World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, like previous expansions, will let players acquire equipment specifically geared toward PvP activities like Arenas and Battlegrounds. However, Blizzard is making significant changes to this gears' stats and how it's acquired.
"PvP gear in Warlords will no longer have PvP-specific stats," Blizzard said in a new Battle.net blog post. "Instead, it will scale up to a higher item level as soon as you enter a designated PvP area, such as an Arena or Battleground, or as soon as you enter PvP combat anywhere else in the world. If you’re out questing with PvP gear, your items’ base item level will be used while fighting back the Iron Horde, but the second that raiding Druid tries to gank you, your higher PvP item level kicks in and you’ll have the upper hand. Each piece of PvP gear will have its PvP item level displayed clearly on its tooltip, so there’s no guesswork involved."
Gear suited toward dungeons or raids will get a boost as well when the player enters a PvP area. This means that even a player who just hit the level cap won't feel like a waste of space in battles against seasoned vets. Bonuses for PvE gear won't be as big as the bonuses for PvP gear, though. For example, gear acquired through Mythic raids will be downscaled slightly so it's not better than the top PvP equipment.
Completing Call to Arms or Random Battlegrounds will no longer just give you Honor Points or Conquest Points, the currencies for purchasing PvP gear. You'll also get Bronze, Silver or Gold Strongboxes depending on your performance.
"Take Warsong Gulch,for example. If your faction captured at least one flag before the game ended, you’ll get the Bronze Strongbox. Capture a second, and you’ll earn both the Bronze and Silver. And if you capture all three, not only do you win the game, but you’ll also earn all three Strongboxes. We’ll be restructuring the scoring of other Battlegrounds slightly (such as changing Arathi Basin to end at 1,500 points) so it’s easy to figure out what you need for each Strongbox."
While these boxes often contain Honor and Conquest Points, they can also have new pieces of gear. Blizzard hopes these rewards will be enticing enough to make players fight until the bitter end rather than surrendering when a battle's not going well.
Blizzard wants to make gear upgrades in PvP more gradual as well. They're responding to the widening gap between Honor and Conquest gear by adding a middle tier of equipment. This Veteran equipment can be found in Strongboxes or purchased with Honor Points. The entry-level gear can be bought with Honor as well but you can earn it much faster to ease you into PvP right away.
"Adding the Veteran’s tier accomplishes a lot of things for us. First, it helps make sure that someone who wants to step into rated PvP later on in the season isn’t nearly as far behind their opponents in gear. Second, since the basic gear is earned so quickly, that helps ensure players get those important set bonuses, trinkets, and so on without too much trouble, and helps put everyone on a decent baseline in their ability to compete. For players who enjoy PvP but aren’t really interested in jumping into rated competition, earning Veteran’s gear will feel a lot more rewarding."
Conquest Points will work roughly the same as they do in Mists of Pandaria. The Conquest cap will now be the same for Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds but can be raised if you have a higher rating. Winning a Rated Battleground after hitting the cap lets you get a bonus roll for Gladiator gear.
Blizzard previously announced that they're going to introduce a spectator mode and in-game tournament support with Draenor. The expansion will bring back unranked Arena matches, or Skirmishes, as well. These Skirmishes allow players to earn gear and Honor points.