Resilience will fix it has long been a phrase used to poke fun at how resilience is all too often presented as our saviour—the be all and end all solution to all our PvP problems. Even Blizzard themselves have made fun of the phrase, naming an achievement after it in Trial of the Crusader. Yet, while resilience certainly won’t solve every issue with PvP in Mists of Pandaria, the mechanic is receiving a complete overhaul and this has potential to solve a number of long standing issues with PvP.
Blizzard has two main aims behind this overhaul. Firstly, Blizzard wants PvP gear to be better both offensively and defensively in PvP than PvE gear. Secondly, they also want to lower the barrier to entry for PvE geared players to enter PvP and make PvP gear more useful in PvE. They intend to do this by adding an offensive element to resilience and giving a significant amount of classic, damage reduction, resilience as baseline in Mists of Pandaria.
Today we’ll be discussing this new mechanic and why, if handled correctly, we could see the end of PvE gear in rated PvP and the betterment of PvP all together.
Resilience will be renamed in Mists of Pandaria to PvP Defense. Blizzard is also introducing a new offensive mechanic to PvP gear called PvP Power. Both of these stats will be present on all PvP gear in MoP and this is how they’ll work:
“PvP Defense”, as you might imagine, works exactly the same way as resilience currently works. Depending on the amount you have, all damage done to you by other players will be reduced by X%. The numbers required to receive each percent of damage reduction will likely be tweaked, but there’s nothing overtly new with the mechanic its self other than the name. The big difference is this:
All players will have 30% base Defense, the same way all characters have some base Stamina.
This means, as well as gaining additional PvP Defense from PvP gear, all damage done to you by other players will be reduced by 30% from the offset. Instead of been hit for 100% of the damage dealt, a player with no PvP gear whatsoever will take 30% less damage and, therefore, only take 70% of the damage dealt in Mists of Pandaria. This is a huge amount of free damage reduction. Indeed, in Cataclysm you’d need just less than 2809 resilience to have this amount of damage reduction and yet, you get this huge sum of resilience for free in Mists of Pandaria.
Let’s take Hydra as an example here; he currently has 4373 resilience or 42.62% damage reduction on his main Priest. If we add this to the 2809 or 30% damage reduction you get as baseline, he’d have 7182 resilience rating or, due to how resilience is calculated, just less than 60% damage reduction in Mists of Pandaria. Of course, the amount of resilience or, rather, PvP Defense on gear might be reduced, but you can see this base PvP Defense is quite a significant change.
“PvP Power” adds a new offensive flavour to PvP gear:
Power increases the damage you do to other players as well as the healing you do to other players in PvP situations.
This, Blizzard claims, will address the longstanding PvE gear problem. Currently, those with PvP gear do less damage to other individuals in PvP gear than those with significant PvE gear. Indeed, a Hunter decked out in Dragon Soul heroic gear can literally three shot a 4k plus resilience target. With PvP Power, Blizzard hopes to change this:
If you have a lot of Power, you’ll do more damage to other players, but they likely have Defense as well. If you fight players in lots of PvE gear, they’ll take more damage. Likewise, a player in PvE gear won’t have enough Power to effectively penetrate your Defense.
The word “penetrate” is misleading here and Blizzard has clarified this point:
Think +damage, not penetration. Your PvP Power isn’t less valuable if your target isn’t already stacked with PvP Defense.
For example, assuming PvP Power is given in equal and provides equal quantities to PvP Defense, Hydra would do 42.62% extra healing and damage in his current gear in Mists of Pandaria.
However, it’s important to note here that we don’t know if PvP Defense and PvP Power will come in equal qualities and if they will provide equal quantities of either damage reduction or additional damage respectively. It may require more PvP Power to receive an additional percentage of damage than it takes PvP Defense to receive an additional percentage of damage reduction or vice versa. For example, Hydra may receive 42.62% additional damage reduction from the PvP Defense on his gear, but only receive 20% additional damage and healing from the PvP Power on the same gear.
These two stats are not necessary equal and we’ll need to wait and see.
Now we have a basic understanding of how PvP Defense and PvP Power will work in MoP, it’s time to explore whether this resilience overhaul will achieve Blizzards two main aims. To repeat, Blizzard wants PvP gear to be better both offensively and defensively in PvP than PvE gear and, also, they want to lower the barrier to entry for PvE geared players to enter PvP and make PvP gear more useful in PvE. Now there’s a mouthful.
It’s important to clarify Blizzards intentions with this latter aim:
This change is simply to allow those who decide they want to try out some PvP, but have none of the gear to lower the incoming damage with resilience to enter a Battleground, and not die from someone glancing in their direction.
They’re intention isn’t to lower the barrier to entry to competing in high end PvP. To be competitive they still want it to be necessary to obtain PvP gear first. However, they want to make farming said gear easier and ensure a full PvE geared target doesn’t get totally stomped when stepping into PvP.
