SWTOR Introductory PvP Guide

Hey everyone,

Here is my Beginners Guide to PvP! It contains all the information you need to get you started on your PvP Adventures in Star Wars The Old Republic!

~ FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS WELCOME ~


Last Updated – 18th March 2018


Contents


What is PvP?

PvP stands for player verse player. It is a game mode which allows you to play with and against other players.

There are two different types of PvP instances in SWTOR. Warzones (the same thing as Battlegrounds in other MMO’s) which are 8v8 player matches and Arena’s which are 4v4 matches.

There are currently 3 brackets of instanced PvP in SWTOR which are divided up based on level.

  • 10-40
  • 41-69
  • 70

How to Queue for PvP

To get started on your PvP adventure, all you have to do is queue up for a Warzone. To queue for a Warzone, click on your factions icon in the bottom right corner of your mini-map UI, then click Join Queue. (Click on the images to enlarge).

When you get a PvP match pop, this dialogue box will appear allowing you enter the match or leave the queue. You have 1 minute and 10 seconds to accept a queue pop otherwise you’re automatically taken out of the queue.

You can queue for a Warzone from almost anywhere in the galaxy (except in Flashpoints or Operations), as long as you are level 10 or higher.

The best way to get started and become accustomed to Player versus Player combat is to start out queuing in the lower brackets. That way you can take the time to get to know all the maps, learn different strategies and roles and most importantly, learn how to play your class in a PvP environment.

If you’re starting out PvP for the first time, there is an Introductory Warzone Mission you can complete that gives you some level 10 gear. Ideally, you want to do this mission at a low level so you can take advantage of the free gear!

Warzones

Warzones are Player verse Player instances where two teams with 8 players each verse each other. There are 8 different Warzone Maps in SWTOR:

  • Alderaan Civil War
  • Voidstar
  • Huttball
  • Novare Coast
  • Ancient Hypergates
  • Quesh Huttball
  • Odessen Proving Grounds
  • Yavin Ruins

Most of these Warzones have different play styles and rulesets. The exceptions are Huttball and Queshball are both the same game type as are Alderaan Civil War and Yavin Ruins.

Typically most Warzones are Republic versus Empire matches but on occasion, you can get two teams of the same faction verse each other. The exceptions to this are Odessen Proving Grounds and Yavin Ruins which are both cross-faction. This means that there is a mix of players from both factions on each team. All new Warzones created going forward will be cross-faction.

Arenas

Arenas are Player versus Player instances where two teams with 4 players each verse each other. There are 5 different Arena maps:

  • Tatooine Canyon
  • Orbital Station
  • Corellia Square
  • Makeb Mesa Arena
  • Rishi Cove

They are deathmatch style maps where the aim is to kill all the players on the other team. There are two or three rounds which last 5 minutes each. The team that wins two rounds wins.

If there are players on both teams still alive when 5 minutes is up, there is a sudden death mechanic which ends the round in the form of poisonous gas which gradually comes out into the arena and kills all the players. The last surviving player wins the round for their team.

Like with Warzones, the teams are faction versus faction or two teams of the same faction versing each other. There are currently no Cross-faction teams in Arenas.

Viewing PvP Stats

You can view some PvP Stats, per character by going to the Warzone menu, then click on the ‘PvP Stats‘ button.

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Rewards

At the end of each match, you are rewarded with Unassembled Components and credits. The number of Unassembled Components you receive depends on how many medals you earn. You can earn medals for DPSing, Kills, Healing, Protecting, Attacking and Defending.

Warzone Medals

AttackingDefendingKillsDPSHealingProtection
Offence Basic - 1 Attacker PointDefense Basic - 1 Defender PointQuick Draw - 1 Killing BlowDemolisher - 4.5k Damage Single HitMedic - 5k Single HealGuardian - 5k Defense in 1 Life
Offence Bronze - 3k Defender PointsDefense Bronze - 3k Defender PointsCommando - 4 KillsAnnihilator - 9k Damage Single HitTrauma Surgeon - 10k Single HealPaladin - 20k Defense in 1 Life
Offence Silver - 5k Attacker PointsDefense Silver - 5k Defender PointsSoldier - 8 KillsCombatant - 240k Damage DealtHealer - 400k Healed Shield - 300k Defense
Offence Gold - 7.5k Attacker PointsDefense Gold - 7.5k Defender PointsDestroyer - 2,000,000 Damage DealtSavior - 3,000,000 HealedProtector - (?)1,000,000 Defense
Offence Platinum - 10k Attacker Points Defense Platinum 10k Defender Points

There are also daily and weekly missions for PvP which you can pick up at the PvP Mission Terminal in the Combat Training Section of the fleet or from a terminal inside a Warzone/Arena. These missions award Unassembled Components, a Loot Crate (with mats and/or schematics inside) and Credits.

Here is a list of all the PvP Dailies and Weeklies.

