So, as a new semi-regular feature, I want to discuss ideas I have about games. I know that ideas are a dime a dozen, but discussing ideas in a public forum is a good way of finding out if they are any good, short of implementing them in game. Since I don’t currently have the means to implement ideas in a game, I’ll discuss ideas I have here, hopefully I will get some feedback, and become better at formulating and polishing ideas.

This one is presented in the context of World of Warcraft, but there is no reason why any other game with organised, large-scale, opt-in PvP couldn’t implement something similar.

World of Warcraft has a number of Battlegrounds, essentially objective-based instanced PvP battles. There are currently 5 battlegrounds, each with its own map, objectives, and mechanics. Examples of mechanics include capture the flag, capturing and defending nodes, killing NPC bosses, and vehicle combat.

Starting at level 10, players can start going to battlegrounds. Battleground instances as segregated into level brackets, with players of levels 10 through 19 competing in their own bracket, all the way to 70 to 79 and 80, the current level cap. Different battlegrounds have different minimum levels, with the simplest being the one you can go to at level 10.

Every weekend, WoW has a ‘Battleground Holiday Weekend’, during which time players receive a bonus to the honor (points) they gain for completing battleground objectives and killing enemy players. Honor is used to buy gear with stats skewed for PvP.

The idea consists of, at the end of a holiday weekend, from among all players who participated in battles in the ‘hot’ battleground, 2 players are selected as the MVP for the weekend. This would be calculated from kills, objectives, total honor gained, and damage dealt/healed, with points added for particular actions (perhaps every time the player would meet the criteria for any of the battleground-oriented achivements they would receive a bonus to their MVP score).  After all the calculations are made at the end of the weekend, from each battlegroup, 1 player is selected for each faction (Horde and Alliance) for each bracket (10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80) and declared the MVP. To celebrate this, that player receives a battleground-specific tabard with a unique look, and a title flavored to suit their faction and the battleground. For example, for the level 80 bracket, alliance MVP for Alterac Valley, the player might receive the title “X, Stormpike Grand Marshall” (Grand Marshall was the highest rank attainable in the old, grindtastic PvP system). The equivalent for the Horde could be “Frostwolf Warlord X”. For lower level brackets, other titles could be used based on the old titles gained from PvP, or new ones could be invented.

The main draw of the system, though, would be that the titles and tabards would only last for a limited time. Since there is a rotation of Battleground Holiday Weekends, the holiday weekend for any given battleground would roll back around, and at the end of the weekend a new set of titles and tabards would be given. Perhaps there could even be a unique looking mount that players could ride around on while they were the top dog of the battleground. Something that would be visible and presigious, but wouldn’t necessarily have an effect on the game.

Something like this would be especially interesting to have during the end of each expansion cycle, where people have done all the raids, and instances, and everything else. I have noticed that people tend to gravitate towards battlegrounds and PvP at the end of expansion cycles, as a way to stock up on honor and battleground tokens for when the next expansion comes out, to get a headstart on getting their PvP gear at the new level cap. This would give people an extra incentive to participate in battlegrounds, not just during holiday weekends, but also during the week as a means of practicing to find out what the best strategies are for each battleground. The transient nature of the rewards would keep people coming back, and perhaps it wouldn’t be seen as a grind, or if it turned out to be a grind, at least it would be a relatively short burst of grind, instead of a treadmill of drudgery.

Pros of the system: by giving players a unique, tangible reward, they are encouraged to participate in battlegrounds during holiday weekends. In order to do well and have a chance at getting the rewards, they would be incentivised to acquire a full set of PvP gear, possibly encouraging them to participate in more PvP and maybe even arenas.

Possible cons with the system:

1. It could end up being a terrible grind. To alleviate this, and to prevent people from doing the battleground over and over and over to simply accumulate mad amounts of MVP points, perhaps the system would only tally the 10 highest scores from all battlegrounds the player entered over the course of the weekend, or a system similar to the one used to calculate arena ratings could be devised. So players would be encouraged to run a minimum of X battlegrounds over the course of the weekend, and if they really, really wanted the rewards, they could run more in order to try to get a higher set of 10 scores to base their rating on.

2. The transience of the rewards might not be enough to motivate people to participate. This could be solved by having ‘battleground seasons’ similar to those already implemented for Arenas, and at the end of each season, those players with the highest MVP scores could be granted the associated rewards permanently. Perhaps for the level 80 bracket, the mount could be of the 310% speed increase variety, or maybe it could be halfway between regular epic mounts and the 310% variety, and give a 295% speed increase instead. Also, this could be the only way to get a mount before level 30 (maybe it would work more like a vehicle than a mount, to bypass the minimum level requirement of level 30 for acquiring mounts). This would be a great boon to the twinking community, although perhaps it would be too unbalancing. Note that all mounts should be level appropriate – mounts for levels before 60 should be of the 60% ground mount variety, and nothing given below the 70-79 bracket should be able to fly).

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