Blizzard Community Manager Daxxarri has posted some big PvP gear changes coming in patch 5.2.

The blog, posted late last night, details Blizzard’s current concerns with the PvP gear system, regarding how difficult it is for late-season players to catch up, players camping high ratings thanks to the lack of a rating decay system, and the huge gear gap between early-season starters and late-season starters.

Blizzard’s PvP gear changes are summarized as follows:

  • There will no longer be a rating requirement for any gear
  • There will be four tiers of PvP gear
    • Dreadful ilvl 458: obtained by crafting
    • Malevolent ilvl 483: purchased with honor.
    • Tyrannical ilvl 493, purchased with conquest, and with honor in patch 5.3, once the player has earned 27,000 conquest. Weapons won’t have a points requirement in patch 5.3;
    • Elite Tyrannical ilvl 515: purchased with conquest after earning 27,000 conquest points.
  • High-rated players will still have a higher conquest cap
  • A dramatically increased catch-up cap will be implemented with patch 5.3

Do note that these item levels are datamined and may, therefore, be subject to change.

What do you think of these PvP gear changes? They’re certainly decisive and sweeping, and it seems likely that players will fall into one of two camps. There will be players, both high-rated and low-rated, who will see this as a good thing. The changes mean that there is no longer an artificial hurdle where gear quality suddenly increases at a rating of 2200, meaning that players approaching that rating who wish to pass it have a harder time getting beyond it. These changes mean that, while high-rated players will still gear faster thanks to their elevated caps, the gearing curve will be far smoother. What’s more, every player will, eventually, have access to the same gear.

And this is where complaints are likely to arise. Some players who are currently high rated, whether it’s thanks to genuine skill or thanks to playing an overpowered team composition in 2v2, will complain bitterly that the lower rated players now have access to something that was exclusively their domain. Is this reasonable? One side of the argument would assert that the high-rated players should be able to attain and maintain their high rating thanks to their superior skill. Others would counter, saying that high rated players deserve rewards for attaining that rating, and that allowing every player access to those rewards, albeit behind substantial hurdles, diminishes their feeling of success.

I’ve long argued that PvP is its own reward, and that I PvP for the fun of it and for rating, so I would be part of the former group. But what do you think? Are these changes improving PvP gearing? See Daxxarri’s full blog post below.


Change is coming to PvP gear in the relatively near future, and we wanted to provide a not-so-brief update on the improvements we’re planning, while pulling the curtain aside a bit so you can see the thought processes that motivated the coming changes. We also thought this would also be a great time to get the World of Warcraft PvP community involved in the discussion.

The Challenges

There are a few main issues that we’re working to address within the next couple of patches:

Early Advantage
Currently, it’s very common for players that have a head start at the start of the season to earn the best gear quickly and gain a dominating position on the ladder with a very high Match Making Rating (MMR). It’s then pretty common for those players to only participate on the ladder in a minimal way before reaping their rewards at the very end of the season. That’s not particularly good for competition, and we don’t think that it’s a very fun way for a competitive ladder to work. We would like to see the ladder remain active, and for high ranking players to earn their positions throughout the season, instead of just blitzing early and camping a spot above a certain threshold.

Mid-season Start
Players getting into PvP mid-season face a very significant challenge to gear up and become competitive because players that started earlier in the season are so far ahead in terms of gear. We want to make it more reasonable for a player to join in on organized PvP mid-season, while still rewarding the commitment of players that have remained invested in PvP throughout the season.

Rating Requirements
The current rating requirements on PvP gear create an artificially sharp division between players over 2200 rating and those below that rating threshold, which is unduly difficult to cross. We’d prefer that teams progress up the ladder on a curve against gradually more difficult opponents, instead of running into a wall at a certain rating.

