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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Warlords of Draenor PvP: Everything is awesome!

I was already excited for PvP in Warlords of Draenor. I was already looking forward to the stat squish and the ability squish and the changes to casting while moving and the lowering of CC. Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka has been tweeting about the internal testing in 6.0 environments, and I was already excited. You had me at the squish, Blizzard. You already had me.

And now, the latest PvP blog's arrival has basically blown my mind. If you missed it, WoW Insider published a short summary of the key changes. Skirmishes are in, Trial of the Gladiator is out. Spectator invitations are in, for wargames, as well as an API allowing addon creators to build interfaces around the invitations. And all these are really, really exciting changes.

Before you accuse me of being overly positive, I've been critical of PvP this expansion, highly critical in places, because I think it's had real problems. And it has -- it's fair to say that Mists of Pandaria has been an expansion of experimentation for PvP, and as is often the case with experiments, some are more successful than others.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Warlords of Draenor

Why do we still have separate PvP and PvE gear?

While seeking out questions to a Queue I wrote, I was asked by a Twitter follower why we had separate PvE and PvP gear in the first place. A question I love, and that I wouldn't be able to respond to briefly enough for The Queue. I'm not going to go into a complete, exhaustive history of PvP gear. For starters, I didn't play in Classic, so I can't really comment on the gear then, but I gather that there was a lot more overlap between the two.

Then, with Burning Crusade, back in 2006, the combat rating system and Resilience were both introduced, along with arenas. PvP gear was born. It's been through many different iterations since then -- too easy to get, too hard to get, too bad for PvE, too good for PvE, different effects, stat budgets, you name it. But history, while it merits repetition, shouldn't have too much bearing on this question in today's game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Patch 5.4.7 PTR: 5 minute Dampening reverted to 10 minutes for 3v3 and 5v5

Community Manager Lore has delivered some news to the official forums that has made me rather cheerful.
Lore
After some additional discussion, we've decided to make this change only apply in the 2v2 bracket. Dampening will remain at 10 minutes in 3v3 and 5v5 arenas.

I've been posting a lot about this potential change, since Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka tweeted about it a while back when changes went in by accident after BlizzCon. And while I am still not a fan of the change, I can agree with it way more in 2v2 than in 3v3 or 5v5.

Why is that? Well, in 2v2, especially in healer-DPS versus healer-DPS, matches can go on longer, and even result in draws far more often than in the other sizes. Simply, a healer is not designed to be easily killable by a single DPS. As a result, it's harder work to take them down in 2v2. I won't pretend that I like the Dampening system, but it's better at 5 minutes in 2v2 for (hopefully) just one season.

What we don't know yet is just how far it will go.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

How can Blizzard improve Honor with Warlords?

If you read my recent initial PvP gearing post, you'll know that we're in a bit of a strange situation right now with earning honor. Honor points are the points for the mid-level PvP gear, where the entry level is crafted gear and the top level is Conquest gear. They are currently not earned at their best rate via PvP. Instead, in order to maximise your Honor point gains and gear up with Honor gear as quickly as possible, players would be best advised to do a few different things.

First up, you should farm the three rares in the opposing faction's Krasarang base. They drop 275 honor per kill, more if you have a Guild Standard or similar. Their respawn time averages out at around 30 minutes. There are sometimes oQueue realm-hopping groups, which, while frowned upon by many, are the most efficient ways to farm them.

Other than that you should do Wintergrasp and Tol Barad whenever they're up, they're usually deserted and an easy way to get some fast honor. And if that all seems too much waiting around doing nothing, then you can farm Justice Points by running heroic dungeons, and converting them to honor. Yes that was changed with patch 5.4 to be less efficient, but it's still far more reliable than what you should be doing: random battlegrounds. Yes, your first win of the day is worth getting, it nets you conquest points too, but if it takes you five tries to win one, you're wasting your time.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Warlords of Draenor

Battlegrounds in 5 seconds: Deepwind Gorge, Temple of Kotmogu, Silvershard Mines

One of the things which came up from my earlier posts about the basics and mentality of how to PvP, as well as the initial gearing and more in-depth gearing post, was that it might be helpful for some players to put together a Bosses in 5 seconds-style guide for battlegrounds. No, I'm not going into in-depth strategy here, that's something for another day, these are just quick, light guides for each BG to help someone out who has no idea what they're doing.

Deepwind Gorge
  • First team to 1600 gold wins.
  • Capturing mines earns gold per mine per second.
  • There are three mines in a line. From north to south, Pandaren, Center, Goblin.
  • Horde have a minor advantage capping the Goblin mine, Alliance with the Pandaren mine.
  • Carts can be picked up by clicking them. Picking up a cart removes 200 gold from your opponent's total, capturing the cart adds 200 gold to yours. If they return the cart before it's captured, they get that 200 gold back.
  • You pick up the cart in the opposing faction base, and carry it all the way back to your own base. Killing the cart carrier makes them drop it, then it can be picked up or returned. Some speed boosts work while you're pulling the cart.
  • Priority to win: Hold 2 bases, prevent the enemy from capturing your cart, capture the enemy cart. More detail here.

