Everything Wrong with WoW PvP – Open Letter (originally posted on 28.1. 2024, EU forums)

Reposting to NA forums on behalf of Scheixanter
Link to original post will be found at the bottom

Dear Blizzard,

after months upon months of the PvP situation getting increasingly more questionable, I have decided to put down a list of the most common themes regularly discussed by the community – these are concerns frequently voiced on forums, Discord channels, Reddit, or even ingame, and thus should represent the most common topics discussed on a daily basis. It should serve as a good guiding point that amasses most of the concerns in a legible, comprehensible way, under one headline. I would love it if it reached somebody at the headquarters in the PvP department, sadly however I do not expect it to, but I will attempt to anyway.

To give the letter some credibility, I started playing World of Warcraft in BfA season 2, I have 10.000 hours /played, I have reached 2.664 CR in 2v2. 2.303 in 3v3, and 2.605 in RSS. I have reached Elite 6 times, and I have hit Legend as well. Currently, I am on my way to hopefully reach my 7th Elite (6th in a row) by the end of this season in 2v2, as that is my preferred game mode
(I have played 20.000 2v2s and 2.000 3v3s). I have also reached Cutting Edge twice and Keystone Hero once.

Lastly, this letter is NOT supposed to be a hate letter, it is meant to serve as a document with constructive criticism based on frequently reocurring opinions from the field.

So, without further ado, let us delve into the specifics:


Unfriendly UI

Hard Accessibility

Learning the Ropes

No Incentivization to Play


MMR

Achievements = Unreachable

Elitism and Toxicity – Justified?

You are Losing Money


Balance

Button Bloat

No Communication


RSS
________________________________________________________________________________

Unfriendly UI

The user interface is illegible, it tells you nothing. It does not show cooldowns on either side, it’s super small and only shows trinket in the baseline form. At the same time however, people are playing with multiple addons in order to gain edge. This would be fine, if those addons did not provide people with so much incredibly useful information that it moves them way ahead. It is not unusual for a high-rated player to play with Gladius + Weakauras + Omnibar + OmniCC/CD + GladiatorLosSA all at once. All this should be implemented within the game’s interface, with on/off functions for both the entirety of the interface, and specific spells they need to track etc., and the player should be explicitly told that they exist. Currently the player is forced to use those, otherwise it sets them to a significant disadvantage, and they need to search numerous non-Blizzard assets in order to find them and set them up. Everybody uses them, they are crucial. It’s not cheating, it’s vandalism to oneself to not know about all those. Implementing these functions baseline promotes learning and would significantly ease the accessibility of PvP to new players and promote growth.

To further expand on the topic, this is the reason why many people do not even bother watching WoW PvP – it is not comprehensible even to the player, let alone a random viewer. Contrary to e.g. League of Legends, the game is much easier to swallow and process, while WoW PvP has such copious amount of things to track in an inconsistent manner (every player has a different UI due to addons), that it simply dismantles any concepts the viewer might have had any one time they would decide to watch somebody else play. All this is losing you potential players that would be interested in the game. I mean, just look at this, like 30 % of the entire screen is just tracking assets.

https:// snipboard. io/tjdFr7.jpg

Hard Accessibility

This connects closely to the prior topic. There are tons of classes and specializations one needs to understand to be able to play efficiently with or against them. At the same time however, the only way to learn about a spell inside the game is to specifically hover over a minuscule icon that shows you a tooltip description, which usually disappears within seconds; the alternative to that is playing said class yourself, but doing that for all classes and specs by logging on and off and waiting for specializations to swap around and also browsing through the talent tree, spellbook, and then connecting the dots to the buttons you actually need to understand is simply nothing short of tedious and annoying. What the player does instead is they have to go to Wowhead to look up the individual spells, and ask around to understand what can be done about it. All this information should be accessible from the user interface within seconds on any class under any circumstances to promote a coherent learning process.

Learning the Ropes

This has been foreshadowed by the previous parts – the learning is absolutely insane. Obviously, this is an almost two decades old game we are talking about, and it’s the largest MMORPG in the world by far. But with all this in mind, it should be glaringly obvious that the game gravely needs a simple and consistent way of how to learn to play the classes and inspect the other spells and utilities other classes have. All this is underlined by linguistics – BoP?, Clone?, Kick?, Super Smash?, CC chaining?, DR? There is absolutely zero chance for a newcomer to feel welcomed in the game if they literally do not understand the language others are talking in.

