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The shifting state of PvP realms


The official forums continue apace with discussions of the problems emerging in relation to the increased regularity of high level players ganking lower level players, and since Nakatoir's gone on holiday, Taepsilum has picked up the reins of this discussion, commenting on one particular thread. The thread in question made what seems like a fairly sane suggestion, being that players who try to attack members of the opposite faction who are more than, say, 5 levels below them receive an error message, saying, simply, "you cannot attack that target".

Taepsilum clarifies that it's something which it's possible for Blizzard to do, simply that they decide not to. Taepsilum them goes on to give a potted history of PvP servers, illustrating how they have changed since Vanilla. They pointed out several key events, namely the introduction of battlegrounds, followed by arenas, both of which removed players wishing to actively engage in PvP from the world.

Then the dungeon finder, and later the raid finder, appeared. This meant that players could instantly zone into dungeon queues from wherever they were positioned, usually in cities. All of these elements together meant that players were rarely out in the world, and as the game progressed from vanilla to where we are today, that became ever more the status quo. What this meant for PvP servers was that there was not a great deal of balanced world PvP taking place.

The players who were out in the world were the lower level players, who were at the mercy of higher level roaming players, usually out specifically to gank the leveling players. As Taepsilum adds, this focus on city-dwelling for higher level players also meant that there was very rarely someone of higher level around when lowbies needed help.

The problem had become that PvP realms had become more and more like PvE realms. Faction imbalances and the aforementioned factors have all contributed to this, meaning that, for many players, PvP realms lost their real meaning. There was no longer much risk at all to being out in the world, no longer any real fear of ganking. Players rolling on PvP realms to be with friends could be reassured that there would be little PvP action out in the world, and that the PvP side of these realms was purely in the name.

Mists changes everything

Mists, he points out, has gone some way to correct this, with the efforts made to move players out into the world, especially at maximum level. However, the appearance of CRZs made it less likely that players would be able to come to their allies' aid, and less likely that there would be any ramifications for ganking, as players brought together by CRZ may well never see each other again. And, of course, since Cataclysm, mounts have been flying throughout the world, allowing higher level players to stay out of harm's way, while lower level players are still stuck on the ground.

These alterations have caused issues, particularly, for those players who joined PvP realms after the name had ceased to mean anything. Maybe those players were encouraged to do so to spend time with friends, maybe they were rightly told that PvP never really took place because of vast faction imbalances. Whatever the reason for their being there, those players have had a dramatic change to their play experience with the aforementioned changes that arrived with the pandas. For better, or for worse, it changed.

It seems that it might be unfair to call out these players, saying that they had always been on a PvP realm, and should never have rolled there in the first place. But, Taepsilum echoes earlier posts from Daxxarri and others when saying that Blizzard is not interested in changing the rules for PvP realms. And while there will always be vocal players who agree with Daxxarri and Taepsilum and Blizzard's view on this, it remains the case that these servers have seen dramatic changes since the latest expansion's arrival.

Should Blizzard be considering doing something about this? And if so, what? Dismount items? Consistent server pools for CRZ? Some kind of dishonor debuff?

It seems to me like, if they refuse to alter the rules on their recently reinvigorated PvP realms, they should perhaps permit character transfers onto PvE realms at either a drastically reduced rate, or for free, for those players who rolled on what was essentially a PvE realm, in all but name.

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

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