Patch 2.4: WoW world PvP still broken?

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World of Warcraft’s (WoW) last planned patch before its Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack has arrived. It includes a rather large amount of changes as well as an impressive amount of new content.

For many players who enjoy Player vs. Player (PvP) combat, something that may have caught their attention among the long list of patch notes, was the mention of new upcoming daily quests for Halaa and the Spirit Towers in the Bone Wastes of Terokkar.

The viability of world PvP has long been a grossly missing element in this otherwise outstanding game. It is also one of the biggest factors that has many hardcore PvP’ers looking on the horizon for a replacement massively multiplayer online game.

Blizzard attempted to add world PvP objectives into the original game’s content in areas like the Eastern Plaguelands and Silithus, but the implementation of the objectives caused them to be all but completely ignored. With the release of The Burning Crusade (TBC) expansion, four zones featured new world PvP objectives with increased quest incentives and purchasable items for participation. It was quite apparent that Blizzard was really trying to make world PvP viable. This worked for a while as many players were taken up in the excitement of all the new content, leveling their characters, and perhaps culminated in the occasional large Horde vs. Alliance raid battle at Halaa. As time passed and Arena was released, new PvP gear made available, and higher end raid content was unlocked by many guilds, these world PvP objectives were once again left to gather dust.

Many hoped that with the new 2.4 patch Blizzard would tweak things and add something new and exciting that would entice players back to reignite the experience many have called the most fun world PvP they have ever experienced in WoW. To be specific, players wanted more of those massive types of battles in Halaa that used to be so popular at the time of TBC’s release.

Unfortunately, what players got instead was a daily quest for Halaa and the Spirit Towers that awards 11 gold 99 silver and 209 Honor each, where you have to kill 10 members of the opposing faction around Halaa and capture one Spirit Tower, respectively. While these are better than nothing, they do little to offer what was originally lacking, long term incentive to make these areas perpetual world PvP hotspots.

Let’s examine what is wrong with these new incentives (why they won’t work) and what other measures could be taken to offer the incentive that Blizzard is hoping to really give players.

First of all, the Honor bonus is basically a moot point for players seeking Honor to purchase their PvP gear. The reason being, unless the player happens to already be in the vicinity of Halaa or the Bone Wastes, they could earn much more Honor by not wasting the time traveling and simply staying in town and joining a Battleground (BG). A single BG win can be accomplished in 10-20 minutes and award not only more Honor (in the ballpark of 300+), but BG marks as well. Depending on where one’s character is, it could take 10-20 minutes just to travel to Halaa only to find it dead. Since BG marks are even more important now that they can be turned in for Honor, it would be foolish to not choose doing BG’s instead. While there is no guarantee that a BG will be a win, or that it will last 10 minutes, there is perhaps even less chance that there will be any enemies around Halaa to kill once you waste a trip to go there.

This issue ties into the timeless discussion about meaningful decisions in games. What I mean is, for any level 70 player with semi-decent gear, going to one these two areas simply to complete the daily quests offers very little in the way of a meaningful decision because it makes far more sense to just stay in town and do a BG. Why do players have two choices if one of them is pointless?

The Spirit Towers do offer one redeeming factor, in that players have a greater incentive to capture the objectives, which is to secure Spirit Shards in the Auchindoun instances. Unfortunately, the Towers have and always will offer little opportunity for world PvP to flourish because they only reset once per 6 hours and have a very small window of opportunity before they are captured. Despite this, the Towers serve a meaningful enough purpose, Halaa on the other hand….

What could be done to make Halaa the central focus of great battles it once was? Here are some different options:

  1. Since there are no instances in Halaa such as there are in the Bone Wastes, and simply capturing the town’s vendors just isn’t much of a reward anymore, how about a buff to double the drop rate of the Oshu’Gun Powder for the controlling faction? The damage increase buffs received in Hellfire Peninsula and Eastern Plaguelands are hardly motivating to players because they are not tangible or meaningful, long term rewards.
  2. A buff to increase reputation gains 25%-50% in Nagrand for the controlling faction.
  3. Add several new items of level 70 gear to the Halaa vendors. The PvP waist, leg pieces, and resilience gem are a nice start, but they are too easy to attain in a few heavy raids and they are sub-level 70 items.
  4. Offer something like Honor, primal nether, or reputation gains in exchange for a large amount of Halaa tokens similar to how the new daily BG quest offers Honor in exchange for BG marks.
  5. Have the only Auction House in Outlands being available to the faction that controls Halaa…even if there were no other rewards, this would likely bring the largest world PvP battles ever seen (a popular option brought up on some of the WoW forums).

Surely Halaa will see increased traffic for now with the new release of the patch, but once players start figuring out that being in a BG would be time better spent, we can count on things dramatically dying off again. Let’s hope Blizzard makes world PvP more meaningful better before another game releases and beats them to the punch.

What ideas do you have to make world PvP in WoW better in general? Should Blizzard just start over with a new game if they have any hopes of making world PvP viable? Voice your thoughts in the comments below.

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