One of the arguably best ways to implement this would obviously be creating a training ground-type concept, but that’s clearly above the resources Blizzard is willing to put into PvP – and that is fine, it has been established more than explicitly that PvP is a “minigame” within a PvE-oriented videogame. That does not however change the fact that not only would an “open spellbook” help others learn in PvE as well, but it would help create the game much more welcoming and easier to understand manner in general to begin with. Let’s expand on this topic, as it’s pivotal within the context of a declining gamemode playerbase.

No Incentivization to Play

There are 4 rated gamemodes, which makes them “endgame”, so to speak – 2v2, 3v3, RSS and RBG. These four brackets share a majority of the achievements and rewards, and for the most part, they are time-gated and, frankly, minimal. 2v2 has no specific rewards for performing exceptionally well, gating the progression curve after reaching 2400. RBGs are in the same situation, except for a specific permanent rank 1 title. RSS expands on the rank 1 title by also adding a lite-version of the gladiator status, giving people a temporary legend title. And lastly, the true endgame of PvP – 3v3, which give the players a permanent, specifically-crafted mount for reaching gladiator. This means that in any one season, there are 4 endgame rewards a player can be going for: a permanent title given to top 0.1 % of the playerbase, a gladiator mount given to top 3v3 participants of the playerbase, a transmog set scattered across the entire CR scale, and a temporary title. Outside of that the only “endgame” reward one can obtain are vicious mounts, that can be either obtained during the season, or retroactively bought with vicious saddles. Personally, I have some 30 vicious saddles sitting in my bank and nothing to do with them, because I have all the mounts already. This puts us infront of a situation though – there are FOMO endgame rewards, and there are non-FOMO endgame rewards, so that’s an inconsistency. People understand that FOMO used to be a way to showcase prestige in the game, but long-gone are those days – an obvious example of this is the fact that we can obtain the Plagued Proto-Drake from the BMAH, which back in the days actually meant something. Since we’ve established that by these terms we are open to “de-FOMO-ification”, let’s discuss the topic.

Statistically (more about MMR later), most players barely even obtain the entire transmog set, let alone the rest of the rewards. That means, once they “hit a wall”, there is no incentive for them to proceed playing. This causes the learning process to stop. It also causes people to intentionally set up alts, because they want to play the game, but are not allowed to, because they are too afraid to lose rating, or find it too hard to learn. This in turn artificially bloats the participation pool and creates false results, and it also causes unsteady progress for those who are pushing on their main characters, because they will continually face people that do not belong to their bracket.

A solution to incentivize people play would be relatively simple – allegorically to Vicious Saddles, implement tokens for no longer obtainable items that would however reflect the player’s strife. This means for example: Token for 25 wins above 1800/2100 CR that makes you eligible to buy one of the unobtainable Elite transmog recolors from past seasons. Token for 100 wins after obtaining a Gladiator in the given season to then buy 1 unobtainable gladiator mount etc. Or alternatively, introduce a completely new recolor of the old sets/gladiator mounts to retain the FOMO aspect, but still incentivize people to play anyway. A similar change can be implemented in PvE as well – reinvigorating Mage Tower has been a great success – why not offer recolors of old Warlords of Draenor challenge mode weapons as well? Re-introduce old Ahead of the Curve mounts or recolor them for similar achievements? After all, Cutting Edge mounts are obtainable as a random drop after the expansion ends anyway. The team clearly has the assets and intentions to introduce recolors of old models, this is sky-clear obvious from what the Trading Post has been doing for the past months. You guys have a ton of assets lying in vain that can be used to boost the game participation by recoloring them, giving them high resolution designs etc., so why not use them?

