Greedy Goblin

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Random BG blacklist disaster

For everyone who did not notice: Blizzard added a wonderful feature to the PvP interface, you can blacklist 2 BGs that you won't get when going random. This is really nice of them, right?

Now why would anyone blacklist BGs? Because he loses it. If you are horde and see AV loading screen, you already lost. Same with Alliance in WSG/Twin Peaks. Or that's what people think. Now you might quote some research that says it's overvalued and horde loses only 60% of AV and not 100. This is where the random BG ban becomes a disaster. Who will blacklist AV as horde? Those who are both informed about the fact that horde mostly loses it and who care about winning it. We can call them goal-oriented good players. If they blacklist it, the remaining horde will be the less informed or "i dun care bout winz i wanna pwn". No wonder that the 60% loss rate will go up. This creates a vicious circle where the map is more and more biased so more and more people blacklist it.

Why is it a problem? Because it either ends every horde blacklisting AV, therefore removing the map from the pool. This way 4 maps will be removed: 2 by horde, 2 by alliance. The other outcome can be that there is a significant amount of uninformed players remain who don't blacklist anything. Since only they can get to the blacklisted maps on the losing side, they will experience nothing but being hammered to the ground every time. So it's another feature where Blizzard wants to be casual friendly and actually turns out the opposite way.

Let's think why do random BG with valor and extra honor rewards? To compensate for going to sub-optimal maps. If all maps were giving out equal rewards, I would only queue for AV for a 90% winrate (which I can provide with only 2 teammates as alliance). Now it's better to suck up the other BGs for the chance of getting into one where I can win. If the BGs were equal, there would be no need for random BG rewards at all. The blacklist will turn it back: I get the rewards without ever having to go to the maps where I have the lowest win chance.

Why am I not even surprised that whenever Blizzard touches PvP it goes wrong?

On the other hand the LFR raid was a very pleasant surprise. The fact that 2/3 of the people did it in normal already helped a lot. No lolling, limited standing in the fire, only one wipe. The dungeon is nice - but as usual - dancy: you could do it in much worse gear than the required 460. Which of course I don't have, but PvP gear, an agi fist weapon, a tanking cloak and the stamina trinket from Direbrew pushed me over the "needed" ilvl.

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John Dougan said...

Alternatively: I noticed than in AV I'm seeing a better class of player since the scrubs and any others who don't like it or don't understand how to play it have all blacklisted it (I myself currently have WSG and TP blacklisted as I don't find capture the flag that interesting). As a result I have seen a improvement in play there, at least when AV is not the Call to Arms BG. As an extra bonus there is far less whining, presumably since those that are there want to be there.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I fancy trying LFR if half the people are cheesing the ilvl by wearing offspec gear.

Azuriel said...

How, exactly, is the BG outcome a "disaster?" Part of the stated purpose of blacklisting was to essentially get reliable, democratic feedback from the entire PvP playerbase as to which BGs they do not enjoy. If all Horde blacklist two BGs, and all Alliance two other BGs, then:

1) Blizzard knows which BGs are unpopular for what faction (and might change them based on said data);
2) Everyone who blacklisted BGs are now placed in presumably "fair" BGs;
3) The players getting placed in mass-blacklisted BGs are likely to be players who actually want to be there (else they would have blacklisted it);

I thought this was going to be a post on increased queue times or something. Instead, it's just bad reasoning.

souldrinker said...

"Goal-oriented good players" should not be in a random BG in the first place. They belong to rated BG.

Gevlon said...

@Spinks: you can replace the gear with your normal items once you are inside

@Souldrinker: on every expansion and patch the honor gear is better than previous conquest.

Anonymous said...

Very disapointing post.
Normally you'd present some sort of evidence to support your point, but you haven't even presented informal observations. You think you have spotted a flaw then extrapolated a catastrophic chain of events based on that and called Blizzard idiots for not spotting a potential issue. Maybe they have spotted it and taken steps, we don't know because you have got any evidence to support your theory.

