Blog Archives

Looking Towards the 5.2 Changes

There are a lot of changes coming in 5.2. Here are the ones I’m keeping an eye on:

Reputation

  • “Work orders will pour into the farm from factions across Pandaria, and completing a work order will earn a reputation boost with the issuing faction.”
  • “You can now earn bonus reputation for your first dungeon and scenario of the day. You can select which reputation you choose to champion by selecting it from the reputation panel on the character screen.”

The above two items have mentally freed me from the self-imposed shackles of dailies, for the time being. Up to this point, my time in WoW has been 100% consumed by dailies – Golden Lotus, Cloud Serpent, Tillers, Anglers, Klaxxi, Shieldwall. Even the days when I ignored Golden Lotus (no real rewards for them or any linked reps for Alch/JC), I still found 2-3 hour play sessions evaporate with nothing accomplished other than rep bar movement. I was back on the Golden Lotus horse due to the lure of the Commendation (I’d love for my tailor alt to get the 28-slot bag eventually), but the day I read these patch notes is the day I stopped feeling like it was required every single day.

There is not any indication to how much reputation is earned with either method, but assuming it is larger than 500, I feel comfortable in focusing more on alts than hitting reputation milestones on the main.

Valor/Justice

  • Heroic Pandaria dungeons now award 100 Justice Points per boss.
  • Scenarios now award 50 Justice Points, up from 25.
  • The cost of Valor Point gear introduced in patch 5.0 has been reduced by 50%.
  • The cost of Valor Point gear introduced in patch 5.1 has been reduced by 25%.
  • The ethereals that offered to upgrade items using Valor or Justice Points have departed Azeroth for the moment.

The big question mark here is whether the current Valor items will still cost Valor in 5.2. It seems a pretty straight-forward answer at first – “Yes, of course” – but look at the implication here. If you have 1200 VP heading into 5.2, chances are that that 1200 VP turns into 1200 JP and then… what? You buy upgraded heirlooms? It is great that Blizzard is actually putting in sources of Justice for people that want heirlooms, but what else are JP good for? I don’t think I have ever seen a patch transition in which the current currency is downgraded but then you need to re-grind the new currency to buy shit you had access to the day before.

On the other hand, one of my guildies was skeptical that Blizzard would reduce reputation gear costs by 50% plus add in the 100 JP/boss gain plus make rep gear purchasable with Justice. And how many new Valor pieces are going to be introduced anyway?

Hopefully there will be some clarification on this issue before the patch.

PvP

  • Conquest gear no longer has rating requirements.
  • Highest tier PvP items are unlocked after 27,000 CP are earned in a season.
  • Weapons that require the 27k CP unlock have said requirement removed inbetween seasons (i.e. in 5.3).
  • Honor weapons are back.
  • Your CP cap for the week is increased by 1,000 for each week you haven’t been hitting the cap.
  • The losers in an Rated BG gain Conquest based on score; close games can award up to 200 CP.

It is difficult to even imagine a coherent complaint about this fairly radical paradigm shift. Blizzard locking weapons behind rating walls was a mistake when they first made it in Season 3, and it has been a mistake every season since. The straw that finally broke my four-year subscription back was when my warlock alt maxed out on non-rating Arena gear; I was permanently “done” with that character’s progression, unless I bribed someone to boost me past the glass ceiling. While I would not look forward to 15+ weeks of Conquest caps from BGs and 2v2 anymore, at least there is no longer a brick wall at the end.

Overall, pretty exciting changes. I’m not following the new raid information particularly closely, because A) there doesn’t seem to be much news out there, and B) it is kind of a moot point for me outside of LFR. And speaking of LFR, I finished all of the available ones; impressions will have to wait for another post.

Conquest from World PvP?

So the Blizzard LiveBlogging Q&A thing happened. Check out the transcript if you like. There was a lot of filler, but there was also some (panda) meat:

Comment From Eldacar
At Blizzcon Tom Chilton mentioned possible incentives for raiding enemy towns to encourage world PVP in mists, can Greg or Cory elaborate on this at all?

Mumper:
In regards to extra rewards for world pvp, we are contemplating the idea of increasing players conquest point caps by an extra 10-15%.

I am assuming they mean contemplating about the Conquest Cap being increased by 10-15% for just killing players in the world – and by extension, that world PvP kills will award Conquest points. If it is going to be possible to hit the Conquest Cap for just killing players in the world, sweet chocolate Christ you may want to evacuate PvP servers before the server transfer queue hits 14 days.

