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Filed under: PvP

Cynwise talks about faction imbalance in random battlegrounds

If you only read one post about faction imbalance in random BG's this year, it should be this one. The always excellent Cynwise of Cynwise's Warcraft Manual (ask for it by name) does his usual thorough job exploring the numbers behind the game. If you were a fan of Nate Silver's election coverage, then you should be reading Cyn's work, as he does much the same kind of thing with the information behind what's going on in World of Warcraft.

This particular post is too dense for me to do it any justice, but just as a summation, Cyn explores the way faction imbalance affects random BG's in several ways - how perceived imbalance affects player choices, how the overall popularity of the factions plays out, and the way in which dividing players into factions in the first place causes instability in the representation. It's really a remarkable and remarkably well presented post, and I urge you to go read it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Low level Battlegrounds to drop dungeon-style satchels

Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka tweeted something yesterday that will be music to the ears of any player who wants to level via PvP.


Leveling via PvP is a hard-fought battle in WoW, XP gains are unpredictable, and unless you're using heirlooms you risk falling behind in gear gains and gold gains. So this change, put in place by Reward Systems Designer Russ Petersen, allows those players to keep up with their PvE-ing counterparts. It's fantastic news! I'd love to see some improvement to XP gains from battlegrounds, too.

And let's not forget that Holinka has previously hinted at Skirmishes being potentially available for leveling, which would be an incredible change. Certainly, the rewards would need to be ironed out, but that they're even thinking about it gives me hope for PvP leveling becoming something that more than just the dedicated or foolhardy undertake.

Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Armageddon PvP tournament VODs online

If you missed watching PvP Live's Armageddon tournament live on Twitch, you're in luck because the first day of competition has been posted on YouTube for your viewing enjoyment. So tune in, study top arena team tactics, and up your own game. If these early matches don't hold your interest, you can jump to the end and watch the grand finale: Skill Capped vs. Three Amigos. We won't spoil the ending for you, but if you want to be spoiled, catch our tournament recap.

Also online are interviews with Brian Holinka and Kim Phan, as well as Swifty and Azael -- so if you're keen on PvP, you've got hours of viewing ahead of you.

Filed under: PvP

PvP-Live Armageddon Tournament

Followers of official Blizzard Twitter accounts will certainly have heard about the well-publicized WoW arena "Armageddon" tournament, hosted by PVP Live, that took place this weekend just passed. It was great to see Blizzard get behind a WoW PvP tournament in such a big way, after years of other, less recognized tournaments.

After some early issues with audio, which were mostly repaired by the Sunday, the tournament kicked off in style on the Friday night with a face-off to see which of the newer teams would claim the eighth "seed", by which they meant place in the tournament. Following that, the tournament continued, in a bracketed structure, commentated by the ever-outstanding Isaac "Azael" Cummings-Bentley and Jared "vhell" Coulston. They were joined by PvP-Live's "Mackaw" on a beautifully-crafted set to lead viewers through the tournament.

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Filed under: PvP

PvP and the barrier to entry

I was very disappointed when the Trial of the Gladiator ended up not making it as a PvP mode. I get all the objections to it (Olivia raises a handful of them here) but for my money, the biggest reason I stopped PvPing seriously way back in The Burning Crusade and never started up again is twofold - the introduction of Arenas and the rise of PvP gear.

For me, PvP (especially back when I ran the ladder) was all about going into a battleground, solo, and seeing what happened. Many times I got stomped so hard that I barely knew what my name was, other times we'd have a great game. After the ladder went away, I PvP'd even more because I was using the gear in PvE content - this was back before resilience even existed - and I wore some of that gear all the way to 70, as you can see in my mismatched set above. Even in BC, when resilience first took off and arenas were introduced, I often PvP'd to supplement my PvE gearing, or even to replace it on alts that didn't raid. But the more stratified PvP and PvE became, and the more gearing intensive PvP became, the harder it became to even do things like random BG's without first acquiring a full set of PvP gear. The barriers got taller and taller, and I was less and less interested in jumping over them.

