Shadowlands PvP Dev Interview with Brian Holinka
Venruki sat down today with Brian Holinka to discuss all things PvP in Shadowlands. Here are the highlights, and be sure to watch the video for the full interview!

  • PvP Talents
    • In order for PvP to feel fresh, the meta has to change from time to time, and that also means classes have to change with new expansions.
    • Design and class changes are mostly done in new expansions, and it felt like a good time to address PvP talents.
    • The goal was to address talents that felt mandatory and balance issues caused by them.
  • Healing Reduction
    • Healing reduction is a way to make the game more offensive than defensive.
    • The goal was to increase the effect of sustain on targets.
    • The average time frame of 3's shoot to be 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Off-Spec Healers
    • Off-healing should feel like a cool part of your defensive toolkit, but should be balanced.
    • Off-healers should not be able to shut down a kill window while a healer is locked down. This is something that they want to address.
    • Arena should be more lethal rather than non-lethal.
    • Hybrid healing is going to have a balance pass that is PvP specific soon.
  • PvP Gear
    • The team has to design a gearing system in PvP that attracts players while also making sure it doesn't have to be the primary system.
    • Holinka is happy to be back in a place where people hang around the PvP vendors while queing for battlegrounds.
    • Gearing in PvP becomes more of an issue as a season progresses as you fall behind in conquest.
  • Earning Conquest
    • Having a way to catch up is something that should be addressed soon after 9.1
    • An amp to your conquest earn is something they have been discussing if you fall behind, mainly a small boost to get you started.
    • It is not smart to totally discredit the power progression of players, so it's a fine line.
    • Having increased conquest acquisition on weekends is a suggested addition.
  • Solo Queue
    • Arena compositions is the main issue with having solo queues. It would be really unfair for players with the same rating to queue into a good comp vs a bad one.
    • Solo queue is something that could be tried out in the brawl system first.
    • They understand that some people just want to arena and skirmishes don't do it for some people.
    • Letting players browse groups while listed is one of the solutions to find groups faster.
    • They are not dismissing that it is a problem and are genuinely looking for solutions.
  • Rating Decay
    • Holinka does not like the idea of rating decay, as people shouldn't be punished for life outside of the game keeping them from playing.
  • Burst
    • A solution to one-shots is addressing the number of cooldowns used in PvP.
    • Ultimately the game cannot be designed around these one-shot mechanics as the rest of the time you would feel like a wet noodle.
  • Mind Control Bug
    • The team is aware of it and working really hard to find a fix, but it is proving difficult to replicate and address it.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Shadowlands PvP Dev Interview with Brian Holinka started by Stoy View original post
Comments 98 Comments
  1. ek0zu's Avatar
    No SoloQ, the huge gear barrier remains, then no PvP for me in 9.1 as well
  1. trapmaster's Avatar
    No SoloQ, Garbagelands continues being garbage.
  1. Nalam the Venom's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by trapmaster View Post
    No SoloQ, Garbagelands continues being garbage.
    Why do people want "Solo" queue in an MMO?

    Thought the entire point was to gorup up.
  1. Argorwal's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by edlund View Post
    Nothing about that boosting sh*t? The one and only problem with wow pvp is "boosting" atm and it will never be fun as long as you don't solve this problem!!!
    In arena, you have a mmr system that means people will match with opponents similar to their skill and gear, hmm nice let's try to hit from 1600 to 1800 and boom what's that? Every match you see a 226 ilvl gladiator boosting someone! How the *** casual people will raise rating without getting boost?
    And some months ago i remember a decision that says "ppl who use LFG for boost advertisement will be banned" i can not find it right now but i remember it... Go check pvp lfg interface! all boost advertisers and all same ppl that means noone is getting banned! and you know waht? i tried to whisper a couple of them and all gives you a discord link then they want REAL MONEY for the boost, which is COMPLETELY A BAN REASON. If i can find out this, blizzard should do it easier.
    Wow pvp is not fun atm for casual players who do not want to give real money to gladiators!!
    Wouldn’t these boosters end up playing each other a lot?
  1. Kalisandra's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Argorwal View Post
    Wouldn’t these boosters end up playing each other a lot?
    To a certain extent, but there are enough people trying to raise their rating honestly that they can stay in business. Also, see 'match fixing'.
  1. ThatsOurEric's Avatar
    They need to reinvent PvP as a whole.
  1. ArtistOfWar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalam the Venom View Post
    Why do people want "Solo" queue in an MMO?

