WoW as an eSport

July 29th, 2008

Okay, this will be a bit of a rant – and I know many people out there are going to disagree with me wholeheartedly… but what is the point of having a blog if you can’t be biased?  :)

Let me just start of by saying – I like do to PvP.  I spent enough time in Alterac Valley to rep up to Exalted for my Wolf, and then did it AGAIN to get the Alterac Valley tokens when the untimely change came in the way the mount was purchased!  I will do Arathi Basin with or without a pre-made any day of the week!

Heck, I even leveled on a PvP realm!

And then Arenas came into the picture.  Okay, neat, they are like mini-battlegrounds, or group-sized duels, that could be fun, says I!  I can see the appeal.  And I wasn’t the only one that saw the appeal, the arenas quickly became very popular.

In fact, they grew and grew to be more popular than battlegrounds had ever been.  People focussing purely on Arenas, tournaments being held, paying money for good teams to gain you points… it was becoming quite a big part of the game, bigger than I ever thought it would be.

Again, what others do with their game time is their business.  I don’t care if people are spending all their time in these arenas – although I’ve tried my hand at it and couldn’t really see the appeal in these < 5 minute matches, with no variety of scenery… Feels like ersatz Halo, really.  I come to WoW for the epic battles, for seeing new places and working together with a group of people.  Arenas would never be the focus of my game – just like PvE would never be the focus of others.

Now let me get to the meat of the post – my whole point.  My problem is that arenas seem to have become a focus for Blizzard.  They appear to be paying more attention to the arena PvP crowd than the PvE crowd, which in the end, I believe to be the core of the game.  They’ve begun balancing classes for PvP purposes, changing abilities to change how they affect arenas, and seem to not even care how this affects PvE.  All I ever hear about is arenas nowadays.  And I am sick of it!

I listen to a number of WoW podcasts on my bike into/from work, and they seem to be flooded with content about arenas.  One in particular I have noticed is the WoW Insider Show.  The majority of the time, its arenas, arenas, arenas! Do they ever talk about how the Al’ar fight works, or about group composition for raids?  Nope!  It’s all “what do you think of this new change for arenas?”  or “What do you think of the RMP arena team make-up?” Honestly, I don’t care about the arena tournament, I have only a passing interest in Season 4 gear.  There is more to this game than that.

The WoW universe seems to have become two completely different games smashed into one – the Arenas game, and the PvE game.  To me, it feels awkward at best to have these two games clashing with each other.  And unforunately to me, it appears the Arena game is winning out.  Afterall, when was the last time someone offered a prizes of $200,000 for downing a raid boss?

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2 comments to “WoW as an eSport”

  1. Blizzard has, imho, always balanced classes based on PVP first, PVE second. PVP is fluid, constantly evolving way faster than PVE content, if PVE content evolves at all. When changes are made to a class, the power players exploit any weaknesses, and then the masses follow. This creates outcries for others, feeling that thier class is too weak or others are too powerfull, and the cycle continues.

    PVE content is mainly overcome by learning the encounter and getting better gear. It hardly ever changes. In PVP your facing a human mind, and you can never predict 100% what that mind will think of to combat you or to exploit thier natural abilites and your weakness.

  2. I’m not sure if they have a focus one way or another, but you can definitely see that the unexpected popularity of the Arena has increased the focus on PvP. It’s a hell of a balance, whether you’re looking at gear or talents or anything of the sort.

    An alternative would be to create realms specifically for Arena, much as they do for tournaments. You sign up, you get to build your spec, you select your gear based on a budget, and then you compete with your peers. This limits the impact that the PvP has on PvE — and for those poor misguided individuals like myself who prefer to have a side of PvP with their game as opposed to a whole meal, there’s always the Battlegrounds for a bit more casual fun.