1.7 has promised a host of changes to whole swathes of Rift. Included in the changes is a wholesale revamping of PvP advancement. PvP souls are “going the way of the Dodo” and being replaced by the Attunement of War PA hex tree. The 8 Prestige ranks are being replaced with 40 more granular levels. Most level 50 PvP gear will have Rank restrictions removed, requiring only that one amass the requisite Favour to purchase it. And players below level 13 in the new system will have their stats ‘bolstered’ to make them less squishy and boost competitiveness. Also relevant to this discussion is the addition of PA respeccing (first one’s free, after that it’s 100 plat).
So far, so good. But there are two problems with the way Trion has chosen to implement the new system. First, PvP PA will be commingled with PvE PA. Second, players who have already reached the higher Prestige ranks will have their Rank converted into PA points equivalent to level 38 (out of the 40) but filling out the PvP attunement tree appears to require some 110 PA levels (meaning long-time PvPers will effectively go from being max Rank to being about a third of the way to max).
PvE content also appears to provide significantly more PA xp than PvPing. And, since all PA xp seems to be usable in any hex tree, players who have never done any PvPing at all can, with a (free) respec, get as many PvP levels as players who have spent months actually engaging in PvP content.
This is not only severely punitive to PvP veterans, it flies in the face of the entire purpose of the Planar Attunement system. PA was intended as a series of small bonuses for doing what you do anyway. The cumulative effects are significant but they’re not overwhelming. And Trion has repeatedly and consistently said we don’t need to feel like we have to grind out PA levels and min-max it. PA isn’t supposed to radically change the game.
But now for PvP–but only for PvP–grinding PA is going to be required. Moreover, the arbitrary number of PvP levels doesn’t scale rationally to the scope of the hex tree. Assuming a Rank 8 player converts all of his new PA xp into the Attunement of War tree, he will still need over 70 levels of War PA to fill out the tree. That just doesn’t make sense. If there are 40 PvP levels and 110 or so levels of War Attunement hexes, Rank needs to convert to a greater percentage of the available hexes.
Worse, PvP hexes are now going to be fed mainly by PvE. Regardless of how many more levels one needs to fill out the hex tree after the new paradigm goes live, filling them mainly by PvPing won’t be viable because PvE xp is easier and faster to accrue. Players will feel forced to go PvE whether they want to or not to maintain their competitiveness. Needless to say this has a lot of the hardcore PvP community up in arms.
Meanwhile, Planar Attunement will continue to work more or less as designed for PvE. In short, Trion doesn’t seem to have thought this through.
A player can’t just respec and get full HK gear. She has to actually go do HK. A lot. She can’t PvP and get raid gear, either. She has to go raid. Obviously, some PvP weapons (which will still have PvP level restrictions, at least nominally) are very useful in PvE and some relic weapons are better than their PvP counterparts. That’s fine. No-one thinks the two aspects of the game should be totally and completely isolated from each other. Rather, it just makes sense that the rewards most applicable to one aspect of the game should flow primarily from participating in that aspect of the game.
The basic idea is a good one. Putting PvP talents into PA has the potential to broadly expand the options PvPers have. And raising the max level is actually a plus. It’s always nice to have something else to work toward. But it’s not reasonable to gut the players who’ve already put in the time and effort to reach the top levels. All the more so when players who have little or no time investment at all can match them simply by respeccing (for free). Throwing PvE and PvP PA xp in one basket only compounds the problem.
The fixes for these issues are simple: Make PvP PA only level via xp gained in PvP and give high Rank players more initial PvP PA levels. If Trion makes those two changes, I am confident most of the dissenters will be satisfied.