SWTOR: Developers explains stunbreak reset after death in PvP

Alex Modny, Assistant Designer for SWTOR, went on the forums today to explain the rationale behind having stunbreakers reset after death in PvP.

Stunbreakers reseting after death | 05.29.2013, 03:56 PM

Hello PvPers! I wanted to jump in here and explain our thought process with making stunbreak cooldowns reset on revival on PTS 2.2. Firstly, I would like it to be clear that this change, or any change on PTS is by no means final and we truly appreciate the feedback we receive on this and all topics. I understand our track record with past PvP PTS changes *cough* bolster *cough* is less than stellar but we do look at the feedback carefully and weigh opinions and options to make the best decisions for the game we all enjoy playing.

Here are the reasons we looked at making this specific change.

There are situations currently where using your stunbreak is a very bad decision. For example, while playing Huttball trying to down the enemy ball carrier you have 10% health left and get stunned, you want to break the stun so you can activate one of your defensive cooldowns or otherwise use an ability to save yourself and continue to help your team by hammering on the enemy ball carrier but you use your stunbreak and immediately die anyway, putting your stunbreak on cooldown. You respawn, jump down and get ready to knockback the ball carrier into the pit and are immediately stunned by him and he walks past you for the score. Ouch, tough break. Also infuriating! This is a terribad situation from design aspect because you are affected by an ability that takes away your control (hence the term crowd control), are presented with one option (the “lit up” stunbreak button that taunts you into pressing it) and it could or could not be the wrong decision. It hurts you and it hurts your team. This won’t happen with the change on PTS now and you will have a fresh stunbreak to use now that you were already “punished” by dying.

Some players are going to say “but Alex using your stunbreak at the right time is what separates the goods from the bads!” While using your stunbreak at the appropriate time is a very important skill to have while playing PvP, we currently have a trap that taunts players into making a bad decision. We give you one option (okay Vanguards and Sorcerers have two) while you are eating a big stun sandwich and it may or may not be the right one. On top of that you are punished doubly for this mistake, and even your team could be punished for it as well, as seen by the example above. We want PvP to be about skill, that is what the heart of PvP is, your best versus my best in a battle royale, but we shouldn’t have gameplay systems that have a trap players need to avoid to “be good”, that is just poor design on our part. If we had a suite of options for players to use while they were stunned (this is purely for example, we are not implementing this hypothetical situation) and a stunbreak was one of those options, then it would be acceptable for players to make a “bad” choice, because they had to make a choice. Pressing or not pressing a button when it is your only option is a really low level skill check, kinda like putting your hand on the hotplate or not…

There are feelings by many players that there are too many instances where your character is crowd controlled in PvP. Now this is a hot button topic and many areas to be discussed (we can have another thread where we talk about all the CC if desired) but to stick with just stunbreaks, an immediate way to relieve a lot of this frustration is to give more access to the way to get out of CC. The low hanging fruit is to make one break available per life of the character, guaranteeing the character won’t have a life or a series of lives in one match where he is stunned, DPSed, stunned, DPSed, dead. That really isn’t fun, we have all been on the receiving end of it and you don’t learn a lesson from it or get better, you just eat a stun sandwich and hit respawn, hoping it never happens to you again. We could reduce the cooldown on the ability, that is an option, but it opens up the gameplay of players having multiple stunbreaks in one series of gameplay. Hypothetically if we reduced the cooldown to something like 30 seconds we would open up the possibility of Huttball carriers getting off two stunbreaks before scoring. Add that to Resolve immunity would be a huge change for Huttball.

“But this will change how top end PvP groups use their stuns!” some will say. I don’t think this is the case. When a player rolls up to you in a warzone and you want to stun him, not knowing if he used his stun recently you use your lower duration stun on him and if he breaks it you use your higher duration stun (usually, this is of course different based on the situation but just go with it for now). If you don’t know for certain if a player has used his stunbreak or not you must assume he has it up, otherwise you will be wasting a long cooldown, long duration stun for no gain. If you are communicating with your team and know the player used his stunbreak recently, it is not out of the realm of possibilities for your team to be able to communicate if he has died recently as well. Top tier PvP groups are successful because of communication and coordination, giving them more things to coordinate and communicate is not something I personally worry about, this is what these players strive to get better at as a group.

We are aware of /stuck being an issue especially with this change to stunbreaks and are keeping an eye on the behavior. Right now we are still investigating if a change is needed or not. Please continue to post your feedback on the subject.

We are always looking to improve the gameplay in both PvE and PvP. We saw an issue with Crowd Control in PvP and decided to make a relatively minor change to aid the situation. For PvE we didn’t want to change a thing with CC and this change does that. High level PvE is for all intents and purposes are unaffected by this change as most Operation groups will wait for cooldowns if they are needed in a specific fight. So with all these situations and reasons in mind we have made this change for PTS 2.2. I would like to reiterate that if it provides to be a bad change based on objective gameplay feedback then we will of course look at reverting the change. Thanks everyone for your time and happy hunting!


By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

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