Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PvP gear less vital in WotLK

The group of friends I play with has pretty much mastered the heroic dungeons in Wrath of the Lich King. We haven't yet finished all the achievements, but we've put a healthy dent into the list so far. As a result of all the heroic runs we find our characters maxed out on gear and emblems of heroism. We're trying to get into the ten man raids, but trying to get more then seven friends on at the same time is like herding cats. While waiting to get a working raiding group set up I tried out some PvP over the weekend. During the Burning Crusade I mostly focused on arenas and battlegrounds and got most of my gear upgrades from these activities. Imagine my surprise then when I found out the PvP rewards in Wrath of the Lich King weren't really upgrades compared to the heroic dungeon gear.

It looks like PvP rewards have been seriously cut in power because of the entire "welfare epics" problem from the Burning Crusade. Raiding in general suffered as a viable end game activity in the last expansion because the rewards for PvP were easy to obtain. Then again raiding had long enjoyed an obsessive focus from Blizzard's developers so I considered it fair turnaround at the time. This expansion though seems to have a more balanced reward system for both end-game activities. The different methods of earning similar quality gear makes it easier to equip your character no matter what you prefer to do. Also it seems that Blizzard has made it so players can effectively compete in arenas in both PvE and PvP gear. This is mainly because of two key changes to stats normally found on PvP gear.

1. Resilience
The developers were trying to put more importance on dealing damage and less on crowd control in this arena season. One way they achieved this was by putting less resilience on gear and making it less effective at preventing damage. So while a massive amount of resilience might help a little bit, it won't make you an indestructible juggernaut anymore

2. Stamina
I was very surprised by the small increase in stamina that most PvP gear has compared to PvE items. There was huge difference in hitpoints in the Burning Crusade depending on if you were wearing PvE or PvP gear. It looks like the developers decided to make that less of a factor in Wrath of the Lich King by making the stamina difference much smaller.

There are a couple other changes in Wrath of the Lich King that help prevent PvP or PvE from gaining the upper hand over the other. The ten man versions of raids make it possible for pick up groups to access higher level items and allows casual raiders to compete with the better geared arena teams. Also the improvements to the arena reward system helps prevents highly ranked players from unfairly keeping their rank by trading wins or smurfing. The only problem I see is in the introduction of new gear. But as long as Blizzard starts a new arena season whenever they introduce a new raid dungeon it should be fine. I do worry that players might be able to gear up too quickly in this expansion by doing a combination of PvP and PvE, but I don't know if this means they will burn out faster.