What is Blizzard thinking with WoW PvP?

I’ve been keeping vaguely up to date with the Wrath of the Lich King beta. And because it’s in beta and a lot of decisions still aren’t set in stone, I never thought there was much point pontificating too much on their plans. But what they are planning with PvP and the PvP gear right now puzzles me a lot.

Currently you can run battlegrounds (like scenarios in WAR) and earn honor points from them which you can spend to get gear. You can run arena (a totally separate ladder system based on 2/3/5 man group deathmatches in small arenas) and get a different set of arena points which you can spend to get better gear. Some pieces can only be bought with honor gear.

Arena can be much more of a hardcore prospect, battlegrounds can be queued for solo (like scenarios, you get put into a raid group when you zone in) so can be more casual.

They had originally planned to wipe all of the honor and arena points when the new expansion hit so that people couldn’t save them up and use them later to buy level 80 PvP gear. The idea being that everyone started with a blank slate and would be running battlegrounds together. Which is not a bad plan. Then due to screams of overreaction, they decided instead to leave the existing points but heavily inflate the prices for the level 80 gear, whilst giving out more points at level 80. So effectively doing the same thing but letting people keep ‘their’ points, even though they’ll be mostly worthless.

So far so good. But then Kalgan (one of the Lead Game Designers) posts this on the forums. And here he sets out their plans very clearly. There will be craftable gear for people starting out in PvP to use in battlegrounds. But all the better quality gear will require both arena points and battleground points. So the casual players who ran a few battlegrounds for fun will be pushed into arena if they want to upgrade, and the arena players will have to run battlegrounds.

See this is exactly what I mean about giving players the illusion of choice. If I hate arena (and a lot of people do, it’s very different from queueing up for Alterac Valley when you’re bored and have a free moment) then why force me to do it? And in PvP, the quality of your gear directly affects your survivability which affects your FUN. It really isn’t fun to be rolled the whole time by people with better gear. In the current system, although the arena gear is better, the stuff you can get from battlegrounds is still good. So there are effectively 2 upgrade paths. They don’t plan to do this in the expansion.

Kalgan’s comment:

That aside, it is important for me to point out that the arenas were never really meant to become quite as much of a focal point for the overall pvp game as they have (part of why we set the system up so players could get the full benefit from the system with only 10 total games per week), it’s more of a natural consequence of the fact that because we have a way to measure success that feels reasonably balanced against pve, we’re able to put high-end items there, which on its own creates the focus of importance.

So arenas weren’t planned to be so dominant but they’re going to go with it anyway. He has no answer for people who hate arena and liked battlegrounds for their casual-friendly nature except ‘get skills, noob!’. I’m reading this and thinking about how much fun I’ve had with PvP in WAR, and I’m sad to see a good game like WoW deliberately make itself unfun in that aspect.

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16 Responses

  1. I cannot count on my fingers the number of issues that WoW has; one of those is definately the PvP side of the game.

    Given it’s due, WoW introduced both MMO’s and PvP to a lot of players that had never (wished to) experienced such delights before.

    However, in the same way, lightning via a kite introduced the world to electricity but to this day it is not recommended that you stand out in a storm flying a kite.

    Point being? The “introductory” procedure whether a game, invention or idea, should always be put back in it’s box along with your childrens toys when the “matured” procedure is publically available.

    In this case? WAR, of course. 😉

  2. You are dead on with the ‘unfun’ comment. This is exactly how I feel now that I have started playing PVP in WAR (still less than a week in, but I love it).

    WoW PVP is all about gear and the gap between a new max level player and one with full Arena gear is laughable- WoW PVP will never work while gear is the primary determinant of winning.

  3. I don’t see how he can say that arenas weren’t intended to be the focus of PVP after implementing all the e-sport stuff they put into the TBC era, complete with a world-wide buy-in arena tournament. Of course, the flawed incentive structure for WoW PVP didn’t leave them many choices, but the choice was theirs and they chose to put Arenas first.

  4. WoW PvP is too much grind and not enough fun.

    Not to mention, I play tank classes in MMO’s and it seems Blizzard doesnt want to let tanks into the PvP game regardless of the subscription fee we pay each month.

