Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We've Fallen Off The Path

This article "65% fewer Arena teams in Season 5" has lit up discussion across the blogsphere and message boards. The original article itself has over 150 comments.

I believe the phenomenon is most easily explained, and predicted, by an article by Rohan of Blessing of Kings call Being On The Path. This was written back in May of 2008.

Allow me to quote a few paragraphs from that excellent piece:
The key is the concept of "Being On The Path" for endgame content. In nutshell, the number of people who reach the highest point of endgame is less important than the number of people who are working towards--and feel that they one day could achieve--that point.

As long as a player is "on the path", everything is fine. The real crisis point are when people are unable to get on the path, or their progress on the path becomes completely blocked. I think it is more important to help the guilds who are trying to become raiding guilds.To help the people who cannot get on the path at all.

This is why I feel Rating Requirements are a bad idea. If you are a casual PvPer, one who tries, but isn't really all that good, you've basically fallen off the path. And that is demoralizing.

The number of players who achieve the end is less important than the number of players who are on the path to the end. The number of players in Sunwell is less important than the number of players on the path to Sunwell. The number of players in Season 4 gear is less important than the number of players working towards Season 4 gear. With the advent of extensive Rating Requirements, the number of players on the path to Season 4 gear will drop drastically, and that is an unhealthy state for the PvP endgame.

Why did we not see this decline until Season 5? In Season 4, there were still enough players "On The Path". The rating requirements had driven some away, but you could also attribute those losses to the upcoming Expansion.

What changed between Season 4 and Season 5? The addition of Rating Requirement to not only Arena gear, but also Battleground gear. Now more people fell off the path. The people left doing Arenas were the very skilled and very well geared making the process even more frustrating for casual PVPers.

It's a component to my own lack of interest in PVP. I like hanging out with my guild, but there is zero tangible reward. Without doing Arena, and doing it well, I'm locked out from most PVP gear.

I've fallen off the path.


Darraxus said...

I agree. I did not touch an arena this season and dont know if I will again. I did arena with 3 70s at various levels of success. Now I dont really see the point. I dont get decent PVE upgrades from PVP.

Ofn said...

This is a very good explanation as to what's going on and certainly plays a significant role in my own current attitude towards PVP.

Until it seems possible to obtain some of the better PVP gear, I really won't get back on the path.

rogosh said...

100% agree and I remember that posting on BoK.

I am an avid raider/PvE person but would enjoy getting in and mixing it up in the BG's as well as the arenas. We did out obligatory 10 games a week and while the points weren't all that great, they kept coming and allowed me to get decent gear and feel as if I was achieving something..

Now, with everything having an arena rating requirment and those requirements being so high I, and many others apparently, feel as if there is no chance to compete so why even bother starting.

Dorgol said...

I haven't touched Arena since season 2. However, I loved playing the BGs and by the time WotLK released I had 3 characters (Warrior, Warlock, Paladin) in 5/5 Season 2 gear (bought with Honor).

But with the advent of rating requirements even on EVERYTHING, I haven't done a serious BG since hitting 80. BGs are a blast, but the amount of fun *I* have is directly tied to the quality of gear I have (it isn't fun to get 3 shot 10 seconds after rezing).

Hopefully the recent blue posts are just empty talk and we'll see some improvements in the PvP world of Warcraft.

Ruhtra said...

Coming from loving PVP and being moderately successful myself, I too have not done much with the arena season this year.

My partner from last year has held of playing for a while and finding a new partner was not nearly as easy as it would seem.

Add in the learning curve of working with someone and you end up with an extremely low rating (which I do not mind) but leaves little hope of acquiring gear which will allow you to compete.

Perhaps the advent of duel spec will change the perception of some and a few will try the PVP seen, but for now I would rather go pick a fight with my guild outside of Stormwind, then waste time in arena.

Mister K said...

I stopped playing Arenas after Season 4 as well. I was never that skilled or dedicated at it but at least there were some rewards, now there is no reward unless you are willing to dedicate a real amount of time and effort to it, which is not my main reason for playing. I do love the Arena tournament though because everyone has basically a fair shot with the same gear.

Gowron said...

The same can be said about PVE, in TBC I was always on the path, getting as much quest-chains towards the raiding-questlines. in late 2007 I never thought I would ever see Vashj or Kael, but I never ditched the Vial-quest, because maybe some day...

Now, there's no path, no quests to follow, not even the ability to ask in /g : LFM 'Fall of the Betrayer'.

PS. It's a good thing though that the best (pally)tank weapon is no longer a PvP-weapon.

apokteino said...

attendance has dropped from S4 to S5 mostly b/c of ppl who either haven't purchased the xpac yet or haven't lvld their toon up to 80 quite yet. as S5 has progressed more and more ppl have joined an arena team. by the time season 6 rolls around i'm willing to bet attendance will be up around where is was in S4.

another key factor in attendance drop is the new rating system that was implemented mid-season. most casual pvpers don't fully understand it and quit in frustration. however everything will reset for S5 and we'll all be on a lvl playing field. i expect attendance to shoot back up quickly.

as to your comment regarding rating on gear, i am not sure why you would not reward those who do an exceptional job at pvp by giving them above average gear. it's the way pve works. they've already dropped the rating requirements 100 points. hateful is incredibly easy to get and deadly isn't impossible if you know what you're doin. if you don't have the skill and are sitting at a 1200 rating... get better.

also, if you are rated 1400 you won't be playing teams in full deadly. you can't say this is what is detering you from playing arena. you will be matched generally w/ ppl of equal gear, as the higher geared teams are obviously at higher ratings. outplay them.

also, you talk about what "keeps you on the path." for casual pvpers it is hitting a certain rating in order to obtain gear (2050 shoulders). remove this from the game and much more people are going to "fall beside the way." real pvpers are rated 2300+ and play for epeen or b/c it's fun.

Anonymous said...

Honors - great, insightful post, and great words from Rohan.

I thought it was insane when they established Arena rankings for BG rewards, as well as making the obtainable Arena gear rare in quality. As a result, I only did one week of Arena in S5, and I've hardly done any BGs - and I LIKE PvP! I used to really enjoy Arena. But since I'll never get any rewards, or rewards worth getting, why bother?

apokteino - No offense, but you are entirely mistaken. A casual PvPer does not have a 2030 rank, nor anything remotely approaching that. Honors and Rohan are dead-on. The amount of playing and learning strategies required to hit 2030 is far in excess of what is required to raid the existing 25-mans.

It is somewhat ironic that this expansion made the PvE end-game accessible to basically everyone, but moved PvP in the opposite direction.


apokteino said...

i understand what you're saying about the 2050 rating, anon. the reason i through that number out is b/c i'm almost there myself, not because i'm good at pvp (i consider myself casual) but b/c i play a good comp and we've figured out how to use our strengths fairly well. if 2050 is unrealistic then set use the rating to get the hateful gear which is anywhere from 1550-1750 if i remember right. you can't say a casual pvper can't get those rating.

the reason they put a rating requirement on gear obtained through bgs was, once again, so exceptional skill can be noted and duly rewarded. like i said, most ppl do pvp b/c they look forward to hitting a certain rating and being able to get special gear. if you remove this from the game, a lot of ppl are going to lose their incentive for pvp. you are saying that the ratings are keeping you away from pvp. is it b/c you don't have a high enough rating yet? then get the lower lvl gear so you can get better and keep working at it. you'll get better and the higher rated gear will become available even if you're a casual pvper.