Gear Advantage
Over time, the gap in power between Honor and Conquest PvP items has widened. This happened, in part, because it’s necessary for us to preserve the balance in power between PvP and PvE gear so that one doesn’t become the most obvious path to victory for the other. Right now, there are four tiers of PvE items, but only two tiers of PvP items. To keep Honor items from being the best choice for entry into PvE, they needed to have a lower item level than equivalent Raid Finder items. At the same time, Conquest gear still needs to be better for PvP than Heroic raid items, which puts it way over on the opposite end of the power scale from its Honor counterpart. While there are items that bridge the gap between Raid Finder and Heroic Raid loot, there really haven’t been any PvP items to bridge the gap between Honor and Conquest gear. We plan to solve that problem by introducing new tiers of PvP items, changing which currencies it takes to buy items and when, and by making PvP weapons more readily available in general.

While the item upgrade system has the benefit of allowing players that have “finished” their PvP set to continue to progress their character’s power, because there’s built-in pressure to continue upgrading their main set, it also means that players don’t always feel comfortable spending those points on alternate sets of gear for different specs (though it’s worth mentioning that the upgrade system will be disabled for patch 5.2). We’d like to make it easier for players in this position to experiment with alternate specs and stats.


Moving Forward
Meeting these challenges will mean that some changes are coming to MMR, PvP gear, and how gear is earned and paid for:

Team Rating Inflation
As we’ve mentioned previously, we want to see the ladder rankings decided toward the end of a season, and not a foregone conclusion dictated by what happens at the start. As discussed in the PvP in Mists of Pandaria Dev Watercooler, as of patch 5.2 Team Rating will gradually increase as players participate in PvP over the course of the season. We expect the new system to help ensure that the ladder remains active at all ratings and that the competition stays fierce from start to finish.

Gear Changes
To accomplish the goals of making PvP more accessible and less punishing, gearing more consistent and flexible, and flattening the power curve out over the course of a season, there are some significant changes in the works:

  • 2200 rating requirements removed from all PvP gear. (5.2)
  • Gear will be available in four tiers:
    • Dreadful Gladiator’s gear will be crafted. (5.2)
    • Malevolent Gladiator’s gear, including weapons, will be purchased with Honor Points. (5.2)
    • New tier of PvP items: Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear will be purchased with Conquest Points. (5.2)
    • Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear can be purchased for Honor after 27000 Conquest Points are earned for the season. (5.3)
    • Elite Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear can only be purchased with Conquest Points after 27,000 Conquest Points have been earned for the season. (5.2)

The 2200 rating requirements on gear will be removed in patch 5.2, and when that happens, the only barrier to acquiring top of the line Elite gear will be the 27,000 Conquest Point seasonal currency requirement. While highly rated players will still earn gear more quickly, there won’t be an invisible wall to progression at 2200 rating.

As of patch 5.3, patches that don’t include the start of a new season will offer players the opportunity to purchase Conquest Point weapons without first meeting the seasonal currency requirement for them. We’re relaxing these restrictions because, by the mid-point of the season, the restriction has served its purpose and is no longer necessary. It’s worth noting here that the 27,000 Conquest Points earned requirement must always be met to buy Elite armor and weapons in every season.

In terms of relative power, we’re tuning the item levels, PvP Power, and Resilience on the new set of PvP items so that the difference between Malevolent and Elite Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear is similar to the relationship between this season’s Dreadful and Malevolent Gladiator’s gear. This helps accomplish the goal of smoothing out the power curve by adding a tier in the middle of the PvP gear spectrum. Also, to add choices and flexibility, once the seasonal currency requirement is met, players will have the option to purchase Tyrannical pieces for Honor, which should allow players to more easily experiment with alternate stat loadouts and specs.

Mid-Season Catch Up
Players who are starting their journey into PvP mid-season start significantly behind the gearing curve. While we want to avoid invalidating the effort of players that have competed for the whole season, we agree with the feedback we’ve received that the starting gap is too large, so a new Conquest Point catch-up cap will be implemented using the following formula:

(Current week of the season) * 1000 – (Conquest earned thus far this season)

Here are some examples of how this will work:

Player A is starting PvP for the first time in week 10 of the season, and hasn’t earned any Conquest Points at all that season. He will have an additional cap of 10,000 points added to his normal weekly rating based cap.

