Classic Era 1.14.4 PvP Update

Today, we’ve temporarily closed the Hardcore PTR realm and opened a new PTR realm that only allows template characters for testing the major update version 1.14.4 brings to Classic Era PvP.

Before we dive into the system and how it’s changed, here’s glossary of terms for those who are less familiar with the current version of the system on 1.14.3 Classic Era realms:

Term Definition
Rank The rank of a player in a given PvP season. Ranks range from 1 (Private / Scout) to 14 (Grand Marshal / High Warlord)
Honorable Kills (HKs) Awarded when killing opposing-faction players or NPCs that are near or above your player level. Killing higher-ranked players awards more Contribution Points (CP). Players receive honor points based on however many honorable kills they earn in a given week.
Dishonorable Kills (DKs) Gained by killing opposing-faction NPCs with the “Civilian” tag in their tooltip. Dishonorable kills count as a penalty against the player’s end-of-week Honor points.
Contribution Points (CP or Honor) Awarded to the player based on their HKs and DKs. While CP is often used interchangeably with Honor, it is not to be confused with “Honor points”, which is also what many players call “Honor” as shorthand. An HK may be worth more or fewer Honor points depending on whether the HK came from a lower or higher ranked player. CP is rolled up and used to determine a player’s rank, during weekly server maintenance.
Honor Points These are earned from HKs and battleground objectives and are converted to CP to determine a player’s ranking progress for the week.
Rank Bracket (Bracket) Each rank requires participants in the Honor system to be among the top X% of all participants in the system for that week, and ranking up into the next rank/bracket is not possible unless you are at or above the correct percentile for the rank you are trying to reach, regardless of the amount of Honor/CP accumulated that week.
Rank Points (RP) RP was awarded based on the player’s CP and the number of players in the bracket. RP was awarded mostly linearly compared to CP, however the difference is that RP took other players into consideration to form ranked standings or a leaderboard of players ranked based on their participation in the system. This aspect of the system has been removed from the game.
Decay This is the removal of RP from players who do not participate as Decay much as expected for their rank and thus could not keep their rank in a given week. If their expected RP is less than their actual weekly total, it is decayed at 20% of the expected value, up to a maximum of 2500 points of CP decay.

When setting out to design a new system we looked at some of the primary problems with the old system and used these as a basis for what we felt needed to change for the new system to be healthier:

  • There’s a lot of pressure to grind HKs nonstop - Since players are being ranked vs. other players in their same faction, taking a break might mean that you lose your desired spot in a particular rank bracket. Decay also contributes to this somewhat, though not nearly as much as how RP is awarded.

  • Since players are ranked based on a percentage of how many PvP participants there are, some players will engage in an activity called “pool boosting” - Pool boosting refers to the process of artificially inflating the total pool of players in the system so that each rank bracket are larger and allow a larger number of people within each bracket to rank up. This is often done through the use of automation (bots). For example, someone will run bots that will kill one another repeatedly until they reach the minimum required number of kills per week to become a part of the ranking system. They then switch to new characters, and repeat.

  • Bracket fixing becomes the meta - Some players work together to take turns in a top percentile bracket, which allows them to increase the number of people who earn top-tier rewards and lowers the Honor ceiling for each bracket. This isn’t strictly a bad thing as players of the same faction often work together to ensure there is a pecking order and that, over time, more people earn rewards with less grinding needed by effectively capping the amount of Honor each rank needs to earn each week. This isn’t really in the spirit of the old system. Ideally, if players put in the effort, they should be rewarded, and shouldn’t feel pressured to be part of the in-group to earn top PvP rewards. This also often leads to conflict among players on the same faction, when players break the fixed bracket limits for their current rank and essentially raise the amount of Honor everyone else in the higher ranks needs to earn that week to not stall out their ranking efforts or even decay and lower their rank progress.

  • The old PvP Honor system script is complex, takes a long time to run, and is error prone - Honor is updated each week via a script run against the database which performs various calculations to convert each players contributions to CP and rank players against one another based on their current rank, expected CP, RP, and other factors. This script is essentially unchanged since 2005, and while it is mostly functional, it can become stuck or hit unexpected delays based on various conditions and cause the weekly Honor update to take many hours, or in some extreme cases, days to complete. This makes the entire system stressful for those who are eagerly waiting to see where they landed for the previous week’s contributions. We wish to overhaul and replace this script with a more performant and modern solution.

