the match is pretty close to being decided, because from that point the team in lead will only have to hold one turret to win: definitely not impossible requirement. The outcome isn't technically decided at that point, because the team lagging behind can capture all 3 turrets and win, but this turn of events is quite rare. Most of the time if you have at least double the score of your enemies, enjoy your win. You might also want to consider whether taking a 2nd node or preventing the capture of the 3rd one is worth it, as there's only a marginal chance you'll be able to turn the tide with a triple capture and you're only wasting everyone's time otherwise.
Your team's ultimate goal is to hold at least 2 turrets throughout most of the match. Because all turrets function the same way, it does not matter which 2, but because the left one is closer to the respawn point than the right one (again, the difference isn't too big), most groups go for the left and the middle nodes in force, while letting a volunteering stealther go delay the right one. In a regular match, it's not necessary that you try to capture all nodes; it is mostly when it comes to premades vs. premades that letting the other team freely capture a node turns it into a winning advantage for them. Usual splits are 1-7-0, 1-6-1, 2-6-0 or 2-5-1 (the numbers meaning the number of people going left, mid and right, respectively), with the later two being more common if you expect the enemy team to try interfering with your capture.
Phase Walk is an especially useful ability in Civil War, because the design of the map prevents getting from some points to others in a quick and efficient way (like from the side nodes back to the middle), requiring you to walk some extra miles. Sorcerers can cut this by using Phase Walk: if you are at a node you expect to need to come back to, leave Phase Walk there, and you'll be able to teleport back there from anywhere within 60 meters.
If you have forgotten since the general introduction, sapcaps are when a stealther uses their 8 second mezzes to incapacitate the guard while taking the objective. Let me reiterate, because lots of players think it's impossible: you can fully capture an objective under the duration of a mez. If the attacker does not delay, there's no leftover time: even if you use an attack that hits the exact same moment you activate it, you'll be late.
In both maps the control objects themselves provide cover from line-of-sight, meaning the attacker can just run behind the objective and you'll not be able to directly attack them. This, however, is not necessary: if you position wrong, your attacker can just mez you directly and take your node, straight in front of your face. While they require stricter timing, direct sapcaps are a lot easier: when movement is involved, the attacker loses time while getting in position. The following video shows a quick example of how easy it is to lose a node if you're not using your toolset properly.
Bad defenders get their guarded nodes taken away, and, like in other maps, it's important to know how to position properly for guarding. The turret controls themselves are large physical objects, providing line of sight and making it harder to interrupt captures.
The #1 rule of defending, here and elsewhere, is to avoid being close to the objective, unless you are whitebarred or have some other form of immunity. The reason for this is simple: both Assassins and Operatives have multiple 8 second mezzes, which, if utilized properly, allows them to capture your objective right in front of your nose. Remember that the range of stealth-only mezzes is 10 meters. The turret itself allows for a few meters when capturing, so keeping a ~15 meter distance is recommended.
As in general, when it comes to defending, do not use your CC breaker unless you have a good reason to do so. In objective play, that means do not use it unless you're definitely about to lose the node if you do not break. If you get sapped, but the stealther does not make any attempts to capture, do not use your breaker. They've just given you free resolve.
To be honest I do not know whether this is a bug or just some game mechanic I'm not aware of, but you should be aware that AoE abilities with ground targeting ("placed AoE") do not do any damage on the side platforms unless you're standing right on the surface of the platform. Even if you're on the stairs or on the ground and you can activate the ability, it will not deal any damage. This can easily lead to you losing an objective. For this very reason, try using single target abilities to interrupt, because they don't suffer from this problem.
Also, if you're attempting to use an AoE attack to interrupt, note that of the 3 ranged classes only Mercenaries' Sweeping Blasters do not have any delay on their AoE. Snipers' main spammable AoE attack, Suppressive Fire starts ticking after 0.5 seconds, while Sorcerers' Force Storm needs 1 second to first deal any damage. Because a successful capture can easily depend on tenths of seconds, proper timing of your abilities is crucial and failure to anticipate these delays can easily result in a lost objective.
Defending in Yavin, because of the Fast Capture mods, is a more challenging task than anything before. Since the nodes can be taken in only 4 seconds, this means almost every form of CC, including hardstuns and grenades, provide enough time to pull a capture off. Even though these mods disable one's ability to stealth, simply the number of stuns any class has available makes it nigh impossible to properly guard alone against anyone that has this mod. Unless a stealther is available for guard duty, having 2 guards is recommended at any point.
The map of the AHG can roughly be divided into 3 regions, the western, eastern and central regions. While the terrain does differ a bit, the eastern and western parts of the map are relatively the same. Both sides hold one of the main objectives, a pylon (marked with yellow on the map), which much be taken and held by the end of the round for your team to gain points towards victory. The match is divided into rounds, each of which end with both the pylons exploding, even if they remain uncaptured. Everyone getting caught in the explosion dies instantly.
The central part of the map (marked with a thick yellow border) is where you can take shelter from the explosions: if you're in the spawn area or anywhere inside the middle structure, you are safe and won't die. (OK, that's not always true. The edges are of the spawn are sometimes bugged and get you killed even if you haven't dropped down into the explosion.) The very middle part of the map is always open, you can get in (or out, and sometimes not exactly on your own terms) of it at any time. The safe zones under the spawn area are mostly open for passing through, but their doors get locked while the explosion is in progress.
Lots of players refer to the pylon to the left of their spawn as "ours" and the other one as "theirs", and actually treat the pylons as if the left one would be somehow in their favor. This is, however, purely conventional. The sides are symmetrical (the differences are mostly aesthetic, not functional), and the left pylon is in no way different to your team than the right one. This is especially important to understand if the game isn't going in the conventional way (i.e. one person captures the left pylon, another from the enemy team the other and everyone else goes berserk at the middle): getting either pylon is just as good as the other, holding on to one while ignoring the other is a good way to lose.
Healups are found behind the pylons, powerups on the way as you go from the middle area to the pylons and finally there are 2 speedups under the spawn areas.
One thing is sure: this warzone has the most convoluted scoring system of all. I will explain how the score is calculated first, which is crucial to understand why some tactics are good and why others are bad for your team.
The game proceeds in rounds, each lasting 2 and a half minutes (150 seconds), and every team has two scores: a permanent and a temporary one. The hard score is what your team has already gathered and cannot be taken away, no matter what happened, while the soft score might be lost if your team cannot hold a pylon. Under normal circumstances, the first team to hit a hard score of at least 600 wins the game.
