I got home from the gym at around 5:15p on Friday, so I had about an hour to kill before doing dinner and going out and all that. On a whim, I decided to visit the arena junkies to see if there were any videos worth watching. Low and behold, I happened upon the NAO live stream, so I clicked over and ended up getting to watch Datah's team playing. Datah ended up playing very well, though his opponents seemed at odds over what they should be doing to handle the Junglecleave. Unfortunately for Datah's opponents, their biggest advantage was exploited (maybe too harsh a word) z-axis via Demonic Teleport and TStorm, but FCC does not require a path, and Hunters do not require melee range, so it was largely a non-issue even on Blade's Edge and Dalaran Sewers.

Aside from Datah's victory in the losers bracket (sadly, I missed the main-bracket action where Catlol was putting on a stomping running Feral+Shadow+RSham), the announcers were busy with their propaganda. It became clear mere moments after opening the stream that this was going to be a lecture on balancing PvP with some background of high-rated arena matches being played as well. The topic up for "debate" was whether PvE gear should be allowed in the arenas. The NAO tournament had the rule of "no PvE gear", which included Dragon Soul and Firelands purples (no trinkets or legendaries, basically). I do not believe that this is a debatable topic at the higher brackets, or even a few seasons into an expansion; I think that regardless of the player, most will agree that PvE gear in the arenas is unfair.

I can see the argument from the side of "but I worked so hard for my legendary and OP trinkets... I should not be barred from using them!" and to a certain extent, I agree that if someone put in the effort to get nigh-unobtainable gear and got it, they should be allowed to use it how they see fit. The problem, in my eyes, is a question of balance as it pertains to procs, although, in the case of weapons, there is obviously a question of ilvl for melees. I remember in s4 getting pitted against RMPs with the Twinblades, and just laughing as they trained someone down effortlessly because of their unfathomable damage. Keep in mind that this was a time before "heroic raiding" was even a concept, so the legendaries in question were OP in their only form. In this case, it was not so much the weapons' damage output (though that helped) as much as the proc, which made Rogues attack roughly twice as fast (as a spec which relied heavily on white-damage).

Today, we have a similar situation - weapons and trinkets with procs that are without a doubt too strong against other players. The list of culprits are well-known: Cunning, Vial, the staff, and the daggers. Each one of these has a proc which can shift the game in the player's favor easily. Cunning and Vial both have procs that simply deal way too much damage to the kill-target instantly with no cost. These are the most easily remedied procs, though only Vial is going to be patched soon, and the "fix" in place will not so much resolve the issue as make it less bursty; good, but not great. The daggers have a proc, but it stacks and makes the Rogue powerful, but not super overpowered until we look at the big picture - essentially, Rogues with double-legendaries get to walk around with a "bonus 1200 agility" buff, which is a HUGE gain in attack power over any other melee. Lastly, the staff - the proc itself is absolutely astounding and I honestly cannot believe that it is still allowed to proc in the arenas. Doubling a damage-dealing spell-cast is so mind-blowingly overpowered that it really does not need me to describe why.

I think that Blizzard cannot simply make a rule like "PvE gear not allowed in the arenas" because early-seasons for expansions will have people in blues getting into the arenas and trying to compete. Amending that rule to "purples" will essentially limit rerolls later in the expansion from easily stepping into the arenas. The only viable method of balancing the issue is to make a rule like "PvE gear will not proc in the arenas". This opens up an entirely new can of worms as it would also cast a light onto the BG and rBG stages and probably leave people wondering whether the same rule should be applied there.

The vicious cycle continues and we can see this spiraling out of control. The slippery slope is whether the procs on PvE gear would function everywhere, just not arenas, just not PvP, or no where but in raids and dungeons. The value of those overpowered weapons starts dropping unless the player's focus is non-arena/pvp in a number of those cases. In fact, a lot of high-rated players would probably stop raiding altogether if there were little-to-no incentive for PvP in doing so.

