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Posts with tag pvp

Why I love proc items

Proc weapons, proc trinkets, these are some of my favorite items over the existence of World of Warcraft. The end of Dragon Soul weapons from Deathwing were amazing. Were they unbalanced? Yeah. Yeah, they were, let's be honest. They were even more unbalanced than the various proc trinkets from Siege of Orgrimmar, if you want to get right down to it. That's pretty unbalanced. But only a very few cared (most of them PvP players who had every reason to care) because the items were so much fun, y'all. There is literally never going to be anything as satisfying in World of Warcraft again as the sight of four Gurthalak tentacles spawning and mind flaying that rogue to death.

I wasn't kidding about PvP'ers having every reason to hate the proc weapons from Dragon Soul. Taking a fury warrior with twin Gurths into PvP was basically a giant middle finger to everyone who was primarily a PvP'er and didn't raid. And I admit that I flipped that particular middle finger as hard and often as I could, because why wouldn't I? If I were a primarily PvP oriented player, I'd be mad too.

Still, I love proc items. And Celestalon is talking about proc items.
Why do I love proc items so much? Here are a few reasons.

Read more →

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

Warlords of Draenor: New flavor items, weapons, and armor

For the Alliance!
Our fellows over at Wowhead have posted the datamined details of Warlords of Draenor's latest build, including a number of intriguing items from Ashran, WoD's new world PvP zone. The quest items, doubtlessly linked to killing members of the opposite faction, are particularly fun. Thanks to the Tauren Hoof, you can enjoy your favorite gelatin-based chewy candies, or collect and grind Draenei Tails to help spice up your love life. You know, if you don't mind some mindless slaughter (and this is Warcraft, so of course we don't!). Other new faction quest items include the Severed Night Elf Head, Worgen Snout, and Forsaken Brains.

Even more interesting than these are the epic-quality PvP weapons pulled from the latest build. Not many are listed so far; just a priest staff (Nozaro, Staff of the Heavens), and a paladin mace (Rowyn, the Jailer's Gavel). Both weapons are only usable in Ashran, and will disappear upon leaving the isle. Both of them also have really cool abilities. The priest staff will levitate you high in the air for 30 seconds, out of enemy range, and the paladin mace will teleport an enemy player to your faction's prison. How neat is that? These can't possibly be the only Ashran weapons; certainly there will be at least one for each class. I wonder--what kind of effects will they all have?

As if the weapons weren't enough, a single piece of armor pulled from the patch invites rampant speculation about the nature of gear we might see in Warlords. That would be the mail hunter boots, the Simplyswift Treads, which removes the cooldown from Disengage. If this effect makes it to live, it could mean huge things for class gear in the upcoming expansion. What other abilities may we see modified in such a way? If you were designing a piece of gear like this for your own class, what would it be? There are so many possibilities!

Filed under: News items, PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Hotfix to address issues with flag carriers in rated battlegrounds

It's tough carrying the flag in Warsong Gulch or Twin Peaks, primarily due to the Focused Assault debuff which increases the damage you take when you pick up the flag -- but it's about to get a little tougher for tanks playing these rated battlegrounds. According to CM Lore, in rated battlegrounds tanks who carry the flag should be getting a bigger debuff -- 50% additional damage compared to the 20% others get. However, a bug is currently treating tanks just like everyone else, so expect a hotfix soon (no restarts required).

In addition to fixing debuff damage, there are plans to add the same kind of debuff system to orb carriers in rated Temple of Kotmogu and cart carriers in rated Deepwind Gorge. These changes will take effect next maintenance cycle.

All of these changes are for rated battlegrounds only, where they should make it a bit easier to take out enemy flag carriers -- and tougher to keep your own alive.

Filed under: News items, PvP, Hotfixes

The tension between balance and player interest

I'm looking forward to Ashram, the new PvP island zone in Warlords that seems to combine elements from zones such as the Timeless Isle, Wintergrasp, and the old days of world PvP. So I tend to go looking for information on it, which is where I found the following.
With cross-realm groups being possible on Ashram, this is a perfect example of the ways the game has to balance what most players will do vs. what some players will do - balance the min-maxing attitude vs. the more common, and more often executed, use of a feature or game element. Ashram as it stands will allow players to group cross realm - this is intended so that players who have characters on separate realms (my wife and I, for instance, often would run the Timeless Isle on characters that were on separate realms) can still go to Ashram. This is a good and fun use of cross-realm grouping. But there's a potential down side to this.

Since cross-realm grouping is possible, we know the next step - something like oQueue that allows you to put together a group of 40 players and go destroy Ashram on an already imbalanced server. If a certain server is already heavily skewed towards the Alliance, putting together a 40 player group (since Ashram exists in the world and not in a raid instance) and just destroying any hapless Horde you come across, or vice versa. Even if you don't pick a server with a faction imbalance, it's still feasible that a big raid group could end up owning Ashram for an extended period of time, and using players that aren't even on the server.

