The solution for ranking in Season of Mastery?

The ranking system in vanilla and WoW classic is a measure of quantity. It looks at the player for each faction that earned the most honor that week and rewards that player the most ranking points. This is the heart of the system and it is what drives the honor arms race each week.

All the meta around bracket stacking, bracket breaking, premades giving up verse premades throwing games to get into the next game to boost their honor per hour, these are all the result of players trying to solve this equation in a way that works for them.

Short of a complete system overhaul this will always be the case. Attempting band-aid this system doesn’t work because the system by design always rewards the person with the most honor in a given week with the most rank points therefore there will always be an arms race for the top spot. It moves the player toward their goal the quickest if they earn the most honor.

The system always rewards the person with the most honor adjustments or tweaks to this system are just different ways of making things easier. If the system is easier more people will do it therefore it will become less prestigious.

Let’s take the popular suggestion eliminating decay as an example. If we eliminate decay and increase the amount of RP required for each rank to make it so it would take someone around 12 weeks to go from 0 to rank 14 if they get the top bracket as seen in the tables below.

Rank RP Alliance Title Horde Title
1 15 HK Private Scout
2 2000 Corporal Grunt
3 5000 Sergeant Sergeant
4 12000 Master Sergeant Senior Sergeant
5 15000 Sergeant Major First Sergeant
6 20000 Knight Stone Guard
7 27000 Knight-Lieutenant Blood Guard
8 35000 Knight-Captain Legionnaire
9 43000 Knight-Champion Centurion
10 53000 Lieutenant Commander Champion
11 65000 Commander Lieutenant General
12 78000 Marshal General
13 104000 Field Marshal Warlord
14 156000 Grand Marshal High Warlord
Bracket Weekly RP gains
1 12000 - 13000 RP
2 11000 - 12000 RP
3 10000 - 11000 RP
4 9000 - 10000 RP
5 8000 - 9000 RP
6 7000 - 8000 RP
7 6000 - 7000 RP
8 5000 - 6000 RP

Well without decay now someone who is getting in the 8th bracket would get max rank 31 weeks into Season of Mastery. Now you could play with this and increase the total RP required and RP bonus for higher brackets but you’ll end up with the same problems that the decay system has. Players are incentivized to get the top spot, the arms race to get the most honor and the behavior which few people like or enjoy will continue because of it.

The only solution I can see is a complete overhaul to a system that measure quality rather than quantity, which I am sure would come with its own set of problems… otherwise it is just a question of how much easier do we make the grind.


Honestly, I’d be completely OK with the above system in place. It still gives incentive to pvp more and leaves the competition intact. At the same time it helps the more casual players by giving them guaranteed progress and rewards in a certain time frame as long as they participate.

While I think it would be good for the pvp scene in general, I think you are underestimating how gear influences what people do inside the game in and how good even the blue pvp sets are for some classes.

8 months in everyone would be sitting in Orgimaar and Stormwind in their pvp gear not running any instances because they have all the gear they need.

8 months into a 12 month cycle I think is fine, we’d be in the AQ phase by then getting ready for Naxx soon.

The easy solution, make the gear impossible to keep unless you keep your rank and thus irrelevant unless you’re doing it for fun.

Grinding to rank 14 becomes less of a life destroying sweat-fest really, really fast when the only way to keep the rank 14 weapons is to defend your r14 title week after week after week.

Make rank 14 like a never ending king of the hill game, where no one actually gets to keep the coveted r14 weapons, this way, all that super powerful rank 14 gear no longer becomes a necessity for min/maxing but a fun pvp side game that people don’t actually take that seriously, this also makes it so PvP is not at all required for PvE progression.

Letting people obtain and keep AQ40 ilvl gear at launch is a TERRIBLE idea.

For people that are against this idea, in the original vanilla in order to use r14 weapons this is literally how the game worked for the first half of it’s lifetime and it wasn’t until a later patch that ranking gear could be kept and worn after you rank decreased.

Back in 2004 if you wanted to wear r14 gear in a raid and keep it equipped you had to maintain rank 14 every single week or you were unable to equip the gear, so NOT allowing r14 gear to be permanent till AQ40 actually WOULD be more in line with the original vanilla experience.

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Personally really dislike this idea. By this logic there should be no pvp rewards at all. This is a King Solomon solution where instead of actually fixing the problem you just cut the baby in half. Players enjoy character progression and it is a large part of an MMO and this change would punish people who like pvp by making the gear useable only if they grind continuously.

PVP is not required for PVE progression in vanilla nor in classic, the gear can give you a huge boost if you get it early but the stance that it is required for progression is delusional.

I still believe that an overhaul to something that measures quality instead of quantity is the only solution that meets all of the design goals blizzard has laid out for season of mastery, but I doubt they have the resources or the drive to make a completely new system.

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Totally agree. They have to overhaul the system and eliminate the brackets. This is the only way to fix the problem.

“Solutions” are typically something that aims to fix a “problem.”

Nice explanation though, and good illustration of why removing decay would likely not lead to a better system.

Had this in my original write up, but it got edited out. Think the main issue with the PVP system as it currently stands is that it is difficult in the wrong way. It is a sheer test of time and willpower which pits you up against your own faction rather than the opposite faction.

Let’s discard for a moment the scope and what we believe would actually happen and invent the ideal quality based system.

Our ideal system would accomplish these things.

  • Encourage playing all three battlegrounds
  • Encourage participation
  • Encourage playing the objective
  • Promote a diverse set of play styles

It would also be in line with the design philosophy from this blue post.

The main goal for the Season of Mastery is provide a WoW Classic experience that brings about “Faster Progression and More Challenging Content”.

And this quote

The core of the system Achieving Rank 14 in original World of Warcraft was always meant to be a prestigious accomplishment that few players obtained. We feel that maintaining that level of prestige is important, and we’ve got to consider how it will play out with the Honor system active from the moment Season of Mastery launches. This is especially difficult, considering how powerful the Honor gear is for many classes.

My suggestion to accomplish this would be a class based ELO or MMR system. This would have rankers competing not against the rest of their faction but just those who are the same class. For classes that can heal I would divide things further and have healing spec and non healing spec rankings (this would promote more healing in battlegrounds, previously a fairly unrewarding task).

The value of this MMR or ELO would be derived from the following stats; win rate, damage done, killing blows, healing done, buffs cast, objectives played. These stats would be weighted differently depending on which class you are playing in a way that made sense. Would also suggest some kind of defender bonus to encourage that behavior.

Each week the person with the highest MMR or ELO for their class would gain the most RP. Once the week is over the RP / ELO resets. A real time leaderboard so you can see how you are stacking up and a breakdown of the equation so it is clear to players how to improve.

This system would change the PVP grind from something that is difficult sheerly because of the massive time commitment to something that still requires a huge time investment but also has elements of skill and encourages people to play the game. I feel like it would help solve a lot of the issues that plague AV as well.


It might make sense to separate them, but any class that can heal should be healing, in BGs, imo. So incentivizing this behaviour with personal rankings that are dependent on various data, such as healing, buff uptime, players saved from certain death, etc could be interesting.

The class based approach, I think, is a good step towards better filtering out performance based ranking. I think it could go a lot further, though it may be somewhat impractical to spend the resources to design smarter ranking systems.

But, yeah… interesting ideas.

While your idea is great, do you think that’s realistic at all for Blizzard to build? I mean they don’t even have this in retail right? It seems like they aren’t doing any new system building, only minor tweaks / adjustments for SoM.

There’s got to be a way to tweak / adjust the existing system. The only counterpoint you talked about was “remove decay” but I’m sure there are other changes that can be made outside of a completely new system.

I 100% agree that there is 0 chance of seeing this in game. Judging on the other changes we have seen blizzard is looking to make some minor value tweaks to make the system better, but from the conclusions drawn in my first post its always going to be plagued by the same issues. Any levers or values changed are just going to make it easier therefore less prestigious which is against their stated design goals. As it stands they will probably leave things as is.

That being said I do think there is value in exploring what is possible. If SoM is a hit and they are doing this over and over implementing a solution like this is less absurd because they will get value in future seasons from a better implemented system.

There hasn’t been a good problem definition given, imo. “I don’t like it.” “It’s too grindy.” “Bad design.” “People are toxic.” Just seem like opinions. So it’s very difficult to design a solution without a goal for what it is meant to accomplish.

If it’s to give access to R14 weapons and gear to everybody, while still keeping a ranking system with prestige, perhaps they could keep the system as is, and then sometime during phase 4, have all PVP gear be purchasable with honor, tokens, gold, but have no ranking requirements. Additionally, those who obtained their gear through the ranking system could be given an SoM specific recolour of R14 weapons and gear, and maybe even a prestigious mount.

@Axxi these seem like legitimate problems to me. Its no longer about “PvP” but about playing the complicated points system.

Definitely not what people are considering the problem. Pretty sure everyone agrees it should be prestigious, but not just awarded by grinding a weird ranking system.


Oh, okay. If those are being stated as problems, and a solution is being sought to solve those stated problems, then there’s a clear way to measure the effectiveness of a proposed solution.