Imperial

  • [Daily] Zero Tolerance (all levels)
  • [Weekly] The War Front (69 and under only)
  • [Daily] March Them Down (70 only)
  • [Weekly] The Spoils of War (70 only)

Republic

  • [Daily] United We Stand (all levels)
  • [Weekly] (69 and under only)
  • [Daily] No Quarter (70 only)
  • [Weekly] Conspicuous Valor (70)

Here is where on each factions fleet you can pick up the Missions.

Scoreboard

A scoreboard appears at the end of each Warzone/Arena which displays stats from the match. It highlights your stats. You can arrange the scoreboard by Damage, Kills, Protection, Deaths, Healing, Objectives, Medals. Hovering over these particular stats gives you additional stats listed below.

  • Damage
    • Total
    • Damage Per Second
    • Biggest Hit
  • Kills
    • Total
    • Killing Blows
    • Solo Kills
  • Protection
    • Total
    • Highest Protection Per Single Life
  • Deaths
    • Total
    • Damage Taken
  • Healing
    • Total Healing
    • Healing Per Second
    • Highest Single Heal
  • Objectives
    • Attacker Points
    • Defender Points
  • Medals – details what medals you got.

By default, the scoreboard is sorted by Medals.

When you earn a medal in a Warzone, it tells you in your chat which one you got so you can keep track of how you’re doing.

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PvP Terms and Meanings

Here is a list of common PvP terms you will regularly come across and what they mean:

  • BIS – Best in slot.
  • CC Breaker – An ability that removes all impairing effects such as CC.
  • CC/Mezz – Crowd control ability that prevents you from doing anything for 8 seconds, but taking damage ends the effect.
  • Cooldowns – Defensive abilities all Classes have that you can use to mitigate damage and survive longer.
  • Focus – When someone says to ‘focus’ a player or marked target, it means you target them and kill them.
  • Focus Fire (Focused) – When you are being focused on by the enemy team or when your team is focusing a player.
  • GCD – Global Cooldown = 1 second.
  • Globaled – When you get killed within one or two GCD’s.
  • Interrupt – An ability that interrupts the targeted player’s current action/ability they are channelling.
  • LOS – When you ‘line of sight’ incoming damage (good) or healing (bad) using the terrain of the map or an object in the landscape.
  • Node – The Control Point (or Capture Point). Denotes the objective for most Warzones.
  • Off-node – Can refer to a node that is traditionally under control by the enemy team or the node furthest away from your spawn point or the node where there is no ‘action’ happening.
  • Peel – Distracting enemy players away from a friendly teammate, such as a healer, to give the friendly teammate breathing room.
  • Resolve – A system that helps to mitigate the effectiveness of impairing effects. More details below.
  • Sap (Sapped) – A stealth CC ability. When you’ve been stealth CC’ed.
  • Sap Capped – When a Stealth class Saps you then caps the Node.
  • Stun – An effect that makes you unable to do anything for 4 seconds but still take damage.
  • Stun-locked – When you are at full resolve and stunned or CC’ed with no CC breaker.
  • White-barred – When you are at full Resolve and are immune to effects such as stuns and CC’s.

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PvP Gear

In this section, I’ll go through how to get gear for PvP!

Contents


Under 70 PvP (10-69)

You do not have to worry about PvP gear or stats in the low-level PvP (10-69) bracket. There is a bolster system to boost your stats to max level. But if you feel inclined, you can do some Heroics (they are soloable) to get some quick and easy gear in between PvP pops if you so wish.

Level 70 PvP

There is now only one type of gear for both PvPer’s and PvEer’s making gearing a little easier. The new gearing system introduced in Game Update 5.0 is called Galactic Command. Basically, you can do any type of content you want earn Command levels and hopefully get good gear from crates that drop as you level.

But it is not the only means to get gear. You can also get gear through PvP and earn Unassembled Components which go towards buying gear. You can also buy Tier 1 (230) Gear directly from a Vendor with Command Tokens (in the same area as the other Vendors see image below). You can also still get set bonus gear from all tiers of Operations.


The Basics

There are currently four tiers of gear.

  • Tier 1-  230
  • Tier 2 – 236
  • Tier 3 – 242
  • Tier 4 – 248

For PvP, there are two steps for getting gear.  First, you need to earn Unassembled Components which are used to buy the Unassembled Gear Piece of your choice. Then, you turn in the Unassembled Gear Piece with Command Tokens to buy the corresponding gear for whichever class you choose. You get Unassembled Components from completing PvP matches of all types as well as the Weekly and one of the dailies. You get Command Tokens every time you rank up in Galactic Command. You also now get Unassembled components from disintegrating Gear from Command Crates with

Command Tokens show up in your Inventory in the Currency Tab. Unassembled Components are BoL and will show up in your Inventory.

Note: You have to log into all of your characters that have Galactic Command Ranks to get all the Command Tokens added to your Currency tab on all characters. The amount of Command Tokens you have is shared on all of your characters and shows up in each character’s inventory in the currency tab.

To see your Command Rank go to Content in the Menu Bar and click Activities. You will also be able to see your Command Stash. You earn Command XP (CXP) from doing pretty much anything in the game. The amount of CXP you earn PvPing is based on how many Medals you earn in a match.