The base PvP Defense will certainly ensure an individual with little to no PvP gear won’t be utterly destroyed when attacked in PvP. Indeed, this doesn’t really need much of an explanation. A player, whether it is a freshly dinged level 85 or a full heroic PvE geared player, will go from taking 100% of the damage dealt to them by another player in Cataclysm to only taking 70% of the damage dealt to them by another player in Mists of Pandaria.
They’ll still have, and rightly so, less survivability then an individual in PvP gear, but the difficulty and frustration of jumping into a BG to farm gear is removed or, at least, lessened. Indeed, gearing for PvP is essentially persevering through death after death until you have an adequate amount of survivability. Yes, some might refer to this as paying your dues, but frankly it’s pointless and it isn’t fun dying before you can even react. In fact, this puts people off even trying PvP and this is why Blizzards aim here is actually admirable—it has the potential to bring new players into PvP and make the scene a lot more active.
Now whether there’s a problem here in terms of high end PvE gear benefitting from this change and dominating PvP will be discussed in the section below.
Blizzard also aims to make PvP gear more viable in PvE:
The goal of this change is to make it easier for a PvP player to participate in PvE…
In the same vain as above, they don’t want PvP gear to be better than PvE gear in PvE. In fact, this is a point the PvP community is all too aware of with the point been hammered into us repeatedly throughout Cataclysm. The rating requirement for PvP weapons was added to ensure the PvE community didn’t feel obliged to PvP in order to obtain better weapons. They also changed the bonus primary stats from the 4 set bonus on PvP gear back in patch 4.0.6 because the PvE community was using it over PvE gear.
The problem is while PvE gear is useful in PvP, the reverse is not true or is quickly corrected if it ever is. Apart from increasing defence rating in Wrath of the Lich King, resilience has and still is completely worthless in PvE. The stat eats into the item budget and, therefore, reduces the amount of actually useful stats. This isn’t a major issue in my eyes, but if Blizzard wants to make it easier to switch to PvP in PvE gear, it’s only fair that they focus on the reverse—making it so, albeit not as good as a tool for the job as PvE gear, PvP gear is at least somewhat practical in PvE. Fortunately Blizzard has a solution to this:
PvP gear will be lower in item level than PvE gear of an equivalent tier… In our budgeting system, the PvP stats will be free rather than causing other stats, such as Strength or haste, to be smaller as a result of including Power or Defense.
The presence of PvP Power and PvP Defense will not reduce amount of other stats you receive, making PvP gear more practical in PvE. However, the lower item level will ensure PvP gear is nowhere near as useful as PvE gear in PvE. This looks to be a decent way of solving this issue, although it does also raise some issues, particularly with stamina levels and weapon DPS, but we’ll come on to that in the next section.
The current seasons gear should be sufficient enough to give the average item level necessary to enter the raid finder versions of the current tier of raids or dungeons. This change seems particularly useless otherwise. In fact, there’s no necessity to own the last seasons honour gear in order to farm the new seasons, you can jump straight into a BG and start farming away. However, if the current seasons PvP gear is only good enough to get people in the previous tier of raid finder content, it doesn’t particularly seem balanced for both sides.
Personally, I couldn’t care a less though. I’ve absolutely no intention whatsoever of raiding. But fair is fair and, for those who are interested, it might as well be workable.
The power of PvE gear in rated PvP is a very common complaint in the PvP community. Indeed, it was the subject of my very own “Improving the Game: Banning Top End PvE Gear in Rated PvP”. Once a comfortable level of resilience has been reached, PvE becomes superior to PvP gear in rated PvP. In fact, PvE gear is so superior offensively that it’s an outright necessity for a number of classes to be viable. Furthermore, PvE trinkets, weapons and legendaries have had a disastrous effect on PvP over the years, causing balance issue after balance issue and increasing burst damage to ridiculous levels.
Fortunately, while silent in the past, it seems Blizzard finally understands these concerns and, with PvP Power in particular, even have a potential solution at hand. They claim this will ensure:
PvP gear is more powerful in PvP (both offensively and defensively) than PvE gear.
This is how they describe the problem:
A player in PvP gear can do more damage and healing than today in PvP because of the new Power stat (it’s like a little PvE gear for free)…
Right now, if you walk into PvP using PvE gear, odds are there are some dudes that aren’t wearing any resilience at all that you can probably blow up. On the same token, even when fighting players that have resilience, your raw output is higher compared to them, because you have more raw dps (or healing) stats on your PvE gear.
This is quite an accurate description of the problem. Currently Blizzard could nerf the damage of PvE gear by buffing resilience. However, doing this also weakens PvP gear. In Mists of Pandaria, they essentially have two dials in the form of PvP Defense and PvP Power. If PvE gear is too powerful in PvP, Blizzard can buff PvP Defense while simultaneously buffing PvP Power. This would ensure PvE gear received a well deserved nerf while also maintaining or, if need be, strengthening the damage potential of PvP gear in PvP. The numbers will probably need tweaking here and there, but the mechanic should work for the most part.
