Disclaimer: These ideas are supposed to make PvP gameplay in quest areas fair and fun. It's focused on short skirmishes between random players in questing areas. If you aren't interested in the issue or pessimistic about the premise, you're hereby set free and don't have to read any more. Hooray!
I don't think policies or mechanics on PvP realms have been changed since 2004, though there seems to be a dire need for it. But if random BGs can be fun, so can be confrontations around quest areas.
First off, lets think about the environment the realms were launched in in 2004:
- The difference between a full T3 set and random lvl30 gear would have been something like 50 ilvls (= ~4 times as strong).
- Obtaining strong gear took a looong time.
- Leveling also took a long time, so chances were pretty high a moderate amount of people would be hanging out around quest hubs.
- Most classes could not heal themselves.
- There were no flying mounts, and even getting epic mounts would take time and lots of precious money.
- Classes were not balanced.
- The lack of comprehensive guides on the internet left most players unaware of how their character would best be utilized.
So, you were relatively safe in quest hubs, you could get roadblocked and corpse camped to no end, players would stick together more often, getting killed by a high level player would not be quite as annoying as there was a relatively high chance they would be retaliated against by random people, not have any means of getting away quickly for their lack of flying mount, and be stuck doing a corpse run for a while.
Comparing that to today it should be pretty clear PvP servers would need some retuning. So much has changed.
- The difference between a full T15 set and random lvl30 gear are 500ilvls (= almost 100 times stronger).
- Leveling takes a short time, is stretched out over more content, and a load of LFD/BG queues are being used, so you'll only find few if any people in quest hubs, even with cross realm phasing.
- Almost every class can heal themselves, so getting locked in combat by guards or slowly having your life chipped away by lower level players is not dangerous anymore.
- Almost everyone has a flying mount and can descend from the heavens upon any target they wish to while remaining completely safe from attacks themselves.
- Every class can PvP viably.
- Loads of guides make it possible for a much larger percentage of players to max out their class.
- Gearing up is easier and doesn't take as long as it used to, so there is a higher percentage of strong players than there used to be.
So, I hope we can agree some changes are in order. If you don't think so, I'd love to hear what you want to say.
I've had some ideas and want to offer them regardless. They aren't single suggestions but supposed to be implemented all at once:
Characters can't interact with others if they're too high level for a zone.
Independent of phasing, if somebody is more than +x ilvls away from the zone's set value, they aren't visible to players who're in range for that zone. This doesn't prevent ganking, as players with enchantments, dungeon/PvP gear, better class knowledge or even just territorial advantage still have the upper hand on others - there's just boundaries to it now where you won't die to one instant cast ranged attack by a random lvl90 in LFR gear even while sitting in a friendly quest hub amidst 10 guards of your faction.
Both Yellow and Green guards intervene in any PvP-fights in range.
IIRC, most quest hub guards and quest givers do nothing to help players who're getting killed in front of their eyes. This makes quest hubs completely unsafe and players open to attacks not just "out in the wild", but pretty much anywhere outside their own friendly low-level territory, which becomes a problem especially later on in the game when the majority of quest hubs forces both factions to hang around in the same areas. All quest hub NPCs should ruthlessly mangle any aggressors so players can catch some breath there.
Killing higher ilvl players grants a lot more honor.
I don't know the current formula but always getting between 0.5 and 1.5 honor points regardless of how strong your opponent is doesn't cut it. If you kill someone on higher ilvl than you and receive a couple of honor points at once (I'm thinking up to around 10), two birds are killed with one stone: Players feel like they have been rewarded accordingly, and high ilvl players suddenly find themselves being high value players who're more likely to be chased, prompting them to be more careful.
Flying mounts fly faster when they're close to the ground. Attacking flying players eventually dismounts them.
Flying mounts are great for getting around quickly but mess up PvP. Currently, players on flying mounts are save from incoming attacks because they can just fly away or keep a large distance from the ground, allowing for great, unhindered mobility to corpse camp, stalk or otherwise harass other players. They are a necessary addition to the game in its current state because you'll have to get around high level players a lot, but change #1 deals with that, so they're open for tweaks.
Them flying faster when close to the ground encourages players to stay in attack range of other players, but doesn't force them to. They'll have to take risks in order to get around fast.
Attacks dismounting players makes sure they aren't safe when flying close to the ground. On the other hand, players who deliberately attack others high up in the air will not succeed in dismounting the victim as it takes more than just one strike and find themselves plummeting to death (this would require adjustments to blink, shadow step, war stomp, slow fall and other fall damage removers so the aggressors actually die).
<If nothing else helps> Players automatically have their PvP Stats normalized in a fight
I'm grasping at straws here but PvP can be a lot of fun if it's not unfair from the get-go. If nothing else does the job, automatically setting PvP Power and Defense to equal values between two players would at least take some of the brunt of strong player's attacks.
Well, I hope this hasn't been to much of a hassle to read though, I've entered a trance at around paragraph 3.
Can PvP realms be helped at all? What do you think?