WoW Arena as an E-Sport - Lowering Barrier to Entry

I have made this comment on a separate thread regarding a similar topic, however I’m curious to hear others thoughts on the topics of WoW Arena and the barrier to entry in comparison to other games/genres specifically.

WoW PvP’s most blatant flaw is the barrier to entry, specifically in the form of leveling and gear. Consider other esports/competitive games/genres; fighting games (Street Fighter/Smash Bros), shooters (CSGO, Overwatch), mobas (League of Legends, HotS), and even RPG’s in the form of the speedrunning community. These competitive games and genres have 1 thing in common, anyone can jump into the competitive scene and the only thing differentiating you and the top players are your experience and innate ability. You are also not required to grind for hours, or days (In the case of WoW, both PvE and PvP content) before being able to take part in the competitive PvP communities. In WoW, as well as other mmorpg’s, your character’s gear presents a 3rd requirement to enter the PvP scene on the same footing as the players you’ll face, yes skill can overcome an ilvl difference, but take two players with the similar experience and competence, the one with the higher ilvl has a distinct advantage.

A sizeable portion of the community, leading up to the removal of templates, argued “This is an MMO, we need character progression.” Well why can’t you have character progression with templates? In other competitive games, you progress as your MMR goes up, something we’ve had in arena/rbg’s. On top of that there’s the exclusive mounts, titles, and mogs. If what you really prefer is being able to steamroll players based on an ilvl difference, then I mean, who doesn’t enjoy that. But why not restrict that type of gameplay to unrated content considering that being able to “Swifty One Shot Macro” someone on a newly leveled alt doesn’t accurately represent your difference in skill/experience.

Anyways, that’s my rant. I feel like WoW’s arena scene has a ton of potential and the barrier to entry is a topic that needs to be discussed more.

Suggestions: Bring back Arena Realms (with gear vendors), or introduce a separate templated PvP bracket. Introducing a templated bracket would be nice in that it would serve as something like a survey by allowing the PvP community to really show what their preference is. If the templated bracket isn’t popular, then there’s nothing lost given that the traditional bracket would still be available.

What are your thoughts? Do templates lower Arena’s barrier to entry by a sizeable degree? Would adding a templated bracket to ranked PvP specifically lower the barrier to entry and potentially make, Arena specifically, more competitive and desirable to new and old players? Would Arena be any more marketable with a lower barrier to entry, or are their other issues that outclass it?

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I just think they need to drastically lower the amount of time it takes to get a character ready for arena.

If I want to introduce a friend to LoL / rocket league , they just install and are playing right away.

If I wanted to introduce a friend to WoW pvp, you would need to take these steps:

  1. get lvl 60 (25 hours)
  2. Covenant campaign for 197 gear &
    Legendary (5 hours)
  3. set up UI & macros to make competitive pvp playable (2 hours)

Great - 32 hours in and we can play our first 2v2. Let’s queue … and then get bashed by 220+ ilvl players. We’re gonna need to gear:

  1. farm 9000 conquest+ for 207 set - (120 hours) - calculated as 25 conquest per win , 6 games an hour , 50% winrate.

  2. farm renown / quests for the “mandatory” conduits such as rogue restealth shield , auto frenzy regen, etc (8 hours)

At this point we’re around 160 hours in, 1500 rating, and they should be understanding the basics of the game.

If a new player is able to get to this point, the 1500-1600 push should actually be a pretty fun experience. The problem is that a gamer with 15 hours a week to spend in game would take 2.5 months to get here. To get the same friend to play rocket league / smash bros / league / dota would take < 15 minutes to start .

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I mean what you’re asking for here is basically to make WoW Arena it’s own game, and I kind of agree with you.

The only world where arena gets proper balance and attention is one where it is completely removed from the PvE aspect of the game. As it stands, WoW pvp is one small element of a game that offers multiple, and so you end up with a multitude of problems that really can only be solved effectively if the game were just ported over to it’s own experience.