All these problems with incentivization, coupled together with learning difficulties and MMR inconsistencies which I will discuss afterwards, lead to a very significant problem – the 2v2 bracket has been abandoned. Now, the introduction of RSS has certainly not helped this, and I will also talk about this, but it highlighted the most obvious problem, and that is, as mentioned, the lack of rewards for playing the gamemode. At the same time however, 2v2 arenas are in my opinion the most important PvP gamemode in the game for learning purposes. It serves as an access point for new players, it should serve as a practice grounds for people to get to know everything, and people need to be incentivized to play it in order to get better. 2v2 teaches people how to face enemies in a non-bloated manner, allowing you to focus on less mechanics to deal with, it teaches you the basics of coordination, it allows you to communicate with your teammate, it teaches you how to develop playstyle strategies, how to counter enemy strategies, what is important and what is not and so on. At the same time, it takes significantly less time to get develop a playstyle with one other player than two, and is much less time-demanding. RSS does not do this, because 3v3 gamemode is way too complex for a newcomer to fathom, and in many cases, the mechanics may seem uncounterable due to the fact that there are too many players you can handle, due to your lacking knowledge. Furthermore, RSS does not allow for much communication, it ruins the progress towards a team goal by decentralizing it to only yourself, and creates unfair team compositions on top of that, with clear favorites in any one lobby, until very high ratings where the meta takes over by principle. The fact that 2v2 has been rid of its most important function, that being learning, is the biggest problem in nowadays PvP, because it completely dislodges all concepts one needs to understand in order to go towards the Gladiator title – which is the true endgame of semi-casual PvP, by offering a unique reward. RSS does not provide any grounds to proliferate communication, coordination, team spirit, steady learning curve, cohesive learning process, nothing. Thus, incentivizing people to play the bracket by introducing more rewards is guaranteed to be healthy for the game as a whole, because it will inevitably lead more people into all the gamemodes. Speaking of more rewards – while controversial, the results were more than obvious in both Shadowlands S1 and previous BfA seasons there was a significant playerpool increase when the PvP and PvE gamemodes were intertwined progress-wise; it does not need to be a neccessity, but there is no reason as to why overall proficiency in the game should not reward a slight edge to those who dedicate their time playing the entirety of the game. Segregating the playerbase into two mutually exclusive parts not only is unhealthy for the playerbase, but it also demoralizes people who might be willing to try one or the other, if their time spent playing the game is not rewarded sufficiently afterwards.

But, currently no measures have been taken. And even taking these specifically would only be
a temporary solution to a much larger, statistical problem – the MMR.

________________________________________________________________________________

MMR

The current MMR situation is a much larger problem than it seems. Yes, everybody understands that the MMR inflates as the season progresses, that it is done this way to keep players subbed to the game, and that giving others their desired rating right away would supposedly lead to the opposite. All this is reasonable, but only within boundaries. The current situation is that one single player has a multitude of alts, even of the same class and spec, and that in turn makes the ladder artificially bloated, especially towards the upper end of the normal distribution curve. This is pretty deceptive on first sight. However even if we omit the fact that people play alts and essentially “smurf” in brackets they do not belong to due to inability to progress, the numbers in the brackets are nothing short of scary. The following data have been taken from check-pvp. fr, on the 27th of January 2024, which marks week 13 of a season (the percentage corresponds to the sample provided, which we know is not the entire sample):

2v2 EU

2400+ - 167 (0.237 %)

2100+ - 2818 (4.015 %)

1800+ - 17699 (25.214 %)

1600+ - 40637 (57.892 %)

1500+ - 52820 (75.248 %)

sample provided (1200+) - 70195

3v3 EU

2400+ - 562 (1.521 %)

2100+ - 2786 (7.538 %)

1800+ - 10163 (27.499 %)

1600+ - 20699 (56.007 %)

1500+ - 27681 (74.899 %)

sample provided (1200+) - 36958

RSS EU

2400+ - 1436 (1.782 %)

2100+ - 6927 (8.596 %)

1800+ - 31476 (39.061 %)

1600+ - 64104 (79.551 %)

1500+ - 80582 (100 %)

sample provided (1500+) - 80582

Keep in mind these numbers do not account for alt characters, nor are they taken from an entire sample of the playerbase. While not providing the entire sample can be deceptive at first, it still paints a very clear picture of what currently is happening at the top of the ladder. Let us move to the consequences.

Achievements = Unreachable

From these numbers, we can draw the following conclusion:

It is very likely that reaching Elite in any bracket means you need to be performing better than over 99 % of the entire PvP playerbase, and in 2v2 it’s as bad as 99.8 % playerbase minimum , based on the normal distribution curve. This begs a question – why are the achievements still connected, if the MMR discrepancy is this drastical? If you want to advocate for 3v3 formats being harder than 2v2, why share the achievements? And if you wish to advocate for shared achievements, why the disparity? Why not have %-based achievements that would count let’s say from week 3, instead of having concrete numeral milestones that are not adaptible with participation, which in turn needs to be manually adjusted? (With the exception of R1). E.g. if you establish Duelist as top 10 %, you would get Duelist rewards if at any one point starting on week 3 you hit top 10 % of the participation pool. On top of that – while I lack personal experience in the bracket myself – the RBGs in both EU and NA have R1 cutoffs below 2.400, which is the final baseline cornerstone.
A similar situation occurs in RSS for some specializations, such as the Fury Warrior, whose R1 cutoff currently sits at 2.412 CR, while on the other end of the spectrum, Destruction Warlock R1 cutoff sits at 2.722 CR, and this is 13 weeks into a season.

