Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rated battlegrounds should create a more beneficial PVP setting

I’ve been working on my Justicar and Battlemaster achievements for quite a while now, so when we have a weekend like this weekend, where the battleground is Arathi Basin, I spend most of the weekend PVPing. I do the same thing when it’s Warsong Gulch weekend as well, but otherwise I’ll get a number of random battlegrounds in before moving on toward working on Loremaster or putting some time in on an alt. On the positive side of things I made great progress this weekend on the rep I need for AB but find myself still shy of Revered. To be honest I haven’t been focusing as much as I should, outside of the AB weekends toward gaining the rep so I’m significantly behind where I should be right now. Same with WSG rep. The negative side of things is that I played in more battlegrounds this weekend than I have in a while and having to deal with the magnitude of AFK’ing and bad play really irritated me as the weekend wore on. Several of the battlegrounds I ended up losing were a result of being undermanned because of AFK’ers and because people were being silly – not defending after a cap, fighting on roads and away from flags that were easily ninja’d, and by people participating in PVE gear. These are the weekends I would particularly like to participate in pre-mades but since the two I was able to find a couple weeks back I haven’t been able to find any since.

The AFK’ing and bad play is driving my desire for Rated battlegrounds, which Blizzard has announced for Cataclysm. Arenas will become just one avenue for obtaining arena points – called Conquest points in Cataclysm, and pre-mades will become as big a part (bigger) of PVP play as it was in the Burning Crusade days. Eventually regular PVP’ers will find regular groups to participate with and those teams will eventually graduate to the top of the rankings. I haven't arena played because to me those are just structured duels and aren’t true PVP. Well, okay, it is player-vs-player, but in my mind PVP is defined as “warfare” and not as dueling. In my mind Battlegrounds and open world fighting are the only true form of PVP. There might be some level of structure in battlegrounds, but a fight can break out anywhere and at any time in them and fights will almost never be fair. It’s the need to adjust to the constantly changing nature of the fighting and the circumstances at hand that make battlegrounds so fun to me and why I spend so many hours every week doing it. It’s the competitiveness without the stark limitations of the arena system. Through the rating structure each of the teams will be pitted against other teams in the same bracket which will also mean, over time, the intensity of the battles will grow as well. Also, I won’t continue to be penalized from obtaining the best PVP gear for not participating in arena play. I’ll be able to access the full gambit of PVP gear in Cataclysm by doing nothing more than what I love to do right now. Win – win in my opinion. Most importantly, I’m hoping that de-emphasizing arena play will also alleviate the constant class changes and tweaks to suit arena play that impact my PVE play. That’s a particular irritant of mine and another reason why I’ve refused to play in arenas thus far.

  • Players will participate in rated battlegrounds by forming their raid group prior to joining the queue.
  • You will only face off against other rated groups.
  • Each week the format for rated battlegrounds will be different. It will rotate between 10, 15 and 25-player battlegrounds.
  • Rating loss will not exist until after a certain threshold.
  • Conquest points will be rewarded for winning rated battlegrounds.
  • There will be a limitation on the number of Conquest points you can earn each week to prevent feeling like you must participate in both arenas and rated battlegrounds.
  • There will be end-of-season rewards for rated BG teams similar to arenas:
    • The classic Honor titles will be coming back and rewarded to the top teams each season.
    • The "Gladiator" equivalent teams will also receive epic ground mounts. Ground mounts because they want to reward something you can ride in the battleground and be proud of / show off.

There is one aspect to rated battlegrounds that I don’t think is well understood by many people yet. Similar to the current system of personal and team arena ratings, players will have a personal and team rating in rated battlegrounds as well. As we have not yet seen how this is to be exactly implemented, as anyone can form ad hoc teams on the fly how will “team” ratings be generated, tracked, and controlled? But more importantly how will one’s personal rating fit into the mix? If your personal rating is as important to you in rated battlegrounds as it is in arena play, then will it also mean you will be more careful with your choices on which teams you play? In other words, will it mean your choices will be limited to only those players with similar personal ratings? If that’s the case it would tend to severely restrict when and how you’ll be able to participate in rated battlegrounds. It probably won’t matter if you find a static team to participate on, but if you are someone who just wants to jump onto any team that is forming whenever you feel like PVPing if could. It’ll be interesting to see how those details are worked out.

In the mean time I’m going to continue working toward Justicar and Battlemaster. I usually have between one and two hours after getting home from work and dinner during which I run my daily heroic and do my dailies. I’m thinking my time might be better spent if I just run my daily heroic and save the dailies and work toward Loremaster for the weekends. I don’t really need the gold but I do really need the rep and the battleground achievements. For WSG I’m still somewhere north of 850 flag caps worth of rep, 12 total flag returns, and the 5 flag returns in one battle shy to meet all my Justicar and Battlemaster requirements. And for AB I’m still at least 220 AB matches of rep, and a handful of AB achievements, including winning 1600 – 0, shy of all my Justicar and Battlemaster requirements. If I focus my weekly PVP attentions toward WSG and AB I should be able to finish Justicar and hopefully Battlemaster by the end of the year. Cataclysm will bring its own slew of battleground related achievements and I’d like to be able to focus on those when the time comes.