Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thoughts On 7.3 PVP Prestige Companion Change

In Patch 7.3, collectors discovered an undocumented change made by Blizzard to the PVP Prestige companions. Those that reached Prestige Rank 1 and Rank 7 on one faction could use a level 100+ alt of the opposite faction and buy the companions of the same earned rank(s). Originally you needed to complete the rank up four different times, twice on alliance and twice on horde. The 7.3 adjustment means the grind to collect all four companions is essentially cut in half.

Needless to say, there are passionate feelings on either side of this; it's a pretty divisive topic. I understand both sides, and each has some valid points.

My personal take on this change? I'm glad for it and I think it's great for the collecting community overall. The communication and execution was less than desirable though, and that's where my biggest criticisms lie.

For the record, I DO stand to benefit from this change. So if you want to call me biased, so be it. However, I strongly feel that even if I was on the other side of the coin, if I had completed the full grind on two characters already, I would still feel that this change is better for the community as a whole. I'd probably be somewhat annoyed, but I wouldn't oppose it and I would quickly move on.

So what's so terrible about cutting the PVP companion grind in half? Collectors that have already completed the task of reach Prestige Rank 1 and 7 on two characters feel slighted that their efforts were for naught. It's time wasted in their eyes because they could have simply waited and collected the companion pets via one character instead of having to dump extra hours into a second faction.

They also feel that this change takes away from their accomplishment. There's no way to distinguish a player that completed the original grind from one that went and just bought the companions. And the original grind was nothing to scoff at either - it's definitely notable.

For those that care about the competitiveness of collecting, cutting the collecting process in half means they will no longer have an edge over those that were either unable or unwilling to reach the ranks on two characters.

To be honest, I don't know how to address these points listed above. They are valid concerns, however subjective they might be, and there's no real debating "right" and "wrong" here.

Yes, you could view completing the original grind as "time wasted". But you don't have to. I was working on both alliance and horde when the change hit. I put time into one character that I didn't need to. Part of me does feel a little disappointed that that time could have gone into something else, but I'm over it. I did what I could at the time with the knowledge that I had. What can I say? Hindsight is 20/20. Such is life.

Yes, this change makes it impossible to determine who put in "more" effort than someone who bought the companions instead. There's simply no way around that unless Blizzard decides to add a Feat of Strength or some other distinguishing attribute. A title? Bonus Honor/currency? Perhaps a unique summoning animation when calling out the Prestige companions, to show that they're the originals.

Yes, the playing field is now more level; "easier" if you want to look at it that way. Someone that was ahead may not be as far ahead now, because the competition will be able to acquire 2 additional companions relatively sooner than anticipated. Some enjoy competition and that's fair. However, others may not even notice the WarcraftPets and Wowprogress rankings or even care about them. They simply want to collect the Prestige companions, and this change helps them accomplish that. Should that be taken away from them for the sake of those competing to see who has the larger collection on a server? My thoughts are no. Unfortunately, both sides, the competitive and the not, cannot be appeased at the same time in this situation; one will suffer. As a collector first, and as someone that wants to encourage collecting, my bias is for those that simply want to collect. Collecting is the core gameplay mechanic and competition is a player borne aspect, and I think the core gameplay should take precedence.

In the end, I cannot view the above criticisms of the change as enough reason to object to it. The good outweighs the bad in this situation, in my opinion.

More collectors will stand a better chance at collect the companions before Legion is over. If you remember, many felt discouraged this expansion because of the heavy grinding/gating of certain battle pets. "Collecting them all" seemed so out of reach, it wasn't fun to keep trying anymore. Cutting this specific grind in half may revitalize their desire and make it less demoralizing.

Collectors that either started late(r) in the expansion or could not/were unable to bring themselves to PVP/complete PVP WQs (for varying reasons, time constraints, strong aversion to PVP, etc.) will also have a better time. The Prestige system is not catch-up friendly in the slightest. You could view this change as that - a catch-up mechanic. Is it the best mechanic? I'll go into that in just a bit.

I feel for those that feel negatively impacted by the change, I do. But cutting the grind in half benefits such a wide range of collectors, so I cannot view it as anything but a good thing as a whole. Because we STILL don't know what will happen to the Prestige rewards post-Legion, it's still entirely possible that these companions will be removed next expansion. So the alternative to this change would be collectors missing out for various reasons, some for reasons out of their control. A much worse alternative IMO.

I do have criticisms about this though. Some that, had they been addressed prior to the change, might have made it less a "slap in the face" for those that completed the original grind.

Firstly, the communication regarding the Prestige companions was completely AWFUL. Non-existent. Collectors repeatedly asked for clarification on what would happen to the Prestige rewards post-expansion, however Blizzard provided zero details. This added to the panic and anxiety that the companions might be removed once Legion was over, which in turn drove some collectors to complete the grind on both factions early on. Had they known a "catch-up mechanic" was coming, would they have sunk all that time into a second character? Probably not. They would have stuck with their preferred toon instead.