Furthermore, the more important question for the majority of the playerbase – how do I even get up there? The answer is you do not. There are people that have played the game for almost decades and even these people are struggling to reach the top, occupying the lower brackets. We hear it, and see it, in practice everyday – players at as low as Challenger are regularly meeting players that are even 4 brackets above experience-wise, and this is caused by many aspects, such as concrete numerical milestones vs. inconsistent MMR distribution (volatile season-specific MMR that does not correspond across seasons), or the fact that numerical milestones cannot account for fluctuation participation pool. In other words, a rank 1 player in a bracket will always be able to reach rank 1 if they invest the time, and the top CR is determined solely by their determination to play as long as there is no hard-coded bottleneck, which in turn makes the numbers deceptive, because a rank 1 will always be able to push 3.000 CR if they wish to (this is the reason why we see rank 1 players in 2v2 brackets with 2.400+ cr and 99 % winrates, and for the same reason we, the non-rank 1 players, cannot push past them – we are free food for them, and they are unbeatable for us, we do not belong into the same MMR by any means), however not only do these apply as statistical outliers, but they also hinder one’s sight over the larger problem that is happening in the lower brackets, such as median percentile fluctuating between 1300 and 1800 depending on the season, which in turn skews the achievement value and creates an inconsistent metric. The MMR vs. skill discrepancy is obvious in all brackets, but 2v2 arenas specifically have suffered the largest hit due to all the circumstances. At this point it is not even remotely unusual to meet multigladiators literally hardstuck in lower Duelist MMRs, because the games are incredibly tough, mentally draining, time-consuming, and disproportionately matched when real experience is taken into consideration. Not only does this not make sense from the statistical point of view, nor from the point of view where you are trying to determine one’s skill level when searching for a partner in the LFG tool, but it furthermore causes
a lot of frustration, because people are virtually unable to get their previously obtained reward even though they might have been getting better at the game – the learning curve progresses, but the motivation decreases, because the results are not backed by what the game tells about a player, despite performance. Which leads us to the next topic.

Elitism and Toxicity – Justified?

This is a very difficult topic, and frankly, I have a very hard time trying to put it into words in a manner that is at least a little bit data-based, as ultimately it only comes down to the player’s experience.

Let’s start with elitism – people are not willing to play with other people that are seemingly below their level. This has been a large problem in the LFG tool, as people always keep checking each other’s experience, be it in PvP or PvE – and rightfully so. People do not want to lose rating or any sort of progress due to somebody else’s incompetence, so to speak. However, in PvP’s case specifically, this metric is greatly skewed by the aforementioned discrepancy both bracket-wise and inter-seasonally. To put it into perspective – currently, my rating in 2v2 is 2.255, which sets me to the Duelist bracket quite safely. However, given the current circumstances, I am able to find people willing to play with me, because they can see I have been 2.400+ six times before and within very close time period, with five of these times having been consecutive. This can be used for example in the LFG tool when I’m searching for partners, I write “2.66 MM LF heals”, which instantly catches the eye of a healer looking to achieve Elite in the given season. Contrastly, if I were to be 2.255 CR by some miracle at this time, with the same winrate, but without prior experience, it would classify me as a Duelist, not an established multi-elite player, and this would in turn deter many people looking to climb, which would further make it harder for me to learn new strategies and playstyles from the more experienced people, because they would expect hindering and underwhelming performance from me. And considering the extent of the game, and the amount of years it has been working, there is always something to learn, however the biggest, instant differences in performance will be noticeable where the “common folk” are, that being the median of the normal distribution curve. However, as stated before, the median is very volatile inter-seasonally and does not put skill into perspective consistently, unless the player has been performing a certain way over a larger period of time. Elitism on its own makes sense, what does not make sense is that the rewards provided for certain degree of performance are not consistent with the achievements, and this could be fixed for example by aforementioned re-introduction of percent-based achievements. Ultimately, the rewards should be obtainable, that’s what they are there for. What is the purpose of having a full set unlocked continually as your rating increases, if reaching 1.800 CR, which is required for that currently, previously has been reachable by a percentage of players that has since decreased tenfold? Allegorically this could be compared to replacing the AoTC bossfight with
a mythic-level fight the next season. It has been previously established by a multitude of players that engage in all aspects of the game that AoTC, 1.800 CR and the Keystone Master were roughly the same level of difficulty, so why is it now that 1.800 CR is effectively unobtainable for the majority of the playerbase, and the median sits at around 1.300 CR, barely awarding you gloves?

