Category Archives: Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual

Playbook: DPS Midfield Pick

Strategy is the plan to win the battle; tactics are specific techniques used to enact that strategy. You have to have both to win. I’ve talked at length about strategies here on CBM, but less about tactics than I probably should have. Partly this is because tactics tend to be class specific, and also because they tend to be highly situational – sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, and you have to exercise judgement in knowing when they’re going to apply.

In retrospect, I think that was a bit of a mistake. It’s good having a strategic understanding of each battleground, because then you can make decisions about where you should go next. But it’s also good having a tactical playbook, of having techniques you can use in support of that strategy.

My personal goal is to keep these more focused than many of my strategy posts. Here’s a play, here’s where I think it’s useful, give it a go and see how it works for you. Teams will vary, responses will vary, but hopefully you will find my playbook useful.

THE DPS PICK

Let’s start with something simple, the DPS Pick.

I use this play a lot in WSG, and it’s a tool for a fairly common situation – the FC is unsupported in midfield, a rez wave has just hit, and the enemy is in pursuit of the FC across midfield. I’m playing DPS. What do I do?

I pick the opponents and get the FC to safety.

A pick in sports is when one player runs the opponent covering them into another player. I learned it playing lacrosse, where it’s specifically applied to stationary players, but since Warcraft doesn’t allow collision detection, it’s going to be a little different.

The FC is running for the tunnel entrance. If they’re smart and heads up players, they’ll run right to the GY, but for sake of example let’s say they’re not paying attention and just going straight tunnel.


To set the pick, I get on an intercept course for the FC, angling to pass on the midfield side of him. As a healer, I would head towards the tunnel entrance and try to get ahead of the FC – as DPS, I want to get behind, because that’s where the pursuers are.

My goal is absolutely not to kill the pursuers. My goal is to control and distract them. Every second I can slow them down is good. If I can get them to stop chasing the FC and engage me, that’s even better. I want to be as irritating as I can be so that they think they need to deal with me, instead of chasing after the FC.

On a hunter, I’d try to trap or scattershot. DKs has Chains of Ice and ice cubes, mages have Frost Nova and Polymorph, warlocks have Shadowfury, Fear, and Howl of Terror. Tailors have nets. Engineers have bombs.

Every DPS class has something they can do to stun, slow, fear, or otherwise force the opponents to stop chasing the FC. Don’t open up with attacks – open up with CC. You’re not there to kill them. You’re there to let the FC escape.

Keep up with the CC. While instant fearbombs can be nice, an AoE stun followed by mass fear can be even better – not only will it stop pursuit, but it is guaranteed to piss off the other players and cause them to forget about the FC to focus on you.

And all the while, your FC is running out of midfield, either to the safety of the healers in the base, or directly in for a cap. Once the FC is safely away, or you have their attention, then you can start laying on the damage.

You can use this play in other BGs – Strand of the Ancients, for instance, is prime ground for DPS to pick opponents. There are multiple FCs in SotA, after all – they’re called Demolishers. If Demos are rumbling by a GY where defenders are rezzing, get in there and distract them! Who cares if you die, the FC gets away!

And that’s the whole point of the DPS Pick.

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Synchronizing World of Warcraft Between Two Computers

Playing Warcraft on two different computers can present some real challenges to a player, and the more customized you make your user interface, the harder the challenge. How do you keep your UIs consistent, your addons updated, your preferences shared between the computers?

You can do it manually, which can be a real pain if you like to roll a lot of alts. Smart profile use can help, but it only goes so far – at some point changes need to be synchronized between the computers, and only so much of your interface is stored on the Warcraft servers. Trying to keep your interfaces up to date can be a nightmare if you’re an altoholic, and more trouble than it’s worth even if you’re focused only on a single toon.

I finally found myself in the situation where I need to keep my Warcraft information synced between two computers, an old Macbook (2008 model) and a shiny new Mac Mini. They share similar operating systems, but have very different video capabilities. The Macbook has a 13″ screen and integrated video chip; the Mac Mini is hooked up to a 25″ monitor and has an actual graphics card.

