WoW Battle for Azeroth – Open World PvP 2.0

After the Horde and Alliance recently slapped their gauntlets with the War of Thorns – at least in terms of the plot – now only the players have to join in and help open-world PvP on the jumps.

At the peak of Open-PvP (Classic) it was common practice to attack every player from the opposing faction that you saw. Nowadays, however, this behavior has more or less been lost. This is mainly due to the fact that over the years the servers have developed into almost pure Horde or Allianz servers. The cross-server flex zones counteracted this somewhat, but depending on the realm pool, this only led to one player from the other faction being encountered instead of none at all.

Open-world PvP like Tarens Mill vs. Southshore or city raids were almost the order of the day in Classic.

From this, the thought “I can’t do anything to him, he belongs to an endangered species” or “I don’t do anything to you, you do nothing to me” crept into many players. As a result, quests have been played alongside and left the other alone. Of course not always. There are enough cases where you have been attacked or have attacked yourself. Nevertheless, the behavior of the players is nowhere near as aggressive as it was in Classic times.

The players have to get rid of this gentle behavior first, for which the development team has rebuilt a lot of open-world PvP. But what exactly?

The war mode aka “Warmode” – PvP: yes or no

Old classic hands can still remember the time when you could log in at 3 a.m. to farm materials for the raid in Felwood (now Devil’s Forest) without being told by sneaky villains or pesky warlocks. Or when they met in the side zone an hour before the actual raid start to “die through” to Blackrock and the raids there. Those times are (luckily) over and are not coming back with the revised open world PvP of Battle for Azeroth.

However, after the separate PvE and PvP servers were finally merged, a solution was required that would do justice to the different ways of playing the players and in which they would not interfere with one another. The answer to this problem is arguably one of the most important features of Battle for Azeroth: the “war mode” (Warmode). The same is an inconspicuous button in the talent menu, with which you can easily switch the world PvP on and off from level 20.

If you want to quest or farm in peace, simply tip the button in the capital (Sturmwind / Orgrimmar). If you have nothing against possible attacks by the opposing faction, you switch on the war mode and receive additional bonuses: 10% more experience points and the use of PvP talents in the outer zones, but more on that later. If you have already reached the maximum level, you receive additional gold, resources and artifact power for world quests instead of experience points.

If only I had had this button 12 years ago … two mice less would have been smashed against the wall.

How well the revised open world PvP is accepted by the players and how many players let the war mode run for the long term will probably only become clear a few days or weeks after the start of the add-on, when the level phase is over and the Everyday life is taking hold. At the moment there are only a few skirmishes on Darkshore and a few other locations, but real zone-wide battles as we know them from the past have not yet been observed.

Bounty – one against all, all against one

Of course, Blizzard has thought more about how to encourage open-world PvP to players. One of these innovations is the bounty system. The basic principle is relatively simple: Anyone who kills ten players from the opposing faction in open world PvP without biting into the grass receives the “Assassin” buff. It is at first advantage, as it increases the damage dealt and the healing done by 15%.

However, if an assassin kills other players of the other faction, a bounty can be placed on him – the more players die at the hand of the assassin, the higher the chance of it. Players who have been given a bounty can expect to be besieged by the opposing faction very soon, as bonus rewards and conquest points are available for their death. They are also easier to find because their position is permanently displayed on the map.

If a bounty is placed on a player, all players of the opposing faction receive a message and a corresponding mark on the card. Up to three players can be promoted to assassins at the same time per zone card.

However, if you expect easy casualties here, you could be fatally mistaken, because PvP guilds and groups will probably prefer to use the bounty to set nasty ambushes. On the one hand, this can actually lead to the open-world battles taking on the extreme proportions that existed in Classic times.

On the other hand, there is also the possibility that all players of the other faction avoid the zone and the area or even deactivate the war mode because the enemy is too strong. Who fancies corpse camping for hours? Here, too, the next few weeks will show how well the system works and is accepted.

Paratroopers: The Battle for War Supplies

Another innovation in open world PvP are the so-called “paratroopers”. Here one was probably inspired by the airdrops from other games, because basically nothing else is behind it. From time to time, apparently every 20 minutes, a flying machine will fly over a zone and drop a box of war supplies somewhere. Whoever notices this first (through the loud crackling) and is the first to arrive at the box, can look forward to a loot and a success.

The fight for the airdrops should further fuel open-world PvP.