Decisions in the game's design are always made between these two poles - between the ease of abuse, and the benefit it brings to individual players. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, things don't work out like we'd hope. Reforging, as an example, falls into the 'possible player imbalanced use trumps player convenience' category.

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

How PvP gear works in Warlords

Say you want to PvP in Warlords of Draenor -- how are you going to go about gearing? How is gear going to work? Well, Blizzard's Lore went and put a whole lot of information about that very thing into this huge post, and it's very much worth reading. Because it explains:
  • PvP gear with now scale up in power when you enter a PvP zone (battleground, arena, Ashram) or when you are attacked by another player. This is intended to remove the sometimes confusing extra stats we've seen proliferate since Cataclysm.
  • All gear, even PvE gear, will scale up in designated PvP areas in a similar fashion. It won't eclipse PvP gear or its scaling, but the intent is that PvE players who are poorly geared won't immediately explode in PvP content.
  • The exception is mythic quality PvE gear. It's ilevel is high enough that it will be slightly downscaled in PvP zones in order to keep Conquest gear the best option for PvP.
  • PvP will now reward strongboxes for completing objectives and winning matches, and these strongboxes can contain rewards up to and including actual PvP gear.
  • There will now be three tiers of PvP gear - starting gear, earned via strongboxes, with a fast accumulation rate, veterans gear, from both strongboxes and honor, and finally gladiator's gear from conquest points.
For the full details, Lore's post is chock full of information. It also teases an upcoming post about how Ashram is going to be implemented, which I'm interested in reading.

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

Further MMR adjustments for Rated Battlegrounds

You may recall that, a little while back, WoW Insider posted about the changes being made to MMR tolerance in order to repair the ladders after a bug. It seems, unfortunately, that these changes did not go far enough to rectify the issues for players of Rated Battlegrounds. It makes sense that, for this far less played discipline, MMR issues have not self-corrected.

As a result of this, matches played are still resulting in 0 point rating gains with wins, which is disheartening at best. So Blizzard has come up with a simple solution that might have been a faster and more popular fix to the initial issue -- increase everyone's rating to get it closer to their current MMR. If these terms are confusing, I made a fair attempt at explaining them in the last post.

This, coupled with the initial increased tolerance in MMR to rating parity, should result in everyone gaining points for wins. Hit the break for Lore's full post.

Read more →

Filed under: PvP

Warlords of Draenor: The changing face of buffs and debuffs

One of the changes that will have a pretty significant impact on how we play both in PvE and PvP is that many buff and debuff spells are being changed or removed. It can all seem a bit complicated at first viewing, what with all the class specific changes, but it's really fairly easily broken down and it won't directly affect how you play all that significantly. We're going to go over the changes and explain what they are and how they'll change how you play, if they do.

First up is the Weakened Armor debuff. Essentially, this is the old-school Sunder/Expose Armor affect. It's gone entirely. Rogues no longer have Expose Armor, warriors no longer have Sunder Armor and the Devastate prot warrior ability no longer applies Weakened Armor. In addition, the druid ability Faerie Fire now applies Physical Vulnerability instead, increasing all physical damage taken by its target by 4% for 30 seconds. This is because it was thought that having both Weakened Armor and Physical Vulnerability was excessive, since they did basically the same thing. What this means in terms of how we play? Almost nothing. If you're a rogue, you won't use Expose Armor anymore because it's gone. A warrior tank will hit Devastate the same as they always did. Druids are still going to use Faerie Fire to debuff things. Hunter pets that had similar abilities will no longer have them.

Next up is the Weakened Blows ability that almost all tanks had - it reduced incoming damage. The abilities that provided it still exist, they simply don't provide it anymore. Thunder Clap is an example of an ability that currently provides the debuff, but won't in Warlords. Since all tanks applied this debuff, it basically wasn't very meaningful, and instead monsters will simply be tuned to do less damage to compensate for its removal. What changes for players? Nothing. You won't apply the debuff, but you'll still use those abilities that did once apply it.

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

Submit your questions for the next WoW Source


Blizzard is getting ready to sit down with several lead designers to discuss class and PvP changes that will be happening in Warlords of Draenor. As part of that plan they want you to submit your questions over on their forums for the hosts.

Personally, I'm going to ask what they plan to do about increasing participation in PvP. It's something that I've been wondering for awhile and can't come up with a good answer to. I get that making things more accessible and have a smaller barrier to entry is going to be part of it, but I'm wondering what else.

Crithto's announcement of the question gathering is as follows. There is no date as to when the video will be released.