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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP), The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Warlords of Draenor: A peek at Diminishing Returns changes

Senior PvP designer Brian Holinka has been on Twitter today clarifying the changes to diminishing returns in Warlords of Draenor. Along with the recently posted indications of changes to CC, Community Manager Lore tweeted and then posted about the changes to DR, or Diminishing Returns:

Lore
One other thing I just mentioned on Twitter that I'd like to bring up here as well -- we're also planning on having fewer DR categories (and thus, more shared DR's) in WoD. Again, still in development, anything can change, but that's what we're looking at.

The reduction in DR categories is welcome indeed, as we've discussed here in the past, there are 117 abilities across 13 categories, excluding things which CC and don't DR at all. This is baffling for new PvPers, and even advanced players often won't know every spell's category. As part of the big CC cull in Warlords, Blizzard's devs are looking to simplify DR. And Holinka has added more detail to their plans.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Warlords of Draenor

How to PvP

Recently I've written a couple of guides on initial PvP gearing and the most efficient ways to get honor, and on PvP gearing in more detail. Along the way in those two guides, I've been touching briefly on various aspects of how you can get started in PvP, but what I've never done here at WoW Insider is just spell out what to do from the ground up. Let's say you've never PvP'd before. Let's say you've never even dueled. You might be a high-end heroic raider, you might be someone who's just got their first level 20. What do you need to know?

Death is not a failure

Honestly, if you only read one line of this article, make it that one. And this one, I guess, or you wouldn't know which one to read. If you're a PvE-er it's particularly relevant. You'll have the mentality of wiping, of death being the end of a pull, the end of a run, a failure. And this mentality will cause you to hate PvP. In random battlegrounds, where the majority of PvP takes place, death should be treated as a time-out.

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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

PvP gearing in detail, and what next?

I wrote recently about how to get started with PvP gearing, focusing on the most efficient ways to gain honor points for your initial PvP gearing, when to replace PvE gear and so on. I was pleased to get many messages saying that it was helpful, and a fair few more asking what they should do next. People wondered what gear they should buy first for Conquest, how they should find arena teams and RBG teams and so on. So I thought I'd help you out with some of that information too.

Updated for Season 15

Gear Purchase Order

This was the topic of much discussion, as all I did was give a few suggestions for priority pieces, rather than a hard-and-fast gearing order. A big part of the reason I did that was that it's very personal, it's up to you, and some people will prefer one approach over another. There are various things to consider, so let me spell them out:
  • There are bonuses to be had from various items:
    • Bonus to a key ability on gloves
    • +2600 +5280 PvP Resilience from having 2 PvP trinkets
    • 2-set bonus: spec specific bonus and +500 PvP Power
    • 4-set bonus: spec specific bonus and +1000 PvP Power
  • There is a points earned requirement of 7250 on any weapon except Honor point off-hands.
  • Weapons cost 3500, so starting from 0 you have 3750 to spend before you start saving for weapons.
  • Unless you are a human, you really need a trinket that removes movement-impairing effects, or "freedom trinket" on your character.

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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

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.

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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

My Warlords of Draenor PvP wishlist, and looking back at Mists

So, let's have at this again. A fair while back I wrote a similar article for Mists of Pandaria PvP, and in all honesty, I was giggling to myself looking back at it. At the time I wrote it, I'd been chatting with Eldacar, PvP theorycrafter extraordinaire, and bouncing ideas around. We both felt, ironically, that CC was a little out of hand. We were worried that too much existed, and that it had the potential to become a problem. And how right we were! Fortunately, a CC squish is inbound.

But I did get a lot of what I wished for. Role-specific queues in random battlegrounds, and associated matchmaking was introduced in 5.3, and bots are slowly being whittled down. PvE gear has been squashed a lot better in instanced PvP, although it still massively prevails in world PvP. Burst damage is becoming less and less of a problem, with a few notable exceptions (I'm looking at you, elemental shaman).

And what's more, while the implementation had some ill effects, one thing I wanted to see but was conflicted about came into play with The Crowd Chose You, and later with Dampening and the fix to make teams who've lost more players lose the arena too. We did pretty well, altogether.

But there were plenty of things we didn't get. Has my wishlist changed? Yes, in that I now want an even bigger moon on an even longer stick. Again, do note that these are just desires. Where I am aware of Blizzard talking about things being done, I'll say so.

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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Warlords of Draenor: What CC needs to be cut?

Blizzard Community Manager Lore posted yesterday about the devs' plans to reduce CC with Warlords of Draenor's changes to abilities. If you haven't been keeping up, their general plan is a so-called ability squish, removing certain skills from every class, with a particular focus on those suffering from button bloat, such as hunters and shaman. We spoke a little while back about how they should cut abilities, and what you could stand to lose, and now Lore's weighing on CC.
Lore
We are planning to take a strong look at CC in Warlords with the intent of dialing things back a little. We do think it's important that players are rewarded for using CC intelligently (by coordinating usage, being mindful of diminishing returns, etc), but we think we can approach things in a way that allows us to tone down CC overall while still providing that gameplay.

