Star Wars: The Old Republic's 2.4 patch went live on the PTS over the weekend. The highlight of the patch is the addition of an arena system. I hopped onto the test server Friday to check it out for myself. I was really surprised at the turnout. There were usually 90 people in Fleet, just on the Republic side. That doesn't count all of the players in the arenas either.
I came to the PTS to test out the solo queue ranked arenas. So I immediately queued up for them. Overall I played ten matches, below are my first impressions.
Quick. The queues were popping at a decent rate. It really helps you can fight your own side. Lore wise it was strange to be paired up against the Republic, but gameplay wise it is nice to have quicker matchmaking.
The matches themselves were also quick, 5 minutes max per round of which there could be 3. So unlike a MOBA game, these will end much quicker. That's great for me who sometimes only has a half hour to play at a time.
Healer. I am a healing spec'ed Trooper, and it was pretty brutal. The 'kill the healer first' strategy was in full effect for most of my matches. I was pounced on, cc'd, and interrupted constantly. I can't say it was very fun. Kiting is not much of an option on my Trooper as his heals have a cast time. This may make me want to go DPS, we'll see.
Bugs. I did encounter a few bugs. The one that stood out was the AFK timer kicking us out of the warzone before the match even started. BioWare has acknowledged this issue and said it will be fixed. Funny, I remember the same issues affecting WAR way back when.
Stealth. I was getting decimated by stealthed groups. They can group stealth up to me then just alpha strike me down, since they were going after the healer. My gear also did not help the situation even with the bolster in effect. In any case, I need to invest in PvP gear soon.
Matchmaking. Out of the ten matches I played, I'd say the matchmaking worked in five of them. That means we had full teams with matching roles. The rest of the time it started with lopsided teams. I suspect it happens because people miss the popup telling them their match is ready.
As you can see, I had a stellar 1 - 9 record on the PTS! Not all of the losses were my fault, but some of them were. Behold my 934 raiting! No idea what a high raiting is, as I don't think there is a leaderboard yet. I was just not feeling it as a healing Commando :-/