Each round has an associated multiplier, which is ×3 for the first round and grows by 1 in each successive round, going up to ×9, when the warzone times out and ends anyway.
Let's start with the orbs, which are the simpliest to explain. There are 4 orb stands in the middle, a 5 second interaction is required to claim one of them. Once you claim an orb, you must carry it to a pylon under your team's control in order to score it. You can only carry one orb at a time, and using escapes removes the orb you have. If you carry an orb to the pylon, your team's hard score is increased by twice of the round multiplier. So orbs scored in the first round get you 6 points, then 8, then 10, then… you get it. Note, however, that this is a one-time pad to your score and does not accumulate in later rounds.
Having a pylon, by default, gets 75 points for your team. (This value is constant and does not depend on the round multiplier.) You can capture a pylon at any point during a round, as long as you hold it at the very end, when they lock down, it's yours, along with all of its benefits. Simply delaying the enemy team from capturing a pylon does not lower the score they get. Also, having a pylon gives you points for deaths, which is where it all starts to get interesting.
First of all, I'm saying deaths here, because score is given by enemy deaths, not kills. If someone from the opposing team dies in the explosion, your team gets a point for it, even if you did not deal the killing blow.
So, uh, yea, the scoring. Every round ends and the next one begins at the moment the pylons start exploding (not when the lockdown begins). (This also implies that deaths by the explosion count for the next round.) Let's define the round score for every round to be the number of enemy deaths in that round, multiplied by the round multplier. This roughly means that for each death you get some score equal to the round multiplier.
When a pylon is captured, your team not only gets 75 points for the pylon itself, but gets every round score, from the beginning of the game, up to and including the current round, added to your soft score. (If you happen to hold both pylons, everything is doubled.)
Your soft score is dependent on holding the pylons: if you, for example, hold one pylon, but lose it to a stealther, you will not get any points in that round, except for any orbs you have carried back to your pylon. At the end of each round the soft scores become hard and cannot be lost from that point on, no matter what.
The warzone ends in round 7, i.e. when the multiplier is ×9. This round has a premature ending: the round timer will not expire when the warzone ends, and, more importantly, your soft score will not be converted to hard when the match ends. That means if the enemy team is ahead by the end of round 6, you only have a short time window to pad your numbers with some orbs. Nothing else you do will matter.
This is a source of constant arguing with people in this warzone, so I find it important to emphasize here: kills score in every successive round, orbs only once. Sure, orbs give you twice the round multiplier and kills give one time that, but still, unless you are in the very last round, a kill will get you at least as many, if not more points, than an orb, and always at least as much if you're holding 2 plyons at any point. There's one very exceptional case where orbs can be dealbreakers, which I explain below.
Suppose you are facing a superior team, you are both under 600 points, but the enemy is way ahead in kills. Because orbs go straight to your permanent score and the game ends as soon as one team's permanent score reaches 600, you can pad your numbers with orbs and push yourself over 600 permanent points even if the enemy team has a higher temporary score. In any other case orbs do not take priority over anything else.
If the enemy team is way ahead in numbers, one-time padding your score with orbs will not save you.
Let's see a hypothetical example about how a match might look like:
|Round||Multiplier||Shadow Squad||Reaper Squad|
|Pylons held||Deaths||Orbs scored||Round score||Cumulative round score||Total score||Pylons held||Deaths||Orbs scored||Round score||Cumulative round score||Total score|
While the example is not based on a concrete game, results like this are not at all impossible or even uncommon. While Shadow Squad was busy taking orbs and even got both pylons in one round, they died a lot, which, in the end, made Reaper Squad victorious, even though they were unable to take a pylon – twice. If the match were like this, Reaper Squad would win. If, however, Shadow Squad chose to gather 2 orbs in round 6, getting them 24 points, they would bump their hard score over 600 (to 604), and the match would end before the end of the round, making Shadow Squad victorious.
In a casual game of Hypergates teams do not bother with pylons too much. One unlucky person from each group go at the beginning of each round to the left (as seen from the spawn area) pylon, captures and hopefully guards it, while the rest of the team goes to middle to zerg. There's usually no coordinated action here, maybe some players will try their luck at the enemy pylon, but for the most part there's just deathmatching at the middle.
The standard tactic relies on both teams just going to the middle to deathmatch while letting the other one capture "their" (the one to their left) pylon. This tactic, however, fails if the enemy team breaks this silent agreement and does not let you capture (and is strong enough to pull that off); you let them get one pylon for free and you end up with nothing. If you expect a game like this, you have to plan preemptively. While a stealther might go ahead alone to stall, note that against a knowledgeable team no stealther will last long. Even those operatives you see trolling for a whole round can (and by good players, will) be made short work of. In these case the safest tactic is to split 4-4 right at the beginning, trying to at least stall both pylons, preferably capturing one, while not letting the enemy team have anything.
The most important part of doing this right is to send a group to both sides that can stall the enemy long enough even if eventually they will need backup from the other side; or, if they get absolutely wiped, it should take so many people from the other team that the other half of your team can do the same on the other pylon.
Stalling means continously interrupting the other teams' capture attempts in order to prevent them from getting a pylon in a round. Sometimes stalling is necessary to prevent the enemy team from winning, but it's a risky thing to do: if you give them too many kills while trying to stall, especially if it's not the last round of the game, it can and often will fire back. Basically there's no need to stall in earlier rounds, and should only be done if your team is vastly superior to the enemy. If not, continuously playing for 2 pylons will just get you a loss.
Ancient Hypergates is one of the two maps, along with Civil War/Yavin, that greatly encourages stealth play. Unlike in Voidstar and Civil War, the capture time of the pylons here is 6 seconds, which is 2 seconds shorter than the durations of the mezzes of stealth classes. What this means is that if you're guarding solo, you have to be even more careful to not get "sapcapped"; it can easily lose the round or even the match for your team. Needless to say, stealthers make the best guards here too, simply because they can delay longest for reinforcements to arrive, and can waste well over 30 seconds of an intruder's time without being in real danger of losing the pylon.
What I see a lot of times is that a stealther mezzes the guard (or the person trying to capture), but then does nothing. As mentioned above, simply delaying a capture does not help your team. If you mez the guard, expect them to call for reinforcements, and also expect those reinforcements to arrive. Also expect that you're not good enough to hold off 3-4 attackers throughout the round. If you don't expect your own teammates to come help you stall, your lone stalling is likely a waste. If you decide to not let them capture, at least start capturing yourself. Maybe if you can take it, your mates will come to your aid.
