July 2 2012
Open letter to Activision Blizzard
Regarding WoW, and particularly the situation in PvP as of Cataclysm.
WoW has been an esport game present in MLG selection and tournaments a few years ago; it has been discontinued because of no effort from Blizzard concerning the equilibration in PvP, particularly arena, and the nonsense that comes from the numerous gameplay switch that comes every one or two patch.
I’m writing this letter, because I want WoW to come back to its former glory as an esport game, and tournament to be organized more often.
Quick overview of the situation:
WoW is the MMORPG with the most player in the world as Blizzard likes to say, with a population balancing between 10 and 11 Millions subscribers since WOTLK, with a peek attained at the beginning of Cataclysm.
With a monthly gain of roughly 140 Millions dollars from subscribing fees only, Blizzard is heavily in the green. That being said, Blizzard as huge cash means, and chooses the easy way, by reposing on a faithful community (for which I’m accounted for). It may be the absence of a serious competitor, it’s still not an excuse to despise the opinion of the clients.
Going back to the PvP talk; s8 was quite bad because of the increased rating that came with the end game gear, and the PvE trinkets and weapons that were both not that hard to obtain but also quite overpowered. We are now, in s11 in the same situation with PvP, with utterly overpowered PvE items introduces into arena.
Seasons 9 to 11 have been a dream for cheaters and abusers, and a nightmare for the “normal” players seeing the absence of response from Blizzard. It has been helped numerous time by reports from angry or shocked players on the forums, and some were banned because of the name rule on the forum? Are you kidding me? This is supposed to be YOUR job!
Quick recap of the three seasons:
• S9: MMR bug which allows every player to earn as much as the lowest member of the team, which causes a rapid inflation of the mmr’s and ratings, and glad spots given to unknown players who had never practiced PvP.
Wintrading has become common, and is poisonous to the ladders, as teams trade to share a Rank 1 or assure themselves an hefty advance to ensure that they will get their title.
No action is taken during the season, the only communication from Blizzard, is to say that the teams will be overlooked during the week after the end of the season.
Numerous teams pass through the net…
• S10: MMR is not reset, which allows some teams to climb to a huge rating in the first week of the seasons. Nonetheless it’s being reset a few weeks after the beginning, with rating already acquired remaining untouched.
Teams already at 3000 are comfortably sit as the highest teams behind them will finish at a maximum of 2500 for the most.
Wintrade is also very present, and despite the facility to prove the actions of such teams, no action is taken. Quick thought to the team of the team of the mage named Shin on Embuscade/Hinterhalt EU, which had climbed to r1 overnight.
• S11: Started with aberration such as the blood DK, the vial of shadow, and the cunning of the cruel, this season could only be wonderful. This could have been a really great season if PvE gear had not been first overpowered and common, but also really easy to obtain.
I’ll not be dressing a list, but just seeing that every RBG team is asking for a cunning, rathrak or legendary should be a warning that there is a significant problem. It also impact 5’s, and 3’s in a lesser measure. Skill has little to no incidence has the gear is what’s matter, you just need to dot, run and wait for the procs.
This is a way to exclude some classes from RBG altogether, as they have no role in such a scheme. Physical classes have really little appearance in RBG teams except for rogues and dks brought for their utility. Some classes are also hard to find in arena for same reasons, warrior in particular.
There is also a new great bug in the matrix, as players get disconnected from walking close to a wall, or any textures (it happed to me in the slime in ruins of Loarderon last week). For your teams, this bug does not exist and is entirely due to the internet setup of the players. This must be touching thousands of players all around the globe, with numerous different ISP, no, I definitely think you’re not going the right way by advertising that.
As for the two previous seasons, wintrade is overused, and the inaction is flagrant, as are the abusing teams.
• Since S9, DDOS has become a weapon to win illegitimately, even tough it’s not your resort to secure the players connections, you should take action to ban the player that use it.
• For the whole of those problems, combat logs exist, which records all action, second by second of the course of a match. A disconnection can sadly happen, when it’s repeated, question marks should be raised.
There was a history viewer for matches in the previous version of the armory. Why has it been removed when it was such a useful tool?
After this quick recap, we shall attest the implication of Blizzard in the management of his game.
All along the expansion, numerous ere the players that complained of the situation, some had much interesting ideas to address the problems, but Blizzard stayed passive, and communication especially on EU forums has been really scarce. Still today, the end date of the season is unknown, this patch has been out for 7 months, and people are really getting bored of the content. This has less impact on the PvP, community, but they are less joyed by the lack of balance in this season.
Blizzard is not a stranger to the phenomenon, with no content release, and no PvP monitoring.
Because of the MMR reset, it was quick and easy to gain rating at that time, and it’s now really hard to reach those teams, seeing how few teams are queuing at the moment.
To address this situation, an idea was proposed : the rating decay, which was addressed by Braindeadly last week in a video. Basically, a team not playing for some time, like two weeks, would begin losing rating, to encourage those teams to queue.
Some battlegroups are also gangrened by carried teams, I’m not against the principle of PL, but those “help services” can form an insurmountable barrier for slightly lower teams, basically those inbetween 2k1 and 2k2. It’s especially a problem now, at this advancement of the season, since there are so few teams queuing.
Lastly, it could be seen that Blizzard has in a way given up on the PvP side of his game. A prime example of that assessment is the Tournament Realm. Although it was not necessarily a bad decision to let the tournament take place in S9 gear, overlooking in some way the balance, and the op-ness of the gear, it came in conflict with what Blizzard has been used to do, being seeing in the future and not looking back.
This TR was really positive, as it allowed fan based tournament to be organized, without imposing strict rules regarding gear available. Those tournaments were organised with little monetary funds, and were quite successful, despite problems to be noted, such as latency, and sadly again, DDOS. Latency is a problem especially on EU realms, where some servers have not been updated for some years, response time is way too high, also playing on US realms from EU, and vice versa, is made hard because of high latency. Blizzard Staff was nowhere to be seen also, and there was little to no communication on the matter, which could indicate a growing lack of interest from Blizzard.
It should be noted that other events were organised in PvE, such as DS speed run between guilds, which assembled large crowds. It was you that before organised such events.
If I’m writing this letter, it’s before hand to make things change for the next expansion.
• There should be more balance patches, when it’s needed.
• There should be trained teams, available to answer to in game problems regarding arena, and punish cheaters.
• There needs to be hardware upgrade, it’s not normal that there is so much latency on EU realms, and that CC go through walls due to it.
• Investments should be made to keep the wow PvP community alive, and revive WoW as an esport game.
• On many realms, the population is declining if it’s not at its lowest, which makes it hard for people to find people to play with. It can be really frustrating for a PvP players, who would be forced to transfer, or for some, because of monetary reasons, stop the game. It would be great to allow cross server arenas, like it’s already the case in RBG, and create an in game tool to search for people to PvP, such services exist outside, like Teamfind, but are poorly advertised, and so have just a few registered users.
• This also constitutes a critic to Blizzard, why are you letting realms like Varimathras-EU die out, if it’s not to force the players to pay for a transfer, or numerous ones. How can one hope to advance in a multiplayer game by playing by himself? Why not want to close some realms or allow free transfer?
I’m aware that Stracraft 2, is Blizzard esport game, and that it would be a ridiculous ambition to make WoW reappear on the esport scene, but it’s the wish of many players as the success of the recent tournaments has proved, added to the activity of public on the differents streams.