The New Arena System

June 12, 2008 at 11:42 am (Game Design, PvP, Warcraft, World of Warcraft) ()

Season 4 start has officially been announced, and I couldn’t be less excited. Bliz went totally overboard with the PR system this time around, and IMO has left those on welfare epics out in the dark. What’s wrong with that? Well, if they don’t bring back welfare, I think arenas will die.

Consider these thoughts about the arena:

  • The top group of hardcore arenas hate to lose; if they loose consistently they’ll quit (that’s the definition of competitive: play to win), and move on to something they can win at. The arenas are the reason they play. 2000+ rating? I’m not really sure where it starts to get really competitive.
  • The next group, I’ll call the casual hardcore(CH), wants to play well. Most likely they focus on something else mainly, but like the change of pace with arenas. They want gear to stay competitive with the top people, but don’t mind losing too much if it’s to someone that’s clearly better. 1600+ rating
  • Then there are a certain group of players that are willing to lose if they get something out of it. Some take it more seriously that others, but in the end they don’t really care so long as they get their welfare. Generally < 1600 rating
  • For anyone to increase their rating someone needs to go down. There always needs to be as many points total below 1500 as there is above, that’s the way the system works.

Right now, Welfare lose to CH, and CH lose to Hardcore, but also notice that it’s a pyramid. You need X% more Welfares to support CHs and Y% more CH to support hardcore. Also, consider that even if no PRs are required to obtain arena gear, the distribution of gear goes down as you lower the ratings simply because points do not come as quickly. It would take me 3-4 months to earn a 3000 point weapon, while it would only take 6 weeks or less for a hardcore player.

So now, what happens when you place PR on gear the Welfares want? They quit. More gear with PR mean it’s less likely there’s something without PR that I want.  For myself, there’s no way I’ll ever see a 1800 rating anymore than I’d see a 3000, so I’m just not going to play.  That means that half the CH now need to be below 1500. Yep. They won’t even have a chance for most of the gear. How long do you think they’ll last before they realize they just don’t have the gear to compete because they can’t get their rating high enough?  Suddenly, they start to disappear.

That leaves the hardcore. What win % do you think they need to continue to stroke their epeen? 80%? 90%? If they have to lose 50% of the time just because of the math, it will be a mass exodus. Arenas will die.

The dumbest thing Bliz could do was put PR on the “status gear.” What casual is going to get beat over and over so he can get gloves? Those gloves are for the hardcore looking for every bit of a boost they can get, not the casuals. The casuals want the cool weapons or shoulders (if your class happens to have cool shoulders that is). Maybe having the low PR on legs and chest is enough to keep some in, but I think most are playing for the weapons. Actually, I revise my previous statement, PR on SEASON OLD weapons is even dumber. I’d wait a season to get a cool weapon, but the way they’re going now, who knows if they’ll ever be available without PR.  (Maybe that’s the point…)

Where does that leave me if I’m someone that will do anything for that one item? Cheating. Oh yes. Someone will find a way to cheat in S4 to get PR, and THEN you will have crazy bad players with crazy high PR, just to get that weapon. Think it’s bad now?  So far cheaters have just been bored casual and CH’s.  You haven’t seen a desperate hardcore, and there will be many.

Now, I’m not willing to go that far, but I do have several thousand gold that I’d be willing to give to 4 other players if they can get me to 2050 for the S4 bow.

That’s a lot of doomsaying, but I have to say I’m not that worried that this will actually happen because it would take a long time. Bliz was too far one way without PR and now they’re going too far the otherway with everything having a PR. Personally, I think this is an experiment, which will probably be reversed to give the status items back to ‘does not needing a rating.’ They need the casuals in there to lose every week so the better players can get ahead.


And for those welfare haters – it took me 5 weeks to get the 1000 points for my axe. I looked at it like a very long daily quest I could only do it once a week. I got exalted with the netherwing with less time and effort, and there I got an item I wanted more than an axe. I actually think the 3000 points for the main weapons is too much since that would be 3-4 months. Think of how many exalted grinds could be done in that amount of time.

Remember that every point you hardcore gain comes back to a casual like me losing a match.



  1. Amava said,

    Well said. I’m one of those players who’s sort of on the cusp between Welfare and Casual Hardcore arena. The arena needs lots of teams like mine to fuel those higher rated teams.

    My partner and I hate losing, we try really hard, we did lots of BG’s to increase our resil during season 3.

    We do get our butts kicked. We’re not afk’ing to get welfare points. We try as hard as we can, perhaps the only thing we haven’t done is respec (BM Hunter and Resto Druid, both fully raid spec) for PvP.

    As of right now, with 2 weeks left, our rating has just popped above 1500 and we’re at 1517.

    The rate that Arena points trickle in for us has been an effective throttle on our gear progression. There is no need for Blizzard to put a rating requirement on stuff. At least in S3, I know I can’t get all the gear due to quantity of points, but I feel that the decision on which piece to get is up to me.

    In S4, I won’t even get to pick which two pieces I’ll buy all season long. The rating requirement will force my choices and that doesn’t feel like much fun.

  2. yunk said,

    I just read this comment by Andrew Tepper who worked on A Tale in the Desert who mentioned a similar thing happened in their game:

  3. Fearstalker said,

    Mystic and Amava, I hear ya.

    In the same boat here. I’m sitting on 60,000 honor, and likely won’t be able to spend it all. I’m going to buy a rating so I can get the BG boots/ring, and then will grind out the points for the S4 gloves.

    After that?.. the only other thing left would be to grind points for the S3 chest. I’ll never be able to touch the rest of the S4 gear. Points will come too slow, and I’ll never get the rating anyway.

    So really, I’ll be dropping out of PVP completely after I get the boots/ring and S4 gloves. I can’t imagine that there are not a lot of others in the same situation.

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