Here’s how I did it.

ONLINE SYNCHING WITH DROPBOX

My goals were simple in concept, if not in practice:

  • Provide the same user interface, including keybinds, general bar layout, addon configuration. Logging in to a character on one computer should feel the same as logging in on the other.
  • Changes made on one game should be propagated to the other automatically. I don’t want to have to make an update in one place and then manually make it again on the other computer.

I thought a bit about how I could approach these goals. My setup was very addon-heavy, with a lot of custom keybinds through Bartender, using the Naga to both push buttons and move my character, and a suite of addons which I’d manage depending on the character’s current role.

It was, in all honesty, probably overengineered. (But that’s a different set of posts.)

I could:

  • Nuke all of it and use the default UI. This would get me my first goal, as well as providing an extremely fast load time and better responsiveness on my aging laptop. But it’s also restricting – I would have to make sure that I didn’t make any changes, and that I’d need to configure things like the bar setup on each computer separately anyways.
  • Redesign and periodically copy over the interface files from one computer to the other. This would help keep me synched up, but requires remembering to do it. That’s bad, I’m forgetful. Also, a simple copy means that you can have file conflicts between the two systems with no resolution system. When you make different changes to the same character, one or the other will be lost when you resolve the conflict.
  • Schedule an automatic periodic direct sync between the two machines. This reduces the chance of file conflict, but doesn’t eliminate it unless the sync is scheduled very frequently.
  • Use an online syncing program to sync the files as soon as a change is detected, usually on logout, reducing the conflict chance to nearly zero – since I can’t be logged in on the same account at the same time on two different computers.

Some other events happened which caused me to very seriously consider nuking all my addons and going back to a default interface, but after some thought I decided to go with an online synchronization service called Dropbox. Dropbox is one of several services available that you can try for free, and their free version is perfect for this task.

Plus I already use it to transfer files, so, you know, Dropbox was pretty much a no brainer for me.

Now, the problem with most online sync services is that they monitor a specific set of folders on your hard drive, usually within their own directory structure, for files that have changed.

The files that control the UI are in the Warcraft/WTF and Warcraft/Interface folders, however. So unless I put my entire Warcraft installation in the cloud – which gets expensive – I was going to have to find a way to make it so Dropbox knew about those two folders.

This is where symlinks come in.

SYMBOLIC LINKS

Symbolic links, or symlinks, are pointers on your file system that look like one address for files, but point to another location. If I have a folder in my home directory called “Website Logs,” but I don’t want to actually keep all the log files within my home directory, I could make that folder into a symlink and put the files where I really want them to be, say in an archive directory or somesuch.

Symbolic links are often the answer for problems like this.

  • Dropbox monitors a folder called Dropbox in my home directory (~/Dropbox/).
  • Warcraft stores UI data in the Interface and WTF folders in the World of Warcraft directory (usually /Applications/World of Warcraft/Interface, etc.).
  • By moving the UI folders into the Dropbox folder and putting a symlink in the WoW folder, WoW thinks that the data is right where it should be, while Dropbox syncs it whenever something changes.

(I’m going to use Mac/UNIX directory structures in my examples, but the concepts are the same in Windows.)

Before I did anything else, I made a complete backup of each folder I was going to be touching – just in case. Take your time when working with files!

To create a symlink you use the ln -s command in Unix. The format is ln -s target link, where you specify the destination – where the files should really be stored, what your symlink points to – and then the name of it.

To keep things easy, I created a Warcraft folder in my Dropbox folder. This means that my targets are both going to be in ~/Dropbox/Warcraft/.

