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PvP Changes in Cataclysm Tips

Cataclysm will usher in some major changes to the World of Warcraft system of Player vs. Player combat. Currently PvP is very fast paced, some would say too fast, and depends on having a very high level of PvP oriented gear. Now, WoW is an MMORPG. Gear is always going to be a big factor in the PvP calculus. However, with the changes in Cataclysm it might feel less important due to the shift in emphasis from Arena deathmatches to Rated Battlegrounds.

Rated Battlegrounds

The crown jewel of the Cataclysm PvP experience, Rated Battlegrounds are the same old battlegrounds that you know and love with a new twist; you can now play competitively for Arena-like 'ratings' which will translate into points that you can spend on the top level PvP gear.

It's important to know that there are some big differences between rated BG teams and Arena teams. When you join an Arena team you are locked into a group with several other players and only your games played with those people will influence your rating. In Cataclysm, rated BG points will be tied to your character rather than a team. This is going to allow you to play with whoever you want to gain points. Obviously many players are going to opt to play with a similar group of people every week, but this just means that you aren't going to be screwed when one person doesn't log on.

Both Arenas and rated BGs will award Conquest Points. These are the new currency that will replace Arena Points.

Conquest Points: The upper tier of PvP points. Conquest Points will purchase what is currently thought of as "Arena Gear"; the top level PvP armor and weapons.

Honor Points: Earned through world PvP and non-rated BGs, these will buy lower tier PvP gear and possibly other rewards like gems.

Now players that don't participate or have difficulty in rated Arenas won't feel completely left out of the top end PvP experience, rated BGs are a parallel track to Arenas.

New Battlegrounds

Cataclysm will have two new Battlegrounds to offer: Twin Peaks, and the Battle for Gilneas. This will bring the battleground total to eight.

Twin Peaks: Set in the Twilight Highlands at the footsteps of Grim Batol, you battle to control territory crucial to the incursion against the Black Dragonflight and Twilight's Hammer. This is a 10 vs. 10 capture-the-flag style BG similar to Warsong Gulch.

Battle for Gilneas: Engage in a large scale pitched battle for control of the streets of Gilneas City. You vie against the enemy for control of the four districts of Gilneas. This is a 40 Player BG.

After the Wrath of the Lich King Battlegrounds ‘Isle of Conquest’ and ‘Strand of the Ancients’ which are despised by a large majority of players, Blizzard has gone back to the roots of their earlier BG success with another capture the flag BG in Twin Peaks. This will likely be the showcase Battleground for Cataclysm; Warsong Gulch with a different layout.

The map for Twin Peaks indicates that the layout is similar to WSG with a few important differences:

Twin Peaks is a new take on a familiar concept.

The Battle for Gilneas is certainly an interesting concept. The exact details of how the objectives will work is unknown, but players who have seen the actual city of Gilneas from the Worgen starting area will be excited for this one. It's almost as if some smart developer at Blizzard said "hey, we have this awesome starting zone that happens to be a roughly symmetrical and is divided into four unique areas with interesting terrain, how about we use this for something else too?" Regardless of the objectives, Gilneas City will provide a really great atmosphere for killing the opposite faction!

Gilneas City is vast and has a huge variety of interesting terrain.

The environment in Gilneas proper replete with buildings, narrow streets, and maze-like paths will create a PvP environment more like a First Person Shooter map than the wide-open terrain we're used to. This BG will be very interesting indeed.

Shifts in Balancing Philosophy
Class balancing is still in the very early stages, but Ghostcrawler and other influential Blizzard employees have said unequivocally that there will be more of an emphasis on rated Battleground competition than on rated Arenas. This may lead to a PvP dynamic that is very different from what has been experienced in Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.

Currently design is hamstrung by the need to balance for 3v3 deathmatches in small areas which substantially limits their ability to balance around large scale scenarios. In Battlegrounds when there are many healers and many DPS it will become obvious soon if there is one class that is far above the others and they can deal with it accordingly.

A great deal of Crowd Control and Anti-Crowd Control is being removed from the game in preparation for this new paradigm including things like BM Hunters' "The Beast Within", Frostbite, and Sacred Cleansing which were all subjects of contention.

Talents Redone
As we all know by now, class talents are undergoing a complete revamp. This is ongoing and as such it's not realistic to get into details at this point other than to say that this will affect PvP in a big way. Lots of talents and trees that were considered to be overpowered or must-haves like Warriors' Unrelenting Assault, and Preparation for Rogues are being removed or becoming less accessible.

Blizzard has made it clear that their goal is to have every tree of every class PvP viable. That's probably not realistic, but it's good news for the pure DPS classes (Rogue, Mage, Warlock, Hunter) who have typically had at most 2 viable PvP trees at any given time.

Changes to Resilience
One of the biggest mistakes in Wrath of the Lich King was the item level scaling. Blizzard has said many times that they regret how inflated stats have become towards the end of the expansion. Originally the stat scaling was balanced around the idea of four raid tiers: Naxxramas, Ulduar, ToC, and Icecrown Citadel. What was never factored in was the hardmode concept that they introduced in Ulduar. This meant that each raid tier had two new tiers of gear, essentially giving us 7 raid tiers worth of gear in 4 instances.

Players are sporting absurd levels of critical strike as a result of this, some classes pushing upwards of 65-70% buffed. Resilience had to be modified to respond. Currently the Resilience stat does three things:

Reduces chance to be critically hit by X%.
Reduces the effect of mana-drains and the damage of critical strikes by X%.
Provides X% additional damage reduction against all damage done by players and their pets or minions.
Come Cataclysm, the critical chance reduction and the mana-drain reduction will both be gone. Players also won't have the obscene levels of crit that they currently have, but it won't screw over certain classes or make other classes so powerful. For example: Retribution Paladins currently are penalized harshly by being unable to use their instant Flash of Light when they get a melee crit. On the other hand classes like Elemental Shamans that get a guaranteed critical on their Lava Burst when Flame Shock is up on the target become disproportionately powerful.

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