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Analysis of Blizzard's post on patch 5.3 PvP gear


The patch 5.3 PTR notes brought some big, scary changes to PvP, which WoW Insider explained for its readership yesterday, and now Blizzard's official blog has, as promised, arrived. It deals with a lot of the same concerns as we addressed yesterday, but also adds in several pieces of new information for players to digest. Let's start with that. Here are the changes in full:

  • Base Resilience will be set to 65% for all characters level 85 and higher
  • Resilience will be removed from nearly all PvP gear
  • Players will still be able to use Resilience gems and enchants
  • PvP power will remain exclusively on PvP gear
  • PvP set bonuses that currently provide Resilience will now provide PvP Power
  • Healers and hybrid-casters will benefit to a greater degree from PvP Power, and Battle Fatigue will increase to make PvP gear superior for healers.
  • The Big Change: We will be adding an item level ceiling to all gear in unrated Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • All gear with item levels higher than 496 will be scaled down to 496 (Conquest gear item level). This includes even Conquest items that exceed the ilevel ceiling, such as weapons.
In addition, some of the changes that we've discussed previously will also be implemented:
  • In patches that don't include a new season (including patch 5.3), the seasonal currency requirement of 7,250 Conquest Points earned will be lifted from weapons. The seasonal currency requirement must always be met to purchase Elite items, though.
  • Once the 27,000 Conquest Point seasonal currency requirement is reached, players will be able to purchase Tyrannical Gladiator's gear with Honor Points.
  • The Conquest Point catch up cap will be introduced. You can read our PvP Gear in 5.2 and Beyond blog for more information on these changes.

It's notable that the 65% resilience is only for characters level 85 and higher. This indicates that the dev team feel this resilience number would be too high for characters below level 85, which is likely true with the lower damage going out, but it'll be interesting to see how this number scales down for lower level characters, and indeed how this scaling works with the already problematic battleground bracket scaling.

We've already talked at great length about the viability of PvE gear in PvP, and whether it'll outdo PvP gear in certain settings and situations, and Blizzard's team have the same issue at the front of their mind, stating the following (emphasis added):

We expect these changes will bring about a number of significant effects. First, we feel that they will still preserve our most important design goal: the best gear for competitive PvP will come from PvP. Since all other gear will be scaled down to the Conquest's item level of 496 as a maximum, the Conquest gear will always be better by a significant margin because it will have PvP Power on it (which doesn't count toward the item's item level budget). Even Honor gear, with its considerable amount of PvP Power, will provide more damage in PvP than normal and Heroic raid gear. For example, a Heroic Thunderforged weapon and a Conquest weapon will be the same item level in PvP, with the same amount of primary stats, secondary stats and stamina. While the PvE weapon will do very good damage, it will still do less damage than the Conquest weapon due to the presence of PvP power on the PvP weapon.

I've taken the liberty of highlighting one sentence in that section of the blog in bold. It is really important, and very comforting to note that Blizzard's design goal is exactly what PvP-focused players want: for the best PvP gear to come from PvP. WoW Insider's previous post touched on instances where this might not be the case yet, and in all cases the team were already aware, and working on it. No, it's not a perfect system yet, but give them a chance.

The other effect that Blizzard hopes the new system will have is as follows:

We also believe that the changes will make it easier for those who aren't PvPing now to give it a try or possibly motivate those that play only rarely to play more often. While they will do less damage than a player with PvP gear, they will have the same survivability, Stamina and Resilience. The damage differences shouldn't be so great that they will be 'insta-gibbed' by the average opponent in PvP gear either. We expect these improvements will make PvP more fun for both hardcore players who want a more even playing field, as well as competitors who just want to dive in and have some fun without feeling the need to assemble a specialized gear set.

This is likely to be the biggest change brought in by these gearing adjustments. PvE gear, while still the best for PvP, and, as stated above, not the best for PvP (with the caveats from the previous post in place) will be viable in PvP again. And not just because it's too good or imbalanced or something. Because it's meant to be. This means that PvE geared people will have a fighting chance, that your PvE-focused friends can hop onto your arena team and have a go at PvP while building their set without being a huge impedance to you. For those who don't have PvE-focused friends, or don't want them to be in their arena team, there'll be more people playing, more people PvPing. This means shorter queues, better matchmaking as MMR matches can be more precise. In short, this makes PvP better for everyone.

On top of this official blog, which you should read in full, Blizzard EU Community Manager Nakatoir has been very busy indeed responding to players on the official forums. Nakatoir addresses various concerns, such as the world PvP issue:


One minor concern would be World PvP. If the item level of PvP gear is only 496, PvE gear might be very dominant here. To be fair with you though, I'm not that bothered with World PvP in the first place, so don't mind this at all.

We are well aware that this is a concern that has arisen from players regarding the recently announced changes. While we understand that this is an unfortunate sacrifice for the overall betterment of PvP, we feel that this change will improve the state of both competitive and entry level PvP. This means that more players will be able to enter into PvP and as such increase to competition and the attractiveness of this fun and exciting area of the game.

This doesn't mean that world PvP and duels will be ignored. We definitely understand that players are wanting more huge, epic and glorious PvP such as those that come from world PvP, we just don't feel that it's the right place with the faction imbalance that is present in such battles. We are also looking into trying to find some solutions that will help with PvE gear in duels as we have seen this is a concern as well.

And he looks at players' other concerns, including flag carriers and tanks in PvP, subsequent patches, PvE set bonuses, Sha sockets, and much more. Do check it out.

It's great to see big changes like these coming in, and personally, I find it more useful to think positively about these things than to try to pick holes at every turn. If there are concerns or criticisms, then they should be shared, and PvP Designer Brian Holinka is very active on twitter for exactly that purpose. Do let us know what you think, and do get on the PTR and test these changes.

Do you want to capture flags, invade cities, attack towers, and dominate the enemy for your faction? Do you dream of riding your War Bear with pride? We'll steer you to victory with secrets of Battlegrounds and Arena, prepping you with proven addons and keybindings that win! Send questions or comments to

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