Now for the difficult part, the toxicity. A portion of it is inevitable, it is present in any competitive game, much more so in an online environment with direct chat properties, and it is based around one’s personality and investment. However, a significant portion of it stems specifically from the inability to achieve a certain milestone. This is natural, to an extent, since everybody needs to vent, however nobody needs to heard from a random person on the internet that they should go off themselves, get a deadly illness or threats to cause harm to their immediate family. And even if we turn down the volume a little bit those “less harsh” cases can be just as traumatizing to some people, deterring them from playing a gamemode a certain way, or in its entirety. My personal experience with this is from my very first season I played WoW ever – I found a guy in the LFG tool that spoke the same language, linked me high experience and acted nice. He told me to join voice that he would guide me, and so I did, after specifically emphasizing it multiple times that I am new to the game and that I am effectively clueless. And, unsurprisingly so, after having been screamed at for the entirety of that one Blade’s Edge match and being called names, he left, and I was left speechless and scarred. This was aroung 1.500 CR, by the way. It took me 2 years to be willing to join voice chat during a PvP match again, and it was a one-time occasion anyway. For me personally, it is one of the main reasons I am very hesitant to even bother playing 3v3, because I know they require immediate communication on a high level, and that I perform underwhelmingly compared to playing without voice, because I am used to self-sufficience and explaining my strategies in words in the preparation room, since 2v2 arenas do not need much above that. On a side note, I have met that guy a few times at high ratings since and I won every single time, it felt good. I even played with him again one time, without voice, intrigued to see whether it was my perspective from the enemy team or not, and he, indeed, played incredibly subpar to that level, but that is beside the point.

With all that said, toxicity is perhaps a different problem altogether, and it certainly is not specific to PvP only, it however does not change the fact that in PvP it is oftentimes very closely tied to performance and rewards, and since most of the rewards, which should be casual, are unobtainable for the common folk, it creates exquisite grounds for toxic environment, which in turn deters players, ruins the experience, and as a result influences the entire situation by diminishing the playerpool.

You are Losing Money

All this spirals down to one single point that probably matters the most to you – you are losing money. On the off-chance that somebody decides to go about obtaining the rewards anyway, it is not infrequent at all that that person has at one point in time decided to seek a professional to help them obtain them. We can see it in all content, but in PvP the problem is much larger, because it directly influences the experience we all have in the game. Boosting services, stream carries, individuals wanting to monetize their time spent in the game, because the amount of time invested is disproportionate to results etc. All this is happening on a daily basis, even in a jocularly self-proclaimed “dead gamemode” like PvP. All the money, be it gold or real money, is being funneled to pockets other than yours, and it is all on you. Obviously, this cannot be stopped, but it can be diminished significantly by taking measures required to optimize the gameplay experience for the “common folk”, so that they do not feel the need to spend their money elsewhere than in the game. And if your counter-argument happens to be that obtaining rewards earlier or easier in the season would diminish the number of active subscriptions, the opposite is frequently voiced to be the opposite – people play the game to have fun, not for it to feel like a chore. It is meant to be a leisure-time activity, and as such the time should be sufficiently rewarded for the effort invested. By simplifying the gameplay accessibility and properly balancing the reward system, you will cause a significant portion of players to have more fun playing the game, willing to play it and have fun doing it, instead of deterring them and propelling them towards people that are not affiliated with you and filling their pockets. Seeking professional help is only understandable in a game like this where thousands of hours of experience cannot possibly ever be replaced, ultimately WoW is a direct reflection of a real life society – people seek professional help to learn to play an instrument, to get help writing theses, to learn a new skill, to have themselves evaluated etc., and as such, playing a difficult videogame is not any different from that. In my eyes, it is even justifiable at this point, considering how much time people have spent playing the game. In the learning process, it is the same, and it has been mentioned previously – playing with more experienced players grants you significantly more knowledge gained in a shorter period of time. What your role in all of this is the following: by simplifying the gameplay accessibility and balancing the reward system, you will take away a large portion of the role people like boosters, coaches and streamers fill, that is providing crucial baseline knowledge to play the game properly, ultimately promoting a healthy gaming and learning environment, which will funnel more money your way not only as a consequence from within the game, but from the public opinion point of view as well, since the game will be glorified for doing something right, which in turn will incentivize new people to discover it. Lastly, deterring people from playing the game results in them intentionally unsubscribing, instead of having them hanged for longer when they are actually having fun.

