Monthly Archives: March 2012

Huttball 101

Huttball 101

General rules.


1. Score points by placing ball inside the enemy end zone.
2. To score, one player must run inside the enemy end zone while holding a ball (throwing ball into the zone, or pulling enemy player holding the ball into the zone doesn’t count)
3. Pass the ball when:
a) someone is in better position than you
b) you’re about to die.
4. Stop enemies from reaching your own end zone with the ball.
5. Avoid getting into fire/slime

Playing defence and offence share many similar rules like – be aware where the ball is, kill enemy healers first, avoid fighting away form the ball (and player that holds it). However, there are few key rules that must be addressed in Defence and Offence separately. Be mindful that each rule and advice given for Defender is also a hint how to exploit it when you are attacking and vice versa.

Playing Defence.

Okay, enemy has the ball, what to do? Ball carriers (called BC later on), run slower than players without the ball, it means BC can’t get from one place to another fast just by the legwork alone. If enemy BC is planning to run his way to your EZ you can always catch up with him.

This speed decrease plays to your advantage as a defender, as long as you’ll know how to outplay enemy team. First of all, BCs often use their class skills to accelerate their way to your EZ – they use Charge, Force Speed and Force Pull.

Charge is an ability primary used by tanks to “jump” to a distant enemy, ignoring any hight differences – therefore if BC is in range of someone positioned better than him – he will jump to that person in a heartbeat. Be mindful of that whenever enemy BC was pushed off the platforms in front of your EZ. Jumping back up is the first thing player will do in this situation – never stay close to the edges! Jump down or move away.
If you’re just leaving your spawn zone and fight is taking place in the pit in front of it, don’t take any chances and go around, make sure BC can’t “see” you when you approach the edge and jump down. The rule of not standing close to edges has one exception, which I’ll cover little later on. Another often newbie mistake is running up the ramp from spawn zone and standing on top of it – any BC who see a player positioned like that and can Charge, will use it to jump up.

Charge can be used by two classes capable of tanking that is Vanguard/Powertech and Jedi Guardian/Sith Juggernaut.

Force Speed – Force Speed used only by Sith Inquisitors/Jedi Consulars – it basically let them rush forward with 150% speed for 2 seconds. You can’t prevent usage of Force Speed, but you can stun them the moment they activate Force Speed – it requires good reflexes but can be done. Any form of stun, even lasting a second will be good enough – one second stun means BC will cover half the ground.

Force Pull – used by Inquisitors and Consulars again, is an ability to “Pull” a friendly target to them. There is not way to stop this ability from use – you must just keep an eye where enemy Puller might be lurking to grab his BC companion.

Now, that we covered most obvious abilities enemies use to make their way to your EZ, it’s time to cover your highlight skills that can stop them.
Stuns and Knockbacks are your best friends, while Harpoon you should simply marry on the spot.
Stuns – Stuns are used to stop enemies from doing anything – use your stuns on enemy BCs when they are crossing the fire platform. Fire platforms follow a cycle of active/inactive phase. Incoming active phase is indicated by the glowing circle on the platform.
Who won’t move out of it fast enough is fried. Literally… more-less. So use a stun and smell the beckon…
Knockbacks are used to push back any enemy players in proximity to caster – you can use it to push someone into the fire, or push him/her off the platform. This ability is used not only against enemy BC! It is useful to push people that support BC too – healers for example, or players that are in position to get a ball passed to them.

Last but not least is Harpoon ability – used by Vanguard/Powertech and Shadow/Assassin tanks. Harpoon pulls chosen enemy right in front of you. You can literally pull enemy BC into a fire. You can pull him off a platform. Finally, you can pull someone who is in good pass position. This ability is great asset each time you are defending.

All those stuns, pushes and pulls sound really good as a defender there is still one “but” here. Each time enemy is subjected to some sort of crowd control skill (CC for short) his resilience bar is filling. When you see an enemy with a white bar below his name – it means their resilience is full, and until that bar goes away no CC skills will be effective against that player.
Period. End.
No exceptions.

I mentioned before about pulling “pass position” players. Passing the ball is one of the fastest possible ways to advance towards enemy end zone. Ball can be thrown at any place in 30 meter range seen by character. When BC is surrounded by enemies or see a player in clearly superior position to his own – like on the other side of active fire platform or on the edge – he will pass the ball to his buddy.
There are two ways to prevent a successful pass. You either remove the enemy player from the superior position – knockbacks/harpoons – or you ‘hug’ the possible ball receiver. If you’re close to a player who is about to receive a ball, you have a chance to intercept the pass. Any BC will think twice before passing ball to someone who has enemy in close distance.
That is the one exception regarding edges – in case enemy player is on the edge, ready to get the ball from his buddy below, by all means get there and try to intercept the pass – or even better, knockback the bastard on his friend's head!

Always try to stay mindful about enemy players positioning themselves to receive a pass. Often “spots” where people wait for a ball are zones right behind fire platforms and on the highest platform level.

Kill the healer or the Ball Carrier?
It depends. healers can save BCs even if those run into fire, but hammering healer and leaving BC alone is pointless. Always remember about your CCs – even if BC has resilience bar, his healer probably doesn’t. Use it. Push him away, stun him, do anything to separate him from his target (Ball Carriers rarely wait for healers if they are in combat).

Intercepting a pass.

You may say this is the moment of your triumph – you got the ball from Attackers!
But be mindful about your situation – if you’re very low on heath, alone against few enemies and close to your own end zone don’t try to run with the ball. Throw it away – that is throw it away from any player – friendly or not. It will reset itself in the middle in few seconds. I’ve seen few intercepts that ended up with Attackers regaining the ball after hammering the person who killed their original BC. If you position is uncertain and you fear you can die before you can pass the ball to a friendly player – throw it away – there is always chance one of your team will get it from the middle!