Crithto
Another WoW Source is on its way, and once again we're looking for your questions. This time around we're planning to feature Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut, Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, and Senior Game Designer Brian Holinka, along with host Morgan Webb. This time the interview will be geared towards discussing class and PvP changes coming in Warlords of Draenor. Just like last time, post questions you have for the developers in this thread, and feel free to use the "thumbs-up" Like button to let us know if you'd like to see someone else's question answered.

Your post may be featured on the next episode!


Filed under: News items

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

WoW Archivist: The battle for Hillsbrad

Fighting at TM
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Almost ten years later, people still talk about the Southshore versus Tarren Mill battles, the most infamous and celebrated world PvP in WoW history. They go on about how glorious it was, how they'd like to see that kind of intensity return to world PvP. It's not often, however, that they discuss the details.

If you want to know exactly what it was like to fight in those battles, keep reading. I lived it. My old tauren hunter still bears the scars. Pull up a bench and pour yourself a glass of ale. I will tell you about the war.

Why Hillsbrad?

Several places on Azeroth in classic WoW had two faction-specific towns in close proximity. You had Astranaar and Splintertree in Ashenvale. Arathi Highlands featured Refuge Pointe and Hammerfall. Theramore and Brackenwall squared off in Dustwallow Marsh. A few others had proximity also.

So why didn't any of these pairs become as legendary as Southshore and Tarren Mill? The fact is that battles did happen here -- some fairly major ones, too. World PvP ran rampant in the early days, even on PvE realms, and even before the honor system arrived to reward you for doing it.

Many raided faction villages for the simple joy of denying your enemy a stronghold, a questgiver, or a flight point. Such players sought out undefended towns, which these others often were, at least when you first struck.

Other players wanted resistance. They wanted to march forward as part of one vast army of players into an equally imposing force. They wanted the chaos, the rush, the endless bloodshed, the death cries of their foes echoing all around them. And they knew exactly one place you could find that experience, at virtually any hour of the day or night.

It had to be somewhere. Early forum threads began to buzz about such battles taking place. As word of mouth spread, more players wanted to make it happen on their own realm. It became the thing to do.

But why there?

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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

Watcher on health and healing changes in Warlords of Draenor

If you remember after the last Dev Watercooler, there was a flurry of activity on Twitter as Celestalon and Holinka answered questions. This time Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has taken to social media to answer questions and explain what's up. We're collecting his tweets here, to give folks a chance to see what he's got to say about the big changes coming to health and healing mechanics in Warlords. There's more after the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, News items, Monk, 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

Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka interviewed in Korea

Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka was interviewed in Seoul, Korea, as part of the Press Event that's taking place worldwide this week. The video is above, but some of the key points covered are below. These are in chronological order so it's easy for you to find more information on the video, rather than arranging them by topic:
  • Blizzard is not yet ready to talk timelines with Warlords beta, or release, but are happy with how things are progressing. It's on schedule.
  • The changes to PvP in Mists and Warlords have all been focused on improving PvP participation
  • One of the main reasons why Holinka is so active on Twitter is to be a point of contact for PvPers.
  • There will be a tutorial zone, as discussed at BlizzCon that is to provide a starter experience for all players going into Draenor. The option to use this as more of a tutorial will exist.
  • Garrisons will offer a lot of playability, and are continuing in development beyond 6.0 with potential new features. Garrison PvP is a potential example.

Read more →

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

WoW Archivist: The evolution of Alterac Valley

This edition of WoW Archivist was originally published July 13, 2012. Given the Alterac Valley terrain changes introduced in patch 5.4.2, we felt this piece of Warcraft history is worth another look.

WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

The battle was nearly won. Back and forth, a 16-hour war between the Frostwolf Clan and the Stormpike Expedition had ravaged this once-remote valley. Towers and strongholds had been put to the torch. Countless heroes on both sides had fallen to blade and blast. A rampaging troll king had been defeated. Air strikes had rained fire from the sky. Elementals had been summoned and vanquished.

At last, but not without heavy losses, the Frostwolf orcs and their allies had fought their way across the narrow bridge to assault the final bastion of the dwarves. All had sworn to see Vanndar Stormpike dead that day and the valley seized. They would kill him or die in the attempt.

The AV "zone"

The original version of Alterac Valley went live with patch 1.5. Along with Warsong Gulch, these two Battlegrounds were the very first ever added to WoW. Warsong Gulch was designed to be a more traditional PvP experience that anyone who had played Unreal Tournament or Halo could recognize. Some matches could last for a while, but the experience was meant to be a short-term PvP engagement.

Alterac Valley, in its first incarnation, was absolutely nothing like that. AV was not, in any modern sense of the word, a Battleground. AV was a zone.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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