In patch 3.3.3 a series of changes to the honor you receive in PVP were put into effect, such that it is now the norm to receive in the neighborhood of 5-7k honor from your first daily random battleground, to 3-5k honor from others thereafter.
- The amount of Honor awarded for an Honorable Kill has been increased by 100% for characters of all levels. This change will effectively double the amount of Honor received from Honorable Kills, or for completing Battleground and Wintergrasp objectives; however, the amount of experience gained from completing Battleground objectives and the amount of Honor rewarded for completing each Wintergrasp quest remain unchanged.
- The Random Battleground system has been added! Similar to the Random Dungeon system in the Dungeon Finder, players can now queue for a random Battleground.
- The Random Battleground option can be found in the Battleground tab of the PvP frame and is only available for level 80 characters at this time.
- If this option is selected, players may not queue for specific Battlegrounds and a random Battleground simultaneously.
- Similar to the Random Dungeon system, players will not know for which Battleground they are chosen when selected from the queue until they zone into the Battleground.
- The Random Battleground option will only allow a group size of 5 players to queue together.
- Bonus rewards will be offered for choosing the Random Battleground option.
- Winning a Battleground using the Random Battleground option for the first time in a day will award players with 30 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency and 25 Arena points.
- Winning additional Battlegrounds using the Random Battleground option after the first random win will award players with 15 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.
- Losing a Battleground using the Random Battleground option will award players with 5 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.
- Daily Battleground quests have been removed in place of the Random Battleground option.
- Battlegrounds will no longer award Marks of Honor.
- Players with existing Marks of Honor can still turn them in to their respective faction's quest givers, including individual marks for those who may have more marks for one Battleground than another.
- Items which previously required Marks of Honor will have their costs adjusted to remove these requirements.
- Whenever a Battleground has the holiday bonus active, it will now be referred to as "Call to Arms" in the Battleground tab and Calendar. In addition, Call to Arms Battleground Honor rewards have been changed.
- Choosing a specific Battleground with the Call to Arms bonus active will yield the exact same rewards as when choosing the Random Battleground option.
- Winning a Call to Arms Battleground for the first time in a day will award players with 30 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency and 25 Arena points.
- Additional Call to Arms Battleground victories after the first win for a player that day will award them with 15 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.
- Losing a Call to Arms Battleground will award players with 5 Honorable Kills worth of additional Honor currency.
- When using the Random Battleground option, players will not receive additional rewards if the Battleground chosen under the Call to Arms bonuses. In addition, the rewards for the first victory of the day cannot be earned more than once, regardless of whether or not it is obtained from the Random Battleground system or the Call to Arms Battleground.
- The internal balance system now only changes when a faction achieves 2 consecutive defenses after an initial capture of Wintergrasp, up from 1. More details can be found on our PvP Discussion forum.
With that amount of honor it doesn't take long at all to get to the honor cap, and doesn't take long until you have a full suit of Furious, Relentless, and Wrathful pieces. The question is what do you do with all that honor. If you are a serious PVP'er you buy a full set first. For a more casual PVP'er they might buy a few pieces here and there, especially since you can buy all the main Furious pieces with emblems of Triumph. But you might use your honor for other things as well. Serious PVP'ers will certainly, after they've got their suit, but even casuals are using excess honor to purchase epic gems. And have been for months now. The rate at which you earned honor prior to patch 3.3.3 didn't enable a glut of epic gems on the AH, but that isn't the case now as prices on the most popular epic gems are now 50-75g lower than they were just last weekend. Today, anyone that can run two battlegrounds a day can purchase an epic gem and sell it. So can you imagine how much honor a PVP junkie earns on the average day? Let alone on the weekend?
I can answer that. I'm somewhat a PVP junkie myself, and I do most of my PVP on my Druid. Not only do I have a full suit of resto gear (head, shoulders, chest, legs are furious, with everything else being relentless and wrathful), but also a full Balance suit, and a full Feral set (deadly/furious) as well. I have no idea how much honor that amounts to as I've never attempted to add it all up in terms of honor, but I know it's a lot. And I have 61k honor at the moment with nothing to use it on, unless I want to upgrade the feral set. As I was getting 10-20k of honor a day this week and since I pvp a lot on the weekend, I'm getting 50-75k per day it's not hard to envision hundreds of additional gems per week being put up on the AH. And this is just the first week of the PVP changes.
Although not an unintended consequence, as it was very clearly intended, the change in patch 3.3.3 that enables purchase of Frost Lotus with Frozen Orbs and the previous enchanting changes that enable anyone to access DE'd materials on Dungeon runs where there's an enchanter has to make one wonder if the unintended consequence is actually unintended. I'm becoming more convinced that these changes are part of a longer term, larger Blizzard goal to scale back the amount of gold players can make. And focusing more of the earning power on daily/weekly quests. If you realize that a series of gold sinks are a requirement in an MMO, and that Blizzard has swung developmental efforts very far to the "casual" side of the spectrum and those casual players will generally play fewer hours and have a lower earning potential, there probably needs to be a higher level framework in place to limit overall earning power or else gold sinks would necessarily impact casual players to a higher degree than it would less casual players.
Makes one wonder, does it not?