On the machine with the UI I wanted to use as a base (the server):

  1. Move to your Warcraft installation directory:
    1. cd /Applications/World\ of\ Warcraft/ (or wherever your WoW installation is)
  2. Copy the current Interface and WTF folders to Dropbox with:
    1. mv Interface ~/Dropbox/Warcraft/
    2. mv WTF ~/Dropbox/Warcraft/
  3. Create the symlinks:
    1. ln -s ~/Dropbox/Warcraft/Interface Interface
    2. ln -s ~/Dropbox/Warcraft/WTF WTF

When I look at a full list of the directory (ls -lah), I see my symlinks for Interface and WTF, along with their destinations, in my home directory (/home/username/Dropbox). A quick check of the Dropbox folder and I’m able to confirm all my files are where they should be, and the symlinks are up!

My final check on the source computer is to fire up WoW and validate that everything still works. If I’ve made a mistake, it shows up in here pretty quickly.

It goes without saying that syntax matters in UNIX, and small changes can have big repercussions. ~/Dropbox/Warcraft/Interface is different from ~/Dropbox/Warcraft/Interface/, for instance. If you’ve never tried symlinks before, take your time and practice. There’s a manual page for it – type man ln and you can read it.

I did all of that work on my server, since it was shiny and new, and I was making a lot of changes to my UI to take advantage of the big screen. Setting up the laptop was very similar, but because it was going to be receiving the files I didn’t want to move the WTF and Interface folders into the Dropbox folder – instead:

  1. Rename the WTF and Interface folders (WTF became WTF 20120101, etc.)
  2. Create the symlinks from WoW to Dropbox, just like above.

This points WoW on my laptop to look at the interface files stored in Dropbox – which are the same ones from my server. It was pretty cool opening up WoW on my laptop and seeing the UI I’d created on my big screen in all its glory.

Except… wait.

WoW looked really good on my laptop. Really good. Better than it’d ever looked before.

Uh oh.

EXCEPTION HANDLING, VIDEO SETTINGS, AND OMGWTFBBQ

It didn’t take me long to realize that not only was I looking at not just the addons, keybinds and bar layouts of the server on my laptop – I was looking at the same video settings. The video settings were turned up way higher than WoW normally allows my laptop to handle, and with good reason – my laptop can’t handle very much.

So after I shut down WoW, I realized that I needed to sync most of the settings, but not all of them, if I wanted to avoid using my laptop to actually cook BBQ.

The video settings are stored in ../World of Warcraft/WTF/Config.wtf, a plaintext configuration file. The other UI elements are stored in WTF/Account/. So what I needed was the ability to sync everything in WTF/Account/ but not the Config.wtf (or Launcher.wtf file.)

Symlinks to the rescue!

On the server:

  • I didn’t change a thing. This way the Config.wtf will be backed up and I can use it, or not, if desired.

On the laptop:

  • I deleted the symlink and restored the /Applications/World of Warcraft/WTF/ directory from backup. (i.e. I renamed WTF 20120101 to WTF in the finder.)
  • I went down a level and backed up the Account directory, renaming it to Account 20120101.
  • I created a symlink for the Account folder only:
  • ln -s ~/Dropbox/Warcraft/WTF/Account Account

Doing this allowed me to keep the UI layout unified between computers, without threatening to fry my laptop’s video card (and me underneath it!)

Each computer now has its own video settings, while sharing the same UI.

It may not look as good on the laptop, or have as much space due to UI scaling, but it has a consistent layout and feel – which is what I really wanted.

Also, it won’t set my laptop on fire.

ON UNIX COMMANDS, WINDOWS, AND TECHNICAL DISCLAIMERS

While I’ve been working with the seedy UNIX underside of Mac OS X, this technique should be adaptable for Windows. Vista and higher has a mklink command which functions similarly to ln; however, since I don’t run Warcraft on Windows, I can’t really test the function out. It should work, but computers can be funny.

