Dear Blizzard -
My name is Jood. I’m a tank here on Bloodsail Buccaneers - and I’ve started doing something I’ve never done before here in my Warcraft career - PvP ranking. Since I’m also a math guy, I like running the numbers on things like PvP rank to see what kind of work I need to do to achieve the rank I want.
I’m in awe of how hard our server’s Hordies work at the top end of things. When the Ranking Pool was even smaller than it is now, folks were posting numbers that put my piddling 200K honor to shame. My observations:
- We’re the smaller faction on the server - most estimates I’ve seen put the Alliance to Horde ratio at 2:1, which I believe based on things like Horde never logging an Azuregos kill, Warcraft Logs reports, etc.
- We’re a small server, with an even smaller PvP pool (RPPvE servers aren’t noted for having a particularly rabid PvP following).
- Every podcast and the fact that we’re now up to 1 hour plus queue times on AV indicate that the Alliance to Horde ratio worldwide, especially in AV is massively Horde favored.
So, the TL;DR version here is that Horde on Bloodsail Bucks is at a pretty strong disadvantage - we get the worst queues, since Horde pop is greater worldwide, at least on PvP, and we have the tiniest brackets, so folks at the top spend a great deal of time, effort, and Starbucks Gift Cards on getting to that coveted top slot.
But something happened on our server that made things worse - the #1 Honor earner for three weeks, I believe (I know it was at least two) got banned. To get a ban of the length I’ve heard consistently - six months - that had to be something serious.
Now, small servers have it rough when it comes to PvP math. If you’re going to be at the top, the difference between #1 and #2 on the server is 1,000 points. We’re so small, that the next bracket below can only hold 1 or 2 people as well - our current PvP pool right now is under 500 folks. In some cases servers with a small enough pool can’t even support 1 14,000 point slot (Google "Classic Honor Small Server). With world PvP this made sense. I didn’t PvP to farm HKs - I did world PvP to stop the Alliance from killing our flight masters.
Bracket competition in a small pool like ours is fierce. So much so, it’s changed people. I noticed that some of the harder-core PvP folks were suddenly missing guild tags, and some of the people I would reach out to when I needed help, or just wanted to see how they were doing were getting more tired and frazzled. A druid friend of mine stopped paying me for the sappers I made her. A warlock friend of mine stopped advertising on LFG to help warriors get their whirlwind axe quests done. So, if the top bracket for weeks is full of someone soaking up RP, and then getting banned, the folks below still take the hit for the cheater. In this case, as of this week, three friends of mine have transferred off the server - two of whom were consistently in the top-10, one of whom was our top dog insofar as rank was concerned (and we miss y’all already ).
I filed a ticket with Blizzard which said a much shorter version of the above, and asked them to re-calculate honor from the beginning as if those who were banned weren’t counted at all, giving full marks to the folks who did, rightfully reach number one, fully expecting to hear a big fat “No. This is Classic. In order to preserve the Classic experience, we want to meddle in as few things as we can for you.” - but I didn’t. Instead the response read something along the lines of “We can’t do anything for you right now, but if you post something in the forums and give us the link, we’ll monitor the community’s response.”
Well, community, maybe that’s a big fat punt from Blizzard, and maybe it isn’t. But ultimately, this is something that’s not doing good things for me or my friends, who work hard and play games fairly. My server does an excellent job of self-policing ninjas and griefers, and all-around jerks. But this isn’t Vanilla PvP - this is cross-server queues with people you won’t see again.
I would like honor re-calculated on Bloodsail-Buccaneers as if cheaters didn’t play. And that’s not a rule problem, it’s not a policy problem - that’s a math problem. And it’s a math problem causing a pretty big disruption here. For us to lose 2 of our top 10 like this, and 3 of my friends in one week? That’s almost 1% of our base PvP pool simply because they couldn’t move up.
If you want to decay my rank every week by 20%? Great, nose to the grindstone with me. If you want to make it so I can’t run 5-mans and PvP in a given week because of awkwardly long queues? Fine, I can pass on dungeon farming, and helping guildies with that sort of thing - guilds “lose” folks to PvP all the time, and we get it - you have time to play and you invest that time where it serves you best. Give me queues? I get it, you’ve got clusters of servers to balance, and I can’t imagine what it would be like if you wanted to run AV as Alliance on this server and you had to wait for nearly 10% of the Horde PvP populace signed up to get a game going. I spent time in queues logging in on day 1, and I’ll spend time in queues here. I’m a tank, remember? My job is to buy time until other folks can get the job done. It’s in my nature.
But it shouldn’t hurt others when cheaters are caught and punished. People shouldn’t have the incentive to leave their friends on a small server to achieve their R14, or R10, or R-anything goals.
Blizzard, we had two folks who transferred in this week from other servers because they heard our Arena Grand Master trinket was easy to get and who then came to like it here. I know you’ve been looking for a way to get factions and servers balanced, especially after that imbalance was aggravated by paid transfers. Perhaps this is the community-based approach you’ve been looking for - giving the folks from more Horde-populated servers to come to ours because PvP ranking is easier and fairer when you fight for the underdogs at the server level. That kind of PvP competition may be the carrot you’ve needed to get folks to balance servers themselves - after all, Classic is supposed to be able the social aspect of the game, rather than LFR toxicity.
If you want people to transfer, intentionally, from servers with higher faction-populations to servers where they’re the underdogs, you have two choices - you can go after the guilds, or you can go after the players. I’d be willing to wager that PvP players are far more likely and willing to be the High Warlord on a smaller, more intense server than are you going to be able to uproot a functional, healthy raiding guild, and put it in a smaller pool with a smaller economy. Our recent transfers in are evidence of that.
So, I don’t know if you’re listening or if “Go post it on the forums and see what happens” is just what you do when you’re an overworked GM who gets a day old ticket and there’s not an easy solution, but this is fixable.
Lastly, I did not mention the name of the ban recipient nor his/her guild out of the deeply held respect I have for their players. You guys are unnamed here, but please know I adore all you guys - not a bad apple amongst ya - so I would ask that any reference to this person or his/her guild be left out.
And I know I speak for the Horde of Bloodsail-Buccaneers, when I say I’ll help any way that I can.
PS: I ran this post by no less than a dozen folks before posting to make sure I was being as sensitive and polite as I could be. Please feel free to contact me.