Content of the article: "PvP gearing in Shadowlands is in a dire situation."
I've seen a few videos recently on pvp gearing in Shadowlands:
, and wanted to give my input on some of the ideas presented, Blizzards presumed reasoning behind their decision making, and try to offer solutions myself.
First of all, what is changing in Shadowlands? We're getting PvP vendors back that sell honor and conquest gear, and that gear will be upgradable by an increasing amount of their respective currency. This is an obvious upgrade from BFAs conquest bar, which gave you very little choice in its predetermined rewards, however, it blatantly ignores the problem. BFA's pvp gearing consisted of about 3 or 4 items actually from pvp, usually less. This was due to the conquest bar's items being ridiculously low ilvl, relying on the weekly box to acquire viable versions, but also because pvp gear's stat variety is pitiful compared to dungeon gear. This hasn't changed.
Shadowlands honor gear starts at 158 ilvl, the equivalent of normal mode dungeons and through an arduous upgrade system, can be upgraded to 190 ilvl, the equivalent of LFR gear. Conquest gear starts at 190 ilvl, and using the same metric as the honor gear, presumably will be even more arduously upgradable to 222, the equivalent of between Heroic and Mythic raid gear. The ridiculous amount of time you'd have to spend upgrading every piece to max ilvl aside, you at least have semi-competitive, mediocre gear to tide you over for that sweet weekly box loot right? Well, no. The stat variety of this gear is so pitiful (3 stat combinations per slot) that to remain competitively viable you HAVE to PvE (demonstrated nicely by @hydramist).
So why has this stayed the way it has? I have some vague ideas of issues blizzard might try to avoid when designing this system:
-1 No crushing low geared players: "solved" by hidden pvp scaling (we know how this goes).
-2 No huge barrier to entry for PvErs: "solved" by making PvE gear required to be competitive.
-3 Non-Manditory for PvErs: "solved" by making PvP rewards worthless compared to PvE rewards in stat variance.
-4 "Don't want players to need a second set for pvp": Can never be solved, but it still stops blizzard from making viable pvp gear.
and the two that have been ignored recently:
-5 PvPers shouldn't spend a majority of their time gearing in PvE content to be PvP viable.
-6 Stat stacking is incredibly hard to balance, and not fun to fight.
So what are our solutions? A PvP stat (PvP power, Resilience) has been thrown around, but unfortunately blatantly breaks rule 2 and 4, but we'll ignore 4 for obvious reasons. Blizzard doesn't want PvErs to have to grind out battlegrounds in order to be at a even/below average playing field with established players. Another option thrown around is just letting this PvP gear have all the stat combinations, but this then breaks 3 and 6. Blizzard doesn't want to make PvErs feel like they would have to pvp in order to get a certain stat combination on a high ilvl piece, and have struggled balancing stat stacking in PvP. So, what are we left with?
My hope, the best expansion: Warlords of Draenor
The item's ilvl scaling in PvP combat was the perfect solution before stat templates, and the combined iterations of 8 years of prior successful systems. Lets look at some of our problems:
-2 No huge barrier to entry for PvErs: Easily Farmable PvE gear (mythic 15 end of dungeon) would be equivalent to honor gear in PvP combat, even giving PvErs an edge with their tailored stats over honor geared players.
-3 Non-Manditory for PvErs: Honor/Conquest gear in PvE combat would be worse/on par with readily farmable PvE gear, but obviously harder to get.
-5 PvPers shouldn't spend a majority of their time gearing in PvE content to be PvP viable: Conquest gear in PvP would be above and beyond any level power available from PvE content (maybe sans mythic endboss gear)
-6 Stat stacking is incredibly hard to balance, and not fun to fight: With conquest gear being so powerful, pvpers are forced to use the limited stat variance items, just as it has been historically.
Additionally, the current PvP gear upgrading system could upgrade only the pvp ilvl of the piece, and allow the base piece to still be semi-decent (rather than normal mode dungeon and LFR base). Also, the weekly vault could obviously offer pre-upgraded pieces, which im sure is already the plan, but since the ilvl increase is only in PvP, PvErs wont find it terribly rewarding to try to gear for PvE in PvP
Which leaves us with problems 4 and 1. I strongly hope that blizzard abandons the notion that 4 can ever be true, players will always try get gear to be the best they can be in an MMO, and stat requirements in PvE and PvP will never be the same. Number 1 is technically solved in the current system, but I wouldn't personally mind a ilvl boost floor in PvP instances like in Legion, to allow fresh characters to step into PvP without getting (fully) trained down by geared players.
In Conclusion, I'm super excited for Shadowlands and love the PvP in this game. At the end of the day I will grind out PvE gear to be competitive, because I enjoy PvE. But for those that don't and are drained by doing excessive amounts of the content they don't enjoy in order to play the content they do, this needs to change.
TL;DR: Current system is flawed, Blizzard has their reasoning, Warlords of Draenor good.
- PvP has been in decline for too long and why you should care
- M+ in Shadowlands
- What the Covenants discussion misses about casual players
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