    Thought the entire point was to gorup up.
    You’d be surprised at how social solo-queue for group content is actually the best thing for an MMO. There can be a huge barrier to entry if you don’t have friends. However, with solo queue you may find people you like and decide to become friends with the comfort of knowing if you don’t like them, you won’t have to queue with them again.

    Same happens in dungeons while leveling. I’ve added several people while just solo queuing dungeons.
  1. LazuOG's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mardux View Post
    So because they dont play how you want them to play, they aren't allowed to have an opinion based on information that isn't their own anecdotal experience?
    I haven't said that at all. And it's not about how I "want them to play".

    If someone, and I'm sorry about that, can barely pilot only the simplest of specs on a minimal level, then that person has absolutely no reason to give a qualified opinion on PvP balance. Balancing the game around different skill levels is hard already, but balancing around various disabilities is damn impossible.

    You don't see wrestlers with muscular dystrophy complaining about the intricacies of the wrestling rulebook, and how the system is working against them in one way or another. Additionally, if they did provide their take you'd be thinking "Well, I'm not sure you can compete well enough on the most basic levels to even form a valid opinion on this."

    In his post, he did make a claim that screams "I can't physically play this game properly through no fault of my own, but I'm gonna claim rogues kill my mage out if stealth every time because the system is fucked and I know what I'm talking about."

    There's generally a line to be drawn regarding whose opinion on balance is more valuable than others. Is it 1800 players ? 2k+ ? R1?

    I can surely say it's not, sadly, people that are unfortunate enough to have to deal with serious disabilities.
    Ofc he can play the game the way he wants, but he should realizie he's far from an authority on this topic. By anyone's standards.

    I know I come across like a dick, but I see this dude in nearly every thread spreading his takes like gospel. I'm glad he can play the game and I respect his dedication, but it's deceiving to take his opinion on anything mechanics or balance related.
  1. Alkizon's Avatar
    PvP Talents
    Well yes, now the meta will be "other ones" - very refreshing. In essence, just like addends doesn't change... moreover, I have seen this heresy and no, certain abilities will have to be greatly changed in order for them to cease to be meta. But that's all right, in fact, it's slag anyway. Everything is solved very simply - characteristics; since abilities and talents are class area and separately has nothing to do with PvP design, therefore, all this rubbish goes in trash, and work itself is ungrateful, unnecessary and in essence is just an imitation of useful activity, no more and no less.

    This answer is fully valid for the next part of it:
    Healing Reduction
    You have effective and not changing directly design (=balance) mechanism of characteristics, all you need to do is to correctly prioritize and combine them in gear, which appointment exactly is to sets role of character in encounter. Simple and elegant, but less "noticeable/valuable" for presentations, can't be applied as "loud statement".

    Same thing, not your problem, problem of set of characteristics:
    Off-Spec Healers
    you got some set of them for one role, which means will be poorly effective for another role.
    Hybrid healing is going to have a balance pass that is PvP specific soon.
    Judging by trend, nothing like this is expected until coming light at the end of tunnel.

    PvP Gear
    There is no primary or secondary, there is a system, one complete holistic system that allows you to control encounters/activity separately... you know what to do, don't you?

    Earning Conquest
    was answered and detailed.
    Solo Queue
    Technically, again, not your problem, if they do this, then they should be aware of such risks. Do you know what your business is in this case: if you can't find right partner, dynamically inform about this and the same risks that are mentioned above in autosearch window, since you have decided to play "as adult". However, I don't have even slightest desire to be lawyer for automatic search system itself.
    Rating Decay
    Technically, this is only important for those who are chasing rating/high gear, but not enjoying process itself, which means that we return to this question - if it will be solved correctly, then problem, even if it's there, won't be particularly significant...
    Back(2nd part) to class design and hierarchy of progress leads these questions' solving path (you know?), you yourself messed everything up by "dividing indivisible", but we already discussed this above... in short, this is absolutely not your area, and you yourself should kick on colleague who are engaged in that part, point out problems they created... but wait, it was you who was one of those who brought system to such a state.

