PvP Gearing in SL

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.

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Legendaries, conduits and sockets are also important to keep in mind. These all buff your characters in ways that ilvl can’t show, and should be adressed as well, since (especially sockets and conduits) they have a massive external grind behind them.

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Yeah, I mentioned that briefly at the bottom of this post but they definitely do need addressed. Conduits can have massive effects on certain specs and yet very few come from PvP. Not only can you not get the actual conduits from PvP, you can’t upgrade them from PvP either. That’s another whole system and grind that takes away from time people should be using doing things they enjoy… like PvP. Same goes for sockets really. Both sockets and conduits need to be accessible via PvP content and conduits need to be upgradable through PvP too.

As for legendaries, I honestly thought before SL launched that they would disable them in PvP. The MoP cloak and WoD ring both were either heavily nerfed or just didn’t work in PvP and of course with templates Legion legendaries were disabled. I guess in hindsight the BFA cloak was enabled so that should have been an indicator, but the SL legendaries have so much more impact for many specs that I really did think they’d just disable them. They didn’t, and now we are looking at having a free covenant legendary on top of whatever other one you want, it seems like a balancing nightmare, especially when some specs will benefit heavily from the covenant legendary and some won’t benefit really much at all.

I’m not even going to get into the annoyance of obtaining legendaries. I guess it has gotten a bit better being able to farm the mats w/o a lockout, but it still is such a drag for every new character and like many aspects of the game right now, just isn’t fun.

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Def agree that just not giving PvP rewards for conduits just cause they dont wanna implement it makes no sense. I try to avoid as much PvE stuff as I can unless someone needs a tank or something is fun.

I think the legendary thing is where they really mess up as most of the wonky 1shot or “thats unfair” things come from. Beyond just playing ur class normal and achieving some great kills on people who are caught lacking game knowledge I think legendaries should really be disabled also Ive seen plenty of people get super angry dying to something as silly as getting hit by the earth ele from resto shaman lego doing more damage than DPS in arena. I think blizzard should always reward high skill over anything else.

I absolutely hate grind choreghast for PvP things just to stay relevant. I think keep them totally separate is something blizzard has really been lacking lately

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Ye its beyond me. Just enable to have them be farmed for Honour. It in the very least absolutely beats playing like casino that was Korthia and Torghast in regards of Conduit upgrades. Not to mention that a PvPer should not be forced to PvE (and vise versa). And in case someone from PvE thinks they now have to do PvP for conduits (which is a valid concern) at the start of the tier just, despite me absolutely hating it, just timegate them. OR have conduits in instanced PvP to be of a fixed ILvL.

The rate of Honour farming could easily be adjusted to cover the new conduits.

Was to be expected. It happens every time they introduce something that is “very strong”. Doesnt even need to be a legendary most of the time.

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I wanted to talk a bit today about another system that will be affecting PvP gearing in 9.2. I am referring to the reintroduction of tier sets and the set bonuses that accompany them. The return of this system has long been asked for since their removal, but I think the implementation has some troubling implications for PvP.

First, the set bonuses themselves. Looking at them, it is very clear that they are being designed with PvE as the primary focus. The impact these bonuses have in PvP varies wildly for different specs with some specs gaining a ton of power from their bonuses and other specs not seeing the same effect. This could lead to a lot of balancing issues next season which I think could be avoided with the solution I’ll propose toward the end of the post.

The second thing I wanted to talk about with tier sets returning is the acquisition method, specifically the acquisition method for PvPers. Tier sets are going to of course drop in raids and will be available in the Great Vault for PvPers, along with a conversion system later in the patch allowing you to turn non-tier gear into tier pieces with a currency that is gained through most content, including PvP.

Whether this acquisition method is good or not will depend on when exactly the transformation method is added. As it stands currently, until that option is added PvPers will be relying on Great Vault RNG for tier set acquisition. With the impact some specs are going to be seeing from the current bonuses, this could feel really frustrating for people if they can’t get their set together while others luck out and do, similar to people getting things like 2h weapons in the first vault, creating a pretty sizable advantage. This also has a solution that I think would benefit PvPers.

The solution I’m proposing is maybe unlikely to come about with 9.2 already so far into development, but I thought I’d throw it out there anyway. When you look at past expansions, every iteration of PvP gear from vanilla to WoD had PvP specific set bonuses. These bonuses existed alongside PvE tier bonuses but obviously were designed with PvP and the way specs played in PvP in mind.

I think the solution to the two above problems is to reintroduce PvP set bonuses on PvP gear bought from the honor and conquest vendors. Then, with each spec having a PvP specific bonus, nerf or disable the PvE bonuses in PvP combat. This would hopefully help with the balancing issue that PvP is going to face in 9.2, assuming the PvP sets bonuses would be designed well and enough time is spent balancing them.

It also solves acquisition rates by giving everyone the same opportunity to get the bonuses from the vendor. PvP bonuses worked really well in previous expansions, and I think they could work well if implemented here too.

One last thing about 9.2 gearing that I wanted to mention are the new trinkets being added for PvP. I don’t have super fleshed out opinions on these yet but from early looks they do look very questionable, and it seems like they are going to promote really gross gameplay. I think there should be some heavy considerations before adding more trinkets effects to PvP.

This post ended up being long again, sorry for that. I’d like to hear everyone’s feedback though.

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CC immunity trinket is gonna be broken calling it now

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Hello!

As everyone knows, expectations about how PvP gearing should play out during a player’s initial gearing-up phase each Season have shifted from expansion to expansion, and we’ve seen a lot of those expectations even shift from patch to patch, especially since the end of Legion. When we set about working on 9.1.5 from a PvP perspective, it was very clear that players want the gearing-up phase to be shorter and the staircase of power that PvP gear represents to be less-steep. So we did just that in 9.1.5 and then saw mountains of feedback from PvPers that you wanted it to be even shorter and even less-steep. By a lot! Players who posted in those threads were, in a word, unhappy.

(We also spotted some feedback about 9.1.5 that looked very positive on the changes we made. Please don’t think we didn’t see you!)

And to cut to the chase on that subject: the item level upgrade via rating tiers has to stay in place as it is currently works for the rest of this Season. We’re committed to keeping some consistency around such things in the middle of a Season.

Post-Legion PvP, and really the entire game, is different than it was pre-Legion. We’re striving to make a PvP gearing system that balances character progression with fairness, rewarding players who improve over the course of the season with noticeable power increases that can be overcome through skillful play.

We believe that the current arrangement – using PvP item level – has reduced the power gaps between players to reasonable amounts that make for fulfilling games where your team usually has a good chance to defeat your opponents in Arenas and Battlegrounds. You can get started quickly, and perform adequately, with Honor gear but still experience noticeable power increases as you acquire and upgrade your Conquest gear.
Nonetheless, with each passing Season, we’ve heard loud and clear that players think it takes too long to gear up for PvP. As far as we can see, it looks like the best way for us to address that concern immediately would be to add a significant Honor increase (40%) to the Spoils of War buff that is currently in place. So we’re looking into doing that soon.

Thank you for your feedback, and also, thank you to everyone who provided valuable feedback on this to us in previous forum threads, such as the massive thread in the 9.1.5 PTR forum. It may take us some time to formulate an answer, but we do see your feedback every day.

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Thank you for the response!

I can understand why overhauling ilvl changes couldn’t happen in the middle of a season, but I am very relieved to hear that you are looking to address the honor grind sooner than that. The grind, especially for Horde really is demoralizing atm, so a significant buff to acquisition would be good for the remainder of this season.

I do hope that the team will consider the reversion to two sets for the last season of the expansion. One option if that is not possible that I’d read before would be using the current scaling ilvl to both keep the PvE ilvl progression outside of PvP but scaling the PvP ilvl to the max for honor and the max for conquest inside PvP combat. Ideally the max PvP ilvl for honor and conquest wouldn’t be too far apart in this scenario.

I wonder if that is something you could consider if making just the two sets of gear is out of the question for SL? It would be utilizing the existing tech and would keep a sense of progression outside of PvP too.

Again, thank you for the response!

e: I wanted to respond specifically to this part:

I really don’t think that the gap is anywhere near reduced enough for the average player and I don’t think honor gear is adequate for the average player either.

