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Member Since 23 Feb 2009
Offline Last Active Nov 22 2015 06:09 PM

#4540158 Scripted PvP

Posted Bigmoran on 17 November 2015 - 02:20 AM

I was originally going to post this article on Skill-capped. After some deliberation, I decided it would be better suited for AJ. I needed something meaningful for my 1000th post on this website. Even if you don't read this entire post, try and think about what you REALLY value in PvP. Consider what makes you happy and what makes you feel rewarded. The future of WoW PvP rests in the ability not to create balance, but instead to make the game into a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

I've mentioned countless times in threads and on social media that WoD PvP feels scripted. My attitude is not uncommon. Plenty of other players have also expressed feelings of redundancy in gameplay. Overall, enjoyment of PvP seems to be at an all time low. While quantification of player satisfaction is often difficult to guage, the drop in sub numbers--down to a point in which Blizzard will no longer report them--suggests that less and less people are enjoying World of Warcraft. The goal of this article is to show how the scripted feeling of PvP and the lack of rewarding gameplay has contributed to the growing sentiment that PvP is not nearly as fun as it used to be.

What IS the Script?

I should first explain what I mean by 'scripted.' In order to do this, consider how a script works. A script is a series of relationships between conditional statements. A conditional statement is a simple if, then relationship. Here is an example of how this 'scripted' PvP paradigm might play out in an arena match:

-If the enemy Mage uses Polymorph, then I will use Counterspell
-If the enemy Mage is Counterspelled on Polymorph, then I will use Polymorph.

While this may not seem damaging at first, consider the fact that nearly all of the important decisions we make during an arena game revolve around this algorithmic way of thinking. For every enemy action, there is an optimal player reaction that is determined by the 'script' of PvP. For every matchup, there is one optimal strategy. This makes winning feel significantly less rewarding and meaningful. The script makes arena wins feel less like an experience full of ingenuity and creativity and more like persistent, monotonous labor. If you know exactly how a game will play out, your experience will ultimately suffer.

As an aside, there is one thing that we often shake our fists at in PvP. Although we tend to hate RNG, it is the only thing that interferes with the normal operations of the script. Consider an arena game where two teams perfectly matched. They have exactly the same gear, play on the same latency, and have the exact same strategy. Assume that either team will try its absolute best to score a kill while preventing deaths of its own teammates. Under these conditions, what would determine the outcome of the match? It would have to be RNG! If one team gets a series of critical strikes or multistrikes at the right time, it will allow the match to deviate from its harmonious scripted balance. I should add that RNG (and specifically critical strikes) actually contribute to our enjoyment of the game. Oftentimes players will suggest removing crits from the game. Doing so would be damaging to our enjoyment of gameplay. While it may seem meaningless, scoring critical strikes is one of the most intrinsically satisfying elements of gameplay. We love seeing the big numbers. We are enamored by our own ability to deal damage that lights up as slightly bigger font on our screen. I am not kidding. Big numbers feel better, and in a game we are wanting to feel good.

Holinka's Pacing Argument

Recently, PvP developer Brian Holinka posted on Twitter that the average length of games during the World Championships was five and a half minutes. Loosely veiled behind this metric is the idea that PvP is improving because the duration of tournament games is getting shorter. It is true that spectators want shorter games. During Cataclysm and especially during Mists of Pandaria, many players argued that tournament matches were exhausting to watch. It was quite common in MoP to see two wizard cleaves battle it out for 10-15 minutes in a series that could potentially last five games. All in all this provided for a very boring viewer experience.
The problem with this argument is that the pacing does not matter if the match itself is painfully predictable. If you carefully watch the final series between SK-Gaming and Skill-Capped, you can see just how repetitive the game is during its 5.5 minute average duration. Every 30 seconds, Skill-Capped's RMD does the following things:

-Uses either Bash or Cheapshot on SK's Warrior
-Cyclones SK's Warrior
-Kidney Shots SK's Shaman (the kill target)
-Deep Freezes SK's Druid
-Polymorphs SK's Druid

While there is some degree of variance to how this setup is executed, the fact remains that every 30 seconds the RMD is doing exactly the same thing. So in a five minute game, you can expect the same exact thing to happen over and over and over until SK-Gaming makes a mistake or Skill-Capped falls to the attrition of dampening. And by all means, I'm not blaming either team for playing the way they do. For the most part there is no flexibility with either team's strat. I had the opportunity to talk to Healingstat (Skill-Capped's Druid) and I asked him why they never tried to kill SK's Warrior despite him sitting in Battle Stance for the majority of the game, sometimes without a PvP trinket. His reply was that they had played thousands of games against each other and that the 30-second setup strat on the Shaman is the only strat the consistently works. In other words, deviating from the script of going Shaman is utterly futile. There is no point in playing creatively because it does not win games. (I should add that I also heard that Boetar raged at Joefernandes for intervening a Blind because he "didn't know what to trinket." If there is anything that grossly reinforces the script, this is certainly it.)