I also know that a lot of users aren’t comfortable working from the command line on either Macs or Windows. I’m going to toss out a disclaimer right now – the code I posted above is suggestions about what worked for me, not a script that you should just copy and paste and expect to work 100%. It’s not. This is more of a recipe than a shell script to execute – a guide to how to make syncing your WoW interface seamless, not a prescription to making it happen. If you’re not comfortable with a command line interface but want to try this out anyways, make a lot of backups. Copy your WTF and Interface folders somewhere safe on both computers before starting. Check each step to make sure the computer did what you expect.

If you’re willing to take the plunge into Terminal, I think you’ll find the command line very fulfilling. Stuff like this becomes possible without waiting for someone to make an app that does just the right thing. It’s not rocket surgery!

For me? I’m enjoying playing with my UI on my laptop, and seeing the changes mirrored on my desktop the next time I log in.

Good luck!

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Battleground PvP Gear in Cataclysm Patch 4.3 / Arena Season 11

Today marks the start of a new PvP season, PvP Season 11, which means a new tier of PvP gear – Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Gear – is now available for purchase. All PvP gear has been upgraded at the vendors. Crafted recipes have also been updated.

GEAR TRANSITION OVERVIEW

Following the Cataclysm gear philosophy covered in my Season 94.0.6 update, and Season 10 PvP gear guides, there are three levels of current PvP gear: crafted, purchased with Honor Points, and purchased with Conquest Points.

  • Crafted: Vicious crafted gear (ilvl 377)
  • Honor: Ruthless Gladiator’s Gear (ilvl 390)
  • Conquest: Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Gear (ilvl 403).

Last season’s gear has been completely replaced by sets with the same name but higher item levels. Check the item tooltips to be certain which PvP season the gear applies to – names alone are insufficient.

Item levels have jumped a half tier (6 ilvls), the standard season transition. This means that last season’s gear is worse than the gear you can buy now with the same name. PvP has strict fashion rules, namely that: you’ll need to replace all your gear this season. 

HONOR AND CONQUEST

The PvP vendors for level 85 are still in the Hall of Legends in Orgrimmar’s Valley of Strength and the Hall of Champions in Stormwind’s Old Town.  The same vendors are present as in Season 10.  The only minor addition is Epic PvP gems at the <Conquest Vendor>, which I’ll cover in a separate section below.

If you’ve never been in these locations before, the picture above shows the Stormwind vendor layout, and below is the Orgrimmar layout. The person you’re going to want to talk to first is the <Honor Quartermaster>.

Regular battlegrounds, Tol Barad, and world PvP award Honor Points. With them, you can purchase Ruthless Gladiator’s gear from the <Honor Quartermasters>. If you don’t participate in Arenas or Rated Battlegrounds, this is the set you should be aiming for. You can only have up to 4000 Honor Points at any one time, but there’s no limit to how much you can earn over time.

Arenas, Rated Battlegrounds, and random Battlegrounds award Conquest Points. Conquest Points purchase the current top PvP gear, Ruthless Gladiator’s gear, from the Conquest Quartermasters. There is a weekly cap to the amount of Conquest Points you can earn that is related to your Arena Rating and Rated Battleground Rating, but there’s no limit to the amount you can have at one time. You purchase Conquest gear from the <Conquest Quartermaster>.

One significant change in Season 11 is the introduction of substantial Conquest Point rewards from winning random battlegrounds or the Call to Arms weekends. The first victory of the day awards 100 Conquest Points, and each subsequent one awards 50. This change means that many players who previously did not participate in rated PvP will be able to purchase Conquest gear in Season 11.

The point costs for each set of appear to be unchanged from Season 9, though there are slightly different thresholds for purchasing weapons.

Slot Vicious
Honor Points
Ruthless
Conquest Points
Head 2200 2200
Neck 1250 1250
Shoulder 1650 1650
Back 1250 1250
Chest 2200 2200
Wrist 1250 1250
Hands 1650 1650
Waist 1650 1650
Legs 2200 2200
Feet 1650 1650
Ring 1 1250 1250
Ring 2 1250 1250
Trinket 1 1650 1650
Trinket 2 1650 1650
2H Weapon/Ranged 3400 3400
MH Weapon 2450 2450
OH Weapon 950 950
Wand/Relic 700 700
Minimum Total 26,850 26,850

PvP weapons require a minimum number of points earned in Season 11 to purchase.

