Posts Tagged ‘PvP’

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A, No. 2

Blizzard held another Q&A session with its developers recently, taking forum questions from interested parties, just like last time. Same as last time, you can read the whole set of questions and answers on the official forums, but we’ll take a look at some of the new and interesting ones:

Q: Why can’t we have a pure, straight up, unadulterated Death Match style Battleground? – ???? ???? (Taiwan), Gulantor (North America/ANZ)

A: We think Battlegrounds work better when there is a goal that the team can work towards. Huge melees with lots of players tend to be chaotic by nature so there is less room for skill to influence the outcome. It feels more random, and the more random the system is, the more arbitrary the rewards will feel. It might be something we try someday.

For example, emergency buttons are balanced around the assumption that only a few players are ganged up against you. Even in the 5v5 Arena bracket, it’s very difficult to survive being focused by so many players at once, so you feel like you don’t have many options. There is a reason that most of our Arena attention is on 3v3 – it just feels the best.

You know, I had been wondering about this one too back when I was spending more time in battlegrounds – some people would love the “in and out” nature of having a battleground they could hop into and hop out of just to grab some honor in a short period, and in a game that’s perpetually ongoing that they could play for as much free time as they have without worrying their departure will negatively impact a team.

At the same time, the sheer number of empty multiplayer game servers in the world kind of tell the tale that when there’s no one interested in playing that all-out deathmatch style game, the few people who do want to play would have a horrible time doing it – or worse, they’ll just give up because it’s not the epic experience they’d actually want. After all – I’m sure the people asking the question are thinking of massive 25 v. 25 battle arenas with fast re-spawning, not a 3 v. 3 match.

Q: CC used to be the big thing for arena, but now it’s all about damage. Is it the direction you are taking at the moment? – Thatis (Taiwan)

A: If crowd control really was as weak in Arenas as you’re claiming, then Holy paladins would be the healer of choice and Resto druids wouldn’t have much of a role. But the Entangling Roots and Cyclone of the druid make a huge difference in Arena, and we see a lot of healing druids.

Ultimately, we think there has to be a place for both crowd control and damage. It can be just as frustrating to be chained from a fear to a poly to a stun without having an answer as it can be to die to two dudes killing you in a few GCDs without an answer. We don’t want Arena in particular to be all about which comp has the best layering of crowd controls that don’t share diminishing returns, because that greatly lowers the number of viable comps out there (and why rogue-mage-priest dominated in earlier seasons). We have taken steps this season already to nerf both out of control damage and excessive crowd control for some classes.

The best thing you can do is just keep providing feedback when you think something is broken. Many other players will disagree with you, and at times so will we. The signal to noise ratio for PvP balance is frankly always going to be bad, and the design calls are extremely subjective. We are constantly amazed that some players playing very powerful specs perceive themselves as weak or interpret very gentle nerfs as soul-crushing. That doesn’t mean that we’re never going to listen, but it does mean the burden of convincing us something is broken is going to be high, probably higher than it is for PvE.

Ouch – holy blowoff, batman! Although I can’t say I disagree here. I think Blizzard is acquising the point that they’re paying more attention to damage, but they’re trying to strike the balance between damage and crowd control. I disagree that seeing a lot of resto druids somehow means that holy paladins aren’t the healers of choice in battlegrounds (that’s like saying “hey, the fact that a exists means there must be less of b,”) but I see their point. Balance is what’s important, and they’re always open to your feedback.

I hope the person asking the question got that same message, because I could see how the tone at the beginning is kind of a diss. A loving one, but a diss nonetheless!

Q: Can I hear your thoughts of the survival abilities of the Warlock on PvP? – Mccoll (Korea)

A: Overall, we think they’re fine. Warlocks in PvP often compare themselves to Shadow priest, and to be fair, Shadow priests have some very potent emergency buttons, particularly Dispersion. Warlocks have good self-healing (which also to be fair, was nerfed recently), abilities like Demonic Circle and fears that are good for both offense and defense. Once Shadow priests lose their defensive dispel capabilities, we think they will be less versatile and their entire package will be more comparable to warlocks.

