So I touched upon the issues with PvP gearing in the general 9.1.5 thread, but I did want to try to address it in its own thread because it really is a massive issue affecting every type of PvPer right now. First, I want to link to the lengthy feedback thread that Revo posted on the arena forums quite a while ago:
The original post in that thread covers a lot of what I’m going to say here, so I encourage anyone reading this to go read that too.
The first issue I wanted to address is the massive ilvl gap. At its largest, the gap is 46 ilvls, the gap between the first rank of honor gear and maxed conquest gear. This is really a ridiculous amount of power difference, and the difference between fully maxed honor gear at 233 and maxed conquest is not much better.
Additional gear ranks at 1k, 1200 and 1400 have made this somewhat smoother, but for inexperienced players and fresh characters trying to play random BGs or low rated arena, it can feel insurmountable to come up against even rival geared characters. Even for experienced players who will push past the lower ratings in lesser gear, it still isn’t fun, it just feels bad. Previous expansions saw item level gaps as low as 10 ilvls between honor gear and BiS conquest gear, a point I will address later in this post.
The second issue I wanted to bring up is honor acquisition. This is a major issue not only for inexperienced players that are trying to get their first set but also gladiators and r1s trying to gear their characters. Honor gear and upgrades for conquest gear require truly ludicrous amounts of honor. Honor, especially playing on the Horde faction w/o the Alliance enlisted bonus is very slow to come by, sometimes winning around 300 for a win or even just 100 for a loss. Those numbers are staggering when you need 80k+ honor for a simple, almost useless honor set and similarly massive amounts for fully upgraded conquest gear. At this point in time, honor gear is really not even worth trying to buy.
To make matters worse, even if you try to save honor earned from rated content while pushing to your next rating bracket, there is a small cap of 15k that ensures you can’t save enough to immediately upgrade your gear upon hitting the breakpoint. This just feels terrible, you hit a reward threshold and then have many, many hours ahead of you of grinding to even utilize it. What’s worse, you’ll be undergeared most of that time if you hadn’t been upgrading your gear all along. Even experienced players that are able to play with lesser gear find themselves hitting a decent rating threshold and then unfortunately being faced with a massive honor grind to even use the level of gear they earned.
The last issue I wanted to bring up for now is rating gates. As we know, SL conquest upgrade tiers are gated behind rating. There is a really good blog post by the MoP WoW devs that explained their reasoning behind removing the last rating gates for t2 weapons found here:
I think that removing rating gates then was a really good idea and helped to lower the barrier to entry for PvP. That blog post was written about the steep hill people had to overcome when facing someone that simply had weapons a tier higher. Now, in SL, every piece of gear has tiers which can leave players facing the aforementioned gear gaps between players of different ratings. To make matters worse for lesser geared players, higher rated players are almost forced to participate in unrated content for the previously mentioned massive honor grind, ensuring that they will face off which is not really fun for either party. It also contributes to unrated PvP being uncompetitive. You can usually tell which team will win simply by looking at the health levels on each team and most games are a steamroll in one direction or the other.
The solution to all of these issues is pretty simple to me. I mentioned it in the general 9.1.5 post, the reversion to the system used from Cata to WoD. Specifically, the system used in WoD in this case. For those who don’t remember, WoD gearing was very simple. There was an honor set and a conquest set. The honor set was quick to obtain and was 10 ilvls below the conquest set. The conquest set had no rating requirements and could be earned from any PvP content that reward conquest, including random BGs. They balanced acquisition of conquest gear by increasing your conquest cap with rating. While everyone ended up in the same place eventually, you did earn an advantage in the early and mid season by pushing rating.
Switching to this system solves the problem of the gear gap – the honor set and conquest set were close in power and scaled in ilvl to be better than PvE gear. This ensured everyone played on an even playing field and games were more competitive.
It was also really easy to catch up an alt with this system. You simply hopped in the PvP mode of your choice and farmed out your catchup cap. This system also solves the honor farming issue. The honor set in WoD cost around 27k honor for a full set of gear.
Without upgrade ranks, the honor set would be reasonable to obtain even with todays honor acquisition rates. In addition, with no ranks on conquest gear rated players would no longer be forced into a long, massive grind to use the gear they earned. Finally, it obviously solves the rating gate issue by removing them entirely. With rating gates gone, the playing field is even for everyone and the game becomes more enjoyable.
A final note I wanted to touch upon is the other few aspects of gearing in SL, namely conduits, sockets and legendaries. Put bluntly, if sockets and conduits are going to work in PvP, they need a PvP method of acquisition. There are a handful of conduits available for conquest, but these don’t even come close to covering what is necessary to be competitive.
Farming Torghast and in 9.2, world content, for legendaries is also not fun. They simply didn’t work in PvP in Legion. There would need to be balancing done to tune classes if they were disabled, but maybe that should be looked at. Sockets, like conduits, should also have a PvP method of acquisition if they are going to work in PvP.
I realize this thread went a bit long, but I think I covered most of what I initially wanted to talk about regarding PvP gearing in SL. I’m interested in seeing what opinions you all have of the systems in place and how they could be changed as well.