Player B has already earned 5,000 Conquest Points by week 10, so she would have an additional cap of 5,000 points added to her normal weekly rating based cap.

Player C has been playing all season long, and has earned more than 10,000 Conquest Points by week 10. He only has the normal weekly cap to work with (but should already be on their way to being well geared).

If a player “redeems” their catch up cap by earning all those points, then they’ll begin the next week at their normal weekly rating based cap. Should they miss more weeks, then the catch up cap accrues again.

So, to sum up the planned changes for Patch 5.2:

  • Rating requirements will be removed from PvP gear.
  • Malevolent Gladiator’s gear, including weapons, will be available for purchase with Honor Points.
  • A new tier of Conquest Point gear will be added that becomes available once 27000 Conquest Points have been earned for the season.
  • Team Rating will gradually increase during the season for teams and players that continue to compete in PvP. This system is explained in the Mists of Pandaria PvP Dev Watercooler.

And here are the specific changes that are planned to hit in Patch 5.3:

  • In patches that don’t include a new season (including patch 5.3), the seasonal currency requirement of 27,000 Conquest Points earned will be lifted from weapons. The seasonal currency requirement must always be met to purchase Elite items, though.
  • Once the seasonal currency requirement is met, players will be able to purchase Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear with Honor Points.
  • The Conquest Point catch up cap will be introduced.


Overall, we expect that these changes will create a more active and competitive PvP environment, narrow the gear gap between the highest rated players and those still working their way up the ladder, and open the door for more experimentation in terms of class or spec.

We look forward to hearing your opinions and feedback on these upcoming changes!

  • Demi_God

    For me the word that most comes to mind is FINALLY. 

    A system that encourages your Top PVPers to be successful by camping their MMR, is never a good thing.  Top Players should mean they are playing the game and that they are successful doing it because of skill not gear.

    The only downside, is that PVE players may take up some PVP to fill out slots RNG denied them in raidfinder.  But in my mind, there are enough avenues to get PVE gear that most players who do this will have some interest in PVP already. The more accessiblility to high pvp gear will act more as the carrot on the stick to entice them than a cudgel for punishing them.  Very minimal downside.

  • Dularr

    Olivia, we need charts and diagrams. 

    Two comments:

    First, this seems to be the normal gear progression from one season to another. With some odd tweaks. 
    The casual PvPer (like me) makes sure they cap honor points by the end of the season, so they can purchase any missing gear from the previous season. You continue to causally PvP and slowly earn CP and slowly upgrade your gear.  You PvP a lot at the beginning of the season and slow down as the season progresses.  I just don’t see myself ever attempting to catch up by earning 10,000 CP in a week.   

    Second, will their be new CP gear available at the beginning of the season and then a brand new tier of CP gear available once you hit 27,000 CP?  If this is true, the raiders will need to cap CP to 27,000, so they can pick up higher ilevel weapons in case they run into bad RNG during raids.   

    • Deadalon

      Yes – the real issue with this system is the weapons.  BLizzard needs to come up with new way to give PVEers better and none rng chance to get weapons.  If not .. this is a very bad implimation of a new system.  But tbh – thats nothing new when it comes to MOP.

  • green cactaur

    It’s a good change because removing the requirement for gear makes sense. When you think about it if someone has the best gear which requires 2200 Rating, and someone has just the CP gear then its clear who’ll win in a duel. I like it!

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    so now even pve hero will get top pvp gear because he is born to mindless grind… sorry but part of PvP was a fact that you had highest rated shoulders and it was some kind of silent proof that his team is good.

    • Dularr

      Hitting that 27,000 CP milestone could be really hard (time will tell).   While I agree, today, it takes a really good team to hit the high ranking, it doesn’t take that long to earn enough points for that high rating shoulders. 