  • Honor PvP Weapons (Ruthless, ilvl 378) require 7,250 Honor Points be earned before purchase.
  • Conquest PvP weapons (Cataclysmic, ilvl 397) require 7,800 Conquest Points before purchase. These should be first available in week 3-4, and commonly available in week 5-6.
  • Glorious Conquest weapons (Cataclysmic, ilvl 410) require 15,700 Conquest Points and a PvP rating of 2200 to purchase. We should start seeing these around week 8 or so.

These point restrictions are to prevent these weapons from becoming attractive alternatives for PvE gear.

EPIC PVP GEMS AND PVP ENCHANTS

No new head or shoulder enchants have appeared in Season 11. Enchants purchased in Season 10 are still viable.

However, new epic PvP gems are available at the Conquest Quartermaster for 750 Conquest Points each. They’re at the back of the available goods selection.

The following gems are available:

My recommendation is to get standard gems until you are in your Cataclysmic gear and have no further need for Conquest Points.

Related to the reintroduction of gems for sale for Conquest Points, it looks like you can no longer convert Valor Points to Conquest Points. My guess is that this change is to prevent raiders from being able to purchase PvP gems through grinding Valor Points.

Valor Points can once again be converted to Conquest Points. As you were.

LEVEL 85 GEARING STRATEGY

For level 85 endgame characters, I would adopt the following general strategy for gearing up for battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas:

  1. Get as many of the crafted pieces made as soon as you can. Any Resilience is good. The current set lacks the 2-pc bonus (+400 Resilience) of the previous set, so this is less desirable as in Season 10, but it’s still good to have some protection.
  2. Supplement with good items gained from PvE, but only if they’re a substantial upgrade over the crafted gear.
  3. Run Tol Barad dailies for the PvP head and shoulder enchants. Use good PvE enchants on your gear in the interim.
  4. PvP in regular random BGs and Tol Barad for Honor (Ruthless) gear. If you are upgrading from crafted gear, get the bonuses of the Ruthless PvP hands first, followed by the 2-pc and 4-pc set bonuses. If you are coming off the previous season’s PvP gear, the order doesn’t matter as much.
  5. Participate in as many rated PvP matches as you can, up to the limit of Conquest Points you can gain each week.  Random battlegrounds will also reward Conquest Points – do what you can to hit your CP cap every week.
  6. Upgrade your weakest pieces with Conquest gear. If you have a mix of Vicious and Ruthless gear, upgrade the Vicious to Cataclysmic first.
  7. Upgrade your PvP weapons when they become available, regardless of level. If you can upgrade to the Glorious Conquest weapons (2200+ Rating), do so in favor of other upgrades.

You can upgrade your Conquest armor to Glorious Conquest armor with a 2200+ PvP rating, but it is purely a cosmetic upgrade. A high PvP rating only gets you better PvP weapons, not better armor.

UPDATES

Like with previous seasons, I’ll update this page as new information is released.

December 11, 2011: Valor Points can once again be converted to Conquest Points.

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Earning Conquest Points During Interseason Play

You can get a jump start on next season’s Conquest Points by winning random battlegrounds this week.

Daxxari mentioned this on Twitter, and confirmed on the forums:

Conquest points you’ve earned from Random Battlegrounds after the 4.3 patch was applied shouldn’t be going anywhere.

This issue was somewhat confusing during the last interseason patch because Conquest Points converted to Honor at the same time Honor (incorrectly) converted to gold. The correct sequence of events should be:

  • Season X ends.
    • Honor Cap is suspended.
    • All Conquest Points are converted to Honor Points.
  • One week passes. Titles and ranks are awarded.
  • Season Y begins.
    • Honor Cap is reinstated.
    • Excess Honor is converted to gold.

