Rated battlegrounds... harumph

About ten days ago I wrote about doing some PvP and how I had been enjoying a couple of rated battlegrounds. Since then Gevlon has written about how he thinks that the rated battleground system is a big failure, and I'm afraid I have to admit that he might be on to something this time. The parts that I enjoyed about it in the past weeks - the socialising and learning together - are still there, but the game itself hasn't been very supportive of making our matches a fun experience.

Tonight we got together to play some rated matches again and it was pretty damn terrible. Our only decent game was the first one, a Twin Peaks battle that ended with a nil-nil draw and the timer running out - which was sort of tedious in its own way, but I didn't mind too much because there are definitely worse things than playing against a team whose ability is so even to yours that you end up with a stalemate. For example... getting pitted against teams whose average rating is more than six times that of your own team, which is what happened for the rest of the night.

Ten minutes wait for each match, and then about fifteen to twenty minutes of desperate flailing about as our healers got focused over and over again, while our damage dealers struggled to make a dent in people whose gear was so good that they could keep themselves up against a full nuke from us by using nothing but their class-specific self-healing abilities. I was nothing but relieved by the time we called it a night.

I don't mind losing, as long as I feel that we at least stood a chance. It's fun to learn new strategies and consider what we could have done better. But being outclassed by people way out of our league and receiving trashing after trashing for over two hours is just demoralising and teaches you little. I mean, this kind of thing can happen in an arena match too, but then you usually die within two minutes, go "Huh, what was that?" and move on to the next game. The way the process gets drawn out in battlegrounds is a lot harder to deal with. And are you really telling me that those were the best matches that the game could come up with for us all night?

Of course, getting Twin Peaks three out of four times didn't help to make the evening any more entertaining either. I can't blame Blizzard for trying to downsize more battlegrounds to tens, because getting the same "random" battleground over and over is pretty damn boring.

I have to admit I was kind of hoping that rated battlegrounds would turn out to be an "in-between" stage between normal battlegrounds and arena in terms of difficulty, but the way it looks right now they might end up being even more exclusive and hardcore than arena.


  1. I'm far from what one might call a "pvper," but I've done a few rateds as well, and even got a halfway decent pvp gear set. Personally, I disliked the rateds because I felt like a majority of the matches, maybe even as many as 85%, were blowouts either for or against us. Sure, I like winning and getting my points, but I'd prefer it be a really good match, which, like the author experienced, are few and far between.

    I like the concept well enough, and I'm going to head over to Gevlon's after this to see what he says, but I also feel like they are a bit of a failure due to the matchmaking system.

    At any rate, interesting post!

  2. I was in those matches Shintar described, and for what it's worth, it ranks as some of the poorer gameplay Blizzard has engineered for me. 1 stalemate, and 3 losses, and our opponents (typically 1500-2000 rated versus our newbies team) were picking up 1-2 points per game. So I can't imagine they felt it was a good use of their 10 min queue and 10 min match either.

    I never thought I would say it, but so far I prefer Arena to rated BGs (and I don't like Arenas much!). Sure, Arenas often experience turtling, or healer stalemates, but as the poster says, at least they are fast, the queues are quick, and its sort of "fun and casual" whereby if you and your mate get curb stomped its a laugh, and as long as you squeak out 3-4 wins a week its OK, there is some reward for it.

    Rated BGs seem to have taken all of the failings of Arena, and magnified them into a form of Chinese water torture, where the turtling goes on forever, the queues are longer, the benefits of resilience and gearing have become magnified even further, and the feeling of despondency is multiplied over 10 people, not 2!

    Ah well.