Star Wars: The Old Republic’s bolster system is receiving a complete overhaul as part of the 2.0 update. It should fix issues of fairness which are encountered when players turn from level 49 to 50. Now, rather than a universal buff to their abilities, players will receive a boost determined by the equipment they have attiring their character.
As a way of bringing low level players into high level PvP bouts, Star Wars: The Old Republic has used a bolster system to artificially boost players’ stats to bring them in line with veteran characters. What this would mean in practice is that when joining a PvP zone that is higher than a player’s current level they would receive a boost to their stats, this was supposed to match the stats of other players in the game. However, because the stat boost was based on the player’s level, not on the items they had equipped, bolstering players created a fairly inconsistent boost. Level 49 players, for instance, with good kit received a stat boost that made them much stronger than a good many level 50 players.
Writing in a blog post, Bioware designer Alex Modny explained their overhaul to the system: “the stats are no longer granted on an assumption of stat power based on character level. Rather we look at each one of the Item Ratings (including the Mods, Augments, Armorings, etc. that go into the armor/weapon) of the current equipped gear and base the amount of stats given based on these values. The worse your items are the more stats you are given to get you to the base value we want every PvPer to be at.
“This new Bolster system is not as linear as the previous iteration and contains a greater ability to tweak from our perspective, which should mean a much smoother PvP Leveling experience for all characters. If there is a point at which the gain is too high or too low we can quickly adjust it on a per stat, per item rating level basis. Better control means a better balance. We have that control now.”
Also being changed are the PvP zone brackets. They’ll now be “Level 10-29, 30-54, 55 & 55 Ranked.” The reason for this bracketing is it better distributes player “ability power and should make for more enjoyable matches because you will be matched up with other players that are closer to your ability power level. We wanted max level characters to play against other max level characters to prevent them from stat stomping characters that haven’t entered their end game gearing progression yet. The other reason for this breakup is the point at which we decided this split is the point at which characters get access to their spec’s rotation, around level 30 for most specs.”
Update 2.0 is due for release on 9 April.