Monday, August 17, 2015

PvP Changes in Legion

There are some very interesting changes coming for PvP in Legion:
  • No PvP-specific gear - Heh, I actually talked about this last year, and I'm amused to see that Blizzard is actually trying for it. PvP will reward gear, but it will be just like PvE gear.
  • Stats based on specialization - When you enter a PvP area, the stats from your gear are ignored. Instead you seem to get a set of stats based on your class specialization and item level. That template is common to everyone in your specialization. So if you have two Retribution paladins, one in Mastery gear and the other in Critical Strike gear, they will both have the same stats in PvP.  This allows you to just keep one set of gear on you at all times. This also gives Blizzard another knob they can tune which only affects PvP. For example, if Fire Mages are fine in PvE, but too weak in PvP, they can buff the Fire Mage PvP stat template.
  • Item level scaling is lower than PvE - In PvE, 15 ilevels correspond to about a 10% increase in power. In PvP, 15 ilevels will correspond to a much lower number, maybe 3% or so. So while improving your gear does make you better in PvP, it's a much smaller increase. The gap between high and low end will be much smaller.
  • Trinkets, set bonuses, and enchants do not work - Again, this eliminates much of the need to seek out specific pieces of gear.
  • PvP talent track - PvP has a separate talent track. As you earn "PvP XP", you advance along the talent track. You get what looks like passives and improved variants of abilities.
  • The talent track resets - Once you reach the end of the talent track, you can reset it, earning a cosmetic reward. I guess you can do this multiple times. Ideally, this means that people who PvP a lot don't have fixed advantage over other people. A full-time PvPer might actually be in the early part of track, working towards another cosmetic reward.
Overall, these changes look very interesting. A huge amount of experimentation, including a significantly reduced role of gear, something that PvPer's have been claiming they want for a long time.

There are some concerns of course. How will the talent track reset play with the serious PvPer crowd? If a maxxed talent track gives a significant advantage, wouldn't high-end PvPers be encouraged to avoid resetting it? That would probably make them unhappy, as they couldn't get any of the cosmetic rewards. Unless, of course, there are no rewards for getting a high rank or rating. But that seems just as weird.

How will Artifact Weapons interact with the PvP gear templates? Will your weapon become just a stat stick, or will it retain its power? How will that interact with your choices that you've made while leveling it?

Still, exciting times for PvP, and these changes should also make it a lot easier for PvE players to casually dip into PvP.


  1. I don't think the majority of hard core PvPers would care about cosmetic awards; they just want to win. There's only a certain subset of PvPers who would care about multiple cosmetic awards, so I suspect that will end up falling flat on it's face.

    Now, if they reset everyone's track for each new season, then it would make sense to reset your track right at the end of the season to get that cosmetic award.

    If Blizz is thinking that these changes will allow the average PvPer to have a better time competing with the hard core, I kind of doubt it. I think that the hard core will still chase the flavor of the month, but Blizz will be able to tune things faster.

    1. Your idea of resetting tracks at the start of each season is a good one.

      Another option might be resetting tracks for battlegrounds, but giving you a full track for Rated Arenas. So you have the track reset for the more casual PvP, but are at max power for competitive PvP.

  2. I like these changes, though they are probably too late for me.

    1. Yeah, I'm not sure if the changes are enough to pull lapsed members back. But I think they will do a good job at encouraging current primary-PvE players to dabble in PvP.

  3. These changes might actually get me back into PvP. For three expansions now I've considered doing it but I don't have the time or patience to be the punching bag while I grind out the current season's gear.

    That said, I wish they would drop the iLevel crap and just normalize PvP gear for once. It solves the "skill v. gear" problem in PvP and ensures that every new entrant has a fair show. Problem is as Redbeard said there are probably a lot of people who WANT that disparity because it benefits them.

    1. I think Blizzard just strongly believes that gear progression is necessary for this genre. They're willing to compromise and experiment with how much progression is necessary, but it's clear that they feel it *must* exist, that it can't be zero.

      Honestly, I can't say that they're wrong, though.

  4. These are actually some pretty great changes. Unfortunately there's no way to tell yet if the actual pace (currently too focused on cooldowns) and balance are gonna be any good. The devs will have more tools to tweak balance, but how well will they use these tools?

    I'm not worried about resetting talents as they're supposed to be pretty easy to level back up. Just make sure not to reset them if you're planning on playing arena that day.