Unlike the other PvP warzones in SWTOR, Huttball can be won without fighting a single player. I've seen it done, and it's not fun being on the receiving end of a well-coordinated team. Unfortunately, you don't always have an opportunity to get a good group together. But that doesn't mean you can't attempt to anticipate your team's movements.
A zone offense means you have to be ready to throw the ball as soon as possible. Throwing the ball always moves the action down the field more quickly than does attempting to run the ball from the center to the goal.
Below, I've embedded a map of the Huttball warzone. The fire traps are red, the acid traps are green, and the air jets are blue. The magenta and yellow lines on either side of the field are the Rotworms' and Frogdogs' goals, respectively. Then I have marked several passing zones in different colors to help you guide the ball downfield.
Personally, I don't perceive a team as owning the ball until it gets past zone A. That's why owning the mid-court is extremely important. Generally, it's best to keep one tank and one healer in mid-court the whole game so that they can grab the ball quickly and move it to one of the other zones. As a DPS player, I like to position myself in zone A because it's the hardest for the defensive team to get to quickly. However, a player can easily throw the ball from mid-court to zone C, too.
A good team will always do its best to position a player in one of the E zones. These zones can easily be thrown to from one of the secondary zones (zone B or zone D). Yes, you can throw from zone B to either the northernmost or southernmost zone E. In fact, that might be a good strategy since the opposing team might not see it coming.
If you are in a pick-up group, coordination is difficult, but a quick-and-dirty strategy is to remain one zone ahead of the ball carrier, especially if your attacks are ranged. If the ball carrier is in zone A, move to zone B; if he's in zone C, move to D. The fastest scores I've seen come when a tank has grabbed the ball in mid-court and passed it to someone in zone A, then the zone A player passed it to an Assassin or Shadow in zone B. That Assassin or Shadow then Force runs from zone B to D to E in less than a second. It doesn't take a high amount of coordination; even a PUG can do it if the players are ready.
I have seen many teams use this strategy to win games: Fall in the Pit on purpose. When I first started playing Huttball, falling into the Pit was considered bad because you'd have to walk all the way around and up the platforms again. However, with creative use of mechanics, it's perfectly possible to easily get into scoring position from the Pit.
As a Juggernaut or Guardian, you have an ability called Intercede
or Guardian Leap
. This allows you to jump to friendly players from 30 meters away. If you are in the Pit, you can leap to another player standing in zone F. If you are any type of Sith Warrior or Jedi Knight (Marauders and Sentinels included), you can leap to an unlucky enemy player who happens to be standing in zone F. Also, if a friendly Sage or Sorcerer happens to be standing in zone F, then a quick Rescue
can lift the ball carrier into scoring position. Better yet, if a player is standing in zone F, then the ball can be thrown to him from the Pit. It's not the easiest thing to do, but it's definitely an option once you get used to it.
I've been knocked into the pit from zone D, and sometimes the ball carrier is getting skunked in zone D and needs help. The areas marked with a yellow X just outside the Pit are easy places for Warriors and Knights to leap from to zone D, and if there is a friendly player waiting in zone D, you can throw the ball to him from the X.
Barring any major unforeseen news, I will continue some of my Huttball tips next week so that the experience can be more fun for you. Hopefully, more PUGs will grab this guide. Huttball shouldn't be a game just for pre-mades. Let me know what you think, and I will talk to you again next week.
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!