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Blood Sport: Yup, still broken

Amanda Dean

PvP in its purest form is a beautiful thing. Amanda Dean, always obsessed with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat brings you news you can use in the Arena.

The World (of Warcraft) seems to be full of arena lovers and arena haters. I suppose somewhere out there you might find some folks that are completely indifferent to the arena. The recent changes to the Personal Rating system seems to have brought out a furor in both camps. Suince the dawn of the Burning Crusade Blizzard has made many attempts to balance the arenas, now I find that the arenas are still broken, just broken differently.

In a sarcastically titled thread "New PR system is cool" Camelvendor of Korgath explained his situation. He played on his 2200 rated team with his old partner, who obviously had a lower rating for 33 games. Boasting a record of 29 wins and 4 losses for the day, the end result was a rating change of 56 points lost. Since the team rating was considerably higher than one of the personal ratings on the team, they found themselves playing in the 1500 bracket.

That has also proven frustrating from the opposite side of the pairings. While Camelvendor stewed about fighting teams wearing Season Two gear, Limez expressed his disgust with playing Season Three Geared teams. Starting out with a rating in the high 1700s he ended the day in the mid-1600s. He feels that his team had no chance against those with superior gear (though I might add that they also most likely had superior skill).

My recent experience has been similar to this. We've recently created a 5v5 team including a Mortal Strike Warrior, a Retribution Paladin, a Discipline Priest, an Enhancement Shaman, and me, a Resto Shaman. It's not a cookie cutter composition, but it's what we can come up with among friends.

Our team is still learning to play together and have been winning about half of our games. Our arena points have been climbing, however because when we win we win 15-25 points and when we lose we lose 5-10 points. We can more or less shrug it off when we find ourselves defeated by fully geared season three teams.

Blizzard has cracked down on win-trading and traditional point selling but problems with arena still exist. It looks like ratings are still exploitable, just in a different way. The new gig is for geared players to just create a new team with their lower ranked friends. That way they're playing teams of equivalent rating and pushing them up. I personally have accepted that the system has always been broken. I keep queuing up because I genuinely enjoy the challenge.

I can understand the frustration that many players have with the arena system. It can be hard for new players to break into the arena as a new level 70. While skill is the ultimate factor in success, gear can not be counted out completely. The better the gear, the easier it is to rank up, and the higher the rating, the easier it is to get gear. Blizzard has made many changes in attempt to fix the problem of imbalanced arenas, but people will always find creative ways to work the system.

All I can say is hang in there and play hard. Just like raiding, you don't become a top-tier player overnight. Study up on game play and master your tools. For your first couple of months, you may have to simply play your ten weekly games to get points, but eventually you'll need to play more games. If you decide that you're one of the many that hate arenas, then my best suggestion is to not play them.

Aside from abolishing the arenas, altogether, I don't see how it will ever be fully balanced. Some have suggested simply not allowing gear that requires personal ratings in games against lower-rated teams, but it seems to me that something like that would only make it more difficult to break into the top ranks, as players would never drop out. I'm curious, if you were in charge of developing PvP in WoW, what would you do differently?

Rumors are out that we will be seeing the two-week notice for season four this week. Although the new arena gear is hideously ugly, I'm looking forward to some new loot. I am not looking forward to hearing the inevitable whining about being beaten by season four teams.

If you're not already saving honor and arena points for the new season, start soon. Gear up and get in there.

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