To me, the key here is this: "We do think it's important that players are rewarded for using CC intelligently..." CC, in my opinion should have to be used intelligently. It shouldn't be something you use just because it's off cooldown, because there's no risk to using it, because it's effectively a surefire thing. That is not intelligently using CC, that's using CC blindly, and it's because there's no risk to doing so. So, what's bad CC? What would I cut, if it was up to me?

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor's Trial of the Gladiator

Warlords of Draenor is bringing some big changes to many parts of the game and PvP is no exception. Not only are there various long-overdue UI changes coming in, but we're also going to be seeing a whole new PvP island zone, a new system of measuring battleground performance and a new arena ladder: Trial of the Gladiator. Of these, the biggest change, the biggest thing people are worried about is certainly the Trial of the Gladiator system. So, let's dispel some myths about that.
Lore
I don't know where this idea came from, but just to clear things up, we have no plans to remove the current Arena ladder.

World of Warcraft Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka was also very clear on the BlizzCon Global Invitationals stream, on the virtual ticket videos, at 8:43:28 on the second video of the first day's play, that the existing ladder wasn't changing. The Trial of the Gladiator is going to be a completely new system on top of what currently exists.

Trial of the Gladiator: What is it, and why?

Trial of the Gladiator is, on a very basic level, a system that allows players to gain rating and ladder position at specific times through the week. So, for example, if you want to gain rating and try for a title this season, you'd want to be playing at these times. They might be Saturday at 10am, maybe also Wednesday at 6pm, Monday at 8pm, Tuesday at 4pm, and so on.

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Filed under: PvP, BlizzCon, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Arena stealth changes coming soon

Patch 541 Arena stealth changes
With the announcement of the upcoming replacement of The Crowd Chose You with the Dampening mechanic, many players have been worried about stealth classes, particularly rogues, being able to abuse the Shadow Sight system currently in place in arenas to stealth until the Dampening debuff starts to ramp up. At the moment, rogues can grab the crystals, intended for their opponents to be able to see them, and immediately disappear. This is most notably the case for rogues, although night elf feral druids can put Shadowmeld to use here. Blizzard CM Lore has posted on the forums about an upcoming change to remove this issue from arenas:
Lore
Quick update: several of you have expressed a concern about stealth teams staying hidden until late in the game, when Dampening starts to stack. This would require them to grab Shadow Sight orbs as much as possible, which would be tricky but is actually possible (particularly with mechanics like Vanish).

We're not totally sure it would be a problem, as it would require quite a bit of skill and more than a little luck to pull off, but we do see the concern and want to avoid promoting that sort of behavior. So, when the Dampening change goes in, we'll also be changing the Shadow Sight debuff to prevent the player who picks up the orb from using stealth mechanics while it's active. That will also include abilities like Vanish or Shadowmeld.

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Filed under: News items, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

The future of CC and Diminishing Returns

The future of Diminishing Returns
Following his post on Friday listing out the giant categorization of Diminishing Returns (DR) in PvP, Blizzard Community Manager Lore has posted again regarding the future of DR and its PvP implications.
Lore
As our senior PvP designer Brian Holinka tweeted over the weekend, we've got some pretty solid goals for the future regarding crowd control. We do think it needs to be toned back a bit, both in the amount of CC effects available and in how frequently they can be used.

That said, CC is still an integral part of World of Warcraft PvP. Dealing with it intelligently, both in choosing when to use your own CC as well as reacting to opponent CC's, does have strong gameplay value.


Quote:

Honestly going to guess they're getting the exact opposite of what they planned from it.

Our only "plans" were to try to make an admittedly confusing system less so. Confusion about which CC effects share DR's doesn't help anyone.

So where do we go from here? First up, the post he's referring to in the section about their "plans" is the Diminishing Returns list published last week. This is an incredibly useful resource, which all teams should have at least a cursory glance at before they start trying to make CC chains. There's no need to memorize it, but it's good to have an idea of how your comp's CC works. But that aside, it's a pretty scary list. As Lore mentions above, Brian Holinka tweeted about their plans to rectify the issues behind the DR system in the next expansion. What are the options? What should they do? What shouldn't they do?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

The Crowd Chose You: ruining arena for everyone?

The Crowd Chose You
Season 14 has got off to a rather inauspicious start. We've had some big problems with conquest points, caps, weapons, vendors and more, which means that some players have rampaged through the ratings with full Grievous gear, which, of course, isn't scaled down to the same level as everything else. Blizzard is working on fixing the issue, but they've made no comment about resetting rating for the worst offenders.

There are some bright sides, though, as the new downscaling system means that Conquest gear is categorically the best for PvP in all but the most extreme of cases. What's more, cross-realm arenas remove a restriction that previously stood in players' way. However, the much-celebrated fix to the RBG element of the conquest cap hasn't worked, and some people really miss having teams.

But the biggest change, the one that is causing the most complaints, is the controversial match-ender, The Crowd Chose You. Why is it causing complaints? Well, where should I start...

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

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