Friday, October 2, 2009

WoW's new BG deserter system needs more thought

I have to give Blizzard points for trying. After all, afking in battlegrounds had hit an entirely new crescendo with the addition of XP by PVP. People quickly found out that the very best XP was to be had in AV, where the bracket ran from 71 to 80, instead of like the other battlegrounds, where the brackets ran x9. The AV battles were 2/3 full of low level alts that could most typically be found in the cave, or camped behind trees, or somewhere out of the way. And it caused a tremendous outpouring of frustration and displeasure on the official forum until Blizzard made a change recently that matched the AV queueing system to the other battlegrounds. Now level 80's find themselves in their own queue again, and the afk'ers are down to the much lower level they were before XP from pvp was instituted. Along with that change came something new as well.

Blizzard also changed the long standing, and mostly useless, afk reporting system. Before if you found someone "idle" in a BG you had to right click on them and "report afk". If enough people did that you would get an idle debuff that halted an honor gain from that point on. I don't know how many reports it took, but it was a considerable amount. Now however, it takes much fewer reports and after 60 seconds of with an idle debuff you get a second debuff that will kick you from the battleground.

The problem with that is that it's buggy as hell. I battleground all the time, and ran into the bugs head first the other day. The first instance was in AB while healing on my Holy Pally. I got killed and got spawned up at the entrance, and apparently got reported AFK while I was a ghost. When I came alive I had to immediately scramble down to Stables looking for something to hit and luckily saw a Horde in the water, who I gave chase to and finally caught in time to stop my presumptive removal from the Battleground. Apparently not in enough time to catch the deserter buff with 12 seconds left on the AFK though. I was in AB with deserter buff.

The second instance happened the same day in EotS. I was killed and spawned at Mage Tower graveyard. Apparently got reported while ghost again and while I was typing in chat (it was a losing match anyway) I suddenly find myself back in Dal with deserter buff even though I was number one on the healing meter that match.

Instead of the deserter/idle system being used as intended it's also being used to remove people from the battleground that are critical to other bad players, and is buggy. It's just the latest example of Blizzard's inexplicable logic that I have found to be incredibly frustrating over the years.

Great idea, but flawed follow through.