Patch 2.4.2 and Season 4 have some big changes coming for PvP. The most important change, in my opinion, is the following:
- 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.
- If the average personal rating of the players queuing for a game is more than 150 points below the team’s rating, the team will be queued against an opponent matching or similar to the average personal rating.
This is Blizzard throwing in the towel on team-based ratings. Which, quite frankly, is needed.
The point of a rating system, as I have pointed out before, is to measure the skill* of a player. But in a world where you can easily join, leave, form and dissolve teams, the rating system quickly bears no resemblance to reality. Team-based ratings are simply too vulnerable to exploitation. Point-selling by high-end teams is endemic.
In the ideal scenario, a player's rating should quickly settle around its true value, and after that, change fairly slowly. You should not be able to reset it. Wild swings after the system becomes settled is a sign of a flawed system.
Team-based ratings were a bad idea to start with. Hopefully in WotLK, Blizzard will implement a proper personal rating and reward system for PvP.
Once ratings settle, there are a lot of interesting things Blizzard could do. For example, you could have a Tournament each Saturday. Teams would be divided by rating bands, and you could give the winner in each band enough Arena Points for a bonus item. Under the current system, if you did this, you'd probably end up with some full Gladiator team that just started a new team in your bracket, and they would romp all over everyone.
I would take a look at games like Magic Online, which--even though they have a rating system--don't rely solely on ratings to hand out rewards.
*Where "skill" means the ability to defeat the other team, and may include gear.