Bring Back Reward

Of all the things that threaten WoW's ability to remain the most successful MMO of all time, its the fact that the game itself feels unrewarding. While I feel like the script has definitely contributed to this, there are numerous other examples in which gameplay itself does not feel like a rewarding experience. One instance of this is the conversion of many abilities into passive perks and set bonuses. Nature's Grasp was removed from the game and instead turned into a set bonus connected with use of Barkskin and Ironbark. Cold Blood was also pruned and converted into the four piece set bonus for Assassination Rogues. The real damage of pruning is that it left many of its removed abilities into mechanics attached to other spells. Two abilities became one. Two globals became one. Passives are not fun in virtue of being passive. You do not actually perform them--they just happen. Mages don't look at their Flameglow reducing damage and say, "Man, this is awesome!"

Another gross example of unrewarding gameplay is the conversion of many hardcasted damaging spells into instant cast burst abilities. Ice Nova is an ability that not only removes 50% of your root control, but also tunnel visions gameplay into managing two charges of a boring spell. Casted spells always feel better than instant casts. Hard casting involves risk and should result in high payoff. While I do think the class has some deep seeded balance and design problems, Destruction Warlocks are a perfect example of well-balanced risk/reward. Chaos Bolt is a long cast time that deals large damage. When it successfully lands, the Warlock feels like they have done something that required diligent effort. Compare this with the feeling of using two Ice Novas. There is little to no risk (outside of breaking CC). The ability is pressed and the damage is dealt. End of story.

The Hybrid Problem

While this has been an important point of discussion for ages, something needs to be done to address the strength and role of hybrid DPS in matchups. Hybrid healing was gutted for Balance Druids, Shadow Priests, and Elemental Shamans but still remains a problem for Feral Druids, Enhancement Shamans, and Retribution Paladins (perhaps WW Monks to an extend as well). These physical DPS classes are able to provide instant cast heals to themselves and their partners and are able to maintain high damage AND healing throughput over the course of a 3v3 match. There is no good reason that an Enhancement Shaman should be able to do 20k DPS in a game while also doing 10k HPS.

Some Nostalgia

Although he is one of the most controversial posters on this site, Bilian's PvP video continues to be one of my favorite PvP videos of all time. The RMP clips remind me of a time where gameplay was creative and each player made unique contributions to scoring kills.

#4536390 Blog: WoD PvP Flaws

Posted Mageic on 09 November 2015 - 02:36 AM

So I wrote a blog that highlights some of the current flaws in WoW pvp. Let me know what you think.


#4533219 Blizzard will No Longer report sub number

Posted Fedx on 03 November 2015 - 03:19 PM

They dont wanna show everyone how fucking shit wow is, its understandable

#4529991 Bring back titles to 2's in Legion?

Posted Imtaz on 29 October 2015 - 06:07 PM

I agree, give satåna and darkclowns their R1 titles

#4521762 If you beta'd WoD you let us down.

Posted Metaclassx on 15 October 2015 - 10:39 PM

We provided probably hundreds of pages of feedback informing just how trash the expac was looking to be and all of the issues, but blizzard ignored it. Celestalon at some points basically even called players stupid lol.

#4521300 WoD Season 3 confirmed, season 2 ending soon

Posted Jim_Jim on 15 October 2015 - 08:12 AM

Hello. This is my wish list for Halloween :

Paladin :
- Holy shock damage reduced by 30% against players.
- Forbearance duration increased by 15s for Holy Pal in PvP.
- Denounce debuff is reduced by 50% each time denounce is re-applied on the same target.

Druid :
- Rake during incarnation is now like Fists of Fury. Only the first rake on the same target stuns.
- Fswarm bugs are fixed and now have 10s cd when used on players
- Overall 10% nerf to healing in PvP for rdruid.

Shaman :
- Enhancement - Overall 10% nerf to damage.
- Enhancement - Purge mana cost increased.

- Fix the damn cs through walls with the observer.

- 5-10% buff to unholy abilities
- 4part no longer dispellable. UH.
- 2part change for UH similar to the mage one. Tiny desecration after a special attack.
- Nerf death siphon a little bit.

- Flameglow 10%
- Frostjaw on arcane school.
- Blazing speed cd either increased or share a cd with blink.

- Frozen ammo have a unique dr.

- Damage of Chi Torpedo reduced and other abilities increased to compensate. The biggest damage ability for a WW monk is his mobility one. Dumb !

