Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Arena Cheating

World of Warcraft is set to enter Arena Season 3 after today's downtime. With the new season comes new, rank-restricted arena gear and a personal ranking system, both of which are meant to fight rampant arena "exploitation" from the first two seasons. Sadly, the new season also brings new cheats.

Win trading, the process by which top teams farm another high ranking team, seems to be the new flavor and pretty much cements the high ranking of the team involved. It is easily disguised as normal play and only in the worst cases is it probable that the teams will get caught.

Fortunately, Blizzard seems to be on the case. However, this gives me no faith in the arena system as a viable end-game activity. Before win trading, it was top teams selling spots for gold. The point is, if it isn't one thing, it'll be another and that is enough evidence to me that Blizzard has failed on yet another PvP system. Like the Honor System, it will only be a matter of time before the current arena system is scrapped and replaced.

In my eyes, there are a couple things that would have contained these arena problems to simply arenas and not the entire game. First off, arena gear should of been restricted to use only inside arenas or become severely less powerful outside of arenas. If certain trinkets and out-of-arena gear were going to be restricted inside arenas, it only makes sense that arena gear could have been restricted outside of the arena.

It is a bad sign when the arena rewards are referred to as "welfare epics". Sadly, the epic arena gear turned out to be superior to a lot of raid level gear and quickly became the easiest way to gear up for end game raiding content.

I am not averse to easy to attain epic gear. However, I am against any system that becomes the "path of least resistance" for the opposite aspect of the game. PvP arenas became the preferred method for PvE players, and in my book, that is bad design. I know there is a lot that can be argued over raid loot affecting PvP, but I don't want to get into that aspect. I stand firmly on the concept of separate PvP and PvE reward systems.

Secondly, the arenas should have been about prestige, renown, and good ole' bragging rights. This entails rewards such as special titles, unique mounts, displayable trophies, etc. Arenas should have never gotten involved with rewarding epic gear, because it immediately dashes the illusion of fair play. When teams enter an arena, it should be the group build, player skill, and strategy that determines the winner, not fucking gear (most likely earned through questionable means).

Gear level, in arenas, should always be equal and that would have been easily accomplished through arena-restricted gear. Unfortunately, the system can not be changed and it would be unthinkable for Blizzard to remove all the gear already attained by players. The only hope is a change with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

In the end, this s just another set of reasons why there is no rush for me to get to 70. Arena's are not competitive, will never be, and are no longer my goal. Battlegrounds, which have always been objective-based, provide a better challenge and allow every class and level of player to participate in a meaningful way.

Now, if Blizzard would just put the same effort into Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Eye of the Storm, that they put into Alterac Valley, the battlegrounds would be golden!


  1. Because, of course, gear doesn't have any effect in the Battlegrounds.

    I agree that fixing arena matches is pretty lame, but its as much the players fault as it is the systems. there were plenty of fixed battlegrounds matches back in the day. And there are a good number of people in the world who would prefer to get their 'rewards' without actually having any challenge (note how prevalent and accepted the concept of 'twinks' is).

    Personally, if the arenas didn't award gear I wouldn't play them. I spent enough time getting thrashed by epiced out raiders in the battlegrounds before the expansion and it wasn't a lot of fun.

    And if you're going to propose the ludicrous concept of making arena gear only usable in the arena, then I suppose you would also accept the proposal that all raiding gear should only be usable inside raiding instances!

  2. But your argument falls apart when you consider raids are not meant to be a competitive challenge between two teams of players.

    Gear DOES have an effect in the battlegrounds, but it is little. If a superiorly geared team forms and joins a battleground, it normally ends within a few minutes because the opponent turns out to be a random pick up group.

    Otherwise, there is an equal chance that either side will wind up with overgeared or undergeared players. But even if that is the case, the players CAN DO SOMETHING in the battleground. If your gear sucks, you can still perform plenty of duties in a battleground.

    In arenas, gear comes second only to choosing the overpowered combinations of classes and skills.

    I agree that rewards are required if Blizzard wants players in arenas, but it does not have to be combat related gear. It can easily be replaced by "extras" for your character. I didn't even cover how the current trend of increasing arena gear stats from season to season far outpaces any other aspect of the game.

    Eventually it is going to get to the point that arenas will be worthless as an avenue to compete. There will be the top 10% facing each other over and over while the other 90% never has a chance to advance. The ranking system employed by Blizzard is meant solely for a game that never changes and gives no additional benefits to the player for winning.

  3. Well now you're confusing me. You don't like the fact that arena gear can be used outside of the arena because you feel it devalues raiding gear. But yet, you dont feel that raiding gear has the same effect on everything that isn't arena gear?!? I'm not talking about raids competing with each other (though they do). I'm talking about taking raiding gear out into the general populace and using its superior stats to dominate your regularly geared opponents.

