Welcome back to Part 2 of the Evolution of PvP. I was told last week that I failed to mention some details in Part 1, mainly about the top arena comps and what classes have been at the top of PvP ever since the beginning. Part 1 was already long enough, if I were to add all the little details about all of the top arena comps over the years, or the top four classes that have reigned over all others since Vanilla the article could turn into a whole book. If you would like to hear about that side of PvP let me know and we can definitely have a good long discussion about that, but for now, let’s continue with the overall Evolution of PvP in World of Warcraft. We left off last week talking about what Cataclysm brought to the game so up next is Mists of Pandaria.
Mists of Pandaria
MoP was/is hated by many, mostly because of Pandas but it was a very enjoyable expansion for me and the last expansion I fully pushed rating in PvP. With it came three new battlegrounds, two new Arenas and towards the end, my favorite content of the whole expansion, the Timeless Isle. Let’s start off with the new battlegrounds. Also with Patch 5.4, when Arena teams were done away with. You were no longer required to make and invite players to an Arena team, you could just party up and queue.
Silvershard Mines is a 10 vs 10 resource battleground. The object of the battleground is to be the first team to generate 1600 resources, similar to Arathi Basin and Eye of the Storm. At the start, both teams are on opposite sides of one another and once the gates open both rush to the middle trying to take control of the three carts that have spawned. Each cart has a set direction it will go. One will head to the bottom, commonly called “lava”, another will go mid or “water”, the last will go up top. If needed, the bottom cart and top cart had arrows that you could activate to change the direction of the tracks making either cart go down a different path. The best strategy is to take control of lava, water, and to forget about top as it caps last.
Temple of Kotmogu is also a 10 vs 10 resource-based battleground. Each team again starts on opposite sides of the battleground. There are four orbs in each corner of different colors; purple, green, red, and blue, that need to be held in order to receive points. Once the gates have opened each team rushes to the middle to grab the orbs on their side first. Once the orbs are grabbed you want to get into the very middle of the map to receive the most points possible, if the orbs are held outside of the middle you will still gain points but not as many. Those who hold the orbs will receive a buff/debuff, deal and receive increased damage, and receive reduced healing. This battleground is very straightforward strategy wise, rush to grab your orbs first, jump into the middle keeping your orb-holders alive while killing the enemy and making sure to pick up the orbs when they get reset to their point of origin.
Deepwind Gorge is a 15 vs 15 resource battleground. This battleground is pretty straight forward with it being an Arathi Basin style battleground but with an added twist. You have three mines to take and hold to gain resources. North (the “Pandaren” mine), south (the “Goblin” mine), and middle. The added twist to this map is that each base has a mine cart that can be captured for extra points. Again, another straight forward strategy is to hold middle and either the Pandaren or Goblin mine. Your team could go for the enemy’s cart but it isn’t necessary to win unless you’re far behind or dominating the other team, allowing you to end the game quicker.
Two new arena maps were added to Arena with this expansion; Tol’Viron Arena, and Tiger’s Peak. There isn’t much to be said about these two in all honesty. Tol’Viron Arena is very similar to Nagrand Arena with a different art style and direction of the pillars. Tiger’s Peak is a snowy arena with two pillars directly in front of both starting gates and two slightly raised platforms on both sides of the map.
Now let’s talk about my favorite zone of all time, the Timeless Isle. With the Timeless Isle came so much content mainly focused around PvE, making it the place to go and farm. With the isle being so packed 24/7 and flying not allowed, it made it the perfect place for world PvP once again. Players hated being ganked while trying to farm for their PvE items but players like me absolutely loved having world PvP back. One thing players hated the most though was the Censer of Eternal Agony. This simple item allowed the player to become hostile to everyone, including your own faction. With this item activated, if you killed another player you would receive an item called a Bloody Coin which allowed you to buy other items, pets, and a mount, but for most, it was used to further improve our world PvP experience.
Warlords of Draenor
WoD didn’t really contribute to the evolution of PvP or to WoW PvP in general. Ashran was the only contribution WoD gave us. It was a world PvP zone but what made it different was that it was persistent, meaning the battle was always going on. Ashran was, of course, Horde vs Alliance with both having a base at each end of the map. Down the middle were points your raid would capture to push towards the opposing teams’ base for the end goal to kill their General. During the battle, events would pop up along the outside edges of the island, and whichever faction was able to complete the event would be given different buffs, items, or NPCs to help them in the main battle. Very quickly, Ashran turned into premade group vs premade group with the battles ending either very quickly or taking hours for your side to complete.
With Warlords of Draenor also came a bit of a controversy with win trading in RBGs, and even more players using external programs to play in battlegrounds for them. Now I know win trading has been a thing since Arenas were first introduced but in WoD, it became horrible in RBGs, to the point where players stopped caring about trying to push rating in them. Again, players using bots in BGs also has always been a thing, but it also became worse this expansion to the point where half of your team would have been filled with them, causing loss after loss and frustrating many players. With that said our discussion on Warlords of Draenor comes to an end with it adding nothing more to PvP.
With Legion, Blizzard decided to do away with PvP gear and I say good riddance. Now when entering a PvP instance, the stats on your gear will be nullified and you will be given a pre-determined set of stats for your current spec. Set bonuses, enchants, Legendary bonuses, and trinkets are all deactivated. The only thing the PvP system looks at is your overall item level. For every point that your average item level increases, your pre-determined PvP stats will increase by 0.1%.
Let’s talk about the new Honor System. Instead of Honor being a form of currency, it’s now considered your PvP level. By taking part in any form of PvP content in Legion, you will gain Honor that will increase your overall Honor Level. With this new system also comes Honor Talents that are gained from raising your overall Honor Level. After hitting Honor Level 50, all talents are unlocked and your Honor Level will then Prestige, and some Prestige Levels come with some extra rewards. You will gain a badge based on your Prestige Level, which will appear on the scoreboard in Battlegrounds and Arenas as well as on your nameplate. You can get titles, a wearable faction pennant, new appearances for your Artifact, and even some unique mounts and pets. This Prestige system is a great way for players who aren’t interested in pursuing higher rating but still enjoy some PvP, to have their own unique rewards to chase after.
The first Arena from Legion we will talk about is Black Rook Hold Arena. This Arena features one large statue in the center with both starting areas on opposite sides that remain open, allowing you to hide. Black Rook Hold Arena is considered more of a melee favored Arena because of the lack of pillars available for casters. Val’Sharah Arena is the other map added in Legion. This Arena features three large statues in the middle that are fairly close together that can be used to break line of sight. Val’Sharah Arena is considered more of a caster favored map, allowing players to pillar-hump around the statues.
Let’s talk a little about the current state of PvP. After all these years, it is still very much unbalanced. There are still strict Arena comps to run with if you want an easier time pushing rating, though you can use less recommended comps and classes if you don’t mind a much harder time climbing the ranks. You don’t hear much about RBGs anymore and the ones I have done are always one sided, never close. Battlegrounds are filled with even more bots than before making them harder to enjoy. Blizzard has started banning accounts more often now than they ever have before, but that truly never stops them. Though I no longer push for rating, I personally still enjoy Arenas and normal Battlegrounds on a daily basis, not so much RBGs.
This concludes the evolution of PvP in World of Warcraft. I would love to hear any stories you have of your adventures in PvP so please leave any you’d like to share in the comments down below. If you would also like me to talk about any other details concerning PvP, let us know.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, MMORPG, PvP, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday