Okay, so patch 1.1.0a just hit. The old win trading Ilum is gone and the valor exploiting has been fixed. So how does it fair now? Here’s my first impressions.
Let me preface this by saying that I am a Republic player on a server with an Empire imbalance problem. I’m not alone there right? Anyway, the servers came up early after the patch and I was keen to log in, see what the new daily entailed, and complete it before too many Empire players began to log in. Didn’t happen…
The new daily has you either kill 30 enemy players or collect armaments from the ground. I figured I’d go the route of collecting armaments and try and get the odd solo kill if I could. If you are thinking along the same lines, don’t bother. The armaments are as rare as chest spawns. If you see one it is a bonus, but don’t go out there specifically looking for them. So then, the new Ilum is all about killing people. This is a huge leap forward for the zone and a marked improvement. PvP in a PvP zone? Who’d of thunk it right? Don’t expect to get the daily done very quickly though. It just doesn’t work that way anymore. 30 kills take a long time to get.
I got a solo kill, then grouped with 3 others and got a few more kills. It wasn’t long though before we were outnumbered 2-1 so we gave up after eight kills and went and did our PvE dailies. Around peak playing time I went back to Ilum. This time we fielded a full raid. We spent the next hour roflstomping solo Empire players and small groups with our ball of zerg. Eventually Empire returned in kind and formed an operation group or two of their own to counter us. Once again we became outnumbered, lost moral, and quit. Luckily I got my daily completed though. It only took about THREE HOURS TO DO!?!?
So Bioware succeeded in getting people to PvP. Thumbs up. The important question though is “was it fun?”. The answer, I’m afraid, is no. Being the zerg, or getting zerged is not fun. The solo and small scale skirmishes I had were fun, but those moments were very far and few between. Also, the capturing of the objectives for the most part did not feel integral to the experience. We only really did it to alert the enemy to the fact that we were at a certain point in the map, and to come get some. Sure, there are bonuses for capturing those points, but that’s not why we captured them.
There is also a very annoying bug. The 30 kills actually take longer because not every kill will advance your quest. For instance, when I wasn’t grouped I came across a single Sith Warrior. I engaged him him, fought him, and killed him entirely by myself. No quest update!!! Grrr. Same thing happened when grouped. I’m not sure what triggers this bug but I know it exists. When you have to spend three hours doing a kill quest, the last thing you need is it bugging out on you and not updating. Less annoying is the occasional lag that occurs when there are a number of players on the map and a capture point changes hands. It is still annoying though and is something they should work on eliminating.
Also, three hours work for 3 Centurian Commendations? Are you serious Bioware? It is probably quicker and much more fun to lose Warzones all night and get your champ bags that way!
All in all this patch was a good thing for Ilum PvP. It is a very long way from perfect but it is a step in the right direction. I hope they eventually get this right. I really was hoping to have the fun I had in WAR with open world PvP. It is the main feature that drove me to try this game. I don’t think I will be going back to Ilum on a daily basis, but will pop in on the weekends from time to time. Overall I’m encouraged by the changes and am hopefull that there will one day be meaningful, engaging, large scale open world PvP battles in SWTOR.