As a stealther, it makes more sense to let them capture first and take the pylon later. Remember, this has no penalty, as long as you take it. What makes this approach better is that this way you leave the enemy team less time to come and try to take it back, unlike when you get into the action at the very beginning, in which case they have the full round to wipe you out.
The basic outline of sapcapping is the following:
Some classes make an easy target, especially with the short capture time on the pylons, but others can make you work for your money, or send you home without achieving anything.
If you have the Backlash utility, stand right on top of the pylon and make sure to keep Static Barrier on yourself at all times. If anyone starts capturing, just right-click the Static Barrier buff and the stun effect will trigger, even while you're otherwise CC'ed. This will interrupt their capture and place them in combat. Be careful with Force Shroud and Dark Stability, as these negate your Backlash.
If you don't have Backlash, a good idea is to guard as far as possible (60+ meters) from the pylon, while keeping your Phase Walk placed in a way that allows you to get back in range quickly. Distance is your advantage, because you can cover it faster than any other class. Just make sure to not go close, or you will have to waste your breakers.
As a stealther, if you see anyone trying, use Mind Trap on them. Doing this alone will buy you 16 seconds. If you have to reveal yourself and go close to the pylon, make sure to have Force Shroud or Dark Stability active. Throwing in a Low Slash from range also works, but do not forget about its travel time. Try to stay in combat and avoid CC until the resolve expires then stealth out and start it all over again.
Try to avoid guarding as a Juggernaut. If you have to anyway, keep your distance and hide behind some cover you can easily move out of to Saber Throw if you have the time (remember the travel time on it) or Force Charge if you don't. Vengeance is in a slightly better position because of Brawn. Once you're in range, Mad Dash, Intimidating Roar and Force Push are your tools. Do not fool yourself though: against a competent offnoder a Juggernaut will get capped sooner than later.
Fury Marauders have 6 seconds extra immunity upon using Force Crush thanks to their Gravity Vortex passive. The Blood Ward utility provides 6 seconds of stun immunity on activating Saber Ward, and, if the attacker is not experienced, they will likely waste a stun during those immunities. Oh, and you have Force Camouflage to disappear for some added CC immunity.
Almost as good as Assassins, except better. While Operatives still only have one stun breaker, Concealment has a total immunity when using Exfiltrate. Using this along with your selfheals, your 30 meters range Rifle Shot and your repertoire of CC's, Operatives, if played properly, are one of the hardest classes to cap by a single attacker.
As a Sniper you want to sit at maximum range to make timing challenging for your attacker. Your Spotter stacks will help you see attackers even when they're in stealth. If they still manage to CC you, using Entrench immediately after your breaker will grant CC immunity for a good while. Note that AoE DoTs (Orbital Strike and, if you're Engineering, Plasma Probe) will no more interrupt any captures.
As with Juggernaut, try not to guard as a Mercenary. You have no CC immunity (aside from Rocket Out, which is very hard to time right) and only one breaker. If you do happen to be guarding, use range and cover to your advantage. Try putting Explosive Dart on your target before you expect them to mez or disappear, it interrupts captures when it blows up 3.4 seconds later; it fools lots of people.
You're lucky to be a Powertech, because Shoulder Cannon can be used while incapacitated, which allows you to interrupt captures even if you get CC'ed. The proper position to guard with a Powertech is right on top of the pylon, same as a Sorcerer with Backlash. Be sure to have it off cooldown, but do not activate it until you get a visitor. If you have activated it anyway, make sure its charges have enough time remaining to cover the round. If you do not have Shoulder Cannon, try not to guard.
Do you like trolling? Plain, hardcore trolling? Enter Huttball. The Hutt version of this carry-the-flag type of game is where you can pull your dirtiest, most underhanded tricks and get away with them. No other warzone offers this many opportunities for griefing and trolling, and while it has its weaknesses and strongly prefers some classes over others, pushing and stunning people into fire traps never gets old.
There are 2 Huttball maps, an older one with a Nar Shaddaa setting and a newer one on Quesh. In general, people prefer the old map, but personally, I like the Quesh one more.
The game is the same on both maps: grab the ball from the middle and carry it in to the enemy's goal line to score. Do it 6 times and you may feast on victory!
Everyone will tell you the most fun part of playing Huttball are the traps, so let's get straight to them. In the Nar Shaddaa map, there are 2 kinds of traps, the fire pits and the acid pools. There are 16 fire pits on the map, 4 on the lower and 4 on the upper level, 2-2 on both left and right on each side. The fire traps work in pairs, and always exactly one in a pair is active. The fire traps deal very high damage an will kill you in a matter of seconds if you end up in them. Shortly before they activate, you can see them starting to heat up and glow red, that's your clue to get out of them - fast. The acid pools, on the other hand, deal low, almost ignoreable damage, but slow you down. A way to cheat the acid traps is by jumping quickly through them - if you can avoid their tick, you won't get slowed or take damage.
In Queshball, there's only one kind of trap, the acid trap. This is a combined version of the fire trap, the acid pool and Electro Net. If you end up in one, consider yourself dead. These work much like the fire traps in Nar Shaddaa, before they activate, you can see them dripping some acid.
The best way to not end up in some trap is to try not going too close to them unless you are whitebarred, in which case you cannot be knocked into them. If you have to pass a trap without any stun immunity, try to make sure you use some speedup. Because the game engine is bad, it's quite possible that by the time they stun you, you'll be out of the trap and not get caught in it.
The ball always spawns in the exact same position on both maps. First one to click it gets it. It appears as a buff on your buff bar if you have it, along with a big colored beam on you to make it obvious for everyone where the ball is and who has it. The color of the beam is the same as the color of the ball carrier's team (gold for Frogdogs/purple for Rotworms). One person can hold the ball for 2 minutes in one go, after that it expires, the carrier gets blown up and the ball resets. If the ball carrier dies, the closest enemy will get the ball or, if the game can't find a suitable carrier for any reason, it resets.
Grabbing the first ball is about who has the team with a Marauder. The speedup from Predation will help you get to the ball faster than anyone that doesn't have access to this buff. Other than that, Operatives are still the fastest to make it to the ball in both maps. If you're an Operative, it's your job to go for the first ball. In the Nar Shaddaa map, go straight for the ball, do not go around the acid pit in the middle zone. As noted above, you can avoid the slow from it by jumping through it. Also, do not use stealth on your way to the first ball; enemies are on the other side of the map, who are you hiding from? (Especially don't use Infiltrate, slowing not only yourself, but the whole group.)
