World PvP refers to Player vs. Player activities taking place in the wider game world, rather than in a battleground, Arena or PvP zone. World PvP may refer to organised or spontaneous activities, but does not refer to duels.
World PvP usually refers to spontaneous combat between two or more players, simply for the thrill of battle. However, certain zones feature specific objectives which encourage world PvP, either through their placement or through offering bonuses to players of the faction which currently controls those objectives, or even by directly rewarding PvP kills. Some zones even focus exclusively on world PvP, featuring powerful NPCs and capturable Towers and bases, and offering rewards similar to battlegrounds for defeating the enemy faction in battle.
In contrast to the ordered, structured experience of arena or battleground play, world PvP is unpredictable, unbalanced and usually unprovoked, and can offer some of the wildest and most unfair PvP to be found.
War Mode is an open-world PvP option.
Alternate PvP item levels
- Main article: PvP item level
All PvP gear automatically scales up to a higher item level as soon as the player engages in PvP combat. This gives players in PvP gear and advantage in PvP combat including world PvP, above the stats available while tackling PvE content. Each piece of PvP gear has its alternate PvP item level displayed on its tooltip.
- "World PvP has never been fair. World PvP can be the most amazing experience, but often it is is a dog eat dog eat situation where people will do anything for a kill... sportsmanship be damned." - Vaneras
World PvP covers a wide range of potential activities, but primarily refers to spontaneous PvP combat between two or more players within the normal game world. World PvP is therefore far more common on PvP servers, where all players are automatically enabled for PvP combat in most zones. The free occurrence of world PvP is the defining difference between PvP and PvE servers.
World PvP tends to be the most unbalanced of all PvP, and frequently features players of far larger numbers or higher level on one side than the other. Characters may be set upon by a group of opposing players, or levelling players may be ganked repeatedly by a max level player. Gearing differences also impact world PvP far more than other forms of PvP, as many players who find themselves being engaged in world PvP will be wearing PvE gear.
As such, world PvP is also to some the most natural and most enjoyable of all forms of PvP. In contrast to the structured encounters of other forms, world PvP is entirely unrestricted, unbalanced and often unplanned. It features some the of most spontaneous PvP in the game, with players finding themselves up against unknown opponents of unpredictable strength and numbers. World PvP lacks the objectives of battlegrounds and PvP zones, and lacks the balance and fine-tuning of Arena compositions. It is the most simple and unfair of all PvP, into which the player may be thrust without warning, at any time.
World PvP is frequently non-consensual, with unwilling participants ganked by more combative players. A typical example of world PvP might see one player ambushing another as they go about other activities, such as questing or gathering resources. As such, the attacked party is frequently unprepared for combat, and may lack the gear, specialization, talents and glyphs, playing experience and/or simply the inclination to participate in PvP combat. Conversely, the attacker is usually a player who enjoys PvP combat, frequently engages in it, and likely has appropriate gear and customisations in place. Since initiating such combat is entirely optional, participation in world PvP tends to be skewed heavily toward PvP players, often those with substantial experience and powerful PvP gear.
A large factor in the enjoyment of world PvP is the thrill of attacking an unprepared opponent, or of spotting a nearby player stalking you, and wondering if they are about to attack. Many players choose to play on PvP servers for precisely this reason: the ever-present threat of attack, the need for constant vigilance in case of ambush, and the potential for unplanned mayhem at any time. This can add a whole extra level to the game when exploring the world and engaging in mundane tasks such as farming dailies, bringing a genuine sense of danger and surprise to the otherwise fairly safe and predictable world zones.
World PvP most often occurs either solo or in small pre-formed groups. Players may find themselves banding together with nearby allies, or suddenly assaulted by a passing player of the opposing faction, just when victory was within their grasp. Smaller instances of world PvP can spiral into wide-scale faction battles if friends and guild-mates are called upon to join the fray. However, the majority of spontaneous world PvP features only a few players.
Motivations for world PvP vary. While all honorable kills reward players with , these rewards are generally minuscule in comparison to those readily obtainable through means such as battlegrounds. Within special world PvP-oriented zones (see below), specific objectives are often the reason for engagement. However, outside of these situations, the most common motivation is simple enjoyment, at least from the perspective of the attacker.
