MMORPG.com: I heard you'd be able to queue as a full premade, is that for ranked and normal? Or just ranked?
Gabe Amantangelo: That is just for ranked. Players will be able to queue as a full group of eight for Ranked Warzones only.
Normal will still function as it does right now where you can queue as a group of up to four players. Normal Warzone matchmaking will continue to operate in the same way it does on live right now where it tries to match a group of four against another group of four and fills in the rest with solos. It only goes for multiple groups on each team after extended periods of time when a match cannot be made.
MMORPG.com: So you can queue for ranked as a group or solo?
Gabe Amantangelo: Yes. Players will be able to queue as a group of two to eight players or solo.
MMORPG.com: And these ratings are separate?
Gabe Amantangelo: Yes, the ratings are separate. Every player has a solo rating and a group rating. The solo rating will only be adjusted after ranked matches that you queued by yourself for. The group rating is adjusted at the conclusion of ranked matches queued for as a group.
MMORPG.com: Are the maps in ranked going to be same versus same faction?
Gabe Amantangelo: The new warzone, Novare Coast, which takes place on the planet Denova, will have a same versus same mode. That mode is a training simulation themed variant of the Warzone. We're also aiming to get Voidstar enabled to be same versus same in Patch 1.2 and, of course, Huttball still allows for same versus same faction gameplay.
MMORPG.com: And this is for ranked, as well?
Gabe Amantangelo: Yes, it's for ranked. It is all going to operate the same in ranked.
MMORPG.com: And, naturally, you have to modify these maps to fit the lore?
Gabe Amantangelo: Well, like I was saying, the Novare Coast map has a training simulation type of mode where it is acting as a sort of scrimmage between two teams of the same faction. For Voidstar we're aiming to get the functionality in Patch 1.2 and the thematic voiceover and extras will come at a later date.
MMORPG.com: Do you plan on making larger warzones than the current eight by eight maps?
Gabe Amantangelo: Yes we do. We plan on having larger warzones.
MMORPG.com: Is that all you can say at this point in time?
Gabe Amantangelo: Yes.
MMORPG.com: With the ability to mod many different outfits coming in Patch 1.2, how are you planning to retain class identity when a bunch of slave dancers and sand people are running around in PvP?
Gabe Amantangelo: On the user interface we will be enabling the ability for players to be able to see class icons on the nameplates. These icons will be color specific. So players will still be able to identify classes and it will actually be advanced class. So it'll be Sentinel and Guardian as opposed to just Jedi Knight. It will have different icons and different colors for that.
That's how we're preserving it for PvP purposes. Some felt that it was important for PvE and story customization to allow players to roleplay in the kind of outfits that they wanted to. So that is where it stands for Patch 1.2. As with all features, we'll continue to listen to feedback from the community regarding that system and making adjustments in the future as necessary.
MMORPG.com: Is it any concern that it might break the immersion in PvP when a player gets killed by three slave dancers?
Gabe Amantangelo: Yes, I do have some concern in that regard, but like I was saying, we'll be looking towards the community for feedback on that feature in the future.
MMORPG.com: Can you tell me the intent behind the layout of Novare Coast? I know many of the warzone maps, like Alderaan have a very specific and unique layout.
Gabe Amantangelo: The intent of the map's layout is to support the gameplay in such a manner that there are multiple tactics to winning. Of course that's all debatable because you may talk to some people and they say, "This is the tactic that always wins," and others will always say the same thing, but with different tactics. Then the community kind of evolves into the most popular tactics and then slowly over time the most popular counter tactic creeps in there and next thing you know it that becomes the tactic that always wins. It will be interesting to see what evolves with Ranked Warzones as usually when there is competition the popular tactic is challenged to its fullest and we'll see the cycle of tactic counter tactic move all the quicker.
So Novare Coast's layout is what it is to support the same cycle considering its mechanics and how they differ from the other Warzones. For example, the control mechanic at each of the points differs from Alderaan and Voidstar. So the level design is tailored considering the mechanic. It's not a 'complete interact' to gain control of an objective. Instead players have to channel to build up control over time and eventually capture the point.
For example, if you build up the control bar 2/3 of the way you haven't gotten control of the objective yet, but then the enemy comes by and they start channeling and bring it down 1/3. Then you come back and have to fill it up 2/3 again to gain control. So it's kind of a tug-of-war control mechanic before it actually flips from one side to the other.
And you can interact with it from a range. So there is careful level design considering the range in which you can interact with it: the vantage points, line of sight blockers, etc. A player can't cover the whole interact area with one AoE, for example. Obviously an AoE will cover a significant portion of the area, but adept players will learn how to counter that sort of spam AoE defense.
Also, the overall mechanic that is unique to Novare Coast is that it's a majority three-point domination. So you need to gain control of two out of three of the points before you can start accruing any points. Of course, that kind of mechanic allows for more epic and exciting comebacks. Someone can be down to one point of shield left on their fortification and then come all the way back.