Tuesday, December 12, 2006

High Warlord for a Day(‘s worth of PvPing)!

Just when I thought Blizzard’s implementation of PvP couldn’t get any lamer, they surprised me again with an ‘across the board’ nerfing of what it means to be High Warlord. Don’t get me wrong, nothing screams ‘I have no life’ like seeing that set of armor running around in WSG, or seeing the dipshits screaming in Ogrimmar’s yell channel on Wednesday morning begging for recognition once they finally ‘made it’. I’m not making that up. Some jackass named Shiniojio or something on Scilla was actually screaming LOOK AT ME in capslock in the yell channel a few weeks back. He even had a little band of cronies yelling stupid crap like ‘all hail the new high warlord’ or whatever. I felt a little ashamed for the guy, like I was staring at someone that just crapped themselves messily in public. I logged out. Way to go, dude. U R teh win. Not to belittle the huge sacrifices these brave souls made, but no longer will you be required to abandon your friends and family, keep an empty bottle by your desk,
or make the big switch to ‘diet’ Mountain Dew (it has more caffeine, apparently) in order to show how much of a loser you are to everyone on your server.

Forsaking sleep for a mere two days (zomg, that’s the same amount of days in a weekend!) will net you enough ‘honor’ to purchase High Warlord weapons, and a single day can score a piece of the epic armor.

Tokens are earned in the same fashion as before (3 marks of honor for a win, 1 for a loss), but a newly revamped raw statistic is accumlated as well. ‘Plain Old Honor’ is now calculated at the end of every day. High Warlord epic weapons can be had for 22500 honor and 20 Arathi Basin Honor Tokens. A piece of armor might be had for 10 tokens and 7000 honor. At the current rate, people ‘stuck in the grind’ can pull off about 9000 honor in a day of pugging. Premade groups 5 capping Arathi Basin can easily double that number without too much trouble. I’ve heard rumors that Blizzard is thinking of increasing the cost of items to keep them a little further out of reach, but really can’t imagine why. They’ve decided to just give the weapons away, and it isn’t a terribly big mystery (to me, at least) why they’ve decided to.

Yes. Don’t bother. I know the HWL razor is ‘better’. But when you consider this has a 15% droprate off a 5-man mini-boss that a pug of 60s without vent downed on it’s very first attempt… hmm.
The big thing that no one seems to have figured out yet is that soon these weapons will be sub-par. Sure, Blizzard could just increase their stats to breathe a little longevity into them, but why bother? They’ve already got a bunch of new uber weapons planned for levels 61-70 that require running the hardest instances on ‘harder than hard difficulty’. Come expansion, there will be an option to set instances to ‘regular’ or ‘heroic’ difficulty before zoning in. It’s the exact same dungeon, with the exact same number and sets of mobs, and the exact same drops. What makes it Heroic? The mobs have more HP and hit harder. When you beat a dungeon on Heroic, you earn (surprise!) a new type of token. These special tokens are then redeemed for the uberest of uber weapons and armor.

They know that the high warlord set isn’t going to be the top of the pyramid for much longer, so they’ve decided to have a big ‘sale’, and it ends up coming out to about 99.9% off the sticker price for many of these items. I won’t try and pretend like Blizzard’s implementaion of PvP isn’t popular. I personally don’t like it. I roll toons on PvP servers because I love killing alliance that I pass by on the way to an instance, and because if I’m questing and I see “The Enemy” it should mean something. I think the Battlegrounds System is just retarded, though; I don’t want to play Unreal Tournament or Battlefield 1942 on a warrior or druid. For the thousands of people out there without jobs that were climbing the High Warlord Ladder, this must be the biggest breakthrough (or the biggest disappointment) to come out of Blizz in a while. They’re all guaranteed to have the gear very quickly as long as they continue to do what they were already doing anyway.

For those that just hit Warlord and were on the last leg, they must be pissed, because pretty soon every Tom, Dick, and Harry will have the same weapon they pissed away their lives for. For those sitting on the fence, this is the perfect reason to go ahead and run a bit of PvP to grab those weapons before the expansion. My friend Mirun already has a weapon and two pieces of armor on his druid, and he’s only level 55. He can’t even WEAR the gear for another five levels, but he claims just having them in his bags increases his attack power. He’s pulling a piece of armor each day, and apparently hasn’t showered in four days. Unemployment FTW!

At any rate… once the patch dropped, raiding became a distant dream for my short sighted nub guild (<3), so I got on my rogue and took at look at what I could do. I have no intention of getting the entire set, because… well, I have a job, and a girlfriend. I play pretty regularly on the weekends while she’s a work and I’m at home, but I’m not a huge fan of PvP anyway, and I still have a druid to level before January.

