Thoughts on war mode in BfA

One of the new features in Battle for Azeroth is something called “War mode”. Blizz seems to have given up on separate PvP servers and will soon make all servers both PvE and PvP (not sure if RP really has any meaning any more). The idea is that there will be a toggle switch in game settings that allows you to flag yourself for world PvP if that is your preferred play style either always or just temporarily. When you throw the toggle, in theory the server becomes pretty much a PvP server for you and everyone else who has thrown their toggles. Meanwhile, the people who have not turned on PvP mode will be able to happily go about their normal PvE business with no fears that the many, many asshats in the game will hound them every step of their questing or gathering or what have you. Presumably, the actual mechanic will be that when you toggle PvP on, you are transferred to a PvP shard similar to the current PvP-only servers.

Will this mean that if you turn on PvP, you will be invisible to your non-PvP friends on the server? Thus, if you love PvP, will you have to continually switch if you want to do things like join groups with your non-PvP friends? *shrug*

There are some additional details to this, of course. For one thing, you can only toggle the PvP switch while in your faction capital city. So if you do decide to try it and go out in the world, bear in mind you will have to keep it on until you get back at least. (Not sure if there is a cooldown similar to hearthing, but I suspect there may be. You all know I am not a PvP person, so I have not tried anything about it currently available in the beta.) Also, Blizz intends to implement a gear leveling mechanic so that gear alone will not determine the outcome of your ganking spree — while you are engaged in PvP combat, there will be some sort of gear level adjustment to even the fights a bit, then when you are in normal combat your gear returns to its regular level.

Bear in mind that I absolutely hate PvP, and I have always hated when Blizz forced me to engage in it because it was a requirement for some other normal PvE-based activity. But I understand that hardcore PvP-ers have felt the same about PvE. And I totally get their angst with Legion, where they were pretty much forced to engage in hours and hours of PvE activities every week just to keep up with the AP and legendary grinds, even on PvP servers. That does seem wrong to me. There definitely should have been enough PvP activity to allow them to gear up decently without having to give up a big chunk of their PvP time.

But the fact is the majority of players do not enjoy world PvP, and many of us will go to any lengths to avoid it. Much of this is because of the disconnect between fantasy and reality of world PvP, in my opinion. I think of world PvP as maybe a small group of one faction attacking another faction’s outpost or even another group, or rather evenly matched one-on-one duels. Maybe you call in some friends and the skirmishes escalate to larger battles. To me, that is reasonable world PvP.

But it turns out to be very different in practice. It turns out to be ganking, free for all zones where everyone — even your own faction — can target you, and camping at certain places like graveyards or exits from a sanctuary city for the sole purpose of killing low level players as they emerge. I have been in BGs where I literally could not get out of the graveyard because some butthole was camped there picking off emerging players for the entire BG. I have joined quick world boss groups that happen to be on a PvP server, and immediately when we are done or even when we are still fighting the boss an opposite faction player or group has shown up and harassed the group. I cannot imagine being on a PvP server, just wanting to crank out some quick world quests, and being constantly dogged by some jerk who finds his self worth in applying pixels to kill a computer avatar over and over again.

In other words, my experience sadly has been that world PvP players are, by and large, gigantic asshats the equivalent of the eighth grade bully who loves to take away the second graders’ lunch money but who cowers and runs when confronted by someone his own size.

None of this is fun. And, on the flip side, I really do not even see the fun in killing players you know you can beat because you vastly out level them either in character level or in gear.

Nevertheless, it seems that Blizz is greatly concerned about the number of players who refuse to participate in PvP (largely for the reasons I just described). In Legion, they got rid of PvP-specific gear stats (like Resilience) and also made some significant changes to gear scaling, all to encourage more players to do PvP.

And I know I will get pushback from PvP players over this, but Blizz really does seem to go out of their way to cater to the slightest small whine from the PvP community. For example, at the start of Legion PvP-ers threw a tantrum about the injustice of being awarded gear on the basis of — hold onto your hats — RNG! Oh, the horror! Imagine not being able to select the gear you need! No fair no fair no fair!! They sniveled that they could no longer accumulate currency to buy the gear they wanted. How awful for them! So Blizz, even though they have steadfastly ignored every PvE complaint on the same subject, decided that they would indeed bring back currency for PvP players — thus they brought about the token system that allowed PvP-ers to obliterate their old gear and accumulate tokens to buy some of the new gear they wanted. (This is in spite of repeated pronouncements from Mr. Game Director Hazzikostas that currency for gear is evil incarnate and we should be ashamed for even asking for it.)

Imagine if in PvE we could do the same. Instead of crappy old obliterum chunks whose only use is to combine them and upgrade shitty crafted gear to a slightly higher level of shittiness, what if we could accumulate tokens to buy gear we actually wanted?

Apparently we did not throw as good a tantrum over this as did PvP players.

