Disguising Sticks as Carrots: the 6/16 Conquest Point Cap Update

The 4.2 Patch notes have been updated last night (6/16) with a dramatic shift from punishment to reward regarding the Conquest Point cap changes of 4.2.

The entire set of patch notes are below, with my comments following. Updated information is in red.

  • The minimum cap on Conquest Points earned per week from Arenas is now 1500 1350 at 1500 or less Battleground Arena rating. The maximum cap remains is now 3000 2700 at 3000 or more Battleground Arena rating. The cap continues to scale non-linearly between those two points. For comparison, during season 9 the cap ranged between 1343 and 3000.
  • The game now separately tracks different Conquest Point caps for Battlegrounds and Arenas. The cap for Arena rating will always be 2/3 of the cap for Rated Battleground rating at any given Arena rating. Battleground ratings receive a bonus of 22.2% to the cap they generate, meaning the cap from Battleground rating now ranges between 1650 and 3300. Players may earn a total number of Conquest Points per week equal to the higher of these two caps, but once players have reached the cap for either Arenas or Battlegrounds, they can no longer earn Conquest Points from that source. Conquest Points from Battleground holidays only count toward the total Conquest Point cap.
    • Example: During the first week of Season 10 everyone starts with a rating below 1500. Therefore, the cap from Rated Battlegrounds will be 1500 1650 and the cap from Arena rating will be 1000 1350. In the first week, the character wins enough Arena matches to reach the 1000 1350 point cap. After that point, Arena wins will no longer grant Conquest points for the week. However, the character can still earn up to 500 300 additional points, but can only earn those points from either Rated Battlegrounds, or from the Conquest Point bonus for holiday and/or daily random Battlegrounds. The following week the cap will be recalculated based on the character’s ratings, and it is possible Arena rating could now generate the higher cap. The second week, the character’s cap from Arena rating is 1600 1800, and the cap from Rated Battlegrounds is 1500 1650. The character has a total cap of 1600 1800 Conquest points for the week. Up to 1500 1650 points can be earned from Rated Battlegrounds, but the last 100 150 must come from a different source.

The situation remains essentially the same, with sticks replaced by carrots. The ratio is slightly different, the math is more complicated, but the design goals are identical to last week’s version.

Players are being encouraged to go to Rated Battlegrounds, and it has nothing to do with slowing down the rate of acquisition of gear.

Take a look at the changes.

  • The gap between Arena and RBG caps has been reduced from 33.3% to 22.2% across the board.
    • The gap for the lowest-rated players is now 300 Conquest Points, down from 500.
    • The gap for the highest-rated players is now 600 Conquest Points, down from 1000 points.
  • The Arena cap for high rated players has been increased 700 points.
  • Instead of phrasing the change as a penalty to the Arena cap, the change is now phrased as a bonus to the Rated Battleground Cap.

High-ranked Arena players now continue with a majority of their play in Arena matches, but will need to do some Rated Battlegrounds, Zulroics, or raids to get their remaining 600 Conquest Points.

Since there haven’t been any changes to the Arena Conquest Point per hour rate on the PTR, low-ranked Arena players are now able to gain gear at the exact same rate that they got it in 4.1. Unless the prices for Ruthless Gladiator’s Gear go up, there is no change to the absolute rate of acquisition.

If this was PvE, then this would all be a moot point. Gear increases are relative to a static encounter difficulty, so you can make the argument that you can choose to do, or not do, Rated Battlegrounds, based on the desires of your raid group.

But this is PvP. The encounter difficulty of PvP is entirely relative to other players. Players who play Rated Battlegrounds, even who play them poorly, will gear up faster than players who do not. 

Rated Battlegrounds are not giving out more Conquest Points relative to their current version. Rated Battlegrounds are not being made a more attractive investment of one’s time – but they are being made into a requirement to stay competitive.