But that is what TR is for. However I do think a large part of the population wouldn’t be nearly as interested in WoW arena if it were on characters they had no attachment to, like one created on a tournament realm. I personally wouldn’t be one of those people, but I’d venture to guess most of the pvp participants wouldn’t even log in to the hypothetical tournament realm you’re speaking of. The problem for WoW is there isn’t enough incentive for blizzard to do this.

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False, you can do pvp with level 10. If you talk about ranked, you need to be level 30 in league to start ranked games and need more than 20 chars to do so. Takes more time.

But they should improve the pvp experience from 10 to 60

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Thank you for your post. The time requirements listed above are probably under estimated. Improve the efficiency of play and this will improve the experience for all.

Wow arena has no potential as an e sport because nobody knows what the hell is going on unless you yourself are a high rated pvp player

Is some random dude who does pet battles all day going to be following along with complex setups in high rated tournament play?

Is some random dude who just got out of a ranked league game after going 2/8 on Yasuo going to watch wow arena and understand or follow what’s going on?

Unfortunately arenas are too complex and have such a high amount of knowledge required in order to follow what’s going on that its very unlikely that it will ever be a successful e sport

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THIS SO HARD. You nailed it perfectly. Which has always been my critique with AWC and why it’s such a failed broadcast atm.

Only a small handful of people can participate in this, it’s like a 1%-er elites only game. WoW Arena eSports is basically elitists only.

We can’t play the game normally unless we have somehow 2.4k rating.

The core of the issue is that arenas and RBGs are one of several types of end-game in an MMORPG; the whole “this is an RPG gear should matter thing” is actually valid, because the core mechanic of how RPGs tend to work is character progression. This needs to be approached from a perspective that has the whole game’s progression curves in mind, not just arenas. And that’s why we keep flopping; nobody here cares about the rest of the game, and because of that, the rest of the game flat out loathes us because we’re a “mini game” that’s screwing with balance.

I’ve linked the Rob Pardo article a million times across these forms; the original devs consider Arenas to be a mistake, and as the game ages, the cracks of the game not being developed for this kind of PvP from the start are showing - and the foundation is crumbling.

Templates have come and gone, and they were sadly deemed a failure because rated PvP just isn’t popular with the masses who play this game. However, the rating requirements on gear is also a failure. I want the MoP/WoD gearing styles back, but it looks like we’re getting a monkey’s paw yet again next patch with things still being attached to rating.
Arenas and RBGs are a niche, and approaching it as such and understanding we are never going to have the participation levels we’ve had in the past is the first step towards fixing things.

I don’t think people want to hear what needs to be done to get people playing. Any suggestions of how to entice the average MMORPG player, the people who’d likely get into arenas because they’re already trying the game out, just leads to people getting mad over the idea of “handouts”, or making things “easier”, when that’s sadly what needs to happen. People don’t like wasting their time, and when such huge chunks of the playerbase can’t even hit 1600… they’re not going to smash their face against something that doesn’t reward them. A single seasonal ground mount is not enough to appease people when that’s frustrating for them to even go for in the first place.

The modern gamer has changed; no other popular game on the market is as close to as complicated as WoW is. No other esport I have ever watched is as complicated as arenas are, and it’s not appropriate to really compare between genres, but doing so, it really ties down to ease of viewership, and the learning curve — go watch an FPS or a MoBA, the two most popular e-sports genres right now.
It’s shoot somebody and do objectives, with some variance.
MoBAs usually have 3-4 abilities with some sort of ultimate.
It’s so much easier to follow. It’s so much easier to pick up and play.
Cosmetics literally freakin’ pour out of every hole possible, injecting people with serotonin boosts - and those game’s developers with loot box money. (Bar the console tournament style games. But those games give nothing but money for being good at them. Maybe a trophy. I used to play Pokemon at a highly competitive level and got… ribbons.)

I don’t think there’s going to be a way to fix this, honestly.
The game is just aging and wasn’t built to support these sorts of things. We’d need an entire system overhaul to match an actual modern game, and that comes with the negatives a lot of people who are still attached to older game styles like pre-WoD WoW aren’t going to like.

tl;dr:
this is a forum learn to read

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You forgot - also 55 dollars minimum, and the 25 hours of leveling, if we are talking 1-60 having never played WoW, probably a pretty long time.

