Tobold's Blog
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Is WoW PvP still a game?

Some eye-opening insights on what it takes to reach rank 14, the highest honor rank in World of Warcraft PvP are described in a series of interwiews on NotAddicted
Frybread: How much effort does it take, really? From start to finish?
Medeve whispers: rank 4 - 14 took me about 5 months of finishing top 10 standing every week, usually top 6
Bosco whispers: like 5 months
Bosco whispers: i pugged for 3 of those
Frybread: How much would you play daily?
Medeve whispers: 14-15 hours average
Frybread: Did you put in any sleepless nights?
Bosco whispers: if you call 1-3 hours [of sleep] max then yeah i put in quite a bit.
5 months of 14 to 15 hours per day to reach rank 14? That is over 2,000 hours, four times more than it takes to level from 1 to 60 in PvE! No thanks, mate. The author thinks that the problem with this is decay, the stupid mechanism that if you don't do any PvP for a week you lose rank massively. But I say that the real problem is that the system is relative, not absolute. While in the PvE game you can exactly calculate how many rats you need to kill to go up one level, in the PvP game your rank depends on how much more you play than the other players on your server. Thus a few person without a job / school / life, who can play 15 hours a day set the barrier which you have to climb to reach the top.

Or you just have your account participate 24 hours a day in PvP, by paying a powerleveling service. Then 3 players from a third world economy will play on your account in shifts, doing PvP all the time until you get to rank 14. Cost to go from nothing to rank 14, according to this site, is $2,800, and the process takes 4 to 5 months. Of course during that time you can't access your account to play yourself, so as you live in a first world economy, you could use those 15 hours per day for 5 months do earn considerably more than $2,800, even if you just flip burgers or mow lawns. And you have the satisfaction that by employing people to play PvP for you 24 hours a day, it becomes even harder for other people on your server to reach the highest PvP rank.

Is that still a game?

I would say that both relative ranking and decay in World of Warcraft PvP have to go. Just create a fixed "PvP XP" curve, where you earn PvP XP for kills and for battleground victories, and you know exactly how many more PvP XP you need for the next level, and to reach the PvP level cap. Leveling your PvP rank up to the cap should not take more hours than leveling a character to the PvE level cap. And you should be able to do it over whatever period of time is convenient to you.

Unless WoW PvP is changed to a fixed points system, it remains just an oddity in the game. Everybody plays a couple of battleground and then most players just give up on it, because they can't compete with those who have nothing else to do. If you meet a High Warlord or Grand Marshall in WoW, you might want to express your compassion for the poor guy having wasted so much of his life for so little reward.
You are damn right. I love PVP much more than PVE because its more dynamically how you have to play your character, you newer know what your opponent will do next, you just can guess it. Also I'd like to say "I have a Rank-14 Set and Weapons", but with this effort of time I'll never say that. I'm living in the first economy world, and I have a fulltime job. And a girlfriend on weekends.
It's a system designed by a masochist.

But isn't it just a mirror of the PvE end-game? What kind of hours do the Rank 14 equivalent raiding guilds put into the game, those that are the first or among the first to kill X across all servers? Their rank decays too, as do the lesser ranks of other raiders. Content is added to make their equipment and achiements no longer the best and highest possible. Tier 2 makes Tier 1 a lower rank mark of success; Nefarion makes the killing of Ragnaros a lesser achievement.

The real difference, other than degree of grind, is that Blizzard doesn't have to put much effort into Battlegrounds compared to the huge amount of work they invest in keeping the Rank 14 PvE players grinding away.
I do not have a problem with the insane grind that is rank14, at least there is something special in this game. You are not special in full AQ gear anymore, but rank14 is still something to get noticed for. I do hope they keep not-so-healthy grind with 1.12. What just can not be accepted are things like the introduction of new/better PvP rewards wich let former rank 14s bend over once more.

What i liked to see though, is something more reliable and linear. A 3rd and more steady progression path in PvP, wich will not come of course. Even if i want to progress in pvp, there are no rewards for camping the queues on my server. So lets speculate what they about to change? Get rid of the decay as the most obvious and easy fix?

