Pre-Cataclysm Honor Grinding

With the changes to Honor Points and new Arena gear becoming available to unranked characters in 4.0.1, the timeless question of how to most efficiently grind Honor has come up, once again.

It’s been a while since we’ve had to address this question – the Random Battleground Finder pretty resoundingly ended that debate earlier – but there are now several new options with the new currency.  And until Ihra returns from his break to do a complete HPM (honor per minute) analysis, you’ll have to settle for my math.

So let’s take a look.


PvP remains the best way to grind Honor Points.  You get HP by killing opponents, by capturing objectives, by defending flags (!), by winning matches.  Winning battlegrounds thoroughly is preferable to winning them quickly and skipping objectives.

Daily Random Battlegrounds remain the best way to gain honor at level 80. The first win of the day gives you an extra 90 Honor Points.  Subsequent wins give you 40 extra Honor Points.  Even if you don’t win, you’ll still get an extra 15 Honor, so running randoms gives you a consistent boost that you should not skip.  If you win 50% of the time, with 15 minutes a match, you’ll be getting an extra 250 Honor Points over the first two hours.  Call To Arms events in specific battlegrounds give the same benefits (that do not stack), so if there is a BG that you really enjoy running having a CTA weekend, run that instead.

My experience so far has been about 75 Honor Points per BG.  I’m actually losing more than I’m winning right now, but my queues are instant, so it’s working out to a decent grind.  I’ll collect more data and update this post with it.

Wintergrasp Battles give a decent amount of Honor Points by themselves; I received 40 Honor Points in a recent victory where all towers went down before time expired. This could vary widely due to your HK count and how the battle progresses; it actually doesn’t compare that favorably to regular battlegrounds, let alone random battlegrounds, but there are reasons you should do Wintergrasp anyways.  (More on that below.)

World PvP also gives Honor Points.  Unless you’re participating in mass World PvP, I don’t think you’re going to gain a tremendous amount of HP this way, but you do gain rewards this way.  If there’s active World PvP on your server, engage away!


Some quests award Honor Points.  This isn’t a new concept – Wintergrasp quests have done this for a while – but since all PvP rewards have been standardized to a single scale, there are now more ways to gain Honor Points outside of the battlegrounds.

Wintergrasp Quests are still a viable Honor Point boost.  Each weekly quest rewards 16 Honor Points, and there are six of them (Victory, Kill 10 Enemy, Destroy a Tower, Destroy 3 Siege, Defend 3 Siege, Gather 10 Things), so there’s a potential of 96 Honor Points from these quests each week.  These quests may be bugged on your server so that they reset both on Tuesday & Sunday, so you may be able to do them twice.  (I’ve given up tracking them and just check back every few days.)

What’s new is that Venture Bay PvP Quests award Honor Points instead of the almost-useless Venture Coins.  There’s XP for you while leveling, gold at endgame, and a little bit of Honor for a few minutes of work each day.  The quests don’t reward as much as Wintergrasp – 3 HP each – but since they can be done every day, you could get 126 Honor Points each week from these quests.  There are six quests scattered around the bay, including the Blackriver Skirmish quest up the river.

One quest, Seeking Solvent, is a repeatable quest and could be done without flagging for PvP.  This quest involved stealing Element 115 from the ship in the harbor, and returning – slowly – to the quest giver.  This quest could yield up to 260 Honor Points an hour, though I never got quite that high personally.  (I was distracted, and still got about 120.)  This was a great way to get honor if your queues were long or you had desire to really PvP.

Unfortunately, when I went back today to check on this quest, it appears to be broken – probably deliberately.  You can’t start the quest anymore, and even getting a new Refurbished Shredder Key doesn’t help.  (I now have 2.)  I have a ticket open and will let y’all know if the GMs tell me anything substantial.

The Blue Sky Logging Camp PvP quests, interestingly, do not give Honor Points.  They just give gold and experience.  So skip them if you’re grinding honor.


What’s that you say?  Has Cyn finally gone daft?

