Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Season 4 projected impact

Lets start this month off with an article on the much discussed changes for wow PVP season 4 and lets see if we can't predict how these changes will affect the general playing populace.

Let me begin by saying: I suck at PVP. I do battlegrounds for fun and use the arena merely to scrounge up some of these so called wellfare epics. Team compositions are completely random (whomever feels like playing) and none of us have decent gear or a pvp oriented spec...
In short, we're raiders at a 1200 - 1500 rating doing arena's for a good laugh and about 250-300 arena points a week.

Which means there's limits to what we can achieve. Let me also state that this is fine. I have no sense of entitlement when it comes to gear. I take what I can get and beyond that I don't worry too much.

So lets recap a few blue posts and see what is actually going to change:

"When Season 4 begins, Season 3 items will be reduced in personal and team arena rating requirement to:

Shoulders: 1950
Weapon: 1800

The new Season 4 items will have the below personal and team arena rating requirements:

Shoulders: 2200
Weapon: 2050
Head: 1700
Chest: 1600
Legs: 1550
Gloves: none
Off-hand: none

In addition, some of the Season 4 quality items that will be purchasable with honor will also carry a personal and team arena rating requirement:

Boots: 1700
Ring: 1650
Bracers: 1575
Belt: none
Necklace: none
Trinket: none

The Season 2 items, which will move to the honor system when Season 4 begins, will continue to have no rating requirement."

So nothing really unusual on the top end of things. Season 4 comes in with high-ish rating requirements, pushing the rating requirements for season 3 down. On the bottom end of things however there is a significant change. A new set of quality items (like the vindicator items ) will be introduced to the honor / token vendors but these will in part also require ratings.

Looking back at my arena team I can pretty confidently say that we will never go past 1500 since our team composition changes regularly and without a proper team you really don't have much chance in the arena.

We all know BG items can be ground out in a matter of days, the quality items will exceed the average team rating so will be unobtainable for us So from an arena perspective that leaves us looking at full S3 minus the weapon and the shoulders, as well as the gloves from S4 (and off-hand if you are so inclined).

That comes down to approximately 6k arena points needed (probably less) to get everything that's obtainable depending on your needs / desires.

Which means for the first couple of months really nothing will change. The grind for points will continue as normal. But as my team and many other casual teams ( /leechers for you hardcore pvp'ers) get their S4 gloves, have what they need from the S3 section their desire to arena will start to crack.

They're at the point where they can only purchase more items if their personal / team rating is high enough and since their team make-up is more often than not far from ideal and regularly includes members that don't want to respec to a pvp build teams will start falling apart.
After all, why play something which doesn't have any rewards? If you can't hit the rating needed for the item then you can have 5k arena points, 75k honor and 100 marks of each bg and they still won't do you any good.

At that point a lot of teams will simply give up. There's nothing to be gotten from pvp anymore until the next season begins and the only sympathy casual teams can expect from hardcore pvp players is 'l2play' because according to them it is 'easy' to get a rating of around 1800.

The true nature of the beast however is that there are a lot of teams that don't even break 1500, let alone 1800 and these teams will simply stop pvp-ing.

Arena's however are a lot like a ladder... if you take out the secion rated 1200 or lower the people at rating 1200 - 1500 will have a harder time winning matches because all the sucky teams are already gone.

They will become the new 1200 rated teams... briefly wondering what the hell happened and then simply stop playing because well... they already have their S4 gloves and their rating is now permanently stuck at 1200 - 1400.

With the lower teams now either forced to play arena for the heck of it (because it's so much fun *caughyeahrightcaugh*) or forced to look elsewhere for progress the lower end of the arena ladder will completely unravel.

And as lower rated teams start leaving the higher rated teams will slowly drop down the ladder because simply put: without losers there can be no winners. Resulting in overall lower ratings (except maybe for the top 5%).

Much like the combat table this means that high rating teams will be actively pushing lower teams down (by winning) and the lowest rated teams will eventually be pushed off the ladder entirely because there's nothing for them to get anymore.

This means that the actual arena system will be dependant on the amount of time people need to get the items they can get before falling off the ladder. If there's enough items to 'grind out' so that people don't finish grinding before the next season comes the system will work.

If the players run out of things to get before the next season starts the entire system will literally collapse on top of itself.

Lets hope big blue is capable of handling the timing on this one, because the whole thing just got a lot more time dependant than it was before.

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