PVP Rank Calculations
As of patch 2.0.1 the PvP System has been revamped and the info bellow does not apply to it. It will be kept for archieving purposes.
The PVP system was introduced by Blizzard as a means for casual gamers to achieve Rare and Epic items without having to participate in time intensive High End Instances which require large raids of 20 or 40 players.
Unfortunately the idea backfired and the PVP Ranking system became even more time consuming than Blizzard could ever have imagined.
Here is how PVP Ranks are calculated.
Each time you kill a member of the opposing faction you receive Contribution Points(CP). If you are in a party, or raid, you will get CP if any member of your group participates in the killing of a player character. Every member of the group gets an equal share of contribution points regardless of what they are doing, as long as they are in range (the range appears to be around 30-40yd? Can anyone confirm?).
The CP awarded by a kill depends on your own PVP Rank, the PVP Rank of the person killed, and also how much participation you or your group had in taking down the player. For instance, if a person NOT in your group takes an enemy down to 10% health and you kill them by taking out the remaining 10%, the CP awarded to your group is less than that awarded to the person who did the most work.
Each week, on Tuesday Night at 2am PST, all realms go offline to tabulate weekly Honor, The calculations are complex and nobody has yet talked about how final honor is tabulated. However, once all the CP is determined for all players on a realm, the players are sorted by CP to determine the weekly standing. Eg the person with the absolute MOST CP that week earns a standing of 1.
You can view your last week's standing by opening up your Honor tab (default "H" key).
During the weekly maintenance, once your weekly standing has been determined, you are awarded "rating" points. The rating points awarded are determined by that week's standings. The person with the #1 standings earngs 13,000 rating points. A person of standing 80 or so will get around 8000 rating points.
Each week you lose 20% of your total Rating. This is what people refer to as the "Decay" of your rank. So if you have 10,000 Rating points in total, you lose 2000 for that week, and earn back whatever is awarded to your standing.
Obviously this means the HIGHER your rating the MORE you stand to lose. In this way, Blizzard forces you to play more and more each week in order to maintain your Rank or increase your rank.
Note also that your % progress (in the form of the blue coloured bar in the Honor tab) is actually a reflection of your Rating and its progression towards the Rating required to hit the next Rank.
If anyone knows the correlation between Standing and exact rating points plse let us know!
Ratings Result in PVP Ranks
PVP Ranks are entirely determined by your total Rating!! People who think that there are a set number of each Rank per server based on population are wrong!
For instance, the coveted Grand Marshal Rank is achieved when you can get 60,000 Rating Points (on most servers this will require hitting around 500k to 1million CP per week for 1-3 weeks once you hit Marshal or Field Marshal!!)
This is also how you lose Rank, since you lose 20% of your rating per week, if your standing for that week is insufficient to keep you at the Rating threshold you will lose your Rank.