In Queshball, go to the left corner of the spawn barrier, from where you can immediately drop down to the lower level of the map, where the ball is. This will take a considerable amount of your HP, so be ready to pop at least a medpac, but the drop alone will not kill you. Then use some speedup to get to the ball ASAP.
For any consecutive balls, you can prepare in advance for grabbing it. Usually you want to either CC or knockback whoever is there from the enemy team, because once the ball spawns, it's more like a dice roll who gets it. To counter this, you can use some class-specific tricks. The next ball spawns exactly 5 seconds after the previous one is scored.
Note that anything below is required only if you don't have full Resolve. If you're whitebarred, you can just stand there and take it easy, because it provides complete CC immunity. For this reason try not to whitebar anyone on the enemy team when trying to catch a new ball.
Note: Currently there's a bug which causes immunities to not work properly, causing knockbacks to work when they shouldn't. The exact circumstances causing it are unknown, but it sometimes affects at least Force Barrier and Shadow Operative Elite.
You can place Phase Walk right next to the ballstand to have a quick way back to the ball. Phase Walk does not change your camera view, i.e. you'll be looking exactly the same way you were looking before the teleport. Before teleporting back turn your camera in a way that allows you to click fast and easily.
An easier way for a Sorcerer to grab the ball is to just stand at the ballstand and use Force Barrier, which makes you immune to everything. Unlike with stealth, you can grab the ball while Barrier is active, but this will cancel the ability.
Using Force Shroud you can make yourself immune to F/T attacks, which is mostly what you need to grab the ball. Camp there with your Shroud on and click the fastest. Note that you cannot grab the ball while in stealth, but you can use Force Cloak to get some Force Shroud (if you have the Shroud of Madness utility), immediately leave stealth and enjoy. You can also just charge in from stealth, use Overload to knock everyone away. This, however, doesn't work if people have physics immunities. Instant Whirlwind is also a nice toy to troll people with (requires the Haunted Dreams utility).
If you are using Vengeance, the immunity from Brawn will be of great help if anyone from the enemy team is around; you just have to time it right, so that the immunity is up when the ball appears. Mad Dash also provides immunity to control effects for the short time it is active, but you have to use it just at the right time. You can also use Intimidating Roar to just mez everybody for easy grab, if they don't have any immunities.
Fury Marauders have access to the Gravity Vortex passive, which provides 6 seconds of CC immunity after using Force Crush. With Force Camouflage you can disappear and pop up at the right moment to grab the ball. As a Marauder you also have access to Intimidating Roar to mez everyone around you.
Being the general all-around troll class, Operatives, especially Concealment, have some tricks for ballgrabbing too. Not only your Flash Bang is an AoE mez (unlike for Snipers, which remains single-target), using the 1.5 second immunity from Exfiltrate (coming from the Shadow Operative Elite passive) you can just roll in and take the ball like a boss.
Probably the best class for the task, as a Sniper you have it easy. With Entrench up, you are immune to everything, and you don't even have to time it. Cover Pulse, with its ridiculously large knockback and gratis root can clear out some competition, while Diversion not only pops enemy Snipers out of cover, the accuracy debuff might cause hostile stuns/knockbacks to fail.
Sorry to say, Mercenary isn't a particularly good ballgrabber. Hydraulic Overrides makes you immune to physics, but not to incapacitating effects. Rocket Out provides CC immunity for its duration, so technically it can be made to work like Exfiltrate, but it's relatively hard to do so. If you decide to go this way, make sure you don't jet into the ballstand, because if the camera bumps into it, you won't see the ball and therefore won't be able to click it. The correct way to do this is to jet in a way that you end up standing next to the ballstand.
If you have the ball, you can hold it for 2 minutes straight before you explode and it resets. The most important part of being the ball carrier is doing your best to not get killed while you're holding the ball. This not only includes not being killed by conventional means, but also by not getting pushed/pulled and stunned into traps. ("Firepulls" range from hard to impossible to avoid. Experienced firepullers, especially Assassin tanks, who also have access to a knockback and can pull from stealth will usually score at least 1-2 kills with this technique.)
There are usually 2 ways for a team to proceed with a score, which, of course, can be arbitrarily mixed: one is trying to pass fast in a chain, in hopes that the ball carrier won't be murdered before they can pass to someone else, the other is giving the ball to a class with good survivability and they try to just walk it in.
Tanks aside, the best ball carriers are classes with high mobility and good survivability: Juggernauts (Force Charge and Intercede, with Force Charge being reset on using Force Push), Assassins (Force Speed, Phantom Stride and Force Shroud) and Snipers (Entrench, Covered Escape and Seek Cover). Mercenaries, with Hydraulic Overrides, Rocket Out and simply the amount of defensives they have also make good carriers if utilized properly.
If possible, try not to play ball carrier on Sorcerer, Powertech (unless a tank) or Operative. Sorcerers easily make the worst ball carriers in the whole game, having no immunities to anything except Emersion. Powertechs are better because of Jet Charge, but still not the best. Operatives are only good for short-distance carrying where they can just Exfiltrate, otherwise they're relatively easy to tear apart by a group that knows what they're doing.
In general, try to stay out of line of sight as much as you can, though this is not easy in the Huttball maps. If you are focused hard and don't have serious team support, you will probably only have time for a quick pass before you get killed. It's up to your teammates to peel for you and go ahead and position themselves for passing.
Using any escapes, namely Phase Walk, Force Barrier, Force Cloak, Force Camouflage or Cloaking Screen will immediately reset the ball.
Because the maps are symmetrical, it's not that hard to get lost in the heat of the battle, losing sense of direction and simply walking into your own goalline. (Happened to everyone, right? Surely did to me!) While most people are not aware of it, the game gives you hints about which way the ball should go. Note that these marks are relative to the ball, so if the enemy team holds it, the markers are showing the direction for their team, even for you! Good news is, if you happen to walk into your own goalline, nothing will happen, the enemy team won't get a point for it.
If you look at the minimap during a Huttball game, you will see purple and gold arrows on it. These indicate which direction should the ball be carried for scoring. If you're lost, look at your minimap!
In Queshball, there are markers all over the place. Look on the ground and on the fences of the ramps: they all have small colored arrows showing you which way to go for the score.
Throw the Huttball automatically appears on your temporary ability bar when you have the ball. If you want to keybind it (which you should!), you'll have to keybind the first slot on that bar.
