Seven things I’d fix in random PvP

I’ve been doing a lot of pvp recently. As the embers of one expansion die down, I always seem to drift into doing more battlegrounds than normal. As with anything you do regularly, you find yourself noticing the flaws and wondering how you would have done it better. These are a few of the things which really bother me in random battlegrounds these days and my solutions to the problems because without solutions it’s just whining.

1. Gear Discrepancy

  • The Problem: Quite often when I zone in to a battleground, I have one of the highest health pools. Now as a Disc Priest, that shouldn’t be the case. You look around and see the obligatory melee with 110k health  (usually a plate wearer but can also be a feral druid) and your heart sinks. Unless the enemy team have the same, you’re basically playing one person down. In SotA yesterday for example I had four Horde on me, they were interrupting and basically doing everything right but they just didn’t output enough damage to put pressure on me. Now I realise that Blizzard are taking steps to deal with this in MoP but I don’t think their steps go far enough. Everyone having basic resilience will help but in the scenario I described, it wasn’t their survival which was an issue, it was their damage or lack of it.
  • My Solutions: Split the endgame random battlegrounds into two categories. Group 1 would be everyone who just hit level, the people with no gear whatsoever. This group would get more honour per game but zero conquest points for winning. On reaching a certain item level (a level which would move up with the start of each new season), you would be moved into the second pool and would start earning less honour (still the same amount we currently get) but getting conquest points too. The benefits of this would be twofold, less complaining on the part of both the geared and the undergeared. Also games would be more interesting because the playing field would be reasonably level. This would only apply in the 10 and 15s, i.e. the games where gear matters. So if you queue to random with a well-geared friend, it would automatically put you into the queue for 40 mans. A second and certainly simpler solution would be to re-visit the Burning Crusade method of adding basic PvP gear to the reputation vendors.
  • Possible negatives: People trying to stay in the bottom category until they have a full set of gear or to farm undergeared players. That’s partly why I don’t think conquest should be available in this category, it’s meant to be transient not somewhere you set up home and attempt to specialise at. Another potential negative would be the risk of running of new players increasing wait times in the first category but since there seems to be a neverending supply of them in the current system, I’m sure that wouldn’t be an issue.

2. Perceptions

  • The Problem: The scoreboard shows names and specs, mindvision works from every start zone apart from AV, SotA and Isle of Conquest and addons like Battleground Spy exist. Before the gates even open people have compared their team to the enemy team and often decided there is no chance. We had a Twin Peaks the other day in which we were one and a half healers (the other half was a Holy Priest with 100k health) versus a team with four well geared healers. Before we started our dps were complaining that it was a loss because of perception. As it turned out, it wasn’t because the majority of our dps could cc and kick but at least one person afked before we started because of that belief. We got lucky in that our team decided to actually try before giving up and sitting in the graveyard.
  • My Solution: Don’t populate the scoreboard before the game starts. Let people figure out who the low geared players and healers are on the battlefield, not in advance. If half the team comes from the same server, we shouldn’t know that until we get out on the field.

3. Premades in General

  • The Problem: Beating organised groups with randoms is harder, yes it’s doable if the premade is bad or your team also has a premade component but to tie into the previous issue, perception plays a part. I might be willing to go 1 v 5 but a lot of my team aren’t. They see the same server name or the same guildtag and lose some of their will to fight. You start getting people saying “Oh it’s a premade…. lose fast”.
  • My Solution: If 5 people queue up together then match them with 5 people who are also queuing up together. Don’t put them with a mix of randoms. Now don’t take this the wrong way, I can’t remember the last time I got farmed at the graveyard but in the run up to Cataclysm, I premaded a lot and yes, playing with friends is always fun but you should be facing other people who are also playing with friends not Scrubby McGraw the Dwarf Mage who queued solo and who just wants some honour points so he can buy his first bit of proper PvP gear.
  • Possible Negatives: This is a multi-player game and we are meant to be playing with other people, friends, guildmates, the guy we met ganking in Tol Barad. However, I’m not sure that the queue times would radically increase if 5 man group met 5 man group and so on. It might also lead to a better quality of game.

4. Achievements

  • The Problem: I’m fine with the concept of achievements in PvP but what I hate are the ones which aren’t focused on the objectives. Things like “take 50 graveyards in AV” and “Get 20 killing blows without dying” spring to mind. I have actually lost games because a small percentage of our team were too focused on getting certain achievements and not playing the actual game.
  • My solution: From this point forward, all the PvP achievements should be designed around the objectives or things which don’t actively hinder those objectives. If we take “take 50 graveyards in AV” as an example, because games are fairly short unless you run into a hk farming premade, people who are after this achievement often try and tag graveyards that don’t help you win. Iceblood for example when you’ve already got Frostwolf and could really do without everyone you just killed ressing in the base, the one place you’re trying to get to. I’m also iffy about achievements which favour dps classes like the killing blow one. We shouldn’t have to either get creative (Sprout got hers at lev 82 courtesy of a siege engine in IoC) or play a role we don’t like in order to get an achievement (yes I realise that achievements aren’t mandatory but I’m not convinced the vast majority of the player base does).
5. Bots
  • The Problem: Winning when half your team aren’t actually playing is tricky.
  • My Solution: Harsh penalties for those caught botting. Because this is a multi-player game, cheating shouldn’t be tolerated. Also I don’t see why anyone should profit from such behaviour. I’d take away every single piece of pvp gear, regardless of whether they were botting or not when they got it. However, I’d also take a look at the way the game allows certain scripts to be used. At the moment you can enter  battlegrounds using a script and I believe this is how a lot of bot programs work. Removing this loophole would also stop the AV pre-former working which would get rid of the 40 man hk farming groups which are fairly common at the moment, at least in the EU.

