Wednesday, December 06, 2017

World PvP in Battle for Azeroth

One of the most interesting elements in Battle of Azeroth is that Blizzard is doing away with PvP and PvE rulesets for different servers. Instead, any character on any server will be able to flag or unflag PvP in a major city. Then when they go out into the world, they will be (seamlessly) put into a cross-realm zone where everyone has the same PvP state.

This is a really interesting way to handle PvP. Limiting changing state to major cities encourages people to try out world PvP. If they decide it's not for them, it's fairly painless to switch back.

There are also lots of interesting things Blizzard can do with this system. For example, they could ensure that each PvP cross-realm zone is balanced between Horde and Alliance. It won't be like modern PvP servers where one faction outnumbers the other ten-fold.

Blizzard could also eliminate ganking entirely. Simply put the max level players into a different cross-realm zone than the lower level players. Absolutely unfair fights simply can't happen without the players forcing it through grouping shenanigans.

About the only major loss I can see is that PvP fights at raid entrances will probably go away. It would be very likely that a group intent on raiding will unflag before heading over to the instance.

All in all, I think Blizzard's plan for PvP is a good one, and it will be very interesting to see how it plays out.


  1. While I think the new idea is great, I'll be sad that PvE players won't have the chance to "jump in" on an open world PvP battle. A flagged PvP player can walk up to a PvE player and flaunt their vulnerable status. The PvE player then has the opportunity of getting the first strike, and the PvP flagged player can remind players who are getting bored with questing/dungeoning/raiding that there lies an entire new experience that they have forgotten even existed. A PvE flagged player can happen upon a PvP skirmish and decide to help out. Both of these methods can get players who would otherwise only ever PvE, involved in trying out the PvP side of the game.

    If a PvE players is only ever matched with PvE players, then really the only way that they will ever see PvP is if they accidentally open the battleground/arena tab, and they may be too intimidated by thought of having to alt+tab out of the game to research "how to PvP in WoW" or battleground/arena strategies, and just ignore it. Open world PvP offers players a way to jump in without having to worry about any of that.

    1. While I suppose that's true, it also seems like an exceeding rare case to me. It could have only ever happened on a PvE server. To be honest, on modern PvE servers, most people don't even make a token defense against people attacking faction leaders or NPC outposts.

  2. I'm surprised there wasn't more outrage over this announcement. Only one YouTuber I watch expressed what I was basically thinking: That they are basically abolishing PvP servers and turning everything PvE. After all, being able to choose in advance whether you want to engage in world PvP or not is the core idea of PvE servers.

    OK, so it won't be exactly the same because a bigger pool of PvPers will be funnelled together, but I'm dubious whether it will be a lasting success. After all, world PvP isn't about seeking out fair fights.

    SWTOR implemented something similar some time ago, getting rid of PvP servers and implementing PvP instances instead. They are mostly empty except for people wanting to do dailies with less competition. But who knows, maybe WoW's playerbase will be better at maintaining its bloodthirst.

    1. Well, we will see. If world PvP isn't about seeking fair fights, maybe it is better to let world PvP die. I don't see an purpose in encouraging people to gank lowbies or whatever.

      I think Blizzard will have to add a small incentive to world PvP (that isn't available in instanced PvP). Maybe a bounty or similar system with rewards or titles that you get for killing enemy players while flagged (and not in a raid).

      I think something like that might be enough to encourage people to flag up before going out and doing dailies or whatever.

    2. Blizzard stated that flagged players will get more rewards than unflagged for the same activities (e.g. more experience for leveling quests, more currency for world quests) as a reward for taking the risk.

    3. Shintar, I thought of SWTOR as well with their world PvP implementation, but it also needs be said that WoW is doubling down on the Horde vs. Alliance conflict, so I'd expect them to really hype up the PvP angle this expac.

      Of course, I'm not sure why they think this is a good idea, since the majority of WoW blogs I've read aren't too happy with this direction for the game.

    4. souldrinker, that's interesting point. Though personally, I don't think "more" really works as an incentive, when the other path is safer. I think that the only incentive that really works is something unique.

  3. "PvP" at raid instance entrance is simply ganking raiders.

    1. Not really. All players at the raid instance are max-level. They're all raiders, so they have good gear. And, since they are in a raid at that very moment, they all have allies to come help (including healers).

      It's about as fair a fight as is possible to find in World PvP.

  4. There are player who play on a PvP server because of their friends but who despise PvP servers. These will switch to PvE servers and never look back.

    There are player who play on a PvE server because of their friends who would prefer to play on a PvP server, they might switch PvP on from time to time.

    Regardless of the numbers of players that "change sides", the PvP zone will become more hardcore. It will contain more hunters per prey - which will reduce the fun of both, hunters and prey.

    In the end more and more player will switch to PvE from time to time "because I had a bad day and just want to quest in piece", "because I'm short on time and just want to finish my daily", etc. Then, they might leave that on because "hey, PvE isn't that bad. At least I won't get killed while questing."

    It starts a spiral where more and more prey either leaves or migrates to hunter until the PvP zone is reduced to the most hardcore, organized PvP players. They might like it but it'll be a far stretch from old world PvP.

    The next step is Blizzard doing the same thing they always do when they fuck something up, they will "force" people into the PvP zone with rewards: higher item level for world events, PvP zone only world drops, more raid drops if you zone into the raid from a PvP zone, PvP zone only achievements, PvP zone only factions with good rewards, etc.. I'm sure an item absolutely "required" for raiding will be a PvP zone only item.

    I think it's a nice idea but in the end it will hurt the game.