I love this question only because it was asked. I remember the days when warlocks were unstoppable damage and destruction machines in arenas. If you had a lock on your team, you were pretty much guaranteed to win, and if you had one on your team and another on the other team, it came down to who had the most resilience. Thankfully, no more.

So – this set of Q&A questions were pretty heavy on the PVP side of things. If you’re a heavy PVP’er, what do you think of Blizzard’s responses and the questions they selected to respond to? What would you have asked if you had the opportunity? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Blizzard Comments on Tol Barad Balance Issues

There’s apparently been a great deal of discussion over the balance issues in Tol Barad – that they’re rough enough that there’s little incentive for anyone to try and take and to even bother to hold Tol Barad for their faction, and that overall the worst case is that no one’s actually PVP-ing in the zone and in best case factions are essentially win-trading on their servers to give everyone a chance to get the gear they want out of it.

Well, the furor has been rising on the official forums, and eventually Blizzard said that they would comment in a blog post on the issues and their plans for Tol Barad, and they made good on their promise yesterday:

Now that Cataclysm is out in the wild, more players are getting geared up and checking out Tol Barad, the new outdoor PvP zone. Today, we wanted to address some of the concerns players have expressed about the zone, including how challenging it can be to win as the attacking team, and provide some insight into our design approach. We also wanted to share some of the lessons we learned from Wintergrasp, discuss the difference between the two zones, and touch upon the recent hotfixes made to Honor Point gains and how we plan to improve Tol Barad going forward. We’re confident this zone will provide meaningful and fun PvP for some time to come, but we also recognize additional tuning is required to ensure Tol Barad is everything we intend it to be.

Cory Stockton, lead content designer for World of Warcraft, penned the blog post, and explained that while the situation isn’t where the developers really want it to be, it is closer than the community thinks it is. They do want the attacking team to have a really tough time taking Tol Barad, but they don’t want it to be neigh-on impossible as it seems to be now. Still, they think that a lot of people simply aren’t putting the right kind of effort into it, I think:

With that being said, we want winning Tol Barad to be a challenge for the attacking faction… but we don’t want it to be impossible. Taking Tol Barad should be tough — but right now it’s a little bit too tough, and it’s something we’re actively working to balance. Earlier, we attempted to temporarily address the issue by offering a far better reward to the winning attackers: Honor Points awarded for successfully attacking were increased tenfold, but that was such a great incentive that it ultimately undermined the spirit of competition. Since then, the reward for winning as an attacker has been brought back down to a more reasonable amount.

While we’ve already made minor adjustments to improve the gameplay and address select exploits, our job in Tol Barad is far from over. We ultimately want to make sure that any changes we make are all steps in the right direction, and we intend to make several updates in the next minor patch to address design and balance issues affecting attackers that we can’t address with hotfixes. For example, we plan to alter the battle slightly so that a team with two bases captured can more quickly and easily capture the third, as opposed to a team with one or zero bases. This way, if the defenders turtle up, it’ll be a little easier for the attackers to take their last base before the defense can take one of the attackers’ other bases.

He implies that the work is far from over and they do have some more ideas up their sleeve to make the zone more fun and more balanced for everyone to play. Now we’ll see if Blizzard delivers, or whether the community is just having a difficult time playing something that’s intentionally designed to be challenging.

Blizzard Announces Tol Barad: New World PVP Zone

If you love your world PVP and just can’t get enough of it, Blizzard’s latest zone addition to Cataclysm will tickle you – if you’re in the beta, you may already have had an opportunity to take a look! Blizzard announced Tol Barad with an official preview at the new community site today, complete with details about how the new zone will function and some clues into how we’ll see world PVP in the expansion when it lands:

n island off the coast of the Eastern Kingdoms, Tol Barad is a historic land now sought-after by the leaders of the Horde and the Alliance. Its strategic, isolated location makes it an ideal stronghold from which to conduct military strikes. In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, a battle will be waged to seize control of this prized territory. Should you triumph, unique rewards await you.