My experience with this is the same – I obtained my first Elite after dozens of hours played with a streamer who was willing to teach me and his viewers for free. He explained all the advanced baseline knowledge to me and taught me the way of how to think about situations the game throws on me, while explaining everything due to his extensive knowledge. I, naturally, ended up subscribing to him even though he did not ask for it, and it was all because it was hard, sincere and amazing work he has done for me and it helped me have incredible amounts of fun within a videogame I have barely experienced before.

________________________________________________________________________________

Balance

Let’s put our feet back on the ground for the last part of this letter and let us discuss the balancing. Now, it has been made clear, and stated previous in this letter, that everybody is aware that the game is primarily based around PvE gamemodes. PvE requiresits own specific balancing, and that is perfectly fine, after all the gamemodes are virtually incomparable in mechanics, playstyle, type of communication and so on. With that said though, there is PvP balancing within the game – we know this, because you have been pushing out PvP-specific patches. We also know that this is an MMORPG game we are talking about – it is virtually impossible, and downright undesirable, for the game to be completely balanced, especially since the focus of it is not PvP specifically. With all that said though, let us take a look at the following graphs. There was an excellent research posted on r/worldofpvp that used data from drustvar. com to demonstrate what has been happening the past months in the brackets. The following screenshots can be contextualized with numbers provided in the MMR section, and will be distributed as follows:

2v2 EU – top 5000
https:// snipboard. io/cY7Q3G.jpg

2v2 EU – top 500
https:// snipboard. io/Us8GQD.jpg

3v3 EU – top 5000
https:// snipboard. io/mDw9Sy.jpg

3v3 EU – top 500
https:// snipboard. io/YSfdvJ.jpg

RSS EU – 1800+
https:// snipboard. io/gTIExM.jpg

RSS EU – 2400+
https:// snipboard. io/6YTDFO.jpg

From the graphs provided, it is glaringly obvious that there are significant discrepancies all across the board. It is not just statistical outliers that we could see at the top of the normal distribution curve, these are present consistently, in every bracket, at all ratings. As such, it is clear that something is very off in the balancing aspect of the game, and it does not influence just the top zero-point-x percent of players, it influences mainly the “common folk”, which, considering the gamemode is not the focus of the game, should be your target group to balance around, since we all know that firstly, meta compositions are inevitable, secondly, people will always look for a way to find the easiest way around a goal, and thirdly, these are the majority of the players of the gamemode.

The obvious examples from the graphs are for example Restoration Druids downright dominating every bracket. This is for a multitude of reasons: passive healing, extensive setup possibilities unmatched by any other healer, on-demand damage hardly matched by any other healer, extensive possibilities for mana regain possibilities unmatched by any healer and so on. There is no reason for a healer to be able to have literally every tool in the game running in their favor by such a margin, and no amount of skill required to pull it off justifies that. Another obvious outlier is Havoc Demon Hunter: this specialization has been, well, wreaking havoc in all the brackets mainly due to a combination of disproportionate sustained and cleave damage, combined with a multitude of tools for outplaying opponents, such as “iFrames” mechanics, high mobility, or very solid CC toolkit. Another, albeit not immediately obvious, outlier is Sublety Rogue: the specialization has an incredible CC toolkit which effectively allows them to “erase” one player from the game if played properly, and on top of that they have downright outrageous setup damage which allows them to have a chance to “solo oneshot” an opponent every roughly 20-30 seconds without any way of outplaying them to prevent it, especially in 2v2, and to add insult to injury, they have an effectively permanent uptime on a damage reduction, multiple ways of dropping combat, said mechanic reduces their defensives, and these defensives have no counterplay, especially the recently implemented Cloak of Shadows PvP talent immunity. Now, I am well aware that the game is being balanced towards 3v3, as it is the “ultimate” endgame PvP mode, however our complaints are not about 2v2 being imbalanced – because they are bound to be considering 3v3 balancing – the complaints are about clear favorites all over the playerbase, which discourage the players from playing their preferred specialization or class. Ultimately, as stated before, the top of the ladder will always find a meta and play a meta, and given the game is not designed to be an e-sports level PvP game, the balancing should be done to be “common folk” friendly, not “rank 1” friendly, as it is not the largest compartment of the playerbase.

