The Endgame has begun! With the update finally hitting worldwide, Raiding, Mythic +, Warfronts and the 26th Season of Rated PvP have finally landed in Battle for Azeroth. As with our Zones of… series we’ll be introducing you to each section week by week of the newest end-game content for World of Warcraft. This week we’ll be talking about the most competitive, anger-inducing and potentially difficult aspects of World of Warcraft; Rated PvP.
To most casual players, Rated Player vs. Player combat can seem incredibly segregating, more so than Progressive Raiding and Mythic+ content. While many players will access regular PvP through their Quick Match PvP Window, most won’t step into Rated Battlegrounds or Arenas. They can be intimidating for certain, but this week we’ll be dissecting every aspect and giving you the best tools to step into the Arena.
A Gladiator overlooks the Battlefield...
The first question to answer is: “What is Rated PvP?” RPvP is Player vs. Player content set in (ideally) a controlled environment with a performance rating attached to it. This rating is then used to track your standings and progress regionally, while also making it easier to dole out selective rewards. In order to make it more competitive and eliminate players lasting forever as King of the Hill, RPvP is broken down into Seasons often turning over with new main content patches or raid content to keep item level scaling even across the board.
There are two different strands of Rated PvP both with their own sets of rewards and challenges. The first and most popular track being Arenas, consisting of 2 or 3-man parties in a last-team-standing fight. These 2v2 or 3v3 matches take place in unique Arena instances, specially designed to give smart players tactical advantages in the landscape with pillars, bridges, or other obstructions. Two teams face each other in Arenas until only one remains. Both 2v2’s and 3v3’s track their ratings separate from each other and thus allow players to ascend those rankings independently.
[caption id="attachment_256062" align="aligncenter" width="560"] The Rated PvP UI[/caption]
The second strand of RPvP are Rated Battlegrounds. Two teams of 10 players each slug it out in battlegrounds for victory. Unlike 2v2 arenas, Battlegrounds are unaltered from their stock appearances seen in Random BGs, and ‘Epic’ 40v40 Battlegrounds are taken out of the rotation. These are the most strategically challenging parts of RPvP content, requiring you to not only know how to kill and outmaneuver an enemy team but to secure victory by managing objectives across a Battleground. Much like the two types of arenas, RBG Rating is tracked separately.
No matter the game you play, you will win and lose rating as you progress in your Season. Your progression will go up and down based on a system involving both your Personal or Current Rating (CR) and your Matchmaking Ranking (MMR). Both are mathematics systems in game, tied to your performance. At the beginning of each season, your MMR is set to 1500 while your CR is reset to 0 for all rated brackets. As you win Rated PvP games, your CR will grow rapidly, skyrocketing to come into the range of your MMR. Consequently, your MMR will lower to match your CR (which will also decrease) when you lose games. When these two finally come into alignment, progression will slow down for players attempting to increase or push their rating higher. While this has diminishing effects in 3v3 and Rated Battlegrounds due to scaling Rating Rewards, 2v2 players can easily stall-out before they hit 1400 Rating. As such, many players often use 2v2’s as a method to practice new talents and strategies on other classes while still receiving rewards for RPvP.
This, however, should not deter you from RPvP in any way, especially if you are a newer player with a lower geared character. While Skirmishes are available to give you some experience with a random group or team-mates, item level and damage also dynamically scale in PvP combat. While the differences will vary between characters of different item levels, it is designed in such a manner that lower item level characters will do relatively the same damage to characters of higher item levels. Thus, while an iLvl 358 Paladin may have 150,000 HP, an iLvl 320 Paladin will still receive roughly the same amount of damage from an attacker, despite their lowered health. While the benefits of having superior gear aren’t unnoticeable (higher stats, larger health pool, more mana, etc.), Rated PvP is still somewhat balanced around the concept of varied gear levels.
