Upcoming Changes To Rated Battlegrounds

There have been a few changes announced to Rated Battlegrounds that caught my attention recently:

  • The 25v25 bracket has been removed.
  • Rated Battlegrounds will use Arena rules for consumables and Engineering items.
  • BG Teams of 80% or more guild members will earn experience for their guild.
  • The number of Conquest points you can earn each week is based on your highest PvP rating.

We’re still 3.5 weeks out from Cataclysm’s launch, and I expect things will keep changing over the next few weeks.  And to be honest, these changes make me ask more questions than are answered. But, still, we can adapt to these changes pretty easily.

The 25v25 bracket has been removed, making it much easier for people to organize consistent, solid teams.  I think 17-20 players is still the magic number for a good, solid core, as that gives you the ability to swap people in and out based on the needs of the week, but having 8-12 won’t be a bad thing either.

The biggest question I have about this is: what happens to Alterac Valley now?  Will it remain a 40v40 contest, or still be reduced to 25v25?  While I am personally hoping they keep it in its current incarnation – it is far more accessible to casual PvPers than Isle of Conquest – the change to 25 would make it easy for a 25-man PvE raid to run an AV in between wipes.  With the removal of the 25s bracket, that no longer seems to be a possibility.

I confess, I’m a bit depressed by the ruling that Rated Battlegrounds will follow Arena rules on consumables and Engineering items.  That means no Swiftness potions, rocket boots, parachute cloaks.  That also likely means no nets from Tailoring, too, so those excellent PvP professions will have their utility diminished in Rated BGs.  You may be better off having other professions with static bonuses, like Blacksmithing, Enchanting, or Jewelcrafting, ready to go instead.

This ruling isn’t totally unexpected – it allows for a consistent fighting experience between the two ranked events (Arenas and rBGs) – but I do lament their loss.  Being unpredictable in a fight is one of the keys to winning, and professions are an excellent way of doing that. My biggest question is, will they take these rules and apply them to non-rated Battlegrounds, too?

I haven’t been following along with the guild changes too closely, but letting Rated Battlegrounds grant guild experience if 80% of the members are guild members seems a mixed blessing.  When coupled with the removal of the 25v25 bracket, this means if you have 8 or 12 people in your guild join a BG, you’ll get guild benefits from it.  If you don’t, it’s not a big deal.

But is it?  I mean, this is a discussion that goes way beyond just Rated Battlegrounds; if some activity awards something, then there’s incentive to pursue that reward. You can choose not to follow that incentive, but it’s still there.  The guild experience awards create an interesting problem for players and guilds alike; do you try to create an organization that participates in all different kinds of activities together, or focus on one type of activity and excel at it?

I know that my personal situation is influencing my thinking here. Most of my characters are in a casual raiding guild; I very much enjoy the interaction there, but more people are interested in raiding and running randoms than in PvP.  Will our guild have enough interest to make PvP night a viable option? Will other guilds be willing to take good puggers over fair guild members?

I don’t know how this is going to work out.  The changes to guild cultures that guild experience will bring are pretty far reaching, but I’m not saying they’re bad – just that there will be a lot of changes.

What surprised me most out of all the tidbits in that blue post was the news that your weekly Conquest point cap will vary based on your highest PvP rating.  This makes sense, I guess?  I hadn’t really thought about relating the two together, but I suppose that if you let people do well accumulate more points you encourage and reward them for doing well – and set a minimum threshold for just showing up.  Maybe it’s because I’m not really all that interested in ratings (which is an entirely different post), but I think we’ll need to understand the scale and scope of this one before passing judgement.

In my previous post on Preparing for Rated Battlegrounds, I mentioned that I was nervous when they were first announced.  I’m still nervous about them. Adding in the pressure of guild experience has actually made me more nervous, not less.

It’s fine; I’m a patient sort.

Let’s see how it all turns out.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Upcoming Changes To Rated Battlegrounds

  1. I guess AV will stay at it is (as Isle of Conquest will stay as it is), it is just that those battlegrounds will not be selected as rated BGs.

    If my memory doesn’t fail, rated BGs will work like the “bg holiday”: There will be one chosen battleground and that will be the rated BG for the week. Next week, another BG. I may be wrong on that point, though, as I didn’t follow the changes recently.

  2. Seriously sad about the loss of consumables and engineering items. Not only do they give you a competitive edge, but they’re fun! I love throwing up a bubble and rocketing away from a sticky situation. No nets and boots is going to change the way I play.

  3. Thanks for this insightful post, especially the part about the fact, that
    Rated Battlegrounds will follow WoW Arena rules when it comes to consumables and Engineering items.

  4. I’m confused that they’re limiting professions. I’d always thought the limit in Arenas was because arenas are a deathmatch, and it’s unfair if you can take somebody out with a gimmicky profession trick. I don’t see the advantage in restricting them in Rated BGs – it’s not like your Embersilk Nets are going to turn the tide of a battle.

    • Tailoring and Engineering, unlike other professions, give you abilities outside of your normal class abilities. Whether it’s a snare, sprint, or slow fall, they give you the power to do something your class wouldn’t normally let you do.

      Other professions, by contrast, enhance your existing abilities. There’s nothing revolutionary about additional gem sockets or better potion usage.

      Consumables are a similar case, though there’s a twist to them. Some of them are really potent (Free Action Potions, anyone?) but if they could be used all the time, they’d unbalance the match. A lot of twink guilds, when they meet up with other guilds, will go and place limits on what pots can be used. I think Blizzard doesn’t want people with the best consumables to win.

      The twist is that consumables can be taken outside of the match for buffs – Fish Feasts to level 19 characters comes to mind – and those buffs need to be cleared before entry, like in Arena. Blizzard probably used the exact same code for both events for simplicity (and I don’t blame them).

      I am, however, really not thrilled that the two best freeform PvP professions have been nerfed for Rated BGs. I don’t know how to defend the Lumber Mill without a parachute anymore! :-)