Wild unsupported hunches aren't your strong point. Stick to having ideas then testing them.

KhasDylar said...

@spinksville If the LFR can be completed with much worse gear than the entry minimum, it's not a big problem when those who are smart enough to cheat the system actually use such tricks. This was the case during DS too, but the average skill required to complete LFR was so minimal that I think a top level group could even finish it in ilvl346 (or ilvl359 at worse) gear.

Well Gevlon, this was a whine post from you and as such, it's pointless until you don't offer a viable solution. I won't mention that you said two days ago you unsubscribed from WoW - let's assume, you still care for WoW a bit.
The reasoning saying "the honor gear will be better next patch than current conquest gear, so I won't farm it" is faulty in many ways. Let's say, there are two main player groups: M&S and goal oriented players (ofc it's more complex, but keep it that way for a moment). Gear is important for both, but naturally for different reasons. Morons and slackers (specially the morons) gather current gear to show off, for e-peen, to look better than the "rest". Goal oriented players gather current gear to be actually better than their opponents (assuming their skill level is similar). For both groups it is important their gear is the best available: if any of them waits for the next patch to gather Honor gear by /afking in random BGs, noone will give a damn about it. M&S can't show off in "oldtimer" gear and goal oriented players won't be competitive.
If you disaggree with that, consider the following: why don't start a guild that only runs dungeons which are at least one expansion away? (with current level and gear of course)

Apart from that, Azuriel said pretty much everything: Blizzard could not know which BGs are unpopular from each side, 'cause it's random and the players could not choose which to visit. Now they can. And you say, that's bad. According to your reasoning it's irrelevant if someone blacklists a BG because she "always" looses there or simply dislikes that BG's playstyle (like @John Dougan said above), only the shitty players remain there.

As for a solution: maybe WoW should track your win:loss ratio to each battleground and the random BG should be influenced by that number. If you loose more on a BG, WoW simply doesn't put you there. Of course this win:loss ratio should and has to have a diminishing return, to avoid problems with "I chain-lost AV a year ago, but now I'm better, I'm sure I would win it, but RBG won't put me there". Thoughts?

Ulsaki said...

I'm not sure how it's a disaster.

Most games that use matchmaking (which is typically more a console feature) usually allow you some choice over what you play. For example in CoD or Halo you can choose to play objective games, or go in the team deathmatch hopper. Players can also democratically veto a particular map/gametype combo to a limited extent.

WoW features several different BGs with different objectives, sizes and styles of play. Previously a player going into one at random had no control over this, and were forced to either queue manually (and lose the reward of a random BG), or bite the bullet and accept there was a chance of getting one he hated.

Allowing players to blacklist 2 BGs gives a player some measure of control over the randomness. It means a more enjoyable experience for them (they get to eliminate maps they don't want to play), and a more enjoyable experience for the rest (since they don't mind being there).

Blizzard also gets more useful feedback than players simply quitting, since the message can be difficult to make out in the noise.

Also if a player is bad at something, it doesn't necessarily mean a lack of raw skill, it can simply mean a lack of interest in the activity. For example, I hate arenas, so I never play them, so I don't have much experience at at them, and so I'll likely lose against all but the most terrible players.

It's not that I couldn't become a decent arena player, it's just I don't want to.

Correlation does not imply causation.

The Standing Dragon said...

Gev - This doesn't have anything to do with the BGs (I agree with your assessment, for what it's worth) - but when I saw this, I thought of you.

This is a TED talk on the bias of popularity; it cuts to your assertion that WoW is driven by popularity, not mechanics.!

Anonymous said...

i think this looks like putting 10-25 on the same lockout to me (less drastic but similar) and we all know how that inherently casual firendly idea went to hell, but I also have to agree with the other posters this is still a bit thin, a good idea and the assesment migth very well turn out to be true.
I immagine we will se more clearly in a few months.