Monday, February 25, 2008

2.4 changes should keep "Ringers" out of Arenas

It’s funny but based on my arena rating I've always just assumed that me and my friends suck at PvP in World of Warcraft. We have okay class balance but we never seem to be able to get our rating above 1600. We do tend to win a lot in battlegrounds and we made a good run of it this weekend in Warsong Gulch. We only had a premade of about five people but we managed to beat numerous full premades and won about 20 games in a row. This was the most success we've ever had and actually resulted in me spending left over WSG tokens on potions. Never thought I would see that day!

However, in the arenas this weekend we got our normal ass kicking with every win giving us only around 8-10 points and every loss costing us about 16 points. It’s funny but our win/loss ratio is about 2-1 but we actually end up barely increasing our rating. Well it was about half way through our 5th game when we noticed that a lot of the teams that beat us in the mid 1500's had one or two people in full sets of Vengeance (S3 arena) gear. These were the teams with apparently much worse ratings then us and yet somehow they managed to have people who had already achieved the 2000 rating requirement for the shoulders.

Unfortunately, it’s become common practice for players to switch to lower rated arena teams once they have fully geared themselves out in the latest arena gear. Since the arena matching system is currently based on team ranking it ignores the obvious advantage a fully geared season 3 player brings to the table. The practice is especially brutal since most of these Ringers are high damage classes with MS warriors being the most common. This makes it especially hard to catch up at the end of an arena season especially if you didn't have an active team for the first month or two.

It looks like Blizzard has noticed the problem and is changing the matching system in patch 2.4 to prevent Ringers from smashing lower ranked teams. In the next patch you can expect the matching system to use the highest personal rating of a team member to match them against their opponents. All of a sudden having someone with a personal rating of 2000 in your team doesn't seem like such an advantage. This should reduce the amount of teams in the 1450-1650 rating range which make use of Ringers to artificially boost their arena rating.

Blizzard is getting closer and closer to cutting out most of the cheats for the arena system. People will always try to game a system to get rewards faster but for the longest time PvP has been more vulnerable to it then PvE. It’s only natural since massive PvP systems in MMORPGs are a lot less common then standard reward systems which use dungeons and raids. Still it looks like progress is being made and one only has to look at the greatly reduce gold spam to see that Blizzard can effectively change their code to restrict undesired behavior. Now if only they would work on the hack that allows people to start early in Eye of the Storm.


Johan said...

Hmm, I just read this and discussed with my brother and it sounds like you can still game the system.

Imagine if you will a 5v5 team. Under these new rules, if it looks solely at your PR (which I am not sure if it does, just going off speculation from your post) wouldn't it make sense for everyone in the 5v5 to tank their 2v2 and 3v3 teams to affect their personal rating for matching?

Again, I am not sure if the PR is shared amongst all teams or not, but if it is, then the logic should change to be highest rating, whether its team or PR.

Relmstein said...

I was wondering about that also since I would assume people would be more then willing then tank a smaller bracket rating to get matched against low rated 5v5 teams.

Then again most Ringers are only temporary guests for a week or two and probably wouldn't coordinate large scale loses to help a team that is probably just calling in a favor or paying gp.

It would make sense for Blizzard to make it so that the matching system used whatever was highest: personal rating or team rating.

Anonymous said...

Actually the patch notes do include that logic. The matchmaking system will match you based on the highest rating within your team- be it personal or team.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am missing something but I don't see how this changes anything. Your personal rating gets reset whenever you join a new team and you have a different rating for each bracket. So if I am 2k+ in 5s and some scrub give me gold to carry him and get his rating up, then I join his 2s and my 2s rating gets reset to 1500.

Furthermore, if I already have my S3 shoulders and weapon, there is nothing else I need personal rating for so no reason for me not to tank my rating.

Relmstein said...

I'm not 100% sure since I haven't really switch around my arena teams around a lot. But I don't think your personal arena rating for a bracket gets reset when you join a new team since that would defeat the entire purpose of having it.

Now having a 1850 rating on your 2v2 team but having a 1500 rating on your 5v5 is realistic. I know some druids in this position but from what I've seen having a high 2v2 rating earns a lot less honor per week. Plus the difficulty of your opponents changes drastically from match to match in most 2v2 games which makes it hard to keep a rating stable.

Anonymous said...

As a 2k+ rogue who has jumped around on tons of teams, I am 100% positive that your personal rating is reset upon joining a new team -- and it doesn't defeat the point of the system, either, because the personal rating system wasn't designed for matchmaking, but rather to keep people from just hopping on a highly rated team to buy items with a rating requirement.

Now they're trying to bend it to also provide matchmaking, which will help to some degree, but not as much as one might think. The main change that will likely be helping this now is that they are changing it so you earn points based off personal rating or team rating, whichever is lower, so people might not be as willing to just jump off their "serious" team to help friends (and consequently reset their personal rating).