Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Building a Better Battleground System

The battlegrounds are going through a lot of fine tuning in the upcoming patch. It's not surprising since the developers have admitted that PvP in World of Warcraft is a little too focused on arenas right now. I seems like Blizzard might slowly be moving towards another revamp of the honor system in the future. However, before they upset the balance of power between arena and honor points they probably want to look at sprucing up the individual battlegrounds. At the moment a couple of battlegrounds are vulnerable to stalemates and honor farming expeditions and players can often find themselves trapped. Warsong Gulch is the poster child of the never ending death-match and a twenty minute time limit is a welcome addition.

The resource gathering battlegrounds are not quite as broken as Warsong Gulch, but Blizzard still has a couple of good modifications in the works. Both Arathi Baisin and Eye of the Storm are having their victory conditions changed so that only 1600 resources are required to win a game. Also it looks like Blizzard is finally rewarding players who defend flags by giving flags an aura which increase honor gains by 50%. Another corresponding change is that flags now only take eight seconds to capture instead of ten. This should encourage teams to have players on guard duty or else be very vulnerable to ninjas.

Strands of the Ancients is also getting a slight update, which I think is good idea. The Wrath of the Lich King battleground has surprisingly become a favorite for alliance players and their faction does seem to win it more often. I attribute this to the alliance always starting on offense first which seems to give them a slight mental edge when they manage to take the relic chamber. A sizable percentage of players don't like putting any effort into a game which at best can only become a tie. Thus, the horde suffers from more AFKs mid-game then the alliance. Randomizing the starting position should fix the issue though I'm sure it will make earning honor harder for alliance characters.

Beyond the small tweaks to battlegrounds in Patch 3.2, we can probably expect some major changes further down the line. I have a feeling that we'll be looking at something that allows epic weapons and armor to be earned without a high arena rating within the year. That's not to say that Blizzard will just hand out gear upgrades to anyone with a working battleground bot. Instead, I think we might be looking at some sort of battleground rating system. In the past Blizzard experimented with a match making system for battlegrounds that used the ilevel of a player's gear. It was quickly taken out though, since it caused the queue times to dramatically increase.

However, the current matchmaking system for the arenas is very efficient and I think it could be adapted to the battlegrounds. This might just be the perfect solution to the bots and afk players which have consistently plagued battlegrounds. The current system simply rewards players for being in a battleground and the reporting system really only works in the longer Alterac Valley. If a personal battleground rating was used on some higher level PvP gear it could solve a lot of balance problems in PvP. Currently, the smaller arena brackets suffer from better geared "Ringers" who run friends through late at night. This often results in players who attempt to bring their arena rating up fairly getting pounded. Battlegrounds are much more resilient to this type of manipulation since the games are opposing factions only.


Lance said...

Indeed, most changes seem quite useful, hopefully - and that is a personal desire rather than a generalized comment - the BGs will become more fun. I prefer them to Arena as `casual fillers' between raiding slots.

FFXI Accounts said...

I think many of the gamers out there would agree that many of the changes are absolutely necessary. I feel that a better battleground system should help.

Happyculture said...

Your comment about Strand of the Ancients caught my eye. I've always thought that Alliance attacking first was a disadvantage, as a poor performance in the first half immediately leads to /afks. Could be a case of the grass always being greener!