Monday, January 14, 2013

Star Wars - The Old Republic (Part Five)

Stats, Level & Fighting Ability
From the encounters and experiences I've gained throughout my roughly one to two months of playing in SWTOR, I seem to have come to this understanding that one's ability to fight against any opponent largely hinges upon two critical factors, namely "Stats" and "Level". Now although you might be thinking "Well, duh? Isn't it the same like most MMOs?", I still have to explain how they work here in SWTOR.

SWTOR - Stats
First of all, if you bring out your character's stats window (press "C"), you will see quite a few stats like "Strength", "Presence", "Aim", "Cunning", "Endurance", "Willpower" and "Expertise". Now if you hover your mouse over them, you will see that
  • Strength increases your aptitude in melee combat.
  • Presence increases the effectiveness of your companion.
  • Aim increases your aptitude with ranged weapons.
  • Cunning increases your aptitude with technological abilities.
  • Endurance increases the amount of damage you can suffer before being defeated.
  • Willpower increases your aptitude with Force powers.
  • Expertise increases your effectiveness in PVP combat.
However, these are merely general explanations that are good to know, but can be forgotten. This is because from the way things are in SWTOR, you will only need to focus your attention on two stats at best or maybe three (if your into PVP).
SWTOR - Jedi Knight Primary StatSWTOR - Trooper Primary Stat
The first stat you need is called your "Primary" stat. This is the stat that you will depend upon for your damage output. Do note however that this so called "Primary" stat would differ from class to class (as well as companion to companion) but can be easily identified by inspecting which of them grows the fastest as you level (I'm referring to base stats of course, ignoring the bonus part which comes from equipment and datacrons).
SWTOR - Endurance
If you still have not guessed it from the pictures, the second stat would naturally be "Endurance". This stat needs to be increased in order to improve your character's survivability. And as far as I know, although each point in Endurance only increases your max health by 10 points and health regen by a speck, it is however still imperative that you not ignore it.
SWTOR - Medpacks
This is because SWTOR combat mechanics dictate that you can only pot once per fight (not to mention that its cooldown between uses is 1.5 minutes). This means that you cannot "potion spam" yourself during a fight and thus if you do not have enough health, you will become very squishy and cannot handle sudden adds.
Since the third and final stat (that I have mentioned) will only become important when your doing PVP, it should be a no-brainer for you to have guessed that its "Expertise". But generally speaking, this "Expertise" stat increases your PVP effectiveness via enhancing stuff like your damage output, damage reduction and healing against other players (by percentages or so I heard). So in other words, it is sort of acting like a bonus and would be relatively useless if your original stats sucked.
SWTOR - Ranged Jedi Knight?SWTOR - Force Sensitive Smuggler?
As for why the other stats can be totally ignored? This is because improving them would have no benefit whatsoever due to weapon restrictions and ability differences between each class. Just think about it...would a Jedi Knight need "Aim" when they can't even equip and use ranged weapons? How about a Smuggler increasing "Willpower" when he has no Force abilities?
SWTOR - Level 28 vs Level 10
Next, the reason why "Level" plays an important part in fighting ability isn't totally due to the variances in one's stats compared to the opponent. In fact, if you strictly compared just the base stats, you will notice that the stat increases you get when you level aren't really a lot. It is roughly 4 points per level for your primary stat, 3 points per level for endurance and presence, 1 point for the other non-critical stats or something like that.

But yet, from what I could tell, whenever I encountered a particularly hard to beat opponent in one of my quests, all I had to do was to level myself such that I was equal in level or one to two levels higher than him and then I would be able to defeat him with relative ease compared to the earlier encounter even though there were no changes in my equipment and ability setups.
SWTOR - Level Gap Experiment
To verify my observation, I did a tiny experiment by removing all my armor so much so that I reduced my stats to the range I had back when I was about level 10. Then I jumped back into the flashpoint I had trouble with (back in the past) and stood there letting two level 10 drones pummel me. And interestingly enough, the drones had difficulty killing me as most of their attacks were either deflected or dodged and those that went through did pretty low damage. So I guess there should be some innate system coding that sort of scales the balance of a fight according to the level gap.

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