You can earn Unassembled Components from multiple sources:

  • Disintegrating Gear with stats in it in
  • Completing Warzones.
  • NIM Operations (they drop from all NIM Bosses).
  • Daily Rewards for Flashpoints, Uprisings and Operations.
  • PvP Dailies and Weeklies.
  • Completing Ranked Arenas.
  • Ranked PvP Dailies and Weeklies.

Disintegrating Command Crate Gear for Components

Introduced in Game Update 5.6, you can now disintegrate any gear with stats in it and get Unassembled Components. Everything else that’s disintegrated still gives Command XP. Note that Mods, Enhancements and Armourings disintegrate into Command XP.

Here’s how many Unassembled Components you get for disintegrating Gear in each Tier:

 Tier 1 Tier 2Tier 3 Tier 4
Premium (Green)246N/A
Prototype (Blue)3578
Artifact (Purple)4689
Legendary (Gold)N/A7910

In the next section, I detail how many components you can earn through PvP.


Unassembled Components

Here are how many Unassembled Components you get for winning and losing for all types of PvP:

Regular Warzone Win20 Unassembled Components
Regular Warzone Loss8 Unassembled Components
Regular Arena Win20 Unassembled Components
Regular Arena Loss5 Unassembled Components
Solo Ranked Win20 Unassembled Components
Solo Ranked Loss10 Unassembled Components
Group Ranked Win25 Unassembled Components
Group Ranked Loss10 Unassembled Components

Here’s how many components you get from completing Dailies and Weeklies. Note the [Zero Tolerance] and [United we Stand] Dailies do not reward any Components:

Warzone Daily25
Warzone Weekly135
Solo Ranked Daily40
Solo Ranked Weekly250
Group Ranked Daily75
Group Ranked Weekly500

Here are the Unassembled Component Costs for all Tiers. (Note: while Tier 1 is a direct purchase, for Tiers 2, 3 & 4 you will need to turn in the previous Tier Armour Piece Shell along with Unassembled Components):

 Tier 2 (236)Tier 3 (242)Tier 4 (248)
Chest375563675
Legs375563675
Head375563675
Hands375563675
Feet375563675
Waist288438525
Wrist288438525
Implant300450540
Earpiece300450540
Relic300450540
Mainhand450675810
Offhand450675810

You can find the vendors for spending Unassembled Components in the Supplies section of both factions Fleets.


Unassembled Pieces

And finally, to buy the Unassembled Piece, you will need to turn in the Unassembled Piece you bought with Unassembled Components as well as Command Tokens.

For reference here are how many Command Tokens you get per Command Rank (they drop in Command Crates):

Tier 1 5 Command Tokens
Tier 28 Command Tokens
Tier 3 12 Command Tokens
Tier 4 14 Command Tokens

You can find the vendors for turning in Unassembled Pieces in the Supplies section of both factions Fleets.

Here is the Command Token Cost for each piece of gear:

 Tier 2 (236)Tier 3 (242)Tier 4 (248)
Chest152429
Legs152429
Head152429
Hands152429
Feet152429
Waist101518
Wrist101518
Implant121822
Earpiece121822
Relic121822
Mainhand182834
Offhand182834

Command Token Gear

As I mentioned above, you can buy Tier 1 (230) Gear directly for Command Tokens. However, in order to have enough Command Tokens to buy a full set a gear, you would have to have at least one character with a decent amount of Command Ranks. This is a good way to gear alts though. You can find the Tier 1 Vendors with the Unassembled Piece turn in Vendors.

Here is the Command Token Cost of Tier 1 Gear:

Tier 1 Gear SlotCommand Token Cost
Chest70
Legs70
Head70
Hands70
Feet70
Waist49
Wrist49
Implant56
Earpiece56
Relic56
Mainhand84
Offhand84

Colour Crystals

One important thing to note is that the weapons you buy from the vendors do not have Crystals in them. The Crystal slot is empty. You can get Colour Crystals from a variety of places in the game including:

  • PvP Items Vendor – Jensen (Imp), Corr (Rep) located in the PvP Section of each Fleet sell War Hero (Mastery Stat) Colour Crystals for Credits (Valor 10 Requirement).
  • Cartel Packs (or search GTN) – Cartel Market Crystals will have a CM Symbol on them in the bottom left corner of their icon image.
  • Events – Rakghoul Event Vendor Jeelvic located in Cartel Bazaar on Fleet sells Black/Green Colour Crystals (all Stats) for Rakghoul DNA Canisters.
  • Eternal Championship Vendor – Piij located near the Eternal Championship entrance on Zakuul sells Purple & Cyan Colour Crystals (all Stats) for Eternal Championship Trophies.
  • Crafting – Artifice can craft some Colour Crystals (all Stats).

The advantage of getting Cartel Market Colour Crystals (whether you buy them off the GTN or get them through Packs) is that you can unlock them in Collections which is account wide. So once you unlock a Crystal in Collections, it will be available to claim for all the characters on your account across all servers.


