5.3 will introduce big changes to the PVP gear : players will no longer need PVP gear to have enough resilience to survive, and there will be an ilvl limitation in BGs. These changes aim to make stepping into PVP easier for new or PVE players, while also inciting players to prefer PVP gear instead of higher ilvl PVE gear for BGs, like you can read on the last MMO-Champion news.
But I don’t think this is enough. The solution would be to remove PVP gear from the game altogether.
No more PVE vs PVP gear : welcome “good for everything” gear.
Each piece of available gear should have all the stats needed for each activities. PVP power and resilience could become primary stats, or they could be removed from the gear and build in a PVP zone buff. With one single type of gear, it’d be easier than ever to go from one activity to another. Mainly PVE player ? You can do your Saturday night horde slaying in your hard-earned PVE gear. Mainly PVP player ? You can get your PVE achievement with your PVP gear. No more gear grinding for an activity you only want to do once in a while. But as it becomes easier to step in and out of each activity, you may want to alternate more often too! You could also choose to do both at a time. Like taking part in world PVP while doing dailies, and being equally efficient for both. No longer need to choose between being one-shotted by the first PVPer passing by or killing monsters quickly.
Choose the activity, not the reward !
Imagine that you can do BGs to farm your valor points instead of dailies and heroics… Don’t know you, but I would certainly like it. Welcome a new game where there only is one type of currencies, that you can get from any activity you’d like to practice in-game. When winning a PVP game, you could get a chance at some loot, be it using the LFR loot system for normal BGs, or with a looting system that allow for master loot in rated PVP.
For example, after winning a Warsong match Alliance side, you could be ported to an instanced Darnassus to get your reward directly from Tyrande Whisperwind, as a thank you for taking part in the victory.
Each BG or arena could have its own loot table, like PVE bosses. It’d be quite simple to balance the rhythm of loot acquisition between PVE or PVP activities by tweaking drop rates or amount of currencies you can get for each activity. And in case it weren’t quite balanced, don’t panic, it won’t affect your open world pvp activities :
PVP should be about skill…
… Not about who have the bigger sword. All the gear should be leveled out in BGs and arenas, like it is in challenge modes. The reference ilvl could increase at each patch though, so that you get bigger number when you advance in the expansion. Getting new gear would allow you to optimize your secondary stat distributions, or to show off your new set, and of course you’d do better in PVE and open world PVP.
The equalization could also help balance healing vs damage vs avoidance, by increasing some stat more than other. For example, you could have spell power at 100% of the reference, while healing power is only at 80%.
And many more benefits
One of the other benefit I can preview, is that Blizzard wouldn’t need to design so many different gear sets at each patch. Ok having different-looking gear is nice, but with 8 year of transmogable gear available, do you really need 2 different set at each patch? One a these you probably won’t obtain until the next patch… if you ever get it. Not that you did choose the one you’d get first because of look.
Of course, there are cons to this method. PVPers might not feel compelled to grind BG if the gear doesn’t matter. But they might also discover that because of not needing to grind gear, they can enjoy other activities too. And grinding random BGs shouldn’t become the new catch up mechanism (which would happen if you could drop gear equivalent to current LFR tier in normal BGs)
This system may also induce some inconveniences which would need to be addressed. For example, it would be nice to be able to preview what your stats will be like in PVP without being in there to be able to choose your gear and reforge accordingly. Also, it would be harder to design set bonus that are balanced and equally desirable for PVE and PVP. But I’m pretty confident Blizzard could come up with an elegant solution for that. For example, you could get a set with a pvp bonus from PVP activities, and a set with a PVE bonus from raids. Or the bonuses could be equally valuable for each activity.
PS : the way honor is gained during BG should also change, but that is another story. You shouldn’t get points for being around when an enemy is killed. You should get Honor points by taking part in the battle for victory. If you can’t imagine another way to attribute honor points for contribution, just look at SWTOR system here. You can earn the equivalent of honor points by completing a variety of objectives, called medals.