In my so-called hardcore WoW raiding days I stayed as far away as possible from PvP. Sure, I saw the potential benefits, like building better situational awareness and reaction times, but I couldn’t stand the culture. It didn’t help that at the time the folks in my guild who did a lot of PvP were some of the most obnoxious members of the raid team. The few times I tried it back then I got berated by my own team and murdered by the opposition and never felt like I had the chance to actually learn what I was supposed to do.
I never did end up PvPing much in that game, with too many entrenched “experts” and understood “best practices” to bar my entry. As I’ve picked up new MMOs over the years I have given PvP more of a try, and found that it can actually be enjoyable. The best scenario for me was always games with a healthy leveling bracket. This gave me some time to learn the battlegrounds and get acquainted with strategy and abilities without the hard wall that comes at the level cap. The wall of opponents with maxed out PvP gear can make learning so miserable that you give up without even giving it a fair try. Leveling brackets tend to normalize gear and are often more about skill and maybe which abilities you’ve learned at your level. It makes the playing field much more even and let me tell you, losing a close match is way more fun than getting completely wrecked.
Anyway all of this is just setup for the fact that I actually find myself enjoying PvP in WildStar. I tried some while leveling and managed to learn the battlegrounds and some vague sense of strategy. I even wrote a “guide” that is just vague enough to still be relevant today! Then with the advent of the contracts system I gave it a shot on my level 50 character too. I was happy to see that a few days of being insta-killed was enough to buy myself a minimum amount of gear and then suddenly I could actually even be useful!
Fast-forward to the present, when I found out that there’s a new PvP season and all my hard work from before can now be upgraded by spending a few gold at the season 2 vendor. Sigh. At least the sweet armor has been unlocked for my holo-wardrobe.
PvP gear this season in WildStar has an interesting twist. The basic gear can be purchased for gold, which is awesome. This allows new folks and people playing catch-up to get a complete set very quickly. The next stage of gear can be purchased for a modest amount of prestige. I’m currently filling out my set, and it feels like something that can be reasonably done in a few nights of play if you are mostly focusing your time on PvP. Again this seems totally reasonable. A week of dedicated PvP should get you relatively caught up, but still not on par with the hardcore PvPers. That last step requires imbuement items and an awful lot of prestige. Each slot of gear (excluding gadget, weapon attachment, implant, etc.) can be upgraded by using a couple imbuement items, each of which costs more than (sometime double) the original item cost in prestige. Upgrading improves the quality of the gear and adds a rune slot, but doesn’t change the item level. This is the step that separates the real cupcakes from the mini-muffins or whatever. I guess I’m as bad at baked-goods analogies as I am at PvP.
This long slow grind seems potentially soul crushing for someone who is not super great at PvP. Part of me wants to just throw my excess prestige at pets and costumes and then run back to questing and expeditions. However, I find I’m often really enjoying PvP in spite of myself, and each new piece of gear (and the survivability that comes with it) keeps adding to that enjoyment.The slow and steady rate of progression is a nice counterpoint to the randomness of chasing gear from raiding. It also really helps that there is a chance to win the imbuement items from both the winner and loser goodie bags from doing battlegrounds. In fact I won two of them in a row by some miracle last night.
WildStar’s first in-game event since Free-2-Play launched begins tomorrow, and just happens to be a bonus prestige event. I’m suddenly finding myself really looking forward to it. This upcoming event not only gives me a bit of a speed pass to PvP rewards, but it will also hopefully bring in even more people to the battlegrounds. The very best part is that this type of event can attract people with some interest, but doesn’t “force” non-PvP-minded folk to queue for any reason. With a little luck, that will lead to an influx of people who actually want to be there, and maybe even enough new folks to actually make me look good for a change.
Are you interested in learning to PvP in WildStar? Are you planning to participate in the upcoming prestige bonus event? If you want a buddy to hang out with and maybe laugh at, leave me a note here or on Twitter and we can fight the Dommies together! Or at least check out this helpful guide over at WildStar-Core to get yourself started!