Why PVP Needs an Easier Path to Competitiveness

It’s not hard to feel sorry for PVP these days. The game mode is all but dead and the most recent livestream didn’t reveal any hint that it might change this year. I’m additionally amazed how little the devs and the community seem to understand what PVP is really lacking. I see tons of threads discussing various minor balancing issues. Too much healing, one-rotating builds. This stuff does matter, but is a secondary issue right now. Then Thomas Foss mentioned dueling and maybe an additional map during the stream. Apart from the fact that this is months away because they haven’t even started working on it, nobody is playing PVP on the four maps we have. What makes you think that an additional one or looking into 1v1 and 3v3 will change that?

Even queues are not the #1 priority any longer

Of course the queues and matchmaking remain a valid point. But even that discussion was so Mod 8 when some guys were actually still interested. Don’t get my wrong, I still think a permanent solo queue for a competitive leaderboard plus a premade one to arrange matches has to happen. But it’s no longer a pressing issue with a constant decline in PVP interest. What we really need right now is an easier path to competitiveness for new players that are interested in the game mode.

Too much PVE in PVP

To understand the issue we need to look into the progression system for a second. There are several factors involved that work against PVP. First of all players interested in PVP need to do way too much PVE. There’s the Tenacity gear, but all the Refining, Enchantments and Weapon sets have to be grinded in dungeons or acquired through campaigns. And since you need a specific build to do PVE, you can’t effectively PVP at the same time. Builds and setups are too different. Loadouts will presumably deal with that a bit, but it doesn’t solve all of the issue. Worst case is you need two completely different sets of gear and enchantments. Plus today’s mandatory Bonding companion in a completely wasted asset in PVP.

Secondly you need to be in (near) best-in-slot equipment to be truly competitive in PVP. That’s important because the grind to the top is long, and gets longer with every module. Few people are willing to take on that kind of commitment, much less with the current state PVP is in. It doesn’t help that PVE does not require the same item levels, you can master any content way before “bis”. The gap between the PVE progression end and PVP progression start is where a lot of players understandably get lost.

To sum it up: PVP has incredibly high requirements. And even if players ignored them, they wouldn’t be able to simply blend into the game mode along their way, because they have to build for PVE first and invest ADs in areas unrelated to PVP. That’s far from ideal.

Disconnect the sibling

PVE and PVP are different game modes, so let’s treat them that way. There’s literally no reason why little Lisa at item level 2,400 shouldn’t be able to play competitive PVP. The game mode needs players, we can’t start thinking PVP at 4k. I’m not saying she should instantly rock the arena, but as it is right now she would need to invest months and years to even get started. I think players that are interested in PVP early in their Neverwinter career, and try out Domination, are just getting scared off. Either by the imbalance or by the ridiculous high requirements. Overall gear is a much too important factor.

There are several ways to change that, but everything requires a complete overhaul of the current system. PVP shouldn’t overlap with or succeed PVE any longer, at least much less than it’s the case right now. It should mostly work next to it.

PVP Enchantments

To achieve this, PVP needs its own set of Enchantments, attainable in and only usable for PVP. A large chunk of progression is refining und you need those higher ranks to be competitive. Especially Weapon and Armor Enchantments can make a decisive difference in a fight on Pure and Transcendent level. So let’s talk Battle Enchantments, that are Rank 7 / Lesser in PVE, but boost to Rank 12 / Transcendent in PVP. Those could be available for currency or in a redesigned PVP campaign as repeatable task.

In the same way I would introduce PVP Artifact Weapon sets that are easier to get and upgrade, but lose most stats in PVE.


There was a thread about standardization on the Arcgames message board and I like this one as well. The basic idea is to give all characters the same amount of stat points and base damage in PVP, independent of their gear. Even if you hand out limited buffs based on item level as proposed in the thread, any level 70 toon would at least be viable to play PVP. The focus would completely shift from gear to skill, which actually would be great.

Tenacity as environmental stat

This alone won’t make it, but I like the idea of giving everyone a fixed amount of Tenacity to work with and scratch the stat from armors. That way PVE players have an easier path to PVP and won’t need to put extra grind in to get the mandatory stat. It however helps little in other areas.

