A Treatise on WoW PvP

Having hit the trial level cap last night, I decided to engage in a bit of PvP in World of Warcraft. Since everything is tiered, I could play at level 19 and be the top in my tier, so hopefully things wouldn’t go so badly. I had heard people say that WoW’s PvP is pretty weak, but I was willing to give it a shot. And wow. It was actually painful.

Here are some of the problems with the PvP design, in my opinion. I’m well aware I’m not a designer, but these are things that would cause me to come back to PvP and try it again. Firstly, the existence of “twinks” (i.e. players who are at the top level of a tier and have geared themselves to the brim with the best possible stuff so that you don’t stand a chance against them) proves that you have bad design. PvP is KILLED the instant you are brutally slaughtered by a twink. It just completely loses the fun aspect of it. I don’t want to play against them. How do you solve that? Well, I think the easiest way is to start granting XP for kills in PvP. This allows an alternate (hopefully more fun) way to grind levels, and it eventually forces those twinks out of their element. The reason I liked PvP in Warhammer Online was that I felt like I was making progress, it wasn’t a side distraction. I could PvP or I could quest, and both would help me get to the next level. In WoW, it IS a distraction, and you gain nothing but honor points/marks to trade in at a later point.

My next issue with the PvP was that it was simply too long. I know those hardcore MMO players out there love long bouts at the computer, but for more casual players, it’s so much better if you can jump in, play a round, and jump out. Put a time limit on the match. Make the objectives shorter. Change up the rules as the match takes longer. Do something so that the match doesn’t take 2 hours. Last night, the second battleground we played did literally take two hours. We were in a perpetual stalemate, where we had their flag and they had ours, and we were point sitting at opposite sides of the map. Nothing was happening. Players on my own team started begging our flag carrier to just drop it and end the map. Seriously. If that doesn’t scream bad design, I don’t know what does.

Those were my two major complaints with the system. It’s something that I feel could use some attention from the developers, and if it is made better, it could become a huge part of the game. Although I’m seriously enjoying my time in WoW finally, I think WAR captured the essence of PvP so much better than Blizzard’s Behemoth.

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