In BfA, Blizz seems to be making yet another stab at “encouraging” players to do PvP. For example, while in War Mode, you will get a 15% XP boost, and also some kind of AP increase boost. It’s not entirely clear if there will be a lot more PvP world quests in War Mode, or if it will essentially be the same WQs as PvE only in a wPvP environment. I do think PvP players deserve some consideration for the bread-and-butter activities in the game like world quests — these things should reflect wPvP actions, not just be regular PvE quests transferred to a PvP shard. However, I am not in favor of great advantages like significant XP boosts — that begins to smack of yet more Blizz dictating how we should play.

I am not entirely sure why Blizz wants to push more players into PvP — as with their stance on how to play alts, I cannot see why it matters to them how we play the game so long as we are not violating the ToS. Every time in the past when Blizz has tried to push PvE players into PvP, it has been a disaster — the PvE players hate it and really do not know how to perform adequately, and the PvP players hate having a bunch of idiots in their BG or whatever screwing things up for their side. A classic lose-lose situation.

I suppose I understand why some players prefer PvP — it is challenging and unpredictable in a way that PvE is not. (And of course for far too many there is the asshat potential — you can indulge your schoolyard bully fantasy as much as you please.) What I don’t understand is why Blizz gives a damn if most players do not want to participate in it.

At any rate, stay tuned for PvP changes in BfA. Let us hope, at long last, that the changes will make both PvE and PvP players happy.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts on war mode in BfA

  1. I use to love World PvP and doing random battlegrounds, but something changed somewhere along the way, they tried fixing it, and it got worse, and tried to fix some more, and now, I won’t even run a random BG, let alone do any kind of PvP world quest.

    1. Same for me. I never liked world PvP, but I used to run random BGs several times a week. I have not run even one in Legion, though. And the only world PvP quests I do are the ones I can do through the free-WQ token I get in class halls for some of my alt classes like warlock and mage.

      1. I did give it a go about a year ago, I got maybe 3/4 to the first what ever it’s called. Couldn’t do it any more. It’s not fun when your dead most of a fight.

  2. I also hate world PvP. I messed with it some back in classic (e.g., raiding the Crossroads) and I did the achievement for killing the faction leaders back in Wrath, but that’s about it. Otherwise, I’ve just been harassed by people like Fiannor mentioned. I had some fun with random BGs back in Cata when you could convert Valor to Conquest and I got a full set of PvP gear, but I haven’t done any BGs since then either.

    I sort of feel like Blizz’s constant push for people to do PvP has the same reasoning as their constant push for Horde vs Alliance. I know it’s called World of Warcraft, but I’ve been sick of faction wars for a long time…

    1. I did the same in Cata — and got almost a full set of PvP gear. I actually enjoyed doing random BGs when I could feel like I was earning something for them. I simply do not get why, in Legion, gear currency is good for PvP but unthinkably evil for PvE. People LIKE it when they feel like they are making some progress towards getting a desired piece of gear.

      And totally agree about the Horde v. Alliance thing. I was done with that a couple of expansions ago. Seems like if Blizz thought it was a rivalry that needs to be front and center, maybe they should not have had a couple of expansions where we all collaborate with each other….

  3. I feel the same way. I do wonder, if this change is to make less populated PvP servers better. And a way to test it out, this whole concept, essentially, so that somewhere in the future, we will no longer see the concept of servers as we know it today.

  4. Hi dude, I’m dedicated PvP player but I never attack people first when I’m leveling or doing other activities. What I also noticed is that dedicated PvP players don’t gank low level players. People who does it are casuals or low elo players who has problems in getting even mediocre ratings in arenas. Whenever I’m getting killed in open world it’s raider who got 1550 at max in any PvP bracket. For me their cowards not PvP players. What’s more I agree with your point of view. There should be zones where you can fight some max level players over a point, outpost or whatever like we had in Tol Barad. Instead we have some life losers killing players with 30 level advantage at least because on max level they are destroyed by others.

    Many times I was ganked by random low elo player and then I killed them because they have no clue about their class. Guess what happens next, they come on their 3 mln hp (lol) 110 char and one shot me. About BGs – unfortunately if your team is bad then it might happen that you are farmed. Skill level of players in random bgs dropped significantly. Currently if I try to play any bg with my mage I’m always frustrated because players break my sheeps randomly. Instead of doing any CC on healers they always target them while they are being destroyed by enemy casters. Few times we tried to ninja base and I polied enemy defender on flag. I started capping and this guy instead of extending cc just hit the guy so he stopped me from capping. Enemy team came and ninja cap failed. Sometimes you will get good players and sometimes you will get brainless guys who just do their PvE rotation with horrible talent builds.

    I don’t mind doing PvE activity. I enjoy doing it as well but it’s sad for me that people hate PvP so much even though true dedicated PvP players never did anything wrong to PvE players. Some PvPers are douchebags but it’s because it’s all about rivalry – who is better etc. but the there are still people like who just want to have fun.

    1. Thank you very much for your comments. It is refreshing to hear from a dedicated PvP player, one with a sense of fair play and honor, who loves the genre for its challenge and not for its potential to ruin the game for others.

      Sadly, even a couple of bad experiences tends to sour people on PvP forever. So even though the ratio of PvP douches to decent players such as yourself may be low, they have a disproportionate effect on dissuading people from participating. PvE has its jerks, too, plenty of them, but generally they do not have such a far-reaching effect on other players.

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