There is nothing more important to a PvPer in World of Warcraft than the Arena. The Arena is where teams of players fight it out against one another in ranked combat working toward gaining rating and points which allows them access to high level PvP only gear. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm brought about the Conquest Point System where Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds award Conquest Points used to buy the high level armor and weapons. The ninth season kicked off last week right after maintenance was completed, but contained within it a terrible bug that some players exploited to gain higher than normal MMR (matchmaking rating). This led to inflated ratings and teams that were far higher level than their skill/team composition should have allowed.
Those who exploited the bug not only aided in creating an unbalanced arena season but also made legitimate players have to suffer. These teams with inflated ratings gave too many points to those who defeated them, causing everyone to benefit from the bug. Blizzard delayed a full week before implementing a fix, which you can see below.
What this fix means is that no one can go above 1,500 rating this week (and conversely, no one can will be getting higher than 1343 conquest points this week or next). Additionally, PvP weapons are no longer usable and cannot be obtained until late next month (January) which gives PvE a huge advantage when it comes to gear.
This causes us to ask a few questions. The first is, was there a better solution? There were only a few options. The first is a reset to 1,500 rating which is what they did. That puts everyone on a level playing field and 1,500 isnt necessarily hard to obtain in the first place no matter the arena season. The only problem with this method is that players who were above 1,500 will feel remorse for their lost rating as they begin grinding higher next week.
The second was to do a complete wipe, reset everyone to 0, remove everyones conquest points, the gear, and start over. That has a few problems with it. First is the major inconvenience of having to start at zero again for a lot of teams. Thats not a lot of fun, especially giving the time many players put into the game. Next is the fact that some PvP items drop in Baradin Hold, which has no actual influence on the arena and is not involved in the arena at all.
The only other option would be to let the whole thing go, allow everyone to keep what they have, and fix the bug. The big flaw with that is the number of teams with an unfair rating in a sport that is supposed to be the epitome of fairness. There is no way to allow that to continue.
So what Blizzard did was the correct action and allowed many people to continue to enjoy the arena, not lose too much of their hard work, and fix the bug that was allowing things to be out of control. The only complaint I have is what took them so long to handle it? This problem started the first day of the arena and lasted until December 22nd, which is roughly an entire week with it running rampant.
This isnt the first time there was an arena season that was a tad rocky. Season three was one of the worst Arena seasons to date, where you had a large amount of team composition imbalance and players win trading/selling spots on teams/etc. Luckily this was handled somewhat quickly before it became too big of an issue.
Moving forward, if you purchased a weapon it is now restricted to level 86 players only (something unobtainable). Youll need to bank it until you reach 2,200 rating again and January 25th, 2011 rolls around. Otherwise youll find your arena rating capped at 1,500 for this week and your conquest point cap set to 1343. If you have more than that you will lose your additional points on the next game you play. Achievements gained seemed to have not been reset.
What do you think? Did Blizzard do the right thing by doing a soft reset or was there a better way to handle it? Did you purchased your weapon only to let it sit in the bank or do you fear that PvE weapons are going to unbalance the arena? Come to the Ten Ton Hammer community forums and share your thoughts.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.