Trion made a huge announcement today about changes coming to PVP gear. In particular, Valor will no longer scale as it currently does with Rank:
With this Hot Fix you will find that all 4 PvP sets will share the same amount of total valor. This means that the set earned in Ranks 1 & 2 has the same amount of valor as provided by the set earned over Ranks 7 & 8. How much? It works out to 751 Valor, or a 30.04% Damage Reduction. Instead of being differentiated by survivability, they will be differentiated by their main stats.
This is an awesome and much-needed change in my opinion.
I’m a firm believer that player skill and coordination/communication should be the most significant factors in determining PVP outcomes, but with RIFT’s current PVP gear system, players of higher ranks enjoy two significant advantages:
- significantly higher PVP mitigation via Valor
- significantly better stats on their gear and weapons
As an example for point #1, an R6 player can reach ~1100 Valor for 45% mitigation whereas an R2 can reach ~580 Valor for ~23% mitigation. So an R6-R8 literally mitigates twice as much damage as an R2.
These two factors synergized to create strong imbalance issues in PVP – and frequent request by players for PVP brackets based on Rank – and it made fresh 50 PVP a frustrating experience for most players (not including me). I believe the 2nd bullet point alone is sufficient reward for ranking up and will provide a meaningful but not imbalancing competitive advantage – and Trion is moving in that direction.
As a point of reference, Blizzard finally figured this all out after 3.5 years of Arena with the launch of Cataclysm for World of Warcraft. In Cataclysm, epic PVP gear could be purchased by anyone who participates in Battlegrounds and Arena, with the sole exception of the 2200-ranked weapons. Thus, gear has been greatly reduced as a differentiating factor. This was a very positive change for WoW PVP in my experience in battlegrounds and in 2k 2v2 and 3v3 Arena, because combat was much more balanced and challenging. Gear still matters in Cataclysm, but PVP no longer felt like the old oft-quoted formula:
gear > spec > skill
Some RIFT players who grinded up to R7-R8 will be disappointed by the change to Valor, but I think it’s for the better of the game. And frankly, if I hit R7-R8 in the current system, I believe the degree of PVP challenge would be too low for me – I would simply faceroll lower-ranked players, and that would be boring.
I want to lose to better players not simply better-geared players, or the side which has the better class/spec mix. And it sounds like I’ll be getting my wish :)
Rock on Trion!