Providing a smooth and enjoyable experience for all players is always a priority for us, and we are continually re-evaluating our policies and programs to do so. As the state of the game has matured substantially since the inception of Paid Character Transfers, we will now be allowing PvE-to-PvP transfers on a full-time basis to provide players with more mobility and freedom to easily play with their friends.
The ability to transfer unrestricted from a PvE to PvP ruleset is a welcome change to Blizzard’s character transfer policy. It took a few years of near continuous argument against the elitists in the PvP community to force a shift in Blizzard’s stance. It was the tiresome rebuttals against the few problematic circumstances that had long become obsolete as the game has progressed in its design that encouraged a change I feel is best for the community as a whole.
Consider the situation in its entirety.
- Anyone who had originally rolled on a PvE server and misjudged the ruleset’s potential had to re-roll if they wanted to switch to a PvP server.
- Anyone on a PvP ruleset had to decide whether or not it was worth the one-way ticket to a PvE ruleset if they wanted to trial for a raiding guild on a PvE server.
- Any guild that wanted to switch from a PvE to PvP ruleset had to convince many of their members to ditch their old characters and re-roll entirely.
- Anyone on a PvE server couldn’t transfer their existing characters to play with friends on PvP realms. And anyone on a PvP server had to decide whether or not locking themselves to PvE was a good sacrifice to make with the risk that their friends could quit WoW or find no time to play with them.
On #1: People’s Original Expectations for Optional PvP on the PvE Ruleset Were Not Fully Met
Proudmoore is one of the original servers of WoW. Many people who rolled there did so in a time when the atmosphere of the game and its design were much different. When the game was released, it was fresh and people focused on envisioning its potential moreso than considering its reality, choosing rulesets based on Blizzard’s plans, rather than WoW’s actuality.
When battlegrounds were finally released, people like me discovered they weren’t what they had imagined or expected. Considering my experiences with Dark Age of Camelot, I had high expectations for PvP systems. I hoped Alterac Valley would include things like siege warfare, doors to break down, players having range bonuses on top of buildings and towers, etc. But I was disappointed with the final outcome, even though I found its first couple incarnations enjoyable.
Also, once battlegrounds had become the best place to farm honor, I realized world PvP on a PvE server would become non-existent. So I was disappointed in the realization of Blizzard’s plans, and I began to second-guess my original choice of rolling on a PvE server. This drove me to re-roll a druid on Azgalor so I could PvP and raid with my friends on Horde. When that didn’t work out how I planned, however, I came back to Proudmoore, finding a niche in raiding.
I serve as an example of someone who originally rolled on a PvE server hoping for an optional PvP experience that was better than what I actually received. And when it came time to consider a change of setting, I had to re-roll and set aside my previous investment. In talking with friends and other players, I know I am not the only person who suffered such a dilemma. And had not I found joy in raiding on Proudmoore, my overall experience would have only resulted in frustration.
By opening these transfers, anyone acting on a change of mind can do so knowing they won’t have to endure the pain of trying to re-establish an entirely new character for the sake of swapping out the scenery.
On #2: Raiders on PvP Servers Were Dissuaded from Transferring to Raiding Guilds on PvE Servers
I saw several guilds fall apart during the progression push on Sunwell. Each time, I tried to capitalize on the opportunity of recruitment by offering these people a trial with my guild. However, my offer was often declined with the stated reason being they didn’t want to leave the PvP ruleset, as they would be unable to return should they ever decide to.
The real issue is that raiding guilds on PvP servers are generally just as good at raiding as those on PvE servers, if not better. The top five guilds in the world are all on PvP realms. So there’s no incentive to transfer to a PvE server just to join a raiding guild, because it’s nothing PvP servers don’t already offer.
By allowing paid transfers to PvP servers, people no longer have to fear getting locked to the PvE ruleset. Should they fail their trial, the guild disband, or they decide the guild isn’t a good fit for them, they can transfer back to a PvP realm to try their hand at a guild there or to simply enjoy a different ruleset.
On #3: Switching Rulesets for Entire Guilds Was Complicated and Risky
There have been very few guilds which have re-rolled entirely from PvE to PvP. Juggernaut perhaps serves as the best example of this accomplishment. However, most guilds don’t survive this transition, and I suspect Juggernaut would not have if it had not been a top 20 U.S. guild prior to its decision to re-roll. This is because a portion of the players in guilds on PvE servers usually have minimal interest in PvP, and some people actually dislike the risk of getting ganked while trying to farm for raids.