- "The evil side of me wants to just reply and say something along the lines of "PVP is Death. There's no escape, your character will eventually be killed, ganked, roflstomped and massacred over and over again. The only question is 'when'"." - Draztal, Blizzard CM
Just how far to take world PvP is an individual choice which must be made in each encounter. Some players will attack a target once, and if they defeat them, move on. However, the defeated player may well consider themselves entitled to a rematch, and seek out their attack to exact revenge (successfully or not). In other cases, a player may pursue a single target repeatedly, especially when there is a specific objective to be achieved, and especially if the attacked party has little or no chance of defending themselves. In these cases the attacker may follow their prey to the graveyard, and immediately attack them as soon as they respawn. Graveyard and corpse camping is generally frowned upon, but is still commonly observed.
For many, determining how keen the target is to engage in PvP is key to deciding how far to press the attack. Some players can enjoy engaging in tit-for-tat PvP encounters for protracted periods, while some opponents will seek to flee such encounters as soon as possible. Common courtesy dictates that if a player appears to genuinely wish not to engage in world PvP, the player should leave them alone. However, others may consider any PvP target fair game. Similarly, if the opponent simply stands and offers no opposition, some will take it as a sign of surrender, and leave without claiming a kill, while for others, this simply represents an easy victory. Each player must decide for themselves how far to take each encounter.
As an unbalanced and spontaneous form of PvP, world PvP also features the largest possibility for griefing and harassment of players. This may be intended or unintended, or for some may simply be considered part of the experience. Solutions to graveyard camping and prolonged one-sided pursuit include waiting for the attacker to leave (or simply log an alt, or engage in another activity for a while), and contacting friends or guild-mates to even things up a bit. Players can also avoid world PvP by staying near guards where possible, not leaving their characters unattended in contested zones, or simply by choosing to play on a PvE server. It should be noted that Blizzard makes a specific distinction between same-faction griefing and disputes involving members of the opposite faction on PvP realms, in order to prevent players who are simply enjoying the ruleset of PvP realms from being punished for doing so. In general, players on PvP realms should expect to experience far more direct and engaging interaction with players of the opposite faction, and GMs will not intervene in cross-faction player disputes on these realms, except in cases of extreme or excessive harassment.
However, world PvP need not be an exercise in conflict and aggravation. Some opponents in world PvP will part amicably, with a /wave or /salute, and some friendships have even started through a little mutual ganking. Since direct communication is prohibited cross-faction, players may use opposite-faction alts to later communicate with their sparring partners, although disgruntled players may sometimes use such means to verbally abuse their attackers.
World PvP is most productive when both parties are enjoying the encounter. As such, revenge through inviting allies to join the battle is a solution commonly offered by Blizzard representatives to the problem of uninvited world PvP.
Sometimes Alliance and Horde guilds may schedule events as part of a roleplay event or a friendly PvP match. These events are typically seen only on RP-PvP servers where such roleplaying events may lead to war or a skirmish between guilds, resulting in an attack on an opposing town or stronghold. Then, raid groups on both sides may take part in the battle to defend against or overrun their opponent. Naturally, these sieges are organized by the guild leaders and/or officers of both sides. This helps to prevent confusion and let both sides know that the battle will be In Character.
The battle usually ends when one side refuses to resurrect or retreats from the area under siege. Generally, roleplay etiquette has the attacking force withdraw with their victory and leave the vanquished defenders to resurrect and carry on with business or launch a counterattack.
Certain world zones feature special objectives which encourage combat between players, or even provide specific incentives for engaging in world PvP. PvP activities in these zones may be part of dailies and reward structures, or may offer special bonuses to all players of the faction which controls certain objectives. In some cases these zones bring max-level players close to a levelling area feature lower-level characters, while others are specifically designed as a boost for levelling characters passing through the zone, and have no benefits beyond that area.
While these zones add structure to the generally free-form pursuit of world PvP, participation is still characteristically unbalanced, with players regularly joining and leaving the zone, and participating in objectives as they wish. Larger numbers of players of one faction can easily swing objectives to their favor, and players may return to participate when the population is more to their advantage.
PvP zones provide a cross between battlegrounds and world PvP-related zones. While similar to these zones' objectives, PvP zones feature specific time constraints, player number balances, level requirements and specific win conditions, and are participated in separately from the rest of the game world. See PvP zone for details.
- Main article: Ashran
Coming in Warlords of Draenor, Ashran represents the most developed form of structured world PvP yet. A cross-realm zone with up to 100 players on each side, Ashran features a balance of PvP and PvE ranging from traditional world PvP-style skirmishes and huge central zergs to raid boss-style PvE encounters and mob farming similar to daily quests. A maximum level zone dedicated to PvP, the zone features far more extensive objectives and rewards than any other world PvP development to date, but retains the freedom, lack of time limit or ultimate win condition, and unending, unpredictable battle typical of world PvP.
Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar added another world PvP element on the newly-found Timeless Isle. There, if players use a or the , players may turn themselves hostile to members of both factions. Should turned players land killing blows on unturned players, they will gain a , of which hundreds are required for rewards.
World PvP extended its reach to Pandaria in Patch 5.1: Landfall, as the main Alliance and Horde fleets landed on opposite ends of Krasarang Wilds. At either faction's newly-constructed base, players can capture a graveyard and a forward base location, granting the holding faction buffs while in the general vicinity. This is largely useful for the new daily quests added at the same time.
- Main article: Hellfire Fortifications
Both the Horde and Alliance quests for this are named . The object of the quest is to gain control of three fortifications in Hellfire Peninsula: The Overlook, The Stadium and Broken Hill. Upon gaining control off all 3 fortifications, the members of your faction gain the buff Hellfire Superiority which boosts damage dealt in the zone by 5% and carries over into the Hellfire Citadel instances. Each fortification takes 2 min 10 sec to capture once you wrest it from the opposing faction's control. Also, upon turning in the quest, you are rewarded with 3 or 3 as determined by your faction. These marks can later be turned in to the quartermasters in Honor Hold or Thrallmar for PvP rewards.
The world PvP content in Zangarmarsh is slightly different than those previously described in that there is no quest associated with it. The object is for your faction to gain control of both beacons at Twin Spire Ruins. When both beacons are controlled by your faction, the tower in the center becomes available for capture as well. To capture the tower, a player must go to their faction's local city (Zabra'jin or Telredor) and obtain a flag from an officer there. If the player successfully runs that flag to the tower, the tower is captured and the graveyard in the center of the zone becomes available for use by that faction. In addition, the members of the controlling faction also gain the Twin Spire Blessing buff which increases damage output by 5% and carries over into the Coilfang Reservoir instances. In addition, each player character kill awards a player with 1 or 1 which can be collected and turned in for PvP rewards.
World PvP content in Terokkar Forest includes the quest . The objective is to gain simultaneous control of the five towers stationed around Auchindoun. When your faction gains control of these towers, the buff Blessing of Auchindoun is gained that increases damage output by 5%, experience gain by 5% and the ability to collect spirit shards in the Auchindoun instances for six hours. Spirit shards can be collected and turned in for PvP rewards.
World PvP content in Nagrand has the Alliance quest called In Defense of Halaa (obtainable from Talaar) and Horde Quest quest called Enemies, Old and New (obtainable from Garadar) associated with it. The objective is to siege, capture and hold a single plateau named Halaa. There are 15 NPC guards based in Halaa that must be killed before the city becomes available for capture. The guards have one million hit points each and although they can be brought down through traditional combat, it's far more effective to bomb them from the air. There are four "roosts" surrounding the plateau from which a bombing run may be launched. Launching from a roost gives the player 10 bombs that can be fired for an areal damage at the NPC guards. Once the guards are removed, capture of Halaa merely requires occupying the area near the central flag for some time as a traditional capture progress bar slowly fills towards your faction's side. Capture of the city awards your faction with the buff Strength of the Halaani which gives a 5% damage output boost. During the capture of the city, each player character kill awards a which can be collected and turned in for PvP rewards. In addition, there are vendors in Halaa that can only be accessed while your faction has control of the city.
- Main article: The Silithyst Must Flow
Both the Horde and Alliance quests for this are named Scouring the Desert. The object of the quest is to collect Silithyst from the geysers around the zone and deliver them to your respective base. Upon picking up the Silithyst you are flagged for PvP combat and receive a debuff that slows down your run speed. The debuff drops once you turn in the Silithyst. You are also unable to carry Silithyst while mounted - the act of mounting will drop the Silithyst that you are carrying.
- Main article: A Game of Towers
Bolstering Our Defenses is the Horde version of this quest while Establishing New Outposts is the corresponding Alliance version. The point of the quest is to gain control of all 4 towers in Eastern Plaguelands: Crown Guard Tower, Eastwall Tower, Northpass Tower and Plaguewood Tower. Upon gaining control of all 4 towers, the members of your faction gain a buff that boosts spell and melee damage against undead creatures in the zone, including Stratholme. A Game of Towers was removed with the Shattering, as Eastern Plaguelands was completely revamped.
- Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14):
- Players are no longer be able to attack, heal or apply buffs or debuffs to PvP-flagged targets without first enabling their own PvP flag.
- Battle Fatigue has been reduced to 0%, effectively removing it from the game.
- Alternate PvP item levels have been added, improving the performance of PvP gear in world PvP situations.
- Patch 5.1.0 (2012-11-27): Battle Fatigue has been added.