Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cataclysm’s Rated Battlegrounds

One of the more interesting system revamps announced for Cataclysm was the introduction of rated battlegrounds. This should be a welcome change since its promises to balance out the PvP systems in World of Warcraft. At the moment the arena system dominates the PvP landscape and often gives an advantage to players in Wintergrasp and Battlegrounds. This is mostly because the arena system is the only way for melee classes to achieve decent PvP weapons. After the Burning Crusade the developers made a decision to tightly control epic weapons since so many people stopped raiding. This is why arena weapons during the Wrath of the Lich King have never been made available for honor.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea to reign in the free epic weapons, but it’s gone too far in the opposite spectrum. Arenas may be almost exploit free and have better matchmaking system nowadays, but its still a poor decision to make it the main gateway for PvP gear. The very nature of combat in World of Warcraft makes small squad based fights very dependent on gear and luck. Battlegrounds and to a lesser degree Wintergrasp depend a bit more on coordination and strategy. In arenas things are simple and you just have to kill your enemies, while in battlegrounds you are more concerned with objectives and defeating them. Both are viable forms for PvP so it does seem a bit weird to reward one over the other.

Main Problems with Arenas being the main PvP Gear Gateway
1) WoW combat is still rock-paper-scissors to a certain degree
-certain team combinations will always have an advantage over others because of class
2) Arenas are more heavily influenced by class nerfs and buffs then battlegrounds
3) Arenas tend to emphasize reflexes and gear over the strategy aspect of PvP
4) Allows highly ranked to arena players to faceroll their way through battlegrounds

How the Rated Battleground Systems Works

-Each player has a personal battleground rating
-Winning matches increases the rating while losing has no effect
-The same matchmaking system used in arenas will decide rating changes

-Each week one battleground will be playable for rated matches
-Rated battlegrounds required a full pre-made raid to queue
-No special battleground team has to be made
-Blizzard said to expect three new battlegrounds

-Battleground Ratings will allow access to arena weapons/armor
-Rated Battlegrounds will reward arena points after each victory
-Arenas will also be changed so they give arena points after each victory
-Your previous week’s rating limits how many points you can earn that week
-The old Battleground titles will once again be available as rewards
-Top Performers in Arenas and Battlegrounds will also get epic mounts

As you can see there are some pretty big changes to both the battleground system and arena system in the upcoming expansion. It looks like Blizzard is serious about making both systems viable ways of gaining PvP gear. Also since rated battlegrounds require pre-made teams you can expect players to police the system and kick out any bots or slackers after a single match. Most likely the only reason Blizzard has been so hesitant to reward battleground play in the past has been because of the honor farming problem.


Dorgol said...

As a big fan of the Battleground system, I'm looking forward to this. I haven't put a foot into Arena since Season 2, but since that time I've fully kitted out a Paladin (twice, Holy and Ret), Warrior, Warlock, and Druid (twice, Resto and Feral) in Honor gear. But during all this time I've only picked up a weapon on the Paladin (at the end of TBC). It would be nice if I could finally fill in that final slot.

As a side note, I wouldn't be surprised if the new Battlegrounds REPLACE some of the old BGs.

Warsong, for example: in the trailer video we see Horde buildings built around the Night Elf buildings in Ashenvale. So it's possible that Blizzard will move the lore forward and create a new BG with the same CTF gameplay - only it won't be WSG.

Tucker said...

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