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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

Preparing for PvP season 15

Back on February 4th, we had the warning that PvP season 14, the current season, could end as soon as two weeks from that date. Well, it's now ten days from February 4th, and we've had no announcement that the season end is delayed. So, assuming the season will end on February 18th, how should prudent PvPers prepare for the season end, and season 15?

First up, save your honor, spend your conquest if you can get upgrades. The caps are working just the same, so all conquest will be turned into honor, and all honor will be retained up to a cap of 4,000. So if you have 2,000 honor and 2,000 conquest, you'll have 4,000 honor. If you have 5,000 honor, you'll end up with 4,000 honor and a bit of silver. If you have 5,000 conquest, you'll end up with 4,000 honor and a bit of silver.

The good news is that this season's 522 conquest gear will be available for honor. The bad news is that the 496 honor gear won't be available to crafters, as Holinka confirmed. Makes sense, as the Timeless Isle gear would be even more irrelevant than it will become! In more bad news, the Krasarang rares are being nerfed to drop honor only once per day, so that farming method is gone come the patch. If you need to cap out before the patch, they're the most efficient way.

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Filed under: News items, PvP

Mobility and disparity

We know that change is coming to cast on the move. Let's talk about it, and why I think it's necessary.

Casters want melee mobility reduced in PvP so that they can turret down melee. Melee want caster mobility in PvP reduced so they can avoid being kited. Ranged want cast on the move mechanics to remain in PvE because without them, they have to stop casting when fights force movement. Melee want those mechanics gone because they're part of why ranged are brought to raids over melee - melee can't DPS on the move nearly as effectively, between having to stay in range of bosses and having a positional requirement ranged don't have. If the boss drops fire on himself, the ranged don't care, but the melee have to either stop DPS or die.

We know some or all of these things are going to be addressed in Warlords. The perennial fight between ranged and melee in PvP (ranged want to stay the heck out of melee range, melee desperately need to get into that range) and the constant tug of war that is raiding (where balancing between ranged and melee tends to always favor ramged - most raids bring twice as many ranged players if at all possible) will be affected by the expansion's sweeping changes. To quote CM Lore's twitter feed:

So let's look at one proposed change and discuss how it will affect the game, namely, the trimming down of cast on the move mechanics.

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

Warlords of Draenor: Is there already an internal alpha?

Here at WoW Insider, we're really excited about Warlords of Draenor beta. And when I say we're really excited, I mean we're really excited. So we're always looking for clues that it might be coming. If you weren't aware, the things that will generally happen before a press beta are an internal alpha, followed by a very small friends and family alpha. So when Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka tweeted the following, we had to share:


Now, Holinka is definitely not saying that there categorically is an internal alpha. He is the PvP designer, after all, so it makes sense that he would have the ability to test his designs. But the big differences are things like the removal of abilities, the stat squish, CC removal, the rework of how health and damage scale -- all core systems. So while we can't take this as a confirmation of an internal alpha we can hold out hope that, if there isn't one yet, it won't be long. And that means that we could be well on the way to Beta.

It seems that, if the Warlords of Draenor pre-orders appear with the launch of patch 5.4.7, beta can't be too far behind. Given Blizzard's history, asking players to shell out for an expansion that isn't even in beta yet might be a tall order.

Filed under: News items, PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Patch 5.4.7 PTR: Alterac Valley changes

Twitter battleground aficionado @AlteracValley recently alerted the world to some minor terrain changes in their namesake battleground. Alterac Valley has had a good deal of work done to it on the patch 5.4.7 PTR, including buffs to almost all the NPCs to ensure it is something more than just a zerg-fest. The patch 5.4.7 PTR patch notes explain these in greater detail.

But the changes noted in @AlteracValley's screenshot above are not yet on the patch notes. What are we looking at here? Well, the eagle-eyed observer will note the removal of some hills outside the Horde base, which previously allowed Alliance players to jump over the wall and avoid the usual entrance. As @AlteracValley also noted on Twitter, the hole in the Frostwolf fence has been repaired.

Are these changes going to swing the battleground back in the Horde's favor? As recent win-loss ratios indicated, Horde have a hard time in Alterac Valley. While all balance changes are great, I doubt it's going to have a big impact. It is, after all, a couple of minor changes that many casual PvPers will not even notice. But time will tell, and it's great to see change happening at all in the game's least popular battleground.

