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PvP gear problems in Wildstar and solutions

July 31, 2014

When it comes to Wildstar PvP, I am in love with the actual process of fighting and playing the game modes. What I am not in love with is the massive gear disparity and the problems that come with having gear attached to rating. Here are some of my thoughts and what is going to happen, per Kevin Lee (Lead PvP Designer for Wildstar).

Current Situation

First off, as you might have noticed, there are some balance issues in the game right now. Two things stick out:

1. 1800 rated gear is vastly superior to non-rated blues. As Taugrim explains neatly in this article, it is like a Middle-schooler facing King Leonidas of Sparta. There is literally no way a comparably-skilled player will be able to win against 1800 gear in non-rated blues. Here are the increases in values of stats on live right now when going from non-rated gear to the 1800 gear:

Offense 6%
Healing 8%
Defense 21%
Health 7%
Shield 18%
Assault 28% (!)
Support -3%
Armor 18%

2. Warriors and Engineers have lower scaling for assault power (in other words, they gain more damage per point of AP). This means that they are scaling far too much in assault power by upgrading to the 1800 gear, which is why the 1800 sword is BiS for raiding. This should never be.

In addition to the gear issues, there are problems with people constantly getting queued up against high-rated players with 1800 gear, for two reasons.

One, the system doesn’t split them up enough, deciding to go ahead and pop a game if the 1800 player doesn’t have enough in his bracket to fight, which means 1800s face non-1800s and faceroll.

Two, the system doesn’t properly award points, so you gain less for a win than you lose for a loss, creating a never ending spiral down to low rating.

Good News

The good news is that there are progressive changes on the way.

First, there are the changes in the Sabotage patch that dropped today to make gear a bit easier to obtain, provided you can win a few games occasionally (more on that in a bit). The rating requirement changes are as follows:

Gear New Rating Req Old Rating Req
1 Implant 1250 1500
1 Weapon Attch 1250 1500
1 Energy Shield 1300 1500
1 Support System 1300 1500
1 Hands 1350 1500
1 Feet 1350 1500
1 Legs 1400 1500
1 Shoulder 1400 1500
1 Head 1450 1500
1 Chest 1450 1500
1 Weapon 1500 1500
1 Gadget 1500 1600
2 Implant 1550 1800
2 Weapon Attachment 1550 1800
2 Energy Shield 1600 1800
2 Support System 1600 1800
2 Hands 1650 1800
2 Feet 1650 1800
2 Legs 1700 1800
2 Shoulder 1700 1800
2 Head 1750 1800
2 Chest 1750 1800
2 Weapon 1800 1800
2 Elder Gadget 1800 1900

So that means that you will be able to make gear progress more often…if you win.

The second change that will help facilitate wins, I believe the rating formula has been changed in Drop 2 so it is lost slower than it is gained. Before this patch, you could actually lose more for a loss than you could gain for a win. This has bad effects two different ways. One, you can easily tank your rating if you get on a bad losing streak, and winning streaks happen way less often than losing streaks. Two, 1800-geared players can decrease their rating to get down to the level where they get fast queues really easily, making it so people who have no gear and 1000 rating trying to earn their way back up can get matched with 1800-geared players that don’t care about rating anymore.

Another thing that will help wins is there is a revised matching formula that is better at keeping 1800s from getting matched with much lower ratings.

Also, Kevin Lee confirmed to me on Twitter that the itemization guys are looking at the PvP gear gap between the 1800 and blue gear (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4). There is no ETA on any changes, but they are looking at them, so surely they will see the drastic changes are too much.

Finally, there are also changes in the way PvP gear stats are scaling in the Sabotage patch that dropped today. Before, the PvP stats would hit a soft cap with only three pieces of gear, and that problem has been fixed with better scaling. Just look at the two graphs below of rating vs. percentage for the difference.

Note the logarithmic scaling that gives a soft cap of around 40% PvP offense.

Note the logarithmic scaling that gives a soft cap of around 40% PvP offense.


Note the linear scaling in all of the PvP percentages.

Note the linear scaling in all of the PvP percentages.


Because of the way the stats will scale now (linearly) vs. the way they scaled before (logarithmically), there should always be benefit to adding more PvP gear.

Another change with the way the stats were calculated is that, instead of countering PvP defense only, PvP offense will now simply boost damage on a player, which will then be countered by PvP defense. This means that PvE items will no longer be as useful in PvP.

The addition of the PvP healing stat will actually be toning down healing in battlegrounds (according to Lead Class Designer Hugh Shelton on the most recent Nexus Report), which is needed, and it will provide incentive for healers to wear PvP gear (as well as the PvP defense it provides). The PvP healing and offense percentages will both be derived from the “PvP Power” stat on the gear, allowing back-end changes to occur if healing needs more tweaking.


Overall, there are some problems, but Carbine is moving in the right direction, and PvP should be stronger than ever for it! What do you think about the changes? Let me know in the comments below!

  1. August 1, 2014 at 2:10 am

    I play a melee lifesteal esper in pvp. The changes made me way more squishy but i feel like that’s accurate. Before I could go toe-to-toe with any melee hulk but now I have to be more careful, kind of harass and harry the enemy slingers and healers and then fire a storm into the damage ball. IMO I shouldn’t be able to stand in the damage ball and wail on warriors.

    Also, the wide reports of the death of healing just make me want to take up healing again. Already tinkering with gear and runes to boost pvp power and evolve conventional healing strategy.

  1. August 12, 2014 at 8:34 pm
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