Friday, January 23, 2009

Should battlegrounds be rated?

Reader Verilazic sent me a mail pointing me towards a very long discussion on the WoW forums about rated battlegrounds. Would it be possible to determine how skilled a player is in PvP before he joins the battleground, and then automatically match him in some sort of ladder system against players of similar skill?

I don't think this is possible, because of the larger size of battleground groups, up to 40. Even in a 10 vs. 10 battleground the coordination between the players has a much stronger influence on chance of victory than individual skill. Thus to rate battlegrounds, you would need to have registered teams, not just single players, and with Alterac Valley I don't see how that could possibly work.

The other, more fundamental problem of ladder systems and ratings and matching players equally is that inevitably the better you match them, the longer players have to wait. The same discussion about better pairing players ran to hundreds of posts on the old Magic the Gathering Online forums, talking about leagues, and the problem is still not solved in that game or any other game. You need a rather large number of players before you can match players both fairly and quickly. WoW, even with putting several servers together in battlegroups, simply doesn't have enough PvP players all of the time to make good matching take an acceptable time, even if a system could be found which fairly rated players.

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