Blizzard finally has a solution to the PvE gear problem. However, there are a few potential issues with it in the form of trinkets, weapons and Legendaries.
The power of a trinket is mainly dependant on its proc. Indeed, the burst damage provided by Vial of Shadows and Cunning of the Cruel were perfect additions to any damage dealer’s arsenal in PvP. The more varied and powerful designs of trinkets in PvE are more desirable in PvP than the PvP equivalents. Blizzard have even acknowledged this and claim it won’t be an issue in MoP:
So, right now, there isn’t an alternative to using awesome PvE gear in PvP. A great PvE trinket beats anything from PvP.
In 5.0 a trinket with PvP stats should beat out a PvE trinket in PvP.
They went on to say future trinkets won’t follow the Cunning or Vial model, but they still “want to make trinkets powerful and interesting” when they can. They claim they can make PvP trinkets more compelling by adding proc or on-use effects to provide PvP Power. The problem with PvE trinkets is usually the overpowered burst damage they provide though. Blizzard shouldn’t aim to have PvP trinkets match PvE trinkets with PvP Power because of this reason. Instead, if PvP Defense doesn’t reduce the ridiculous burst we’ve seen from PvE trinkets, Blizzard should utilise their new balance dials—buff Defense to nerf PvE trinkets and buff Power to keep the damage of PvP gear about the same.
In terms of weapons we come back to this:
PvP gear will be lower in item level than PvE gear of an equivalent tier
The issue with weapons is much harder to solve because of this. The greater the item level, the greater the weapon DPS. Most melee abilities scale with this stat. This isn’t just a melee issue though; the Spell Power present on PvP weapons would also be significantly lower than PvE weapons due to the lower item level. Power is likely to make individual PvP pieces better than PvE pieces, but it probably won’t make up for the difference between weapons. If this is the case, PvE weapons would be better and more desirable in PvP than PvP weapons going against Blizzards aim.
A possible solution to this issue could be to have PvP Power have an additional effect on weapons by either increasing damage even further or by increasing Weapon DPS and Spell Power on weapons in PvP situations. However, we’ll need to see how effective Power is from the offset to see if something like this will be necessary. Blizzard might already have a solution in mind.
Legendary items might be an outlier, because legendary items are legendary, and the additional item levels will probably make them competitive with PvP items. On the other hand, we also expect legendary items to be *much* more rare than they are currently, so they’ll also be less of a factor.
With having admirable aims thus far, it’s very much a shame to see a statement like this. If they truly aim to keep things this way then this decision is a monumental mistake.
In terms of balance, the limited possibility of seeing a Legendary in PvP doesn’t justify the usage of said items. Indeed, the rarity of an item has no bearing on whether an item is overpowered or not. For example, if they added a legendary item to the game and this item had a proc so powerful it would one shot even the best geared PvP player; this item would still be overpowered if you happened to fall victim to it in rated PvP. It wouldn’t matter if even only 0.0001% of the WoW player base possessed it, coming across it and it one shotting you would still be an issue.
In terms of PvP, Blizzards number one goal should be balance. It should not be the feelings of a percentage of the population of players who claim they haven’t had their turn to be OP yet. The effort put in to obtaining these items should have no bearing on the issue either—balance trumps PvE effort. Finally, Blizzard cannot claim to be serious about ensuring PvP gear is the best gear possible in PvP on one hand, while keeping the status quo in terms of legendaries on the other.
If the balance dials fail to do the job, Legendaries and any PvE item that negatively impacts PvP balance needs to be banned from rated PvP. This won’t apply to normal BGs, so it shouldn’t impact on Blizzards barrier to entry aim because it’ll still be possible to farm with these items without getting stomped.
Blizzards two aims surrounding this change are admirable. The introduction of 30% base PvP Defense will make farming PvP gear more tolerable and hopefully encourage more individuals to participate in PvP. Secondly, the PvP Power and PvP Defense balance dials have the capacity to ensure PvP gear is always defensibly and offensively superior to PvE gear in PvP situations. If tweaked correctly, it will also ensure that, while the barrier to entry is eased by base PvP Defense, high end PvE gear will not be strengthened in rated PvP.
There are a few issues with this overhaul though. Indeed, while it’ll certainly take some testing to place the balance dials correctly, Blizzard must actually be willing to tweak the numbers where necessary to achieve balance. Furthermore, if PvE gear such as legendaries, trinkets and weapons do not succumb to PvP Power and are in anyway superior to the equivalent PvE gear, Blizzard will need to take more drastic action and ban these items all together from rated PvP. This will damage their barrier to entry aim somewhat, but the PvE community will still be able to utilise their overpowered gear in regular Battlegrounds.
Overall, this change has the potential to finally eradicate the plague of PvE gear without having PvP gear its self becoming the problem in its place. We’ll need to see the mechanic in action, but with tweaks, it should achieve the aim and, therefore, be a very much welcomed change.