They already have a linear pvp progression in the game: reputation. Even this is not worth consideration, cause i do not wait more than 1 hour to play every one of the 500 matches, it takes to get the candy. My idea is to fix the reputation path. They should give out a variable value of reputation per win. A servers with less pvp activity should get more rep-points than a server with more pvp gaming. They could easily calculate, that it should take x-number of month of pvp grinding to max the faction, no matter what server you play. This would be a huge step foward, cause right now the server paces my pvp progress on this path.
I think PvP generally in the game is messed up, whenever someone posts a video they have made it is of them wearing full tier1/2 gear and an epic weapon (sometimes even a legendary). All they tend to show is them getting stupidly high critical hits where it should be them outsmarting their enemy.

I have high hopes for WAR, I hope they don't mess it up somewhere along the line.
"Just create a fixed "PvP XP" curve, where you earn PvP XP for kills and for battleground victories, and you know exactly how many more PvP XP you need for the next level, and to reach the PvP level cap. Leveling your PvP rank up to the cap should not take more hours than leveling a character to the PvE level cap. And you should be able to do it over whatever period of time is convenient to you."

You've sort of just described what Dark Age of Camelot did with it's Realm Ranks, etc. Which is not terribly suprising since despite other problems the game had/has, it's still known as a PvP-centric game.

I agree with you in general about both the PvP and the Raiding so called "High End" or "End Game". Both are insanely time-intensive persuits of the "big shiney", that aren't really that interesting. I guess this is fine for someone who has all that spare time, but are the majority of WoW players actually in that catagory? I seem to know a lot of people who aren't, but maybe that's just me.

It seems to me that, besides the Blizzard name, WoW is so popular because of the quest-driven content and character progression. Sure other games previous and competitors had quests, but still the character progression in those games were not centered around quest-driven content quite like WoW is.

That's why I agree with folks who say that there's a disconnect for many people between the 1-59 game and what you do once you've hit 60. I'd also say that's why I see most folks repeating the 1-59 game over again with an alt...which explains why you see newbie level blues and other stuff for some insane prices in the Auction House. The bored level 60's can get that much gold for their alts.
I would say raiding requires less hours than PvP. I know a lot of uber guilds raiding every night for 4 to 6 hours, but that is still a lot less than 14 to 15 hours every day. And the amount of epics you get during 5 months of raiding easily beats the High Warlord PvP epics reward.

But you are right to identify both as "endgame" activities, where you have to put in considerably more effort than during the main game leveling period to see any advancement. It is a crutch the game uses to avoid having to tell people that they reached the end of the game and there is nothing left to do until the expansion comes out.
My brother-in-law has a job, and a life, kids and a wife. He puts in approx. 4 hours of PvP a night and several more hours on the weekend. He's hoping he can just hit Rank 10 but he knows he has a HUGE grind ahead of him.

I'd like to hit Rank 5, but only because "Sergeant Major" fits very well with my main's name. The best I've done with casual PvP was Rank 3. Sergeant Major seems achievable if I want to do nothing but PvP for several weeks. But I also want to grind for the Darkmoon Faire amulet and get my RFK Boar up to 60. Yes, my Main is a Dwarven Hunter ;)
Mabye it takes so long because the honour cap is already set by other players, basically the time it takes to reach the highest rank depends on the competition of the other players and this is no responsibility of Blizzard?
Yes, the amount of honor you need depends on the other players. But why would that make Blizzard less responsible?

Imagine PvE would be done the same way: You gain xp, but no levels during the week, and at the end of the week your xp relative to that of the other players would determine whether and by how much you level up. If you played much less than the average, you'd even lose levels. Such a horrible design would destroy the game, and it is thanks to Blizzard that we have a much better PvE advancement system.

So why not have an absolute honor point and rank system in PvP, the same way that we have an absolute xp and level system in PvE?
This PvP system totally doesn't make any sense. Say if you do not gain a rank in a given week Blizzard can simply reply that there were other players who performed much better than you therefore you did not gain a rank. So the end result is people head banging against each other in the race while Blizzard rakes in the cash. This is all a business move for a higher revenue. The system does not reward skill but only time spent, and time = more monthly revenue for them. World of Warcraft is an absolutely great game, I just hoped that it doesn't have to be like this. I wished it was something better.
Here is the issue. PvP is inherently cutthroat competition. In something that is so competitive, it seems ridiculous that 80% of all players can reach the highest and most elite ranking of PvP. While I do believe that the sheer magnitude of grinding required to get to the highest levels is ridiculous, I feel that some sort of curve is necessary... I quote the Blizz website: "We are also aware that it breaks the sense of immersion in the game to have a top heavy system with more higher-ranked players than lower-ranked ones. The system is thus designed so that most players will be settled into the "enlisted" ranks, while each successively higher rank will be populated by fewer and fewer players. The highest rank of 14, for example, will only be occupied by the top 0.1 percent of players (one in every one-thousand characters). You'll need to fight furiously and honorably to climb up the ranks of our PvP system and keep it up to stay there." They haven't abandoned the PvP system, they simply want to cull out the casual PvPers from the hardcore. Although the current requirements for being hardcore are ridiculous, this type of system is necessary so that anything above Rank 8 or 9 is still quite respectable.
I see everyone complaining about how difficut the pvp grind is, but I think everyone's missing the point. It's supposed to be hard. How many people do you know with epic gear from molten core? Probably most people who play wow. How many with rank 14? Just a few. If you make the grind from rank 1 to rank 14 no harder than the grind from level 1 to 60, it would completely trivialize the pvp system. No one would even attempt doing pve dungeons, at least until after they've reached grnd marshal or high warlord.