Communication from Blizzard just prior to the change was also non-existent. This was an undocumented change, meaning it was not previewed or announced. If they had given collectors a larger heads up, additional feedback and discussion could have been had to better hash out the valid issues listed earlier in this post. We could have come to an even better/more fair (subjectively) compromise than the current one we have.

Which leads to my second criticism, execution. Placing the companions on a vendor is great overall. However, I was surprised that you didn't need any type of special currency such as Marks of Honor to purchase them. Nothing to show that these are indeed PVP companions. Had there been extensive discussion on this prior to the change, perhaps those that were opposed to it would have been less so if Blizzard determined Marks of Honor were required to buy them. That way it wouldn't be a complete "freebie". Time/effort to unlock them would be cut in half, but collectors would still need to gather up enough Marks to purchase them. 5? Marks per pet? 10? 20? Something like that.

I'll give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt and they did not intentionally put collectors in this divisive and awkward situation. Perhaps Blizzard wasn't sure of how they wanted the Prestige rewards to play out. They saw concerns about the grind for all four companions, felt they were valid concerns, and this is their band-aid resolution. The Prestige system is very new; there are bound to be missteps.

I hope that going forward, should they choose to stick with the Prestige system, they've learned from Legion's example. I hope there's more and better communication, and more thought put into the execution of whatever direction they decide on.

For now, this is what we have. Some hate it. Some love it. Personally, I don't mind it. All we can do is work with Blizzard and give our reasonable feedback and constructive criticisms so we can try and avoid another one of these situations in the future.


  1. 1) The Prestige mounts went account-wide in 7.2, at no cost at all. I think it's totally fair then that the pets didn't cost any kind of PVP currency to buy (since I'm sure they can't just switch factions due to technical reasons)

    2) Yes, the communication was non-existent. On the other hand, I'm not really sure I want to see another situation where the FYGM players get to shout-down a change that benefits late-comers or people who don't have as much time to play.

    3) Personally, I don't think anything should be done for the people who had already farmed all 4 pets. It is just the nature of playing a living, updating game that sometimes things you suffered for are going to become more accessible. Your reward for doing that was getting to enjoy the items before they became widely available; it doesn't give you exclusive bragging rights from now until the servers shut down.

    1. @Unknown: All great points. Especially #2.

      Sometimes discussion isn't really what we hope it will be, and instead degrades into more of an argument than constructive feedback/debate. I'd like to think that Blizzard can distinguish between outright arguments and actual concerns/feedback from the community though.

      It's a tough call that ultimately Blizzard has to decide what the best course of action is. To hear players out or simply make the final decision and handle the blow-back after.

  2. I can see why people are upset, but it's just something blizz seems to do to make things less grindy as an expansion ages. The same argument could be made for people that grinded AP on alts or later ground garrison resources for the boa AP boost. They also added things like auto unlocking world quests for alts. Also, just an FYI, you don't need a 110 alt to buy the pets, I was able to do it on an alt that was only levl 103.

    1. @Rhapture: *nod* That's how I'm choosing to view it. The game is ever-changing and evolving. More and more adjustments are being made as each expansion progresses, largely to help those that started late or play with time constraints.

      It's tough, but I'm doing my best to remind myself that nothing is guaranteed in-game, even the systems/mechanics/gameplay that are implemented. Everything can always change.

      (Also, thanks for the note about not having to be max lvl! Fixed ^-^)

  3. I'm not sure I follow you when you say in the first paragraph "Originally you needed to complete the rank up four different times, twice on alliance and twice on horde." - getting one character to rank 7 on each faction was enough, wasn't it? We're probably saying the same thing, but I'm neurotic enough that this has me second-guessing that I'm missing something =D

    Personally, even as a semi-competitive collector (I'm a collector first and foremost, but I like the pretty shiny rankingses), I'm thrilled that they made this change. I do suffer from some "time wasted" but I hadn't yet gotten to rank 7, so I'm benefiting more than I'm losing. I'm of the opinion that the barrier for obtaining these pets should never have been so high in the first place. Rank 1 pets? fine. Those weren't unreasonable, even for someone like me who loathes PvP in all forms. Rank 7 though? Screw that noise if you'll pardon my saying so =)

    1. @Flibbit: Originally, achieving Rank 1 and 7 was not enough to collect all Prestige pets for both factions. You need Rank 1 and 7 on an alliance character, plus Rank 1 and 7 on a horde character. Only then could you collect all 4 Prestige companion pets.

      Now, with this change, we only need to reach Rank 1 and 7 for one faction - after that the other faction's companion are unlocked on the vendor.

      Hope that clarifies things ^^;

    2. Yep, thanks. I was just counting that as ranking up twice (1 to 7 x2) instead of four times. I'm half way to prestige 5 and that was just enough to make me think I had misunderstood all along! =P Thanks for setting my mind at ease =) No need to post this comment, it's just in reply to you.

      I just posted a thread on the WCP forums looking for input on what people thing is the best way to grind honor, hopefully some good tips come out of that.

  4. I'm one of the people that ground out all four pets and I'm happy for the change! I know quite a few people that gave up collecting any of them because of the crazy grind, now they're back in.


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