PvP Mercenary Mode - The Solution to Unrated Faction Imbalance? menu

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  1. #1
    Smitten's Avatar i want to believe who even plays wow anymore 🤔
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    PvP Mercenary Mode - The Solution to Unrated Faction Imbalance?

    With World of Warcraft’s “Flying Patch” 6.2.1 hitting the PTR this week, a new feature was announced by Blizzard alongside it - the Mercenary Mode for PvP.

    In a nutshell, it aims to reduce the wait times for Ashran and Random Battlegrounds by allowing you to play with the opposite faction if an automated system determines that wait times are too long - not too dissimilar from Call to Arms in dungeons. The system is completely opt-in, and activated by talking to an NPC in Stormshield or Warspear, depending on your faction.

    With faction balance, or lack thereof, being a hotly contested issue within the PvP community since the dawn of PvP in World of Warcraft, is Blizzard moving in the right direction, or does the problem lay much deeper?

    At a first glance, faction numbers on both US and EU don’t seem overly one-sided. At level 100, US maintains a 1.3:1 Alliance to Horde ratio, while EU is more evident at 1.6:1. Moving into PvP, however, it begins to show a very different story.

    It’s a well known fact throughout the PvP community that where people play is decided on two major factors. The first being where all the popular and high rated players are playing. Where the Rank 1s go, the Gladiators will go. Where the Gladiators go, the Duelists will follow, and this trend continues until your casual 2s and Battlegrounds player has moved faction to play with their friends.

    How do the first lot of players pick where to play? They mainly decide based on Racials and how they interact with the season’s meta. There have been times in the past where Racials were decently balanced. In Wrath of the Lich King, Humans had Every Man For Himself, and the Forsaken had Will of the Forsaken - not as encompassing as EMFH, but still a workable alternative.

    Fast forward to Warlords of Draenor, where insane MoP-style burst has been toned down and replaced with a more sustained damage model, where cooldowns combined with trinkets provide the burst damage often required to take down your opponents - and this is where the problem begins.

    Humans are currently the only race on either faction where the “PvP trinket” comes with the race, allowing them to equip two damage trinkets, something nearly no other class and race combination could afford to take with very few exceptions. On top of this, Humans can play the classes which have been top of the ladders this expansion, or play a class which has extremely good synergy with other Alliance races.

    With this as the case, nearly every serious PvPer and their friends have flocked to the Alliance, moving away from the “somewhat balanced, but Horde favoured” scenario in Mists of Pandaria in the US, and the “more Alliance oriented, but still playable as Horde” scenario in Europe.


    The effects of this can be seen in the graphs below:







    Alliance quite clearly dominates the Rated PvP scene in any bracket, at any rating, increasing as the ratings get higher. However, this isn't an arena-specific phenomenon. Taking a look at Random Battleground wins, a similar but less drastic pattern repeats.

    US:





    EU:




    Source: wow-stats.info

    With Alliance winning more and more Battlegrounds, queue times for the Alliance are rising, while queues are near-instant on the Horde side.

    This is where Mercenary Mode comes in. By introducing this opt-in system to help relieve queue times for random Battlegrounds and Ashran, and thereby allowing the possibility of some of the more experienced dominant faction players to fight alongside their rivals, it’s entirely possible that the Win/Loss ratio may begin to even out again.

    Blizzard has made it very clear that Mercenary Mode isn't any form of replacement for proper balance between the Horde and Alliance, especially when it comes to Racials.

    Those who do play under Mercenary Mode will have their Racial abilities swapped out to that of the opposite faction, along with their appearance. Blizzard’s aim is to make you indistinguishable from any other player on the opposing faction.

    Given Blizzard’s previously unbreakable will to never let the Horde and Alliance group up in any fashion, do you think that this new feature is a sign that Blizzard may become more lenient on this rule in the future, as they were with cross-realm raiding in the past, or is it simply what it appears at face-value - a system to reduce queue times?

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  2. #2
    HI5's Avatar ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Some Random Leacher
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    If not for last two banwaves they wouldn't have to worry about queues, now it goes even to hour and a half as opposed to pre-banwave when it was like 20 minutes max on a worst day... One retarded call is chasing another retarded call.
    Last edited by HI5; 07-18-2015 at 02:26 PM.


  3. #3
    Confucius's Avatar Panda of Worlds The Idiot

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    They should really just make racials cosmetic things or not allow them in pvp environment. (If they haven't already, I haven't played in a long time)

  4. #4
    Relican's Avatar Elite User Creepy in a good way CoreCoins Purchaser
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    I like a guild wars two approach of disabling racials in PVP situations, and potentially even attempting to balance abilities in PVP vs PVE as opposed to trying to do the two together, as it's been proven time and time again that trying to balance them together just doesn't work. I'm amazed it's taken this long for them to even make a move on this, frankly.
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