Is Dragonflight a Bust for PvP?

Dragonflight brought new excitement for the World of Warcraft PvP community after two very lackluster back-to-back expansions in Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands. Shadowlands, in many players eyes, was one of, if not the worst, expansions for PvP the game has had. Dragonflight was a return to the Warlords of Draenor PvP gearing system–which players had been asking for–and an introduction to rated solo shuffle, the game’s first solo queue rated pvp game feature. A solo queue system is another feature players have been clamoring fore. So let’s take a look at the steps taken forward and the failures in the expansion so far.

Rated Solo Shuffle

First, let’s talk about Rated Solo Shuffle (RSS).  Players have wanted a rated PvP solo queue system for quite some time now, and RSS delivers that.  It gives players a way to just log in and queue for rated PvP. With an outdated looking for group (LFG) system and a dwindling player base to choose from, it is a welcome feature for most players.  For the most part it has been received well and has been so active it has hindered the activity in 2v2 arena, 3v3 arena and Rated Battlegrounds (RBGs) quite noticeably.

However, Rated Solo Shuffle has not come without its share of issues.  Upon launch there was an issue with players leaving RSS matches before they finished with very little punishment for doing so.  They also would receive no hit to their matchmaking rating (MMR) for leaving. This was certainly a big oversight in my opinion and already works that way in all other forms of rated PvP.  This led to players leaving matches early more often in order to preserve the MMR, especially the higher ranked a player was.  The biggest negative was the other players who did not leave the match early would receive no credit for the match at all.  The Devs fixed the MMR issue about a month into the season and players didn’t start receiving credit for matches when a player left early until patch 10.0.5.  The features should have been active when RSS launched. These were all oversights that should have been thought of ahead of time and were reported all the way back in the beta and PTR.

PvP Class Balance

The next thing to discuss is PvP class balance. This has been a hot topic in World of Warcraft PvP since the game’s existence.  Everyone has their favorite and least favorite expansions when they remember class balance.  A welcome sight in Dragonflight is it has had much more frequent class balancing.  Minus the holiday when the devs were on vacation, class balance occurrs on a weekly basis and sometimes multiple times a week when needed.  This is a  welcome change from Shadowlands, where it seemed like PvP balancing was lucky to happen once a month and many needed changes didn’t occur until the 9.2.5 patch: one year and six months after the expansions launched. It is a refreshing change to see the frequency of needed changes is far more regular from just the expansion before.

But balancing DF has still had many issues, even with the frequent changes.  At the start of the season, Demon Hunters and Shadow Priests were really strong and dominated all rated arena ladders.  Changes didn’t occur until after the holidays, almost 4 weeks into the season.  Soon after, classes started to get their 4 piece set bonus from the class tier sets. Assasination Rogues became an issue due to their strength, but they weren’t addressed until shortly before patch 10.0.7 launched: almost 2 months from when most players were getting full tier bonuses.  But none of those compared to what patch 10.0.7 had in store for us.

In the release of patch 10.0.7, we saw a rework of the Retribution Paladin specialization.  The result was the most destructively broken specs to hit PvP in the history of the game.  We saw some Ret Paladins jump anywhere from 300 to even 1000 rating points on 3v3 ladder and RSS ladder just days after the patch’s release.  Ret Paladin became the most played DPS spec, more than any other DPS spec combined minus just Demonology Warlocks and Arms Warriors.  Arms Warriors were largely what Ret Paladins played with as well, but Ret Paladins had extremely high play rates on a daily basis compared to everything else because of their damage and their utility of being able to keep themselves and their teammates alive. They had a counter to almost every attack after the rework.  Blizzard even put out a large amount of nerfs on them after the first week that seem to not even put a dent in Ret’s activity on the ladder.  Even as I write this, and with more nerfs coming in, Ret Paladin is still the most played spec on the ladders by far.  The most frustrating thing, according to what I have seen on various platforms or discussed with fellow gamers, is that  overall most people were enjoying DF PVP until patch 10.0.7 Now it is deemed as one of the worst patches in WOW PVP History.

With patch 10.1 coming May 2, it will be interesting to see if any of the issues we have seen in the first few patches of Dragonflight will be improved upon.  While we have seen a few nice improvements, a lot of the same frustrations still remain.  There are a few worrisome things coming in 10.1 (like the importance of crafted gear), but we will see how that all plays out. The frequenecy of balancing  in Dragonflight is a welcome change. However, more frequent balancing doesn’t mean a whole lot when major imbalances are allowed to remain even with frequent tuning.  We still also haven’t seen or heard anything about a new battleground or any new more casual rewards.  Rated Solo Shuffle still has a few things that need addressing as well. 

Hopefully, those are things on the table that come soon.

Oasis Community

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Want to see what specialization or gear your favorite player is using? Want to know what comps are being played the most?  What are the most popular classes being played?  Look no further than for any information you need! From statistical breakdowns, individual players gear and specializations, to 2s,3s, RBG, and Solo Shuffle rankings Drustvar has everything you need to stay ahead of the game.  It’s the player armory on steroids!


PvP Expert

Mhortai is a PvP writer for Bonus Roll Productions and an admin in the Oasis WoW Community. He is also an active member of the Technically PvP podcast community and can be found via his twitter or chatting in Bonus Roll’s TPVP discord channel.