Dem' Ol' Small Server PvP Blues

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:

  1. 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.
  2. We’re a small server, with an even smaller PvP pool (RPPvE servers aren’t noted for having a particularly rabid PvP following).
  3. 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 :frowning: ).

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.

Cordially,
Jood

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.

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Good post, Jood.

Not a great situation for rankers BSB horde-side.

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Thank you very much for the post Jood! As one of the aforementioned rankers, this has been something I too have reached out to Blizzard for.

Essentially, this particular individual specifically used exploits to deny people ranking on the chart, which is just poor form. Had they been conservative with their exploiting, and less spiteful, there may have been a smaller impact on our charts. Competition should be healthy and friendly.

We’re left in a situation where Blizzard has removed the bad actor but has not solved the problem at hand: He stole roughly 20% of rank per week from everyone in the Horde. Were he not present, we would not only have a Warlord now, we would be anticipating our first HWL by BWL, in spite of our pool size.

We as a community have endeavored to encourage PvP participation. The small pool sizes and now thankfully normalized numbers we have from proper 1.12 AV means you don’t necessarily have to take a vacation just to rank up one week.

Fixing the ranks of all those that participated against a cheater will keep our community healthy, prevent abandonment as we’ve seen, and encourage more people to PvP on BsB.

Again, thanks to Jood for stepping up to post. We are asking for a solution, not a band-aid, and I think it is totally reasonable.

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As a fellow Buccaneer, it is rough here on Alliance as well. While I don’t think we lost our top players, it did take a massive nosedive when the amount of Alliance partaking in PvP dropped dramatically. Last week we saw a huge pool of players, reaching up to somewhere around 1,000 individuals. But now, according to HonorSpy, (which calculates your honor gains and shows you where you stand on your server/faction), there are less than 300 Alliance players in the pool, and this is just a few days from resets.

It’s rough. And a lot of the players I’ve been running AV with from Bloodsail have a specific goal in mind; Somewhere around rank 10 is all we want to get to. For me, specifically, it is rank 10. I want to be able to purchase the full blue set of PvP gear because it’s one of my favorite old-school armor sets.

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But now, according to HonorSpy, (which calculates your honor gains and shows you where you stand on your server/faction), there are less than 300 Alliance players in the pool

HonorSpy always massively underestimates the pool. We should be pretty stable around 1000, no matter what it says. It relies on players inspecting other players to add them to the list, so there will always be a large chunk of the population that never gets inspected. Mostly alts, low levels, etc.

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Good post! I’m glad I’m not trying to push rank here on BB, because I’m sure it’d be a pain even Alliance side with a small pool. I do hope Blizzard listens and adjusts the honor for you guys on the Horde side.

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I cannot possibly agree with this more. If this is a rallying call for Blizzard to act and fix our ranks, let me echo it.

Why should the actions of one cheater need to have such an enduring impact on so many people? Especially on our beloved BsB, which is such a fantastic community full of kind and generous players who all genuinely love this game.

It’s gut wrenching to know that people - good people - have left because of this and it would be shameful for Blizz to let it continue.

Thanks for posting, Jood, and saying what has been on many of our minds.

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Thanks for speaking up about this Jood. I was surprised that even after this person was banned, he was awarded 1st standing for that week on the following Tuesday.

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Thanks, Pepa and everyone -

And it’s not so much “The One Guy” - I mean, sure, that’s a thing, and if you’re going to ban someone, make it right and fix the math. If you’re not, then the ban was only part of a fix.

The larger issue for me is the bracketing for smaller servers. If you loosened up the bracket size, harder core PvP players would have an incentive to leave a MegaServer™, and some to a little guy like us because, just like the Arena Trinket, that rank would be easier to get.

I want everyone to be happy*. I want everyone to get to go in this game where they want to go. But if being the underdog on a tiny server just makes your life more difficult, I respect the decisions my friends made*. It’s their time, and they should spend it how they wish*.

I can’t fix the population balance as a whole, but having fixed (or looser) brackets for smaller servers, rather than a tiny percentage of a tiny populace makes raiding on a smaller pop server easier. It makes ranking easier. It gives an incentive to join a smaller server and know everyone.