Okay, I’m intrigued, do go on:

Similar to Wintergrasp, Tol Barad will serve as an open world PvP zone, although there is also a hub on Tol Barad Peninsula for both factions to complete daily quests. Reachable by portals in Stormwind and Orgrimmar, or via a level-85 mage teleport or portal, Tol Barad will accept up to 80 players per faction to engage in brutal combat across the island’s surface. Unlike Wintergrasp, Tol Barad will not have Tenacity buffs. Instead, the queue system will attempt to match each side at a 1-to-1 ratio. Battles will take place every two hours and thirty minutes, giving the offensive faction a chance to claim territory.

Tol Barad will feature capture-point gameplay. There are three keeps and three towers for the defending side to hold. When destroyed by the attackers, each tower will add five minutes to the standard fifteen-minute battle timer. In order to win, though, all three keeps must be captured and controlled by the attackers. If these keeps cannot be taken by the attacking forces, the defending faction will claim victory in Tol Barad. Similar to Eye of the Storm, Tol Barad determines whether a keep has been captured by the number of players from each side in the immediate area. There is, however, a new twist: each time a member of your faction is killed in the immediate vicinity of a keep, a slider bar will move slightly in favor of the opposing faction. So not only does the size of each force in the area determine who controls each keep, but losing allies during the contesting process determines control as well.

In order to destroy the defenders’ towers, attackers will have access to an all-new type of war machine: Abandoned Siege Engines. Six of these Siege Engines will be placed around the map, and these vehicles can be used to bombard the towers. In contrast to the Siege Engines of Wintergrasp, these machines cannot attack players or buildings while the vehicles are being driven. Instead, players must drive them within range of a tower and jump out, allowing the vehicle to transform into an automated cannon that can lay siege to the tower. The Abandoned Siege Engine will continue to damage the closest tower in range until the machine is destroyed by opposing forces.

Sounds pretty good to me: Wintergrasp was such an incredible success in Wrath of the Lich King that it makes sense that we’d see a similar zone in Cataclysm – and I’m not being sarcastic there, for those of you who are all too familiar with living on servers that have a 3:1 faction ratio.

For factions that win Tol Barad, there’ll be access to special quests, rewards, and gear – similar to Wintergrasp again, but I’m definitely interested in the gameplay, and definitely the look of the zone. What do you think, is it just Wintergrasp done over again, or are you looking forward to a whole island at war? Let us know in the comments!

Blizzard Unveils Information on New Twin Peaks Battleground

Another new feature coming in Cataclysm will be a new battleground, called “Twin Peaks.” Bearing no resemblance to the creepy and weird TV series of the 1990s, the Twin Peaks battleground will be something of a ramped up and corrected version of Warsong Gulch.

Blizzard unveiled the page with details and screenshots of Twin Peaks last week, complete with a rundown of what the battleground will be and how it’ll work. The battleground will be a capture-the-flag style game, 10 versus 10 players, and first team to capture the flag three times wins:

Located within the Twilight Highlands, the Twin Peaks remains a crucial point of high ground for staging effective and debilitating attacks against the black dragonflight and the Twilight’s Hammer, who dominate this foreboding environment. And now, two previous occupants of the nearby city of Grim Batol vie once again for control of the peaks’ defenses. The Wildhammer clan, architects and original owners of the once-great fortress city, maintains some operations in forested outposts of the highlands. The Wildhammers now call upon heroes of the Alliance to help claim the peaks and fend off the Dragonmaw orcs. The Dragonmaw clan, having spent years working to enslave red dragons, once again provides strategic importance to the Horde. As the Dragonmaw and Wildhammers fight for territory they once called home, the Alliance and Horde carry out the struggle to control the Twin Peaks.

