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An Earthbound Perspective

Practical perspective on MMO play and practice.

Author: Dengar

World of Warcraft PvP Changes- Less Ladder, More Casual?

Posted by Dengar Monday November 21 2011 at 1:03PM
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World of Warcraft's developers just dropped a bit of a bombshell on the pvp community recently:

In patch 4.3 we’re changing the daily battleground (BG) to reward 100 conquest for a win (up from 25). In addition, every non-rated BG that you win will also give you 50 conquest. There is no limit to how many BGs you can run this way, up to the normal conquest cap.

What does this mean, exactly? That casual pvpers are closing the gap even faster. Currently, in order to get nearly the best pvp gear, players are forced to compete in WoW's ladder matches- arenas and rated battlegrounds. Very often, WoW players will see (or will be asking) in trade "LF arena partner, just for points, PST." The community at large is not one you'd expect to be interested in ladder matches. WoW players are usually described as the lowest of the low in terms of gamers since there's a stereo-type that those who play the game simply log in, roll their face across the key-board, and get good items. It's vaguely true, but slightly overblown- we've all met WoW players who fit the description, but many of us have, at the very least, tried WoW. It isn't a complete cake walk, but the ideas and mechanics, while interesting, are often nerfed into nothingness to allow a greater pool of people to experience the game's content, which makes sense from a business stand point (and it can be pretty fun, the first time you go through it).

However, WoW's pvp gameplay has been... problematic. The game's core audience finds raids difficult because movement isn't something they're usually used to (why else is it used to make most encounters difficult?), which is what PvP is all about- being in a better position than the enemy. Yes, being a living, breathing person helps a lot too, but unlike mobs, players are focusing on moving so that they are hitting their enemy while their opponent is not. Dealing with a player is far more difficult than beating a raid boss set-up (and eventually nerfed) to lose, and for the casual player base, they can't be bother with "tactics" or "strategies" that need to update on the fly. The only way to get WoW players to do something that requires skill or coordination has been giving more people rewards- gear, titles, and mounts. This was even Blizzard's solution when rated battlegrounds flopped: forced RBGs in order to get gear (arenas alone were not giving the full weekly currency), added titles, and added mounts.

But things have changed. WoW's trying to go with a broader audience, and part of that is allowing the casual players to get the gear, at least, more easily. This may also help bolster their plan at renewing world pvp:


At Blizzcon Tom Chilton mentioned possible incentives for raiding enemy towns to encourage world PVP in mists, can Greg or Cory elaborate on this at all?
In regards to extra rewards for world pvp, we are contemplating the idea of increasing players' conquest point caps by an extra 10-15%.

Combined with this suggestion, casual players may have a way at getting the gear in a way on-par with the elites, save for their ability to get titles and mounts, which makes sense.

The problem I see is that the pvp as a whole isn't being addressed. World pvp today in WoW feels hollow, and if we've learned anything from Rift, which seems ahead of WoW these days, what the game needs is meaningful pvp. If one side dominates the other, players have to pay to change, unlike in Rift (and even then, when transfers were shut down, the problem started to reflect WoW's issue). There's no third faction to help keep the balance. The only reason to pvp is for gear. In other games, such as Darkfall, the same can be argued (you get a town because it gives you access to resources, which makes getting gear easier), but city owners in Darkfall also fight for their property. They're, literally, invested in the game world. WoW's change to help casuals is nice, but once again Blizzard fails to address the main point: the pvp doesn't matter. It's fun, but at the end of the day, there's little to lose or gain. It's good for the FPS crowd, who simply want to get in and get out with some quick, fun games, but don't we play MMOs for their persistent nature? If what I did last month doesn't mean much, why do it today?