Now let’s look at the high-level goals for the new system:

  • Eliminate ranking points - Competing against your own faction for standing is interesting in principle, but in execution has a lot of problems based on the points listed above. The system is easily meta-gamed and encourages many weeks or months of high levels of play. Our goal for the new system is to grant ranks based on whether players hit specific Honor milestones with an increasing level of participation and challenge needed to maintain their progress as the weeks go by and the player moves through the ranks.

  • Grant Honor and Honor Points at the time the HK (or DK!) is earned - In the old system, this occurs at the end of the day. Players would prefer to see their progress towards Honor milestones in real time.

  • Move the weekly honor updates to a more efficient and performant method of updating individual player ranks - Without RP, we can move to a model where you see your rank changes right when you log in after the weekly reset, rather than waiting for the Honor script to process all participants on your realm.

  • Remove de-ranking - Decay is still something we wanted to maintain, but de-ranking down to a lower rank is especially punishing at higher ranks when you need to maintain a constant and high level of play to keep up. The need to take time off could greatly hinder the progress of someone ranking, and in some brackets taking even a few days or a week off could cost the player multiple weeks of progress.

Now that we’ve established what a few key terms mean, gone over the largest problems with the old system, and defined some of our goals; here’s a rundown of behavioral changes between the old and the new system:

Behavior Old System New System
What is the minimum number of honorable kills necessary to earn CP each week? 15 15
How Are Honor Points Awarded? Based on player level and PvP Rank Based on Player Level and PvP Rank
When does honor decay happen? When the player does not meet the expected honor for their rank for a given week When the player does not meet the expected honor for their rank for a given week
What is the maximum amount of CP a player may lose due to decay? 2500 2500
Are HK’s, DK’s, Honor, and Highest Rank Displayed in the UI for Today, Yesterday, This Week, Last Week, and Lifetime? Yes Yes
Is player standing displayed in the UI for last week? Yes No, as players are no longer compared against one another on their realm
How is a player’s rank determined? Based on the amount of ranking points the player has earned Based on the amount of CP the player has earned. Ranking points no longer exist.
How do DK’s penalize players? DK’s cause an immediate loss of CP and displayed rank progress. DK’s cause an immediate loss of CP and displayed rank progress.
How often are ranking points awarded? Weekly Never. Ranking points no longer exist.
Will honor decay indefinitely? Yes; this means the player may be demoted to a lower rank if their honor decays below the minimum threshold for their current rank No; we now only decay until the player reaches the base amount of honor for the current rank. This means that a player will not be demoted, unless they earn a demotion via Dishonorable Kills.
How are honor points converted to CP? Using an algorithm based on the player’s expected honor for their rank, a hard-coded change factor, minus any deductions from DKs Based on a curve which maps honor to CP. For example, ~750k honor equates to 65,000 CP (numbers are NOT final). The amount of honor you need to hit each week is static and fixed and does not fluctuate based on what other participants on your realm are doing.
When do the stats for This Week and Lifetime update? Once per day Immediately
Can a player see their standing vs. other players in the UI? Yes No; players are no longer compared with one another, so standing has been removed from the UI

Now let’s take a look at the new User interface:

It should look and feels nearly identical to the previous system’s interface, with the only major difference being the omission of “standing” from the “Last Week” section.

We encourage PTR testers to participate in Battlegrounds there to get a feel for how earning HKs and Honor in real time works, and also to populate our database with PvP data to help us ensure that everything is working correctly under the hood. The total Honor needed to hit the highest CP level is currently set to 750,000 honor, meaning that if you get at least 750k honor for the week, you will earn the maximum amount of rank increases for that week. This is subject to change before the system goes live with patch 1.14.4.

There’s also a hard cap on how far you can progress in a given week, and the minimum number of weeks required to hit rank 14 is currently set to 8 on the PTR.

This was a very dense explanation, mostly due to the fact that the old system is very complex. The TLDR here is that ranking up is now much more straightforward. You will simply need to hit specific milestones of Honor Points gained each week to progress through PvP ranks.

Thank you for testing with us!


After first glance, I’m impressed. Seems like a well thought through fix. Will have to see how easy it feels to grind 14
(Hopefully still feels like an accomplishment) but could be cool.


This looks excellent.

Just out of curiosity will there be diminishing returns for killing the same players in a Battleground? This was an issue with AV turtles and people leaving because of bad honor per hour.