Gearing Tips

Do some Operations to gear faster: Honestly, the quickest and easiest way to get gear especially if you have no set bonus gear at all is to do Story Mode Operations (to get 236 Gear) and/or HM (Veteran Mode) Eternity Vault and Karagga’s Palace (for 242 Gear). Make sure you keep the Gear Shells so you can upgrade them to higher tiered gear with Unassembled Components!

Use Legacy Gear: Put all your mods, armourings and enhancements into Legacy Gear. This will make gearing mirror class or same class alts a lot easier, cheaper and less time-consuming.

Alt Gearing: Get one Character to Rank 300 ASAP! Having at least one main character who you focus on gearing means that as you upgrade your main character’s gear, you can rip out their old mods and send them to an alt using Legacy Gear or just put the mods directly into your alts Legacy Gear. Any extra gear you get from Command Crates you don’t need can also be sent to your alts via Legacy Gear.

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Bolster

All Warzones, regardless of level have a bolster system to boost your stats to a certain level. It is a system that automatically changes your stats to a predetermined level in a Warzone. The current Bolster (in all brackets) is set at gear level 242 (as of Game Update 5.5).

The advantage of this system is that you can still do fairly well in PvP with lesser gear. It makes the gear grind more bearable and you don’t feel as rushed to get to max tier.

You can read more about how Bolster works in Rambol’s Examining Bolster Guide.

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What Gear Should I get for my Class?

Each class and spec has its own gear set depending on your role. When you buy gear from the vendor it should default to the gear for your Discipline. It is important to use gear designed for your discipline as it contains a set bonus that is specifically tailored to your discipline.

Set Gear for Each Class
Bounty Hunter/Trooper
  • Mercenary/Commando
    • Bodyguard/Combat Medic – Combat Medic
    • Arsenal/Gunnery – Eliminator’s
    • Innovative Ordinance/Assault Specialist – Eliminator’s
  • Powertech/Vanguard
    • Shield Tech/Shield Tech – Supercommando
    • Pyrotech/Plasmatech – Combat Tech
    • Advanced Prototype/Tactics – Combat Tech
Imperial Agent/Smuggler
  • Operative/Scoundrel
    • Medicine/Sawbones – Field Medic
    • Concealment/Scrapper – Enforcer
    • Lethality/Ruffian – Enforcer
  • Sniper/Gunslinger
    • Engineering/Saboteur – Field Tech
    • Marksman/Sharpshooter  – Field Tech
    • Virulence/Dirty Fighting – Field Tech
Sith Warrior/Jedi Knight
  • Marauder/Sentinel
    • Carnage/Combat – Weaponmaster’s
    • Fury/Concentration – Weaponmaster’s
    • Annihilation/Watchman – Weaponmaster’s
  • Juggernaut/Guardian
    • Immortal/Defence – War Leader’s
    • Vengence/Vigilance – Vindicator’s
    • Rage/Focus – Vindicator’s
Sith Inquisitor/Jedi Consular
  • Sorcerer/Sage
    • Corruption/Seer – Force-Mystic’s
    • Lightning/Telekinetics – Force-Master’s
    • Madness/Balance – Force-Master’s
  • Assassin/Shadow
    • Darkness/Kinetic Combat – Survivor’s
    • Deception/Infiltration – Stalker’s
    • Hatred/Serenity – Stalker’s
Relics

These are the BIS Relics for all three roles:

  • DPS and Tanks
    • Serendipitous Assault (or Devastating Vengeance for select disciplines)
    • Focused Retribution
  • Healers
    • Devastating Vengeance
    • Focused Retribution
Colour Crystals

Typically Healers and DPS use Eviscerating (Critical Rating) Crystals to start out with. Some people may switch to Power (Hawkeye) Crystals or Mastery (War Hero) Crystals once they’ve maxed out their gear and have enough Critical Rating.

Tanks can go with Power (Hawkeye) Crystals or Mastery (War Hero) Crystals depending on your preference.

Note: there is a slight DPS increase when using Mastery Crystals over Power Crystals (DPS should get to their optimal Critical Rating before switching to Mastery (War Hero) Crystals).

Keep in mind that gear you buy will not be optimised (BIS), hence the next section.

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Stats

I go through the basic stats each role should aim for below. For a far more detailed breakdown of Stats (including all the math), see Rambol and Hottie’s Stats and Damage Calculation Guide.

Basically, you can start out by looking at the Optimal Stats for all 24 Disciplines Tables by Vicadin for PvE on the forums to get an idea of where you should be aiming your stats for your discipline. Keep in mind though that there are some differences in how you gear in PvE and PvP which I point out below.

When you get gear, you’ll notice the mods and armourings come with a set amount of Endurance, Mastery and Power. These are your primary stats. You do not need to worry too much about them, initially. Your priority should be to get BiS secondary stats for your discipline first. Secondary Stats include Critical Rating, Alacrity and Accuracy.

DPS

Critical -> Alacrity -> Accuracy -> Mastery

Accuracy – In PvP, Accuracy isn’t that important a stat (unlike in PvE where you must have 110% Accuracy). But for select classes, it can be beneficial to have a small amount of Accuracy (eg. Marksmen Sniper, Deception Assassin should aim for 105%). For most classes though, Accuracy is a stat you can pretty much ignore.

To determine if you need some accuracy for your class in PvP, look at what types of abilities you have. If most of the abilities in your rotation are ‘melee’ or ‘ranged’, then you should have 105% accuracy.

Alacrity – When it comes to Alacrity, Melee DPS should aim for either the ~800 or ~1850 Alacrity thresholds (except Carnage Marauders who need ~1500). Generally, most players go with 800. That way, they can put their remaining Stat budget (that’s not in Critical Rating) into Mastery.

For a better understanding of how Alacrity works see Rambol and Hottie’s Stat Guide.

Critical Rating – For Critical Rating numbers, refer to the PvE Optimal Stat Distribution Tables as a starting point as it does vary depending on your discipline. But generally, you should aim to be below 1900 Critical Rating.

Once you reach your Classes’ recommended thresholds for Alacrity and Critical Rating, generally, you put the rest of your stats into Mastery or Power. Mastery is generally favoured due to the new tier of augments not having Overkill (Power) Augments.

Healing

Mastery -> Power -> Critical -> Alacrity

While you can use the PvE Optimal Stat Distribution Guide Tables as a starting point, generally Healers should aim for ~15.4% Alacrity then stack the rest of their Stat budget into Critical Rating. Healers do not need any Accuracy.

Tanking

PvE mitigation stats are currently ineffective in PvP scenarios so gearing like you would for PvE is useless. Instead for PvP, you go for a ‘hybrid’ or ‘skank’ gear build as follows:

  • Tanking set bonus.
  • Shield offhand.
  • High endurance armourings and hilts/barrels.
  • DPS mods and enhancements.
  • DPS Relics.

Follow the DPS stat guidelines above and consult the PvE Optimal Stat Distribution Guide Tables for a rough idea on how to optimise your DPS stats. Note, you do not need to add any Accuracy as a Tank. Gearing this way will allow you to pull good DPS numbers while still being able to function as a tank.

To learn more about Tanking in PvP, read Hottie’s PvP Tanking for Dummies Guide.

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Basic Roles and Strategies

In this section, I will give you the basics on different roles (objectives) and basic strategies played in a Warzone.

Objectives

Defending

Defending a Control Point/Node or Objective is a crucial role in all Warzones. There should always be at least one person defending a captured Control Point/Node.

The following Warzones have a defending component:

  • Voidstar (Doors)
  • Civil War (Control Points)
  • Novare Coast (Control Points)
  • Ancient Hypergates (Pylons)
  • Odessen Proving Grounds (Control Points)
  • Yavin Ruins (Control Points)

This means that in all of these Warzones there should always be one person defending the ‘off node’ controlled by your team.

Off-node Defending

If you are defending a Control Point and see an enemy coming or are sapped by a stealth class, immediately call out (ie. type out) where you are and how many enemies there are. For example:

  • Grass/G1 = Grass Control Point 1 enemy (Civil War)
  • East/E2 = East Control Point 2 enemies (Novare Coast)
  • Left/L or West/W2 = Left/West Door, 2 enemies if defending (Voidstar)
  • Pylon/P1 = Your team’s Pylon, 1 enemy (Ancient Hypergates)

You shouldn’t need to type too much in chat to let your team know what’s happening, your teammates should know what you mean.

Do the best you can to delay the enemy stun them, CC them, use cooldowns so your teammates have a chance to reach you. Ultimately your goal is to survive and delay the enemy as long as possible so your teammates can come and assist you.

If you are fairly confident in your DPS capabilities you can attempt to kill them by yourself but always make sure you call out first (just in case) and just to be safe, draw out the confrontation by using your stuns and CC’s and ‘LOS’ing.

Non-Stealth Defending a node against 1 Stealth Class

If you are defending, stand around 30m away from the node. This will make it a little more difficult for you to be sap capped (stealth CC’ed) by a stealth class. Stealthers have to be within 10m of you to be able to sap you. So if you are standing 30m away from the node, that’s extra time they have to spend getting to the node to cap it which in turn means they will unlikely have enough time to cap the node before the sap wears off. This also means you are more likely to be able to stop them from capping. DO NOT PANIC AND USE YOUR CC BREAKER IF YOU ARE SAPPED! Stay calm! Only use your CC breaker if you are ‘white barred’ (at full resolve) and if they will cap the node before the CC wears off.

Keep in mind that both Stealth classes also have a second crowd control ability with a 30m range they can use instantly to CC you again after the stealth CC wears off. It will put you at full Resolve. This is when you use your CC breaker not before.

More than 1 Stealth Class

If there is more then 1 stealther at the node you will likely be sap capped and there isn’t really much that most classes can do about that. Sorcerer’s (and stealth classes) are the exception to this as they technically have two CC breakers they can utilise to prevent getting sap capped.

Main Node ‘Mid’ Defending

There may be a whole bunch of your teammates and the enemy team at an objective but that doesn’t mean you should be slack when it comes to watching the objective. A sneaky stealth can ninja the node off of a distracted team.

Common distractions include:

  • Being too focused on killing the enemy.
  • Too many players chasing after a single enemy.
  • Pushing the enemy away from the objective area and not watching the node. This gives a single enemy the opportunity to sneak behind and ninja cap you from behind.

Any of these on there own or more likely a combination of them can result in your team losing the node. The best way to prevent the enemy from capturing a node is to always keep an eye on it while simultaneously doing your role (DPS, Heal, Tank). This concept is known as ‘situational awareness’.

I talk more about ‘situational awareness’ in the ‘How to Improve your PvP Game section’ below.

If you see an enemy capping a node, the easiest way to stop them is to use an AOE DPS ability on them. Most classes either have a placeable AOE ability (eg. Force Storm, Suppressive Fire, Sweeping Blasters) or have an ability that is an AOE (eg. Sweeping Slash) they can use to stop caps. Using and AOE is generally better than rely on cycling through targets or trying to click on the capper. Note that the Engineering Sniper’s AOE, Plasma Probe does not stop caps.

Attacking

Main Node ‘Mid’ Attacking

When attacking a Control Point, the first step is to always mark out healers as soon as you see them. Ideally, when you first enter combat, classes that are capable of healing (Operative/Scoundrel, Sorcerer/Sage, Mercenary/Commando) should be who you attack first. Once the healers are discovered, focus them down.

If there is a tank guarding the healer, try and separate them. If the tank is more than 15 meters away from the healer, the guard will be ineffective. A good tank and healing combo can be quite difficult to take down. In this scenario, it is best to use stuns and interrupts effectively to try and focus the healer or tank down (depending on who’s the weakest but typically you’ll focus the healer). If you’re having no luck getting the tank or healer down, it may be better instead focus on DPS in the vicinity.

Once you’ve focused down the healers, you should be able to focus down the remaining players fairly quickly (in theory).

In a scenario where there are only a couple of enemy players left, you may be able to cap the objective with effective use of stuns, CC’s and knockbacks. It is better to at least try and cap an objective ASAP to ensure that enemy reinforcements don’t have time to return. Waiting until all enemies in the vicinity of the objective are dead is generally ill-advised unless you can effectively stun, CC or use knockbacks against them as they attempt to return.

If the enemy team is distracted or further away from the objective then they should be, you can sometimes cap an objective. It is usually worth a try. If you see a teammate attempting to cap, help them out. A well-timed knockback or stun, a stealth scan or AOE (used to find stealth) etc. can mean the difference between success and failure when capping a node.

It is somewhat common for there to be a stalemate situation where both teams have enough healers to keep their respective teams alive. Unless you are able to cap another objective elsewhere there usually isn’t much you can do to break a stalemate beyond attempting to focus fire healers.

Off-node Attacking

Basically, it’s either a DPS race or effective use of stuns and CC’s that ensure you cap the node.

Stalling the off-node at the start of a match can also be quite an effective tactic depending on player skill and team compositions. Basically, your objective is to survive as long as you can while preventing the enemy team from capping their node. Effective use of stuns, CC’s, LOS, self-heals and Cooldowns goes a long way to ensuring success. In some cases however you may be able to kill the enemy or stun lock them and then cap the node. Obviously, some classes are better at this than others. Stealth classes and those with good defensives and self-heals.

Generally, the aim of attacking the off-node is to distract the enemy to help your team elsewhere. If the person defending the off-node calls for help and help shows up, that means fewer enemy players for your teammates to contend with giving your team a better chance of getting or holding an objective elsewhere.

Note all these scenarios are quite basic, yet fairly common scenarios. Keep in mind that scenarios can vary greatly depending on player skill and team compositions.

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Resolve

Resolve is a system that mitigates the effect of impairing/crowd control abilities on a player. Everyone, regardless of their role, needs to understand how resolve works, how it will affect you and how your stun, CC (crowd control/mezz) and knockback (all CC effects) will affect resolve. When you stun, CC or use a knockback your opponent it will fill up their white bar incrementally. Once their bar is full they are immune to stun’s, CC’s and knockbacks for a short duration until their white bar gets reset to zero. The resolve bar appears under the character name.

If you have a full resolve bar most of the time, this generally gives you an advantage. However good players can use the resolve system against you. If they know how much resolve an ability builds, they can time their abilities out to prevent you from getting white-barred. Or they can deliberately white-bar you (when they know you’ve used your CC breaker already) and potentially cap an objective.

The Resolve Bar is divided into 4 sections which each have  4 parts totalling 16 parts.

Here is a table that shows how much Resolve Stuns, CC’s and knockback builds.

 Resolve BarResolve
Crowd Control13/16
AOE Crowd Control10/16
Stun13/16
Knockback3/16

The rate at which resolve diminishes is 1/16th every 2 seconds.

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How To Improve your PvP Game

Playing Other Classes – Can help you to better play your own class by learning how to deal with other classes. Learning how to play other classes, especially in PVP, means you’ll know what they can do and in turn know how to counter their abilities, know how they can counter you, know what to interrupt and know roughly how much damage you will/can take!

Other players may learn better what other classes are capable of by specialising in just one class in PvP. But it doesn’t hurt to at least familiarise yourself with other classes abilities.

Situational Awareness – This is also a very crucial skill. Not just being aware of your surroundings, there’s more to it than that. You need to be able to play your class/role while also knowing how many of their team there is and how many of your team is at a particular location. You need to be asking yourself, where is my team? Where is the enemy team? Am I needed here or am I more needed elsewhere? Make a mental note of who is guarding a node so if you notice their health drop you can help quicker (I discuss this concept further below).

Practice! Practice! Practice! When you’re healing being able to predict who is going to take damage, how much damage and judging the rate someone is taking damage so you know which heals to use on them and who get healing priority takes time and practice. Learning your optimal damage rotation for your class takes time and practice. Effective Guardswaping takes time and practice.

PvP a lot. Don’t get discouraged by yourself or anyone else. Just keep at it and you will get better!

Situational Awareness

This is an absolutely critical skill that you should work on if you truly want to master PvP.

So what is Situational Awareness? Basically, it is the ability to be aware of your surroundings (what is happening around you) while simultaneously being able to perform your designated role within the ruleset of the environment you’re in.

In PvP in SWTOR, this means simultaneously:

  • Being aware of the current circumstance of the Warzone. Is your team winning or losing? How many points does your team have?
  • Constantly being aware of where your teammates are and where the enemy team is. Essentially, you should be asking yourself: Do I need to be here? Should I be elsewhere? Where is my team? How are they doing? AKA the numbers game.
  • Being aware of your own situation. If you’re taking a lot of damage, pop a defensive cooldown or LOS the damage. Melee DPS in particular need to be mindful of if they’ve strayed too far from their team. A good melee DPS will go back to their teammates for healing when their health starts to drop real low. Healers generally will not chase after melee DPS who stray too far away and don’t have the smarts to come back into range of healing.

To further expand on the second point, here a few strategies you can use to help you be more situationally aware.

  • If you are not defending, at the very least, note who is. That way, if you see their health drop, you know they’re under attack! Yes, the person defending should call out but most of the time this does not happen or they call too slow or too late. Being aware of who is defending and being able to get to them to help them quickly could mean the difference between winning and losing a match. One way to help you keep a better eye on who is defending the node is to have them on ‘Focus Target’ (I explain how to do this in the UI, Settings and Keybinding Tips Section). That way, you can see if they’re get sapped as well as more easily monitor their health.
  • Yes, you literally should constantly count how many teammates are with you versus how many enemies there are.
    • For example, if you’re in a Civil War or Yavin Ruins and there are 6 of you verses 4 of the enemy team at a control point, then you should be asking yourself, where is the rest of the enemy team? Am I needed elsewhere?  Depending on the enemy teams composition, the answer will definitely be yes.

If you can master situational awareness then you will absolutely excel at PvP. It does take time to master as it does take time to learn all about the various things you need to be aware of simultaneously.

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UI, Settings and Keybinding Tips

SWTOR’s User Interface is very highly customisable. You can move any UI element to anywhere you want on the screen and show or hide just about any UI element. Note unlike other MMO’s, SWTOR does not allow Add-ons (click on the image to enlarge).

To get to the User Interface Editor, all you have to do is access it through the System Menu or through the Quick UI Customisation Window.

From there you can click on any element to change its settings. You can move any element to anywhere you want on the screen and change each element’s individual size. Each element has its own additional specific settings you can customise.

Be sure to spend some time playing around with the various settings in the Interface Editor. Especially for the Operations Frame and Player Frame. You may want to increase the size of player buffs and debuffs in the Player Buff Tray and click Show Health Text to get health to show up as a percentage. Note any UI elements that show up in Red in the Interface Editor are not enabled and you have to click on them and tick Enable to get them to show up.

To access the PvP Interface specific elements, use the highlighted drop-down menu then select ‘Warzones’. This will allow you to move all the scoreboards for the various Warzones to wherever you like.

Generally, when it comes to PvP UI’s, it’s better to be more minimalistic. After all, you don’t want too many UI elements to distract you. But personally, I’m lazy and find it easier to just have one UI for all the content I do. But in the end, it’s all up to personal preference. As long as you have all the information on the screen you need in a configuration you like, you’ll be fine.

Essential and Useful Settings Options

Enable Focus Target

This will allow you to have a target focused.

Enabling Focus Target.

How it looks:

Focus Target use in PvP.

To set someone as your focus target, all you have to do is select who you want as your Focus Target and hit ALT+F. It is useful for keeping an eye on the player on your team grabbing the node or a tank guarding you (it allows you to better see their situation then just using the Operations Frame).

Max Camera Distance

Set the Camera distance to 100% to ensure you can always see what is going on.

You can also increase the distance by more than 100% by going into the game files manually and editing the Camera Max Distance Value value.

The file is located using this path:

C:\Users\WindowsUsername\AppData\Local\SWTOR\swtor\settings

The App Data folder may be hidden so you will have to find the folder by copying the above in the  RUN Command Line (making sure you substitute WindowsUsername for your own Windows Username obviously) or change your settings to show hidden folders.

Open the file SWTORAccountName_Account.ini

For example, my SWTOR Account name is Pandoras_Jar so my file is called: Pandoras_Jar_Account.ini

In the file find Controls_CameraMaxDistance. Then you set the value to 50.0 or 75.0 (or even higher) to increase the zoom out distance. You MUST put a .0 in front of any value you put in. If your Camer Distance is set to 100% in-game, the value will be 25.0.

For more details, read Segundus’ Guide from on the forums.

Ability Action Queue

If you experience high latency or lag sometimes in PvP, you may want to try out this setting. It basically allows you to queue your next ability. I have mine set to 0.75 seconds but feel free to experiment!

Show Cooldown Text

This setting allows you to see the cooldown timers on your abilities that have a cooldown.

This is how it will look on your quickbars:

Cooldown Text on various Abilities.

Keybinds

Keybinding is generally seen as superior to clicking when it comes to gameplay in SWTOR. Keybinding allows for a faster reaction then clicking. It does take some practice to get used to keybinding but once you do, believe me, you’ll never go back to clicking except for those random abilities you don’t need to use that much.

How I Keybind

There are countless ways you can keybind. Personally, I had a hard time getting used to using just the keyboard for keybinding all my abilities. So I decided to try an MMO Mouse and that did the trick! I use a Logitech G600 as it allows you to keybind over 24 keys on the mouse itself!

Here in the screenshot below, you can see how I tailored my UI to mimic the 12 key layout of the Logitech G600 Mouse.

The Logitech G600 Mouse while it only has 12 side buttons allows you access to 12 more keybindings by holding down the (extra) far right button (G-shift button) on your mouse (keybinds show up as C+1, C+2 etc. on UI). The G7 key on the top of the mouse (s+B on UI) is my Cleanse button.

I have my defensive cooldowns, stun, interrupt, knockback, an AOE ability in the exact same spot on all of my characters. Also, remember to have Medpacs and Adrenals within easy reach.

Prioritise your important abilities to the easiest to press positions. You do not need every single possible ability you have for your class on your quickbars so be smart. You should not have to use every single quickbar slot on all 6 quickbars for any class. You’ll notice that I have only 5 quickbars and 2 of them are almost entirely filled with fluff.

Take your time to play around with all the UI elements and your keybinds. Set up your UI in a way you feel is comfortable with your play style. It does take at least a week of gameplay to get used to keybinds so stay focused and keep at it! Trust me, once you get the hang keybinding, you won’t know how you played without them!

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Ranked PvP

Ranked PvP is a separate PvP Queue of Arenas only where you’re given a Rating. You can either queue solo or with a group of 4 people. There are two different Ratings you can get, one for Solo Queue and one for Group Queue.

Ranked PvP is more ‘advanced’ (gameplay wise) than the regular queue. So ONLY queue if you have a good grasp of your class (and other classes) and have a decent amount of gear, otherwise, you won’t last very long.

To queue for Ranked PvP, all you have to do is click on the Warzone icon, the select Ranked Arenas, then click Join Queue.

There are Leaderboards on the SWTOR website which by default show the top rated players per class in Solo Ranked. You can change how the Leaderboards are sorted.

For doing Ranked you a rewarded with the current Seasons (9) Ranked Tokens. You can use the Tokens to buy rewards from the Giradda the Hutt Ranked Season Reward Vendor in the Combat Section of your factions fleet after the Season ends. Also depending on your rating, you are given rewards at the end of each season. There are usually 3 tiers of rewards. The rating needed for each reward tier varies each Season.

To give you an idea of the kinds of rewards you get from Ranked, you can also read the Season 8 PvP Rewards Blog (on swtor.com). Obviously, rewards and some vendor items will be different for Season 9.

Ranked Season Reward Vendor Giradda The Hutt located in Combat Training Section of Fleet.

To view your rating and other Ranked Stats by going to the Warzone menu, then clicking on the ‘PvP Stats‘ button.

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For those who want to Learn More more About PvP

Here are some links to various Guides on more specific topics that’ll help you learn more about PvP!

Class Guides
Role Guides

If you know of any other excellent PvP Guides I could add to this list, let me know and I shall consider them!


My PVP Experience

I have an Elite Warlord Mercenary (100) and a Warlord Commando (96). I’ve been playing Mercenary/Commando heals at max level since 1.x days. I have experience PvPing almost every Advanced Class and Discipline. Some more than others. I’ve levelled most of my alts through PvP (or predominately PVP). Other classes, I have experience with include Carnage Marauder, Sage/Sorcerer DPS & Heals and Scoundrel/Operative Heals. I do not claim to be the best PvPer, PvP is a game mode I really enjoy and I’m always looking to improve and be a better PvPer.


Thank you for reading my Guide! If you have any questions, comments or feedback let me know in the Comments below or on Twitter!