These are not all the problems, not within the specializations, nor within the gamemode altogether – another worth mentioning is for example the glaring disproportion of melee vs. ranged DPS within all brackets across the board, or the fact that the measures that have been previously taken in an attempt to do something about it have coupled up over the years and now we have situations such as melee with 100 % inevitable damage uptime because of infinite gap-closers and micro-CC, or still unfixed Precognition situation where rangeds with a casting immunity trigger it even upon successful kick if overlapped by two teammates – a frequent situation typically occuring especially in RSS, beating the purpose of a kick spell altogether and forcing players to not use it altogether, or, in the worse cases, not even requiring casting at all to do full damage rotation, beating the purpose of casting. Speaking of bloat…

Button Bloat

There are way too many buttons in the game, to such an extent that it is incomprehensible. People are already having trouble figuring out their optimal rotations for doing PvE damage or healing properly, and in PvP, not only those concepts are virtually disfigured and swirled inside out, but there are mechanics such as damage reductions, immunities, dispels, GCD and non-GCD spells, dampening, targets, focus targets, casts, channels, instants, cursor spells or 7 categories of controls with over 50 spells that apply Diminishing Returns to one of them to understand on top of that. E.g. a warrior has 4 gap closers and 5 micro CCs, and as a response to that, a hunter has 4 gap extenders and instant ranged damage that either “tickles”, in MM’s case, or “chunks”, in BMs case. To paint the picture, I will show you my shamelessly sub-optimal and messy mainly 2v2-specific setup of keybinds to be able to play the game efficiently and what could be, within the given bracket, considered high level gameplay:

https:// snipboard. io/W0vQwU.jpg

The fact that I am not even able to fit buttons such as Explosive Shot, Scare Beast, or Roar of Sacrifice for a third member to an even semi-coherent keybind that is comfortable and secure to press is just appalling not only to me, but to others within their own specialization as well. No wonder people are having trouble picking up a specialization, let alone understanding the game from the point of view of an observer that is not aware of the game, it is absolutely scary.

No communication

This is probably the most important part of the entire balancing aspect of the game – you guys are not communicating with us whatsoever. The only active Blizzard employee in the PvP department that interacts with players at least to an extent seems to be Kaivax, and even then, he mainly provides us with updates that are about to be taken anyway. There have been some egregious changes taken without proper testing done, and what is worse, they have been implemented mid-season, which completely disturbed the pace. Such changes are, among others, the so-called “Retpocalypse”, when Retribution paladins absolutely unquestionably took over all brackets in 10.0.7 upon getting a complete overhaul, concerns about which have been voiced frequently by anyone who even touched the PTR servers, same goes with Rogue defensive toolkit overhaul, Restoration Druid Treant implementation, Marksmanship Double Tap removal, multiplication of warrior gap closers during redesign, Precognition implementation, Season 2 MMR bottleneck, and there is a list of these crucial changes.
This lack of communication has led to players of all PvP proficiencies to gradually “give up” on the game and stopped taking it even remotely seriously, because at this point it looks as though there are changes being implemented that are absolutely outlandish and nobody but you specifically asked for them. People stopped providing actual constructive feedback, because they expect you to not care about what the player thinks whatsoever.
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RSS

