WOW: PVP levelling in next patch

Plus: turn off XP altogether!

Blizzard has confirmed that it's to introduce experience gains from playing player-versus-player battlegrounds in the next World of Warcraft content update, Call of the Crusade. This means that you'll be able to level characters entirely through PVP for the first time.

The move, hinted at during last year's BlizzCon, was confirmed in the latest test server patch notes.

XP will be awarded for any actions that yield honor points in the battlegrounds, excluding killing other players: capturing objectives, returning flags, winning and so on. It will still be a slower way to level than questing, according to lead content designer Cory Stockton: "We want Battleground experience to be rewarding, but we also don't want it to be the fastest way for players to level up."

For those fearing that this will put at end to "twinking" - the culture of keeping low-level, well-geared characters to fight in the lower battleground tiers - Blizzard has an answer. From Call of the Crusade (otherwise known as patch 3.2), it will be possible to turn off all experience gains by paying 10 gold to an NPC. Levelling can be resumed by paying the same fee again.

Non-levelling characters will be entered into separate Battleground queues, meaning that the twinks will be left to bother each other. Turning off levelling applies to all sources of XP, so it will also be possible, for example, to keep a level 60 character to enjoy the max-level dungeon and raid content from the original game.

Stockton said that there are plans to introduce equipment rewards - "mostly greens and the occasional blue item" - for players to roll on at the end of battlegrounds, but these will come after patch 3.2.

Stockton also promises that Blizzard will put more effort into creating new battlegrounds in future, after arguably focusing on arenas for the last two years. "We plan to deliver more Battlegrounds to the players as often as we can," he said. "We see Battlegrounds as a very large and important part of the World of Warcraft PvP game and we would like to expand the system as much as we can."

The Call of the Crusade patch also slashes mount requirements, adds an 80-player battleground called Isle of Conquest, substantially reduces the power of Death Knights, adds fancy new Druid animal form skins, and introduces the Crusaders' Coliseum, a new amphitheatre-style dungeon featuring five encounters covering all group sizes and difficulty settings.

Detailed on the official forum, the Coliseum will feature a 5-player dungeon with three encounters, and a 10- and 25-player raid with five encounters, each available in both Normal and Heroic modes. Heroic raids will also feature a new Tribute system, offering better rewards the fewer attempts it takes to down the final boss.

It's a huge patch with something for everyone, then, and shows promising signs of an effort from Blizzard to revive WOW's flagging PVP scene. If you're hungry for more info, try WOW.com (formerly WOWInsider).

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