When PvP leveling in Battlegrounds was introduced with Patch 3.2 (August 2009), players rushed to try their blades and spellbooks at this new way to gain XP. It was fresh, it was fun -- and boy, was it fast! It took just one month for Blizzard to nerf experience gains (patch 3.2.2, September 2009), rolling back XP rates to more reasonable levels. Today, while we wouldn't say that Battlegrounds are a recommended way to level up, we do continue to recommend them as a healthy part of your leveling experience. (Yes, I was wearing scrubs and holding a clipboard and stethoscope during that last statement.) Let's take a look at all the reasons you should and shouldn't be PvPing on your path to level 80.
As long as you enjoy pitting yourself against other players in PvP (Player vs. Player), you'll benefit from a smattering of Battlegrounds as you level to 80. If you don't enjoy fighting other players, though, you needn't fret over it. Stick to PvE (Player vs. Environment), which is the name of the game when it comes to leveling up.
If you're tempted by the idea of including PvP along your road to 80, there are a few points worth considering first.
- In every normal scenario, you'll level more quickly engaging in PvE play than by playing in Battlegrounds. Grinding XP in Battlegrounds is not an especially effective leveling technique.
- If you are new to MMOs and/or to gaming, you may find the rapid pace of PvP too frenetic and demanding for now. Take a pass and come back with more levels under your belt. You'll enjoy it more when your familiarity with game mechanics is higher.
- Battlegrounds XP comes from completing Battleground objectives, not from mindlessly killing other players. You need to learn to cooperate with your teammates and follow the basic strategies of each BG.
- You'll miss out on invaluable gear drops and gold if you spend too much time away from questing. This is one of the most important reasons not to spend too much time leveling a first character inside Battlegrounds.
- You cannot increase your weapon and defense skills against PvP targets. Spend too much time in Battlegrounds, and you may find these key combat abilities lagging behind the curve.
- PvP will teach you an incredible amount about your character's capabilities. Playing against wily, unpredictable players will force you how to think on your feet.
- PvP will teach you what the other classes can do, too. As a new player, you'll be at a significant disadvantage facing off against players whose skills and abilities remain a mystery to you. On the other hand, PvP will take those mysterious skills and thwap you right in the face with them –you'll discover what they do, fast.
- As you level, expect peaks and valleys when PvP will be more or less effective and enjoyable. Be prepared for agony when you're at the lower end of any given level bracket. As other players level up and gain class-defining skills and abilities, you may find yourself at a temporary disadvantage until you learn something to compensate. Brace yourself for another change of pace when you hit the 50s bracket and Death Knights suddenly appear on the scene.