Classic Era 1.14.4 PvP Update

Today, we’ve temporarily closed the Hardcore PTR realm and opened a new PTR realm that only allows template characters for testing the major update version 1.14.4 brings to Classic Era PvP.

Before we dive into the system and how it’s changed, here’s glossary of terms for those who are less familiar with the current version of the system on 1.14.3 Classic Era realms:

Term Definition
Rank The rank of a player in a given PvP season. Ranks range from 1 (Private / Scout) to 14 (Grand Marshal / High Warlord)
Honorable Kills (HKs) Awarded when killing opposing-faction players or NPCs that are near or above your player level. Killing higher-ranked players awards more Contribution Points (CP). Players receive honor points based on however many honorable kills they earn in a given week.
Dishonorable Kills (DKs) Gained by killing opposing-faction NPCs with the “Civilian” tag in their tooltip. Dishonorable kills count as a penalty against the player’s end-of-week Honor points.
Contribution Points (CP or Honor) Awarded to the player based on their HKs and DKs. While CP is often used interchangeably with Honor, it is not to be confused with “Honor points”, which is also what many players call “Honor” as shorthand. An HK may be worth more or fewer Honor points depending on whether the HK came from a lower or higher ranked player. CP is rolled up and used to determine a player’s rank, during weekly server maintenance.
Honor Points These are earned from HKs and battleground objectives and are converted to CP to determine a player’s ranking progress for the week.
Rank Bracket (Bracket) Each rank requires participants in the Honor system to be among the top X% of all participants in the system for that week, and ranking up into the next rank/bracket is not possible unless you are at or above the correct percentile for the rank you are trying to reach, regardless of the amount of Honor/CP accumulated that week.
Rank Points (RP) RP was awarded based on the player’s CP and the number of players in the bracket. RP was awarded mostly linearly compared to CP, however the difference is that RP took other players into consideration to form ranked standings or a leaderboard of players ranked based on their participation in the system. This aspect of the system has been removed from the game.
Decay This is the removal of RP from players who do not participate as Decay much as expected for their rank and thus could not keep their rank in a given week. If their expected RP is less than their actual weekly total, it is decayed at 20% of the expected value, up to a maximum of 2500 points of CP decay.

When setting out to design a new system we looked at some of the primary problems with the old system and used these as a basis for what we felt needed to change for the new system to be healthier:

  • There’s a lot of pressure to grind HKs nonstop - Since players are being ranked vs. other players in their same faction, taking a break might mean that you lose your desired spot in a particular rank bracket. Decay also contributes to this somewhat, though not nearly as much as how RP is awarded.

  • Since players are ranked based on a percentage of how many PvP participants there are, some players will engage in an activity called “pool boosting” - Pool boosting refers to the process of artificially inflating the total pool of players in the system so that each rank bracket are larger and allow a larger number of people within each bracket to rank up. This is often done through the use of automation (bots). For example, someone will run bots that will kill one another repeatedly until they reach the minimum required number of kills per week to become a part of the ranking system. They then switch to new characters, and repeat.

  • Bracket fixing becomes the meta - Some players work together to take turns in a top percentile bracket, which allows them to increase the number of people who earn top-tier rewards and lowers the Honor ceiling for each bracket. This isn’t strictly a bad thing as players of the same faction often work together to ensure there is a pecking order and that, over time, more people earn rewards with less grinding needed by effectively capping the amount of Honor each rank needs to earn each week. This isn’t really in the spirit of the old system. Ideally, if players put in the effort, they should be rewarded, and shouldn’t feel pressured to be part of the in-group to earn top PvP rewards. This also often leads to conflict among players on the same faction, when players break the fixed bracket limits for their current rank and essentially raise the amount of Honor everyone else in the higher ranks needs to earn that week to not stall out their ranking efforts or even decay and lower their rank progress.

