Wednesday, November 29, 2006
World of Warcraft PvP v2.0 - New honor and arena system
Found a very informative post on PvP rewards in v2.0. Two important quotes:
1) Entire epic set is 95,500 pts plus 80 AB marks, 50 AV marks & 30 WSG marks.
2) The rough rule that we're using is "10% the honor you used to get." So, think like 500-1000 honor an hour depending on how you play.
You know me, given the data I can't resist doing the math. Especially since this one is so easy: You can get the entire epic set by doing between 100 and 200 hours of PvP in battlegrounds. That is the level 60 PvP reward epic set you previously needed to be rank 13 to get. Now 200 hours is non an insignificant amount of time, but it is *much* less than what you would have previously needed to reach rank 13 and get the same rewards.
So this is my take on the new PvP v2.0 system, as I understand it: There is a non-competitive and a competitive part. I call the battlegrounds and overland PvP part "non-competitive", although it obviously still involves killing other players. But although it is PvP, it works a lot like PvE: your skill only affects the rate at which you earn rewards. A highly skilled player might need only half the time of a player with very little PvP skill to achieve the same reward, but eventually everybody gets there.
The big flaw of PvP v1.0 was that you competed against *your own* faction more than you competed against the people you were killing. If you were the world's most skilled PvP player, with a perfect team that won every battleground, but Real Life ® limited you to playing 4 hours every evening, you would never reach rank 14, because somebody much less skilled than you who played 14 hours a day would gain more honor, and push you down in the relative ranking. If the perfect PvP player with the same 4-hour schedule and the bad-PvP no-lifer with the 14-hour PvP schedule do battlegrounds in PvP 2.0, the no-lifer still gets his complete epic set in less days. But at least the perfect PvP player can get the same reward, and has the satisfaction of getting there in less hours, even if these hours are stretched over a larger amount of days. This is a lot more fair than the previous version.
And then there is the competitive part: arena combat, where if I understood the system correctly, skill counts for more than time spent. Apparently it works a bit like the ELO system in chess: you start with a base rating, and every win increases that rating, while every loss pushes it down. Winning against somebody weaker is worth less points than winning against somebody stronger, but winning will never lose you points, and losing will never win you points. So this is really "competitive" PvP. And the factions, Alliance and Horde, are not involved in arena combat. You can end up fighting against teams from your own side. Pairing is done on a rating basis, the system will try to pair you against an equally strong opponent. But if there is nobody equally strong, the longer you wait in the queue, the wider the rating difference becomes against who you could be paired.
More info on arena combat here. You need to play at least 10 games to get rewards, and you need to participate in at least 30% of the games your team plays. At team can have up to twice as many members as needed, so your team for 2v2 arena fights can have between 2 and 4 players. You can be in one team of every format (2v2, 3v3 and 5v5) at once, and at equal performance the bigger teams will get more arena reward points. Even if you don't play very well, you still will get some arena points, but the difference in the amount of points that the winners will get compared with the losers is a lot wider than in the battleground system. You can't "grind" the arena, because playing 100 games with a 50:50 win:lose ratio is worth exactly the same amount of points than playing 10 games with a 5:5 win:lose ratio. Actually if your team has done 10 arena battles and won them all, it would be hard to gain any more points, unless you count on being paired against better teams and still winning, which would give you more points than just winning against 10 low ranking teams. While the points are given out every week, it seems the arena teams stay together and keep their ranking. They will need to do another 10 games next week to get more points, but starting from an already higher ranking. On the one side such teams have an advantage, starting the week already higher rated. On the other side, if the pairing system works well, these teams will be paired against other high-ranking teams, which makes winning more difficult.
Ideally this will allow "casual" PvP teams to also have some fun and get some arena rewards. They will be crushed by better teams, but then they are ranked lower, and will be paired against other casual PvP players. But that is the *ideal* situation. Now I happen to have played Magic the Gathering Online for years, which has a ladder system for leagues, and I can tell you that pairing is never easy. It is a compromise between how long you want people to have to wait for the start of a game, and how close you want them to be in ranking. If only the best and the worst team are waiting to enter the arena, sooner or later they will be paired against each other, which isn't much fun for either of them. The better team will complain that their win only gave them minimal ranking points, and the bad team will be depressed that they didn't stand a chance.
But if you are a so casual PvP player that you can't show up regularly for a team, arena is not for you. You can still do battlegrounds, and unlike the previous system you won't be penalized for doing PvP only occasionally. And there is a chance that in the battlegrounds you will be paired against the infamous pre-made expert PvP teams less often. After a month or two, a very good PvP team will have achieved all possible battleground rewards, and only the arena will provide even better rewards. So the concentration of casual players in the battlegrounds should be much higher than in the arenas.
I really like these changes a lot. I don't think they will turn me into a hardcore PvP arena champion. But at least I'm more tempted to participate in casual PvP, knowing that I will eventually earn some nice rewards, even if I'm not doing it very seriously. And the people who claimed to be the best PvP players will have an opportunity to prove it in the arenas, where their skill is really going to be measured. Just grinding PvP will only work in the battlegrounds, while in the arena you really need to be good to win and get ranked high.