Individual Arena ratings will now be taken into account. According to Blizzard Community Manager Drysc, "if a character's personal rating is more than 150 points below the team rating, they will earn points based on their personal rating instead of the team rating." Individuals will no longer be able to 'float' their way to large amounts of Arena points. Arena gear previously required just a certain team rating, but with change that rating will also apply to a character's personal Arena rating. If a team's average Arena rating is more than 150 points below the team rating, they'll be queued against appropriate opponents. This will prevent individuals from quickly improving their personal ratings through individual matches. And finally, "If a team does not enter an arena match that is starting they will lose points equal to the amount that would have been deducted if they had played and lost." This will work to prevent teams from abandoning matches until they compete against a group they are specifically looking to fight.
A recent interview with Blizzard's Tom Chilton at Gamespy seemed to indicate some of these changes off-hand, we sure didn't get the impression the changes would be so sweeping at the time. Overall, these changes will bring an entirely new face to Arena competitions. Sister site WoW Insider calls this the "death knell for welfare epics", and it's hard to see how to take it any other way. But, how do these changes affect you? Have you been saving up your Arena points for Season 4?