I am one of those players who chose PvP servers because I enjoyed the tension while leveling, and how it created meaningful cross-faction interaction. That is to say, if I saw a Horde out while in the world, there was something of a ritual taking place. We both would stop immediately, look towards each other, try to gauge intentions. Then I would do /wave. He would do /wave. We had exchanged something there, something tangible; an admission of mutual respect. “Even though I am trained to kill your kind, I am choosing not to. I cede to your sovereignty, if you cede to mine.” Those same actions might have occurred on a PvE server, but they wouldn’t mean anything.

Of course, those interactions were pretty rare. Auchindoun-US had a 3:1 Horde ratio for the longest time, so 95% of the encounters were attempted ganks (“attempted” because I quest as Ret in PvP gear, yo). Or outright griefing during holiday events, expansion releases, or in new patch content. When the Molten Front dailies and the Thrall quest came out, Alliance couldn’t reliably complete them for the first three days. I don’t have much taste for PvP servers anymore, so if I ever came back it would be rerolling/transfering to a PvE one.

Anyway, it is not confirmed or anything, but Conquest points from world PvP kills would solve world PvP pretty much overnight.

Comment From Guest
Hey there. Will Pandaria have a new Dalaran like city or will we be using the ones already existing ingame?

Mumper:
We will have separate player hubs for both the Horde and Alliance on Pandaria. Separate hubs means we do not have to make them sanctuary and will encourage world PVP. These hubs will have access to an AH, Bank and general vendors. Valor, conquest, profession and faction vendors will be scattered around the world to encourage travel.

Comment From Kubus
One of the current issues discouraging World pvp is the presence of highly overpowered guards around cities and hubs, 1-shotting anyone who engages in pvp. How will this be in MoP?

Mumper:
We know this is an issue in the current game and we plan to address it in Mists. We want to encourage world PVP, not make it a one-shot game for npc guards. This is one of the main reasons we decided to make two separate player hubs instead of a shared sanctuary.

And one more…

Comment From MattWedra
At Blizzcon it was mentioned that PvE Scenarios will be something that we will queue for…Will we be required to be in the area that the PvE Scenario will take place in order to queue, or will we be able to queue for them from the cities like we do for the Dungeon Finder. If they are instanced events how will this “get the players out into the world” other than standing around a specific area waiting for the queue to pop, or am I missing the idea?

Mumper:
We are planning to only let players queue for scenarios from specific spots in the world (where the scenario is located), not in the cities. We want players out in the world, not spamming the queue button in cities.

This should be some welcome news to the “you kids better go play outside” proponents. Not only will the separated Alliance/Horde hubs increase the frequency of faction raids (assuming these hubs are set up correctly), you also have mass groups of players hanging out at various points in the world to queue up for Scenarios (and likely group with who they find there instead of LFD). And, of course, groups of people hanging around being mostly distracted will be juicy PvP targets. One of the best places for free kills back in TBC was near those PvP gear/charter NPCs out in Nagrand, or near the tier 6.5 vendor on QD, for example.

Honestly, how well any of this works will come down to whether Conquest is awarded for world PvP kills or not. If it’s just plain honor for kills like normal, I dunno how effective any of this will really be. Probably about as effective as Molten Front PvP… which is to say not very much at all.

OT: Crushing Blow

[note: Blizzard updated the notes after I wrote this, but before I posted. See Edit at bottom]

The inexplicably undocumented Arena point change has been a huge blow to my drive to PvP in WoW. In case you missed it – you know, focusing on all the gold-making and “versus AH” opportunities – the way Conquest points are earned have been radically changed. Pre-4.1, you had to win five games to cap yourself to the week, regardless of whether you were at the minimum 1343 (sub-1500 rating) or at 2000+ (over 1500). This may have seemed too “easy” for some, but the entire point of personal/team MMR is to put you against other teams/players that will result in a 50% win percentage. In other words, you are expected to play 10 games in order to win those 5.

Now? Blizzard has at least doubled the required number of games everyone has to play to achieve the same results. If you do 2s for points with your friends, you are going to be playing 20 games instead of 10. If you are above 1500 rated, you will be playing exponentially more – a 1600 Conquest point cap, for example, means I need 12 wins, or 24 games… 14 more than last week. A 2300 cap is 18 wins or 34 expected games at a high level of play. This is what I wrote on the MMO-Champ forums:

You guys really aren’t getting it.

1) This change hugely impacts everyone who does Arenas: it is at least doubling the amount of Arena game wins each player needs to have to get capped each week. If you are below 1500, it now takes 10 wins instead of 5. Blizzard balances your MMR around the idea of a 50% win percentage, meaning they expected you to play 10 games to win 5, capping yourself out. Last expansion, you could /dance or /afk your way through 10 games per week for points; the pre-4.1 change let people cap early if they get lucky (going 5-0), but if you have a lower win percentage you could end up going 5-13 and do more games than last expansion. This new change doubles the amount of games everyone needs to play. Now your “for fun + points” teams will be running an average of 20 games instead of 10, and the upper-crust PvPers could be required to play an average of 40+ games instead of 10. Between the queue times and how long matches can last (at any level), we are talking about a massive, extra drain on your time.