No, I have not, or not any more than I was before.  Dungeons now give Honor Points. Specifically, Northrend dungeons when the Wintergrasp buff is active.  If your faction controls Wintergrasp, you get ~6 Honor Points per Heroic boss or Raid boss killed, in addition to the Justice Points you’re already getting.  I got 25 HP in a H-HOL run this morning, which I assume means there’s some decimal carryover from each earning and we’re just seeing the integer result.  (4 bosses x 6 HP per boss = 24, at least in my funny math world.  But I definitely got 25 from the run.)

Before, you could get certain kinds of gear through Heroics – Wintergrasp gear.  These are great offset pieces, they were relatively cheap, and differently itemized for your class and spec.  With the standardization of currency, you can now buy set pieces, Wrathful offhand pieces, whatever you like with these Honor Points.

For people who are already grinding Justice Points, this is very good news.


Your strategy really depends upon your goals.

  • If you are just upgrading your PvP gear, run random battlegrounds, do the WG quests, and then run more battlegrounds.  By focusing on PvP you generate the highest amounts of Honor Points.  If your queue times are bad, fill in with the Venture Bay quests and some world PvP, but try to PvP all the time.
  • If you are gearing a new character for PvE and PvP, run Heroics and Wintergrasp. Make it your mission to hold Wintergrasp as much as possible, because the most efficient way to completely gear a toon is through dungeons. While it’s not as efficient for getting PvP gear, it gives you the most total points per minute.  Also, once you have maxed out your Justice Points, you can use those to purchase lower-grade set pieces (Relentless, Furious) to help fill in the holes in your PvP set.

What’s interesting is that once again, control of Wintergrasp is absolutely key.   If you’ve forgotten how WG works, you can revisit my Introduction to Wintergrasp for a quick refresher.  The side that holds Wintergrasp will, in general, be gearing up for PvP faster than the side that does not.  So don’t be afraid to recruit in Dalaran for each battle – it will pay you, and your side, dividends.

(On Durotan, a predominately Alliance server, the Horde has gone from winning 1/4-1/3 of the time, to 1/2, and most of the time it’s in prime-time hours.  They are taking it seriously even though they are outnumbered.  You can too.)

If you don’t care about PvP, well, you should still help out in Wintergrasp.  Why? Because some of the best weapons and shields available to players are available at a pittance of 70 Honor right now.  270 shields that make Protection Warriors and Paladins weep for joy – 70 honor.  264 guns that dwarf nearly every other gun in ICC? 2550 honor.  264 wands with wicked, wicked stats?  230 honor.

As an individual, your best strategy is to run random battlegrounds.  As a faction, your best bet is to control Wintergrasp and run randoms.

Got it?  Good.

Time to get to work.  Cataclysm is coming.



Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

20 responses to “Pre-Cataclysm Honor Grinding

  1. Nochecazador

    Excellent advice. I got the Gladiators Rifle through grinding PVP randoms. It actually did not feel like a grind, the queues were quick, got some achievements, and I got to run some BGs that I’ve never done before.

  2. Just wondering: How are the waiting times on your battlegroup?

    I’m asking this ’cause on mine (Bloodlust) BG queue time sits around 16-18 mins, while LFG waiting time for DPS is around 13-14 mins (< 1 min for me, as a tank.)

    When we talked about that on Twitter, I thought about including the queueing time on my math, even joining the LFG as a tank, but couldn't get the proper number due IRL issues. But in this situation, it seems that holding WG and queueing as a tank gives me the very unfair advantage of getting more honor/hour using the LFG tool than queueing for random BGs as a Holy Paladin.

    • My times on Alliance are instant on Ruin. I have yet to wait more than 5 seconds for a pop. I imagine you’ll need to talk to a Horde player to get a better feel for how their queues are – fast or slow times like that usually indicate a major population imbalance.

  3. Your blog keeps reminding me I need to get back into PvP. My pally could use a nice new weapon.

  4. THANKS FOR EXPLAINING THE HEROIC HP!!! I had wondered what, if anything, was replacing the Stone keepers Shards! THANKS!

