Play Ball, Huttball Style - SWTOR PvP


Huttball, a thing of beauty. The only PvP Warzone where the opposing teams can be of the same faction. Huttball takes place in the Pit, a location based on Nar Shaddaa, and plays much like an American Football or Rugby game. The ball spawns in the center of the map and each team battles to it. Each side will continuously fight for possession of the ball so that they can score. In order to score, a player must carry the ball over the opposing team’s goal line on the opposite side of the map. The game concludes when one team reaches 6 points or the 15 minute timer expires. In the event of a tie, after 15 minutes, the last team to score is victorious.

The Pit is laid out in a rectangular shape with each team’s spawn point at opposite longitudinal ends. Just in front of each of these is the team’s goal line and then a large pit. Fixed above the pits are a set of upper and lower scaffolding with 4 flame pits, used to transverse the map. Finally there are 2 Acid pits and 2 Air Lifts forming a square that surrounds the ball spawn point.

The game is overseen by Giradda the Hutt and players either compete as one of the RotWorms (purple) or FrogDogs (gold).

Playstyle

There are two different approaches players can take when they get the ball, they can either pass or run. Running is quite simple and is best done by finding a group of players and preferably a healer, and slowly making your way to the opposing team’s endzone, obliterating everything in your path. On the other hand, players can choose to pass the ball, by throwing it into an area and hoping another player is in position to reclaim it. There are many more advanced strategies, all of which I will cover in this article.

Hazards

Acid Pits
Between each side’s pit and the ball spawn point is a rectangular shaped, green, acid pit. You really don’t want to get caught in here as it will soon drop your health to zero. Avoid these at all costs, though do happily make use of your knockback abilities to cripple your opponents.
Flame Pits
Like the Acid Pits, these will soon kill you. There are 8 flame pits on the map, 4 on each side, 2 on each side’s upper scaffolding and 2 on each side’s lower scaffolding. The flame pits run on a set timer; try to get a feel for them as they will block your way when trying to score.
Air Lifts
Air Lifts are located to the right and left of the ball spawn point and are used for a means of transportation and escape. When a player stands on one of these lifts they will be blown high into the air, slowly moving in a random direction. The fall from the air lifts will not harm the player.

Power-Ups

Speed Boost
The speed boost power-up is located in the center of each team’s pit and allows the bearer to move significantly faster for a short period of time.
Health Pack
The 4 health packs are found in each corner of the map, just past each side’s scaffolding. As you would expect, they restore some of the player’s health.
Power Boost
Power Boosts are centered on the far longitudinal edges of the map and increase the damage and healing a player can exert for a short period of time.

Offense

Irrelevant of how many kills you are getting, you can’t win without scoring. Below are a few strategies to make sure your team is holding the trophy when the dust settles:
  • Rush Tactics – Rushes cannot be completed by just one man, occasionally you will find one sneaky player run through unseen and score, though this is not so much a rush as it is just being sneaky and stealthy. Rush tactics must include several members of the team and are executed by the group ploughing through the enemy team with the ball carrier. The biggest advantage of a rush is that the enemy can easily be caught off guard and if you are going to die, it is easy to retain possession.
  • Passing – Passing is one of the most fundamental parts of Huttball. When you first enter the warzone, an ability to throw the ball is placed on one of your action bars. Passing plays shouldn’t just be random flings of the ball; they should be made to open players who are expecting the ball. Don’t underestimate passing, as it can allow you to cover ground rapidly and outsmart the competition in seconds. Passing is also great for retaining possession, as once you die the enemy who defeated you gains possession of the ball, however, if you pass the ball just prior to dying you can allow your team to keep pushing forward.
  • Up is Down – The Up is Down play is a little more advanced and is accomplished by two players running positive lines towards the goal. One player opts for the upper scaffolding route and the other takes the lower scaffolding route. While progressing, each player passes back and forth to each other to avoid the flame pits and any incoming enemies.
  • Stay out of the Pit – Those pits are like the plague to a good offense. Once you fall into the pit, you will have to run all the way back around to start moving forward again. This becomes even more of a problem when the ball carrier can’t move at 100% speed. If you do end up in the pit with the ball, make a pass to a teammate as soon as possible because otherwise you are just a sitting duck.
  • Speed Play – Have one of your teams Sith Inquisitors or Jedi Consulars stand in an opportune position while stealthed, on top of the enemy scaffolding possibly. Once your team gains possession, throw a precision pass directly to him/her. The stealthed player must remove his/her stealth in order to retrieve the ball, therefore they should do this immediately and then claim the passed ball. As soon as they have possession they should make use of their speed boost abilities and make a direct run at the enemy’s goal line.

