Hands-on with The Old Republic's new PvP WarZone, Novare Coast

Josh Augustine at

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At least week's Guild Summit for The Old Republic, we had a chance to go behind closed doors and play the new WarZone coming in patch 1.2 early next month. The capture-point map takes a few notes from League of Legends and cranks up the control-point action way past any other WarZone currently in the game.

Like the Alderaan WarZone that TOR launched with, there are three capture-points on the map of Novare Coast, but that's where the similarities end. On this seaside coast, the terrain is wild and crooked, with cliffs, rock outcroppings, and vegetation breaking up line of sight and any hope for a direct path between the three capture-points. The action naturally occurred at the central point, which rests inside a small hut at the top of a grassy hill. The beginning of every match I played inevitably started with massive zergs by both teams (formed of cross-faction players, like Huttball) to that single point.

So I started sneaking my Sniper around to the other two points, which sit at the Northwest and Northeast corners of the map, near the edge of the cliff. After capturing the point by channeling on the control panel inside the tent (the more people that channel, the faster it's captured), I looked for a good hiding spot. The rocky terrain and fortifications made it impossible to see people approaching, they provided some excellent spots to hide behind while keeping an eye on the capture point panel. While most players zerged and fought at the central point, I and a few other more mobile classes on our team spent our time bouncing between the two top points, engaging in small skirmishes to keep the control points in our favor.

The Jedi needed some help, but her team was too busy capturing the point with care bear stares.

As a sniper, I could pretty much single-handedly take down any one character that came to steal my top point. The poor sap would glance around and think himself lucky for finding and undefended point and start channeling to take the point. That's when I'd pop out of my cover and line up a heavy snipe on him, followed up with some grenades and plasma probes. Before they could even find my location, they'd be at half health. It was a lot of fun feeling like I could lock down a single control point by myself, and that doing so actually mattered. By holding down that point by myself, my team was able to send more players into the middle zerg, and secure the point.

And as long as you have two capture points, you can come back from the most hopeless of situations, thanks to Novare Coast using League of Legends' Dominion-style point sytem. Capturing one point does not drain the enemy team's point total (it simply "lowers the shield on the enemy base"). Capture a second point, and that powers a turret to fire at the enemy base, draining their point total at a steady rate. Capture a third, and a second turret starts firing, so you're draining the enemy's life at twice the rate of a team with 2 points.

It's an excellent scoring system that allows for epic comebacks where you wrestle two capture points from the enemy right before you lose and hold onto them for dear life while your score bar freezes, and you drain the entire score bar of the other team. And it gratiously ends the fight quickly if you're getting rocked by the other team that holds all 3 capture points.

On top of that (and also like League of Legends' Dominion), progression towards capturing an enemy points is saved, even if you're interrupted—so its progressively easier to capture points as more people try and fail to take it. A lot of times, our three-player raiding party on an outskirts point would take turns channeling and attacking. Even though we kept getting interrupted, over the course of the fight we might move the capture progression bar half-way or 3/4 of the way to our side. That meant we only needed to channel for a few seconds the next time we raided the camp to take the point.

Even though Novare Coast doesn't really change the way PvP is played, or add a brand new game mode for TOR's PvP denizens, it is a solid new map that offers the best capture-point gameplay available in the Star Wars MMO. Get ready for some fun back and forth as people fight for control points and form impromptu warbands when the map launches with patch 1.2 early next month.