RPvP awards are based on your rating, rising higher with wins and lowering with losses. RBGs and Arenas do share similar rewards with the launch of Battle for Azeroth now that rewards are doled out throughout the season instead of solely at the end. They also contain unique rewards and titles particular to their strand. As you progress through the rankings, you’ll unlock various titles, achievements, and pieces of your Elite Gladiator Gear, a unique and upgraded version of that season’s PvP equipment which is unlocked progressively at 1400, 1600 and 1800 rating. Each Season also contains unique appearance rewards such as cloaks, tabards, and enchantments. The requirements for each tier of reward are outlined below:
Rating RBG Title Reward (A/H) Arena Reward Cosmetic Reward
1400 Master Sergeant/Senior Sergeant Combatant Elite Wrist + Waist appearance
1500 Sergeant Major/First Sergeant
1600 Knight/Stone Guard Challenger Elite Hands, Legs + Feet
1700 Knight-Lieutenant/ Blood Guard
1800 Knight-Captain/Legionnaire Rival Elite Chest, Shoulders + Head
2100 Commander/Lieutenant General Seasonal Cloak + Enchant
2300 Field Marshal/Warlord
2400 Grand Marshal/High Warlord Gladiator* Seasonal Tabard + Mount*
* = Requires 50 wins at 2400 rating or higher.
Rated PvP also has two different gear progression systems. The first, Conquest, allows you to claim up to 500 Conquest points every week for a piece of the standard Gladiator PvP set. After completing one entire set, the item level will progressively increase for the next, allowing a smoother progression curve for those with poorer luck in RPvP. If you miss a week these items will remain, allowing you to cap your Conquest for multiple weeks and catch up if you fall behind. You may also roll your Seals of Wartorn fate after victories for an extra chance at gear. If your roll is unsuccessful you’ll receive a Quartermaster’s Coin, which can be turned into your PvP vendor to upgrade pieces of already acquired gear.
Much akin to Mythic+ chests, there is also a weekly conquest chest. After capping your conquest for the week, this chest will drop an item reflective of the match won at the highest rating that week. Those who win a match at 1400 rating will receive a piece of Combatant item level gear, for example. We’ve outlined the potential Conquest rewards below:
Tier Rating iLvl Normal Items iLvl Azerite items
Unraked 0-1399 355 355
Combatant 1400-1599 365 355
Challenger 1600-1799 370 370
Rival 1800-2099 375 370
Duelist 2100-2399 380 385
Gladiator 2400+ 385 385
At the end of a Season, there are three unique rewards depending on your regional placement. RBG players who end in the top 0.5% of the ladder with at least 50 games won in a season will receive the Hero of the Alliance/Hero of the Horde title, depending on their faction. The Gladiator achievement requires 50 games won in 3v3 matches while above 2400 Rating. This will also reward layers with the Gladiator title and mount. Season 26’s mount is the Dread Gladiator’s Proto-Drake. Players who place in the top 0.1% and wind 150 games in 3v3 Arenas will receive the seasonal gladiator’s title, which for Season 26 is <Dread Gladiator>.
Rewards also exist outside of the Ratings system for players participating in RPvP. Aside from achievements and participating in the Honor system, players can work toward a seasonal Vicious War mount by winning any RPvP games after you’ve crossed 1400 rating in your bracket. Only wins above 1400 rating count, encouraging players to continue to improve. Those who win 75, 150, and 300 Rated Battlegrounds will achieve various portions of the Veteran of the Alliance/Veteran of the Horde will receive unique faction titles and Vicious War Saddles to turn in for past Vicious War Mounts.
[caption id="attachment_256067" align="aligncenter" width="518"] A seasonal Feat of Strength, obtainable only for one season![/caption]
Rated PvP is an incredibly fun and challenging aspect of gameplay that most players will sadly overlook for the fear of failure. I’ve often been a proponent that while end-tier raiding and Mythic+ content may teach you the optimal rotation for your class, only serious PvP can teach you how to master your chosen class in a wide variety of roles and situations. While no class is ever perfect from season to season, and some are hit other than others, each Rated Season is a new and exciting challenge. The biggest enemy that turns people off in RPvP isn’t communication or even the opposing team, it can often be themselves. To conquer oneself and claim victory in the Arenas and Battlegrounds isn’t only one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in Battle for Azeroth, but it can teach you more about your own class than any guide or PvE practice in World of Warcraft.