I do like the idea of a system that is better at gathering personal performance data, and a ranking system based on that, but as has been suggested already (by me and by you), it may be an unrealistic hope. Not to mention that it may go against the intended design, as it may encourage solo play over team play.

It does seem like it would be quite resource intensive to design, develop, and maybe even maintain. And it isn’t clear that it would solve any of the stated problems:

  • bracket stacking
  • bracket breaking
  • premades giving up verse premades
  • throwing games to get into the next game to boost their honor per hour

Thought about this while making up the system, think the fact that the players are only competing against others who are the same class will facilitate more collaboration between players. It is no longer you verse your same faction, but it is you verse others in your class. This would obviously need to be tested to see how things played out.

This system might be easier to bracket stack or break, because the pool of players for each class is obviously smaller than the pool of players which makes up the whole faction. Honestly dont mind if players are incentivized to play better if they are breaking by being awesome and contributing a lot to battlegrounds would see that as a win.

The reason behind this is the diminishing returns on HK’s in battlegrounds if a team has racked up 10+ kills on every player in the BG they want to get out of the BG as quickly as possible. With these new metrics the hope is they are weighted in such a way that a drawn out game doesn’t feel bad because the system is looking more at the stats that happened in the game rather than just how much honor did you get.

Yeah, I have a feeling it would still favor premades, just like parses favor better groups, which may be a good thing.

Anyway, I think it’s a pretty cool idea, and it would be fun to try, at least for a season, if there’s a practical way to implement it.

It’s not necessarily decay that people have a problem with, it’s the fact that it’s all relative and that’s the beauty of the system. There can only be a certain number of said title at any one point in time. That’s a good system. If you’re stuck on 10k while everyone is still grinding, you’re going to lose standing. People who put in the work should be rewarded.

I think an overall is completely fine is the thing I’d never Is thought of the PVP grind for rank 14 as this perceduous huge accomplishment.

On top of that it encourages toxicity I mean does no one else remember the Spam The death Threads on top of that It gives top gills to leave power to literally control an entire aspect of the game.

And create pvp Mafia’s And overall it’s just not good for the game Again I’ve offered solutions to this.

On top of that this encourages people too by gold And literally buy grand marsh And it’s only manageable by an exploit.

So 9 times out of 10 you can’t even say oh this person earned thehat you don’t know did that person buy it.

And it’s going to even worse this time around because that His grand Marshal PDP gear with the 12 months cadence.

That may be the meta Hey we know we’re not going to get very good gear from mc after the lockout.

So instead of that what can we do Hey we can do the PVP grind and get gear that’s literally going to carry us.

Is all the way to and possibly passed AQ Again encouraging more people to do it somebody brought is somebody bracket breaks You literally got possibly 10 plus people angry at you.

Is literally making the entire server possibly hate you None of these things are good.

Is now with my suggestion we make it into an honor cap system yes the numbers can be adjusted.

We get rid of the 20% reduction 1 -10 10k Honor purr rank 11-12 50k per rank 13 200k 14 500k.

On top of that Right off the back You can Is grind out to rank 10 Is everything else after you can only gain one rank a week.

So if you get to Is rank 10 You can’t go any farther for that week On top of that they don’t release the epic set at launch is it at lunch just a blue They add weapons equivalent to zg And Boots the gloves and boots.

At aq Then they release the grand martial And buff the chest and head and at naxx Then release another pvp set Not as good but just slightly worse.

On top of this Is add a rank 15 This should use the bracket system There’s no gear associated with it it’s just a title and mount and make the mount really cool and unique.

That’s your flex that’s your yeah I did this Is that the PVP system that should be in the game let me ask what would be wrong with that?

Is with just the blue set in obviously it’s not nearly on par with the grand Marshal stuff on top of that the best gear still comes from raids And the rank 15 is there for the perstige aspect And if someone’s really pushing hard as fast as they can get 14 is 5 weeks.

So there you go it solves all the problems right there

What if they just gave you a mountain title right and made the mount really unique looking Again all this gets addressed in my suggestions.

Technically That would make it even more prestigious right because it’s only the people that really want that mountain tide are going after it and it’s a really cool mount.

And title It’s like how many people do you see with inferno Gladiator in tbcc That’s the same thing I have no problem with exclusivity I have a problem with player power behind it.

You don’t have to be an infernal Gladiator to get access to the best PVP gear right.

So if we had a rank 15 That did use the bracket system And do honor For all the other ranks that keeps that per stage.

Is that ability to flex and we put a cool enough melt behind it everybody’s going to recognize it right.

So what’s wrong with removing the player power aspect from it If the only thing you truly want from that is bragging right?