PvP in Cataclysm Guide
PvP is one of the fundamental mechanics of WoW that is either hated or loved by the majority of the playerbase. Since day one players have been traveling across Azeroth to pick fights with the opposing faction in order to better themselves. In vanilla WoW we were introduced to PvP by the epic open world battles outside of Tarren Mill and Southshore. Then the honor system was introduced followed shortly by the battlegrounds which placed players into instanced battle zones and kept the wary low levels away from massive zerg fights.
Of course, TBC brought about two big changes. The first was resilience which kept raiders from being able to “pwn” everyone and their brother because they were in the top %1 and had access to the best gear. It effectively moved the PvP gear into its own bracket. The second were Arenas which provide an even ground for matches that test skill instead of time investment, except in scenarios where certain class combos overpowered everything.
PvP, as it stands now, is mostly about player skill and has been since gear was taken largely out of the equation. A decent player can easily obtain good Arena/PvP gear, but a player who is unskilled will not be able to do anything even if they’re in really good gear. This is important because PvP remains one of the last bastions of pure skill in the game besides the unbearably difficult hardmodes like Arthas or previously Anub’arak.
It’s refreshing that we’re seeing a lot of focus placed on PvP in the upcoming expansion. After all, we’re returning to the original Orcs vs. Human storyline. So that in itself should show that we need to have a lot more focus on the PvP aspect of the game instead of just palette swapping Onyxia and shoving her into random dungeons. Of course, PvP has something that PvE will never have and that’s the advanced A.I. behind it.
Humans are unpredictable and display no set patterns. You can expect them to do something but they will not always do it. You could expect them to focus on a certain member but they may instead switch over to someone else. You could expect X behavior and always get Y, Z, B, or D out of them. I often find myself falling asleep during non-hardmode encounters as it moves from phase 1 to phase 2 back to phase 1 again mechanically but there is never a time in PvP where I can remain calm and unexcited. Even fighting players you can easily stomp still gets me going because you never know if they’re just feigning noobness to hit you with a 1-2 punch.
Speaking about the n00bs, let’s talk PvP accessibility. PvP is pretty accessible right now and easy to get into and start tuning up your skill. Yet, I don’t think it’s accessible enough. I think that you should be able to quest your first set of rare quality resilience gear in order to get your feet wet and prevent you from getting stomped into the ground when you first start in the battlegrounds. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that PvP is inaccessible to casuals and that they should be given a free handout. No, I don’t think PvP is discriminatory against casuals because there isn’t a necessary reason to farm or grind endlessly to get better. It’s an activity that can be done in a short period of time. You’re either good at it or you hear BOOM HEADSHOT, get a Druid sitting up and down on your head in a provocative bear pose, and then have a Counterstrike relapse from when you smashed your Counterstrike disc and started a Pro-Peggle Club at school.
That’s why I think making the resilience gear a bit more accessible, as if you’re given a breadcrumb towards the endgame PvP, is a good idea. It would educate you on farming honor, give you something to keep you from being OMGWTFPWNED right off the bat, and keep you interested in the activity. The quest objectives could be simple and involve winning a battleground or doing some form of objective. Enough to teach you about the BG, get you a bit of gear, and take you around the various options. When you’re done you should be set and ready to get your feet truly wet to spam the BG button and work on your situational awareness, reaction time, and tactics until you feel confident with your honor farmed gear and acquired skillset to take on the Arenas.
I’d much rather a bit of PvP welfare than the continuing attitude of “pfft I’ll get farmed anyway.” When I say it requires skill, it does, but skill is something you can teach yourself by playing as much as you can. I encourage anyone out there who feels that PvP is tough to give it a try, work on playing a bit, and focus on getting better. It’s true, you’re going to get steamrolled at the start, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be steamrolled forever.
With enough experience even the most newb of a player can hold their own. It’s just that the experience isn’t a tangible figure but instead something that you have to learn and work on. Of course, with the current instant gratification that many people seek, it’s hard to talk about practice or focusing on situational awareness or seeking your weak spot or talking tactics when any of those activities doesn’t immediately aware an epic, 30 gold, and 5 badges.
Of course, one thing I don’t want is a return to the TBC’s dynamics of “PvP OR PvE” where you either hardcore raided or you PvP’d, got your honor gear, and then stood around farming gold and talking instead of doing anything overly constructive. Additionally, I hope we don’t sacrifice PvE for all of these new PvP-oriented abilities we’re seeing. Sure, they have “two purposes,” but it really comes down to a question of are they going to nerf their PvE functionality to make them PvP worthy? No one wants that. No one.