6. “Killing blow stealers” – Those that Complain

  • The Problem: This ties in with the previous issue. Every battleground seems to have at least one, usually either a rogue or a ret paladin who seems to assume that everyone they hit will provide them with a killing blow. They have their addon installed to track said killing blows and believe that their prowess in this field demonstrates how super awesome they are. If anyone else happens to accidentally “steal” said killing blow, they stop whatever they are doing, even if it results in their death to complain vocally about how unfair and pathetic you are and that you should “get your own killing blows mate”.
  • My solution: Sort the scoreboard by something other than killing blows as default. It’s the least important feature on there. What it should do is read your spec when you enter and sort by damage for everyone who isn’t a healer and healing for all those that are.
  • Possible negatives: This wouldn’t make the annoying KB hunters go away but at least it would make pointing out they’re doing the same dps as a wet paper bag whilst you’re trying to defend a node solo a lot easier.

7. Absorbs not showing on the scoreboard

  • The Problem: As a Disc Priest around 50 percent of my contribution in a battleground doesn’t show on the scoreboard. Now I can live without my dispels turning up and the same for my cc but it annoys me on so many levels that all my pretty shiny absorbs that save lives are missing.
  • My Solution: If addons like recount can correctly figure out the absorbs from the combat log I see no reason other than laziness as to why this hasn’t been fixed already. If something is going to be displayed for public consumption, I’d like it to be accurate. Explaining class mechanics to idiots whilst trying to play properly is a little frustrating.

The full list of things which annoy me in PvP is actually considerably longer but is comprised of things could only be fixed by not letting half the player base play battlegrounds. So have I missed anything? What would you like to see changed about the way we battleground going into MoP?

7 Responses

  1. Agreed on all points.

    The first one, naturally, is the major problem, and the biggest hurdle I face when I try to introduce someone to PVP for the first time.

    • Yep and it just feels like bullying. Right now it’s either spend a fortune on the AH to make yourself a little less squishy or it’s be so far behind the curve you get to die horribly over and over again whilst being yelled at by a portion of your team-mates. Neither of which could be classed as fun.

  2. One thing I’d like to fix is class distribution. My heart sinks when I get into a Gilneas to find 4 priests, 3 mages, one warrior, me and a rogue. Talk about squishy. That’s a loss 😦

    • You think that’s bad? Try zoning into a WSG with no healers at all! 🙂

      (Surprisingly, we managed to win that one. The other team was really THAT bad, despite having 2 healers.)

      • Whilst I agree it can be a pain, I just don’t see Blizzard fixing it. Although I’ve had some hilariously unbalanced games from a Gilneas where we had 5 healers and 3 nil’d them because no one died to a Twin Peaks where they had 4 healers and somehow even though their entire team were defending we got the flag back.

  3. I’ll say that point 1 might actually get me to PvP! If I could go in with my 5th toon to 85 (the second I leveled from scratch) and not be pummeled to death over and over, I would be much more likely to try to learn it. As it is, I have a high health pool (I play a tank) but beginner resilience (since I’m a Blacksmith, I made my own gear); and all I really know about PvP is kill the healers and interrupt everything you can. I was applauded once in Tol Barad when I caught a mage, priest and shaman all unawares and too close together with my shield. But then the rogue in that battle took me out several times because I’m just not very good yet. 😦

    Your points regarding premades and others’ points about class distribution shouldn’t *really* be that hard. They mess with PvE distribution already.

    Even if they just took the highest # premade and pit them against the opposing faction’s highest # premade, I suspect it would help. At least then, if you got a 10-man premade, and an 8-man premade with two pugs, the chances would be better, right?

    • Having spent the weekend doing random battlegrounds, I’d say this:

      “and all I really know about PvP is kill the healers and interrupt everything you can. ”

      makes you pretty damn good already 🙂

      I think the biggest problem with the class distribution would come to down the fact that they would have to redesign the queue to stop people queuing as one thing and then doing another role, i.e. me queuing as dps and then healing once I got in. Given the botting etc though, I feel that Blizzard just don’t see random battlegrounds as important enough which is a shame. I love them and wish they were just a little bit fairer in terms of team composition.

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