  • The old PvP Honor system script is complex, takes a long time to run, and is error prone - Honor is updated each week via a script run against the database which performs various calculations to convert each players contributions to CP and rank players against one another based on their current rank, expected CP, RP, and other factors. This script is essentially unchanged since 2005, and while it is mostly functional, it can become stuck or hit unexpected delays based on various conditions and cause the weekly Honor update to take many hours, or in some extreme cases, days to complete. This makes the entire system stressful for those who are eagerly waiting to see where they landed for the previous week’s contributions. We wish to overhaul and replace this script with a more performant and modern solution.

Now let’s look at the high-level goals for the new system:

  • Eliminate ranking points - Competing against your own faction for standing is interesting in principle, but in execution has a lot of problems based on the points listed above. The system is easily meta-gamed and encourages many weeks or months of high levels of play. Our goal for the new system is to grant ranks based on whether players hit specific Honor milestones with an increasing level of participation and challenge needed to maintain their progress as the weeks go by and the player moves through the ranks.

  • Grant Honor and Honor Points at the time the HK (or DK!) is earned - In the old system, this occurs at the end of the day. Players would prefer to see their progress towards Honor milestones in real time.

  • Move the weekly honor updates to a more efficient and performant method of updating individual player ranks - Without RP, we can move to a model where you see your rank changes right when you log in after the weekly reset, rather than waiting for the Honor script to process all participants on your realm.

  • Remove de-ranking - Decay is still something we wanted to maintain, but de-ranking down to a lower rank is especially punishing at higher ranks when you need to maintain a constant and high level of play to keep up. The need to take time off could greatly hinder the progress of someone ranking, and in some brackets taking even a few days or a week off could cost the player multiple weeks of progress.

Now that we’ve established what a few key terms mean, gone over the largest problems with the old system, and defined some of our goals; here’s a rundown of behavioral changes between the old and the new system:

Behavior Old System New System
What is the minimum number of honorable kills necessary to earn CP each week? 15 15
How Are Honor Points Awarded? Based on player level and PvP Rank Based on Player Level and PvP Rank
When does honor decay happen? When the player does not meet the expected honor for their rank for a given week When the player does not meet the expected honor for their rank for a given week
What is the maximum amount of CP a player may lose due to decay? 2500 2500
Are HK’s, DK’s, Honor, and Highest Rank Displayed in the UI for Today, Yesterday, This Week, Last Week, and Lifetime? Yes Yes
Is player standing displayed in the UI for last week? Yes No, as players are no longer compared against one another on their realm
How is a player’s rank determined? Based on the amount of ranking points the player has earned Based on the amount of CP the player has earned. Ranking points no longer exist.
How do DK’s penalize players? DK’s cause an immediate loss of CP and displayed rank progress. DK’s cause an immediate loss of CP and displayed rank progress.
How often are ranking points awarded? Weekly Never. Ranking points no longer exist.
Will honor decay indefinitely? Yes; this means the player may be demoted to a lower rank if their honor decays below the minimum threshold for their current rank No; we now only decay until the player reaches the base amount of honor for the current rank. This means that a player will not be demoted, unless they earn a demotion via Dishonorable Kills.
How are honor points converted to CP? Using an algorithm based on the player’s expected honor for their rank, a hard-coded change factor, minus any deductions from DKs Based on a curve which maps honor to CP. For example, ~750k honor equates to 65,000 CP (numbers are NOT final). The amount of honor you need to hit each week is static and fixed and does not fluctuate based on what other participants on your realm are doing.
When do the stats for This Week and Lifetime update? Once per day Immediately
Can a player see their standing vs. other players in the UI? Yes No; players are no longer compared with one another, so standing has been removed from the UI

Now let’s take a look at the new User interface:


It should look and feels nearly identical to the previous system’s interface, with the only major difference being the omission of “standing” from the “Last Week” section.

