PVP combat seems to always be in a constant stat of change in the World of Warcraft.  Since it was first introduced it has undergone a continuous evolution that requires players to constantly adjust their game play to cope with it.

Patch 5.3 brings some of the biggest and most dramatic changes to PVP that the game has seen in quite a while.  Before looking at how these changes could affect players, let’s take a look at what they are, as announced by Blizzard in their 5.3 patch notes and in a special blog entry they posted that talked about the changes.

Listed below are just the key changes, for a list of the complete changes check the patch note link.

Blizzard Entertainment - Patch 5.3 PTR Notes - Key PVP Items

  • All characters now have a base Resilience of 65%.
  • Battle Fatigue now reduces the amount of healing and absorbs by 45%, up from 30%.
  • PvP Power bonus to healing is now based on class and specialization.
  • Healing specializations receive a 100% bonus to healing from PvP Power.
  • Damage specializations for Druids, Monks, Paladins, Priests, and Shamans receive a 70% bonus to healing from PvP Power.
  • All other specializations and classes (including tanking) receive a 40% bonus to healing from PvP Power.
  • Resilience has been removed from most PvP gear.
  • Resilience gems and enchants will continue to be available and remain unchanged.
  • 4-piece PvP set bonus for all Season 12 and 13 armor sets that granted 1000 Resilience now grants 1000 PvP Power instead.
  • PvP Power will remain exclusively on PvP gear.
  • Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas now have an ilevel cap. All gear will be scaled down to ilevel 496.

What all of this means for PVP in patch 5.3

Wow, there certainly are a whole lot of changes coming aren’t there.  What does all this mean to a PVP player though?  There are several things that it means, so let’s take a look at them.

The first major thing that these changes do is essentially make all high level PVP gear pieces vanity items.  Why you may ask?  Well simply because they become normalized down to an item level of 496 as soon as you step into an arena or battleground.  This means that all the players that were able to earn the higher level gear and gain a slight advantage over other players are now no longer able too.

While more casual players will applaud this as they will no longer be fighting players with gear many item levels higher than theirs, it will likely hugely upset hard core PVP players as they no longer have a way to meaningfully advance their characters gear. 

Also while the casual players will feel better about being on an even playing field, it really isn’t, they are delusional.  The difference between a hard core PVP player and a casual player is so far beyond the few item levels of gear that the elite gear granted that the win / loss ratio is not likely to move more than 5% even if a hardcore PVP player was forced to fight a casual player with a 50+ item level difference.  The player skill level is what makes up most of the difference in PVP, not the gear level, as much as the casual players would like to believe.

Next let’s look at the removal of PVP Resilience from most PVP items.  This by itself would make PVP much faster as it would increase the damage that players suffer.  However, to compensate all players are being granted a 65% base resilience.  What this does is essentially even everyone out, since with decent PVP gear you would have been around 8000 resilience as a base which would grant about the 64% base resilience that is being added.  This means essentially that casual players will get more resilience than they had, and hard core players will likely loose a slight amount.

Overall the resilience change seems to be once again about letting casual players feel like they have a chance, and not really providing a meaningful change.

Next to look at is the change to provide additional healing from PVP power.  Currently PVP power provides a boost to healing but it isn’t that significant, take for example the numbers shown below:

As you can see currently in patch 5.2 a bit over 11,000 PVP Power on a Holy Paladin provides only about a 21% boost to healing.  With the patch 5.3 change healers in healing spec will get twice that amount of healing which given the same PVP power would mean a 42% boost to healing.

Classes that have healing specs but are in damage specs (meaning Druids, Monks, Paladins, Priests, and Shaman) would gain a 70% boost to their healing.  All other classes in any spec or the previous classes in tank spec gain 40% bonus to healing from PVP power.

Even though the base healing absorbed from battle fatigue is being bumped from 30% to 45% this still will likely mean that fights will last longer since players in general will have more resilience than they used to, and healers will generate more healing.  In addition since many of the items that had boosts to PVP resilience are having them changed over to PVP Power this will mean even higher numbers.  Those numbers will add to damage as well, but the big difference is set to be in the healing area since that will keep players alive.

The Word of the Messiah

While I can see where Blizzard is going with these changes, I can not see that they will have any real effect other than to upset the hardcore PVP players.

Sure, initially casual players will feel better as there is not going to be a differential in gear from themselves to the hard core players.  This may in fact accomplish Blizzards goal to bring more casual players back into the PVP element of the game based on the notion (however misguided) that they can now compete.  However it will also just as likely upset hard core PVP players and help drive them away from the game.

Long term however, casual players will come to realize that they will lose matches every bit as often as they did before and become just as frustrated as previously and look for some other aspect of the game to blame, rather than looking at the skill difference between themselves and a talented PVP player.

While I agree with equality in a PVP situation gear wise, since it is the only way to see which player really is the better player, I can’t see it working in the live game.  Equality can be found in the tournament realms where everyone has the same level of gear and can get every piece right from the start.  That is what they are for.  In the live game though, there should be ways to differentiate yourself and get better gear over time.

Lastly, before you as a reader cries foul about my comments and me being a hardcore PVP player looking to protect my advantage, here’s something important to note.  I generally hate PVP.  I play at it casually and once in a while get on an arena team with friends for fun, but nothing more.  I am not here to help protect the hard core player, I know that game changes, gear changes, and gear level differences have almost nothing to do with PVP wins.  I could go in with the best level 90 season 13 gear and fight a top PVP player in level 85 season 9 gear and I would still lose.  I’m ok with that, I know that skill = victory, and in the PVP area I just don’t have it, nor care to dedicate the time required to acquire it. 

Given all of the above, I just can’t see a win situation coming for anyone from all of these PVP changes.  Maybe it’s just me…

If you have some ideas or comments that would make me change my mind, please post them below in our comments section.


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.