When Patch 3.0.8 kicks in today, which some people speculate, World of Warcraft PvP is going to change quite a bit. Class balance changes are going to take effect, particularly to Death Knights who are downright incredible right now. While some people couldn't care less about PvP nowadays, specially in the pursuit of epics -- you're better off going into Naxxramas, the new source of welfare epics -- others have a newfound love for it, thanks to the incredibly fun Wintergrasp. The changes aren't massive, but they are balancing ones and will be better for the game overall.
The most obvious PvP changes will be to Wintergrasp, where a number of things were changed to improve gameplay. The first major change is the way Wintergrasp Marks of Honor, currently useless, will become usable to purchase Wintergrasp Commendations as well as new epic items. This is a great thing which further encourages participation in the battle for Lake Wintergrasp itself. There are also impactful changes to the game mechanics that should see control of the zone shift more often and greatly favors offense. Let's take a look at those changes after the jump.
- Wintergrasp PvP vehicles have had their health increased.
- Wintergrasp Tower cannons have had their health increased.
- The Wintergrasp Fortress Exterior walls have had their health increased.
- The Fortress Keep door now has had its health decreased.
- The Orb is now instantly clickable.
- Elementals should now always despawn when the battle begins.
- Wintergrasp now extends further south so that more revenants can be reached.
- There are now three ranks in Wintergrasp: Recruit, Corporal, and First Lieutenant.
- Players will be eligible for participation rewards after two honorable kills.
- Players will receive increased honor with increased rank.
- Players will receive additional Marks of Honor at Corporal or higher rank.
- Players will receive corporal rank at 5 honorable kills instead of two.
- Tenacity effect has been lowered. Now improving your health, healing, and health regen by 18% (Old - 25%) and increasing your damage dealt by 14%. (Old - 18%)
The Wintergrasp game timer was hotfixed a few weeks back to last only thirty minutes, down from the original forty. This put pressure on the offense, making it somewhat easier for defenders to retain control Wintergrasp. Obviously, the zone is intended to change sides frequently, which Patch 3.0.8 seems to guarantee. The danger I see is that if it gets to the point that Wintergrasp Fortress becomes indefensible, players will stop playing and only zone in during offense, where they're guaranteed a win. Fewer people will bother to defend because nobody wants to fight a losing battle.
Speaking of losing battles, why was Tenacity nerfed? I don't understand that at all. Tenacity is fine. The players complaining about Tenacity are the ones who try to solo players with like ten stacks of Tenacity. The idea is to gang up on a player with Tenacity because you have the numbers. Use your crowd control. A player with 60,000 hp won't be able to do anything if he's stunned or feared. At any rate, that change doesn't help the cause of defense, whom I suspect will have lower numbers thanks to the ease by which offense can win the game now.
The revision of ranks means that players must actually participate in the battle in order to get the full benefits. As soon as you get into a game, start killing. It's that simple. The earlier you get into a game, the more Honor you'll accrue as the bonus Honor is considerable at higher ranks. The removal of elementals at the start of a match is a sensible one, since they simply get in the way, specially that bugged water elemental on top of the Broken Ring Graveyard.
Small things such as the change to the Essence of Wintergrasp icon, making it easier to differentiate from Replenishment, for example, are simple changes that let us know that Blizzard truly pays attention to detail. The buff will also correctly apply (or disappear) when control of the zone changes while players are inside an instance.
Overall these are interesting changes to Wintergrasp, mostly geared towards faster gameplay and frequent change of control. The tower buffs I mentioned in my guide to the battle of Wintergrasp should kick in, so we should see more fighting in the Southern part of the map and Wintergrasp Ranger should actually be achievable now. Now if only players would actually stay mounted...