Filed under: PvP

Patch 5.4.7 arrival imminent as season 14 end is announced

We discussed in the past that a new PvP season was announced before the arrival of Warlords of Draenor, and at the time waxed lyrical on the historic durations of PvP seasons, and the impact that a new season might have on the release of the expansion. And now the season is here, and with it, patch 5.4.7, which has been tested on the PTR, including character upgrades and more.

And now the two-week warning is here. This says the usual stuff, season 14 conquest items will be converted to honor cost, with the exception of those with rating requirements, which will not be available for purchase. They aim to hand out the awards, mounts and the like, within one week, but it could well take two. There is now a minimum rating of 1,000 for players to count in the title calculation. Personal rating will be reset with the season end, but as we've become accustomed to, there is no talk of an MMR reset.

What does this mean for patch 5.4.7? Well, in recent history, the end of the season has coincided with the launch of the patch. While the blog is clearly saying "as early as two weeks from now", they generally stick to the two week period advertised. What will 5.4.7 bring, and how long will season 15 last? Both of these questions could be key for determining a realistic release date for Warlords. And what's more, could pre-orders begin around 5.4.7? There has not been direct confirmation, but the presence of the upgrades on the PTR suggests they are not far out.


Filed under: News items, PvP, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Does PvP need more queueing options?

WoW Insider received a question to our tip line from a player who's lost their way a little when it comes to PvP:
I greatly enjoyed PvP during Cata, but I just haven't been able to get into it during MoP at all. I'm part of a small guild (4 active players), and none of them enjoy PvP. Since I usually have to go it alone, I have a preference for the larger BGs -- AV and Isle. It's easier to be a part of the crowd where individuals carry less weight, but still feel useful and able to help in the smaller skirmishes along the way.

PvE has several queuing options -- LFR, Flex (with a group), Scenarios, regular dungeons and heroics. There's a size and activity for everyone.

PvP on the other hand has BGs (random or rated) or arena. While not quite adding more options, do you think Blizzard may consider separating out the BGs into different sized-based queues?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

Nerfs to Warriors' Charge and Warbringer reverted... for now

Blizzard Community Manager Lore has posted on the official forums about the reversion of a recent, controversial change to Warrior control against casters. While any class will likely complain about the removal of a CC ability, warriors were particularly vehement about their dislike of the change to take the stun off Charge on the patch 5.4.7 PTR. Warbringer was also altered to stun instead of rooting, so that if you were happy to sacrifice the tier's other talents, you could get the stun back.

Those nay-sayers will be happy to hear that this change has been reverted. Instead, Pummel will be on a shared 15-second cooldown with Disrupting Shout. So, if you Pummel, that will mean your Disrupting Shout is put on a 15-second cooldown, and if you use Disrupting Shout, your Pummel will be put on a 15-second cooldown. The purpose of this change is to make warriors less disruptive to casters -- the same as the purpose of the previous change to Charge, but Charge is a far more difficult ability to alter in the proposed way. Lore gives the example of Charge onto a target with Hand of Freedom active, and there are several other issues that may arise. While this change is superior for PvP, it might have a larger impact on PvE warriors than the previous Charge nerf.

With the changes to CC going forward, in Warlords, it would be no surprise to see this CC change return. But Lore says they don't have time right now... does this mean the new season and patch 5.4.7 are imminent?

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Filed under: Warrior, PvP

Do Battlegrounds need tutorials?

When I first starting doing Battlegrounds way back in vanilla, it was pretty easy to learn exactly what the rules were. Not because I went and researched the individual Battlegrounds, but because I had a team of guildmates that were happily running the new feature over and over for a fun break from raiding. In later years, I joined a guild that was by and large devoted to PvP content over PvE. With the original honor grind being as ruthlessly difficult as it was, I was happy to help heal those in the guild working on that arduous trek to High Warlord -- and I never had to ask what to do in a Battleground. I was well informed from the get-go.

But at some point after Burning Crusade, I simply lost interest in PvP. I think it was after the introduction of arenas. Most of my PvP-oriented friends became absolutely enthralled with the idea of doing arenas, gaining ranks, and more importantly earning those hard-won season's end mount rewards. It wasn't that I didn't have an interest in the mounts, or that I didn't like PvP anymore. It was more that I knew, logistically speaking, that I wasn't particularly good at PvP. It didn't matter so much when the games were just a matter of win or lose, but when it came to arenas, I really didn't want to ruin the carefully-earned rankings my friends had obtained. I came from an era of the original honor grind. Rankings were sacred back then.

Consequentially, I don't really do PvP anymore. Not because I don't enjoy a good Battleground, but because at this stage in the game, I haven't the faintest idea what to do in any of them.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

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