Ragar looks at the rotating bonus weekends on the PTR
Hello and welcome to the 6th edition of Formerly Hardcore, ZAM’s column on Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft. For this column, we’re going to take a look at some of the features from the patch 6.2 Public Test Realm. Last time we talked about the new 5-man options coming in 6.2: Mythic and Timewalker. When I was describing Timewalker dungeons, I mentioned that they would be limited to specific extended weekends (Friday through Monday) on a rotation schedule of bonus events where Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King Timewalker dungeons would make up two of the possible seven events.
In addition to all of the discussion about whether or not locking Timewalker behind weekend events was the best way to go about things, there was the question of what those other five weekend events would be. That question was answered last week with the Bonus Events and Adventure Guide on the official site. So what other events will patch 6.2 bring us to entice us into running different content?
PvE: 5-Mans, Apexis Crystals and Oil
Of the seven weekend events, four of them are strictly PvE. The two we’re already familiar with are the Timewalker weekends, one for BC dungeons and one for WotLK dungeons. If you missed our last column where we explained the system, essentially you’re re-running those old dungeons from the two previous expansions with your level and gear scaled down to what you would have had back in the day when you were running those Heroics as relevant content. You’ll retain all of your spells, abilities and talents though. Blizzard acknowledges that while it can potentially screw up balance to allow newer abilities through, it’s not fun as a player to have your toys taken away and your rotation potentially screwed up. Coming from someone who ran dungeons in Final Fantasy XIV, I can vouch for it being obnoxious to suddenly have part of your rotation not work when you’re running an old dungeon with friends or through Duty Finder.
Not everything’s scaled back when it comes to Timewalker dungeons though – all of the loot you receive from these dungeons is scaled up to whatever your current level is, so if you queued up at level 100 with a level 73 friend on BC weekend and you both got loot, he would have level 73 equipment drops while yours would all be level 100, even if it’s the same exact sword/chest/trinket/etc. On top of that, there’s the actual weekend rewards for Timewalker dungeons. If you complete three Timewalker dungeons as part of a quest during the event, you’ll receive a Seal for another raid bonus roll, but this one doesn’t count towards your weekly cap of three seals. Between the scaled up gear and the bonus loot roll Seal, Timewalker weekends will be a great way to help get that fresh 100 alt you’ve got ready for Hellfire Citadel LFR/Normal.
Our second type of 5-man content bonus weekend is tied to the non-Timewalker dungeons in Warlords of Draenor. While this event is taking place, defeating enemies in a WoD dungeon will award reputation with an appropriate faction, similar to how dungeon reputation used to work in older expansion. That bonus is for all of the WoD dungeons, regardless of difficulty, but the bonus part of this weekend event is tied to the new Mythic difficulty. If you complete two Mythic dungeons as part of a quest, you’ll get a cache from the new Hellfire Citadel raid. Not only that, but that cache will be Heroic quality, meaning that you’ll get at item level 705 to 720 gear from running two Mythic dungeons during the event, depending on which boss the cache pulls loot from. Not a bad reward on top of the 680-700 loot you’re already getting from running a Mythic dungeon.
That just leaves us with one more PvE-only weekend event, all about Apexis Crystals. During this weekend event, you’ve got a 300% boosted drop rate for Apexis Crystals from any creature on Draenor eligible to drop them. If you’ve got something you’ve been wanting to buy for Apexis Crystals, be it gear, pets, mounts, etc, this is the weekend to farm them. As for the quest portion of this bonus weekend, that’s tied to the area assault objectives you’re familiar with from doing your Apexis dailies. If you complete three of these area assault objectives while the event’s going on, you’ll be rewarded with Oil, the new resource used by your Shipyard to fuel Naval Missions. No word on how much Oil you’ll receive other than it’s “a sizable amount”, but considering that it’s a new resource and I doubt we’ll be able to convert Garrison Resources to Oil, any extra we can get will just mean more missions to run and more potential loot early on.
