How to PvP Starter Guide & Gearing

PvP is Star Wars the Old Republic’s player versus player mode – a type of quest where you team up with other players and fight the other team for points and objectives. PvP can be a lot of fun, and every match is a little different.

[Note, this guide is out of date with 5.0 Knights of the Eternal Empire. There is no longer any pvp-specific gear.]

How to Start PvPing

You can start PvPing at level 10. You can also queue up with friends in a group of up to 4 people. The PvP matchmaker will put you in a matchmaking bracket with players of a similar level – That means if you are a low level, you’ll never get matched up against someone who is max-level. The current Knights of the Fallen Empire brackets are levels 10-40, known as lowbies, 41-64 known as midbies, and endgame PvP at level 65.

Level 1-69

If you are still levelling, you don’t have to worry too much about gear because you will be bolstered once you enter a pvp match. One thing you can do to help yourself in PvP while levelling is to at least get a piece of gear in every slot. Empty slots will not be bolstered, and make sure any empty cosmetic gear you are wearing has a mod in every slot. If you are missing your earpiece, implants or relics, you can pick up the “Introduction to Warzones” quest in the combat training section of the fleet for a free set. If you’re missing any other pieces like a helmet or bracers, buy some cheap ones off the GTN. Don’t use an expertise crystal while levelling – it breaks the bolster, and not in your favor.

Level 70

If you are max-level, it’s extremely important to gear yourself up properly. PvP Gear is special compared to the rest of the game – it has an extra stat called “expertise” which helps you in player vs player fights. Your goal once you start getting into max-level matches will be to earn gear with the expertise stat, so you can survive longer, heal better and do more damage in PvP.

PvP gear with expertise can be bought with warzone commednations from the vendors in the Combat Training section of the fleet. Warzone commendations are earned through completing pvp warzones and pvp daily and weekly quests. The mods within the gear should never be mixed – keep your PvE gear and mods completely separate from your PvP gear, otherwise the bolster will not work well on your gear in warzones. PvP gears and mods will always have the expertise stat on them. PvP offhands and mainhands are missing crystals by default – so make sure to put an expertise crystal into any new pvp offhands or mainhands you buy from the pvp vendors.

There are two tiers of pvp gear – the first can be bought with just warzone commendations, the second must be bought with a combination of warzone comms and the shell of the previous piece of gear.

If you don’t have any warzone commendations yet or have outdated pvp gear, there are other ways to boost your stats in warzones.

You’ll want to gear yourself up with less-powerful non-pvp gear, that way the warzone bolster will help you out a bit. If you have great PvE gear, you don’t want to wear it in pvp, it will hurt you rather than help you.

Good gear to wear if you don’t have expertise gear is the level 162 armor earned from doing the solo versions of the prelude to Shadow of Revan flashpoints, which include Assault on Tython, Korriban Incursion, Legacy of the Rakata and the Depths of Manaan flashpoints.  You can also buy pieces from the level 55 vendor in the supplies section of the fleet. Currently, any armor that is 190 rating or below works fairly well.

The good news is that even if you can’t get these bolster-friendly armors – or you don’t feel ;ike spending the time or commendations to get them –  is that PvP warzone commendations can be earned very fast – you just might be frustrated at how quickly you die the first few matches before you can buy gear.

Most players pvp while they’re levelling so they can buy a full set of pvp gear once they hit max-level. It takes 4,075 commendations to get the basic set, plus another 16,500 to get the advanced set.

Before you step into pvp, you also want to get a good idea of all your abilities and of your class. If you are playing as a tank, you’ll want to know where your taunts, guard and shields are. Tanks will constantly want to be taunting enemies attacking teammates, and guarding teamates that are in trouble – guard only works within 15 metres, so tanks need to be mindful about switching their guard when it stops working. If you like to attack other players, better known as a DPS, you’ll want to be familiar with your ability priority system, which means picking the abilities that will do the most damage at the time. If you don’t know your ability priority well, go to and use the “class guides” drop down in the menu to find your class guide. You’ll also want to be familiar with which of your abilities you can use while moving, and which you have to stay put for. Healers will want to know exactly what their different healing abilities do, whether they’re single target or multi-target, and where their cleanse is. ALL players getting into to pvp will also want to know where their emergency abilities are… abilities that knock enemies away, stun enemies, let you run away fast, or heal or shield you. I highly recommend to open up your abilities list and reading every ability so you know exactly what it does and keybind it if it seems useful.

PvP matches themselves are a lot of fun. You’ll get thrown into a team of either 4 or 8, and be pitting against enemy players in either a death match or a match with special objectives to conquer or defend.

To Q up for a match, press the Republic or Empire icon near your minimap then press “Queue”. This will put you in the pvp queue,and once enough people have q’d up, it will start a match and teleport you into it. You only have a short time to accept the match, so don’t walk away from your computer while you’re q’d.

The first time you accept a match, look for a terminal where you load in and accept the pvp dailies and weekly quest. There’s also one of these terminals available on the Combat Training section of the fleet – completing these quests will net you extra warzone commendations and a lot of xp if you are levelling.

There’s also a mechanic in warzones that only exists in PvP – it’s called resolve, and it affects how much you or an enemy can be stunned. You can see your resolve bar circling around your character portrait – it’s a black bar that will fill partially up every time you get stunned, pulled, or pushed. You can also see it pop up over character’s head’s near their healthbar if they are stunned, pulled or pushed,  and goes down over time. If someone, either you, a teammate or an enemy, is stunned, pulled or pushed too many times, their whitebar will fill up and they will be “whitebarred” – they will no longer be able to be stunned for a short period of time.

Roots, which let a player attack but not move, and slows, do not fill up the resolve bar.

A good time to use a stun in pvp is to “finish off” an enemy – for example, if they are very low on health. That way they can’t heal themselves before you can kill them. Another good time is if they are caught in an acid or fire pit!

Each type of warzone match has a different location and different objectives. You can get a quick overview of the objectives on the loading screen before you load into the warzone.

PvP can be very intensive on your computer, especially in matches that have 16 players in them, so make sure to turn down your graphics enough that your computer won’t stutter.

While you’re in your settings, you should also set your camera distance to 100% so you can see more of the map when you zoom out, and enable Focus Target. Focus Target lets you target an enemy of teammate and always have their healthbar and portrait on your screen even if they aren’t nearby. That way you can keep an eye on them and see if they are in trouble!

You’ll want to enable ALL nameplates – for friends an enemies. Enabling enemies helps you see them better when they are far away, and enabling friends help you call out quickly to specific people when you have questions.

There are two types of pvp-only items – Warzone Medpacs and Warzone Adrenals. The medpacs heal 30% of your health, and the adrenals give you a 15% damage reduction – use them in tight situations!

Some other items that can give you an edge in pvp include Grenades, which are used to “mez” group of enemies – mezzing is a type of stun that’s broken on damage, so try not to attack a character that’s mezzed.

There’s also a more competitive version of pvp called ranked pvp – don’t go into these types of matches until you have a fully completed set of pvp gear, have min-maxed and augmented your gear, and have gotten really good at playing your class in pvp.

Once you’re geared up for pvp and are familiar with your class, you can hop right in! Next on the Academy, we’ll be covering all the different types of warzones and their objectives.

Questions or comments? Feel free to send me a message on Twitter @swtorista, Reddit /u/swtorista, Youtube Swtorista channel or by e-mail at the same name with at the end. Have fun out there and may the Force be with you. ~ Swtorista