We encourage PTR testers to participate in Battlegrounds there to get a feel for how earning HKs and Honor in real time works, and also to populate our database with PvP data to help us ensure that everything is working correctly under the hood. The total Honor needed to hit the highest CP level is currently set to 750,000 honor, meaning that if you get at least 750k honor for the week, you will earn the maximum amount of rank increases for that week. This is subject to change before the system goes live with patch 1.14.4.

There’s also a hard cap on how far you can progress in a given week, and the minimum number of weeks required to hit rank 14 is currently set to 8 on the PTR.

This was a very dense explanation, mostly due to the fact that the old system is very complex. The TLDR here is that ranking up is now much more straightforward. You will simply need to hit specific milestones of Honor Points gained each week to progress through PvP ranks.

Thank you for testing with us!


No RBGs yikes, next season in Vanilla most people will grind r14 weekly instead of run MC, BWL, ZG etc… How hard is just let ppl who its god in pvp get r14 instead of everyone getting it?

When this goes live on existing realms, will players their highest rank be restored as their current rank? Or will former rank 14 players without dishonorable kills have to grind to rank 14 again, in order to get their rank 14 title and be able to buy the weapons again?

You wanna say that the r14 were god in pvp? Rank 14 was for dedicated players who had enough time, not skill.

I meet plenty of ex r14 players who are dogpoop at the game.


The new system seems fair and 750k reasonable.

Though the progression of the caps shouldn’t be linear between ranks.

Though I would have liked there to be some incentive for people to join bgs other than only wsg all day every day.


on ptr:

  1. Why I cannot see my honor points right after the hk or silithu’s sand in honor tab?
    Very unclear system in this case, when your goal isn’t to compete with others but just grind values.

  2. How this system will work on:

  • separated realms (ru tab for example cannot queue with eu players)
  • during huge lack of players (like on era when som 2 will come)
  • in case of fraction disbalance (on som 1 ally were waiting for a bg for about 1h and instead for horde it was about 15 seconds)?

Yes previous system was bad, no doubts here. But in previous system you were competing with your own fraction and now you will compete with this Blizzard’s “plank” in ~750k.
What is kinda weird because in some cases, like a huge queue on bg can slow your ranking process from 100% (horde speed on som1) to something like 60-70% (ally speed on som 1). Previously that wasn’t the case, because each fraction had their own “planks” (brackets).
So if this value (lets assume that this will be 750k, whatever) will be static across all fractions and all servers, then we will face all of these points above in this case, what is actually will create some toxic environment between fractions/servers what we want to prevent.
It seems like this value has to adapt somehow (to server population? not sure).

  1. You are saying that new system will prevent toxic environment but at the same time, r14 char can lose his r14 just because someone in his group killed an npc. Previously this wasn’t the case because he lost it in any case but in new system people will actually HOLD their ranks so some griffers can easily ruin their lifes just by grouping up with them.
    It doesn’t seems more friendly for people who was r14 for a month and then some random person were asking for a help with some quest and killed an npc.

Changes are actually good. New items is a good way to keep game “freshy” and at the same time doesn’t break it. But all this 3 points above seems reasonable and can become issues.


I think the r14 gear was just referred as “god like”. Nothing has been said about the actual skill of the player.

That’s for me the key point of this new system!!.

Bravo. :clap:

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Well the reset happened, and progression through lower ranks should be faster. You have to remember, on the actual servers people starting out are in dungeon blues or worse, no one wants them in a premade. 350k+ is unattainable to them outside of AV week.
1 month of no-lifing to get the blue set is not a good enough carrot, so this massive amount of people just wont bother with the pvp system at all.

P.S. thanks for bring back silithyst sand. Diminishing returns is the most effective solution against abuse but should not be this aggressive. It takes just short of 1.5-2 minutes on average roundtrip to a geyser and the honour return should remain similar.

The changes are interesting, but AV honor should be nerfed.

With the old system, you depend on other players. So AV is balanced. Yes you get a lot of honor but everyone does too.

