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Monday, March 25, 2013

PvP Gear Changes in Patch 5.3 Explained



Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
There are more really big changes coming to the way that PVP gear works coming in patch 5.3. As you know if you read our previous blog on the subject, we approached patch 5.2 with the goal in mind of narrowing the PvP gear gap, as well as working to make PvP more accessible to all players, to broaden interest and provide a robust pool of competitors that enriches the PvP experience for everyone.

PvE vs. PvP
We face some significant challenges, so we’re prepared to take some unprecedented steps to meet them. Historically, we have always had a hard time balancing PvP gear against PvE gear, as these two areas of the game have very different gear design goals. In PvP, we want gear to matter, but we don’t want gear to become the overwhelming reason someone wins a match. For PvE, the difference in power between tiers has to be significant enough that players really feel rewarded and more powerful when they upgrade. This problem has been compounded as we now have Raid Finder, normal and heroic raid tiers, as well as item level gating to enter the Raid Finder.

Transitions: From Season 12 to Season 13
Patch 5.2’s gear changes represented our first attempt to balance PvP gear with PvE gear, and offer better ways to narrow the gear gap. We introduced the Elite tier of gear that would be available to all players after earning 27,000 Conquest Points throughout the season. This allowed us to balance Honor gear against Raid Finder gear, Conquest gear against normal mode raiding gear and Elite gear against Heroic mode raid gear. But, keeping pace with PvE gear also means that there is significant difference between this season’s Honor gear and the Elite gear. Not to mention that there is a tremendous difference between a fresh 90 and a veteran, Elite geared player. While it’s important to have that difference, the competitive nature of PvP means that highly geared players can serve as a deterrent to players who are looking into trying PvP for the first time. Trying to keep pace with the escalating ilevel of PvE gear has proven quite difficult for PvP.

Furthermore, as Season 13 has illustrated, having more than two levels of PvP gear can generate some significant issues during season transitions. Players expect that each season will start on a fairly level playing field. The presence of upgrades in 5.1 meant that some players now have a gear advantage over players with this season’s Honor gear. The presence of higher ilevel Elite gear has the potential to create an even bigger issue in Season 14.

Still, we think we’ve taken some great steps forward with PvP gear in Mists of Pandaria. PvP Power has given us an extremely useful ‘knob’ to turn so we can adjust PvP gear to make sure that it’s better than its PvE equivalent. Meanwhile Resilience, while well-intentioned, has actually made the gear gap worse over time. We think that most players would be okay with going into PvP with lower damage if they were a bit more durable. We believe that a broader population of PvPers will offer a better experience for everyone, and also provide a better pool of players as we introduce refinements to how Battleground queuing works in the future. One of the best ways for us to increase the number of players that participate in PvP is to reduce the barrier to entry for those who play World of Warcraft regularly but don’t participate in PvP. Specifically, we’re referring to PvE players that spend a lot of time gearing up in PvE but feel that PvE gear is a severe liability in PvP (because, well, it is ).

Incoming 5.3 Gear Changes
With all of this in mind, we’re making some pretty dramatic changes to PvP gear and the PvP environment in 5.3:

  • Base Resilience will be set to 65% for all characters level 85 and higher
  • Resilience will be removed from nearly all PvP gear
  • Players will still be able to use Resilience gems and enchants
  • PvP power will remain exclusively on PvP gear
  • PvP set bonuses that currently provide Resilience will now provide PvP Power
  • Healers and hybrid-casters will benefit to a greater degree from PvP Power, and Battle Fatigue will increase to make PvP gear superior for healers.
  • Conquest gear will be increased to item level 496 (up from 493).
  • Elite gear will be decreased to item level 496. This gear will essentially become a prestige upgrade.
  • The Big Change: We will be adding an item level ceiling to gear in unrated Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds and Arenas
    • All gear will have its item level scaled down to 496 (Conquest gear item level). This includes even Conquest items that exceed the ilevel ceiling, such as weapons.

In addition, some of the changes that we’ve discussed previously will also be implemented:

  • In patches that don’t include a new season (including patch 5.3), the seasonal currency requirement of 7,250 Conquest Points earned will be lifted from weapons. The seasonal currency requirement must always be met to purchase Elite items, though.
  • Once the 27,000 Conquest Point seasonal currency requirement is reached, players will be able to purchase Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear with Honor Points.
  • The Conquest Point catch up cap will be introduced. You can read our PvP Gear in 5.2 and Beyond blog for more information on these changes.

We’re taking these steps because we want to improve PvP for those players who love to PvP by providing a richer pool of potential competitors (which can result in faster queues, and open doors to queuing refinements later on), and make an incredibly fun element of World of Warcraft more accessible to a larger audience.

What to Expect
We expect these changes to have a few important effects. First, we feel that they will still preserve our most important design goal: the best gear for competitive PvP will come from PvP. Since all other gear will be scaled down to the Conquest’s item level of 496 as a maximum, the Conquest gear will always be better by a significant margin because it will have PvP Power on it (which doesn’t count toward the item’s item level budget). Even Honor gear, with its considerable amount of PvP Power, will provide more damage in PvP than normal and heroic raid gear. For example, a Heroic Thunderforged weapon and a Conquest weapon will be the same item level in PvP, with the same amount of primary stats, secondary stats and stamina. While the PvE weapon will do very good damage, it will still do less damage than the Conquest weapon due to the presence of PvP power on the PvP weapon.

We also believe that the changes will make it easier for those who aren’t PvPing now to give it a try or possibly motivate those that play only rarely to play more often. While they will do less damage than a player with PvP gear, they will have the same survivability, stamina and resilience. The damage differences shouldn’t be so great that they will be ‘insta-gibbed’ by the average opponent in PvP gear either. We expect the improvements will make PvP more fun for both hardcore players that want a more even playing field, as well as competitors that just want to dive in and have some fun without assembling a specialized gear set.