    I bought a tanking shield, but I’m still not sure it’s right for my Pally tank. PRobably, but I’m still really new/unsure about the 4.0.1 tanking stuff.

    I’m nearly ready to buy a Wrathful set of pants, which will be a huge benfit.

    The thing is that I generally suck at PvP, and the Alliance on Velen seem to be even worse. I think I’ve seen us win/hold WG thrice in the last few weeks. I’m sure it’s more than that, but when I’m on, we usually don’t hold it.

    Oh, and all the glitchiness has been horrid for PvP.

  5. Calvinball

    Sadly, as I logged on tonight to try and grind up to 2500 (or thereabouts) for the wrathful bow, I encountered all kinds of problems with the random bg queue. First, a 20 minute queue with no end in sight. Next up was an insta-queue that put me into a halfway-finished AV. Sweet! We had the alliance trapped on the bridge from their hold. I racked up loads of HKs and after about 15 minutes we won the resource game…and my name was nowhere to be found in the report card. I checked my honor points…no 90 for the win. I had a similar occurrence with a loss, and have several times had the queue pop only to ignore me frantically clicking “enter battleground.”

    Any one else having these issues? Any official word on them?

  6. Handera

    Just a couple mistakes I noticed in your article:

    1) You can’t do defend 3 siege and destroy 3 siege in the same week.

    2) The shields are 270, not 264.

    • 1) With that intra-week reset we’ve got going on, I don’t think I’d ever noticed that before. (Also, I confess I don’t even pay attention any more, I jsut get the quests and bang them out.) Learned something new about WG, thanks!

      2) This is where my lack of playing an endgame pally/warrior shines though. Thanks!

      • Handera

        So your server can still do the quests twice a week, eh? We used to have them all reset twice a week(Cenarius) but it hasn’t been like that for a loooong time. I hadn’t realized it was still happening on other realms.

      • At this point, I’m pretty much not even paying attention any more to when they pop up. I head down to WG every day or two, pick up whatever quests are there, and bang them out over the next few days. I used to be more diligent about doing them, but after a two years I’m pretty much over those particular ones. 🙂

  7. I suspected BGs and WG, actual PvP, would be a better way to grind honour quickly, just kinda makes sense. Even so, bravo, great post 🙂

    • It’s interesting to see how for some of the smaller offset pieces, PvE is definitely the way to go. (Also, if you just want to get a Furious or Relentless set). But to get a lot of high-end items, you’re going to have to grind out those BGs.

      Having prices tuned to level 85 kinda sucks right now, though. This is not a fast grind.

  8. Paul

    The 264 guns are not 70 honor, they’re 2550 honor points. The “cheapies” are just the shields, non-hunter ranged items, off-hands, wands, and other class-specific range-slot items. The good weapons (264 at least) are all 2550 honor for 2-handers and less for 1-handers.

  9. Pingback: Snippets: Week in Review « Green Bar Spec

  10. I didn’t get around to doing an in-depth look at WG like I wanted to before breaking but the couple rough estimates I did tallied more or less with what you’re saying — people think WG is this amazing honor farm but without the quests it’s actually fairly middle of the road as far as your honor per minute is concerned.

    …at least, it was. I can’t speak to it’s 4.0.1 self, obviously 🙂

    • When it had the daily quests, WG was awesome HPM; not only for the quests, but because everyone was there. You’d rack up amazing kill counts during a battle.

      When it went to weekly quests, it also went to 80 people each, and the kill counts weren’t quite so impressive. Worth doing the quests, but not worth dropping everything to go fight for the zone. The reputation of the fights carried over, though.

      Now, even in 4.0.1, I’m not seeing huge honor gains out of WG. It’s worth fighting for as a faction, but not worth dropping out of the BG queue to do – unless you are getting the quests done.

      I think we need a data survey, what do you think? I haven’t decided if it’s worth the effort to do it with Cata in 5 weeks or not. I may wait until it drops to kick off something.

      • To get any data worth measuring I think would take you probably a week and a half…probably not worth doing this close to the system getting an upheaval again. Don’t let me stop you though, it’s your 15 hours of time 😉

      • or wait, did you mean with WG?