Cataclysm and World PVP
I would definitely be on board to say, as things are right now in WoW, ganking is not as bad a problem as people may think due to shear laziness. But it doesn’t change the fact that World PvP is fairly dead, and for a lot of reasons.
First and foremost, people’s insistence on ignoring each other while leveling is rather prevalent. Most players at this point have already been through the deal and have one or two 80’s. I’d feel confident saying that the vast majority of characters leveling right now are alts. Players just can’t be bothered and it’s saddening because fighting other leveling characters was, in my option, was what the nature of PvP servers was supposed to be about. Now you kill someone, and they immediately hop on their alt and threaten your life / naughty bits for it. Observe:
Flying mounts being easily obtained helps to avoid possible encounters from 58-80, where before you would have to just risk it.
Lastly, Outland and Northrend are completely separate areas. Go to Outland now and it’s abandoned. The same will be true for Northrend and Dalaran come Cataclysm. The difference is now high level and low level players will be reunited on common ground for the first time in almost four years.
How this is going to play out, nobody can truly say because how players react to changes is always a surprise to everyone involved. On the surface, it’s easy and not completely inaccurate to assume this is going to have a negative effect on leveling for PvP servers.
I wrongfully predicted lifting the faction rule allowing faction transfers on PvP servers was going to create a problem with world PvP. I had thought people would be more apt to stalking players on the other faction to fight them, or taunting them through whispers. This didn’t happen. I did, however, rightfully predict it would shatter the mystery between factions, and this I think may have lead to more complacency than hostility.
I also think, however, this may change with Cataclysm and predict it going in one, inevitable direction.
Can’t have Cataclysm without the Catalyst.
Back in the days of yore, PvP happened in major hubs where players would gather for PvE content, IE outside raid instances.
In BC, the Isle of Quel’danas was a perfect, and awesome, example of this concept making a huge comeback. A major daily quest hub (easiest way to make fast gold) a high-level 5man, and a major raid, all on one small, compact little island made for sometimes HOURS of PvP ridiculousness.
People had to form parities almost all the time to simply quest. Raid groups were constantly created for the sake of fighting. If you had downtime between BG queues or before a raid, you were likely at the Isle killing people.
For a few months before the release of Wrath, the true spirit of PvP servers shone bright. Most people who played Burning Crusade on a PvP server will say this was a major, defining content patch for the game and have clear memories, good or bad, of their time on the Isle.
There have been small bursts of this in Wrath. The major daily quest hub, the Argent Crusade, is a sanctuary but the quest areas outside are not. Ulduar, upon release, saw a pretty huge surge, but only because of overloaded instance servers causing hundreds of people to get locked outside. Entire guilds sometimes fought, but many opted to just mount and fly out of harm’s way.
What this has taught me is that people are willing to engage in world pvp for three reasons:
-If it’s literally in the way of whatever else they’re doing, thus handed to them on a silver platter. (Quest Hubs, Raid areas)
-Produces lucrative rewards. (Halaa, Wintergrasp)
-Revenge en masse(obvious)
All of these major reasons fell down the drain with the recent expansions, but I think they will be making a comeback.
The inclusion of rated Battlegrounds and another PvP zone is a testament that Blizzard is trying to make PvP more accessible to players. Rated BG’s are not going to be easy nor for everybody, but neither will they be as exclusive as Arenas have been of late. This means decent / competitive gear will be in the hands of many more players.
The classic world of Azeroth is going to be shrunk considerably because of the ability to use flying mounts. It was originally built to be explored on foot. But now, we will be able to see and take on the world everybody knew ‘growing up’ from a completely new angle, literally. It will bring back a lot of nostalgia and make the world so much more accessible.
PvE hubs will likely be hot-spots once again. The closed circuit will make encountering the opposing faction inevitable.
I have little doubts ganking will occur because of how easy it will now be. But the retaliation is also going to be easier. You don’t have to fly out of your way from a far away land to get to it. It will be right there for you. Level 85s one-shotting 23s in Ashenvale will be much more common. But instead of the bleakness that ganking once was, it will be a catalyst to spark even better world PvP because of the accessibility. Hopping on the main won’t be a hassle with the risks of the assailant being gone by the time you get there. Friends and guildies will be only a quick, seamless flight away. And lets be honest, I think everybody’s excited at the prospect of raiding enemy cities from the sky.
A true, full circle rebirth of vanilla WoW.
We can’t a avoid the effects of the major changes have made. The level and gear gaps will still be there. The threat of being ganked from above will be ever present. The risk of being stalked / ratted out by the opposing faction is real.
But if Cataclysm truly is WoW 2.0 Blizzard has a huge opportunity to also bring back some of the original sentiments of old-school PvP. It isn’t just about the raids.
Bring it on!