So the only positive some people saw in re-rolling to a PvP realm with their guild was to retain membership. This was then weighed against the negatives to be had in the requirement of ditching past character investment, past friendships on the old server, on top of sacrificing the conditions for farming these people might actually prefer. By allowing paid transfers, ditching prior investment no longer plays a factor, meaning there are fewer negatives to dissuade people from making the change.
On #4: Allowing PvE to PvP Transfers Lifts the Limitation on Playing with Friends
I have a friend who plays on a PvP server. Before PvE to PvP transfers were allowed, he always hesitated to transfer to mine or his other friends’ servers. This is because of a combination of two conditions:
- He would prefer to play on a PvP ruleset if he couldn’t play with his friends.
- There was a risk of his friends quitting WoW and moving on to different games, or not having the time to game with him.
While I asserted I would not be quitting the game anytime soon, I did warn him my obligations as a guildleader could prevent me from PvPing or gaming with him frequently. And as his other friends were fickle about the games they played, he decided not to transfer to any of their servers. So he stuck with his old PvP realm, so as not to risk the inability to return should I rarely have the time to play with him, or his friends quit the game (which is exactly what most of them did, by the way).
Then consider the problem where people playing on PvE servers couldn’t transfer to play with their friends on PvP servers at all. Playing with your friends was the only incentive to counter the negatives of sacrificing an established character.
Are There Problems with This New Feature? And Do They Outweight the Benefits?
The PvP elite is correct in asserting the change allowing PvE to PvP transfers will create a few problems.
Certainly, people playing for the first time on PvP realms won’t be entirely familiar with the social dynamics that occur in the upper echelon of each server. And the difference here is that they can potentially be fully geared before they understand the social complexities.
Also, people will be able to farm heaps of gold and mats without fear of being ganked before they transfer and flood their targetted PvP realm with a pile of wealth, causing shifts in the server’s economy.
However, the question is whether or not these problems outweigh the benefits of allowing PvE to PvP transfers. Personally, I think the economic impact is the biggest concern and I believe the assumed impact of fresh faces unfamiliar with common PvP trends is overblown or grossly erroneous. Regardless, these potential problems don’t outweight the following benefits:
- It will increase the recruitment pool for all guilds, on both PvE and PvP realms.
- It will allow people to transfer and play with their friends without limitations beyond the normal transfer cooldown.
- It will allow people and guilds to switch from PvE to PvP realms without sacrificing prior investment.
The Impact on the Economy Won’t Be As Large as People Think
Talking to the friends I have on PvP realms, they say they make most of their money by running Karazhan, ZA and heroics. In doing so, they purchase epic gems and make their money this way. And typically they find enough lulls in PvP spats on Sunstrider Isle to get their dailies done. So while there is a difference in the amount of money they can earn over time, it is not nearly as large as most people assume.
Most People Have Misguided Concepts of Who “PvPers” Are on PvE Realms
There are some people who generalize the PvP playerbase of PvE servers based on their experiences with world PvP. Rohan of Blessing of Kings cites incidents involving players who feel the need to kill people accidentally flagged or AFK outside of instances.
Having played on a PvE realm primarily for nearly four years, I can condidently say most of the people who randomly gank flagged people do so purely for the sake of seizing an opportunity that comes maybe once every few weeks. And those who boast? They are no different than any jackass who likes to corpse camp lowbies in Stanglethorn (or Hillsbrad, back when that was the hotspot for world PvP).
Pretty much half of the best PvPers on Proudmoore are in my guild. Yes, they sometimes kill people flagged outside of instances. Again, however, it’s because they see it as a rare opportunity to be seized and enjoyed. Particularly when the Horde fights back. And I rarely see anyone boast about any accomplishments related to such acticities, regardless of guild or faction. Furthermore, all of the decent PvPers in my guild already have alts on PvP realms. So many of the best PvPers on PvE realms aren’t actually new to the ruleset. So I view the concern as a result of gross generalization.
In the end, this is a great change all-around and one I think people will realize when they see the results. And many people’s fears will go unsubstantiated.