Archmage Callinon wrote:
Well I can definitely say that as a fresh 50 right now, pvp is insanely frustrating. You don't stand even the remotest chance against someone 6+ ranks above you (aptly described above as a speed bump) which leads to playing in an environment that isn't fun.
And yes yes, I can hear it already, "QQ moar n00b - get dat presteeg." I get it, it's meant to be a reward for people who have devoted a lot of time and effort in to pvp. But when you're just starting out, all you can see ahead of you is a grind that puts Korean MMOs to shame filled with hours upon hours of you playing a game and not having fun (which seems like it'd be missing the point).
Removing that barrier with the bolster mechanic as well as eliminating the ranks altogether (but not the gear, which I assume still requires the tier progression) means that a new 50 can gear up relatively quickly and maybe not feel like they're being punished while doing it. I really hope it works.
I think, first of all, that a lot of your concerns are entirely valid. I have a rank 3 rogue that I progressed when the rank cap was 6, and a rank 5 (almost 6) rogue that I got to rank 3 also while the cap was rank 6, took a break from the game for a while, and came back after the cap had been raised to rank 8. Between the underperformance of rogues at the time and the rank difference, I know well some of the frustrations associated with lower rank PvP. I've been beat down and blown up more times than I can count.
From my current understanding, the bolster mechanic will only apply to rank 1 characters. (May also apply to rank 2, I haven't seen any specifics) to give them a bit of a break while they're getting their first full set of PvP gear together. That seems reasonable to me.
At the same time, I saw those lower ranks as an opportunity to learn as much as I could about what works and what doesn't. The margin for error is lower and the outcome of your decisions is actually more visible on higher ranked players. Even if I couldn't kill them, I could say, "Okay, that didn't work at all," or "that guy only lived because of his gear because I outmaneuvered him at every turn." I appreciate that not everyone shares my point of view on the issue which is why I'm not winding up the "way to cater to casuals and scrubs!!11!" rhetoric, but it wasn't all bad. I think a big part of the reason for these changes now is because a new tier of gear is coming. If folks thought it was bad now, wait and see what it feels like to be rank 1 vs. rank 10.
Let me elaborate about my concern over the PA attachment here though. When you have one of your roles devoted to pvp (certainly not unreasonable) that role includes your pvp soul, usually for Break Free (maybe Detaunt too) which you have to sacrifice points in your primary souls to acquire. So you lose some functionality in order to have some necessary pvp utility. Ok, cool. But what if we take out the pvp soul and move it into the PA system. Now you're using EXP for pvp utility instead, and you aren't able to turn it off when you don't want it anymore (unless you have a ton of money).
A lot of people have been running builds with no use of the PvP soul, or the PvP soul in their build but 0 points invested for Break Free, but also because their build of choice really only made use of two other souls. For example, my cleric doesn't use her PvP soul at all. She's shaman/justicar/warden. My rogue uses the PvP soul with 0 points in Infiltrator. 51 SIN/15 BD/0 INF for the second CC break.
One of the complaints about the PvP soul is that for a lot of people and a lot of builds, it just doesn't offer enough to warrant investing points into. Shifting it to PA means a couple of things. One is that the calling-specific abilities will probably be done away with. Trion MIGHT have the functionality in the PA system to offer calling-specific PA matrices, but I'm not counting on it.
If you look at the current PA system with the planar attunements, typically the first one you unlock is the one to open the type of rift associated with that plane. For the PvP matrix, replace that with Break Free. From there on out, you'd be looking at maybe a very small boost to valor here or a very small increase to damage done vs. other players there, but not something Joe Casual needs to fill out because they feel it's mandatory.
I think in a lot of cases, people look at grinding PA as something they "have" to do, which is not what it was implemented to represent. It's a perk system, not a mandatory progression system. Of course, when it comes to MMOs, if you give someone a 6 month soul sucking grind that offers a performance boost of 1% as a reward, people will say they "have" to do it, they'll kvetch about it every step of the way, but they'll still do it.
I think there are enough people whose interest lies mainly in PvP that they'll welcome the PvP matrix. People who split their time amongst a variety of activities in-game might resent it slightly, but overall I think it's a reasonable solution to the "PvP souls are useless" issue you see pop up from time to time.