No need to buff the "Meh" spec. Im more into the school "Nerf the strong ones to indirectly buff the weaker ones"

And just for me : Ethereal soul trader pet can now be used in arena. I exchange the Shadowmourne tabard for him and he cant go in arena ! Grmbl.

Thanks. Im waiting for your Pepe plushie too.

#4521180 WoD Season 3 confirmed, season 2 ending soon

Posted Nahj on 15 October 2015 - 03:31 AM

<heroin dealer gladiator x> for boosters confirmed?

#4520244 MGN WoW Tournament $3000 Prize Pool

Posted seeiz on 13 October 2015 - 08:06 PM

no youre just that fat xd

#4518585 Ban advertisements of boosting sites?

Posted Thaya on 11 October 2015 - 12:05 PM

putin is my god

#4518171 Iceblock bug

Posted Dills on 11 October 2015 - 01:46 AM

So when I jokingly say a mage is saving his block for next game it's actually true?

#4518540 Ban advertisements of boosting sites?

Posted Thaya on 11 October 2015 - 11:38 AM

i don't know how to behave when engaged with this level of shallow mindedness

you win

#4518465 Ban advertisements of boosting sites?

Posted Odrareg on 11 October 2015 - 10:32 AM

so you guys justify people calling out on the enemy team using addons during the qualifiers because "there's money on the run".

however there's 50 threads about boosters being horrible human beings for "ruining the game". first of all in this world money justifies everything, get it into your head. ISIS and immigration in EU are a market, not a worldwide social problem. sorry for the sad comparison but it should help you understand what i mean.
2nd of all boosting is really the smallest problem the GAME has; and it's actually the smallest problem the pvp scene has as well. keep in mind that with a badly designed pvp (none can deny it) there's less players, less boosters, and less everything - so it's just far less alive on the big scale.

if you keep on complaining about boosting all day long you're just fucking shit, or just stupid because you don't understand how the reason why you're not going up in rating is how the game is socially dead that you never get to practice with the same team you find in LFG because everyone instantly leaves after 2 losses. (talking to 2k people that try to go higher but cannot).

and yes boosting keeps arenas alive. the last 2 weeks of last season would get you instapop on 2900-3k on prime time, and that was really really really fun for me.

now i got disqualified on my r1 and i'm not boosting anymore. i'm not high rated at all atm as i've barely had the time to play, but i'm around 2600-2700 mmr i believe which justifies what i'm about to explain: long time friend asks me to play with him on 1300 rating, which means i will lose around 800 cr and that will make me sad as i don't have time to grind everything back up later on.
i have a friend's paladin with full gear on like 0 3v3 cr that I could play on..but I'M NOT DOING IT because then i'll get DQ on my main. so i'm not queueing with my friend. he's about to quit pvp and go full retard in HFC heroic because he doesn't have a healer to play with.

level an alt? NO. the game is too boring for me to level up another character. i go to university and work, i don't even have the fucking time. i need to have access to another paladin to play on in order to have fun with my friend, sorry.

and fucking hell you keep saying that the real problem is that boosters are stealing spots and they are destroying noobs on low rating. OK let's say I get myself another paladin. won't i be a 3k player playing on 1500 stomping challengers, and essentially creating the same harm?????????
boosting is bad because you steal spots.
having an alt is not bad instead? won't i steal spots anyways? fucking morons, you just hate the fact you can't get money for it cause you're shit.

@ people who "ethically" choose not to boost: you either have orgasms white knighting over the internet, or you DO NOT NEED THE MONEY. you go talk to a fucking eastern europe booster and ask him to do a glad and r1 carries for some hundreds of euros, which he would get working full time in a coal mine. boosting has paid some of my college fees, just saying.

sorry for the harsh words but this discussion comes up every month and the same level of retardness keeps being too evident

p.s. hi dizzeyo we meet again

#4513092 what a joke joke joke of a company

Posted civelli on 03 October 2015 - 05:06 PM

why didnt all teams span togheter and boykkot the regionals?

#4510281 This is why WoW is dead

Posted Bigmoran on 30 September 2015 - 07:47 PM

Damnit, I forgot to include Regentlord in my poll of worst posters on Arena Junkies.

#4509648 ironbark + barkskin roots

Posted Ashleyirl on 29 September 2015 - 08:21 PM

does something need to be done about these two root effects?

i feel like these are just too strong vs a lot of dps, i know as a rogue i dont have an awful amount of room to complain about anything but it just seems silly that this is still a thing

wouldnt it be more constructive to make some other 4 set that is helpful to survival instead of such an annoying mechanic?

i cant be the only one that thinks this - and, if i am, i apologise