We Want Your Feedback!
This is a pretty massive change for World of Warcraft and while it would probably be more appropriate at the start of a new season, or even an expansion, we strongly feel that the current gear situation should be resolved quickly. We think this solution will help us meet our design goals and help create a more active, competitive, and fun PvP environment.

We know that concerns and questions are inevitable, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject. We invite you to try these changes on the PTR for yourself, and we’ll be watching for your feedback on the PTR Discussion forum and elsewhere.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Item Upgrade System Back in Patch 5.3

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As you’re probably aware we introduced a new system in 5.1 which allowed you to upgrade some gear a few items levels at a time by paying with the PvE (Valor/Justice) and PvP (Conquest/Honor) currencies. In 5.2 the Voidbinders (NPCs who perform item upgrades) took a break to let people focus on just acquiring new items with their points. It also gave us time to evaluate the system, and decide how we want to continue supporting it.

PvE Item Upgrades in 5.3:
  • Voidbinders will return to their places in capital cities and shrines.
  • Items upgradable by Valor now require 250 Valor to upgrade per 4 item levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 item levels per item.
    • This is retroactive to all items that use Valor.
  • 5.2 Justice items now require 750 Justice to upgrade per 8 item levels, for a total of 750 Justice for 8 item levels per item.
    • This is retroactive to all items that use Justice.
    • This is higher than Valor to account for the increased acquisition rate of Justice since patch 5.2.

We still like the upgrade system for PvE as a way to make steady progression against bosses you can’t quite kill yet. You very predictably earn Valor every day, and use that Valor toward increasing your character’s power and overcoming an obstacle. It’s also good that Valor always has a use; it’s a currency we always want to be valuable regardless of where you are in progression.

The thing we didn’t like about item upgrades previously was that it created these rather brutal decisions where you were essentially betting against yourself, or having to offload large sums of Valor to keep from capping. If you just got a belt, but next week you’re going up against a Heroic boss that drops a best-in-slot belt for you, you might bet that you’ll get that belt and so you’d wait to upgrade it. But that’s complicated by the issue of being Valor capped and needing to spend some. So you dump Valor on upgrading a different slot and just hope you don’t replace that one instead.

In 5.3 the costs are dramatically cut to the point that these decisions are far less brutal, and you can pretty easily upgrade every slot instead of hedging bets against specific slots being replaced or not. In the example above you could go ahead and fully upgrade that new belt for only 500 Valor, as opposed to the 1500 it would have cost you before.

PvP Item Upgrades in 5.3:
  • Malevolent Gladiator’s Conquest (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
  • Dreadful Gladiator’s Honor (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
  • No other PvP items are upgradable, and no new PvP items for the foreseeable future will use the upgrade system.

It shouldn’t be too surprising, given that we’ve already come out and said it some weeks ago, that item upgrades are essentially not coming back for PvP. It’s something a lot of PvPers asked that we remove, it’s something we didn’t feel worked out too well, and so unsurprisingly the result is that it isn’t coming back. We’re still probably going to allow the Season 12 items that had previous upgradability to remain upgradable, as noted in the bullets above, but it’s not something we’re absolutely certain about at this moment. We’ll let you know if that changes.

Because gearing in PvP is based almost entirely on currency purchases, Conquest and Honor already always have a use, and we ask players to amass a lot of them to continue gearing. Honestly it was fairly unanimous that balancing the means of gear acquisition against upgrades just didn’t make good sense, at least with the current systems.

Let us know what you think in the comments, or on Twitter @Warcraft.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Patch ready for download and update your addons

You likely downloaded most of the patch already. This patch is only about 158 MB/s, Also a friendly reminder to take this time to update your addons. Many popular addons already have updates for this patch ready right now to be downloaded.Specifically (but not limited to) any raid frames, that part of the api got big changes in 5.2 and will require updates to work properly.
Grid already has there's updated so i would assume others do as well.

Happy Patch Day Everyone!

(I'll update the site if/when servers get delayed. 5.2 is a big patch, one of the biggest! I would say its pretty likely server maintenance gets extended)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Throne of Thunder Raid Schedule

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
With the release of Patch 5.2: The Thunder King, the vast Throne of Thunder raid will become available. As in previous raid tiers, Raid Finder wings and availability difficulties will be staggered.

To access the new Raid Finder wings you will need a minimum average item level (ilevel) of 480.

This is our current schedule based on a planned patch release date of March 5. If the patch is delayed, or if we determine any change is needed, we’ll update this article.

March 5 – Normal Throne of Thunder
March 12 – Heroic Throne of Thunder and LFR Wing 1 “Last Stand of the Zandalari”
March 19 – LFR Wing 2 “Forgotten Depths”
April 2 – LFR Wing 3 “Halls of Flesh-Shaping”
April 16 – LFR Wing 4 “Pinnacle of Storms”

Saturday, March 2, 2013

GameBreaker (Interview Series) Ep2: World of Warcraft (16:05 Patch 5.2 confirmed for this week)


If that wasn't enough confirmation for you here it is on there twitter.  (Source)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Patch 5.2 The Thunder King Round-Up

Lei Shen has consolidated his power on the Isle of Thunder, and if he’s not dislodged, his reborn army will threaten all of Pandaria. But the return of the Thunder King is good news for you, because it means that new challenges and triumphs await you in patch 5.2. A massive new zone, a new raid, server-wide events surrounding the siege on the Isle of Thunder, new factions, world bosses…and more still. Brace yourself for the storm.
Head over to the Under Development page now for a preview of the major in-development features planned for the next World of Warcraft patch, The Thunder King.


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