Monday, May 19, 2008

"All Gladiators Are Not Created Equally"

There is a hierarchy in all that we do. No matter how successful we may be, there is always a perception that it can be done better. The following is a portion of a conversation that I had weeks ago, with one of the world's most competitive Warlocks. He is a Season 2 Gladiator, tournament winner, Blizzard insider, and all around stellar guy. Here, he offers great insight as we discussed class balance in the outside context of WotLK development.

Jagoex: Changing PvP or PvE is one thing. But merging the two is impossible, especially when they require totally different elements that are a part of the game's design. If they want to make it work, EVERYTHING needs to be reworked.

SN: I'm not sure you are seeing it as I do. What do you think the motivation is behind what changes are made?

Jagoex: I compare it to taking reactive prescription drugs. Your first set has side-effects, so you take a second set to take care of them. But that second set also has side effects, so you take a third set, and so and on. You're simply plugging holes that will eventually affect your first set of drugs, which now need to be tweaked because of the other drug side-effects. That leads to a constant circle of change and never any stability.

SN: The game isn't as sensitive as you think it is.

Jagoex: The Affliction tree.

SN: ?

Jagoex: DoT coefficients were nerfed to balance out changes that were made before it. Together with other changes, it rendered Affliction useless in high-end-game raiding. And we know what's happening in WotLK.

SN: Okay.

Jagoex: You can't keep chipping away at something without eventually having an impact on what you just changed. Kaplan fails to understand this, apparently.

SN: He understands it. It just isn't a part of the Warcraft formula.

Jagoex: WoW + Kaplan = WTF?

SN: Lol. Kaplan, Chilton, all those guys aim to keep the game changing. They are smart. Always remember that. And they want to keep as many people paying their 15 a month as possible. You're a psych guy. Figure it out.

Jagoex: Reinforce everyone.

SN: But not at the same time.

Jagoex: So you end up with imbalanced classes and a cycling of class power. They're the same exact things that the devs are advertising they are trying to fix.

SN: But they "can't." Not because it's impossible, but because it wouldn't be a good business decision. It's a very effective business. Frustrating, but effective. It has been the same way since release.

Jagoex: So how can you create a serious and competitive environment around it?

SN: You can't. Especially not in Player vs. Player.

Jagoex: It doesn't seem like it. That pretty much dooms this whole e-sport thing then, being pigeon-holed into whatever class or compositions are at the top of the power cycle.

SN: From the player's perspective, sure. But not from a business perspective. The power cycle, as you call it, keeps players and their money coming back. E-sport brings in big money advertising. The company wins on both fronts.

Jagoex: Makes sense, but that still takes away from the game I think -- especially PvP accomplishments.

SN: Very much so. All Gladiators are not created equally, my friend.

Jagoex: Lol, you're such a battlegroup whore.

SN: It's true, I am, but that's beside the point.

Jagoex: Oh I know. I get what you're saying -- it was the same with Rank 14ers back in the day.

SN: Getting to the top of the PvP ladder is based on so many things that have nothing to do with the easily accessible ability to play one's particular class or roll correctly. The server. Battlegroup. Arena maps. Opposing composition randomness. They all matter just as much, collectively, as a player's gaming ability.

Jagoex: Hmm.

SN: They are what create the top tier players, not the players themselves.

Jagoex: I'd be so inclined to disagree with you if I haven't seen just those variables come into play myself. Grinding to HWL, my biggest challenge had nothing to do with skill, but was more a factor of how much spare time I had.

SN: And more importantly, how much free time OTHERS ON YOUR SERVER had.

Jagoex: Exactly. And also how ass-hatted they were when pitched an honor cap to save everyone some time. I've also seen entire PvP guilds up and leave a server and move to an "easier" Battlegroup and do exceptionally well.

SN: It happens all the time. Like I said, all Gladiators aren't created equally.

Jagoex: It's still pretty impressive, though. All skill being equal at that level, Glads usually have more dedication.

SN: All skill isn't equal at that level. That's the point. And it's not that impressive. Any stable, dependable team can rank Gladiator in time. Rank 14 was much harder to get. I'd trade my title for yours any day, Jag.

Jagoex: Only if I get your Merciless Drake.

SN: Small price to pay.

Jagoex: Lol. So what of skill then? Where does it come to play?

SN: In Bloodlust.

Jagoex: Lol...

SN: I'm serious.

Jagoex: I know you are. That's why it's funny.

SN: Lol. It's true. Every real Arena junkie knows that unless they rank Gladiator in Bloodlust, they aren't really Gladiators. The best play here, and the best elsewhere aren't good enough.

Jagoex: "All Gladiators are not created equally."

SN: Exactly.

Jagoex: What about tournament play?

SN: It's too concentrated. In a system plagued with imbalance, it is impossible to gauge skill in only a few games.

Jagoex: Understood.

Interesting perspective. What do you guys think? Agree? Disagree?

Thanks for the convo, SN. ;)


Anonymous said...

Agree with the picture 100%! <3

Zyphre said...

Having been on multiple servers and thus different battlegroups I can say one thing.

Bloodlust just has more people with better gear. But that is just the name of the game. A lot of people in that battlegroup are transfers that buy points too. After my stay on tich I can honestly say I am not impressed by the difference between bloodlust and most other battlegroups...

"Real arena junkies" are people that must like being pigeon-holed into a completely cookie cutter aspect of their character in order to thrive. I for one detest resilience and the way it can trump brilliant tactics. This never used to be the case.

I remember a time when the game was younger; a full t3 guild could que against a bunch of skilled players in blues and greens and the match could easily be taken by the underdog. Meh.

I'll gladly keep my rank 14 title on my shelf. Arena makes me frown.

PS. Rolled a warrior for pvp. GG s4.

Anonymous said...

When I see the gladiator title, it tells me a few things. The person knows their character, has a plan, and has a good team to execute the plan with. I see maturity.

WTF said...

That is a ridiculous thing to say mr. anonymous. You see maturity? lol. Some of these guys are super immature teenagers. It doesn't take maturity at all. All it takes is being obsessed.

wtf said...

And saying that Bloodlust is good because of gear is dumb. They have the gear spread all over because they are more obsessed than other people on other servers. The best really do play there and every real pvper knows it.

Bumble Seed said...

"And we know what's happening in WotLK."

Do tell pweez

Zyphre said...


"The best really do play there and every real pvper knows it."

The best pvpers? Hard to measure mettle with so little skill involved in the current pvp system. Before your skill can come into play - you have to have resilience.

A big majority of the players in bloodlust do 2 things. Buy points/win trade (end to win trading only coming into play recently); or they gear up a character in one of the "worse" battlegroups to go and play there.

Yeah obsession is a factor. But its a factor because of a fad that even you are openly pushing.

IMO - A "real pvper" is one that can take off his gear (weapon aside for melee) and perform. Not one who paid $25 to transfer to bloodlust.

Don't get me wrong, I have met some great pvpers there. But there aren't enough to justify all this hype.

Jagoex said...

I think you guys are suffering from ill-defined concerns. Who exactly are you both talking about? General PvPers on Bloodlust or those who achieve Gladiator status in that Battlegroup?

SN said...

Bloodlust is to PvP as Hollywood is to movies. It is the premiere battlegroup where players do more than play. They compete with the best. It is well known as the hardest battlegroup to rank in and because that is so, hardcore players flock from all over. It is the casuals that play elsewhere.

I sound like an elitist ass, but that's because I am.

Anonymous said...

I read your post a long time ago but just saw this on the warlock forum. It agrees.

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