I understand why this all happened - dedicated PvPers wanted a separate experience, free from the need to PvE at all. PvE players didn't like that sometimes the best route to getting gear was to run battlegrounds. Even now, with some 550 PvP items dropping from the Celestials, people are upset that there are PvP items that are better for them than PvE items. But for me, the solo PvPer, arenas and the stratification of WoW's PvP and PvE games became too great for me to keep participating. Even now that I'm PvPing more often, I'm only doing so at the end of the expansion, when I could buy a set of good PvP gear for justice points so I don't have to go into BG's without any PvP power and get steamrolled.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Honor hotfixes are live in a battleground near you

WoW Insider posted recently about upcoming honor hotfixes, which increase the honor gains from building up points and achieving small victories in battlegrounds. These hotfixes are now live, as Community Manager Lore tweeted today:


Periodic honor earned in points-based BGs, namely Arathi Basin, Battle for Gilneas, and Eye of the Storm, will be doubled, so you'll get bonus honor every 130 points as opposed to 260. This is altered for Silvershard, where it's every 200, as opposed to 265. The flag capture battlegrounds, Warsong Gulch and Twin Peaks, will see the Focused Assault debuff applied faster in an effort to make them shorter, and there's a bonus for capture prevention. Strand of the Ancients will give a bonus for destroying gates, or preventing their destruction.

It won't outdo the PvE methods for efficiency, but it's a step in the right direction.

Filed under: PvP

Warlords of Draenor: New instance technology, no load screen in new PvP island

Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka has been teasing us with tidbits of information about Ashran, Warlords of Draenor's new PvP island, for some time now, both on Twitter and in interviews on the recent press tour. And now another little piece of intel that has wider-reaching ramifications than PvP alone.

This sounds excellent, firstly, for Ashran itself. The sense of immediacy, of being in the world and participating in a battle that is on your server, in your realm, will really add something to the experience. The sense of separation in instanced PvP removes something of the immediacy, the feeling that the other faction are invading your territory, that it's your personal server's fight. Not to mention, most people wouldn't be happy to call it world PvP if it was obviously instanced!

But, looking at the new technology, it's exciting to consider what options this opens up for Blizzard. It's more than just phasing, it seems, or Holinka would not have referred to new tech. Could we see this used for questing? For scenarios? Dungeons? Raids? For me at least, the opening scenarios for the Isle of Thunder would have felt a lot more authentic if I didn't have to go through a load screen.

Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Honor changes not active until next week [Updated x2]


Last week we learned that honor changes were coming to battlegrounds across WoW. Too little honor was being earned in the multitude of BGs available, and in turn Blizzard decided to significantly adjust the rate at which bonus honor was awarded. For example, where previously you earned bonus honor every 260 points in Eye of the Storm, you'll now receive it every 130 points.

At a small level this won't have a major effect, but when you add up running a few dozens BGs while honor farming, it's going to stack up pretty quickly. This change also seems to be a good way to allow players to catch up and enjoy the expansion's PvP offerings near the end of its run.

However ... not quite yet.

PvP Designer Holinka tweeted that the changes will be coming next week. We'll just have to wait for "moar honor."

Update Part Deux: According to a source of Lore, this actually is happening next week.

Filed under: PvP

Changes to Honor earned in certain Battlegrounds

Blizzard Community Manager Lore has posted today in the official forums about some changes to honor earned in several different battlegrounds. His full post is, as ever after the break. The devs have concluded that players are earning too little honor in various different battlegrounds, specifically Arathi Basin, Battle for Gilneas, Eye of the Storm, Silvershard Mines, Warsong Gulch, Twin Peaks, and Strand of the Ancients. All other battlegrounds remain unchanged.

While these aren't huge changes, which is to be expected given that they're arriving via Hotfix, every little helps. The jist of the changes is that the periodic honor earned in points-based BGs in the list above will be earned faster, so you'll get bonus honor every 130 points as opposed to 260. This is altered for Silvershard, where it's every 200, as opposed to 265. The flag capture battlegrounds will see the Focused Assault debuff applied faster in an effort to make them shorter, and there's a bonus for capture prevention. Strand will give a bonus for destroying gates, or preventing their destruction.

Whether this will be enough to replace the most efficient methods of farming honor -- Krasarang rares, Isle of Thunder PvP dailies, Grizzly Hills quest and JP conversion -- remains to be seen. I suspect not, but it's at least a step in the right direction. Hit the break for Lore's full post.

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Filed under: News items, PvP, Mists of Pandaria

PvP Season 15 begins today

Blizzard has announced that PvP season 15 starts, as scheduled, on February 25. The ladders are already open, queues are already available for arenas and rated battlegrounds, and what's more, titles and rewards are already going out.

Blizzard
With weapons at the ready and armor secured, it's time to kick off PvP Season 15! The playing field is even once more, and this is your chance to prove that true grit and steely determination are what it takes to become a champion. So grab your most trusted companions and teach your enemies the true definition of fear!