What will reportedly make Twin Peaks interesting is the difference in terrain between the alliance and horde areas:

Although the Wildhammer and Dragonmaw bases are virtually identical, the terrain surrounding each base is not. Players will need to work to control an asymmetrical field where the mountain peaks are divided by a valley river. A single bridge over the river serves as a choke point in the center of the map; although deep, the river can be crossed. On either side of the river sits an outpost where temporary character enhancements can be claimed. In addition, tree stumps and rocks throughout the valley create strategic points for you to use line of sight to your advantage. To prevent absolute domination by one faction through its control of the enemy graveyard, the Horde and Alliance players resurrected in Twin Peaks will spawn from one of two graveyards per faction.

It’s pretty clear that sine Warsong Gulch is pretty much the least popular of all of the battlegrounds currently in World of Warcraft, Blizzard needed to do something, but they didn’t want to abandon the capture-the-flag type of arena play. So what do we get? Twin Peaks. Here’s hoping it’s fun, and doesn’t just turn into Cataclysm‘s Warsong Gulch.

Massive Cataclysm Badge and PVP Changes Incoming

Massive changes came down the line in a blue post last night with regard to the way we’ll be buying gear in the future: almost all badges for PvE and PvP gear, and personal ratings for PvP gear will be going away. Instead, there’ll be new point systems based entirely on numbers and not necessarily items that drop from bosses, for example.

Here’s the skinny from Bashiok on the forums yesterday:

We’re continuing to refine the badge/emblem and PvP point systems in Cataclysm and we’d like to share some of those changes with you today. Please enjoy!

Our primary goal when approaching badges in Cataclysm is to address a lot of the confusion that comes with these currency systems. To that end we’re changing badges to a more straightforward point system, similar to the ones we’ve used for a while for Arenas and Battlegrounds. There will be a total of four types of points you can earn in Cataclysm (two for PvE and two for PvP), and these will remain the same even as we introduce new content.

Here’s the breakdown:

PvE
Hero Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most dungeons. (most like the current Emblem of Triumph)
Valor Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, as well as a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from Dungeon Finder daily Heroic and from raids. (most like the current Emblem of Frost)

PvP
Honor Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most PvP activities.
Conquest Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, and a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from winning Rated Battlegrounds or Arenas. (currently called Arena Points)

When a new tier of raiding gear is released or a new PvP season begins, your higher tier of points will be converted into the lower tier. For instance, if a new tier of raid gear is released, your Valor points will be converted to Hero points, and similarly if a new PvP season begins your Conquest points will be converted to Honor points. Of course that means with these new releases you’ll always begin without any of the higher tier of points, and thus be unable to stockpile them.

As noted for Conquest points, the Rated Battlegrounds and Arenas will be sharing this same point type. Because of that, it will in fact be possible to get the best PvP items without setting foot in Arena; however, more powerful armor and weapons will of course require more Conquest points, so players who win their matches more often will still gear up faster. We’re removing personal rating requirements on almost all items; they’re definitely removed for weapons. We might offer a few items to the absolute best players based on personal rating, largely as cosmetic or ‘bragging rights’ type items. And you’ll have the option of purchasing the previous season’s gear with the more readily available Honor points.

We do plan to have a way to convert Honor points (PvP) into Hero points (PvE), and vice versa, at a loss. The conversions will be possible, but it won’t be a 1:1 rate, and you’ll have fewer points after the conversion process. We won’t allow the higher tiers to be exchanged for each other, however.

To explain the reasoning for the weekly cap on points for the higher tiers, this is to provide flexibility in how players choose to earn the points without feeling like they have to do all of the content as often as it is available. If your Valor income from raiding is sufficient, you may not feel the need to run Dungeon Finder every night, or perhaps even at all. Likewise, a PvP player could choose to participate in a lot of Rated Battlegrounds but no Arenas, or focus on both, and still be able to earn the points they want.