The ball throw has a ground target, allowing for two ways of passing, choose between each according to your personal preference and the situation. One is activating the ability then clicking somewhere with the target reticule. There's also another way: select a teammate and double-tap the ability. This will pass to their exact current position. (This, by the way, works for every ground targeted ability, not just ball passing.)
Passing has a travel time, which means there will be a delay before your intended recipient gets the ball. If you see the person you're trying to pass to is moving, you can pass a bit ahead of their position. This is especially important if said person is being followed. If you pass exactly to a moving target that's being chased, because of the delay, usually the pursuer will get the ball.
When passing, whoever is closest to the center of the pass will get the ball. There was/is a bug that involved intercepting passes: leaping to the target of a pass, even if the passed by name, would give the ball to the leaper. Other than that, when expecting a pass, make sure to stand still. If you see an enemy getting a pass, and you have the opportunity, try to knock your opponent out of the target area before the ball lands. (Assassins and Operatives with knockback can do it from stealth.)
Just like stealthing out drops the ball, someone in stealth cannot receive a pass. You can, of course, pass to stealthers, but they have to leave stealth before the pass lands, or the ball will reset (or get intercepted if any enemies are around).
If nobody is in the target area of the pass, the ball gets reset to the middle. You can use this to your advantage: if you're about to die, and there's noone to pass to, you can just throw it somewhere away and not let your enemy have it.
Scoring is as easy as getting the ball past the enemy goalline. There's one thing to consider when scoring, and apparently most people don't care about this: does your team have mid? Is there anyone at the middle that can get the next ball? Countless times it has happened to me that I helped someone score, tried to run back to catch the next ball but didn't make it in time, because the person I helped scored just too quickly. If your score is safe, you are not in danger of dying immediately and/or getting pushed/pulled down, you might as well give your team a few seconds before crossing the line. While this seems like a trivial thing, an exceptionally high number of people don't do this or even think about it.
In Nar Shaddaa, you have 16 fire traps to die painfully in, evenly distributed between the upper and the lower catwalks. There are also 2 acid pools in the middle zone, but these are mostly important for their slowing effect, as the damage they do is minimal. 4 healing stations can be found in the 4 corners of the map, 2 powerups in the northern and southern corners and 2 speedups in the pits. The air vents at the middle punt you up in the air in a supposedly random direction, and can get you anywhere from right back in the middle to right into a fire trap.
The way players of each team must go to score are marked with arrows, while the dotted lines show the most common pass opportunities.
The Queshball arena is a 3-level structure, making it hard to fully capture it in one image. The spawn areas lead to the top level catwalks, with a pipe connecting the opposite sides. 2 healup mods are found on the middle level, with 2 extra being both on the pipe in the top level and the one just under the middle one. 8 acid traps (which, unlike in Nar Shaddaa, do hurt) cover the 8 ramps leading between the levels. Grapple tables on the bottom floor can be used to quickly get back to the middle floor, but they do not work if you're carrying the ball. The bottom level, along with the ballstand, also has 4 speedup mods that you can try to get as the ball carrier, as they make scoring an insanely lot easier.
There's no one winning strategy but there are some basic guidelines you can follow to help you win.
Few random teams understand the importance of getting hold of the middle area. Lots of the time whichever team grabs the ball is the one to score. Just letting your enemies take the ball and get a headstart while you're running back chasing after them is a good way to lose any hard-fought advantage.
Unless the enemy team is really bad, getting past all the traps and getting the ball in all by yourself is likely going to be problematic. If your teammate has the ball, it is crucial that you run ahead and position yourself for an easy pass. Even this requires some situational awareness: you might get to the best spot for passing ever, if the ball carrier cannot make it far enough to get to you. Also, if you tank or heal the ball carrier and they are under focus, do not run ahead to position and abandon them, because they might be shred to pieces in the time they are without your help.
In Nar Shadda: you can go right to the goalline and expect a pass there (if you stand on the very edge, as shown on this picture, you can pass across the pit):
Or something similar in Quesh:
Having a stealther in your team can make it a great lot easier to score, because they can just stay invisible until they're passed to, then reveal, catch the ball, use some speedup and score. A well-played stealther, if passed to, is almost unstoppable.
Most stealthers will stand at the middle part of the top catwalk, between the two fire traps. Waiting there is quite effective, after receiving the pass it's easy to sore (just have to run down the ramp into the enemy goalline), and in most cases it works well. Against a skilled team, however, that's quite a bad spot, for multiple reasons:
A better one I mostly use is the other part of the upper catwalks, like this:
This is better because: The area is bigger, You can be on both sides, it's harder for the enemy to cover it, Fire traps are somewhat farther, You can still score with a single speedup, without having to run through fire traps, It is guarded by fire traps, which, depending on their timing, might block your enemies' way to you, Operatives can get to the ballstand from here with just 2 rolls. You can score while avoiding the last trap. (Using Force Speed or Exfiltrate)
Just like on Nar Shadda, you can stand on any edge and expect a pass, but there is one particularly good position to be in, and that's the end of the upper ramp:
The reason for this position being good is because it's possible to pass to someone standing there directly from the lower level, which makes it very easy to score against a bad team. Note that good teams will cover the respective corners with AoE and knockbacks, depending on which way the ball carrier is going, so it's like standing on the middle of the top ramp in Nar Shaddaa: it's expectable. This is how it looks from the passer's side:
If the score is even when the timer expires, tiebreaking is based on who currently has, or who has had the ball last. If you're near the end of the match, it's better to hold on to the ball and run, than let the enemy have it. Try to avoid passing at this point as those can get intercepted; the obvious exception is when you're at an immediate risk of dying.
Novare Coast, a warzone taking place on Denova (the same planet as the Explosive Conflict operation) involves 2 teams, 2 shielded bunkers and 3 turrets for the teams to capture in order to destroy the enemy bunker.
To capture a turret, you have to click the button in the middle of the bunkers. This initiates a 18 second channel which, if completes, the turret is yours. The first 3 seconds are spent as warmup and do not actually do anything. If get interrupted during this time, your attempt will have no effect. Once the warmup is over, you will start to gradually capture the turret. Turret capture has an internal cooldown of 5 seconds, i.e. this amount of time must pass between two successive capture starts.
In the beginning of the game all 3 turrets start as untaken and their ownership is shared 50-50% between the two teams. Unlike in other games, turrets don't have to be captured in one go; if your capture goes uninterrupted past the warmup time, you will get a partial capture, propotional to the amont of time you were successfully capturing for. Multiple people can capture at the same to speed it up.
