Wednesday, April 8, 2009

IS PVP Broken? (Arena)

Alright so the final installment where I am asking if PVP is truly broken. So let's take a look at arena. So to give background in the seasons of arena during BC I would say I fell into a category somewhere between casual and hardcore. I like think of it as softcore! Anyway, bad jokes aside, I had a BM partner and we enjoyed moderate success. We were able to acquire some gear and maintained a decent ranking. Since that time, my partner is currently working on some personal stuff and I was left to find a new partner.

Now I had read all about the alleged problems of PVP, so I decided I would take whatever partner I could find and just go in and grab some arena points to help skip running so many battlegrounds for entry level PVP gear. So the first partner I grabbed was a level 80 Frost Death Knight. Yeah, I truly was just doing it for arena points and gear. Also, it would provide me with some insight into how the current state of arena is. We did one week together and we went 1 - 9. That was actually better than I expected it to be. We got a win and a cheap achievement (not a lover of achievements here). At the end of this experiment, my team ranking was down in the 1200s. So it sunk the way everyone said it would.

My partner really did not show much desire to play on, so I was fortunate enough to get an Unholy Death Knight who had a background in arena and I had ran with his BM Hunter in a past 5v5 team. So we teamed up and went in using my current team. So we were basically placed against other teams of similar skill. Now I had read a thread that explained the way Blizzard matches teams is based upon a win 50% and lose 50% of your matches. As you begin to win more you will slowly raise your rank. Their goal is to keep teams matched up against teams of equal quality which makes a fair level of play. Sure enough our first week out we went 5 - 5. So based upon the post by Blizzard and the matches we ran, we are basically winning 50% of our matches. So it seems the system works the way it was intended.

So then why did a recent post I read state something like there is a 65% reduction in the number of players playing in arena? Some folks speculate that it has to do with the launch of the expansion and that people are more interested in other things. This may be a valid thought, but I do not think it will account for that large of a percentage of individuals aoviding the arenas. I read several folks on forums and in blogs who attributed the lack of interest in the fact that they are unable to get gear and feel that it is then a waste of time. This I believe is much more true as many players use to use the PVP rewards in order to get what was claimed to be "charity" epics in order to run entry level end-game content (even though it was frowned on, it was possible).

So if the issue is then that folks want gear, even though it will not be as viable in end-game content as it once may have been, then how does Blizzard go around fixing the current state of PVP? Well, I heard mentioned (I did not read this, so I will not say it is 100% accurrate) that Blizzard is planning to start teams at a rating of zero and that the requirements for gear will be lowered as most teams are showing to be in a 1200 rating bracket. Will this fix the issues? I think it is a start, but I think they need to make the way that teams earn points go up as well. Perhaps look at incorporating kills into points for the teams? This will reward teams that are able to get a kill but perhaps not win. I would hope that they do not hand points out simply for playing a match, as this would result in a flood of teams who do not intend to play but intend to farm points (similar to the farming of honor in battlegrounds). I think because Blizzard was pretty clear on the seperation of gear between PVP and PVE use, that those who want gear simply to be able to get cheap upgrades will not find this a viable option any longer. Does it make everything better? No, but it is something that is a continuous improvement and I hope that in the end they do leave a challenge in getting the top gear. While I love PVP and I love arena, I would not feel nearly as proud of my gear if it just took me some time playing a few matches rather than knowing that my skill was better than others and I earned the gear.

Please Blizzard at least get one area of PVP right!

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