Other than what you mentioned, I think the 55 dollars is the craziest barrier to entry tbh, especially considering pay to play games typically come with perks like: no advertisement spam, very low amount of botting, that gets dealt with swifty, actual fun content, etc.

You’re asking someone to pay 55 dollars +15 a month after that for what should really be a battle pass game these days. Should be $40 expac and 10/15 dollars per major patch after that. Game isn’t worthy of a sub in the age of free to play games… not worth a sub compared to its former self really.

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You’d think a game with a box price, with multiple tiers, plus a subscription fee could actually fund their tournaments as well, but the prize pools are garbage, and the community support for community tournaments is also poor.

But with the warning - and tanking - interest, it’s hard to justify too.

It’s a complicated situation.

No… just no.

Time to fix rated battleground queues and matchmaking while tweaking the rules. And then make rated battleground the focus for endgame pvp.

I absolutely loathe arena because it favors specific classes that are great at pillar humping while recycling their swifty cooldowns. Battlegrounds offer a lot more strategy and it’s easier to hide some of the class imbalances as long as they aren’t extreme.

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Wow esports dont require any grinding because it’s done on tournament realm. If your talking about live servers then wow is firstly an MMORPG, which wouldn’t be much of a game with out character progression, PVP is a side/minigame.

Your guys are overthinking. It is simple. Competitive WoW is gated by gear. None of those other games require having good gear to compete. You can simply hop on the game and start playing if your good enough you can go pro or whatever. In WoW PvP you have to be pretty much maxed on gear, conduits, stats, etc to play at the Top level. Imagine a AWC player with 207ilvl… his team would lose every game and he would get blown up. AWC can barely manage 7k average viewers now a days. Casual players have been erased from the Meta they basically do not exsist.

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all they have to do is bring us back to WoD pvp gearing since they are so dead set on keeping versatility and trying to make it the “pvp” stat. for covenants whenever you enter an arena you have 45 seconds to change all your talents covenant talents and whatever nonsense and then youre done. covenant traits scale up to 226 ilvl (doesnt effect PVE lords because no imaginary advantage) and thats it. the only grind you should even NEED to remotely do with the current implimented system is the weekly cap which shouldnt take longer than 10 wins a week(like previous xpacs that were all enjoyed by mostly everyone) this would cut down the time needed drastically to actually be viable to play, and it would allow people to alt.

Nothing is more frustrating when you log in and are like “alright l need to do my m+ 15 x10 for the week my 50 wins to cap for my box my maw dailies for my gems, my weekly 3 hour torghast clears for my ash, my weekly raid, my emmisary dailies, etc…” then multiply that by how ever many alts you have. its rediculous, in MoP you hit level 90 you went and bought the prehonor equivalent resilience gear from the AH and that was it. you either could hop into arena and start grinding out conquest gear (which was the end of it, no need to farm sockets) or you did bg’s for higher honor gear, or rbgs. you hit max you got into the content you wanted. none of this mandatory nonsense. i dont know why they are making gearing so over complicated.

If they didnt want carries and real life money purchases to be prevalent you shouldnt have to make the game a part time job to enjoy something as simple as grind the gear out for a week and queue at peak performance like the guy next to you.

So is RBG an easier mode to follow you think being its more objective based and not quite as CD trade heavy as the arena mini game or just WOW in general can never do well E sports wise?

Please don’t ever call smash a fighting game again

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Very interesting so would it be better if players all just had the same templates/ HP in PVP again be it Arena BG or RBG? Where gear literally doesn’t matter at all and all PVE gear is brought to the same level within that mode as well as PVP gear.

The PVP gear would basically just be something handed out that you could use in PVE even if its sub par. Maybe disable PVE trinkets.

All rewards other then that being cosmetic in nature.