    Instead, I have to farm an extra 200G a week just to pay for respeccs every raid night… on top of the cash I have to farm each week for raiding consumeables, repairs, gems/chants.

    80% grind 20% enjoyment…. yeah, lots of fun

  5. “WoW PvP is too much grind and not enough fun.”

    While In WAR getting to RR 80 is fun…

    “WoW PVP is all about gear ”

    A S2 skilled team will steamroll a low skilled S4 team every time.

    Probably you think of WoW PvP as a grind, because it actually gives you something to aim for (gear), while WAR PvP gives you nothing to aim for. Renown gear are sidegrades. The only noteworthy items are the set pieces (Rank 28/RR25) and getting to those, trust me I have done it, needs a major grind.

    WAR is a nice games, aimed to mostly casual non competitive gamers, who don’t like balanced fights that start on the same terms for both sides.

  6. @ Morphling : Mythic made WAR RVR enjoyable for many players so they don’t feel forced to compete/participate for gear to use elsewhere (PVP for PVE gear).

    WoW can’t figure out how to make PVP actually enjoyable to most players so they have to water it down with large gear rewards.

    I love how you call an S4 team “low skill.” Please let us all know how many “low skill” teams are hitting the rating requirements for s4 weapons and shoulders.

  7. @ Morphling

    You neglected to mention that higher RRs give extra mastery points. If that isn’t an incentive I don’t know what is!

  8. Whether WAR’s PvP is grindy or not has nothing to do with whether WoW’s PvP is 🙂

    I do think the reward structure that WoW has in place now and intends for WotLK does contribute to the grindiness though. That and the fact that you can only gain meaningful amounts of realm points by endlessly grinding battlegrounds.

  9. I don’t think Blizzard has any idea of what it’s trying to do with the game. Right now I’ll still buy the expansion to see Arthas and do any quests that have to do with the lore, and finally get 5 pets on my hunter so I can have the pets I want. Other than that nothing is really hooking me in.

    Oh WAR will be grindy at high levels, I’m sure of it. Heck it’s already grindy just to get influence for each chapter if I want it. And I’m not convinced gear will not play a big factor. But one thing is at least WAR seems more focused (though the Scenarios vs World rvr might be a problem someday). They say “we won’t do another TOA” but you never know.

  10. But, you forgot to mention the biggest problem!!

    A measure against PvE loot?!

    What of arena gear dropping from instance bosses? The “Hardcore raiders” Will have arena gear before arena’s even begin. Quite a choice blizzard. Lets give PvP gear first dibs to the raiders, the opposite of what the arena/honor system was intended!!

    Add this to the insurmountable failure that is the new honor/arena combo, and you have PvP becoming WORK, and not fun.

    PS: Morphling… apparently you haven’t done it, or you’re a pve’ing quest type and WAR is NOT for you. I hit the RR for the blue set without even trying, or without grinding, or ANYTHING. In fact, until recently my RR has equaled my rank. Not to mention, RR gives huge incentives, even providing max AP boosters of 25 at two different RRs!!

    Anyway, S2 geared good team is at a major disadvantage with armor piercing. This is the tip of the iceberg for the problem that is WoW PvP. This blog wouldn’t even allow me to post a blog big enough. Also, Gear is by no means a REQUIREMENT.

    And WoW PvP IS all about gear, but you interpreted it incorrectly. Everyone is playing huge amounts of time to GET the gear, because its such a huge difference. A good team in s2 will get beat 90% of the time by an average team in S4. Face it. I played wow for 4 years bud, on the same character. I played at high end arena. I got beat by people who would wear epic RAID resist gear to completely neutralize 1-2 of our teammates.

    Also, most people here understand the point being made: WAR does not put the same EMPHASIS on gear. Not only is PvPing to Rank 40 fun the ENTIRE WAY, it provides gear that is a EQUAL (See: Sidegrade) to PvE gear. And, in the longrun, WAR has already stated that “RVR Gear will win the day”.

    Also, the casual player can easily enjoy his stay in WAR with mediocre gear. Large scale pvp and lack of overwhelming and CRUSHING CC abilities attributes to this.