We realize that with any changes to progression pathways there are going to be questions. We’re eagerly awaiting any that we may have left unanswered. To the comments!

In the end, there’ll be four different kinds of “points:” hero and valor for low and high-quality PvE items, and honor and conquest for low and high-quality PvP items, respectively. No more badges, no more badge trade-ins, no more marks of honor or honor points and then arena points, no more worrying if one type of badge will be phased out in the next patch, and so on. In the end it’ll be all about collecting those kinds of points by doing the activities that earn them, like heroic versus regular dungeons, arenas versus battlegrounds, and so on.

The changes should make things much simpler, but at the same time it opens the door to oversimplification – considering it’s all virtual, aren’t points the same as badges anyway? Even so, it’ll definitely make the process of getting gear and figuring out how to acquire the gear your really want much much simpler.

What do you think about the changes? Sound it out in the comments!

Video: Funkin’s Wintergrasp PvP Compilation

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4D0px-49cg[/youtube]

One of the best things about playing a hunter is the fact that when you really know what you’re doing, you can be really really good at PVP. Admittedly, I don’t claim to really know what I’m doing, but I do have fun when I choose to hit the battlegrounds and open fire on players of the other faction.

In this video, Funkin, a hunter with a hankerin’ for PVP, heads into Wintergrasp while it’s under enemy faction control and decides to have a little fun with the people hanging out inside and some of the PVP-enabled NPCs. Admittedly, the damage he manages to put out is impressive on its own, but the way he manages to time his shots and take down other players is what really makes the video fun.

Oh, and the music, of course! Who doesn’t love Chromeo’s Fancy Footwork?

Today’s the Day: Patch 3.3.3 is Live!

Today’s the day that patch 3.3.3 goes live; bringing us delicious content after the fall of the Lich King, including the end of honor tokens (which can now be traded in for honor), greed-only rolls on Frozen Orbs, a new Random Battleground system, and tons of other changes!

The full patch notes are here, but here are some of the bigger changes after the jump:

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What’s Your Warcrack?

310_factiontabard

This crossed my mind when I heard someone say something to the effect of “there’s something fundamentally wrong with people who do nothing but PVP.” I thought it over, and remembered that I PVP occassionally, and while it’s not the highlight of the game for me, it’s definitely part of the experience. I’ve been on an Arena team, and I hit up the battlegrounds when I’m bored or have nothing else to do (that doesn’t happen so much now that there’s the Dungeon Finder though!) and I know a lot of people who play the game entirely for PVP, and while they definitely have their own likes and dislikes, they’re only slightly different than people who obsess over raiding and experiencing endgame content.

Are obsessive PVP’ers really that different than people who are so obsessed over PVE that they run guilds like military formations? Probably not – they’re just inspired by different aspects of the game. For hardcore PVPers, their “warcrack” is the thrill of stabbing another player in the back, or outwitting a competent opponent, or exploting someone else’s mistake. For PVEers, it’s about the loot you want to drop and killing a boss in record time, getting an achievement or executing a strategy flawlessly. For RP’ers it’s about building a character’s story and personality, interacting with others. For quest-lovers and story-lovers like me, it’s about earning reputation, identifying with factions, collecting tabards and titles.

That’s right – the thing I just can’t get enough of? Tabards and titles. I need them. Some of them come with raiding, and since I tend to lean towards PvE anyway, it all works out. I understand the thrill of the raid, the adrenaline of a good PVP duel or closely won battleground, and they all appeal to me, but man do I have a bank full of tabards, and holiday events just don’t have the same appeal to me if there isn’t a title available at the end.

Some people are like this about pets, and I understand that too. What about you? What is it about the game that you live for, that you just can’t get enough of? What’s your Warcrack?

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