The war supplies should, of course, provide an incentive to fight for them. However, they did not want another Gurubashi arena, in which only one player emerges as the winner and the rest looks into the tube. Therefore there is not only loot for the player who has his pen on the box first, but for all players of the belonging faction.

However, only those players will find personal loot that was near the war supplies at the time, and only for a short time. At the moment, the box only contains equipment for the respective class, which is probably intended as a catch-up mechanism for new players. As soon as the add-on runs, however, additional rewards such as honor points, resources or artifact power should be added.

Revised PvP skills thanks to war mode always active

Now that Blizzard is paying more attention to open-world PvP, it’s no surprise that PvP skills and talents have been revamped. As is well known, the PvP talents were only activated in the outside world until recently when you entered one of the few open world PvP zones or became involved in a battle with the opposing faction on PvP servers with active PvP marking.

With the introduction of the war mode, however, that changes: When the war mode is deactivated, you can no longer use the PvP talents in the outside world, as you cannot be attacked either. However, if you activate the war mode, the PvP talents are active in the outside world at all times. In other words: No matter whether you fight against a player of the other faction or against a quest NPC, you can always use your PvP skills. On the one hand, this helps with leveling, quests and farming, but it also carries the risk of suddenly having a knife in your back.

The PvP talent distribution known from Legion has also been revised with Battle for Azeroth. Instead of the six rows with three skills each, from which you could always choose one per row, there are now only four slots for PvP talents in BfA. For each slot you can choose an ability from a list with all PvP abilities of the respective class and specialization.

Left the old PvP talent distribution, right the new and compact talent distribution in BfA.

The first slot is a bit more special and focuses on one of the three already known loss-of-control-breaking abilities. All other slots can be filled with any ability. Most of the PvP skills to choose from have simply been inherited from Legion. Depending on the class and specialization, there are also a few completely new skills or old acquaintances in an improved or weakened form.

The big advantage of the new PvP talent system is that you can now combine skills that you previously had to choose between. The disadvantage: There are no longer six PvP talents, but only four. Now Blizzard just has to manage that the classes and talents are halfway balanced … But that will probably take until Patch 8.1.

Balanced chances – The equipment scales in open world PvP

The new open world PvP is intended for all players. For this reason, you can take part from level 20. So that it is halfway fair – after all, not all skills and talents are available below the maximum level – the equipment adapts accordingly. In other words: If you activate the war mode and take part in a PvP battle, all values ​​are increased or decreased on almost the same basis. The system is similar (but not identical) to the PvP templates that are already known from the battlefields and arenas – see the BG templates.

Of course, this is a joy for PvP twinks and casual gamers, as you don’t need any special equipment to take part in combat. On the other hand, better equipment should still provide an advantage, so that constant gamblers also get some of their time investment. The advantage should turn out to be rather small … So riveting three opponents single-handedly is usually not possible. Incidentally, the scaling only affects PvP battles, full strength is guaranteed against NPCs.

The new honor system

The honor system and the associated prestige system have also been revised. Well, basically you just threw the two together into an unlimited progression system. “Unlimited” in this case means that you have already discovered 500 levels in the game data … that should be enough for a while.

The system is still driven by honor points, which are available for all forms of PvP. The rewards of the Prestige system – equipment, titles, pets, mounts and so on – are now given when reaching certain levels of the Honor Ladder. There are also new symbols that indicate the honor level on the portrait frame in the battlefield score overview. Existing legion prestige levels are converted into honor levels, the unlocked rewards are retained.

What is particularly interesting about the new Ehre system is that it now works across accounts. In other words: No matter with which character you pursue a PvP activity, all the honor points, levels and rewards collected go into a pot that all characters on an account draw from. So you are no longer forced to always go into battle with the same character in order not to waste points.

Thanks to the new account-wide honor level, it no longer matters with which character you engage in a PvP activity.

The bottom line is that the development team has come up with a few ideas to help open-world PvP regain its old popularity. It remains to be seen whether these changes will resonate with the players in the long term. At the beginning the enthusiasm will certainly be great, but it was also at the start of Legion, and it didn’t take long before the first weaknesses became apparent. But we will soon know more, more impressions of the new WoW add-on will soon be available in the test.

We test PC games on Lenovo Legion PCs and laptops that were made available to us by Lenovo for this purpose. You can read more about gaming laptops 2018 in general here and visit the Lenovo Legion Gaming website here.