    Props to WAR’s development team for implimenting TTK (Time to kill) and thus avoiding the situation where you feel like “I died, and I couldnt move, and there was NOTHING I could do the entire time.”

    No more of that. That was WoW days. One of these days, I’ll dig up that two page post that demonstrates the massive failures of WoW and where WAR picks up and corrects them, focusing the entire balance on large scale PvP.

  11. Morph, do you mean an ‘S4’ team as in “2 pc S4, 2pc S3, 1Pc S2”, or at the very least “4PcS4”.

    They are very different concepts at this point in time. Most players that can get a minor positive rating flow will be the former. The actual S4 teams are mostly the latter, some even have enough rating for the insane requirements for the Shoulders.

    Going up against a team that is at least even to you in skill (if not better), in a gear disadvantage means that you ARE put at a disadvantage if we ignore team composition for the moment. You get hit harder. You don’t hit as hard. You have less health to act as a buffer.

    And you can’t do squat about it except keep playing and grinding out that next set or the ratings for it.

    I don’t get where Arena players up and decided they needed to be able to lord over the Battlegrounds like Raiders did in Vanilla, but I sure as hell don’t like it.

  12. I think you did not get the meaning of my post… Probably its my fault, because I didn’t explain myself properly.

    WAR RvR is a grind… I wanted to wear the 2 piece renown gear at level 28 (shoulders and gloves). The requirements were Rank 28/RR25. That needed a hell of a grind, despite the fact that I had been leveling by doing scenarios whenever possible. I had to spend 2 days exclusively doing scenarios to grind the Renown needed.

    Also WAR RvR also has a lot to do about gear in balanced fights. 10v10 or smaller scale. I have way more survivalabilty with my 5KHp and 200-300 toughness at lvl 30 than the next runepriest who gets smacked by a witchelf in 5seconds. Its just that can easily miss that fact if you are in a zerg.

    @Centuri: When I said low skilled S4 team, what I mean is take 3 slow skilled players and give them full s4 gear for free. They still will be steamrolled by a skilled team in S2 gear.

  13. In my opinion, Blizzard has been just floundering with game design since their original dev team quit and they hired Mr. Uber EQ Raider. This just says to me, more floundering. WoW was perfectly timed and perfectly positioned as far as branding goes. But it’s people like me who have been online gaming for over ten years who see how little Blizzard knows about MMO’s.

    I’ve been enjoying WAR, but it’s far from perfect. The crafting especially makes me want to go back to EQ2, but there is no real PvP there, just twink gankfests. I’m also looking forward to the new Runekeeper class in LotRO, since I really love my Archmage. Both EQ2 and LotRO have a clear idea of what they want their game to be, unlike Blizzard whose devs say a different thing every week just to cover their patooties.

  14. The philosophy and design of war pvp is so far beyond wow i’s almost funny. But currently I’m playing wow for one simple reason. Warhammer’s animations + pathetic netcode and memory leaks galore makes the game unplayable. Wow polish is a hard drug to get out of your system.

  15. I haven’t tried WAR yet, but with Blizzard’s PvP changes, that is looking like more of a possibility. I’m the definition of a casual MMO player. I have a job and responsibilities and I’m a part of a great casual guild. I don’t schedule my playtime because frankly I have a life outside of WoW, so arena teams came and went for me.

    I don’t mind arenas, my teams were pretty good, it’s just that I liked battlegrounds better. Strafing around columns gets boring and doesn’t say, “WarCraft” to me. I liked the larger scale battles and rewards obtained from battlegrounds.

    Bickering about who has “skillz” is irrelevant, which is what I’ve seen on the garbage that is the official WoW forums. It just seems to make sense to give players a choice, so they can take multiple paths to reach their gear goals. PvE, Arena, Battlegrounds, Raids, etc. just give a viable option for all different player types to achieve high gear and not segregate it to one play style.

    I’m not saying it’s right for everyone, but the casual style of battlegrounds was a fun way for me to attain my high end-game gear. I have enjoyed WoW for years, but I’m not going to spend time attaining gear for my characters that isn’t fun for me. This is just a game, once the game isn’t fun, you /quit. I have a feeling as more casual players reach 80 and find nothing fun to do that is within their time constraints… let’s just say the login queues will settle down.

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