I hate to say it, but I think the pvp system is good as is.
My friend has been playing non stop and only sleeps during Q's and server shutdowns the past 3months hes been playing 20hrs a day and is currently in 3rd place he has alot of character skill and is an awesome PVPer but at the moment he stil has to play 20hrs a week with no sleep just to retain 3rd place in tha honor ranking system and he wont stop until he hits High Warlord which he is sure that in 3 more weeks of this he wil hit it, something is wrong with this game.
wow sux. blizzard's design rewards time over skill which sux. leveling with friends is fun but the rest is ridiculous. wait for darkfallonline which is ACTUAL pvp.
What is wrong is that skill isn't rewarded, time is. I propose a simple rule change: You can only gain honor points on a single character for 4 hours per day, afterwards you just don't earn anything any more.

Then let everybody play 4 hours of PvP per day, and let the best man raise to the top of the ranks. But as it is now, if you're the worlds best PvP player and you play 4 hours, and some no-life who doesn't know how to play is doing 14 hours of PvP, you're going to lose rank. Skill isn't rewarded, winning isn't rewarded, outplaying the enemy isn't rewarded, just clocking hours gets you rank.
what is there besides time to slow the pace of mmorg grinders? if Bliz decides there needs to be a bell curve of player population in the pvp ranking system, then the only real qualifier they can use is time spent playing.

yes, good gear, teamwork, and skill are in play blah blah...but it is time that really dictates who is at the top of the first page of rankings each week.

pve proves this point. the high end content there is limited only by difficulty and the number of players it takes to do the dungeons. rare loot keeps people coming back to the system, yet as has been said here, there are way more epic pve outfits running around than rank 14.

if not time, then what? the only other option is a glut of maxed out players all wearing the same best gear. failed games like SWG prove that is a system that does not work.
I'm currently grinding away the BG path and I have to agree the Honor system is broken. While I do think something needs to be fixed I really don't think Blizzard will do anything about it. The only way Blizzard will actually listen and fix the system if all the casual players who plays BG not pay for a month in protest. Now I'm sure not all casual players don't play BG but I'm sure a substanial number do. As far as what I think could fix the BG Honor system is to have fixed set of points from Rank 1 - 14. Now to get those points there is a time limit on how many hours you play on the BGs. I would say a good limit would be 40 hours. Now how the hours are added up doesn't matter. A person can play 5 days at 8 hours a day can do it or a person can play 2 days at 20 hours. That way it evens the playing field between the hardcore and the casuals.
Bottom line, this is more for the achievement whores than anyone else. Who base their self worth on pointless things like PvP rank. And at that point, no, it's not a game. It's a job.

Also, this type of thing can be seen in a broader application on MySpace. People judge their own self worth by how many friends they have, and how many times they appear in friend's Top 8 (or whatever it is these days).

Bottom line, it's an obsession, and a sickness. For gods sake people, it's a fucking GAME. Your minor achievements in a virtual universe mean absolutely nothing in the real world. Get over yourself, and please, get a life.
The PvP system is *NOT* good at all. Requiring players to constantly play anywhere over 4 hours is insanity. Don't even try to compare the time spent in MC/BWL or any instance for that matter. These instances can be cleared under 3 hours once you know all the encounters. But PvP is different, you'd have to constantly PvP to stay ahead. I'm talking about spending anywhere like 12 hours or more a day just to pure PvP. Ask anyone who made Warlords and Field Marshals and above, they will tell you all about it.
I place most of the blame on the players. People complain endlessly about the system, but read the above stories.. People complain, but STILL spend endless hours grinding away! Much of the playerbase are like "cutters" that are continously stabbing themselves and saying "OUCH THAT HURTS!", but keep on going.