      With the new system, I’m not so sure you can grind your way to 27,000 CP.  You are going to have to win and play the entire season. I suspect getting the 27k Shoulders is going to take as much skill as the current system, but require much more consistent play. 

  • sheduur

    “And this is where complaints are likely to arise. Some players who are currently high rated, whether it’s thanks to genuine skill or thanks to playing an overpowered team composition in 2v2, will complain bitterly that the lower rated players now have access to something that was exclusively their domain. Is this reasonable?”

    People who complain about the fact that now everyone can at least get the same base to work from in pvp are not real pvpers, they are just damn sissies who are afraid of challenge. Real pvpers will play and eventually stand ontop no matter what you throw at them.

    Why should little Bobby, wo may suck at pvp, but who still plays just as hard and as much as the next guy, not at least be able to get the same gear base? The time it takes the less skilled players to attain those higher level items is significantly higher anyways. There will still be a gap between players, but now there is at least a chance that some of those baddies will eventually close that and be able to pretend that they can compete. 

    Lets face it folks, baddies will be baddies. No matter how you turn it. And no matter what gear. If you are a good player, you got nothing to fear.

  • Deadalon

    The bad thing about this system is that its really just grind now.  PVP should be about having fun rather than grinding.  AFKers and  BOTs can pop up all over the place if its only grinding with zero skills.  

    I really fear for PVP in WOW if this will go through.  Cause I remember the early days of BGs giving honor and weeks and months of ppl akfing in there.   Increasing the grind will push more ppl into doing it again.

    • Dularr

      Not so sure you can AFK or BOT your way to 27,000 CP.   While it is possible someone could AFK or BOT to a full set of Malevolent Gladiator’s (5.2 honor point gear), winning matches for CP gear requires participation.  

      This system will reward players for playing the game. 

      Deadalon, you really need to play WoW, I haven’t seen BOTs or AFK in BGs in a long time and the rewards for that type of activity in PvP is really, really low.

      Now, I do see the occasional AFKer in LFR, but the groups are quick to kick them from the raids.  They might get gear from the first boss, but never seen one last the entire raid.

      • Benoit Chalifoux

         i played a Eye of the storm yesteday and there was at least 10 bots on the horde site doing path  from blood elf to fell reaver.. its was so funny . you could see them following each other on 1 path.

        there is ton of bots in bgs alot more then you think

        • Dularr

          Terrible, sounds like multi-box.  That’s just dumb bring in that many characters into a BG. 

          All, I can say is, I’ve seen more bots in BGs in the past. 

        • Luke Malcolm

          You can only Q in a group of 5 since 5.1, Unless it was 2 groups of 5 that Q’d into the same BG somehow. I highly doubt it. But I wasn’t there to see it.

      • Deadalon

        The reason there were no bots and afkers in the last few months is that it wasn’t worth it.  Now when grinding increases – the chance of these reappearing becomes more likely.

        I don’t need to play the game every day to know how things work.  I got alot of friends still playing and they know whats going on.  I quit 1 month ago because for me BLizzard added some real bad systems in MOP.  The gear upgrading system was one of it and it became obvious really fast in PVP (best geared ppl got better and better with upgrades).  These changes take away this bad system from PVP and thats a step in the right direction.  But still miles away from getting me back to the game.

        • Dularr

          Seems like it’s been more than a month since you quit. I would never rely on the options of others, unless you make it very clear in your posts. 

          I still think it’s unlikely that you can hit a 27k CP milestone through botting.  Guess we will see.

          • Luke Malcolm

            - Not to be an ass, but I don’t think he has played MoP very much or at all and only going by word of mouth.

            – The only BG i have ever seen with alot of bots in it was AV and the odd AB, but they get kicked faster than you cap a undefended flag.

            I bet someone will find a way to bot 27k CP and if they do I wouldn’t be surprised if they got rolledback, temp ban or perma ban.

  • Benoit Chalifoux

    this is stupid.. Tyrannical Gladiator’s gear can be purchased for Honor after 27000 Conquest Points are earned for the season. (5.3)

    i mean after earning 27k conquest point you already have all the conquest gear so why give us the chance to buy with with honor?