Attacking.

There are two approaches to situation when your team has the ball. One is to play in wide formation, leaving your BC an option to pass the ball to someone (remember, BC runs slower than you, you can cross a fire platform before it activates, he can’t). This strategy gives less protection to the BC himself, but let you play the game faster, using passes that confuse enemy players.

Second style is “turtle” group protects their original BC by staying close to him. Killing everyone who gets too close. Turtle strategy is more useful when you have a proper tank and at least two healers or you vastly overpower enemy team. If your team don’t have superior firepower turtles tend to break down as soon as enemies attack in bigger group.

Most of the time successful score is a matter of combining both turtle and wide formations. Utilizing merits of both styles. In early phase of the push, BC is surrounded by his allies, the turtle keeps him safe till reaching fire platform, from there formation opens up, as people go behind the fire before BC to clear any resistance and set themselves for a pass position.

As a DPS your main job is protecting the BC from enemy, killing them, before they can kill him. You can also go ahead of your BC, opening to him option to pass the ball forward. As a healer you want to set yourself in strategic position ahead of your BC, you can stay there and heal him as he catch up with you and move forward. Good spots for healers are on level above their BC. Be aware, you might be considered by your Ball Carrier a good person to throw the ball to – or even worse – enemies might think same thing. But at the end – if your are attacked and not your BC it’s always good.

As a tank, first thing to do is putting guard on your BC and use any abilities that protects him from damage (taunt don’t force enemy players to attack you, but reduce damage they do to anyone else!). You yourself have less firepower, so it’s better for you to set yourself in good pass position and hopefully get the ball – then you can utilize your class tree best as a new BC.

I’m BC, what to do?!

You got/picked up the ball. Grats – you are not on top of the hit list for 8 people from opposite team! Good luck!
As a Ball Carrier you must be aware of your surroundings and react fast to what’s going on. If you have a charge – use it to advance forward/up. Being higher is always better than being lower – from bottom position you see less, and can’t run away from people on higher positions as fast. Avoid using your ‘stun break’ ability until you reach fire platform – defenders will try to stun you when you enter it. Have “Throw the Huttball” action in known location. Sometimes you have just few moments to pass the ball before you die. Looking for the “Pass” button on your bars is bad way of using those precious seconds.

You don’t get more points for scoring! Don’t play Rambo. Pass the ball to those in better positions than you. It not only helps the team progress closer to EZ but also force enemies to start chasing new target.

Enemies will try to push you from the edges and platforms – be mindful of that – you can stun enemies while you hold the ball – use it. Movement is the key to victory. Often turtle formations move to slow, and are taken apart by attackers before they get anywhere close EZ. Look around. Look up. Seek people in better positions. Avoid passing the ball to people that moving, are under attack or low health.

Useful info: If there is a minute left on the clock and game is a draw (0:0, 3:3) winning side is the one that holds the ball when time runs out. DON’T push forward if you got the ball. Stay close to your own EZ – your allies will reach you faster if they die, and your enemies have to run whole room. Keep the ball safe, pass it to people not in most forward positions, but safest ones.
Last few seconds of draw game is time to turtle up and defend the BC for all cost.

Got some of your own tips about Huttball? Share them with us in the comment section below.

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Official Star Wars: The Old Republic podcast (preview)

Official Star Wars: The Old Republic podcast (preview)

Here you have the preview of SWTOR Official Podcast. Chance to hear from the horse’s mouth about upcoming changes in the game, design process and behind-the-scene view on The Old Republic.

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Week 1: Blood

Week passed. First week of – hopefully – many more to come. Not everything is great, not everything went as good as I wanted it to go…

But it still goes pretty awesome so far. You know, I’m not big with the happiness. When things go good I expect trouble. Can you blame me?

Whenever we actually pick up ourselves from the floor in WoW something was screwing us back to the pit stop… I wonder for how long old ghosts from Steamwheedle Cartel will hunt this guild. Will hunt me personally.

We all joke “it’s my fault. it’s my fault”. Well you know what? It was my fault at the end. If I let first Pax die in ’09 non of us would be here today. Is that a good or bad thing? I don’t know.

Maybe this old bad blood will go away with time. I hope it will. But blood is what we need. New blood. New people to fill the ranks of those who didn’t come with us to TOR. I wonder if the “new guys” ever understand how much we need them. Not just to fill the raid spots, run flashpoints and have fun. We need them to exist as a group, as a community. Like a shark – we need to move forward.

I’d really enjoy having more of the old squad on the deck… but fact they aren’t here gives us a challenge. We need to leave the safezone of ours. Need to get out there. Find people we can bring here. Who will become part of Pax.

Not sure how many new people will see this post in the future – distant or near. Don’t really care if this will sound like a cry of desperation, burden for you to carry as member of our community. Your community…

but we need you. All of you… if you got into the guild you are fine by me. And nothing will change that… maybe except fucking one of my friends, than leaving her to be with someone else, lying about it, abandoning the guild in the process without a word of explanation.

You won’t do that, will you? I hope not.

Bad blood…

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Pax is back!

It’s been long. Way too long since I left leading the guild to other people. You know, after almost two years of leading Iluminatus Pax Portavi  / Vigilant we ended up once again, really beaten to the ground by our (my?) own inability to make the guild successful.

What has changed during this past year?

I don’t know. I don’t pretend I have any answers for you today. Or tomorrow. Or ever maybe.

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