Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The new World of Warcraft honor system

As apparently we will get the new honor system patched in before the expansion, I'm not calling it the Burning Crusade honor system. But of course all the information I have on how about it works is from the BC beta. As you all know, the old honor system, where you were assigned a rank based on your *relative* performance compared to the other players on your server and your faction is going out the window. And the new system will give PvP rewards based on absolute points. The big advantage in that is that lets say winning 50 battlegrounds and doing 1000 honor kills in the new system will always be worth the same, regardless how much the other players played, and regardless of whether you did those battles over 1 week or over 1 month. So how do the rewards work?

What I did was visit the PvP reward NPCs, both in the Hall of Legends in Orgrimmar, and the one standing in front of Alterac Valley. I couldn't actually do a battleground, because there aren't enough players on the beta servers to fill one up. But I was able to see the rewards, and what they cost.

The big disappointment was the Alterac Valley PvP reward NPC. He was offering exactly the same rewards as before, with no "level 70" items added (yet?). That makes the best items available from him look decidedly mediocre compared to green and blue items you can get in the Outlands even at level 60. The big surprise here is that there are no more reputation requirements. You don't need to be exalted to buy lets say The Unstoppable Force. You just need to "pay" 30000 honor points and 80 Alterac Valley Marks of Honor. Whatever reputation you gained with the Frostwolf is useless now.

In a way that makes sense. You get 1 Mark of Honor from losing, and 3 from winning. So while currently people in AV often go reputation farming, and ignore the win condition, winning AV will become a lot more important. Because all the honor points don't help you if you don't also have the 80 Marks of Honor. Assuming you win half of your battles, you need to finish AV 40 times to pay for the Unstoppable Force.

Next I went to the Hall of Legends in Orgrimmar, which is now open to everybody, not just officers as before, because the officers rank doesn't exist any more. You can still display your highest rank, if you want to, but it doesn't do anything any more. Except, curiously, of still giving you the 10% NPC vendor rebate if you ever made it to rank 3. No idea why they left that in, as I don't see how new players would be able to still gain that bonus.

In the Hall of Legends there are several PvP reward vendors, for armor, weapons, mounts, and accessoires. Here there are a few level 70 items, but up to now I only counted 4 of them, the others are still the same as the PvP rank rewards. For example a Sergeant't Cloak (level 60 version) now costs 1500 honor and 10 Arathi Marks of Honor. General's Satin Leggings cost 4250 honor and 30 Warsong Gulch Mark of Honor. Some items cost "Eye of Storm Mark of Honor", but I didn't see any Eye of Storm battleground.

Most stupidly an epic mount cost 30 AV, 30 WSG, plus 30 AB Mark of Honor. But as it still needs 150 riding skill (which still costs 720 gold), this mount is just for show, you can with the same riding skill training cost buy an equally fast standard epic mount for just 80 gold, instead of paying 90 Mark of Honor for a battleground epic mount.

What I don't really like is that most items here also cost specific Marks of Honor. If you don't like lets say Warsong Gulch, you can't pay for the General's Satin Leggings, because these need WSG Marks of Honor. Only the potions, insignia of the horde, battle standard, and some cut gems to put into sockets can be bought with honor points without Marks.

As long as Blizzard doesn't adjust the PvP rewards to the much higher level of Burning Crusade PvE rewards, I don't see how the changes will induce people to play more PvP. The new system is better than the old reputation farming and rank system, but the rewards need some serious balancing to make PvP as attractive as PvE.

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