No matter how you do it, PVP needs lower barriers to compete and that’s the #1 issue right now. Unless the system gets fundamentally changed, no new queues or maps or balance will help getting more players into the game mode. Do you agree or have another opinion on how PVP should be fixed? Share your thoughts in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

Neverwinter UN:Blogged is always looking for writers to contribute to the blog. If you are an active player and search for a way to spread your opinions, analysis, diaries or reviews to more than 40,000 regular visitors, then don’t hesitate and get in touch with us on our contact page or message board! We are currently especially looking for console and PVP content, but that’s not exclusive. There is no frequency requirement, you post how often you want.


j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

9 thoughts on “Why PVP Needs an Easier Path to Competitiveness

  • March 14, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I agree with the premise. My first approach would be two-fold:

    (1) remove tenacity from gear and give everyone same amount. Adjust amount to achieve desired tanky/spanky mix.
    (2) bring back the old stat curves for pvp only. And add a stat curve for power and hp, where hardcap on power is 30% and hardcap on hp is 140k. Me or ayroux will likely make a post about this soon.

  • March 14, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t play pvp but u think its not too difficult to figure out a system that would work. At pwe they have just released a free game that’s purely pvp,sorry forgot the name, so why don’t they just ask their colleagues on how they could improve their pvp for neverwinter?!

  • March 14, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    I’ve been playing this for years now, and have always been a PVP fan, and Im a free to play kind of player, at the moment I have 3 transcendent enchants and 1 perfect… Was it easy? Nope… This grind was necessary to get to a level where competitive PVP is actually a thing. About the enchants, Id say make new ones, obtainable through pvp campaign and Refined with glory… The more you fight, the better you get, this would make people start early on their careers, instead of low lvl pvp being full of bots. Also, the event was perfect, everyone loved it, what did they do? Never spoke of it again… The things they’re doing right, are bad for business… So they wont keep them up for long. New 1v1 area got me excited for pvp again. But for now… Pve it is… At least now its rewarding…

  • March 15, 2017 at 10:21 am

    This is is the most peculiar solution for PVP. Going into PVP it always give you the sense of being under geared and getting obliterated. Is there a Item level bracket in place i.e every 250 levels or a sub category within that bracket that takes the total of the whole team e.g. 5 team at 2000-2250 IL and match makes towards another team at the total level.
    Looking at PVP there is no real incentive to try it as the rewards seem pitiful compared to doing PVE. This can be changed by including the “Dungeon Key Changes” as drops and revising the rewards that are more attainable/achievable.Most of this can be solved providing an alternative in the Glory Shop and as rewards upon completion.
    An example would be the Twisted Set. In PVE this is done by achieving a Silver/Gold rank in Master Demogorgon. In PVP an alternative could be to make the Twisted Ichor purchasable with Glory. The Glory Shop is in dire need of updating for progression outside of PVE. Rank 7/8’s, weapon enchantments, armour enchants, more artifacts, genie’s gifts (shorten campaign), refinement materials.
    Conclusion is PVP is separate from PVE but it is not insufficiently independent for gear progression/item level/AD rewards.

  • March 19, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Yes it is a time consuming frustrating system .
    I have a 4.2k item level in pve but if I go into domination I will get curb stomped.
    Even with over 50k power without bonding
    But to make another gear set as I must carry 3 already is ridiculous .
    My normal solo set
    My group Dps set
    My ice resistant set
    And a pvp set now also

    And I am sorry but getting all the enchants for each set to rank 12
    New companions ranked and bond stones for each .
    Then refining the gear on each set max not to mention empowering the gear itself

    Do they have any clue how much this costs? Or how long it takes ?

    It’s kinda the reason why pvp doesn’t see any new blood.
    The system itself is crazy too as I can hit a main endgame boss for 3.2 million damage shadow of demise but can’t win a pvp match .
    I played wow a long time and loved pvp we had won the 3v3 arena title twice . I believe my rating was only 3500 so I wasn’t a pvp God but decent but I could wear my tier 12 set and do fine no need to put on pvp gear though it would help but not doing it wouldn’t cripple you
    In neverwinter it’s a must which is sad as most of the endgame guilds are pve focused now .
    I feel without drastic changes pvp in neverwinter will be an oxymoron

  • July 3, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Agree with the premise totally. There are many things they can do to fix it, but i feel they want to pressure people into spending money to compete, and i have. What irks me the most is that i some players can literally go afk on a node, and i cant kill them. WTF. I just run attacks on them for 45 seconds and oh so slowly start to get them to 90% health. Yes, there is some skill that goes into capturing nodes but damn.