I know that really skilled players can probably take maxed honor gear or base conquest gear and push to a rating that allows them to upgrade to decent gear, and I think that the addition of gear upgrades at lower ratings did reduce the power gap a bit.

But when I queue up for a random BG and see people wearing the best gear that they can acquire from that content get oneshot by someone wearing even just rival gear, it just feels really bad. And that is with maxed honor gear. Anything less is basically unviable unless you are already really good and have geared partners to help you gear up yourself. This is why I’m really hoping the team considers the two set feedback. The gap is still just too large IMO and addressing it feels like it could rejuvenate both casual and rated PvP to a really high degree.

e2: I’m also really unsure if 40% will be enough of a boost to help. Alliance already get 50% and it is still a massive slog. This buff would turn the average battleground win into 400ish honor, I think? And still a really low amount on a loss. I think to have an impact on a grind that can be 50-80k honor, it needs to be more than 40%.

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You can believe that (you shouldn’t), but we’ve regressed from a 13ilvl gap between Honor gear and Conquest gear in Cataclysm (which is regarded as one of the best PvP expansions of WoW) with both sets having natural sockets and spec-individual set bonuses along with well optimized stats, to having a 26ilvl gap between fresh Conquest gear and Duelist Conquest gear - and that doesn’t even include hidden things like Legendaries, Sockets, Renown levels or Conduits, which at this point, really should get a fixed ILVL in PvP, as Conduits and Sockets especially are probably worse than the honor grind (because at least during the Honor grind, we actually get to play the game and not Rift farm).

And that doesn’t even mention the actual Honor gear we have which is a proper waste of the player’s time and honor, as it’s just so painfully weak compared to Conquest gear. The gap is 46 ilvl gap AFTER BUFFS (and was 69 before, not nice)! And that is not even mentioning how poor the stats are distributed on those items (none of the items are 67%vers distributed!).

Which is fine, since it’d require quite some resources to do a mass overhaul, but surely you can push the gaps down a little bit? 13ilvl worked totally fine back in the day. At the very least on the Conquest gear, and for 9.2 and beyond you can fixate the ilvl of Conduits and Legendaries.

You can buff the honor gain as much as you want, most players will still be dissatitisfied, since Rival1 is the 90th percentile of players (according to Luduslabs last season, which I still believe is correct to this season), and the fact that players pump out alts all the time, which will still suffer from the massive gear gap.

This doesn’t even mention that we used to have crafted PvP sets ready for any alt to hop in instantly to BGs and have a reasonable chance at least against Honor geared people.

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Would say there’s a definite way to improve the PvP gearing experience as a whole going into 9.2, whilst the changes look healthy there is room for improvement yet.

Improving your gear is a very core RPG element to improve your character power and I wouldn’t want to see that vanish completely with something like templating (unless templating was introduced in a more controllable way such as having a point-based template where you can put points into whichever stats you want).

I’d personally think the following would be healthy.

Legendaries having a PvP Item Level attached to them

As Prosident hinted at in the post above, I do feel as though PvP players shouldn’t be forced into the wider game as much as they are to empower their legendaries, and likewise shouldn’t be actively punished by the absurd gold cost of them (whilst not having a natural way to acquire gold via PvP).

Having a PvP Item Level attached to them would be quite a healthy change.

Honor Cap

The Honor Cap right now is 15,000. However to fully upgrade a weapon you need more than a single cap of Honor. I don’t see why there is a need for a cap? Especially one that can’t even facilitate a full upgrade of an item.

Honor Gear

7 stages of upgrades for Honor gear is pretty absurd as they have such a low level of power per piece. I’d personally prefer to see fewer stages of Honor Gear, and to make them start at a higher item level and cap out 1 stage above base conquest gear). For example, 4 stages total. So for this season of content, it would be:
Stage 1: 210 / 223 PvP
Stage 2: 216 / 229 PvP
Stage 3: 220 / 233 PvP
Stage 4: 226 / 239 PvP

There’s also an opportunity to add crafted PvP items for professions which would be the stage below 203 / 226 PvP as the intro piece of gear.

