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Member Since 11 Apr 2009
Offline Last Active Nov 18 2015 03:33 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.

#4517100 Blizzard Response - 2015 European Regional Finals Disqualifications

Posted Seu on 09 October 2015 - 07:53 AM

Yep, total fucking joke. If you essentially offer no support for a competitive scene for 5 years how do you expect to have "pro" arena players show up to a tournament once a year and put on a good show for you.

Since there is no support for competitive arena, there are almost no "legitimate" channels for someone who wants to be a pro wow player to make money. They either quit (which most did), or boost to pay the bills (which the rest do).

Then when they finally get to the stage to play the one fucking game at the one real tournament of the entire year, they get ejected for boosting. These are the players who are actually going to make it an entertaining tournament because they play the game enough to actually get good, why make a huge stage with videos and a broadcast to watch a bunch of done dads queue gladiator 3s games.

#4512300 what a joke joke joke of a company

Posted Ashleyirl on 03 October 2015 - 12:07 PM

honestly cannot BELIEVE what just happened.

so, at a tournament where there is like over $100,000 of prizes, they just disqualified a team 5 minutes before they were due to play.

just consider how much work, effort, time, practise and money those 4 people have invested into this game into practising and everything, its just a disgustingly foul cruel joke

you LITERALLY can't make this stuff up

firstly they fly them to prague, pay for the hotels and everything, then 5minutes before they are due to go on stage and possibly compete for $50,000 they disqualify the team that have one of the best chances of making it to blizzcon.

never seen anything so abysmally organised and conducted, its honestly unbelievable how this company is as successful as it is when it treats its best players so unjustly and disgracefully.

#4508178 Supa's twitch hacked during tourny

Posted Fedx on 27 September 2015 - 07:01 PM

Apparently the "hackers" skype name is gunner can't we send roguetrainer after him?

edit: imagine the death squad team for WoW: kaska, wizk, roguetrainer, kuilox, xandyn and every german rbg player etc

#4502193 Lets talk regional games guis

Posted stalebagel on 17 September 2015 - 08:43 PM

Posted Image

#4501485 Lets talk regional games guis

Posted metaldiablo on 17 September 2015 - 07:46 AM

@rmd hate

Posted Image

#4500294 Lets talk regional games guis

Posted Imtaz on 15 September 2015 - 05:03 PM

View Postjaimex, on 15 September 2015 - 10:19 AM, said:

I really feel like jah's a sociopath

takes one, to know one I guess

#4491738 Banned players not allowed to qualify for Blizzcon.

Posted jaimex on 03 September 2015 - 07:50 PM

Posted Image

this is what they write to the other dqd team, gelubaba, yet to lagyna they say Posted Image

nice fucking esports team

#4487076 NA & EU Qualifiers aftermath

Posted Niezeremake on 27 August 2015 - 02:32 PM

View PostXonika, on 27 August 2015 - 02:07 PM, said:

being good in wotlk(fabio) and being r1(you) in wotlk are ALOT different. gettin r1 in 5s in some shit bg with 1900 cr with 20 ppl sharing is nothing compared to actually gettin r1 now were the "playerbase" is in general alot more skilled/further ahead compared to back then.
Tbh rank 1 became even more of a joke when BGs got merged also made it way less fun getting gladiator/r1, but yes getting rank 1 in wrath 5 years ago in a completely different game doesn't mean you are good in this expansion.
I would say that wotlk required way more skill to play compared to MoP/WoD but then again the general players were a bit worse too so you could outplay your opponents way more. But yeah obviously the outplaying part also had to do with that you had like the double amount of spells that you have now and every class was kind of unique.

#4482309 Banwave

Posted Odrareg on 21 August 2015 - 04:15 PM

View PostDuduferalul, on 21 August 2015 - 04:12 PM, said:

do you even use your brain? how is boosting bad for the game? this is the only reason why you are no sitting in 40minutes ques everytime you are quin at decently high mmr.