Without going much further into the subject, I am reminded of a long time ago when strictly-PvP players were not rewarded with any weapons at all until they attained rank14. Essentially, if all one did was PvP (battlegrounds, back then), there was no way to get a weapon upgrade. The only players who could realistically get a PvP weapon were the ones with overpowered PvE weapons. The grind was annoying and largely impractical for all but the diehards. Blizzard saw this as a failing on their behalf and added in PvP weapons that were attainable by more PvP-ers with the addition of the arenas, and the process has been getting tweaked ever since.

Ultimately, the debate rages between PvE and PvP. There was a situation in The Burning Crusade where PvE players would doing 10 matches a week to get points to buy a PvP weapon to progress their raids, since the PvP weapons were "easy" to get as compared to the raid content. There have been a great number of discussions as to whether this was a failing on Blizzard's PvE design or its PvP design, but basically what it came down to was a change to make it more difficult to get PvP weapons so that PvE-centric players would largely not look at them as a viable option for progressing in PvE. We are at a similar stance, at the moment, but looking at it in the mirror; left is right and all that. Many PvP players are looking at PvE content (looking for raid making this easier than ever) as a means for getting one of those OP trinkets so that they can progress in PvP.

As in season one, the damage is already done; Blizzard cannot take the Vials and Cunnings away from the LFR lucky few who won them fair and square just because they haven't gone back into an LFR and are moving their arena teams forward. The toothpaste is out of the tube; there is no going back. Additionally, Blizzard cannot simply nerf those trinkets - many rely on them in PvE to continue their progress. Well, now we have a problem; the PvE'rs have got arena weapons again... but it is not season one. We cannot fix this with a new season and a more learned item mechanic (no trinkets drop in LFR will not even fix this since normal mode progression is still rather easy). Blizzard may end up having to take rather drastic measures to truly fix this problem.

There are a lot of grumblings, at the same time, about the human racial (every man for himself), since it allows the player to equip two role-centric trinkets rather than a PvP trinket and a role-centric trinket. This is an interesting side-effect of the same issue, in my eyes. I do not really mind humans having access to two trinkets, as I would see them with a Vial or Cunning either way, but the human would have ~450 more resilience than another race. I think that the problem is, and has been for a while, resilience.

Okay, this is getting long. Resilience is essentially the crux of PvP and largely the difference between PvP gear and PvE gear. I believe that the problem has always been that resilience simply does not have enough inventive to use it over some powerful trinket or weapon from a raid. Why would I go for a tier-2 weapon if I could get a legendary? Why would I use the Badge of Conquest over a Vial? The tradeoff is always "resilience versus an overpowered proc".

Well, when put like that, it makes the problem simple to view and understand. The proc is "worth" more, in the eyes of a PvP'er, the resilience lost. We simply need to make resilience a better stat than the proc without really changing the game; since the NAO tournament shows us a relatively balanced play-field (everyone is in full PvP gear with no PvE gear; roughly the same resilience across the board) and allows us to view the game on that even ground, we can assume that this is the balance-point.

So, what if we change resilience rating to be per-slot. By that, I mean, that resilience rating would largely correspond to a number; 400 resilience rating is worth 1 resilience (say). That would mean that full PvP gear would be ~16 resilience (16 slots, 17 if you equip mh/oh, but that should add up to the 2h equivalent). Okay, so what we do is make it so that in any given season, 16 resilience is the goal for resilience for all players, so that any player who drops a piece or two of gear for PvE gear loses something valuable... simple!

All damage and healing done to another player is at -48%. So, if you hit the target dummy for 10,000 with Shred, you would hit a player for 5,200. Similarly, if that Greater Heal would normally heal your tank with no buffs for 15,000, it will only land for 7,800 on another player.

"Wtf Rey... that doesn't fix anything... that just makes everything happen on a smaller scale and stam will out-pace it very quickly!"

