Hey everyone. With MoP coming to a close soon I'd like to talk about how I feel the expansion has been for PvP as a whole. This means I'll be going over the negatives and positives of as many areas of the game as possible.
Class Variety: Class variety was at an all time high this expansion in all areas of PvP. At any given part of the 3 seasons we can say within reason that about 20 out of the 29 viable PvP specs could do well in arena when played by the right players. This is not to say they could get carried, but that the class had the potential to compete. This was certainly not the case in BC and Wrath. During Cata it became more apparent that Blizzard wanted more classes to be viable and they definitely followed through into MoP with this in mind.
Catch-up system: Not much has to be said here. The fact that you can show up a few weeks late with a character and still compete or better yet go from 0 gear to full gear on an alt at the end of a season is a world of difference from previous expansions. This improved the game so much for me and for many players who have alts that don't usually get geared before the end of a season.
Full PvP gear best in slot: After years and years of dealing with players using trinkets from raids that could increase their damage by 30% or proc extra attacks that hit for 20% of your health bar we finally got what we wanted. Blizzard introduced a system that made full PvP gear best in slot for almost any situation. As an arena enthusiast this made me quite happy.
Class balance: It's hard to say this without a lot of negative feedback about certain ones, but class balance as a whole was really good by the end of the first season and onwards. As I mentioned earlier many classes were viable, but most of the time they were still very competitive anyway.
Let's take a look at some of the classes we saw at regionals and blizzcon this year. I am familiar with only the US teams for regionals, but we had a Ret, a Holy Priest, multiple Marksmanship Hunters, a Shadow Priest, a couple Elemental Shamans, a Boomkin, multiple Frost Mages, multiple Resto Shamans, multiple Affliction Warlocks, a Mistweaver Monk, a Subtlety Rogue, and a couple Resto Druids. At Blizzcon we saw a couple Windwalker Monks, a Fire Mage, and an Arms Warrior. That alone covers a lot of classes and specs.
On the live ladders we saw a lot of different specs doing well and I can only count 8 specs that did not reach a rating of 3000 by the end of the final season which are: Disc Priest, Fury Warrior, Frost DK, Arcane Mage, BM Hunter, Demo Warlock, Combat Rogue, and Assassination Rogue. For all I know some of those could have made it.
Successful arena maps: Blizzard finally added new arena maps that didn't need major revamping to become a solid part of the arena map pool. They also revamped Blade's Edge and Dalaran for the better though I sometimes do miss the old Dalaran against melee. They still need to work on some of the map balance, but really you can't hate on what they did during MoP with arena maps. I would like to see them add Ring of Valor back to the map pool. The current one is actually a great map it's just disabled due to bugs.
Merger of battlegroups: The removal of set arena teams in combination with having a single player ladder and being able to queue with anyone you want has been HUGE for the game. You no longer have to sit on arena teams until the end of a season worrying about your rating. This has also decreased queue times and allows players to compare everyone at once which people definitely care about seeing.
Resilience, PvP Power, and Dampening scaling : While not everyone can say that they enjoyed having these stats around you have to commend Blizzard for getting the numbers right with every season. They had to manually adjust them with each season to make sure people weren't dying too fast, weren't healing too much, and ensure that games were actually coming to an end in a reasonable amount of time. They definitely could have done better with 2v2, though.
Streaming Influence: You may not like some of the streamers and you may have some that you love, but streaming has definitely made a positive impact on the game. A lot more players are better informed and many feel like they are part of something by being able to communicate with top players and other members of their arena community.
Holinka BOYS: This man has done wonders for our community and you should be more than happy if you know what he's been doing while working for Blizzard. He's been in contact with a lot of the top players and constantly looks for feedback to relay to help out. He's also attended the LAN events to talk to players and meet them which I'm certain was not required of him. I've spoken with him quite a few times and the guy's got a good head on his shoulders so we should be happy we have him instead of the whatever the hell came before him.
Reliance on gear: A common theme for this expansion and Cataclysm was a heavy reliance on gear to be competitive. While everyone thinks PvP gear should be the best in PvP, the reliance on having the best gear available to even come close to competing is frustrating. There have been times where I am missing 3 or 4 items and it feels completely hopeless to try knowing other people just do so much more with those few pieces.
Too much CC / Too many defensives: This topic has been heavily covered by so many people so I'll be brief to not bore you. The arms race went way too far this expansion. Instead of Warrior Charges Mage-->Mage Frost Novas it's now: Charge-->Blink-->Heroic Leap-->Nova-->Intervene-->Pet Nova-->Reflect-->etc,etc. Everyone just had way too many things to deal with each other and way too many simple reactions when taking damage or wanting to deal damage.