Now, with AV you will rank like 10 times faster since everyone getting 700k honor weekly doesnt affect you.

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Either way AB/AV is 4 days per month for more than a year now, what are you even worried about.

Please also make premades only fight other premades. I know it’s now how it used to be in Vanilla, but it would make sense now because PVP experience for randoms is just extremely unpleasant at this stage of the game.
It’s not impossible to win against a premade, but at the same time it’s very disheartening and most players in the team will just give up when they see the same names in the enemy team popping up 9/10 games.

For a player who does not get to join premades for multiple reasons, like the time of the day he/she prefers to play at, the PVP experience as a whole is just horrible. Making a team of randoms only able to face another team of randoms would improve that.

Obviously if a premade fights a premade the game will be more competitive and each BG is likely to last longer and to keep premades in the game as an efficient way of gaining honor you could boost honor gains for premades because they also should not be punished for opting out to play as a group. Just make them fight eachother and let randoms fight randoms.


Previous Feedback: Classic Era 1.14.4 PvP Update - #8 by Dizzydruid-firemaw
New Feedback after the first week.

  1. Any value (like 750k) is better to be dynamic. It can depend from amount of player base on each level range (1-19, 20-29 etc to prevent pool boosting be a griffing).

  2. System is VERY unclear in case of WHY I’ve gotten this points. Previously that was at least some metric in the interface that relates to amount of players on top of you. In BK it’s very clear because this is just a new currency.
    Here… you are getting some amount of CP (RP previously) just randomly. We don’t know your values, we cannot see them in the interface.
    Yes previous system was very unclear for the first time, but after 4 years (or even more) of play all of us (bracket leaders) have google sheets with all these stuff like bracket size, % of RP inside each bracket and gaps calculating. This system was old and doesn’t require any explanation. Som update just were x2 but general rules were the same.
    But here you do something new - what is cool, but we even cannot see your numbers in the interface. Am I in honor cap this week or not? Yes we can trust your blue posts but will every player track every blue post? Not sure.
    It even seems like the BK system with just currency was a way better. Very clear, very straightforward when you can see your goals and reach them. Here you cannot do this. System is blackboxing at the current moment.
    Give use this curve in the interface somehow or at least some key points.

  3. DHK + Decay is terrifying and force player with ranks to sit on base instead of doing something. They will be scared of losing their ranks. That wasn’t the case before. Kinda the same thing was with world buffs before the update to save them in the box.

In general - it seems and feels like changes isn’t polished. A lot of obvious bugs like negative rank, wrong honor calculation (unit tests for configs?), honor real time update (not for the sand and towers? :slight_smile: ) make me scared of the future changes.


It is a serious mistake to not have the brackets be dynamic! Why? Because population and queue times are dynamic!! On some servers or in some time in the future 750k honor may simply not be possible to achieve because of queue times, e.g. due to faction imbalance or simply not enough people playing pvp. The mistake of the old system was to scale everything according to the TOP player. The new system must still contain some kind of scaling system such that even if not much pvp is happening on the server, it is still possible to hit the top bracket. I don’t know exactly how you can do this, maybe scale the caps by the average honor earned per player in that week? But it is very important that you think about the problems that a static cap will introduce!

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(In my view) the reason why Blizz is implementing a static progression system is because any type of dynamic bracket placement system will inevitably lead to top players abusing it and cause “bracket fixing” which is what Blizz wants to get rid of in the first place (rightfully so).
This may cause slower rank progression on low populated servers but why would anyone want to incentivize playing on low population server in an MMO game? It can be fixed by merging servers into one pool so that everyone has at least an opportunity to keep up with others if they wish to.

I personally don’t like the idea of groups of top players controlling the pace of rank progression by fixing brackets and telling other people to pause their game because it will make their group progress slower. When Blizzard implemented this system initially they certainly didnt have that idea in mind, but current PVP meta shows that this is not the intended use of the system.