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How to gear for PvP right now

It's that time in the expansion again, the time I love, when people have killed Garrosh enough times that they're tired of it, and are looking for something else to entertain themselves. They're leveling alts, and farming or doing pet battles, but the rep grinds and scenario runs seem futile, given how the resultant loot will be replaced by greens come Warlords.

So what do they turn to? PvP! I can see this starting to happen already, with the influx of tweets and emails asking me about the best way to gear up for PvP. And it's a good question, because with the current standing of PvE gear in PvP, you might need a little guidance on where to start.

Item Levels

In instanced PvP right now, item level scaling is in place. Your PvE gear is downscaled to a shifting item level between 496 and 512. The current ilvl is 508, and it's increasing by 1 per week. The best your PvE gear will ever be in instanced PvP is 512. PvP gear purchased for honor is ilvl 496. PvP gear purchased for conquest is ilvl 522, and is not downscaled.
What does this mean? Well, let me lay it out for you. From worst to best, this is how it goes for PvE gear in PvP. It should be noted that this is a general rule, not a hard-and-fast absolute order with no exceptions.

  • PvE gear with an item level lower than 496
  • PvP gear with a similar item level to the above This will be marginally better thanks to its having PvP Power.
  • Honor gear, which is ilvl 496
  • PvE gear with an ilvl higher than around 504. This is something of a "finger in the air" number for where PvE gear becomes superior to honor gear. Do note the above about downscaling.
  • Conquest gear.
Now, as I said, this list might change according to various factors. If you're a class, for example, that hugely benefits from haste, and you have a high item level piece of PvE gear which you could replace with honor gear that has more haste, that could well be a better choice. Do bear in mind, though, that things like the most recent trinkets are massively reduced in power in instanced PvP.

What's more, the PvP set bonuses can be really good for some classes. The increased PvP Power is not to be sniffed at, and the bonus to one key ability from PvP gloves could well be worth considering.

Instanced PvP

"Olivia, you keep saying this, and I'm not sure what you mean!" Well that's OK. It's simply a term that refers to PvP that isn't in the world. So that means arenas, battlegrounds, and rated battlegrounds. The order above applies to these situations. In World PvP, i.e. PvP that happens anywhere else, higher ilvl PvE gear is categorically superior. It's a problem. They are working to fix it for Warlords.



What should I do first?

First up, unless you play a human, you're going to need a PvP trinket that removes all movement impairing effects on your character. Humans have this already with their racial: Every Man for Himself. Also, if any of your gear is PvE gear with an item level of less than 508, you'll likely want to upgrade that. And frankly, given the factors like the glove bonus and the set bonuses, you might want to upgrade PvE gear anyhow. Have a look at those bonuses, and see what you think.

So for any of this, your first step is going to be to grind out honor points. The best way to do that is to take yourself to the opposite faction's base in Krasarang. If you haven't done the quests to make the bases appear, then talk to the quest-giver outside of your faction's shrine, to pick up the starter quest, then do the next couple of quests and the bases will appear. It takes about 15-20 minutes.
Once they're there, you're looking to kill the three rares that appear in the enemy base. Their names are in this Wowhead comment, as well as IDs for NPC trackers. While the achievements are all fine and dandy, what you're after is the 275 honor that each of these rares drops. You can join parties with other players in the area, and just kill them over and over.

The respawn time varies from around 20 minutes to around an hour, so your best bet in that downtime is to either do random battlegrounds, PvP dailies on the Isle of Thunder, or random heroic dungeons. If Wintergrasp or Tol Barad is up, do those instead, and make sure you pick up the quests for both.

Wait, dungeons?! Yes, dungeons. Even with the nerf to JP-HP conversion in patch 5.4, dungeons with a lot of bosses can still earn you honor points faster and more reliably than battlegrounds. Scholomance, for example, drops six lots of 120 JP, which converts to 250 HP, and can be done with a fast tank in around 11 minutes. Yes, it's the best one for this thanks to the high number of bosses, but the others, if run at high speed, can still be a more efficient way to earn Honor than running battlegrounds.

If you lose a random BG, it can take longer, and you come away with less Honor. That time would have been better spent doing a dungeon. The exception to this is the first battleground win of the day, which will net you not only 270 Honor, but 150 Conquest.

Seeking Conquest

Conquest points are what you need to get the best PvP gear. Yes, you can earn them as stated by winning your first random battleground of the day, but given the cheapest Conquest piece is 1250, 180 isn't much. Doing further battlegrounds awards 75 points per win, which is even less for the time investment. Unfortunately, since Cataclysm ended, you haven't been able to convert excess Valor to Conquest.

So, honestly, your best bet is to just go into the arena. Yes, you may well lose a fair bit at first, yes there are still some balance issues, but fear not. You'll drop down to a point where you start winning, because that's how the matchmaking system works. However bad you think you are, there's someone out there worse than you, and you'll earn 180 CP per win. And it is a lot of fun!


What should I upgrade first?

OK, so, you're either playing a human or you've got your trinket. That's your first step done. Next up, look at the bonuses from the PvP 2-set, and the gloves. They should be good for you, so go for those until you can get your weapons, and the 4-set. Bear in mind that there's no requirement for points earned to get the off-hand if you're that way inclined, and try to get your weapons as soon as possible. After that, look for the biggest upgrades in your best stats. Bear in mind that trinkets will often have a lot of PvP Power on them, too. Replace gear that is worst according to the above list first, and go from there!

And above all, have fun! Remember that gear is not everything, and while there are some goals here to aim for, you can still have fun when you're not well-geared at all. What are your top PvP gearing tips?

Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

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