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SWTOR Season 1: Things they did right and wrong

February 22, 2014


Well, season 1 is coming to a close soon (April 8th), and when it does, it will grant rewards to tiers of players on the leaderboards! I want to look back at the season and talk about what is good and bad about it, no holds barred. Here we go!

Top 5 Things Bioware Did Right in Season One

I’d like to start with the ways that Bioware scored on the first season of ranked PvP. Here are some of the ways that I thought they did things right.

#1 – The Rewards

Overall, the rewards are pretty good! They are giving players a Rancor mount after all, and the titles and armor sets are a nice incentive to get to higher ratings. Could there have been more items? Sure, but there could always be more! I think it was a good amount of interesting stuff for their first season, and I was really hoping for an awesome mount, and what is more awesome than a Rancor?!?

#2 – Season length seemed right

Having a quick turnover increases people’s enjoyment of the season. Now, it was six months, but I was expecting a year on Bioware’s schedule, so it wasn’t as bad as I expected. They may want to tweak it in the future, but I felt the six-month schedule was about right for me.

#3 – Introducing the new game-mode before the season started

This was a good plan for them, letting people get in and try the arenas before they decided to start the season. It is a bad idea to just drop everyone into the season with no idea what the meta-game looks like, and they didn’t do that.

#4 – “Highest Rating Earned” is used instead of “Current Rating”

This is a good move on their part in general, because it encourages people who have a bad losing streak to not give up the fight to get into the next tier. Because they can work their way back up to the rating they once had, they won’t feel overwhelmed and stop playing when they get to the tier they wanted.

#5 – Top tier contains only around 5% of the population

PvPers like exclusivity, and only 5% of the ranked population is getting the top-tier rewards. This was a great move on Bioware’s part, and they should shoot for this kind of goal again. The best of the best should be rewarded, and 5% is a very small percentage of the population.

Top 5 Things Bioware Could Improve for Season Two

What are some ways I think Bioware could improve season two? How do I think they should take what they’ve learned from season one and apply it? Let’s look at some solutions to the biggest problem they had: low population.

#1 – Exclusive rewards

You need to make your rewards for ranked PvP ONLY for PvPers. Did the PvPers ask for reskins of the Avalanche Heavy Tank and the Titan 6 Containment Vehicle to be offered to PvPers instead of the reskins of standard mounts that we had on the PvP vendor? No. Most of us recognize that you need to be a PvEer to get things from PvE, and those rewards should be exclusive, providing incentive. Now we have heard that the Rancor is going to be reskinned and given to PvEers and the Cartel Market. Reskins don’t look unique enough. Why couldn’t Bioware have given something special to the PvPers? This is a grave mistake and somewhat insulting to the PvP playstyle.

#2 – Dual-queue

This would solve a lot of issues with low population. When ranked queues start taking a while, you drop queue so you can do something instead of waiting around for it to pop. This causes those in the ranked queues to have to wait even longer! It is a vicious cycle! They had the technology to queue ranked and regular warzones back when it was 8v8, so I don’t think it would be that much of a stretch to implement a similar system here. Your ranked queue waits for you while you finish a regular warzone, providing a constant stream of fun. More people would queue!

#3 – Announce rewards waaaaay sooner

Part of the problem with the population was incentive. The queue times dropped dramatically when the rewards were announced. Instead of waiting until a month before, they should have provided small bits of information weekly, starting the week after the start of season one. Again, it is an issue of incentive. Give people a taste of what you will give them!

#4 – Group the rating cutoffs by class

There is a problem with class balance in the game right now, and there always will be some classes that do better, and some that do worse. This leads to a large discrepancy in rating. For example, roughly 140 Vanguards/Powertechs were going to receive Tier 1 rewards when they were announced. Only 13 Commandos/Mercenaries would receive the same reward. That kind of difference needs to be taken into account. A lot of Mandos/Mercs just gave up, and this change would incentivize them a bit more.

#5 – Have additional rewards per server and in each class

What is the point of leaderboards if the top person doesn’t get anything different from the second person? When they decided to go with rating cutoffs, that essentially meant that people who were over the cutoff for the top tier would no longer need to do ranked PvP. To discourage quitting ranked when you reach Tier 1, they need to implement rewards for being the top guy on your server, and the best at your class. If they want to do 2nd place and top 4 rewards, then more power to them, but just give the best people something to vie for. Again, Bioware needs to incentivize ranked!

These are just a few of the things I think Bioware did right and could change to do better! What do you think? Give me your suggestions for ranked season two below!

  1. February 27, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Some good points; I especially agree with the timing of the reward announcements – I believe that my very first thought upon seeing them was: “They are giving out rancors and they haven’t told us about this until now?!” Quite an odd move, considering that they usually like to advertise everything good they’ve got coming out as soon as possible.

    Also agreed about the dual queue. You’ve got to be a really dedicated PvPer right now to just sit in the ranked queue and wait it out without giving in to switching to normal.

    • February 27, 2014 at 2:28 am

      Yeah I don’t know how they kept that a secret so long lol! Don’t get me wrong, they should definitely not tease things until they are sure they can deliver. However, I truly believe that Ranked Season One’s beginning was not complete until they announced what rewards would be. They just couldn’t get ranked PvP right for 8v8 and they botched this for 4v4 as well. Maybe the next season will improve. Here’s hoping!

  1. February 25, 2014 at 7:26 pm
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