Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rated Battlegrounds: A Missed Opportunity?

Apropos of our discussion yesterday, Blizzard posted a FAQ on Rated Battlegrounds. The key points I want to pull out are:
1. Rated Battlegrounds are broken down into three brackets. 10v10, 15v15 and 25v25. These brackets rotate weekly and can be viewed in-game via the calendar by activating the battleground holiday filter.

2. Players must create a raid with the full number of players required for the current bracket before entering the queue. Any level 85 player of your faction may participate in the battle (regardless of guild association).

As I've mentioned before, I think there are two main types of group content: transient and extended. I think the current design of rated battlegrounds falls in-between the two types, and thus is more awkward than it needs to be.

Extended content works best when you have the same team each week. Where you work together as a team and gradually become better and better. Things like raiding and Arenas. However, for rated battlegrounds, the size of the team needs to change from week to make, making it extremely awkward to have a consistent team. One week you go with 10, the next with 15, the next with 25. It's a scheduling nightmare. You'll have to do substitutions and all sorts of shenanigans to get everyone in the guild their full quota of points, if you approach rated BGs from an extended content point-of-view.

From the transient side, there's no automatic group creation. Again, I believe that automatic group creation is a killer feature for transient content, that transient content is essentially crippled without automatic group creation.

With this design, rated battlegrounds will become like pugging raids today. However, if you think that Gearscore is bad today, you are not prepared for the hell that will be rated battlegrounds. Lose a game, and recriminations will start flying, even if the team that won was simply better. Those the group leader sees as weak will be kicked from the team after the first game, and the next 30 minutes will be wasted as the team lead tries to find the perfect current "overpowered" class with the best gear and rating possible.

Rated battlegrounds seem perfect for an automatic matching system. Just match people of similar rating together, and let them fight opposing teams of similar rating. Transient content should be approached in a transient manner. If people want to queue up with groups, let them, but the differing battleground sizes will always make that hard to do consistently week after week.

Creating a successful Pick-Up Group for a raid right now is a time-consuming and frustrating exercise. I'm not sure why Blizzard wants to use it as the model for Rated Battlegrounds, especially when the automatic group creation of the Dungeon Finder seems like a far better path.


  1. Except that an automatically created group would never-ever win against a pre-made.

  2. The next add-on after cataclysm will then allow all sizes every week with the 25 group getting the best gear and highest valued token.

    Then, two years later they will change it so that all group sizes get the same geat, you just get more from the 25 group game.

    And they will probably completely screw over all classes in the required redesign and add each and every buff to every class.

    It's TBC all over again.

  3. New lurker.

    Been playing for about a year, mostly PvE, starting to get into PvP.

    This article is a bummer. Not that your opinion is a bummer, but that I agree with your opinion, and thats the bummer.

    I love PUGs. Love em. Yup, sometimes I get a tank that can't do his job, or mages that INSIST on being in melee range for every fight. But that creates a challenge, and I am a better player for it. But a pretty good percentage of the time I get an awesome group and we rock it.

    I would love Rated Battlegrounds with automatically created PUGs like the RDF. There is virtually no chance that I will ever be in a "created group".

    "let me look at your gear. oh, you suck"
    Really? Yes, my gear may suck, but if you would be specific then I will certainly consider your opinion in my research.

    Yeah, I just don't have time for kids playing adult I guess.

    Hey, nice blog. :D

  4. The only way an automatically created group could win was if the leader of the other group was Gevlon. He would be so busy shouting orders and kicking people that he would lose every time!

  5. While I shouldn't feed that anonymous troll, it seems he fails to grasp the fact a 'premade' of Gevlons likely wouldn't need orders to be yelled or kicks to be done.

  6. I agree, it is a missed opportunity. I was excited about this, but now that it's the same crap as raids, not so excited any more. The dungeon finder is awesome, and they should use that for everything, from raids to battlegrounds. It's a real shame they are missing the boat on this one. Although they seem to miss the boat a lot.

  7. Yeah, chalk me up as another player disappointed by their implementation.

    When they announced rated BGs at Blizzcon 2009, I was stoked. I wasn't really into end-game PvP in LK due to not really having a hope of getting the top end gear (high arena ratings FTL).

    I was hoping that rated BGs would be something like my contribution to the battleground being rated (even if we lost, my rating could go up if I did something spectacular like defending a flag against two other players). Not a very realistic option, but I was dreaming.

    How they actually implemented it means that I will likely not do much end-game PvP in Cataclysm either.

  8. Except that an automatically created group would never-ever win against a pre-made.
    How common would pre-mades be if the automatic tool was quick and simple? If the automatic is easy, that's going to produce fewer pre-mades, meaning fewer losses for automatic, so there's less incentive for a pre-made.