2) No warning whatsoever. Patch was on the PTR for months, and a fundamental redesign of the Arena system was pushed through like a Congressional earmark on a budget resolution at the 11th hour? Not only that, Blizzard already knows it “may be too low” but they pushed it anyway?

3) All of this smacks as a back-handed move to push Arena players of all stripes into Rated BGs for Conquest Points – “Hey kids, how about 4 Rated BGs instead of 20 Arena matches?” Instead of, you know, admitting that Rated BGs are a failure due to their overall design, and not the reward structure itself.

4) The lack of empathy from obvious PvE players who never Arena’d to save their life is just sad. This is the equivalent of them reducing the VP you get from dungeons from 70 to 35 (or 140 to 70), but leaving the weekly cap the same. How would you feel about suddenly needing to run twice as many heroics per week? Oh wait, “it isn’t necessary to cap VP each week” so nothing changes, right?

I had not really paid any attention to the MMO-Champ forums before, but it is truly despicable garbage over there, way worse than even the official forums in terms of trolling (if you can believe that). Most of the “counter-points” were essentially saying “haha, suck it” or:

No, it’s not the fact that they don’t enjoy PvP, it’s the fact that they don’t want to grind for the same type of rewards that sole PvE players have to endure for their epics. That’s why many people went to PvP in Cata due to the fact dungeons and raids are very time consuming again, and are not zergable as in Wrath… It’s the extreme lack of paticence that these players have that causes them to rage, because arena battles are not as easy to farm as, say, normal 5-mans or unrated BG’s… Plus, there is the rating issue… (lol)

There is a literal disconnection from reality with these people, and it is becoming impossibly hard for me to even wrap my mind around their worldview. “Extreme lack of paticence [sic]?” Is there no difference between a Tol Barad daily that requires you to kill 12 spiders and a hypothetical one that requires you to kill 24 spiders for the same reward? Is there no difference between a heroic that takes an hour to complete and one that takes two hours? What is the magical patience threshold they are using as a metric here? Imagine if it took twice as many heroics as it does currently to gain the same amount of JP/VP. Did nothing change? Did you lose nothing? Is the argument that your fun is actually increasing because you are being forced to play longer for the same goal?

I mean, good lord. Do people act like this in their real lives? “Pay freeze this year, so no raises. Oh well, nothing changed.” Or does this masochism only appear when they sit down for entertainment?

I enjoy WoW PvP… more or less. On equal skill levels, the player with the better gear wins. You have to have gear to compete, as PvP sure has hell isn’t balanced amongst players with 11% resilience (crafted PvP gear) and 31% resilience (4pc + weapon + trinkets) – one player is literally taking 20% more damage than the other. You know those unkillable healers running around these days? That doesn’t happen in crafted gear. Well, it might happen if you both are in crafted gear, which is the reason why you are getting better gear.

Regardless, Arena games are stressful affairs to me, and random BGs typically boil down to squeezing blood-fun from the “inevitably getting farmed at your GY” stone that is Alliance PvP. If I wanted to play more Arena games, I would play more Arena games. Indeed, I do Arena on three separate toons. Now? I will be forced to cut at least one of those toons out just to scrape enough wins on whichever I decide is my main PvP toon. If this system was in place at the start of Cataclysm, I would not have geared up three toons and otherwise not have played as much.

If you cannot recognize a difference between doing 30 games across 3 characters vs 30 games on 1 character, or are dismissive of the former because “it’s for the gear,” then… I have to question your sanity. You are playing an MMO; being rewarded for the things you do is not something dirty, it’s a huge part of the game. If the reward doesn’t match the effort, you don’t do it. If you disagree, well, I expect to see an Armory link of your main with “the Insane” title along with your response.

Which, ironically, would only prove my point.

Edit: Check out this post by Zarhym:

We saw that Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds were over-rewarding players for the time investment required, particularly compared to point gains in PvE. We felt the change we went live with in the patch was a little bit too low and overcompensating though, so we buffed up the numbers for wins just a bit to 180 (Arenas) and 400 (Rated BGs).

This changes the math a bit, but not by much – 8 wins (16 games) instead of 10 for casual Arena players, ~13 wins (26 games) for the upper crust. Make no mistake about one thing though: the Blizzard designers are very concerned about how rewarding you find the game. Fun cannot be metered out too quickly, because why else would you be playing, amirite? Think about that next time you find yourself grinding out Therazane rep for your 25 extra stats on shoulders. That kind of shit is mathed out on an Excel spreadsheet, and they just added three more lever presses before the Conquest Point food pellet comes out.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 52 other followers