    • azurrei

      Because once you hit 27k CP you can then start buying the Elite gear with CP – any slots you have yet to fill with non-elite gear you can then do so with honor instead of waisting CP or being forced to buy the missing items first (Elite purchases.)

    • Theodore Paul Klotz

      The idea is that you can buy gear the compliments experimenting with other specs. Probably most relevant for hybrids (Paladins and Druids particularly). He explains it pretty clearly in the announcement. 

  • Anna

    I approve of these changes.  My playing habits for WoW work like clockwork.  Expansion launches, I’m all over the PvP, but I’m also an altaholic, so I’ll level 2-3 characters during an expansion, and end up a year out from the expansion, which is usually an X.2 or greater patch, my mains fallen behind a tiff and fresh 70s/80s/whatever with crafted gear, and I just can’t do the rat race. The grinding is far too much, and if you happen to level cap like 2/3 the way through a season? There’s no way you can make any progress on gear, so you might as well wait to the next one.  When the gear jumps, and you’ll be even further behind.

    There already is a grind for people who don’t play the same character for eight years.  This is just changing where it’s focused, not adding one.

  • Daniel Reasor

    Let me take a moment to express pity for the high rated players, who will have more competition now that the gear system isn’t rigged to reverse-handicap the game in favor of whomever got past the rating ceiling first.

    Okay, I’m done.

  • Quiet

    too little too late.

  • MiZTiiX


  • Theodore Paul Klotz

    I think this is a much needed change that can help contribute to growth in the PVP community. Blizzard has stated they would like to see WoW PVP become an e-sport on par with LoL or DOTA 2. In order to achieve this, PVP needs to be open for new players to get into it and learn the ropes. The previous system all but barred you from playing catch up, which leads to a really stagnate and inbred community. While I’m sure there are plenty of talented PVP players who are constructive and look to enhance their community, I’m sure most of us know a few ragekids who just want to “pwn baddies”. 

    What makes SC2, LoL and DOTA respected e-Sports is the even playing field. The skill is based on your personal play ability and teamwork/metagame knowledge. Those overpowered team comps are part of the growth and discovery process and that is what e-sports are all about. Not gear grinds. Much like LoL’s leveling/rune system, there will be an expectation for you to put in the time and effort to reach the current top tier, but that is to funnel you through a few hundred hours of gameplay to bring you up to speed. 

    This is a move in the right direction, and hopefully will be accompanied by some healing/burst/CC tweaks that will make for a much more dynamic and enjoyable experience.

    • Kevyne_Shandris

      Actually Blizzard said they don’t want it to become an eSport. They’re trying to balance the demand from players and their design goals.

      But let’s face it, as long as PvP isn’t balanced in WoW, it’s the reason WoW isn’t seen in MLG.

      The comments this morning on a Twin Peaks BG says by how much: a random DPS player was saying in the most sarcastic manner how monks can put a 60% shield on the EFC. Holy paladin puts a Hand of Protection on the FC, he drops the flag, in contrast (and a 12min LoH ensures it’ll never be used in a match again). Other problems are the damage ratio is much higher than any healing possible, so healers can never catchup, 5 healers facing 5 DPS, damage always wins. Or, this morning a Druid was bragging he did high damage in his healing gear (and I even went to Seal of Truth to Denounce spam, but 0% worth of damage power gave the team a whopping 4k of DPS). It’s that type of nonsense that’s PvP in WoW.

  • Justin

    This is a long awaited and needed change  that will go towards patching up some of the hemmoraging playerbase leaving WoW, its not uncommon knowledge that gear > skill in pvp in WoW, put a skilled player up against a geared player just mashing buttons and the geared player will simply win, gear should be a reward but not a crutch for bad pvpers to gain ranking and status, gear should be given out steadily to players of all skill levels and for the top pvpers should be given exclusive titles and cosmetics gears only