Fine Tuning SWGoH: Volume 3 – The Squad Arena, Part 1


Welcome to Fine Tuning SWGOH.

Well I have started ramping up and now it is time to tackle the biggest issue in the game, the Squad Arena, and just like last week I’m not going to pull any punches, I am even going to suggest some things that most players won’t like. (Be warned this is an intended two part, so you will need to come back next week for the second part)

Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes is two things in one, it is a collection mechanism, and it is a game. But we can’t hide from the truth much longer, we sim most of the actual gameplay, this leaves us with Raids and Arena as the only real places to dig in and get some play time. The rest is just looking at your collection and thinking about who you are going to gear level or star up next.

There are lots of other games we play whether it’s a mobile game or a console game or a board game, and to me the one key thing all of the good ones have in common is this. When I want to play they are there and available.

This is where SWGoH falls flat, it is not available when I want it, it’s available when it wants me to play and only in limited doses. The truth is we need a game mode where we can log in whenever we want and play. Right now the Squad Arena does not fit this category for two reasons. First you only get 5 arena battles per day (unless you refresh). Second, if you want to place well in arena you need to play in the 1-2 hour window before your payout. If you play earlier you end up just griefing other players trying to climb for their payout, and oftentimes will end up even lower in the rankings than if you had saved your battles and waited. So yes, if you want to play in the Squad Arena and do well you currently have to play at dinner time… not the best implementation I have ever seen to be honest.

There is a third problem with Arena, and it is spelled M-E-T-A (META = most effective tactic available). Now I don’t have a problem with META teams I think it is awesome that people take all the toons available to them and craft a few different teams that do extremely well. It happens in every game and a truly healthy game will have a continually evolving META. SWGOH has it, Hearthstone has it, Clash of Clans has it. Every game has an evolving META and that is great. But once a META is established it tends to dominate the Squad Arena for 2-6 months at a time before being replaced, and in those 2-6 months you can rest assured that 25-50% of all the teams you face in arena will be exactly the same aside from mod differences. It just gets boring, you know exactly how a fight will play out and you know how to counter every move that will be made.

Star Wars Galaxy of HeroesSo how can we solve these problems? The interesting thing is the development team at Capital Games has already come close to solving the arena problem without even realizing it. Back in the fall of 2016 they introduced tournaments. Now tournaments had many positives and many negatives, I think overall the player base disliked them, but there were also some very good mechanics in there that could be changed to work in the Squad Arena. So here is what I propose for the new arena:

Step 1: Remove the ladder entirely; daily rewards are no longer based on your rank achieved because you no longer achieve a rank. This has several benefits, you can no longer be locked out from being able to battle, shard collusion will be completely gone, and you can play arena anytime of the day or night, the game will be there for you on your schedule.

Step 2: Change the limit of 5 battles per day to 5 battles per toon per day, very similar to how the tournaments worked. You could use a character several times for free after which they would need to be refreshed. I am not sure if the refresh costs should be crystals or ally points, but that is something I would leave to the developer discretion.

Step 3: Remove the cooldown timer and remove the auto button and the clock. We are no longer in a ladder type environment so if you have to pause a battle and come back to it why not? Also with no cooldown timer you can maximize your playtime when you have play time. But let’s also see that auto button gone from this mode because this mode is about playing, not about simulating (even if you watch it simulate).

Step 4: Matchmaking. If we don’t have a ladder who do we fight? It can’t just be random, and we know we don’t want to see some of the oddball teams you see show up in GW. No, we want this to be real Arena viable teams. So here is what we do. You select your team to play an Arena match with, then based on the power of that team (the new power calculation not the old one) you are shown 3 other teams of similar power to choose from.

Your Power 80,000
Opponent Power 74,000-77,999 78,000– 82,000 82,001-86,000
Points (# per toon killed/# per toon surviving) 8/4 10/5 12/6

So right now you wonder why are there points if there is no ladder? Bear with me we will get there.

The real beauty of the matchmaking system is how it couples with step 2. You can only use each toon 5 times per day, but you have an entire roster of toons. So go ahead and build other teams, do you really like how Ewoks work in the new AT-ST event? Yeah that’s pretty cool, but I just don’t have them geared leveled or starred enough to try them in Arena. I also have no desire to move my mods around for an experiment. These are my top 5 Ewoks right now:

  Power Gear Level Stars
Teebo 13825 9 85 7
Ewok Elder 13599 10 85 7
Ewok Scout 11895 8 80 7
Chief Chirpa 11481 8 72 7
Wicket 4498 7 53 3

We all know they are not Arena viable, and what a huge investment to try to get them there. And what if it fails? But with this matchmaking system I can throw them in anyway, and I will get to face them off against other teams of similar power.

SWGoHWhenever a new team is used in arena that configuration can be saved as another possible opponent to face off against, eventually you will be able to see every single combination that is possible and you will never really know what to expect when you fight a new arena team. The most fun I have ever had in this game was in tournaments when I faced squads I know I will never see in arena. With power-based matchmaking we can bring that back.

We can also let people use their entire rosters, take a half built Ewok squad and see how it really fares against other half built squads.  We all know what the result would be if my above Ewok squad faced a maxed out arena squad of Rex, Baze, Chirrut, General Kenobi and Darth Nihilus. But it may be an entirely different story if that same team were not fully maxed out, and that would be possible to find with power based matchmaking.

So think a little about the possibilities of this gameplay, you can play when you want, you can use any squad you want, and you can always face off against something that is similar in power. You have a new idea, you can really play test it before you invest too much into it, and you could be the one to start the CUP meta.

This is the end of Part 1, please join me next week for Part 2 where I will discuss points, rankings, ladders and rewards.


By Sparrow
BHG Black Sun Guild Officer Staff Writer

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1 Comment on "Fine Tuning SWGoH: Volume 3 – The Squad Arena, Part 1"

  1. Looks like a really interesting idea buddy. I’ve been calling for something similar in training battles via ally code, where u can battle anyone anytime for free to test etc. but great idea and write up buddy

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