- "For the Horde! For the Alliance! For the sheer joy of killing your fellow players!"
The term is used in contrast to Player vs. Environment (PvE), which involves the player battling computer-controlled opponents or game elements.
Types of PvP
World of Warcraft offers a variety of ways to engage in PvP. Some such as the Arena revolve purely around combat itself, while others such as battlegrounds feature additional elements such as bases, flags and objectives. Almost all forms offer some rewards, with higher level options offering superior rewards.
- Dueling - An honorable way of engaging in focused 1v1 combat in the immediate game world. Players may choose to accept or reject challenges to duel. Players cannot duel in cities, but often duel in small towns or outside the capital city gates. Duels offer no rewards, save the sweet taste of victory.
- Battlegrounds - Large-scale Horde versus Alliance combat in competitive team games such as capture the flag and resource races. Battlegrounds range from 10v10 to 40v40, each with its own unique map, game type, and special objectives. Players must queue for battlegrounds and will be teleported to a battleground instance once a group of players has been assembled. Battlegrounds use level brackets to ensure fair play and offer additional rewards for participation.
- PvP zones - Large battleground-like zones, these battles tend to feature vehicles and destructible buildings, and adjust team size to match the number of participants. Unlike battlegrounds PvP zones are realm-specific and non-instanced, taking place only at regular intervals. Claiming victory in a PvP zone opens up access to dailies, rewards and even raids.
- Arena - Instanced areas in which teams of players of either faction can compete against each other in deathmatch-style PvP. Unlike battlegrounds, arena play is not based on objectives, but simply your team's ability to obliterate the other team. Without the distraction of objectives, arena focuses purely on PvP combat itself, offering some of the most focused and balanced PvP in the game. Arena matches are available in 2v2 mode and 3v3 mode which becomes available at level 70.
- War Games - Unrated, user-initiated practice matches that can occur in any arena or battleground. While they do not offer experience, , achievement progress, or win/loss tracking, they are a popular venue for fun, practice, and recruitment purposes. War Games can be fought against players of the same faction and do not require equal teams in order to commence.
- World PvP - World PvP primarily refers to spontaneous PvP combat between two or more players within the normal game world. 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. World PvP usually takes place when both players are flagged for PvP, which was originally far more common on PvP realms. World PvP generally offered no rewards until Battle for Azeroth.
- World PvP objectives - Some zones offer special world PvP-related objectives, such as towers that can be claimed by a player to grant their faction special bonuses. These objectives may be hotly fought over, and provide a focus for world PvP. Some also provide rewards such as daily quest progression or zone-limited PvP trinkets.
- Ashran - Released with Warlords of Draenor, this PvP-oriented zone combines numerous forms of PvP and PvE in the most extensive world PvP development to date. 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.
- War Mode - Players can toggle PvP on or off at a capital city (Stormwind City for Alliance, Orgrimmar for Horde) - on any server. Those that go out in the world with PvP mode enabled will reap extra rewards such as additional experience or Azerite Power. With people opting in to the War Mode experience, Blizzard can now create World PvP around those interested in it. All those who queue up for War Mode will be on one server shard, and those who do not will be on another.
- Main article: PvP Rewards
PvP rewards or PvP gear is gear which is specifically designed for PvP combat. This gear offers superior stats and bonuses for PvP, and can be purchased for , found in crates of battlefield goods, as well as sometimes being obtained through other means. PvP gear is critical to good performance in PvP, and acquiring competitive PvP gear is the main progression for players in PvP.
- Main article: Player vs. Player achievements
- "PVP realms were designed with the intent to be a place where wild PVP could take place" - Draztal, Blizzard representative
PvP realms are realms designed to facilitate the possibility of world PvP. Players in contested territories are automatically flagged for PvP, making it possible to be attacked by players of the opposite faction. While lower-level zones and home territories such as cities offer protection from PvP combat, by level 30, the majority of the player's levelling time will be spent in contested territories, leaving them vulnerable to attack at any time. Conversely, this gives players the opportunity to engage in a little mischief with other players, opening up the possibility of one of the most exciting forms of PvP. See PvP Flag for more information.
Pros and cons of PvP realms
Below are some of the pros and cons of playing on a PvP realm. For more information on each type of realm, and advice on choosing the right type for you, see Picking a Server.
- Some players like the thrill and risk of random player vs. player combat, and would consider PvE servers to have a difficulty that is too low.
- The danger of PvP inserts more realism into gameplay, since preventing other players from attacking you represents more a pure game mechanic than any plausible scenario.
- Opportunities for world PvP are much more prevalent.
- Online censuses show that PvP realms tend on average to feature higher Horde populations, which may make them preferable for some. See WarcraftRealms for more details.
- Some players consider being able to play with no risk of random player vs. player combat less stressful. You can level, quest and farm without the types of interruptions listed below.
- Such disruptive practices like corpse camping, griefing, ganking can be exceedingly prevalent on PvP realms, many high level players may repeatedly and incessantly engage in these behaviors for no obvious reason other than that they can.
- Almost all realms feature uneven faction balance to some extent. The result of this is that the dominant faction can often dominate a questing, PvP or resource gathering area, denying the smaller faction access.
While many choose to participate in both forms of play, some players choose to focus exclusively on either the PvE or PvP aspects of the game. Over the years, Blizzard has made numerous efforts to encourage players from each camp to explore the other parts of the game, most specifically in encouraging PvE players to participate in PvP, such as through reducing the impact of poor gear in PvP.
Despite the many forms of PvP gameplay available in World of Warcraft, it is often considered a 'niche' part of the game. However, according to Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka in July 2014, this is not the case. In the US and EU regions, as many players or more participate in random battlegrounds as LFR; as many in 2v2 Arena as normal mode raiding; and as many in 3v3 Arena as in heroic mode raiding.
- Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): World PvP is now enabled only through War Mode.
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19):
- PvP rewards are now found in Crates of Battlefield Goods.
- have replaced and .
- Honor talents added.
- Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14): Provided additional safeguards to prevent accidental PvP flagging.
- Non-PvP flagged players are unable to heal or damage PvP flagged players unless they manually flag themselves for PvP combat.
- PvP flagging can be toggled by typing /pvp into chat.
- Players on a non-PvP realm joining a cross-realm group now receive a confirmation prompt warning that they may cross into a PvP enabled realm by joining the group.