Honor Gear Items

PvP players do not really have much of a way of gaining gold naturally. With this in mind, I feel that Honor Gear should Bind on Use. This allows players to dump their excess Honor into items and sell it on the Auction House. This will also provide a new source of catch up gear for players as well (There’s no way to get a starter weapon outside of world quests right now…)

Conquest Gear/Vendor

A huge Quality of Life improvement here would be for Conquest Gear on the Vendor to scale with your rank and be purchasable at the rank you are. I understand that there may be some coding implications with upgrading to your highest rank for that week, but the reward for being a higher ranked player is that you can upgrade it to a higher ceiling but still need absurd amounts of Honor to do this.

Would also like to see a way for the Vendor to have some additional benefits for players who do not need any gear from Conquest for pushing such as a way to add sockets to your item but require 1800/2100 rating to Purchase?

Additional Honor Vendor

There’s a bit of a gap with being able to obtain Conduits for PvP players as they need to engage with PvE systems to obtain higher rank conduits, This is also an issue for players just starting off their journey.

Would like to see if there’s an opportunity for an Honor Vendor that sells conduits? Preferably 1 stage above the new base rank (base rank being ilvl200) to give them an alternate path to obtaining conduits.

Would also be interesting to see an alternate path for Conduit upgrading such as an upgrading item that costs Honor (but have a ceiling tied at your rating level).

This would ultimately mean that to accelerate your Conduit progression you would need to engage with PvE systems as you do today, but having a pure PvP alternative I’d imagine would be a much-welcomed addition.

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These are great ideas really hate questing on my alts just to get a 187 conduit. I think honestly we can solve a ton of problems if blizzard just removed the honor cap and let people just spent how they want instead of budgeting and then going to the vendor it kind of interrupts the flow of playing the game.

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A small note: Spoils of War right now is disabled once the player dies.

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Any reason the new PTR item for catching up conduits rewards nothing for Rated Battle Ground players? Seems like we are forgetting a pretty big part of the PvP player base. Shouldnt the catch up mechanic be lower requirement also? Glad only really on rewards the top percentage of players or pushes people towards boosting. I think duelist or something would at least be a push in the right direction.

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If I had to guess, it’s because there isn’t a seasonal achievement for RBGs like there is for the other game modes except for Hero which obviously goes out after the season is over. They could just make the requirement the season 3 duelist achievement and it would apply to both.

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they always forget about RBGs

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It looks like that item should say it requires “Elite”, not “Gladiator”.

This will be fixed in an upcoming build of the PTR.

Thanks!

Any thoughts on lowering the requirements as elite is pretty high for an average player? Currently the elite rank being the requirement will seem to just increase the gear disparity between the top players and literally everyone else seems like a rich getting richer type deal.

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Gonna bump this post again as it seems people (including myself) feel they should really get a response from this.

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Thanks for bumping it again.

I am really hoping for some type of response to any of our replies to the initial dev post above, but the current setup on the 9.2 PTR has me worried that we already know the answer to the question of the system being changed. As far as I’ve seen, the system is still the same with slightly less honor costs on honor gear, though still ridiculously high at over 65k honor required for it, still huge honor requirements for upgrading conquest, still a 15k honor cap and possibly losing the honor buff they implemented for this season.

No indication of any movement on lowering the bar of entry, the gap between honor and conquest is still the same and now this conduit catchup, especially if account-wide, will put an even bigger gap between lower rated players and higher rated players.

I know development for 9.2 has probably been in the works for a while and the gearing system was probably mapped out long ago, but really the 9.1.5 change showed that Blizzard can alter the PvP item level at any time without affecting anything else. They could easily scale the PvP item level of all honor gear to 10 below max and all conquest gear to max and pretty much solve the gear disparity, or get as close to solving it as you can get with this current system. If they could change the ilvls in 9.1.5 they could change them in 9.2 in a whole new season.

I really hope we get another response with some clarity on what the system should look like moving forward past SL s2. I feel like this issue is a really easy win for Blizzard if they listen to the overwhelming feedback on it. The PvP community seems really united on this, everywhere I look from the unrated random BG heroes to r1s want it changed. Even people that seem to enjoy the current system don’t seem like they’d mind if it changed. I guess we will just have to see what happens.

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