Blizzard announced that they would drop rating requirements on PvP. Instead, there is a point "threshold" for the best gear and weapons:
Gear will be available in four tiers:Blizzard is not dropping rating entirely. It will still be used to matchmake, and will govern the maximum amount of points you can earn each week.
- Dreadful Gladiator’s gear will be crafted. (5.2)
- Malevolent Gladiator’s gear, including weapons, will be purchased with Honor Points. (5.2)
- New tier of PvP items: Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear will be purchased with Conquest Points. (5.2)
- Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear can be purchased for Honor after 27,000 Conquest Points are earned for the season. (5.3)
- Elite Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear can only be purchased with Conquest Points after 27,000 Conquest Points have been earned for the season. (5.2)
- Conquest Point weapons can only be purchased after 7,250 Conquest Points have been earned for the season. (5.2)
This is an excellent change, in my view. It encourages everyone to cap out on Conquest Points each week. Good teams will still earn gear faster, but all teams have the possibility of getting the best gear. It's unlikely that a poor team will be able earn very much Elite Tyrannical gear, but it's better than having it out of reach forever.
However, the caps on Conquest will prevent people from playing 24/7, like in the High Warlord system. There's also a catch-up mechanism that increases the caps as the season goes on for people who haven't earned a lot of Conquest (either because they have lower ratings, or because they were not playing.)
It's interesting how the pendulum swings. In the old High Warlord system, the problem was that people played too much, and that weaker players were completely shut out by time requirements. In the second iteration, where your rating determined how many points you earned, the problem was that people played too little, and that weaker players were completely shut out by the skill requirements. The third iteration pushed people to play more with conquest caps, but rating requirements still locked people out of gear progression.
This new system tries to split the difference, pushing people to play for a medium amount, while leaving weaker players with an upgrade path all the way to the best gear. I think this looks like a solid system, so kudos to the Blizzard PvP team.