WoW just has too much fluff and its complexities dont transition to a very interesting or enjoyable viewing experience. GW2 pvp is the antithesis to WoW pvp because relevant information in gw2 is conveyed visually with animations, where in wow the players themselves have MULTIPLE 3rd party addons tracking and dispelling information. So if the best players, not just tournament players but high ranked ladder players, need that much information to properly play the game then how is a casual viewer supposed to have any chance to understand what is happening let alone why. watching and figuring out WHY they are doing something is the fun of it all but trying to follow WHAT they are doing you lose a lot of information. its just 2 teams of 3 players vomiting abilities at each other for 5-15 min with nothing of real importance happening outside of a small window every 2-3 min.

GW2 doesnt use the holy trinity of tank,healer, and dps in their game so there is no healer artificially extending the duration of the matches and this lets conflicts start, climax, and then end in a short amount of time. Their pvp mode is also 5v5 objective based that typically use a “bunker” spec, a duelist spec, and then their 3 man team fighting ball. the bunker is a build that normally takes tankier or more evasive skills and hold points for their team which helps them to hold off the enemy teams duelist from assaulting the point. how a team utilizes their team is vastly different from game to game based on which specs or builds are filling the different roles on top of the overall team strategy. unfortunately the overall game didnt have the staying power upon initial launch and most issues were later fixed but with mmos once the bleeding starts its near impossible to stop and if it played out differently i do think gw2 could of/would of been the gold standard of mmo pvp/esports. gear also has no impact in their structured pvp, a warrior running x build is the same as every warrior running x build in terms of power and skill as it should be is the determining factor.

WoW pvp just isnt as engaging to the viewer. its hard to follow, there is a ton of downtime during production of these events, you spend more time waiting for the games than watching them, and there isnt much play making and if there is its very subtle and not exciting to watch. Both games are a tug of war back and forth except in wow it really doesnt play out in an enjoyable or watchable form because of the game design, reliance on a healer, and game mode.

GW2 has duelists vs duelist or duelist vs bunkers fighting for points while their teammates team fight for another objectives. you could look at almost any part of the map and see some kind of 1v1 or skirmish taking place. the fights happen quick and convey a lot of information visually that the casual player can understand and a ton of these scenarios happen throughout the course of the map. while i am for lowering the barrier to entry for pvp but nothing is going to change the fact the game lends itself to a poor viewing experience and i mean nothing

edit - typed on phone post prob has errors

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Thank you, this is primarily what I was trying to get at. I think it is fair to assume that a lot of the reluctance to lower the barrier to entry through templates is due to people enjoying the advantage that gear can offer. However I disagree that this is worth the tradeoff of vastly increasing competitive Arena’s barrier to entry. Allow gear to remain relevant in unrated content, and introduce templates to competitive content, where innate ability and experience determine how far you progress.

I can see how you came to this conclusion, however I don’t agree that it has to be this difficult. Blizzard could isolate competitive play balancing through templates, disabling effects from PvE equipment. They would then balance classes/specs through PvP talent/Template buffs and nerfs. Adaptability/Options is a big part of this discussion, and something that the current legendaries and PvE equipment such as trinkets certainly offer. I would suggest substituting these features with something like the Legion honor talents. Having the ability to allocate secondary stats would be a bonus as well.

To summarize, I believe we’ve already encountered the systems required to make this a reality within retail. It is just a matter bringing them all under the same umbrella.

I would argue that this is true of e-sports in general, and WoW wouldn’t necessarily stand out anymore so than what is already available. Using your example of League, it’s likely fair to assume that you wouldn’t understand someone who has no knowledge of the game to understand what’s happening on screen to a tee. There are items, masteries, 150+ different champions all with varying abilities, bot lane-top lane-mid lane-adc-support-jungle, gold management, etc - and these are just the surface level features/mechanics. What someone who has never played the game can likely grasp without previous knowledge, especially someone who has played something like a turret defense game, is that the goal is to breach the enemy team’s defenses and destroy their nexus. The same can be said of WoW, yes there are a lot of features and mechanics on the surface, but the goal is to defeat the enemy team. I enjoy watching FGC competitions, I have not a clue what all of the terminology or tactics entail, but I understand that the goal is to defeat your opponent.

So I disagree. I believe there are plenty examples of a large audience enjoy an e-sport without having all of the technical knowledge required to compete themselves