If possible could diminishing returns not be applied in battlegrounds?

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This would encourage honor farming each other for honor cap, honor decay is needed to prevent collusion cheese


Will anything be done about how dishonorable kills are handled? It always struck me as odd and somewhat dissapointing how in Classic WoW people avoid raiding enemy capitals due to how punishing DKs are for players’s rank.


Well, I’m glad that ranks are being kept and this is not just currency, so there’s that.

I don’t know that Blizzards constant focus is with turning their MMORPG WoW versions from games centered on group play to games centered on solo play.

I don’t see anything about caring about group play in this at all actually, because let’s be real the devs don’t care AT ALL about the core of what makes an MMO good, and haven’t for a VERY long time.

Having said that, there is no taking away premades as per this, which is good, and means that will still be faster, as per this, to rank with others. So there is still that benefit to actually playing with other people in an MMORPG.

Our opinions were never asked. Most people will probably be happy. I am truly glad I REALLY binged the classic version of 2019 - 2021. Understanding both the social aspects and system complexities, in addition to really getting to know the people I played with led to the most fun I will probably ever have out of a game, and I will always have amazing memories. I may be the only one on the planet who feels that way, but that’s ok.

So I’ll just say that I’m grateful that I got to experience that - and we’ll see what the next season or when the next fresh is.


classic “era” btw

You can take a break and not lose your progress? Thank you Blizzard.


please consider capping people at rank 11 until BWL comes out


Will we be raised to our previous ranks so we can have the title for our character(s)?


Tbh WoW Classic is probably the MMO that is most heavily weighted towards multiplayer. I’m not exactly sure that this impacts that much either, and I’m definitely for more solo play in MMOs being an OSRS fan (and just old school mmo fan in general).

This is neat but I feel allowing more than one Rank 14 person is kind of anti-climactic. I think it was really cool that one player was able to basically be the server idol for a week. Maybe adding an additional Rank 15 that only a single player can get, the person who did the most pvp in rank 14 or something along those lines.


I agree with you that Classic Vanilla/Era is the most social version of WoW and will continue to be so.

I just had such deep and interesting social experiences while ranking to where I know this new system will not allow that to be replicated. In fact, so many of the people I met while ranking my toons I still talk to - about a lot more than WoW. I know that this new system will not facilitate that experience to ever happen again. For myself or others.

Guilds still allow the social aspects to take place, but to me, this was deeper because you saw people at their best and at their worst so you truly got to know them.

I have no problem with you or any other person enjoying a more solo experience, but I do know of others who like what I like. We are niche players, and when there is one game on the planet that works a certain way, having that taken away (outside of those copies where Blizzard doesn’t want us to go) is kind of a shame.


Exactly, getting rank 14 required the server to back u up, and u backing up the other rankers too. u knew who the pvpers were even though they might not be part of ur premade. this is a good thing since it forced u to interact with other ppl on ur faction.

“the mafia” is only a complaint when u want to solo queue to r14 and jump the line / bracket break.

RIP ZG, AQ20, most of BWL and MC too. If u can slowly gain rank 14, why would any invest to get the gear in these instances? It even competes with AQ 40 gear so the demand for AQ 40 also gonna drop.


Zejung I’m truly glad there’s another person still on these forums who has a similar perspective to my own.

I LOVED the social complexities of ranking.

There is something about getting to know people across multiple guilds on your server.

I really don’t understand the desire of Blizzard to reinvent the wheel of Era. This isn’t a season where it would be the best place to experiment. Oh well.


Honestly anyone who plays era often would know that we’d still see lots of MC/BWL/Aq20/ZG every week due to rank 14 still requiring a LOT of work for any normal, average, or infrequent player. This just means that anyone willing to get rank 14 now CAN and could choose that route instead of aq40 tokens and other specific items. Realistically we will see more but I don’t see this stopping any raids at all.


That’s fair. I guess there’s still all the raiding, but you wont necessarily get to deeply know someone from that. I have no interest in deeply knowing anybody who plays WoW, though.

Or just remove the epic items on the vendor until BWL/AQ.


Any discussion and/or decisions on prior characters who climbed the ladder all the way up to R14? Will they be able to retain their titles, or under this new system need to re rank again…

Reason I ask is that anyone who ranks after this change upon reaching Grand Marshal or High Warlord would essentially keep those ranks/titles unless they receive a dishonorable kill.

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