Before you set foot in an Arena or on a Battleground, keep in mind we've made a few changes this season:
  • Conquest gear is now Item Level 550
  • The Dampening debuff will be applied 5 minutes after the start of an Arena match, and games will reach a draw at 20 minutes. Dampening decreases the effectiveness of healing spells by 1% every 10 seconds.
  • Base Resilience is now 77% (up from 72%).
  • Battle Fatigue is now 65% (up from 55%).
Good luck, champions-may the most bloodthirsty warriors win!

If you want to dive in with both feet, step one will be to farm out honor points for 522 gear. You can check out our past posts on this to discover the most efficient ways!

Filed under: 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

Simplify point-based currencies in Warlords

We've covered in the past how the best way to gear for PvP is to grind justice points, and I have recently experienced this - since I wanted to get some pieces of Season 14 for transmog (and to do some PvP on the side, since I like running random BG's) I spent the past couple of days capping honor so that I could pick up several pieces as soon as possible. This led to running dungeons for justice points. Lots of dungeons. And this led me to realize that justice points themselves have a lot of uses - picking up older gear to catch up, converting to honor for PvP gear - but they feel strange and antiquated.

There's literally two ways to get them in the current endgame - run scenarios or dungeons - and they only upgrade blue dungeon gear, so their use as an upgrade currency is fairly limited. While you can in fact also buy them with honor, that would have been self defeating in my case.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: PvP rework brings back Skirmishes, adds Spectator Invites

Blizzard posted a blog today that should make every PvPer really excited. It seems like they have shifted their thinking away from the proposed rework of the ladders and gone to a more inclusive feel, with a nod towards tournament organizers getting an easier ride too. What are the changes? Let's spell it out:
  • Trial of the Gladiator is gone, removed. This is due to concerns about the proposed system.
  • Skirmishes, un-rated arenas which you can solo-queue for or do with friends in 2v2 and 3v3, are in.
  • Skirmishes reward honor and have the chance to award a bag containing gold, more honor, a small amount of conquest points or something else entirely
  • A Spectator Invite system has been added, allowing players to put Wargames together and invite spectators. This is specifically aimed at tournament organizers, but could be a boon for streamers or casual observers in parties with players doing wargames.
  • Tournament gear is in for Wargames only.
Why should you be excited? Well, Skirmishes for one. These casual games allow players to try out arena by themselves, another solo-queue option that WoW PvP has sorely needed for some time, since Skirmishes were replaced with Wargames when Cataclysm launched. Not to mention earning honor from them! While many PvPers have allowed themselves to dream about Skirmishes' return, I don't think any of us ever dreamed we could earn honor from them!

What's more, the addition of Spectator Invites and Tournament gear makes it far, far easier for would-be tournament organizers to put contests together. We can all hope to see more and more Arena tournaments coming out of the woodwork with these additions!

Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

You're bad at WoW, and so am I

Blizzard Community Manager Lore recently posted a brief reply in an excellent thread, which brought up a topic I've wanted to address for some time: how it's OK to suck sometimes. While I'm not going to copy his two posts here, he talks about arenas, discussing how, when he and his team lose, he looks back and tries to work out where things went wrong, and what he could have done to help. He also discusses the merits of doing things like recording matches, to replay and examine what went wrong.

While the option of recording your WoW play may not be open to everyone, self-examination is. And it's something we can all afford to do. None of us ever play perfectly, we are not robots. But the key to becoming better is to admit that, to see our failings, and to improve upon them.

Sometimes it's you

Sometimes it is. Sometimes you'll lose an arena or wipe in a raid because of someone else's error -- your tanks messed up the switching, or the person who had a debuff failed to perform correctly. Even in those situations, it's good to think back and wonder whether your performance was optimal. Sure, you weren't the reason why your team wiped or lost, but what more could you have done to perform well on your own personal scale?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding

PvP Season 14 end confirmed, patch 5.4.7 likely February 18

The official World of Warcraft Twitter account just confirmed the end of PvP Season 14 would take place as estimated, on Tuesday February 18.


As Brian Holinka has tweeted in the past, the end of the PvP season has, in recent instances, indicated the release of the coinciding patch. Throughout Mists of Pandaria, this is the pattern that has been followed, so it seems likely that patch 5.4.7 will be no exception. You can check out all our patch 5.4.7 coverage in the meantime.

WoW Insider also put together a short guide to what you should be doing to prepare for the end of the PvP season, so get those wins in for that mount, cap out that honor by killing those rares, and be ready!

Filed under: News items, PvP, Mists of Pandaria

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