Monday, December 11, 2006
Honor points gone crazy
I just did two hours of PvP yesterday, because besides the frequent lag in the battlegrounds in these two hours Blizzard had to reset the battlegrounds twice, kicking everybody out in the middle of their battles. As I was on the winning side in both of these battles, getting kicked out robbed me of my reward. You should have heard the choice language about Blizzard that could be heard in the warrior's hall in Orgrimmar to which all the battleground players got kicked. It seems periodically resetting all battlegrounds, unanounced, is Blizzard's "solution" to people getting stuck there.
I didn't play in the afternoon, but apparently my guild tried to raid and found that the raid instances were similarly laggy and unstable, and they had to cancel the raid. World of Warcraft is not in a good state at the moment. But while not being able to play, I had more time to think. And I started wondering how exactly the honor points are calculated. Because there are some rather weird things going on around the way you acquire honor points.
The first curious thing is that you don't get your honor points immediately. Instead you get an "estimate", which tends to be far too low, and then get your real honor points the next day. Imagine experience points worked that way! "We estimate you have gained experience for two more levels today, but come back tomorrow for the exact value and the actual reward." I wondered, if honor points are given out on an absolute scale now, why would it take one day to calculate the honor points? It's better than the previous once-a-week calculation, but still not very logical.
The other curious fact is that whenever you take part in a honorable kill, you get the same on-screen message as before, showing the rank of the player you killed. So you see the golden military rank symbol and a message like "HK Sergeant", just like you did before the patch. That suggests that the points awarded are still depending on the PvP rank of your opponent.
So I did a bit of research, and my fears were confirmed by a "blue name" on the official World of Warcraft forums: "Honor is given at different amounts depending on the opponent you defeat. Doing those calculations on the fly would be extremely taxing on the realms if they attempted to calculate everyone being killed and how everyone involved got parsed out honor and in what amounts. If we are ever able to get to the point where the calculations are able to be done live we would certainly do so."
While that explains why it takes a day to calculate honor, and confirms that honor points gained per honorable kill are still depending on your opponents rank, this confimation opens up a whole new can of worms: How can you have a PvP reward system in which the points depend on the PvP rank of your opponent, but there is no more way of earning or losing rank? Somebody who only started PvP after the patch and now plays PvP all the time will soon be as skilled and well equipped as somebody who did his PvP before the patch. But he will be worth very little honor points to his opponents, because his rank will never go up from 0. The longer this system is in place, the more illogical it gets. If this continues, in a year on the battlegrounds players will actively hunt down the few remaining characters with a PvP rank, because they are the only ones being worth decent points. We are playing PvP in a league in which all the ranks are frozen, but rewards are still given out according to that rank. Totally crazy!