Blizzard on rated Battlegrounds: “we think the system needs a bit of work”

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With World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria now only weeks away, here’s what Lead Producer John Lagrave told us about the changes coming to PvP, and how Blizzard are addressing issues players have had with matchmaking and PvP gear.

Some
players have noticed that the rated Battlegrounds are looking a little

empty. Getting a team of ten together for a bit of a ruckus is less
popular than it used to be and doesn’t always provide for a fair,
balanced battle. When Pandaria arrives next month, Blizzard are hoping
that players will once again return to these arenas to enjoy some more
evenly-matched combat. Improving matchmaking, said Lagrave, was the key.

“We
think the system needs a bit of work in that regard. It’s tricky,
because [casual] players often suggest ‘Let me see what’ll happen if I
can just get ten people together,’” he said. “We’re re-evaluating some
of the incentive structures, and maybe some of the flexibility in terms
of size of each group you have to have in order to get more people in. I
think one of the problems that we ran into is just that there isn’t a
large enough pool at any given time.

“The
matchmaking can take a while, which then leads to a matchmaking
algorithm that prefers to match people of equal skill against each
other, but ultimately finds people who’re just available, period. And
then those mismatches end up being disheartening for players who are on
the end of them, who then get discouraged. It’s not as welcoming a
system to the group of roommates who want to take their ten player raid
and say ‘Hey, let’s do some Battlegrounds.’”

Lagrave
also talked about altering the balance between PvP and PvE equipment,
which can be a source of frustration for some gamers: “We really haven’t
been happy with the experience of a person trying to make a transition
from PvP to PvE,” he said. “The new system gives players a base
resilience and shifts the value of PvP gear partly in the offensive
stats, so that while a raider who walks into Battlegrounds wearing a
whole set of raider gear won’t be as effective as the arena player in
arena gear, they’re actually going to be way closer than most of the
cases online.”