SWTOR: Warzones whack-a-mole

SWTOR - Warzones
You cannot make a Star Wars game without some sort of galactic conflict. Subscribers to Star Wars: The Old Republic can play out this interplanetary war in appropriately named instances called warzones. Out of the box, BioWare's MMO includes three of these epic conflicts. The planetary government of Alderaan draws both major factions into its own internal conflict in the civil war warzone. Nar Shaddaa host the seediest death-games the galaxy has ever heard of. Huttball is the prime example of these deadly sports. And the technology of the Voidstar is up for grabs by either the Empire or the Republic, but the question is "who will get there first?"

At level 10, you can begin your PvP adventure by queuing up for these battles solo or with a group of four. But as any war general will tell you, the more you know about the battle you're about to enter, the more likely it is that you will win. Past the break, you'll find a rundown of each warzone and a bit of strategic advice before you jump into battle.

SWTOR: Alderaan map
Alderaan

The easiest map to understand has to be the Alderaan civil war map. Each faction battles for the three control points indicated in white on the map. These nodes control a turret that points to the enemy ship when activated. The first team to destroy the enemy ship wins. The more nodes you control, the faster the enemy ship is destroyed.

At first, each team is dropped off to the north and south of the center node. From there they can disperse to whichever node they wish. However, as you can see on the map, if you travel west at first, you may only get to the center node from the north because there are walls blocking your path to the south. Then if you wish to attack the eastern node from the center, you can only get to it by going south first. To spice things up, there is a tunnel under the center node to allow you to travel from east to west quite easily. For another added twist, if your faction controls the east or west node, a speeder will appear at the respawn point to take you directly there.

As with everything in SWTOR, story helps facilitate PvP. Alderaan is under civil war, and this battle will help turn the tide in your faction's favor. Having purpose to your PvP adds just enough extra flavor to make it more fun, and the Alderaan warzone provides just that.

SWTOR: Huttball map
Huttball

Capture the flag is a classic PvP game. Often times, the strategies vary based on the map and player abilities, but in the end it's usually the same-old game. But what if you could throw the flag? Suddenly, the game becomes something completely different. That is exactly what happens in Huttball.

Players are released into the Pit -- the Rot Worms from the west and the Frog Dogs from the east. In the center of the Pit lies a thermal detonator. It is your job to carry that detonator across your opponents' goal line. On the map above, the Frog Dogs' goal is in yellow and the Rot Worms' is in purple; the detonator is in white. (Click on the map if you'd like to see a larger version.) However, there is more to this game than an open field; in fact, there are several layers. The east and west quadrants have scaffolding over a large pit that you have to cross to get to the goal. If you fall into the pit, you can only exit to the north and south.

If that wasn't enough fun for you, Czerka Corporation has provided traps to impede your progress. In green on the map, acid pools sit, waiting to slow you down and drop your health if you happen to be pushed into them. Air jets, indicated in blue, can be a blessing or a curse. These vents blow you into the air, landing you in a random place on the map, possibly in the middle of your attackers' blaster bolts or maybe to safety. Lastly, fire pits on a timer line the scaffolding to slow your progress to the goal line -- or kill you, if you're unlucky enough to be caught in one. These are indicated in red on the map.

BioWare outdid itself with this warzone. It's even possible that you may face off against your own faction in Huttball. Remember, in Huttball, weapons, name-calling, and cheating are all encouraged.

SWTOR: Voidstar mapVoidstar

Lastly, BioWare presents the Voidstar. The derelict starship has been discovered by the Republic, and some much-needed information is stored in the ship's data core. This could change the tide of the war. Unfortunately, the Empire found the ship as well. It's a race to the data core. Whoever can bypass the security the fastest wins.

In PvP terms, we call this an assault-and-defend scenario. If you look to the map on the left, you will see six green barrier points and the data core in the upper right of the map, also in green. The attackers must plant a bomb at a barrier to proceed to the next room, starting at the southern part of the map and continuing to the northern part. Along the way, the defenders must prevent the attackers from planting bombs at the barriers. In each major room there are two barriers to defend, so it's not as easy as it sounds. The attackers have five minutes to get to the data core before the scenario switches and they become the defenders.

To make things a bit more interesting, the developers have thrown in secondary objectives. The purple lines indicate an an area on the map that the attackers cannot bypass until they have thrown the switch at one of the yellow control stations. For instance, the first obstacle is a bridge that is out. The control panel to activate the bridge sits just next to it. However, the defenders are more than able to prevent you from activating this bridge if they happen to be close.

Respawn points (marked in red for the attackers and blue for the defenders) sit higher than the rest of the room. They sit in such a fashion as to not impede the major action in the room and to prevent the camping of the respawn point.

Biggest piece of advice for this warzone: Always have an AoE or CC ready for the person attempting to ninja the control point. Second piece of advice: Use the terrain to your advantage. This may sound odd for an assault-and-defend map, but there are places to hide when defending and places to ninja nodes if you're attacking, especially those secondary nodes.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally here, and the Force is with Massively! We've prepared a Hutt-sized feast of class introductions, gameplay guides, lore roundups, and hands-on previews to help you navigate the launch period and beyond. And don't forget our weekly SWTOR column, the Hyperspace Beacon!

This article was originally published on Massively.