Before the daily random battleground quest was buffed, this represented 175 additional Conquest Points. Now that the daily quest is buffed, this represents 700 Conquest Points. Not only that, but with 50 CP for each subsequent win, it’s possible to hit the cap of 1650 with some grinding.

This is a major reason why a lot of Rated Battleground teams are running premades this week in regular battlegrounds. The incentives to cap are pretty high.

Still, even if you are a solo PvPer, it’s worth jumping in to get a head start on your Conquest Point grind.

To the best of my knowledge, these won’t count towards your S11 weapon purchases because the season hasn’t begun yet. You will still have to earn Conquest Points during each season to be eligible to purchase PvP weapons..

Good luck!

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An Open Letter to Blizzard About Mailing Transmogrified Heirlooms

Dear Blizzard:

Earlier this year, you said that mailing transmogrified heirlooms would strip the transmogrification. I was disappointed – I have a lot of alts, you see, even if I’m not the game’s best leveler – but I figured it was a technical limitation that you couldn’t work around in time. Got it! Spend your development resources elsewhere.

And then you released Patch 4.3, and OMG the excitement! New raids! New 5-mans! LFR! Bag searching! (Very slick UI, by the way.) Void Storage! And our very own transmogrification box! All my old gear is new again!

So I was testing things out, mogging all the things, when I decided to try mogging a loom and sending it one of my twinks. (It sounds cooler that way, you see. Saying that I altered the appearance of virtual gear bound to my account through transmogrification and then sent it via in-game messaging systems to a low level alternate character with locked experience might be correct, but it doesn’t flow. It’s kinda dorky to be that precise, if you want to know the truth.)

You can’t imagine how surprised I was when it worked!

I did it again, and again, and again. Usually it worked flawlessly, but sometimes it didn’t.

This was amazing. Wow. WOW. A world of possibilities opened up to me – of being able to create my own look for my leveling alts. I didn’t mind some of the heirloom sets the first few months I lived with them, but this world you’ve created has so many more clothes, and being able to create unique looks for my toons made me love the transmogrification feature all the more.

This … bug, as I suppose it is, made me really happy. It makes gearing up alts fun. Yes, I like PvP, and killing Internet Dragons, and leveling, and playing the Auction House, and leveling Engineering over and over again.

Ok. Maybe I’m exaggerating about Engineering. But I’m not exaggerating that having the ability to transmogrify my heirlooms and mail them to my alts rekindled my interest in the game because it is fun. It’s fun playing dress up. It’s fun making your characters look the way you want, of trying to find just the right look for them.

I told my friends about it, and they found it to be a lot of fun too. A LOT of fun. Simple things like character appearance matter. Looking put together makes you feel better about yourself, and it’s no different for our characters, too. People are embracing this possibility, of breathing life into the same old heirlooms and the same old leveling grind.

People are having fun mailing mogged looms around.

And that’s why I’m writing to you today, to ask you something kind of odd.

Please leave this bug alone.

Really! Just … don’t fix it. Leave it be. Ignore it, turn the other way, close that bugzilla ticket. It adds fun to the game. It doesn’t harm anyone – no one really believes that a level 10 Mage is in S10 PvP gear – but it sure makes the game more lively and interesting. Being able to change the same old heirloom into a Frostscythe for one character and a Warstaff for another is awesome.

There are other, more boring reasons I could ask you to keep it in place. Transmogrification extends the life of content by giving purpose to unused art content, and adding heirlooms to the list extends them even further, thus increasing the yield for your investment in the artwork. There are more important bugs that you can focus your effort on now, issues with the UI and gameplay which are normal after any given patch. There’s Mists of Pandaria, which I’m hoping you knock out of the park.

But I’m going to make a more straightforward appeal: being able to mail transmogrified heirlooms makes leveling fun.

I thought about not saying anything to you directly, of quietly mogging my looms and rolling alts. No one wants to be the person who spoils fun, and if this isn’t what you want transmogrification to do, well, you’re going to find out about it eventually. You probably already know about it already.