As I was telling @Hydd today, this is my server, and even if I were precluded from ranking period, I’d still be here. I love my guild and my Hordies too much to dip on anyone. But, Blizz, your math for smaller servers - as referenced in the Wow Wiki Pre-2.0 honor calculations - isn’t "Hey, this is a small server, let’s at least round up - it makes smaller servers harder. I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, but I hate how this has affected our populace*.

If you want to help make large servers less large, and make smaller servers reward folks who are putting in the effort*, maybe a little more time could be spent in terms of the math here, much like the PvPers coming to our server for the Arena Grand Master. And it lets the community balance itself. Isn’t that what you’ve been looking for, Blizz?

Bloodsail Buccaneers deserves a High Warlord.

Sincerely,
Jood

*Except Vorgrim

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If you loosened up the bracket size, harder core PvP players would have an incentive to leave a MegaServer™

100% This. Every developer interview post TBC said they had Classic Ranking system wrong and that it favoured manipulation rather than particpation. The #1 fix for the PvP problem is to stop weighing factions against themselves and let people rank up at their own pace.

We pay for our time in game. We should be rewarded for it.

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I agree. This is definitely something that needs to be looked at. The grind is bad enough without having to contend with this.

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Well thought out post, Jood.

Admittedly, I had seen the idea that Blizzard should should do some type of honor recalculation or bracket adjustment for us before and I doubted that Blizzard would be receptive to implement that, especially for a specific server. However, the way your ticket response was worded and with the recent changes to AV demonstrating a willingness to adjust based on community feedback (and what I assume were very unhealthy participation metrics) I’m convinced that something can and should be done.

Blizzard surely recognizes that our server situation is vastly different than the PvP servers. All it takes is to examine our brackets, general sentiment in LFG chat, and overall participation/lack of enthusiasm to see that the state of PvP on our server (or any server for that matter) isn’t the most ideal. Just because we aren’t a PvP server with a high population doesn’t mean we are any less invested than the players on PvP servers and that the current PvP situation should be accepted as is. If not a bracket scaling adjustment (or even adjustments to the honor system itself) at least the recalculation that was suggested would be appropriate restitution.

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Anyways I blame Jood :slight_smile: (Youre right tho)

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Always blame Jood. It’s just healthier for everyone.

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It seems to me that the pvp ranking issues are just a symptom. I don’t pvp primarily because of the queue times and having a real life ™…kids, job, etc…
my playtime is valuable as is any other bit of my limited free time.
I’ve stuck with classic b/c of the community on BB more than any other reason.

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I don’t pvp too often here, but Jood speaks the truth. The dedicated pvpers who aren’t cheating should not be penalized for the shenanigans of one cheater, especially as, as Jood says, BBucc players generally don’t support any sort of cheating (bots, commercial gold farmers, etc) since we are very aware that it damages not only our reputation but the number crunching other players depend upon in order to reach server goals. Small servers are close-knit and watch out for each other.

Please remedy this injustice.

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List of QoL changes that will allow regular human beings to participate and rank in PvP without changing time investment coming from one of the insane grinders:

  1. Expand brackets, reduce scaling against faction.
  2. Remove specific Battle Queue
  3. Remove 10 man WSG groups - only allow 5s
  4. Reduce Rank Decay. Too many have quit PvP because they had RL or emergencies that killed their momentum
  5. Give Bonus Honour to late battle joiners

The ranking system is punishing, not fun. Fix it, please.

Spam the above in suggestion system. Frankly we’ve all grown up and don’t need our epeens stroked. Fix ranking to be player friendly.

I hear ya, makes the grind that more depressing.

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Its a sad state when one player can cause issues like this.

BTW, Jood is giving a free mana and health pot to everyone who responds to this thread :wink:

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I had a month long vacation over the holidays, love PVP, and I saw how bad the rank grind was here and was like, nope. No f’ing way. Even with a month of free time and starting at a decent rank from WPVP. Nopenopenope.

EDIT: Going from being outnumbered at least 2:1 in world PVP to hour long AV queues was also some serious BS.

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