  9. With the arena they had an interface to organize the teams. I'm not sure why they aren't following the same model.

  10. Definitely disappointed by this. I was hoping to do rated BGs, but I guess Im not going to pvp this xpac either. I've never been into arena for the deathmatch atmosphere and BGs have always been more fun IMO. Having to have a premade just kills it for me.

  11. /sarcasm on

    Clearly this is working as intended. The optimal group would have 150+ members to be divided among 15, 10, or 6 raid parties based on the rated battle group size each week.

    /sarcasm off

    It seems to me that in trying to make considerations for various size groups to please everyone...

    ... they instead displease everyone on a rotational basis.

  12. The design philosophy for raids in PvE has shifted. They will award the same loot from 10s and 25s. This will encourage some guilds to downsize or form multiple 10 man raids instead of a single 25. I'm sure there will still be 25 man guilds, but not nearly as many as there are today.

    Why would they design rated battlegrounds to have 10, 15, and 25 players? It's like they have two different design philosophies under the same roof. That's going to cause all kinds of havoc for guilds. They need to align their strategy on both sides of the house and get back to us. This is just a mess.

  13. I am surprised that anyone is disappointed or surprised by how rated BGs are being implemented.

    If you don't want to be in a guild or actually form a group yourself, then regular BGs are for you (and you can still have a full 5 person party to queue up for randoms with).

    But it would not make sense at ALL to have your PVP rating depend upon random people that you're thrown together with. Can you imagine if Arena had a "random" team feature, and the results of that affected your rating? That would be terrible.

    For the same reasons that getting random people thrown into your raid or arena team wouldn't make any sense, it also wouldn't make sense to do that for rated BGs. Random 5mans and random BGs are what that is for.

  14. I think that the random BG still makes sense for normal BGs, but definitely not in rated BGs.

    I have been getting a taste of what the rated BGs will be like over the last few weeks, when running into not just premades, but premades composed of wrathful arena teams, that know how to focus, know how to win.

    This is not the arena for pugs, this will be the arena for organised groups.

    Even the "trade channel scrub premades" as they are being called, are at least balanced teams, chosen in the same manner that you would choose a pug raid, with class and spec balance in mind.

    I am happy that guild is not a prerequisite for the teams. I already have my alt in a premade guild, but my main wont join.. yet it is his participation that I primarily seek.

    As for a rotation of 10/15/25 BGs, that is a right pain. Even now with the call to arms weekend, it is a pain. I have no need for honor, yet if I want to get a bit of variety in a weekend's PvP, I can forget it. The other BGs are wastelands.

    personally I would prefer it if they just made it "call to arms" weekends and all BGs were eligible for the bonus.

  15. Afterthoughts.

    In a PvE encounter, one or two pugs may not make of break a raid, may not even block a hard mode attempt.

    However in BGs, 1 or 2 pugs can easily mean the difference between a glorious victory and a humiliating defeat.

    - They can cap, or not cap a node.
    - Defend or not defend a position.
    - Pull Drek
    - Break CC
    - Not focus target

    (On these last two, this is already vital. A Holy Paladin in Wrathful gear needs either 1) consistent CC, or 2) 1/2 a team's dps to keep them out of the game.)

    and the list goes on.

    The cross server premade group I am currently running with (as does Pugnacious Priest and I see Matticus has done so at some point in the past), usually wont take a BG where we have more than 2 pugs, they can be too disruptive (including reporting guards as AFK).

    There are no gear requirements for QueueQ, it is all about coordination, focus and understanding what should or should not be done at any point in a battle.

    You also need to remember that the rated BGs are the equivalent to Raid Hard Modes. The people playing in these BGs will be very, very serious.

    Arena season may be over, but just duck down into the sewers on a server like Aman'Thul on Bloodlust Battlegroup and you wouldn't know.

    Sure the Arena masters wont put you into an arena, but the entire space is filled with people dueling.

    It may be off-season, but they are now in training for next season and rated BGs... is the average person that hits the "Enter Random Battleground" button ready to face hardened warriors like these?

  16. @Gevlon:

    Not always true. I've been in several BGs where the premades were just terrible, and it was interesting to see the attitude change on our side from "OMG we're gonna lose!" to "OMG these guys sucks, lets own them!". With a rating-matching system though, it wouldn't matter because eventually the good premades would end up playing against other good premades and the bad puggers would be matched to others like them. I don't see why they aren't using the arena matching system for this.

  17. Yeah, it should be an option to form a premade, not a requirement.

  18. Just started a comment, but it grew too long.

    I posted it on my blog