You take ownership of a turret once your team fully captures it. You cannot partially hold a turret; while you can have it half-captured, it will keep scoring for the owning team until you fully take it. Also, if you are the currently owning team, and the enemy partially takes your turret, you can also capture it back.
You do not need to kill all enemies to capture a turret. Mostly you can just "spam cap", meaning multiple people, preferably spread out all over the area, from your team tries to capture at the same time. Well-spammed captures are extremely hard to interrupt properly.
You can see a capture in progress on the screenshot above. Note that you do not have to be inside the bunker to take it. Also notice the yellow-purple bar under the button inside the bunker: it shows what % of control each team has over the turret. The yellow/purple beam connecting you to the button does not appear during the warmup time, so you have to watch out for the castbars on people to interrupt in time. There's also a subtle sound effect that plays when someone clicks the button: you can be on the lookout for this.
For your team to damage the enemy bunker (i.e. start scoring), you need to have control of 2 of the 3 turrets at the same time. One turret alone will not get you anything. (Holding 3 speeds up the process, but has the same overall effect as 2.)
The three big circles on the scorecard represent the three turrets. The way the turrets facing (the black icons in the circles) show you which bunker they're currently firing at, while the background shows how much control the teams have over the turrets. (This is the same as the colored bar in the bunker under the button.) On this example scorecard, the side turrets fire at the opposing teams' bunkers and are fully controlled by the respective teams, while the southern one is still neutral with the gold team being closer to take it.
The usual strategy for playing Novare Coast is one person (who will also be guarding) goes to the home side turret, while the rest of the team goes to the southern one. If you have stealthers (works with non-stealth, too, but obviously they will be visible), they can try to interrupt the capture on the enemy home side turret. This is a timing race and it's very easy to be late. Sometimes you can try going to the other home side turret with multiple people, trying to quickly overwhelm the poor guard and capture it quickly, but the success rate of this tactic is questionable.
If possible, try to hold your home side turret and the southern one. The enemy-side turret, while no different scoring-wise, is harder to hold than either the middle or your home side one because you will have a longer way to run there if you die and have to respawn, while the enemy can get there in a lot shorter time.
OPG is the first map to come to SW:TOR since the KoTFE expansion, and is probably the most disliked one. Unlike the previous maps, in the spirit of everyone-hugs-everyone, as seen in KotFE/ET, this one is cross-faction. There are also some key differences to the rest of the warzones.
Not unlike Hypergates, the Odessen warzone is divided into rounds of 90 seconds each with approx. 10 seconds downtime inbetween, allowing you to position yourself for the next round. Objectives activate at the beginning of a round and deactivate at the end.
Teams start in the northern two spawn areas in the beginning of the match. Respawns work in waves, which means that every 10 seconds every fallen player is automatically revived at one of the 4 spawn areas. While there are no doors preventing you from rejoining the battle, you will have to wait lying dead on the battlefield for resurrection.
There are 5 objective areas in Odessen: the northern Turret, the eastern Tech Lab, the southern Artifact Chamber, the western Hangar and the central Cantina. They all function the same way. Holding a captured objective for 1 second will give your team 1 point for every second of ownership. First team to reach 600 points first wins. Note that not all 5 objectives are active all the time: those that are inactive are greyed out on the scorecard and do not affect the game, unless you activate them with a mod (later on that). Which objectives become active in a round is totally random, with one exception: the side ones (east and west) do not activate in the first round (unless you use a green mod on them).
The scorecard shows you the scores for each team, the remaining time of the match and the state of the nodes, along with the mods they have applied on them.
To capture any objective, make sure nobody from the enemy team stands in them for 3 continuous seconds. This makes pushes/pulls very valuable in this warzone. Also, if you leave the objective area for more than 3 seconds, it will go back to neutral. This is different from how objectives work in other warzones, where you only lose already taken objectives if an enemy player actively takes them from you. Also, stealthers being in stealth do not count as being in the objective zone, even if they physically are inside. When it comes to defending, it does not matter if you get CC'ed, as long as you're inside. The only two things that matter are that you a) must be inside. b) must not be in stealth.
Along with the 5 primary objective points, there are also 4 battle mods that spawn at 4 fixed locations on the map. In order to not overwhelm the game with mods, if some mods are still unused, the same number of mods will not spawn. To claim a mod, you simply have to walk over it. While some people theoreticized that you can get a specific mod if you walk over the spawn point at the right time, in my experience, that's not the case. (But I might be wrong.) Which mod you get seems random, so don't give a big fuss about if you get one you don't really want.
There are 4 battle mods in Odessen:
Mods can win you a game, so knowing which one to use and when makes one the key differences between a good and a bad player in Odessen.
Do not use mods late in a round, except speedup. This should be obvious, but apparently it isn't. All mods have their effect until the end of the round, so, obviously, the later you use them in a round, the less time there is till the end of the round, and the less benefits you gain. If you have 10 seconds remaining and you use a multiplier, you get 10 additional points. If you have 80 seconds left and you use the same mod, you get 80 additional points. Activation mods are a little worse in this respect, because once used, there's some additional time before the node becomes active, plus you need 3 seconds to capture it, so the time loss is greater here. You can use a speedup as late as you prefer, because it does not affect the total number of points you get from a node.
Mods stack. You can have multiple mods activated on the same node and they will all have their effects. This means if you have 2 multiplier mods active on the same node, you will get 4 times the points you'd normally receive. The scorecard is a little bugged here (surprise!) and cannot show when 2 mods of the same kind (i.e. two speedups or two multipliers) are effective at the same time, but the scoring itself will work properly.
Only when the score is close speedups matter. When both teams are around 600 points, the question is who will cross it first. I said speedups only make you have to guard for a shorter time, but otherwise won't affect the game. Well, mostly. When racing to 600 points, a speedup works like a multiplier. Let's say you have 1 node with a speedup and 590 points, while the enemy team has 592 points, also one node and no speedup or multiplier. Because nodes provide points at the same rate, the enemy team would win. But because you will get your points twice as fast from your node as they will get from theirs, because the game will end before both teams can fully harvest their points, the end result will be 600-597 with you winning. If you think such games don't happen:
Only ever deactivate your own node if you are about to lose it. If you're guarding with a disabling mod, and you are getting attacked, and you cannot hold it, it's better to deactivate than giving it to the enemy team along with the mod. Otherwise, only ever deactivate enemy-controlled nodes.
Mods will give you 2 abilities on your temporary ability bar. The first one allows you to use the mod while standing in an appropiate objective area, while the second one allows you to pass it and needs you to have a friendly player targeted. The only way to destroy a mod is to jump down into the abyss in the northern part of the map. Like in Huttball, if you get killed with a mod, the enemy closest to you will receive it.