Defense

A good defense is a good offense, and you definitely can’t win if the other team keep scoring. Below are a few tips to make sure your defensive game is helping you succeed:
  • Zone Defense – A tactic borrowed from the age old game of Basketball, where each player stands strong in a position of the map and lays waste to anyone foolish enough to step inside their territory. Sounds simple and it can be very effective.
  • Hold the Line – Another great tactic is to spread your team out between your goal line and the midfield, covering the upper scaffolding, center field, side ramps and lower scaffolding. This is probably the strongest defensive tactic and allows for easy counters once your team gains possession.
  • Stay Alive – With quick respawns and a large group of teammates it is easy to forget the effects of dying. While you are waiting to respawn the other team have a huge advantage and can easily capitalize on your team’s low player count. Of course, at times you are going to die, it happens, however instead of just rolling over to those 4 players beating on you, jump down into the pit and hope they follow you. If they do, you die and 4 of the enemy team’s players are effectively out of the game for a good few seconds. If they don’t, you live and you are right near a health pack.
  • Make use of those knockbacks – Most players have some sort of knockback ability. Make sure that whenever you are fighting the enemy ball carrier on your team’s scaffolding, you use your knockback ability to push them down into the pit, neutralizing their assault.

Player Tips

After hundreds of games of Huttball I have encountered many different scenarios, learning from each defeat and respecting each victory. The following tips include everything I have learned and should help you dominate Huttball:
  • Sprint - Every player at some point unlocks the ability to sprint, increasing their movement speed by 35% when outside of combat. Ensure this is always on so that you can keep up with everyone else.
  • Buffs Baby – When the game is starting, be sure to buff all of your teammates and make sure you receive all of theirs. That 5% extra damage can be the deciding factor in some battles.
  • Boost – Inquisitors and Consulars can use their speed boost abilities to make a jump from the upper scaffolding to the enemy’s goal line platform. Thus allowing them to skip past the final flame pit.
  • Interception – All passes can be intercepted and you should always be trying to. If there is a pass heading towards an open area, be sure to grab the free ball whether you want it or not. You can always pass it to a teammate.
  • Hot Potato – If you are about to die and have nobody to offload the ball too, toss it into an open area far from any enemy players to reset the ball. This will allow your team to regroup and reclaim possession. Also, if you have teammates sprinting towards you, yet still out of passing range, throw the ball at an enemy player with low health. This will give your team the opportunity to slay the adversary and easily reclaim the ball.
  • Invisibility – Another tactic for forcing a ball reset it to enter stealth. In battle stealth abilities can be a brilliant way of staying alive and resetting the ball.
  • Burn Baby Burn – Make use of your knockbacks and Crowd Control (CC) abilities to gain easy kills. Knock a player back into an acid pit or flame pit, or wait until someone foolishly walks across one and hit them with a CC. It won’t take long for them to drop inside one of these perfect traps.
  • Change Direction – If you continuously carry the ball the same route or pass it the second you grab it, the opposition will soon catch on. Avoid being predictable and always keep them guessing.
  • Mine – Inquisitors and Consulars can make use of their speed boosting abilities at the start of a game to ensure your team obtain the ball first. It is best for them to head backwards and regroup once they claim the ball otherwise they will be an easy target. On the other hand, if the enemy team has applied this tactic, hit them with a long range CC so that your team have time to lock on.
  • Offload – Always be sure to pass the ball to the closest teammate prior to dying.
  • Chain the Points – If your team are wreaking havoc and are about to score, set yourself up on the ball respawn points and grab it as soon as they score. The enemy team are already on the back foot and it shouldn’t be too hard to score with half of your team already in their endzone.
  • Leap of Faith – This tactic requires a lot of skill and just a hint of luck. If you are a Sith Warrior or Jedi Knight who is carrying the ball and find yourself in the pit, target the first opponent you see coming from the enemy endzone and Force Leap your way right next to the goal line.
  • Sacking – If you see a pass about to land on an enemy player, use one of your knockback abilities to push them out of the way, either allowing you to intercept the pass or cause a ball reset.
  • Line of Sight – Whether you class can go in cover or not, you should always be using your surroundings effectively to create line of sight (LoS) issues for your opponents.
  • Unfair Advantage – At the start and end of a game, you can purchase enhancement stims from the PvP vendor. Make sure you use these as they can really make a difference in battle. Also, they are on a different timer to PvE stimulants.
That’s it, you are now ready to dominate Huttball. If you have any other tips, be sure to mention them in the comments section below.