    Mind Control Bug
    And this is the only part that is one of your really "disturbing" tasks, but it seems to be ironic, that it's exactly the one you can't solve

    ps. Strictly speaking, "character under discussion", as history has shown (we all remember every bit of his work), absolutely doesn't understand nuances of this section of game design, so what "he thinks" should bother community in the last place, but what community thinks about this... well, this is the other way around, because he doesn't know how to solve such problems on his own, only to create them.
  1. Couchpotato2013's Avatar
    Genuinely surprised why no one asked where the hell is there api to pull a season’s worth of matches per characters (along with metadata) similar to how raider io managed to get from the blizz api.

    I genuinely want to see just what went on in some people’s matches. And right now the entire affair is a mysterybox allowing things to escape by unless caught on a twitch clip.
  1. Weeps's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by uncl55 View Post
    just stop fucking up clases in PvE by trying to fix unfixable stupid PvP
    yes. please.
  1. pratty's Avatar
    There is a reason why people that in the first couple of months clear the mythic raid and through casual pvp get above 2.1k ratings in arena dont accept people that dont have any gear or reliable content, a significant portion of the players that dont play at high end will ultimately just be getting boosted, i know this cause i have 3 chars with both of the above perimeters, and one of my characters was the highest dps for a guild i helped progress 7/10 mythic that was at like rank 800 during that time when it was at 203 ilvl.

    The game is not unfair to people just spend more time learning your rotations, practice them and play the classes more and you will get better and get into better groups, there is nowhere stated that you are guaranteed to be helped out with content and its not fun for most people that want to do content to have to spoon feed or carry people through something that barely has mechanics like easy heroic bosses in CN.
  1. Theangryone's Avatar
    I remember when Holinka had this baby called Ashran that was going to revolutionize pvp. Yeah.
  1. abcdefgeek's Avatar
    Friendly reminder that Holinka is a dumb fucking joke.
  1. deenman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sanguinerd View Post
    Or, just embrace the imbalance and stop fucking everyone around failing to balance something that isn't balanceable just for the sake of top end arena hardly anyone gives a shit about. Classes are not equal, they're not meant to be equal in the first place.

    This doesn't just apply to PVP either tbh.
    Personaly i see an easy fix would be to just change how healing works in pvp,make mana be a thing,so you are always on the clock,for both healing and dps specs,a dps if they heal they should sacrifice dmg in the long run,be it by costing a lot of mana that wont regenerate instantly or even a dmg debuff when healing
  1. Niwes's Avatar
    not a single word about rating requirements to upgrade gear. why? ofc Blizzard wanna continue to support using tokens for boost grps, so they get a lot of free 7 bugs, by doing nothing, for every token ever passing the AH. and tokens pass the AH a lot, when everyone and his grandma need to pay boost grps, to get 1600 to upgrade gear to 213 or 1800 to upgrade it to 220.

    so hillarious....

    and for all the ppl now coming with „get better and you can upgrade“ go and play PvP rated BG for yourself for 2 months, so you know what i am talking about.
  1. docterfreeze's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stardrift View Post
    It's been like this forever. It's almost as if.. PvP has no place in a game with classes and PvE elements?? Shit needs to move to a seperate client.
    No, wotlk-WoD rock paper scissors was pretty much dead. Legion revived it with dumbed down, buttonless classes.
  1. Stardrift's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by docterfreeze View Post
    No, wotlk-WoD rock paper scissors was pretty much dead. Legion revived it with dumbed down, buttonless classes.
    Never cared to pay attention to PvP since Cata hit. I've tried to get back into it in MoP, WoD, Legion, but it's such a bore that I can't stand it.

    It's like booting up an old call of duty game for some nostalgia, playing a match or two, and then coming to the conclusiom "oh yea, I've done all this a million times over before" then shutting it off for another few years.

    All I know is the balancing between PvP and PvE is hindering both game modes greatly.

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