While in other warzones any kind of interaction with objectives can be interrupted by simply getting attacked, this is not true for mods. Mod usage can only be interrupted by either a dedicated interrupt, or CC that either incapacitates or dislocates. This leaves abilities and effects that provide immunity to those extremely overpowered: a Sniper using Entrench can only be dealt with another Sniper using Diversion and then interrupting, Force Shroud's only counters are Low Slash (only available to Deception Assassins), Sniper's hardstun, Maim, which is a Ranged attack, but only if the Assassin is not whitebarred, because they both rely on incapacitation, and Warriors' Force Charge. A Sorcerer using Polarity Shift or having stacks of Enduring Bastion (the shield after Force Barrier) while whitebarred is unstoppable. Marauders' Gravity Vortex (in the Fury discipline) provides total immunity and can be used even without full resolve.
The objective areas in Odessen (marked with the light blue squares) are evenly spread around the map in the four cardinal directions and in the middle, while the battle mods spawn in the diagonal corners of the map. Each objective has a healup and a powerup around it, with all of the mod spawns, the catwalks and the platform above the cantina having a speedup too. The southern mod spawns have a grapple hook above them, allowing you to get there from anywhere within 30 meters if they are in your line of sight. The grapple hooks in the middle of the map work differently and only allow you to grapple to them from the upper platform, preventing quickly moving from the middle to the southern objective.
Few people know that the 2 grapple hooks in the southern part of the map (that allow you to grapple up to the mod spawns on the catwalks) can be used from anywhere within 30 meters if they're in your line of sight. This means you can also grapple up from the spot shown on the screenshot below, saving you a considerable amount of time when going for the mods.
Because of the random nature of Odessen (both in terms of which nodes will be active and which mods you'll get) often the game will be in favor of one team over the other, though with good teamplay you can often minimize these effects.
The single most important part of your strategy here is to spread out after each round to be prepared for any combination of activating nodes. Remember, you only have a few seconds to get inside the objective areas before they get captured, so be prepared to make your move as soon as the round starts. Like in other maps, looking at the map helps you decide where to go, which area isn't covered by your team. Running in a big gank squad is a good way to lose Odessen.
You see an enemy carrying a battle mod, what do you do? Kill them of course, so you get their mod. (A fair bit of warning here: if you are carrying a mod yourself and you kill an enemy with it and you're closest, you'll lose your mod when you get the one they were carrying. So, if you have a multiplier, you might not want to kill that guy with the speedup.) But what if you can't kill them, or not fast enough?
Lots of people, when they see someone from the enemy team trying to activate a node, try to interrupt them using the mod. Well, that's stupid. The correct strategy is letting them use the activation mod, and then charge in and denying them the capture. (Remember, there's a ~6 second window between the time the mod is used up and the area gets captured.) This way they gained nothing, but wasted their mod. Conversely, if you are being followed, save your activation mods for the next round or pass them to someone else.
As they are mostly useless, just let them use it.
Remember, these mods are more effective if used early. If you deactivate an area with like 3 seconds remaining from the round, you achieved little. Similar with the multiplier. My recommendation for these mods is that you let your enemies use them in the last quarter of the round. This way your loss/their gain is minimized, yet they wasted their mod and won't have it for next round, when they could reap more benefits from it.
The setting for the Voidstar warzone is an abandoned Imperial ship whose datacore contains valuable information and must be downloaded.
Voidstar has 2 rounds: an attacker and a defender round, each lasting a maximum of 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Which team starts as the attacker and which as the defender is random.
There are 6 checkpoints in Voidstar, most of which can only be passed in sequential order. (With one exception, later on that.) 3 of those are pairs of doors where your team must plant bombs and defend them until they blow, 2 are forcefields your team has to lower and the last one is the datacore itself.
Unlike in other warzones, once you lost an objective, there's no coming back. Teams get points for the number of checkpoints they got through, up to 6. At the end of the game, the team with the higher number of points wins. If neither team gets past through the first pair of doors, whichever team has less deaths wins. At this moment it is unclear to me what the tiebreaker is when both teams pass the first door.
As usual, you have to right-click the marked area on the doors to start planting a bomb. This takes a full 8 seconds and can be interrupted by getting attacked. If you manage to plant, a 20 second countdown will start, during which the bomb can be defused. Defusal can be done by the defending team (also by right-clicking the door), but it only takes 3 seconds. If the bomb gets defused and doesn't blow up, it does not count towards victory. Blowing up either of a pair of doors count, and, in fact, both doors will disappear when one blows up, allowing people on the other side to pass.
Between the pairs of doors you will find force fields that have to lowered. The first force field (over the reactor core) has 2 disabling panels, the second (in the cargo bay area) has 3. These work a little differently than doors: once the channel is complete, you're free to proceed. Also note that force field controls only open their respective part of the force field (unlike doors, where if you blow one up, the other opens too).
The datacore is just a 1 second channel on either of the 2 terminals in the final room and only serves to finish the warzone.
Every now and then a thread pops up on the official forums about people cheating or exploiting in Voidstar. Said exploit involves planting on the second pair of doors without having the preceeding forcefields open. The only exploit here is the exploitation of player stupidity.
As you might have noticed, there's no forcefield in the middle part of the reactor core. Since the two banks of the reactor chasm are close (less than 30 meters apart), if someone from the defender team is kind enough to stand a the edge (where the speedup mod is), it is possible to leap to them. Doing this with a, say, Juggernaut makes it pretty obvious, but since patch 3.0 stealthers have leaps too. This means players standing there can be leapt to in stealth, without them noticing. From that point it's easy and usually unexpected to plant on the doors.
Attackers have unlimited respawns, while the defender spawn areas have a 30 second door timer. If you die as a defender, you will respawn before the next pair of uncaptured doors. If the corresponding force fields are not down yet, the respawn door is always open. It, however, closes the moment one of the force fields gets lowered. Using this as a defender you can be ahead of your enemies when they're trying to run ahead.
As a defender, you don't really have the luxury to resort to any specific tactics, you will have to adapt to whatever the attacker team comes up with. If you are guarding alone, the only way you can lose a door to one attacker is if you stand within range of their 8 second mez, so they can immediately start planting the bomb. The best way to guard is slightly behind cover, with an easy way to move out of it and attack if needed. This forces them to come close to you to CC, while losing out on time trying to get back to the door. Usually, unless you get mezzed right from the capture area, you do not need to use a CC breaker to stop a planting.