#4478552 Balanced EU qualifier team

Posted crazieh on 17 August 2015 - 05:11 PM

View PostDizzeeyo, on 17 August 2015 - 02:03 PM, said:

Certainly amusing how quickly a thread can change from everyone competing to hate on people while they see everyone else is also hating, to everyone now desperate to defend the same people once they see everyone else defending them (including some of the people who were originally hating in the first place)

Not to be rude Dizzeeyo and it's okay for everyone to have their opinion, but I feel like you're completely irrelevant and noone really cares what you think. You just popup on every thread with something completely useless to say because you're incredibly worthless in every single way, not a single word that disperses from your lips has any value or meaning so I really feel like you should just take a step back and be more of a spectator than a contributor on the beautiful arena junkies forum.

Anyways, what Joe said is nearly completely right. Starting some IRL war over this is so fucking weird and standard of the WoW community lol, but it's so obvious that 99% of you would have ALL done the same thing if you had thought of it / think it could've worked. Who wouldn't? With this amount of money on the line and you see something you can use in your favour to get a second chance at a huge prize pool, why the fuck would you not go for it, you'd just stay at home and not play just to say 'at least we were honourable'? There's only ever 1 meaningful tournament a year for WoW and who knows where you'll be in a year's time, you obviously cease the opportunity and do whatever it takes right? Especially if it's as easy as making a single post to ESL and getting a second chance passively lol.

A bunch of us were super pissed at Sadstory for abusing MC bug last year (seems quickly forgotten) and I was really disgusted by it, but in reality if I was in the same position, I'd also do it with that amount of cash on the line. Stop acting like you're all angels and wouldn't do the same thing =)

PS: doesn't mean you can't be mad, it's like Joe says, direct it in ESL's direction since they're the ones who made it so easy to do.

#4478411 Balanced EU qualifier team

Posted proffset on 17 August 2015 - 01:38 PM

Aight time to chill boys. I'm probably the one furthest away from being a fan of balanced but linking pictures of the players IRL and their interests is just zzz, no mater how much we hate em. Grow up, besides I doubt any of you fuckers are Neal Caffrey-alike IRL either.

Peace & Love

#4478351 Balanced EU qualifier team

Posted user_543622 on 17 August 2015 - 12:34 PM

View Postflubbah, on 17 August 2015 - 08:04 AM, said:

I don't understand, didnt you guys win in the end, and didnt they apologize alrdy, what's the point of all of this ?? That's just crossing a line you shouldnt cross, like Inym said, kicking someone when he's down, pretty lame if you ask me =/
Point is that when you hide behind the anonymity of the keyboard, you can express your sadistic tendencies without getting in trouble or being judged. I do not approve trying to call someone out on using addons while using addons yourself, because its beyond hypocritical, but calling out people on forums, posting their real life pictures and making fun of them, doesn't really affect them, it shows how immature and sadistic average Joe on AJ is.

#4478183 Balanced EU qualifier team

Posted Jim_Jim on 17 August 2015 - 09:32 AM

Healingstat is a nice guy. He is the only man i met in 25 years of depressing life who is paler than me.
He's like the white background of skype.


#4478171 Balanced EU qualifier team

Posted joefernandes on 17 August 2015 - 09:24 AM

In all seriousness, it's really lame what they did, we all know they tried this the first qualifiers too but it didn't work that time, it's all very sad and lame but honestly the main people here to blame is ESL for being inconsistent and unfair in their ways of handling this.

Ofcourse its disgusting to see a team take advantage of it as tryhard as Balanced did, but like i said its ESL's fault to do unfair rulings and management of their own tournament, and lets face it, if this much money was on the line and you had a chance to take advantage of replaying a game, id imagine a lot of teams (probably including my own) would have wanted to take advantage of this aswell

obviously im still annoyed with how balanced tried to do this but now im more annoyed at my own teammates more than anyone, IRL bashes and making stupid comments about people IRL that has nothing to do with the game is uncalled for and outright offensive, keep it to yourself boys and focus on our own games now. And stop bashing Talby for random shit, he's a very nice guy and im friends with him irl, he doesn't deserve what you 2 are saying to him, this stops now.