The only substantial change in this update is psychological. The stick has been replaced with a carrot, but there’s still a stick there. Cutaia pointed out this morning that this kind of change worked well before with Rested XP – changing the model from “Tired = XP Penalty” to “Rested = XP Bonus” made it vastly more attractive to players. That the time spent leveling didn’t change wasn’t important - giving players a bonus instead of a penalty changed their behavior. Rested XP is a bonus!

But it’s also the speed at which you were expected to level with originally. Whoops.

Ignore the hands, people!

The challenges of moving players away from Arenas into Rated Battlegrounds are substantial. It’s hard getting 10 people together when you’re used to only getting 2-5. It’s hard when rBGs don’t have enough players to offer newbies a fighting chance. It’s hard when the coding has been broken, when the maps aren’t tuned well, when you need a very specific comp to be successful. It’s hard.

I appreciate that Blizzard is at least looking at the way in which this change is presented. I really do. It didn’t go down well when it was announced, Blizzard is obviously trying their best to fix the the queue problems in Rated Battlegrounds, and they have to do something.

But no matter how these changes to the Conquest Point changes get spun, their purpose remains the same:

Get players into Rated Battlegrounds at any cost.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Disguising Sticks as Carrots: the 6/16 Conquest Point Cap Update

  1. Pingback: The Carrot and the Stick: Rated Battlegrounds and the Conquest Point Cap of 4.2 | Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

  2. t

    Yet another example of the usefulness of cognitive bias?

    But on the broader theme of getting people into rBGs, is this actually part of the broader move to get people more people into raids through better accessibility, and similarly the creation of guild progression?

    All of these seem to be trying to make their customers more “sticky” with WoW, presumably increasing customer retention and thus subscriptions and then $$.

    It seems to make sense in that people who are part of a 10 man team going through a patch of “WoW-hate” is more likely to continue playing than someone who only regularly does 2v2.

    For my part I’ve always been a PvEr, and having been off and on-again with WoW several times and cancelling and then resubbing, the logic does have some merit.

    It appears from the raiding side of the fence that PvP generally has much less community than PvE – is that a fair comment?

  3. Seca

    When RBGs were first announced, my sense was that this was intended to be an alternate form of competition for those who didn’t necessarily enjoy arena. My vision was arena players doing their thing, RBG players doing their thing, with a moderate number of keeners doing both.

    Strange how it turned out. We quickly found we couldn’t be competitive in RBGs without doing arena. A long time BGer and arena noob, I found myself on arena teams grinding points. (Since come to enjoy arena – but that’s neither here nor there).

    And now it’s full circle with arena players being compelled to do RBGs.

    Think Blizz regrets the whole RBG project?

  4. I think my brain broke with all those strike-throughs. I read them on MMO-Champion and went into shut-down. Thanks for the plain English translation of all of that.

  5. Devox

    To me, forcing arena players to do Rated Battlegrounds isn’t helpful regardless of how you phrase it.

    My suggestion would be to add a complication to the points, so that arena and rBG have different points. The gear you get with these rBG points would be the same stat wise as the arena stuff, just a different colour scheme. There would be no advantage to playing arenas or rBG. However, it would be a way that when your standing in a normal battleground you can tell if the opposition are just starting, BG , arena or rBG characters.

  6. Ramarg

    Hey guys, just guesting here, but I wanted to say that I believe the RBG bracket is a useful one, as it changes the tone for BG’s in general. Not sure ’bout you, but when I join a random, I don’t expect to be matched with a skilled organized group, and yea premades were fun back in the day, but facerolling noobs who just started getting their gear just doesn’t become as much fun as it once was. Arena is calculating, and gear restricted, the best teams having a certain strategy or class being played. With RBG’s it’s exactly how you want your team put together, with alot more constructive goals on the end scope. I don’t believe the points should be made different from each other, and I don’t like the color scheme gear because that just promotes “gear profiling”, something that happens too often in WoW. I think the new changes are a good thing, and I thank Cynwise for explaining.

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