The Bolster System, or The Guardian’s New Clothes
“Going into a Warzone completely naked will now be worse than wearing gear.” – patch notes 2.0.0b, official commentary.
Shades of Ilum all over again.
First, Naked Bolster. Well-intentioned idea, designed to aid the true lowbie who simply hasn’t filled out some gear slots (helmet, mostly) got entirely out of hand and morphed into the new normal for everyone.
Amazingly, the first iteration of the new bolster system, whose intent was to make obsolete gear competitive, managed to single out and penalise precisely those bits of obsolete gear that most returning PvPers would like spruced up temporarily, i.e. old War Hero/Elite War Hero, Recruit MkII and perhaps even older sets; we can assume that players who returned for RotHC may be dusting off some long untended characters. Because of the inclusion of expertise in their item budget, these were quite literally valued the worst.
Presently, we are at a place where expertise and non-expertise items are treated as separate by the bolster system. It is officially a bad idea to mix and match mods with and without expertise on them, which is a little annoying to tank Guardians who occasionally choose stamina over expertise. And the old sets? WH/EWH are tolerable, just, because expertise was emergency-stripped from these items. Anything below is not recommended for use, though it baffles me why it couldn’t have been restatted in the same way as WH/EWH. By the devs’ admission, the system is still definitely in flux, and initial reports indicate that half-decent level 55 PvE gear arguably outshines the new entry-level Partisan PvP gear in PvP.
While I find all this mostly amusing, some people are predictably very cross. And even I am a little worried about the amount of confusion introduced into the system by all these changes. For the casual PvPer, whom we want to attract to warzones, the feeling that others are privy to some arcane bolstering tricks can be extremely discouraging.