Battlegrounds and Arenas
War looms on the horizon, and although the Iron Horde poses a substantial threat to all of Azeroth, old grudges between the Alliance and the Horde are not so easily set aside. As Warlords of Draenor development continues, we wanted to share some exciting changes coming to PvP gear and how you’ll earn it in the expansion.
PvP gear in Warlords will no longer have PvP-specific stats. Instead, it will scale up to a higher item level as soon as you enter a designated PvP area, such as an Arena or Battleground, or as soon as you enter PvP combat anywhere else in the world. If you’re out questing with PvP gear, your items’ base item level will be used while fighting back the Iron Horde, but the second that raiding Druid tries to gank you, your higher PvP item level kicks in and you’ll have the upper hand. Each piece of PvP gear will have its PvP item level displayed clearly on its tooltip, so there’s no guesswork involved.
On top of that, all gear—even gear found in PvE content—will be scaled up to a certain minimum item level in any designated PvP area. That minimum is still lower than any of the actual PvP gear, but a fresh level-100 character who’s just wearing some dungeon gear, or even whatever they picked up while questing, will not be at quite as severe a disadvantage should they choose to step into a Skirmish or Random Battleground.
One added benefit of this new system is that most PvE gear will no longer need to be downscaled in PvP areas, as the equivalent PvP gear is already a higher item level in PvP situations. Instead of making players wearing PvE gear feel weaker in PvP, this makes it so players wearing PvP gear feel stronger. The only exception is Mythic raid gear. Mythic’s PvE item level and Conquest’s PvP item level are very close, so we’ll be downscaling Mythic gear slightly in designated PvP areas just to make sure that Conquest gear remains the best available for PvP.
What’s In the Box?!
The Warlords of Draenor expansion will also bring some major improvements to the way PvP gear is earned. For starters, we’re vastly improving the bonus rewards you can earn from doing Random or Call to Arms Battlegrounds. At the end of a match, you’ll earn a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Strongbox—or possibly all three. Which Strongboxes you earn depends on how well your team did in the match, but you can still earn them even if your team doesn’t win.
Take Warsong Gulch,for example. If your faction captured at least one flag before the game ended, you’ll get the Bronze Strongbox. Capture a second, and you’ll earn both the Bronze and Silver. And if you capture all three, not only do you win the game, but you’ll also earn all three Strongboxes. We’ll be restructuring the scoring of other Battlegrounds slightly (such as changing Arathi Basin to end at 1,500 points) so it’s easy to figure out what you need for each Strongbox.
Inside those Strongboxes could be any number of rewards: Honor points, Conquest points—even gear. Better Strongboxes can have better rewards, so even if your team is behind in the match, it’s worth keeping up the fight to try to earn the best reward you can.
Of course, Skirmishes (the unranked Arenas we announced a little while back) will have rewards as well. We’re still discussing exactly how we want to hand them out, but you’ll be able to earn gear and Honor by playing Skirmishes if you’d prefer.
It starts with an introductory set of a quality similar to today’s Honor gear, except you’ll earn it much, much faster. That set comes primarily through the Strongboxes, and you’ve got a high chance of getting a piece in each Strongbox you earn. After that starter gear comes a new set: Veteran’s gear. There’s a small chance to find a piece of Veteran’s gear in a Silver or Gold Strongbox, but you can also purchase Veteran’s gear with Honor points. That gear’s PvP item level will be halfway between the starter gear and Gladiator’s gear.
Adding the Veteran’s tier accomplishes a lot of things for us. First, it helps make sure that someone who wants to step into rated PvP later on in the season isn’t nearly as far behind their opponents in gear. Second, since the basic gear is earned so quickly, that helps ensure players get those important set bonuses, trinkets, and so on without too much trouble, and helps put everyone on a decent baseline in their ability to compete. For players who enjoy PvP but aren’t really interested in jumping into rated competition, earning Veteran’s gear will feel a lot more rewarding.
As for Gladiator’s gear, we’ve been pretty happy with how Conquest points have worked in Season 15, but we are making one small change: Rated Battlegrounds and Arenas will have the same base Conquest cap. That cap can then be increased by your rating in either Arenas or Rated Battlegrounds (whichever is higher). Instead of giving you extra Conquest points, winning a Rated Battleground will allow you to use a bonus roll token for a shot at a piece of Gladiator’s gear, similar to the Celestial world bosses on the Timeless Isle. This tweak makes the weekly Conquest cap easier to understand, while still providing an extra incentive for running Rated Battlegrounds and letting you use your bonus rolls on PvP gear through PvP.