PvP: Battlegrounds and Arena Skirmishes
Two of the remaining three bonus weekend events are for the PvPers out there. We’ll start with the most obvious one: Battlegrounds. PvPers are already familiar with weekend events, but this time the goal isn’t to concentrate players on one specific battleground to reduce queue times. When the Battleground weekend event is going on, you’ll receive triple Honor Points whenever you run a random BG. In addition, by completing the event quest to win a few random BGs, you’ll get 500 Conquest Points, which do not count towards your weekly Conquest cap. The Arena Skirmish weekend event basically operates the same as the BG weekend. Any random Skirmishes you complete will earn you triple Honor and completing the quest to win several random Arena Skirmishes will net you another 500 Conquest Points that don’t count towards your cap.
I’m curious to see just how much of an impact the two PvP weekends will have on queue times and participation in PvP. On the one hand it makes it much easier for new players and those two just didn’t PvP before to jump in and quickly earn gear to be competitive. You’ll still be undergeared compared to those who have been hitting their Conquest cap all season, but with a quick set of Honor gear, at least you won’t explode as soon as you’re spotted. On the other hand, it is introducing chaos into the PvP system whenever you do an event like this. PvP veterans probably remember what happens whenever a holiday event asks for something in a Battleground or when the Mists of Pandaria legendary quest chain wanted you to PvP. You enjoyed those easy early kills from the newbies who were undergeared and didn’t know what they were doing, but later on it got frustrating when you couldn’t complete objectives because everyone was inexperienced. Considering they’re limited to weekend events and rotating with all of the PvE events, they’ll probably be spaced out enough that both the veterans and the new PvP players are satisfied.
PvE/P: Pet Battles
Our final bonus weekend event falls somewhere between PvE and PvP content: Pet Battles. If you’ve never tried pet battling or you’ve held off because your pets are low level, this is the weekend for you. During this weekend event, all pet battles will earn you triple pet experience. Considering how slow it is to level pets, even with the Safari Hat’s 10% bonus, this is an extremely important weekend for pet battlers. Now is the time to level up all of those cool looking raid drop pets as well as get your team filled out for the Master Pet Tamer battles.
The bonus pet experience is great by itself, but we still have the event quest to talk about and that’s where the PvP comes in. Your quest for this weekend: win five PvP pet battles. Should you succeed, your reward is an Ultimate Battle-Training Stone. With this stone you can take one of your pets and completely skip the leveling process – it instantly levels any pet to the max of 25. Even if you have your main team all set up, winning a few of these between now and the expansion means that the moment you find that cool new Rare quality pet out in the world or that achievement reward pet comes in, you can skip all of the grinding and have them battle ready with a single consumable item.
That’s it for the bonus weekend events coming with patch 6.2. I’m glad that they’re mixing things up between PvE and PvP content. The fact that Pet Battles get their own weekend is great in my opinion, especially with that bonus XP to help people powerlevel their new pets and to help new pet battlers get up to speed more quickly. There is the question though about event length. While making them Friday through Monday does at least give some leeway for those players who just flatout can’t play Saturday and Sunday, there are still players out there who mostly play during the middle of the week. In addition, what about those folks who happen to be out of town during the once-every-seven-weeks event they’ve been looking forward to? If these events were a week long, that would at least cover the majority of those players while also giving folks a reason to log on during the middle of the week when it’s not raid night.
As for me, I’m all about the dungeon and pet battle events. It’ll be fun to run Timewalker dungeons and get some new gear for my alts, the reputation bonus will help me finish off those other WoD reps that I haven’t capped yet, and I’d never say no to a cache full of Heroic loot from the new raid. I’m not completely sold on the Apexis weekend event, but I also just didn’t find much use for the Apexis gear in general. For how much work they took to earn, they were replaced too quickly. On the other hand, it does make it that much easier to get the couple of cosmetic and fun items I’d like to have, plus I’ll probably have to do them anyway just for the Oil to power my Shipyard. As for the PvP… it’s great for those players looking to jump into PvP and for those veterans with alts they want to gear up for whatever their new arena comp is, but for me personally, if I want to scratch my PvP itch with WoW characters, I’d rather run around as Uther in Heroes of the Storm.
That’s it for this edition of Formerly Hardcore. What do you think about the new bonus weekend events? Is there enough variety for you? Would you prefer if they were longer? Do you think the events need to overlap to make them occur more than once every seven weeks? Let us know in the comments below.
Michael “Ragar” Branham