When it comes to attacker strategies, these are the most common ones:
All to one side: Well, this is simple. Everyone goes to attack the same side, trying to wipe out the whole enemy team.
Even split: Roughly half the team goes left and the other half goes right. The point of doing is pressuring both sides, forcing the enemy team to split and hope that you can overwhelm one side at some point.
All to one side with stealther: Everyone goes to one side, except 1-2 stealthers that try to surprise the guard on the other side.
Lure and cap: This makes for some scenic captures if you can pull it off. The basic observation here is that you do not need to kill the other team to capture a door; it's enough if they just don't look. Every now and then you can try to plant the bomb when you expect them to have their attention elsewhere: who knows, it might work. (Sometimes it does.)
If you managed to plant, use AoE attacks to best prevent any defusal attempts. Because the defusal timer is short (3 seconds), do not leave anyone alone to guard a bomb. If it was a solo stealther that managed to plant, do your best to get there and help them interrupt.
Once a door has been breached, the best tactic is for someone fast (Operatives really shine here) to go ahead and try to get the next set of objectives while the rest of the team is actively slowing the defenders. If your team does this properly, it's very easy to just speedrun from the first door to the datacore, ensuring yourself a quick win. As a defender, be on the lookout and when some objective is lost, get to the next one as fast as you can.
Like in Novare Coast, here you also have the option to abuse a camera bug and look into the defender spawn. (This only works for attackers.) To do this you have to zoom your camera out and move your mouse over the boxes on the bridge. You can see how to position in this clip:
I gave arenas their own section because they are very different from the other, objective-based warzones. While the other ones are 8vs8 and have some kind of objective, arenas are 4vs4 deathmatches: team with the last man standing wins. Arenas are also the only kind of maps in ranked, but since this guide is not aimed at people that are trying to do ranked, I'm just going to talk about arenas in a regular setting.
As mentioned above, arenas are 4vs4 deathmates, with each round won by the team with the last person standing. Each round is 5 minutes, there are no ties. Scoring is best-of-3, i.e. you need to win 2 rounds to win the match. Unlike in other warzones, all your ability cooldowns are reset between the rounds, so don't save them for the next one. When it comes to an arena, it's usually a really bad idea to die with any cooldowns being available.
Like objective-based warzones, arenas are not won based on who has the highest DPS at the end. The goal is to outlive your opponents, not outdamage them. Your awesome numbers mean nothing if you just end up being dead. Because deaths are punished far more harshly than in other types of games, teamwork, especially peeling becomes an even more important factor here. If you're the one being focused, do your best to run and survive. If you see the enemy team trying to destroy your teammates, help them by guard, taunts, knockbacks, mezzes, whatever you have at your disposal. Most offensive cooldowns have a short effect: a well-placed AoE mez can ruin them for good.
Just like in other warzones, there are no ties. But what happens if, even after the 5 minute timer, both teams have some standing members?
Acid is the tiebreaker mechanic for arenas. It is some ugly green goo that keeps creeping in from the edges of the arena to the middle, giving everyone it touches a debuff that takes 10% of your HP every second and also zeroes out any healing received. This damage passes every kind of mitigation, including Sorcerers' Force Barrier. Because your HP starts to tick away as soon as you touch the acid-covered zone, it is imperative that you stay as close to the middle as possible.
Make sure that
Oh, the animation for the acid is not in sync with where the border of the acid currently is.
Acid sometimes works weird and it's not always obvious who will survive last, and I've also had luck to see games where on my screen I was, without a doubt, the last survivor, yet we still lost. While you can try to take some preventative measures, being as bad as the game engine is, it is somewhat of a random roll.
Choosing targets is an important, if not the most important part of teamplay in arenas. Sure, you might get so bad enemies that it does not matter at all who you kill first, but assuming equal skill, kill order can mean the difference between a win and a loss.
It is very difficult to give general advice about how to proceed in arenas, because the optimal strategy can depend on so many things, like the roles each team has, the classes, the specs, and last but not least player skill. Any recommendation below is overwritten by the single most important rule of choosing targets: always go for the weakest link.
People unfamiliar with the game's mechanics will usually laugh if you say to go for the tank first, but this is not a stupid thing to do, at all. The reason for killing the tank first is that tanks have more ways to protect allies, but less to keep themselves alive. Specifically, tunneling the tank works around Guard and Taunt mechanics (as those only work on others), only leaving the tank's natural mitigation to help them survive. This, however, is only recommended if both teams have a healer and you expect the tank to swap guard. Bad tanks can be simply ignored.
Ok, well, this is easy to understand. If you take down a healer, they won't heal their team anymore, making them easy kills. No brainer, right?
There's one problem with going for the healer; the good ones (especially Sorcerers) can kite and survive quite long, and while eventually you should be able to them, it gives their team ample time to take some of you down.
Offense is the best defense, and this is why you should go for damage dealers first, if they're not protected by a good tank. There's no one definitive kill order list for various classes, but this should give you a general idea:
Tunneling means focusing on only one target with tunnel vision, basically ignoring/CC'ing everything else. If you play in a PuG, this is the one you'll most likely be able to pull off.
While an important and good tactic, I do not recommend doing hardswaps in PuGs. Hardswaps require good coordination and work best with voice communication to pull of perfectly. Sure, you can agree in things like "swap on guard", so that when your current target receives guard, you switch to the other one, but proper hardswapping also includes CC'ing tank/healer at just the right time and also synchronizing burst rotations, so you can swap right at the moment when you all have your biggest burst available.
Pressure tactics rely on spamming AoE attacks to do very high numbers and overwhelm the enemy. A pressure group is both easier and harder to play against than a tunnel/hardswap one. The disciplines used for this kind of play have less burst than hardswap ones, so there's less chance of someone just disappearing from the being-alive club with no prior notice. The AoE damage done by them will sooner or later become overwhelming and it's a race against time to get a kill before they melt your whole group alive.
As I mentioned, I generally do not like the idea of going for the healer first, even if they're unguarded. That's only partly because they're hard to kill; healers have an easier way to deal with them, and that's CC. Remember that Sorcerers have 2 breakers (if they sacrifice Force Barrier for this), Operatives and Mercenaries only have 1. If you have 4 players with 8 second mezzes and you use it perfectly, you can have a healer incapacitated for 50% of the fight. That's a lot.
For making this guide possible by providing invaluable data, resources, being my lab rats for experimenting with various mechanics, pointing out errors and suggesting improvements, in no particular order: