In Episode 1 of my PvP Series, I will go over some serious PvP basics and a mini guide for beginners, which I think is especially useful for someone brand new to MMOs. With the upcoming Star Wars trilogy, I imagine more people unfamiliar with MMOs may pick up the game since it’s free-to-play, so this post is for you guys. Even if you primarily only do PvE, you might be able to take a little bit out of this.
What is PvP?
PvP is short for Player Versus Player. In SWTOR specifically, the term “PvP” can be used in a variety of ways. Here’s a rundown of terms you may hear:
PvP Server : This is a type of server you can choose when you start the game or create a new character. SWTOR says this about PvP servers: “This environment allows players to attack other players in many areas of the game.” Basically you are always attackable unless you’re somewhere where combat is not allowed.
If you are new to MMOs, this may not be the gentlest environment to learn how to play, but that’s for the individual player to decide.
Ground PvP: This is literally PvP gameplay in which you can control and use your character on the “ground,” whether you are in a warzone/arena or out in the open world.
Space PvP: AKA Galactic Starfighter (GSF). Some may argue that GSF is not PvP, but you are shooting other players’ ships, which is essentially “player versus player.” Like 8v8 ground PvP, there are different warzones/maps that you can randomly queue for.
Open World PvP: PvP combat not confined to a warzone or GSF match. On a PvE server, there are certain areas in the game that are PvP zones (Ex: Outlaw’s Den). You can also flag yourself for PvP and attack members of the opposite faction that are also flagged. On a PvP server, well, it’s PvP everywhere.
PvP Warzones: These are instances that you queue up for, similar to flashpoints, where you are in a match in 8v8. There is an objective that you work towards to beat the other team, such as scoring points in Huttball for example or holding a node/pylon.
PvP Arenas: These are similar to warzones, except you are in a 4v4 (hopefully). They’re like gladiator arenas—fight to the death!
PvP Gear: This is gear containing the Expertise stat. Many changes have been made to PvP gear since the game’s launch, but currently the two gear sets are the Obroan (Warzone Commendations) and Brutalizer (Ranked Warzone Commendations).
Expertise: This is a stat (stats are things like Accuracy, Cunning, Surge) that increases your damage or healing and also reduces damage taken in a PvP situation.
Ranked PvP: This is PvP in which you obtain a rating after 10 matches during a season. When you queue for Ranked, you are only doing 4v4 (unless someone drops) arena matches. At the end of a season, if you have a certain rating or spot on the leaderboard you’ll get a reward. You can queue either solo or in groups of four. You should probably not try Ranked until you have some PvP gear.
Unranked/Regular PvP: You are not given a rating for Unranked PvP. There are no seasons, unlike Ranked. Also, there are no rewards other than the usual commendations and adrenals. When you queue, you will get either an 8v8 warzone or a 4v4 arena.
What is Valor?
Valor is basically your level in PvP. Every ten levels you get a character title, and after level 40 (out of 100) Valor, you are able to convert regular Warzone Commendations into Ranked Warzone Commendations.
Try not to derp like me and get a bunch of Warzone Commendations, worry that you will get maxed out, and then convert ALL of them into Ranked Comms without buying any Obroan pieces first.
Now that you know the basic terms, you can start queuing (maybe)! There are also guides out there on each of the different warzones and details about gearing out your toon for PvP. I will leave those kinds of things to the experts! However, you may want to read this Reddit thread that one of my Twitter followers Laurie M started: What’s the one avoidable, simple mistake you see people make all the time in PvP?
In my next episode of my PvP Series, I will write about my first week’s experience grinding for gear and become a legitimate PvP player!