Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Arena Rewards are Backwards

I've played just enough arena to realize two things:

  • I like it a lot.
  • I'm not very good at it.

The second point has two main causes. One is that my technique could use some work. I still need to learn exactly what to cast and when, and to be quicker on the trigger, so to speak. I sometimes have trouble finding and targeting the correct opponent, don't use my CC abilities at exactly the right time, etc. This will come with practice.

But just as big of a problem is that my gear isn't quite up to snuff to play with the Arena Big Boys. I don't have 1300 resilience, 40% crit, and a weapon that has a base dps rating of 300.

As it happens, there is gear available that will get you these stats (or something approaching it, at least). But unfortunately the system that Blizzard has devised to give out this gear is completely ass-backwards. You can only earn better gear by improving your team rating. That sounds sensible on the surface. But unfortunately the only way to improve your team rating is to get better gear.

This is one of the things that has bugged me about WoW in general, and about PvP in particular. Your ability to succeed in any given encounter is far more dependent on your gear than it is on any actual skill of playing the game. Take two players who are identically geared, and the better player will win out. But more often than not you have one player who's gear is drastically better than the other. Unless the one with the great gear is a complete facerolling moron, he's going to win. Player skill is almost inconsequential.

As far as rewards go, at least most of the other parts of the game reward you for participation, so it is possible to eventually get the better gear you need. You can earn Badges of Heroism/Valor/Conquest by participating in instances and raids, you can earn honor points and marks of honor by participating in various battlegrounds and in Wintergrasp. If you play enough and put in your time getting pwned, you will eventually earn the gear that will put you on a level playing field with the big boys.

But not arena. Arena is the capitalist system gone awry: the rich keep getting richer, and the poor... well they don't get poorer, but they can't really improve because the rich now have all the advantages.

Can someone please tell me if my QQ'ing about this is warranted?


Topher said...

I've sort of puttered around with the Arena, but I'm in about the same spot as you. I guess the best you can do is grind the PvP for the best non-Arena-rating required gear you can get your hands on, and then search for another player who has done the same, enchant and gem the hell out of all of those items and then step into the Arena. (Personally, I also need to read up on strategy. I am utter fail, even as a DK. Then again, having a partner who is in the same spot as me as far as gear and strategy knowledge doesn't make for a bright future).

All that said, it seems that WoW is designed to suck the most play time out of you as possible. The system for points and gear ensures that anyone looking for serious Arena ass-kicking power will be putting in some serious time.

Temitope said...

I can't speak for PvP, but it's a consistent problem for PvE content.

I don't tank on my DK because if I wanted to tank heroics, I'd need a set of tanking gear, and the only way to get a set of tanking gear would be to run heroics. Sure I could sign on as DPS until I get my kit together, but at that point, I might as well just, well, play as DPS.

I can imagine the problem being worse in PvP because there you really *are* matching your skills against another person (rather than against neutral, AI-controlled content which is basically designed to let you win eventually) and rewarding success with better gear is - as you say - totally ass backwards. It's like giving a football teams free penalty kicks depending on how high up the league they are, or having gold handicaps work the other way around.

The problem is that this is also the way CRPGs work, if you couldn't get game mechanical bonuses for doing something, a large number of people wouldn't do it.

Weirdly, it's why I'm in favour of twinking. There really is only a finite amount of power you can get out of a level 19 character, and I respect people who are willing to play the game in a way that *doesn't* rely on continually getting better and shinier loot.