Patch 3.2.2 has gone live and it has made a significant impact on World of Warcraft PvP. Most of the changes affect class balance, which greatly affect PvP, but there are some important changes to Battlegrounds, as well. One Battlegrounds-specific item in the patch notes is the way lower level characters can see daily Battlegrounds quests independent of quests for characters in different brackets. This means that players will always have a daily Battleground quest available, only that they will range from whatever Battlegrounds they are eligible to enter.
This is great news for leveling players or even twinks who can gain Honor and a bit of gold. The change also moderately offsets the undocumented change to Alterac Valley Battleground experience gain. Zarhym explains it with a little more detail, saying that the bracket changes were responsible for the unexpected shift in experience gain. He also adds that overall, Battlegrounds experience gain should be improved across the board so playing, say, Warsong Gulch will be as rewarding as playing Alterac Valley.
There are other changes, as well, which I'll lift from the Patch 3.2.2 notes:
- Players may now only queue for no more than two Battlegrounds at a time.
- The dialog box for entering a Battleground match has been changed to reflect the following options: "Enter Battle," "Leave Queue," and "Minimize."
- The time a player has to enter a battle when selected has been reduced to 40 seconds when not already in a Battleground and 20 seconds when in a Battleground.
- Players already in a Battleground can now choose "Enter Battle" for a new Battleground under any circumstance (i.e. while dead, in combat, falling, etc.).
- A new Battleground will not launch until the maximum number of players on each side are in the queue (i.e. 40 players per side for Alterac Valley).
- The size of the Focus Frame can now be adjusted via the Interface Options menu.
The 'Minimize' option for the dialog box is merely something to make it easy for clickers, as the same effect could be achieved by pressing the Esc button. These changes merely streamline Battleground play. It's heartening to know that Blizzard is finally paying attention to even the small problems that have been plaguing the Battlegrounds for some time. Players leaving in the midst of a battle is always detrimental to the team effort, and the changes ensure that most players entering a Battleground are stuck there til the end unless they want to get the Deserter debuff. Considering most matches now last no longer than 20-30 minutes, it's usually better to play them through.
The biggest and most important change, however, is how Battlegrounds will no longer launch until the maximum number of players are met on each side. This means that there will no longer be stupid Alterac Valley matches where one faction has a full complement of 40 while the other has a mere handful. Manpower imbalance, at least, should be off the table now.
The bracket change also indirectly addresses an uncommon problem with high level twinks, such as Level 60 characters who have no expansion but tried out the Burning Crusade trial, thus getting Outlands gear. Since these characters can't gain any experience, even if they have xp gains toggled on, they're effectively perpetual twinks wreaking havoc in a leveling bracket. Thanks to the bracket changes in Patch 3.2.2, however, those twinks will now be at the bottom of the bracket barrel. This means that max level players in vanilla WoW as well as Burning Crusade will be forced to level or turn off xp, or else contribute less significantly to the Battleground effort.
The changes in the most recent patch reaffirm Blizzard's commitment to bring Battlegrounds back into focus. There are bound to be fewer imbalanced matches as well as better Battleground participation. These should be encouraging signs and a preview into the community's readiness for rated Battleground play slated for the Cataclysm.
DoTs! More DoTs! Fifty DKP minus!
Onyxia returns! The Brood Mother has been revitalized as a 10 and 25 person raid, so you'll need to be sure you know everything that's coming at you. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2.2 will make sure you're set for Nefarian's nasty daughter as well as other cool changes.