BioWare is introducing a few very big and important changes to the SWTOR Guild Conquest System. In an upcoming update there will be a grace period for new members joining a guild before they start contributing Conquest Points and there will be a penalty for the guild that removes a player from their ranks! All these are set to arrive in the near future!
The game rarely survives more than two patches without the devs messing up with the Conquest system. This time it is with a good reason and judging by the reactions below David’s post, I’d say the community passionately awaited this.
The actions BioWare is taking are split in three departments of the guilds’ behavior on the Conquest front – inviting new members, kicking existing ones and guild commendation rewards.
What is the “New Character Grace Period”?
When a player joins a guild currently they immediately begin contributing to the Guild’s Conquest score with their personal Conquest earnings. The new system will introduce a grace period before the newly accepted character can start earning points for their new guild.
This change will only affect the Guild Conquest Points and Rewards that character brings, not the personal Conquest Points and Rewards. Their contributions will start counting from the next Conquest event.
During the grace period the new characters will not appear in the Guild Conquest leaderboards and will also not get the Guild’s Invasion reward, of course.
“When new characters view the Guild Invasion screen, they will see a message indicating that they are currently unable to contribute towards their new Guild’s Conquest score, and must wait until the next Conquest event. Similarly, when viewing the Guild Roster page new characters who are unable to contribute will be indicated as such, allowing Guild Leadership to get a better picture of who cannot actively contribute.”
This new rule is only per character. If you have other alts in different guilds, they will not be affected. Only the character that switches or joins a guild will have to go through that grace period. If you bring an alt of yours into the same guild, that alt will also have to go through the grace period, but only that one new alt.
David also confirmed that all newly formed guilds will have to go through the grace period before they can start competing on the Conquest front.
“Joining a Guild is an important aspect of our game, and we want to ensure that both the Guild and new members are given time to assess each other properly, without the pressures of reward systems potentially interfering in that period.”
What happens when a character leaves a guild?
If the guild leadership removes a character from their roster, the amount of Conquest points that character has earned during the current week will be removed from the Guild’s total Conquest Points score.
If a character leaves the guild on their own, their contribution of Conquest Points will remain part of the total Guild Conquest score.
“When removing characters, Guild Leadership will now be provided with a notification informing them that removing the member will result in a loss of that member’s Conquest contributions. Again, it is important to note that this is per character, and not account.” – David explained.
What about the Guild Commendation Reward?
When the above-mentioned changes go live there will also be a change in how Guild Commendation Invasion Rewards are being granted as well:
“Guild Perk Rewards will now be tallied at the end of a Conquest event rather than during it, and as such the Commendation Reward from Invasions will be given when the subsequent Conquest begins.”
How did it come to this and why are these changes coming now?
Not long ago I started receiving messages and emails from a few players notifying me of a massive collective action from lots of players reaching out to BioWare with serious complains, accusations and demands for changes to be made in how the Conquest system functions in SWTOR regards to Guilds. The accusations were all backed up with long guild logs and email contents captures.
The core reasoning for this was to alert BioWare of the inappropriate ways the guild system was abused by large Conquest-focused guilds. In short – guild leaderships were recruiting new and clueless players who contribute to the Weekly Conquest and were removed from the guild ranks the moment they stopped being highly productive.
Apparently this has been going on for quite some time and although I personally have not seen it with my own eyes, the logs I was shown were very long. Not being a big fan of Conquest and not being a new player in the game probably saved some of my alts from experiencing this first-hand.
BioWare does not take the words of the players for granted, though. From what I have learned and witnessed over these nine+ years of playing this game and covering it in video and written content for the better part of that period, I can safely say that before they make an important decision, they always consult with their collected data.
Here is the message that was sent as a Ticket by a large number of players, as discord user Jeillie told me (I am sharing the following text here with their permission):
Hello again Vulkk, after I looked into some other servers I realized that all servers have a similar issue with conquest and many of the guilds in these servers are related, as in guilds […] are owned by the same people. The community in multiple has decided that they will send the following ticket en masse to the devs, I thought I should share it with you as well
A growing number of guilds and communities have become concerned with the methods other guilds have been using to exploit a largely new player population to artificially boost their numbers in conquest. These guilds have opted to abuse the recent conquest changes at the cost of the new player experience. Every week, recruiters of these guilds send hundreds of unsolicited guild invitations, without prior communication, to players on low-level planets. These players unwittingly generate conquest for the guild and are subsequently kicked after a few days to make room for more unsuspecting recruits, often depriving them of the end-of-week guild rewards associated to the conquest event. While new players may not be aware of the additional rewards that come with guild conquest, getting ousted from a promising guild without an explanation can be a disheartening first impression. We believe this practice of exploiting and cycling through new players is negatively impacting their experience and tainting their view of an otherwise amazing community. Using an unknown method, these guilds have been able to send several of these invitations per second, over periods of a few seconds (see links below).
We would like to suggest 2 possible solutions to discourage this behavior:
– A “cooldown” for guild invitations
– The deduction of kicked players’ conquest points from guild totals
With these or similar changes, we believe SWTOR will be able to offer a more hospitable and engaging environment for new players. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I can’t post the logs screenshots, in- and out-of-game messages I received, because it wasn’t me who took them and because I believe that the actions of a few individuals should not generate a bad name for a large group (or organization) of players, who may not even be aware of their guild’s leadership actions.
The fact that BioWare is not punishing the guild leaderships for these actions and instead are going to rework the in-game Conquest System, means that these were not considered to be exploits. The studio did judge, obviously, that these actions hurt the game and the community, so they acted to prevent such activities.
For BioWare to make these changes, they must have investigated these reports and while I can only look at images I was given by several of the initiators, the dev team certainly must have been able to confirm all of this and they came out with what I believe to be the best and most balanced solution.
If you see a guild earning first place every week, this doesn’t automatically mean that they are cheating. You should always approach things with a free and clear mind. I personally know a number of heavily Conquest-focused guilds that honestly earn their rewards and destroy the competition consistently by showing dedication and passion for what their members enjoy doing.
This is an advice to all new players: When you read that a guild is focusing on Conquest, don’t allow negative thoughts to fill up your mind.
According to David Staats’ forum post BioWare is “aiming to have these changes in an update in the near future.” Saying it like this means that we will likely not see them as part of the next SWTOR Update 6.2.1, which is currently on PTS and is focusing on Amplifiers changes and Uprisings improvements.
How do you find these changes? Were you ever a witness of such behavior from your guild leadership?
On an unrelated note (and because I didn’t post a separate news article about it), don’t forget to claim your free Star Wars Squadrons inspired mount for free in SWTOR! All you have to do is log in to the game before January 28th, 2021.