    So if you're not in a guild that runs the top-end raids, you're just doomed to be constantly behind the curve and also doomed to be completely owned in BG or World PvP by those who do have access to that gear?

    And gear most certainly does has an effect on the battlegrounds. You ever tried to kill a decked out protection warrior who's running the flag in WSG with his pet paladin healing him? Very difficult to do. Or how about getting jumped by an epic, stun-lock rogue while guarding a flag alone in Arathi Basin?

    I certainly agree that teamwork can make a huge difference in PvP. However, WoW is ALL about gear. 90% of your stats come from your gear. So I really don't see how you can claim that gear has little effect in non-arena PvP.

  4. Win trading is pretty hard to set up and it only allows a team to keep their rating locked in place. Basically if the farmed "loser" team's rating becomes too low then the "winner" team will have a much higher chance of fighting a different team.

    As for the quality of arena gear being too high I think its quite fair for it to match the raiding tiers. In general I think the overlap between PvP and PvE gear is pretty small. Arena gear puts too much of its ilevel power into stamina and resilience which both are useless for non tanking classes in PvE.

    Out of all the PvP systems I have seen the arenas are the most fair and fun. Some of your arguments about the arenas make me wonder if you have ever played in one. If you haven't then I suggest trying to get into a 5v5 team. Skill deffinitely shines through over gear in the large format.

  5. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Heartless_ you really make me laugh. Yes player skill makes a big difference in equally geared teams, but you can see a very distinct difference between a fully T4 geared team and a team of fresh 70's wearing blues and greens.

    It may be the path of least resistance to start an arena team and get geared up, but guess what. The same was true back in the day when honor rewards were some of the best in the game.

  6. I'm not saying it devalues anything. I am saying that it is horrible design to have PvE players feel like PvP is the way to advance in their raids. Same as it is stupid to have a competitive PvP arena be decided by raid gear. That is why arena-restricted gear makes the most sense. Then player skill can truly shine and it doesn't become a "welfare" system.

    Also, isn't it fairly obvious that I'm not 70 and don't play arenas? That does not preclude me from understanding how skewed the system is.

    The point I am mainly talking to, is the fact that Blizzard could of and should of done better with the arena system before it became abused and exploited. I simply gave suggestions as to what they could of done. Please don't take it in the context as "BLIZZARD SHOULD DO THIS NOW!", as it is clearly stated as something that could of been done in the design phase.

    Blizzard has to work with the system they have now until WotLK launches and they can make some more progressive changes.

    And again, I am not averse to getting better gear. I just think the mix is off on how players are attaining it and then using it.


    I don't believe win trading is helping teams increase their ranking, but it is insuring that they maintain their current rank and in the game of win trading, ranking is very important as that is how the gig is run.

    Also, reports are that farm teams play and beat a lot of teams to get into top rank brackets, and then, when they get up against "certain" teams within that bracket they give them the win and repeat the cycle.

    With Season 3 hitting, ranking is now very very important and hence the concern over the situation.

  7. Anonymous3:21 AM

    I think that if they truly want to make it a contest of skill then they should give you a stock set of gear for the duration of the match. Every character of a specific class would be adorned in the same set of full epics as any other of that class. This would obviously be more beneficial to certain specs, so maybe you could choose from 3 different sets for your match. The gear doesn't exist outside of arenas and you don't have to earn it. You could still be awarded points to spend on gear rewards outside of arenas, but the game would be absolutely fair and accessible to the fresh 70s.

  8. Anonymous3:49 AM

    first there was wasting your time at the XR, then the bg's came out and people ran oh so much endless counter-strike:wow, its refined into the arena.. 2v2 wow? i'd like everyone to take a collective WTF moment. when did 2v2 become epic? the arena and everyone in it can go play cs, u want epics? raid.

  9. I still just don't see Arena gear on that many raiders. Maybe when they PvP but in general when I see players from the top guilds on my server doing dailies or heroics they are wearing the stuff from SSC/Eye instead of Season 2.

    It might be interesting to see how many top end arena teams are in end-game raiding guilds. Someone could do a little research using WoWJutsu and the Armory to find out. I think the only reason raiders used to do arenas were to save up for the weapons. In general the gear is really designed for seperate purpose.

    Also you can't really call arena gear welfare epics when a 1750 5v5rating only gets you 683 points a week. That means you could buy the gauntlets in two weeks and then one piece of armor every three weeks. Raiding is much quicker for gearing up then arenas. Its just the time investment for doing arenas is much less.

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  11. Anonymous5:41 PM

    Warhammer for the win.


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