Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Your Guide to SWTOR: Huttball


By: Trey Atwood

Part three of your guide to SWTOR, we will be discussing the different kinds of warzones, this part deals with Huttball.

What are warzones? 
Warzones are matches of player-versus-player games giving each team a goal to achieve and a deadline to achieve it in. Warzones are great way to make fast credits, gain experience points, get access to better post-level-50 gear once you’ve leveled your character, and competitively game with other players as opposed to AI enemies. As of right now there are four different types of warzones, each with their own rules and goals.
With free-to-play out, there are a lot of people who don’t know the first thing about warzones but want to play them. Learning by doing’s a nice method, but a lot of players get frustrated when they repeatedly go into matches where their teammates have no idea what to do. This basic strategy guide is filled with easy tips and tricks so that you can give your team a competitive edge.

What is Huttball?
Huttball is essentially a game of “capture the flag:” you go to the middle, get the ball, and take it to the enemy’s goal line to gain points for your team. Once you score or if you throw the ball to nowhere, it returns to its starting position in the center. Dying with the huttball at the hands of an enemy gives them the ball. How your ball carrier gets there is up to you and your class specification may play a role in that, but the main idea is usually to keep the ball on your team and headed towards the enemy goal line. The Huttball match ends when either one team has reached six points or the fifteen minute timer runs out. If there is a tie or no goals have been scored, then the team holding the ball wins.

Passing the Huttball
This is without a doubt the most important aspect of Huttball: knowing how to pass is the difference between winning by a landslide and a humiliating loss. When you queue into a Huttball match for the first time, you will automatically have the huttball ability placed in your quickbar (you can also find it in the abilities menu by pressing “P”), passing the huttball works like an area of effect attack: wherever you aim there will be a large circle around it and once you click, the ball will go to someone within that circle (or if no one is there, back to the middle of the arena in its default place).
Stealthed allies cannot catch the ball, but if you throw it to them while they are in stealth and they become visible by the time it reaches them, they can catch it.
Throwing the ball to nowhere when you are about to die is also a good strategy to temporarily keep the other team from gaining it.

The Ball Carrier 
Ball carriers are (obviously) the ones who hold the Huttball. A ball carrier can be of any class, but you generally want to pass the ball to someone on your team with heavy armor or someone whose character is specialized in tanking (tanks are geared for survivability, and while most are heavy armored, an exception to this would be the Shadow/Assassin class, which can choose to either specialize in damage dealing or tanking). Heavily armored Knights/Warriors make excellent ball carriers because of their ability to jump to an enemy’s location, this should also be kept in mind when you’re defending; if you see a Knight/Warrior ball carrier and you’re in front of the goal line, either jump down or make sure that they’re out of range to jump to you. Many times, however, you won’t have the luxury to look for someone with heavy armor and will either have to pass it to any ally you can or throw it to nowhere and hope that a teammate is near where the ball will spawn in the middle of the arena. The ball is timed very particularly, so if someone you're passing to leaves the circle before the ball reaches they won't catch it: keep this in mind when trying to pass to people who are running.

Stopping the Ball Carrier
Every class in The Old Republic is equipped with a way to slow or stop the ball carrier from advancing. Some classes like the Smuggler will have more than others like the Jedi Knight. The key to stopping the ball carrier is knowing the effect of your stun or slow and using it.
There’s essentially only one wrong way to do it: using your stun while your enemy’s resolve bar is active. The resolve bar is a meter around your enemy’s portrait (which you can see next to your quickbar when you have them targeted) which measures their resolve, if you see a white bar slowly going down it means that their resolve is active and that you are effectively wasting your stun if you use it on them. After the bar has gone completely down you can stun them again. The resolve bar builds after every time a character is stunned, after which their resolve will automatically activate and make them temporarily immune to stuns and other movement-impairing effects (this does not mean the same as unstoppable; you can still kill them).

The arena in Huttball is filled with environmental hazards that will stop you on your way to the goal line if you aren't careful, although sometimes there isn't much you can do from stopping a trap from killing you regardless of what you do. The word “traps” may be misleading though; they aren't going to pop out of a wall and instantly kill you, they’re in set locations that won’t change and it’s fairly obvious what they’ll do.

Placed on the catwalks leading to the team goals, firetraps turn on and off for equal amounts of time. They’re on alternating patterns with the firetraps adjacent to them; when one of them’s on, the other’s off. A mistake one might make is seeing an active firetrap and trying to go to the other side where the other one awaits, only to find that in the amount of time it’s taken you to walk there, they switch and you’re stuck in the same situation: the solution is usually to wait it out if there’s no ally past the firetrap to pass to. Firetraps are also a favorite method of stopping a ball carrier by either stunning them while they’re walking across it or pulling them into an active one that they don’t even have to be next to at the time. Be aware though that touching the fire doesn’t mean instant death; if you have a speed boosting ability that can be used it may be worth taking the damage if you can make it to the goal line.

Acid pools
The acid pools are around the center area where the ball is located, there are two of them that are placed so that you will have to run around them (or if you’re using a Consular/Inquisitor, you can use your speed boost to jump over them) when going for the ball at the start of each match. They work similar to the firetraps; standing in them for too long kills you. This is another trap that enemies can and will try to pull you in if they’re smart enough.
Air Vents
There are two air vents on the ground on the left and right of the default Huttball location, these also technically aren’t traps, but it’s a gamble on whether or not you’ll die based on where they throw you once you step on them; they may put you where you want to go, on the opposite side of where you want to be, land you next to a firetrap, or anywhere in between. Air vents randomize the location of where you’re thrown (always within the center of the map though; you aren't going to score any goals using an air vent), but they’re a good way to shake off melee-using pursuers because they aren’t as likely to be thrown to the same location that you are. They can also just as easily throw you into a mass of enemies.

Huttball is the game of the Hutts; it's slimy, dishonest, and deadly. Using whatever means you can to win is something that's told to you at the start of every match, so hopefully this guide has brought you closer to taking home a victory for your faction. Remember: weapons, name-calling, and cheating... are all encouraged!


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