In this last segment I will talk about the consequences of implementing RSS and about the quirks of the gamemode, since that currently is the most active PvP gamemode. As previously stated and immediately made obvious after a few weeks upon release, the 2v2 bracket, which is supposed to be the training grounds, has been compromised in the process. The LFG tool has also since been left in a desolate state, since people not only refuse to search for new teammates, they now refuse to even invest their time trying and instead opt to deliberately sit on a mountain waiting for a queue to pop while alt-tabbed, thus compromising the entire aspect of a community and group solidarity, in a community and group content-driven game. Upon launch, the gamemode has also been given significant MMR freedom, which resulted in many people finally managing to obtain their rewards, increasing their desire to participate. This, at the same time, has been violently taken away from then since, by not only reducing, but also bottlenecking the MMR the very next season, creating a gap that is just too much to be ignored, since a bloated season was not followed by a bloated season nor a normal season, but a downright deflated season, repelling most of the playerbase away entirely, committing seppuku to itself and murdering the old brackets in the process as a casualty. The result is not only a significant playerbase decrease and overall attitude towards PvP decrease, but also people are wasting much more time not progressing anywhere just staying AFK in the game. There is a significant lack of healers and the only thing that was done to “fix” it was introducing a measly healer title and small conquest healer-specific account-bound boxes. This, in turn, resulted in waiting times that are simply not justifiable to pay money for, since anywhere above Rival even now in Season 3 it can easily take up to 40 minutes (even more the higher you go) to get 1 queue to pop, only for it to probably result in a 3-3 scenario, because the 6-round shuffle concept is so poor in design that it creates obvious favorites, as mentioned before, which results in you wasting 40 minutes waiting for a pop, then wasting 40 minutes playing in a toxic environment without any progress. For example, at one point in the Season 2, the top 100 players in RSS consisted of 99 DPS, and the first and only healer was position #97. Adult people play this game, they want to play a game in their barely-existent free time, and not seeing any results after having essentially tossed away 80 minutes of your life is nothing short of depressing and sad. People asked for solo-queue, one which would for example take 6 players and put them randomly into two teams for 1 game, not 6 games. Such gamemode would make much more sense, as the player would not be forced to play clearly suboptimal comps balanced towards one or two players’ favour, and the queues would be much faster as the time investment would be much shorter, and the environment would be much less toxic, since you would not need to spend other 5 rounds with the same people that might have upset you by their performance or communication.
RSS does not prepare players for endgame 3v3 like 2v2 does. RSS does not promote communication. RSS does not promote standardized endgame gameplay until very high MMR which almost nobody reaches, and those who do already know it. RSS does not put cooldowns in perspective. RSS does not incentivize people to participate further in the other gamemodes, which, although not promoted as, are still deemed endgame, since the endgame reward is still bound to one of them and the other one prepares players for it specifically. It is a complete mess, and it shows on the community, on the participation, on the attitudes, on the graphs, everywhere. Please, do something about it, or about the other gamemodes to promote healthy gaming environment, instead of just implementing another gamemode with The War Within’s release, which will only result in another fiasco based on lack of communication and dismal implementation means.
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Those are our concerns. You can read them everywhere. On forums, in discords, in communities, on social media platforms, discussed on streams, discussed ingame, discussed in YouTube videos, discussed daily, frequently, relentlessly.

Even I, as the others, have lost hope for you communicating with us and fixing what can be fixed. But I wanted to write it all down to give my mind peace, as I have been talking about these topics with dozens of people daily, and so I wrote it all down anyway.

If you, the reader, agree with me, it would be nice of you if you found some motivation in yourself and tried to bring attention to the letter or the topics in a way that lets the developers know there are people behind the pixellated faces. If you do not agree, that’s fine, proceed to make fun of me for whatever reason, I do not care, ultimately, it is just a videogame we’re talking about, it is not going to change my life.

It’s a game, we are supposed to be having fun, and we want to have fun. Nobody is having fun by not playing the game, by not feeling rewarded by your time spent, and not feeling like our money is well-spent. And it’s not just us losing money, it’s you too.
Give us the fun, PvP is an incredibly entertaining gamemode with a very deep stratagem that requires complex understanding. It would be a shame to have it die like this, especially if it can be improved and it would be to effectively nobody’s disadvantage.

Lastly, I hope you are having a nice day.

Cordially,

Scheixanter, a passionate casual

https://eu.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/everything-wrong-with-wow-pvp-%E2%80%93-open-letter/493008

8 Likes

TLDR where?

2 Likes

Another “venruki read me” wall ‘o’ text

3 Likes

The developers will definitely listen to this and do everything during the Season of Mastery!

1 Like

Didn’t read 90% of it, but it’s hitting all the right highlights.

Blizzard has got to introduce participation rewards or rewards for lower ratings if they want anyone but duelist+ to play.

3 Likes

Lots of good stuff in there.

Anyone else feel sorry for people that will take this much of their time to provide this level of constructive criticism knowing good and well there won’t be a single dev read it?

10 Likes

Yeah. I remember back when i thought blizzard cared too.

2 Likes

Not really, we don’t need 10k word creative writing projects to know that more rewards and more frequent tuning will help PvP. The problem is not lack of feedback or suggestions, but lack of action on Blizzard’s part. The ball is in their court

But kinda cute when people throw up huge effort powerpoint presentations and google docs on the pvp reddit about how to redesign PvP from the ground up (written by 2.3k xp players with no game design experience)

If one really has great novel insights to share then present them in an efficient manner. No dev is taking time out of their day to read this unless you have serious credentials

I appreciate the effort but the unpaid intern that looks after PvP is not going to red all of this

1 Like

Pretty good post. Especially the first 2 parts.

As a casual here’s my take

-Just ban/break addons.
-Do something, anything to stop smurfing
-remove half of the abilities in this game
-remove most ability/cd stacking. Swifty oneshots lead to unfun play.
-remember, you’re not making a game for hardcore, nolife, streamer neckbeards. Most players are looking for fun not a second job.