And that’s why I wanted to say something to you now, and let you know how ridiculously fun I’m finding this new feature to be. I’m spending hours combing Wowhead trying to make up outfits for my alts. I’m looking at each of my alts and wondering how to make them even more fun to play, how to let them acquire gear but still have a look. I’m suddenly looking at my cache of 30 or so heirlooms and going, this is not enough. I need more heirlooms.

This bug has made me pretty happy to be playing Warcraft this week. So please consider leaving this bug alone.

Some bugs actually ARE features!

Thanks!
Cynwise

This post is also available on the official forums. Please let Blizzard know your thoughts!

Update 12/6/11: My post has been deleted and this has been officially addressed in today’s hotfix note:

Transmogrified items should always lose their transmogrification when mailed.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am right now. I don’t care how silly it was; this was fun.

Update 12/7/11: My post was restored by Blizzard, though mogging has not been restored. In a tweet, Zarhym stated:

Level 20 characters shouldn’t be wearing raid gear.

Keep in mind the nature of twitter is for short messages; don’t read too much into the brevity of Z’s statement, though it goes further than just wearing raid gear – wearing certain specific raid gear is okay, other raid gear (or non-raid gear) is not.

This is a complicated issue.

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Cross-Server Battleground Queuing Now Available with RealID

Well, 4.3 is turning out to be a patch of a lot of surprises. One of the biggest? You can now queue for regular battlegrounds with your RealID friends. This is confirmed as an intentional change earlier this evening by Daxxarri, and a very welcome one.

This is a really welcome change. It’s always been a frustration to not be able to PvP with people on other servers. The only way this could be better is if you could also PvP against your friends!

But I digress. Let’s enjoy this one.

Thanks to @lufitoom, @loqiel, @slowpoker, and @eldacarJS and for the tips and confirmation it worked for them, and to @daxxarri for confirming it’s working as intended!

SO EXCITE SO SO SO EXCITE!

 

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Level 60 PvP Gear Not Available for Transmogging

I, for one, was really hoping that scenes like the above picture would have become more commonplace: the bright and dramatic designs of the level 60 PvP gear filling the streets of Azeroth’s cities, allowing players to choose some dramatically great looks at a relative pittance.

However, it is not to be.

Quoth Bashiok, who is just the messenger:

The items out in the world (Marshals, Grand Marshal’s, High Warlord, etc) that use the level 60 PvP art are un-transmogrifiable (including the item level 115 stuff that shares the name from Burning Crusade).

In Area 52 a set of vendors has replaced the PvP Vendors who used to live there. Grex Brainboiler, Krixel Pinchwhistle, Tini Smalls, Kezzik the Striker, Big Zokk Torquewrench, and Leeni “Smiley” Smalls. These vendors sell new, transmogrifiable versions of the classic armor to players who have the Feat of Strength for Legionnaire/Knight-Captain or higher under the old PvP system.

There was a bug with the Feat of Strength granting access to these items, but was hotfixed within the last couple of minutes. If you meet the criteria log out and back in and you should be able to access the vendor.

The design intent with the Feat of Strength achievement requirement was specifically to limit these particular art styles to players who earned them through the OG (and relentlessly difficult) PvP honor system, while keeping the door open to reward them to more people in the future.

In a future patch the items sold by the Area 52 vendors will also be renamed ‘Replica of’ to be more consistent with the items sold by the Darkmoon Faire – they’re currently exact duplicates of the original items that allow transmogrification, which is obviously a bit confusing.

Potentially related, since he’s in the same area, Kezzik the Striker sells inaccessible Season 1 Gladiator’s, Season 2 Merciless Gladiator’s, and Season 3 Vengeful Gladiator’s gear to all players, as the majority of that gear didn’t have restrictions.

