Fan Club

As if I needed any more reasons to adore the crazy clowns that make up my rated battleground team, I found out the other day that two of them recently created a 2v2 arena team called "We love Shintar".

I was simultaneously very flattered and deeply disturbed. I just had to share that with the world.


There's bad matchmaking, and then there's this

Bad matchmaking in rated battlegrounds is something that people have moaned about at length in the past, including myself, but it's actually been a while since I've had any major problems with the system. The devs seem to have found a good way to make it work.

Last night however, it bugged out on us big time.

If you can't be bothered to look at the screenshot in detail, basically our team with a matchmaking value of 1842 got pitted against a team with a value of 2702. Yikes! Lending more credibility to the theory that this was a glitch instead of a major flaw with the system was the fact that their character and server names all showed up as "???". One of our team mates claimed to have found out their names at the end and said that they were one of the top rated teams in the EU. I can believe it.

It's quite amazing just how much of a difference skill can make. (Yes, they had much better gear too, but still...) We rode into battle to face them regardless of the odds, and they just wiped us out with seemingly no effort at all and then proceeded to graveyard camp us while their feral druid quickly capped the flag three times. All in all, the whole affair barely took five minutes, and unsurprisingly, neither team gained or lost any points. A pointless game in the most literal sense of the word.

At least we got a good laugh out of it. Our team leader, a feral druid, was particularly proud as he managed to give the graveyard camping team the slip once, snuck up on their flag carrier, and apparently managed to get him to half health before the rest of the team showed up to obliterate him. He sounded quite chuffed when he told us that one of them gave him an /applaud emote before he died.

Personally I was just grateful that they made it quick.


I do love the Darkmoon Faire Arena

Last night my rated battleground team assembled for the first time in the new year. As we were queuing up for our last match of the night, we had a bit of a wait while we were swapping people out, and since it had just gone midnight in-game I decided to pop onto Darkmoon Island to see whether anyone was fighting for the chest in the arena. I was quite surprised to find that not only was there fighting going on, but at ten past twelve there still hadn't been a clear winner and the chest remained unopened! A couple of my team mates came to spectate with me, and we commented on seeing some familiar faces in the rumble. Finally our queue popped, I yelled one last encouragement to a friend whom I had spotted fighting in the cage and disappeared.

We came out of our rated battleground match twenty minutes later and the fight for the chest was still going on. Amused by this, the entire team decided to show up and put an end to the affair by wiping out all the other competitors in one fell sweep. It felt a bit cheaty to go in there with a full team of ten, but at the end of the day that's one of the fun things about world PvP - that "bring more friends than anyone else" is actually a viable strategy. As it happens, I got lucky and snagged both the trinket and the achievement. A few stragglers kept coming back into the cage, maybe because they were hoping to get some revenge once the group dispersed, but we stuck together so they eventually gave up.

That could have been the end of the entire affair, except that just as things got quiet, one of our death knights suddenly dropped group, ran into the middle of the cage and started yelling that we could never take him down! Of course he got dogpiled within seconds and everybody laughed. More people began to leave the group, and before we knew it, we were having a mad free-for-all against each other. Of course people soon began to form new alliances in the madness, but it was all in good fun and the spirit of friendly competition.

Me and the resto shaman alternated between forming a healing team to keep each other alive and trying to kill each other. I spammed mana burns on the holy paladin who always complains about mana burns, and he hammered me on the head on cooldown. Our warlock kept dotting people up and then cheekily used Demonic Circle to teleport out of the cage every time his health got low. Our warrior and ret pally ran around bursting people down and I was convinced that I was going to have nightmares of them chasing me across a desert while I was whimpering something along the lines of: "Not Avenging Wrath! Not Recklessness!" None of it served any particular purpose, though our tank said that he thought that it was probably some good general PvP training, but oh god did we have fun. There were no rewards and no honour to be gained, but the whole experience felt very visceral and primordially playful. The closest real life equivalent I can think of would probably be a snowball fight. Or children flinging mud at each other in a sand pit maybe.

The cherry on top was when I was standing at the edge of the arena, and suddenly a feral druid friend whom I hadn't seen in months popped out of stealth behind me and murdered me. She must have seen me online and decided to see what I was up to. I laughed so hard! She and one of her friends then joined in the fighting as well.

Two hours later, we finally said good night to each other and collapsed into our beds. Yes, we really did keep ourselves busy doing random free-for-all PvP for that long, and it was the greatest fun I've had in WoW in a while. I wouldn't have seen it coming.