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?