SWTOR Eric Musco on PvP Bolster and Naked Bolster

SWTOR Community Manager Eric Musco went on the forums to clarify the PvP Bolster and the bug associated with the naked Bolster.


lol bolster | 04.09.2013, 10:34 PM

Hey everyone!
I was able to spend a bit of time today talking to Rob Hinkle and Alex Modny about the PvP changes and although they are busy right now working on getting solutions to some of these issues, I wanted to pass on some explanations on what is going on.
What is the purpose of “naked” bolster? So I want to clarify why Naked Bolster exists. For Bolster we need to have a system that impacts Warzone players from level 10 to level 55. To do this we want to make sure characters are on as even a playing field as possible. However, when you were leveling up your main, when did you get your first helmet, implant, or relic? In the level up game we have certain points where characters have not yet received certain items and we don’t want to punish these characters because they don’t have access to certain items while higher level characters have plentiful access, so they both get bolstered up to the same level to create a more equal playing field.

Ex: We want to make sure your level 11 without a helmet is getting some stats for their head slot to be equal to the level 25 with a helmet.

With that being said, we do not intend for naked Bolster to be better than wearing gear of any type. This is a bug with the system that we are adamant on fixing and attempted to fix on PTS. The truth is that when we fixed one aspect of the system we opened up another edge case. Last night when it became apparent we had not done enough to fix the issue we started an investigation (yes at 3am CDT in the morning) and have been working all day on a plan of attack to shore up this system so that it is fun and balanced for all parties.

More specifically the issues we have discovered are how the Bolster system handles Relics and diminishing returns. Currently on live, Bolster is giving too many stats to the Relic slot, meaning if you don’t use a Relic (naked Bolster) you will get more stats than the Relic itself would give. Actually different stats entirely since most Relics have Endurance and a proc effect. This means that taking off Relics will give you more primary damage stat and secondary stats and you will probably lose Endurance. How Bolster looks at Relic slots needs to be redone so that stats it assumes are present or should be present are more in-line with Relics that are present and we are working on that currently.

The other issue we found in our investigation is that Bolster’s diminishing returns are too generous and giving out too many stats over the course of a set. Our item system uses a diminishing returns formula on each individual stat on a mod, so that putting more and more of a stat on a single mod costs more “item budget.” The Bolster system follows the same formulas, but because it gives more frequent smaller values that are added together, each stat takes a less harsh diminishing returns hit. Taken over the course of an entire set, the result is that a fully Bolstered character tends to have gained some small values in each stat and rating over actual items. To fix this we need to massage some numbers to make diminishing returns affect Bolster stat gains more drastically.

It is important to note that “naked Bolster” is never intended to be better than wearing gear, this is a bug and is going to be fixed.

How does this affect level 55? Bolster will bolster characters up to right below Partisan gear, the new level 55 PvP set gear. This is working correctly from what we can see and means that the Elder Game will not have this issue of “naked Bolster.” Partisan and Conquer gear are still highly valuable and give better stats than Bolster so that max level PvP should be intact as we designed, it is just unfortunate that the system has bugs in it that make getting to that point frustrating.
Because of the bolster changes and general changes to 2.0 combat math you will see larger numbers during combat. We have given out more health with levels which means more damage to counter it. Also, in 2.0 the gear gap has been closed significantly. In pre-2.0 the gap was roughly (very roughly!) 80% difference between Recruit and fully augmented Elite War Hero gear. Closing this gap means that PvP battles will be on a more equal footing but you might be experiencing damage and heal numbers you hadn’t seen before the patch.

Hopefully this post has addressed some of your concerns about the current state of PvP following Game Update 2.0. Again, naked Bolster being as strong as it is right now is a bug and is not intended design. We have outlined above what our current plan is for addressing it but this is always subject to change. I will do my best to keep you all updated on how and when these changes will happen. Thank you all for your questions and feedback.

-eric

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