Fine... here's the fix:

1 Resilience increases damage and healing done to player controlled characters by 3%.

If a player has 16 resilience (meaning that they are wearing resilience in every slot), then they will have +48% (3 * 16) damage and healing to  player controlled characters.

Boom. Fixed. Fixed forever, in fact. Essentially, all players start out at the same deficit at the beginning of the expansion (when HP, damage, and healing are low), but as each progresses and gets more and more resilience, they will be gaining more and more damage/healing against players. When everyone has full PvP gear, they will have 16 resilience, and therefore have their "balanced" damage output.

If a player decides to drop a resilience trinket for a PvE trinket, then they will do 3% less damage with everything, including the trinket's proc. If they decide they want to use legendary dagger, the gain might not be 3% overall damage, but the loss certainly will be. Now, this idea is far from polished; there are definitely things to consider with a change like this.

* Would resilience keep its current functionality of reducing damage from other players?

Of course - this is why resilience is a good stat in general. Balancing damage so that it is manageable for healers and defensive/offensive cooldowns. The issue at hand is how to deal with people who trade 1% more damage received for a huge burst from a trinket or weapon. It is not the damage received that needs to be increased, but rather the tradeoff in damage done when NOT using PvP gear.

* How would rerolls in the middle of an expansion ever expect to get up to geared in a quick manner if they will be losing all their games to teams at low ratings, but 16 resilience, since they will be doing roughly 50% damage and healing?

Well, the honor gear would have ALMOST as much resilience as the main PvP gear. If we make it so that honor gear gets you to 12 resilience, and full conquest gets you to 16, then you are close enough to compete after kitting out an honor set that you can start acquiring arena gear.

* What if 3% damage is not enough to dissuade people from using trinkets like Vial and Cunning; they might not care that they do 3% less damage overall as long as their burst is still stronger?

Good point, what if we make the scaling of resilience non-linear again but favor it in the opposite direction? Say that having one piece of resilience gear does not get you a point of resilience. Maybe even three pieces does not get you to one point of resilience. Maybe if you are half-geared, you will have 4 points of resilience. Once you get to 12 pieces of gear, you are up to 9 resilience, and at 14 pieces of gear, the player will be at 11 resilience. At 15/16 pieces of gear, the player will have 13 resilience as opposed to 16. Now, that player is at a 9% damage or healing deficit as compared to his full-PvP wearing counterparts. We can scale it so that being "mostly PvP-geared" is simply not the same as "entirely PvP-geared", but not cripplingly so, just enough to disencentivize players from putting on a PvE trinket.

* What happens next season when new gear comes out, do we get more resilience than 16?

No, the scaling simply changes (like crit rating every expansion) during a season transition. Say you have 16 resilience today (at 4800 resilience rating, or whatever the number is), and tomorrow the new arena season starts - you might have 8 resilience tomorrow (at the same 4800 resilience rating). Now, as you upgrade your pieces of gear (16 upgrades total), you will gain a 0.5 resilience. That means that every two upgrades you get gives you 3% more damage or healing as well as more stam and your primary and secondary stats (more crit/mastery and agi, in Feral's case).

* What about the honor gear, though? That is still an upgrade from last season's arena gear, but just not as much.

Correct, the honor gear (12 resilience) is exactly half-way from last season's arena gear (8 resilience in the new expansion) to this season's arena gear (16 resilience). This is actually a good thing! The start of the new season actually gives rerolls the chance to gear up at nearly the same rate as last season's gladiators. Additionally, if forces to the gladiators of last season to actually roll BGs to upgrade their gear to honor to improve their resilience while they are capped on conquest points.

As I said before, this method probably could use some tweaking, and I definitely have not seen it from every angle; I am positive there are edge-cases that I am missing. Point them out and I will try and answer them as best I can. I do not know what, if anything, Blizzard plans on doing about PvE gear in PvP content, but I think that my solution is clean, simple to implement, and straight-forward to understand.