  • January 18, 2018 at 8:20 am

    I know this is an old thread, but I just qued up for pvp in Neverwinter for the first time after playing the game since about June 2017. I looked up a pvp guide and rolled a character specifically with pvp abilitity scores. I was very disappointed when I got to max level I was getting one shot over and over again. I basically didn’t contribute (with a hair under an 8K item level).

    To make matters worse someone from my (losing) team whispered me after the game and told me not to que up for pvp until I get a 11K item level. The barrier to entry is real indeed. I just want to que up and play!

  • January 18, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Solo Queue and Global Tenacity did not address IL (weapons, artifacts, enchants, and boons) and class imbalances in PvP. As a result, jumping straight in to PvP as a fresh lvl 70 is like throwing yourself into Tong or FBI with a similar IL score…it’s not likely to go well. There currently isn’t enough player base to institute bracketed IL PvP matches so you get thrown in with people with substantially higher stats, which creates a vicious loop because it deters other new people from joining. The changes did make it more viable for mid/end-game PvE players to enter PvP without having to overly tweak their gear to contribute/be competitive. Loadouts also made it so people could make and maintain separate PvE and PvP builds, which did generate some flexibility. The result is that the barriers are lowered, but only slightly, as demonstrated by solo queue matches popping somewhat faster than under the prior system (5-10 mins for a match pop as opposed to greater than an hour), but not enough has been done on the reward side to make PvP attractive to a wider audience. For example, a 10-15 minute match win in Domination will net you some Glory, a blue unidentified item that can be converted to 150 RP, and about 500 AD. In the same amount of time, you could easily run your daily leveling dungeon for around 10,000 AD for considerably less effort and stress and repeat that on multiple alts who aren’t geared/specced for PvP. As a result, there is no reward comparison and if you want to stay competitive in PvP, you are almost forced to run PvE (weapon sets, campaign boons, enchant upgrades, mount insignia) or pay a significant AD premium. You can’t stay competitive by only PvPing, at least not with near the same amount of time and effort.

    They could change the rewards in PvP to provide an alternative option for PvE by adding campaign currency, enchants, and refinement options to the Glory stores (e.g., sell UES for 50K Glory and more people would PvP) and increase the AD return on match time to make it comparable to PvE (add purple salvage items to match rewards would be one easy way). The Storming the Castle weekly Stronghold quest somewhat addresses this by adding Chult currency to the rewards – though most people private queue to complete this and forego the public queue rewards and avoid the actual PvP aspect of the participation, though I wish more people would queue Siege as it would at least be a change of pace.

    There are lots of community suggestions to improve PvP that would be easy to implement. I personally like Tolkeinbuff’s rainbow queue suggestion that limits teams to at most one of the FOTM class and thus avoids ability/class stacking (I’m guilty of some hypocrisy here as I am opposed to group composition restrictions in PvE so I would only apply this in solo queue). It doesn’t address the underlying imbalances, but it does help mitigate their impact. True standardization is another option highlighted in this article that would also make it so that anyone could jump into PvP, but then you would start to deal with retention issues as there would be no real improvement in your character unless the matches included worthwhile rewards (e.g., AD or RP).

  • April 18, 2018 at 11:46 am

    The solo que really has partially revived the PVP scene; albeit a little late. They have continually shown no attention to PVP.

    That being said; I find the PVP incredibly fun and challenging. Once you reach a high item level (currently I would say 11k-12k is necessary to be competitive) the game come down to what you choose to use for equipment and enchants coupled with the build you design; I find tweaking the perfect build to be very rewarding. I wish there was something we could do to encourage more people to play; now that you can avoid being stomped by a premade more people do que up. But conversely when weak people que without proper gear/spec it really does screw the team over sometimes (it may have even been me that messaged you; but I promise I did it as nicely as possible!)

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