I’ve wanted a wolf on my undead since I had one way back in the original beta, but grinding to exalted rep in Ogrimmar as an undead means doing the Chen’s Empty Keg questline about 30,000 times, if not more. There’s a Black Epic Warwolf Mount thing that costs zero honor, but 30 of each type of token (Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley). I already had a few of each token sitting in my bank from before the patch, so I went ahead, bit the bullet, and began to run BGs until I had enough for the wolf (which I actually think is pretty cool looking… I never really liked the white AV one).

Here’s a fun bit of trivia: Since AV is the best battleground to run for pure honor points, but you still need AB tokens for stuff like gloves, what do you think people do now in AB games? Here’s a hint: losing gives you one token, but can be done in 4 minutes. Winning gives you 3, but usually takes about 30 minutes.

30 minutes total / 4 minutes per win for a 'fast' match = 7.5 tokens per 30 minutes if done right

Throwing a match can get you more than twice the amount of tokens. We mysteriously 5 capped an Alliance premade team in under 3 minutes with little to no resistance, and were high fiving each other in bg chat and vent, when we realized this Black Dragonflight team was just sitting in their base around a campfire. They wanted to lose, so they could get their stupid token and queue up again ASAP. Arathi Basin ‘reputation’ means NOTHING anymore, you can buy any item with enough tokens and honor. Honor itself is best farmed in AV speed matches, and they just needed a few AB tokens. We figured out their scheme after the one match, and actually tried doing it ourselves the next round. It worked flawlessly; we lost horribly in record time, grabbed our token, and queued up again. Then a funny thing happened in the next round… nobody capped anything for a good 4 minutes before we realized both teams were trying to lose. Hilarity Ensued, gg blizz on making PvP more engaging.

Anyway… aside from the mount (which replaced my Green Skeletal Warhorse that I just bought about 5 days before, grrr), there isn’t anything I’m dying to have. I guess with the honor I earned getting the rest of the tokens to get the mount, I’ll go ahead and buy the High Warlord Dagger… it’s too bad they don’t offer 18 slot bags, or that’s all I’d be buying. Things like bags and mounts will LAST until level 70. A weapon or helm is going to be a nexus crystal by level 63, and I’ve already got 14 of those in my bank. Can HWL gear even BE disenchanted, or is it like Thunderfury?

Rather than just bitch about it, let’s try and speculate, to see if anything can be done! (This is where the ‘point’ of the article comes in Ripperjack, listen up!)

First off, I agree with the removal of the required continuous grind for PvP rewards. Being able to say ‘Jesus Fucking Christ I am sick to fucking death of Arathi Basin, can I just run an instance and stab a mob in the face again for once?’ and having the answer be ‘yes’ is good. The honor decay and garbage system that was in place before had to go, and it did. Hooray. I do think the new prices for the HWL weaps are a bit low, but I’ve already pointed out why I think that is (the “their obsolescence is on the horizon, so why not” theory).

I think what needs to be done is to finally put a foot down, and penalize losers. This would completely solve the ‘let them 5 cap us’ scenario outlined above. Give two tokens to the winning team of a battleground, and none to the losers. This game favors “time sunk” over raw skill, but nowhere is it as clearly illustrated as in PvP. Imagine if everyone had the ‘let them win’ mentality in Molten Core. They would wipe over and over on the first Giant, and would never earn that Core Hound Tooth or whatever. Even the very first quests in the game could never be completed if you weren’t ‘good enough’ to kill your opponents (undead have to kill some skeletons, orcs kill some pigs… whatever). If you just sat down on the ground there would be no progress made. In PvP though, you would lose the match, but still earn a prize. Yes, progress would be slow, but it would be THERE. After losing 90 matches in PvP (thirty in each zone), you could march down to the quartermaster and rightfully claim your epic mount, even though you did NOTHING. Why not just have experience be a timed tick, so that people could AFK all the way to level 60 and beyond? Mmmm… no more twinks…

The last thing to do is to base rewards on actual win/loss records. Get an epic sword after a 10 game winning streak. AFKing out constitutes a loss. I think this is going to be how Arena Honor gets tallied, but don’t hold me to it. I know, I know… I can hear you complaining already. But, but… ! But Iso! What if my DSL craps out in a thunderstorm on the verge of winning? Don’t PvP during thunderstorms. But what if I’m on dialup and get owned? Yeah, and what if you had one leg and wanted to be an NFL kicker? But… what if I suck at PvP? Then you don’t deserve the High Warlord Gyroscopic Meat Cleaving Dildo of Shame and Incest. OKAY? You suck. Learn2Play, then come back and knock some heads. Having crap handed to you on a platter isn’t making you better. It’s this same ‘don’t make anyone feel bad’ mentality that’s ruining the school systems, and resulting in people complaining in chat about ‘loosing there flag’s becaus your 2 busy AFKing’.

Hey Blizz, do me a favor? Make people earn their gear? I’ll be AFKing in AV until then. Drop in and say hello, but don’t expect much more than a tap on the spacebar every 2 minutes or so while I’m watching TV. Just until my stupid guild gets all the weapons or whatever and we can get back to actually raiding.

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