This is somewhat confusing if you’re not up on PvP gear sets, so let me summarize:

  • Level 60 PvP gear, of all ranks, is not available for transmogrification. This includes any armor you may have had purchased previously from the Legacy Honor Vendors.
  • If you had the right to wear this armor back in Vanilla, you have the ability to wear this armor as a mog set. However, you can’t use your old set – you have to go to Area 52 and purchase a lookalike set. You have to have the Feat of Strength to be eligible.
  • Arena sets which had been removed from the game (S1, S2, S3) are now available for purchase again in Area 52.  This gear should have no restrictions.
  • All other PvP gear looks to be eligible for mogging. Brutal and Wrathful gear both appear to have no issues. All the level 85 gear I checked seemed fine, too.

This issue with the level 60 PvP gear has led to some confusion about what does and doesn’t work with transmogrifying PvP gear. It’s a pretty simple rule – everything but the  distinctive level 60 gear should work.

To be frank, that kinda sucks.

I THINK WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE

I confess, I was really disappointed by this exclusion. I was really looking forward to trotting out the Knight-Lieutenant’s gear I’d ground Marks for back in Wrath and rocking the old-school Vanilla Warcraft look. I knew that there were some things that I wanted to try mogging that probably wouldn’t work – Direbrew’s Bloodied Shanker for one, Dark Herring for another – but that’s because they fell outside the mogging rules as explained by Blizzard.

Having the level 60 gear be excluded really made me go … wait, what? I see a lot of the gear while leveling through the 60-70 bracket, the shields are some of the best looking in the game, and it’s a really distinctive, Warcrafty style. It’s a great look, and I wanted it.

But there’s another side to this, too.

There’s the side of the Warlords and Marshals and all the players who ground out the truly hellacious PvP grind back in Vanilla. For a long time, they had their titles, and they wore them as badges of pride. Once removed from the game, those titles were impressive and had an aura of Old Skool about them, something that later PvPers couldn’t touch. Anyone could get their gear, but no one could get those titles.

Cataclysm took those titles away from these players. Oh, they still had the titles – but Rated Battlegrounds allowed anyone to get them. They were no longer unique signifiers. The vestiges of the old grind were washed away.

So here’s something for those players who did that grind – they’re the only ones who will get to wear the really great PvP fashions as their daily wear. They’ve gotten something special back, something unique, something Old Skool.

I think, had this just been communicated in advance, I wouldn’t be sitting here going, man, this sucks. I’d have gotten over it, just like wielding a beer bottle or fish. It sucks, it’s arbitrary, it’s confusing as all getout, but at least it wouldn’t be a surprise.

I think it’s a surprise to a lot of people, sadly.

ACCEPTANCE

This is going to confuse a lot of players, especially those who pick up some of the 60 PvP gear as they level an alt and then wonder why they can’t use that great outfit later on for transmogrification.

I think it’s a nice gesture to say, hey, as a tip of the hat to our long-time PvP players who did the grind way back when, let’s let them be the only ones who can wear the old armor. It returns some uniqueness to the old PvP grind, and instills a sense of wonder around these outfits.

I’d love it if Blizzard presented it as such, not slip it in unnoticed. Someone at Blizzard made this decision and got it implemented. Someone approved getting the new sets in to Area 52. Folks at Blizzard knew this was coming, and it has the potential to be cast in a really good light.

But it wasn’t. It was dropped in unnoticed. And when gear changes get dropped in unannounced during a season transition, I start getting really nervous. Bad things happen when Blizzard doesn’t talk to their PvP playerbase. I’m really trying hard to forget the last time they forgot to tell us things about how the PvP gear system was going to change.

Sure, I’d selfishly like this change reversed, because then I can have the great old Vanilla PvP fashions for my Wrath and Cata and Mists toons. But if this is a way to honor Vanilla PvPers, I’m actually really okay with that. What they did was special! Preserving uniqueness is a great thing! I can go wear the Burning Crusade PvP gear!

It just would have been nice to not get my hopes up.

 

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