OT: Crushing Blow
[note: Blizzard updated the notes after I wrote this, but before I posted. See Edit at bottom]
The inexplicably undocumented Arena point change has been a huge blow to my drive to PvP in WoW. In case you missed it – you know, focusing on all the gold-making and “versus AH” opportunities – the way Conquest points are earned have been radically changed. Pre-4.1, you had to win five games to cap yourself to the week, regardless of whether you were at the minimum 1343 (sub-1500 rating) or at 2000+ (over 1500). This may have seemed too “easy” for some, but the entire point of personal/team MMR is to put you against other teams/players that will result in a 50% win percentage. In other words, you are expected to play 10 games in order to win those 5.
Now? Blizzard has at least doubled the required number of games everyone has to play to achieve the same results. If you do 2s for points with your friends, you are going to be playing 20 games instead of 10. If you are above 1500 rated, you will be playing exponentially more – a 1600 Conquest point cap, for example, means I need 12 wins, or 24 games… 14 more than last week. A 2300 cap is 18 wins or 34 expected games at a high level of play. This is what I wrote on the MMO-Champ forums:
You guys really aren’t getting it.
1) This change hugely impacts everyone who does Arenas: it is at least doubling the amount of Arena game wins each player needs to have to get capped each week. If you are below 1500, it now takes 10 wins instead of 5. Blizzard balances your MMR around the idea of a 50% win percentage, meaning they expected you to play 10 games to win 5, capping yourself out. Last expansion, you could /dance or /afk your way through 10 games per week for points; the pre-4.1 change let people cap early if they get lucky (going 5-0), but if you have a lower win percentage you could end up going 5-13 and do more games than last expansion. This new change doubles the amount of games everyone needs to play. Now your “for fun + points” teams will be running an average of 20 games instead of 10, and the upper-crust PvPers could be required to play an average of 40+ games instead of 10. Between the queue times and how long matches can last (at any level), we are talking about a massive, extra drain on your time.
2) No warning whatsoever. Patch was on the PTR for months, and a fundamental redesign of the Arena system was pushed through like a Congressional earmark on a budget resolution at the 11th hour? Not only that, Blizzard already knows it “may be too low” but they pushed it anyway?
3) All of this smacks as a back-handed move to push Arena players of all stripes into Rated BGs for Conquest Points – “Hey kids, how about 4 Rated BGs instead of 20 Arena matches?” Instead of, you know, admitting that Rated BGs are a failure due to their overall design, and not the reward structure itself.
4) The lack of empathy from obvious PvE players who never Arena’d to save their life is just sad. This is the equivalent of them reducing the VP you get from dungeons from 70 to 35 (or 140 to 70), but leaving the weekly cap the same. How would you feel about suddenly needing to run twice as many heroics per week? Oh wait, “it isn’t necessary to cap VP each week” so nothing changes, right?
I had not really paid any attention to the MMO-Champ forums before, but it is truly despicable garbage over there, way worse than even the official forums in terms of trolling (if you can believe that). Most of the “counter-points” were essentially saying “haha, suck it” or:
No, it’s not the fact that they don’t enjoy PvP, it’s the fact that they don’t want to grind for the same type of rewards that sole PvE players have to endure for their epics. That’s why many people went to PvP in Cata due to the fact dungeons and raids are very time consuming again, and are not zergable as in Wrath… It’s the extreme lack of paticence that these players have that causes them to rage, because arena battles are not as easy to farm as, say, normal 5-mans or unrated BG’s… Plus, there is the rating issue… (lol)
There is a literal disconnection from reality with these people, and it is becoming impossibly hard for me to even wrap my mind around their worldview. “Extreme lack of paticence [sic]?” Is there no difference between a Tol Barad daily that requires you to kill 12 spiders and a hypothetical one that requires you to kill 24 spiders for the same reward? Is there no difference between a heroic that takes an hour to complete and one that takes two hours? What is the magical patience threshold they are using as a metric here? Imagine if it took twice as many heroics as it does currently to gain the same amount of JP/VP. Did nothing change? Did you lose nothing? Is the argument that your fun is actually increasing because you are being forced to play longer for the same goal?
I mean, good lord. Do people act like this in their real lives? “Pay freeze this year, so no raises. Oh well, nothing changed.” Or does this masochism only appear when they sit down for entertainment?
I enjoy WoW PvP… more or less. On equal skill levels, the player with the better gear wins. You have to have gear to compete, as PvP sure has hell isn’t balanced amongst players with 11% resilience (crafted PvP gear) and 31% resilience (4pc + weapon + trinkets) – one player is literally taking 20% more damage than the other. You know those unkillable healers running around these days? That doesn’t happen in crafted gear. Well, it might happen if you both are in crafted gear, which is the reason why you are getting better gear.
Regardless, Arena games are stressful affairs to me, and random BGs typically boil down to squeezing blood-fun from the “inevitably getting farmed at your GY” stone that is Alliance PvP. If I wanted to play more Arena games, I would play more Arena games. Indeed, I do Arena on three separate toons. Now? I will be forced to cut at least one of those toons out just to scrape enough wins on whichever I decide is my main PvP toon. If this system was in place at the start of Cataclysm, I would not have geared up three toons and otherwise not have played as much.
If you cannot recognize a difference between doing 30 games across 3 characters vs 30 games on 1 character, or are dismissive of the former because “it’s for the gear,” then… I have to question your sanity. You are playing an MMO; being rewarded for the things you do is not something dirty, it’s a huge part of the game. If the reward doesn’t match the effort, you don’t do it. If you disagree, well, I expect to see an Armory link of your main with “the Insane” title along with your response.
Which, ironically, would only prove my point.
Edit: Check out this post by Zarhym:
We saw that Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds were over-rewarding players for the time investment required, particularly compared to point gains in PvE. We felt the change we went live with in the patch was a little bit too low and overcompensating though, so we buffed up the numbers for wins just a bit to 180 (Arenas) and 400 (Rated BGs).
This changes the math a bit, but not by much – 8 wins (16 games) instead of 10 for casual Arena players, ~13 wins (26 games) for the upper crust. Make no mistake about one thing though: the Blizzard designers are very concerned about how rewarding you find the game. Fun cannot be metered out too quickly, because why else would you be playing, amirite? Think about that next time you find yourself grinding out Therazane rep for your 25 extra stats on shoulders. That kind of shit is mathed out on an Excel spreadsheet, and they just added three more lever presses before the Conquest Point food pellet comes out.