I do belive Blizzard is steering the game in the wrong direction. What attracted "millions" of users was the content and casual friendly play. I feel if they keep this up, they will end up losing those players to other games that will have recreated their initial winning formula. Then Blizzard will be left with the mmocrackaddicts which is about %5 of their current playerbase, then the PurplePeopleEaters will be left to fight it out and grind away at the "new" and "orginal" Tier 5, 6, 7, ... Rank 14, 15, 16 ... gear.
I totally agree with previous poster. If you are spending the amount of time required to grind to Rank 14 as others have described. You need to seek help! It is a "Game".

If you are spending more time playing WOW, than you invest in Job, Relationships, etc. You need to throw your computer in the trash!
Like the above poster has said. Most of responsibility can be placed on player competition. But it is the Blizzards' fault for creating such a ridiculous system in the first place. Some people choose to PvP as an alternative to raiding due to different reasons. But it requires far more time in PvP to obtain gears anywhere close to raiding. In many cases, inferior to gears obtainable through raiding.
My solution to the problem is just make casual realms. Basically you put everything on easy mode, the raids and pvp rank alike. But your only allowed to play your character 3-4 hours a day, then you get booted off the server. The casual's would be happy, and able to expirence end game content. The only problem is you would only be allowed one casual character per account, because other wise the hardcore's would abuse it and have 15 characters epiced out in tier 3.
i disagree. i think rank 14 is where it should be. its not for everyone to get, just as legendary items arent something everyone should get. im a casual gamer, but im not pissy that i wont get 14 and wont have any legendary items, because i dont put in as much effort as those that do, and it wouldnt be fair.
I was in the Wetlands the other day and at the flight path there was a lvl 60 Druid. I checked out his gear. He had the epic PvP gear and weapon. When I saw that all I could think was... wow. (For the sake of simplicity I will say he even though it might have been a she) He put in his time and dedicated his life and he got the rank. If there was a set PvP XP then everyone would be rank 14. There would be point to it other than just being one more thing that you can grind up to? There are enough things in this game to grind up to. Grind up to 60. Grind up your rep with all the other factions. Grind all the high level instances with your guild so you can get all the epic sets and weapons. These are things that anybody can do. It may take some longer than others but nobody is left out. PvP rank is the only thing in the game based on pride. If you’re a grand marshal or a warlord what your saying is "I wanted this so bad that I was willing to throw months of my life away." You don't have to do it. You don't miss anything if you don't. You don't get access to anything that you can't get somewhere else. The epic armor is arguably better than tear 1 depending on how you spec your character but I think most tear 2 sets blow it away. There are better weapons out there than the rank 14 ones. You don't get access to new recipes like you do with rep. You can still buy an elite mount if you don't make commander or whatever the horde rank for commander is. The most important thing though, is your rank doesn’t effect how you PvP. A lvl 60 private could still take a lvl 60 warlord or a lvl 60 grunt could take a lvl 60 grand marshal. As long as you have good gear which as I pointed out is available elsewhere then you can PvP and you can win, you’ll just never make it to the same rank as the person that puts in the time. The problem isn’t with the PvP system. It’s with everyone wanted to be thought of as the best. It’s the “my mom says I’m special” factor. The fact of the matter is that not everyone can be whatever they want. Not everyone can be the best. Would an Olympic gold metal mean everything if everyone could eventually earn one without putting in the constant non stop training required to get one? No. Everyone would have one and so they would be meaningless. Thank you Blizzard for making PvP rank something that you can take pride in having. Even if it does mean that you don’t have a life. This concludes my rant. Thank you for listening.
i'm not shure, but i play about 15 to 20 h a week. And after a few weeks i have rank 8, only doing AB. Think about 30 to 40 battles a week. It's not only the kills that count but also iff you win the battle that counts. So for now every week or 2, i take a new rank.....
You people want free handouts. You are fighting to be in the TOP .1%. How can you not understand that you have to play harder then the other 99.9% to get rank 14?

Requiring players to constantly play anywhere over 4 hours is insanity.

No one is requiring anything. You don't NEED rank 14. If it is too hard for you DON'T do it. Meanwhile, why don't your realize it depends on the player population? It only takes that much effort if everyone is playing that hard.