Dampening in arena: As both a tournament spectator and competitor I strongly believe that Dampening is a horrible concept for arena. This allowed for many things to happen. First of all teams could design their composition fully around winning because of Dampening and play around it. I don't think this was as relevant to ladders as it was at the actual tournaments. Both my team (ele, lock, druid) and the team that won this year (boomkin, lock, shaman) could easily attribute their success to its existence. It made for really boring starts to happen in a game where most of the action should be happening seconds into the match.
This also allowed Blizzard to balance the classes around dampening and not having to worry about if players could actually get a kill early on. Instead of fixing the issue they just took a shortcut around it by forcing games to end. I think having some type of ultimatum for games ending is fine, but the game should be balanced around players scoring kills before something like that is even necessary. On top of that it should be fair for both sides which sadly dampening is not. "The Crowd Chose You" is obviously not a good option either.
Caster dominance at higher levels: This has happened at the end of a lot of expansions for WoW now and I think it would take a long discussion to figure out why this is the case, but as you all have seen the past 4 years have been more of a Wizzcon than anything else. Melee make things exciting and even against two casters it creates a much more dynamic matchup to both play and watch.
Reluctance to make small changes: I've heard Blizzard's thoughts on this time and time again, but I still feel as if we're getting robbed out of a better experience. They don't want to make a lot of small changes because they don't think it will make a big enough impact and will only deter players from participating if the classes keep getting changed. When I look at a game like LoL that makes constant slight balance changes weekly I can only frown knowing it would be great for WoW PvP to follow suit. Changes like this one below make the game drastically different and makes some classes stay dead for very long while others get to overpowered states for entire seasons without change.
Lack of tournaments: No regionals in 2013, a few tournaments hosted online (that were, as usual, attacked by DDoS), and just a few LANs? We didn't do much these past couple years. Tournaments create life in PvP. It gives events for people to look forward to and it gives drama for players to talk about. I heard something about MLG thinking about picking up WoW again for WoD, but rumors are rumors.
Healer Variety: Specifically in arena only 3 out of 6 specs (Mistweaver Monk, Resto Shaman, Resto Druid) were viable at the end of the expansion. I'd say we didn't do a good job of ensuring viability among them especially with Discipline being horrible for almost the entire expansion. One could argue that each spec was good at some point during the expansion, but that's simply not good enough especially after coming out of Shamanclysm.
Moving forward into WoD
Ability Bloat: There are so many things I am looking forward to in WoD and one of them is the removal of a ton of abilities and cooldowns that were just making the game worse. A lot of people won't agree initially, but let me explain why it's a good thing. There are tons of abilities for you to use to outplay your opponents and you want to be able to use them all and it makes the skill cap really high... sure that's great, but there are plenty of great games out there that use very few abilities to do things well. As long as there are mini games to play then there is plenty of room for player interactions to make a difference and for players to have fun. Mini games are things like: positioning battles, the interrupt game, forcing/saving trinkets and cooldowns, and battling for objectives. There's so much more to PvP than just having a bunch of crap to press.
Interrupt and CC changes: The number one change coming into WoD is one that's been needed for so god damn long. The removal of Improved Counterspell (the strongest CC in the game besides Fear) and Improved Spell Lock. There are other Silences and small CCs being removed, but this really does add to the fun for both the Mage/Locks and other players. You feel like you get more out of a spell when you use it well and previously all we see is blanket Counterspells and there's not much interaction required. The more interactions between players the more room there is to outplay. Don't forget the nerfs to Fear duration, CC cooldown, and the removal of PoM Sheep, NS Cyclone, and other forms of instant full CC.
Focus on PvP: From what I gather there's been a focus on making PvP fun for this expansion and with Holinka on board I'm having positive thoughts on PvP as a whole. I would love to see 2v2 make a comeback as a fun bracket that you can queue with your friends where games actually end quickly instead of the current stalemates that happen. With less abilities cluttering the game the mini games should become more and more relevant instead of the previous cooldown war. You have to expect that the expansion will start out with some bumps. Maybe damage overall will be too low, healing will be too high, or Mages will one shot people with Ice Nova, but we will get there guys!
Hope you enjoyed. Feel free to post your thoughts on both the positives and negatives of MoP as well as what you're expecting moving forward.
TalbadarMember Since 03 Jul 2013
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