This is a rant thinly disguised as a constructive post.
First up, disclaimers.
I realise that random is entirely that. The players making up your team and the opposing team are picked at random from a large pool of people. The battleground map is picked at random too. There is no malicious consciousness set on deliberately ruining your day behind these random choices. Sometimes it just feels that way.
I don’t want to be playing with sub 100k health and zero resilience wearing people, especially when the opposing team are fielding a full bunch of ruthless wearing, hard hitting, 140k plus, objective focused gladiator wannabes. Nor do I want to face people with no gear, I don’t play battlegrounds to farm people at the graveyard. What’s the point of keeping score when you know the outcome as soon as you see the enemy riding across the map.
I’m not saying that everyone with sub 100k health isn’t objective focused just that if you can’t kill anyone or outheal anyone’s damage, you are a waste of space (Yes, there are exceptions to this and they are usually Frost Mages however they tend to be few and far between). I’m currently playing a Resto Druid and the difference between geared and non-geared players is immense. I spent a good 10 minutes running around Tol Barad with 5 brand new 85 Horde trying to kill me but barely being irritating. If you are in a 10 man battleground and half your team can’t kill one healer you have a major problem. Suddenly you are outnumbered nine to five. Then there is the fact that if you are particularly squishy, you tend not to be able to reach any objectives in the first place. Spending 90 percent of your time in the graveyard is not helpful.
Then there is the lose fast culture. The two teams clash, one team comes off as the clear and definite winner due in part to gear. From the graveyard comes the “lose fast”, “they out gear us”, “we can’t win”, “you all suck”, the latter usually coming from a Deathknight in greens and epics from a previous expansion. The game is basically over, it doesn’t matter how hard you as an individual try when a good chunk of your team are content with taking their losing honor as fast as possible and trying again.
So on to the constructive bit. You can’t enter Heroics without a certain item level of gear so why not implement something similar but different for Battlegrounds. The 40 mans would be available to anyone regardless of their gear as the sheer numbers tend to balance out across both teams. That way brand new 85s would still be able to play with friends whilst gearing up.
The rest, because each individual contribution is much more important in smaller scale PvP would be divided up into two brackets on plus and minus say 340 item level basis (the number would increase as the expansion progressed). Everyone in levelling gear would only be fighting people in levelling gear. Yes, it won’t stop people in pure PvE gear getting steam-rolled by those in PvP gear but since it seems rare (in my experience) that anyone bar brand new characters don’t have some sort of PvP gear already, it shouldn’t be too bad. It should make everyone’s experiences a bit better and provide more balanced games, removing the need for threads like this on the forums.
Then we come to the afkers/bots, some of which are doing it because gearing up half way through an expansion/season is horribly painful and some of whom just don’t like PvP in general or hate having to play with the “random” factor. Having recently took part in an Arathi Basin in which five people, one third of our team never actually moved from the start zone, I’m rather unimpressed with people who join games and don’t play. Again, I feel it comes down to the accepted culture of losing that permeates battlegrounds at the moment. Through the random queue system and the various bits and pieces you get throughout the game (especially during battleground weekends) honor just ticks up too fast from losing. There is no incentive to fight hard to turn around a losing game and since Blizzard don’t seem to care about people botting in PvP, there is no incentive not to do that either. Yes, I’m sure that people who do afk through games would rather pick up winning honor but it’s still better than nothing. Part of the problem is perhaps that honor can be converted to justice points allowing people who don’t like PvP to gear up for heroics/raids in an afk fashion. Botting 5 mans is a bit more obvious than botting battlegrounds.
What I would like to see is a reduction in the amount of honor you receive for a losing game. The object of PvP is to win, everyone in the team should be focused on that and not the fact that losing fast is better than winning slowly. I accept that sometimes bad luck means you can lose ten plus games in a row, so I feel that there should be some honor for losing but it should be minimal. Hopefully this would also mean that the voices crying to lose fast from the graveyard would finally shut up and start focusing on objectives.
I would also like to see the honor all being rewarded at the end of the game, not piecemeal through as it currently is. That way if someone is afk and it takes you half the game to get them kicked out, they get nothing just as they deserve.
I also feel that Blizzard should police their battlegrounds and implement severe punishments on a regular basis for people caught botting/afking. At the very least, all their honor/conquest points for the current season should be wiped along with everything they have bought with said honor up to this point, including any PvE gear/mounts etc. It is after all, a form of griefing. Winning with one hand tied behind your back because you don’t have a full team is tricky and the late night games where you are desperately hoping the opposing team has as many bots as you to give your side a fighting chance are horrendous. I once played an AV in which both teams had 40 players but only six people from eighty were actually fighting. Five on our side, four paladins and my hunter and one on theirs. Needless to say we won, but it took a while. Unfortunately though, whilst threads like this fill the battleground forums, Blizzard keep rather quiet on the subject.
Strand of the Ancients/10 mans
Everyone who likes battlegrounds will have one or two maps they hate. For me, it’s SotA and EotS, according to the forums for other people it’s AV, Isle of Conquest and quite often SotA. I’m also not too partial to the 10 mans because of some of the reasons I’ve outlined above. You can’t afford to have low geared or afk people in a 10 man unless the opposing team has similar and since that’s random, more often than not, they just pull you down.
So I propose that we can set one or two battlegrounds that we just don’t want to ever see. For me, one would definitely be SotA, my heart sinks every time I see that loading screen. Although popping Treeform and dancing about instant rooting demolishers and players is pretty fun, I could live without the thrill and happily never see the place the again. It’s not helped by the fact that someone always afks straight away before the game even starts. Failing that, I’d like random to be a bit less random. Knowing that if you get SotA, whatever battleground you get next won’t be SotA would go along way to making the place a bit more palatable.
Random questions and stuff
But Teasel, you only hit 85 10 days ago, surely you must have been one of those undergeared people you’re complaining about?
Nope. I timed my arrival at 85 to co-inside with Alterac Valley weekend. When I dinged, I already had 4000 honor points and 4000 justice points so I could already buy a couple of decent 85 items, which I gemmed/enchanted before queuing up for more 40 man goodness. When AV weekend ended, I then queued specifically to the 40 mans for a day or two to make sure I had gear I was happy with before hitting the random queue. I hate the idea of inflicting myself on people if I feel I can’t pull my weight.
Losing fast? Can you lose fast? Oh yes. However, it tends to bring out my bloody mindedness and I’m good at making losses slow and painful. Tagging back bunkers, stealing flags and trying to make sure the lemmings don’t die can be lots of fun especially when they are all calling you names in chat.
Finally, yes I realise that there are rated battlegrounds where you don’t have to carry people with zero resilience (unless you choose to) or put up with afkers/bots. However, I like to battleground throughout the day and finding nine to 14 likeminded people at 6am would be a challenge. Plus fielding a team which works well together takes time and commitment (in my experience getting commitment out of WoW players is a painful process). Besides, people should be able to queue for an aspect of the game which they enjoy without having to put up with bots/afkers and rogues wearing dresses.