Everyone would benefit, if the people that hit Rank 14 would go on a civilian killing spree to drop them after buying all of the rank rewards. That way it is easier for everyone else to rise. Also, everyone should create the max number of characters so the number of people that can exist in the higher ranks is larger.

Sorry not everyone can win a gold medal. Deal with it. Cry more.
Sorry not everyone can win a gold medal. Deal with it. Cry more.

I don't know where this stupid gold medal argument comes from. In the Olympics you win a gold medal for being *better* than the competition. In WoW PvP you win rank 14 by playing *longer* than the competition. Even if the other players are all much better players than you, as long as you are able to spend 14 hours per day doing PvP and the others only half that, you are going to outrank them.

Rank 14 is not a gold medal, it is a badge proving that you have no life.
The problem lies with both the system and the players. The system probably seemed well-thought out and planned at the time of inception, but of course, human players will be human players, and they've found a way to exploit the weaknesses. Meaning, even those who aren't good at PvP can shoot up the ranks simply by investing their time (read: or lack of social life) into it. I'm ot against it. I'm a Commander myself. But I think the amount effort I've put into it has been a little much. I see people in BG all the time simply standing around and "farming" honor, not caring if they win or lose because in the end, they get honor anyway. I check the website and sure enough, they're in the top 10 or 5. And after 3 weeks I've never seen them even look at a horde player.

As was mentioned before, most of the time, it's not how "good" you are at PvP that rockets you up ranks, but how much time you spend. Which doesn't seem to "honorable" at all. So why should you reap the rewards.

I saw a good idea further up the page saying how there should be a time-cap per week to gain honor. And I think that's a fantastic idea. There would be no farming, because you couldn't afford to waste your time taking a chance at losing. And those who aren't good at PvPing would rightfully not make as much honor points as those who win. Winners get more, losers get less. And the cheaters don't get anything.

The system needs to be fixed, no doubt. You could say that getting to rank 14 SHOULD be near impossible because it proves your dedication and focus and talent in the game. And that would be nice if it were true. Sometimes it is, but half the time, its' not. Blizzard needs to tweak it, force players to change, and then we can rant about new problems a few months from now. =)
Thats stupid, man.

Dude, its Rank 14! Its supposed to be heaven, so let it be hard as hell to get it. You have a pretty good equip by making rank 10.

Other than that, playing 24 hours a day doesn't do you any good. You need teamspeak, a pool of good people, and you will do more honor in a few hours than a chinese in random (non grouped) bg. Randoms go for 30 minutes, and you have a 40 % chance on winning (since the opposite side has good groups too, not just random). With a good group, you usually do 5 minute games - for about 1800 honor. Thats about 200'000 Honor in 10 hours. Try doing that with 24h gaming..

After a while, people will undress and dance when they see its your group. So thats quite cool. Of course, some will challenge you, and then you need to be ready.

People saying it requires time, not skill, simply haven't tried.

Good luck..
People saying it requires time, not skill, simply haven't tried.

It may take some skill, but...

You can be the most skilled PVPer in the game and if you don't have tons of time to waste you will not hit rank 14. Because those lesser skilled players will be logged on when you aren't.

All aspects of WoW reward you more for time played not skill. Not just PvP, PvE too.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, it is just the way it is.
My two cents..

Lets say a person grinds the ungodly hours to achieve rank 14. Right behind him are others that are also grinding the insane hours to achieve rank 14. It is my belief that once you reach rank 14, your need to pvp for 20+ hours a day is no longer needed; you have already achieved the max rank and are allowed to purchase the best pvp gear available. Though the rank 14 may still hang out in the battlegrounds, his/her need to clock in the +20 hours daily is no longer required. Thus, their rating will decay, and allow the lesser ranks to move up.

For the most part, I believe people want to obtain rank 14 for the gear, not for the rank that is shown on your name or to see yourself on the top 10 list of your server. And if you continue to grind the 20+ hours to maintain the rank 14 when there are no further rewards, you are just silly. I doubt many people would do it.

I could care less if my rank dropped to Rank 1 if I was previously rank 14 and already had the gear to show for it. This opens up the floor to the next in line for rank 14.

Not everyone is a +20 hour grinder, though there may be quite a bit on your server, eventually they will get their rank 14 to leave the floor open to the less intense players.

Those less intense players, are now competing with the other less intense players, you would still need to push harder than them to get your rank 14 before they do.
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