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Does PvP need more queueing options?

WoW Insider received a question to our tip line from a player who's lost their way a little when it comes to PvP:
I greatly enjoyed PvP during Cata, but I just haven't been able to get into it during MoP at all. I'm part of a small guild (4 active players), and none of them enjoy PvP. Since I usually have to go it alone, I have a preference for the larger BGs -- AV and Isle. It's easier to be a part of the crowd where individuals carry less weight, but still feel useful and able to help in the smaller skirmishes along the way.

PvE has several queuing options -- LFR, Flex (with a group), Scenarios, regular dungeons and heroics. There's a size and activity for everyone.

PvP on the other hand has BGs (random or rated) or arena. While not quite adding more options, do you think Blizzard may consider separating out the BGs into different sized-based queues?

There are those who hate the larger BGs, and those that enjoy them. Perhaps always-queable BG versions of Wintergrasp and Tol Barad could be added to fill it out more (not once every 2 hours or whatever the timer is). AV, Isle, WG, and TB could form one queue for those who enjoy the larger BGs and the smaller ones could be another queue. I imagine people could queue for both at the same time if they didn't have a preference (similar to queuing for multiple LFR wings at once).

Rewards could be the same; it just provides options for people to engage in the ways they enjoy. There's been a push for that in PvE options this expansion particularly. Why not extend it to PvP as well?

Our anonymous questioner raises some interesting points. Let's break it down and deal with them a few at a time.

Separate queues for bigger battlegrounds

This is something that the developers have mentioned in passing several times, the idea of separating off Isle of Conquest and Alterac Valley into a queue with Wintergrasp and Tol Barad. The idea behind this is great -- if you want a longer and more epic experience, then you can have one.

The big problem, apart from the win-loss ratios which we recently discussed, is the potential duration of the battlegrounds. The same person who signs up for a battleground queue wanting a 15-minute Warsong Gulch probably doesn't want to be around for what might be 45 minutes of Alterac Valley, and could still result in a loss. If you could queue for everything but the potentially longer battles, maybe that would be an improvement. You wouldn't want to queue for a heroic dungeon and end up in Siege of Orgrimmar Raid Finder.

But there are definite downsides of the separation, as the battlegrounds stand at least. Both IoC and AV can be finished off very quickly indeed, so while there is the potential for long matches, it might not come about every time. Why is this a problem? Well, because it seems to me at least that queueing for these longer battlegrounds should come with greater rewards. You should get more from a 45-minute battleground than you do from one a third its length. Our OP asserts that they would be equal in reward to the shorter ones, but I just think the uptake on willingly going into a longer battle for the same reward as a shorter one would not happen. Remember that Ghostcrawler tweet?
Additional rewards mean the battlegrounds would need to be longer every time, too. And to do that, the devs would have to work on IoC and AV. They'd also have to make some changes to Wintergrasp and Tol Barad, to make them function as a normal battleground rather than how they currently work. I wonder if it's worth spending a lot of developer time on the two most downvoted battlegrounds, and two instanced PvP zones that barely anyone does, when they could be designing new BGs.

Nonetheless, I do think our OP has a point. Does the battleground downvote system go far enough to exclude these battlegrounds? Or should there be a separate queue for them altogether?

One size does not fit all

The OP's other point is just how many options PvE has in comparison to PvP. And it's a reasonable one, there really are a lot of options for PvE-ers. If we're talking solo queues, you've got normal scenarios, you've got raid finder, you've got heroic dungeons. You could argue, I suppose, that Proving Grounds count as well, but thematically that bothers me, as you're not in a group with other players. But it's an option, I suppose. And in content you have to queue for as a group, you've got heroic scenarios, challenge mode dungeons, flex raids, normal mode raids and heroic raids.
That really is a lot of options. Looking at the comparison for PvP, you've got random battlegrounds, Wintergrasp and Tol Barad in the solo queue option, as well as world PvP if we're really stretching our definitions here. And in the group queue you've got arenas and rated battlegrounds. Random battlegrounds, Wintergrasp and Tol Barad could fall into the group queue as well, since you can do them with friends. Oh, and let's not forget Wargames! I mean, we could be forgiven for doing so, given that practically everyone else does. But let's be complete.

So what we've established here is that while there are a few PvP options for the group of players, there's really only one thing available for the solo player to do: Random battlegrounds. This, to me, is likely the crux of the OP's problem. He has stated that he is in a very small guild, and has not really found any others to PvP with. So he doesn't have a group available to him.

Flying solo

While he could have some fun in Random Battlegrounds, what our OP really needs is more solo queue options. The difficulty is, of course, that success in PvP requires some co-ordination. It's harder to run around maniacally and blindly succeed in PvP than it is in PvE, although it's certainly not impossible. But such options have existed in the past, in the form of Skirmishes. For those who weren't around when Skirmishes were, they were effectively random arenas. You could queue up solo or in a group, and face off against another team.

The great thing about skirmishes was that they were relaxed and completely lacked pressure. The absence of a serious rating system and the rewards that went with it meant that you didn't really take losing so hard, and of course, the fact that you were often matchmade with a complete stranger meant that you couldn't really take it all too seriously. It was a great way to get started in the arena, without the pressure of worrying about letting down your friends, or under-performing. If you messed up, you could move on to the next one!

I think there's a real gap in PvP content right now, that the OP picks up on, but while I like the idea of separate queues for the big BGs I think the gap is simply more solo queue content, and the Skirmish system fills that gap rather neatly. And what's more, Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka has confirmed in the past that they'll be back:

I'd love it even more if Skirmishes could award honor -- it would have to be a relatively small amount as the convenience and speed are far higher than in random battlegrounds. But a little honor from Skirmishes would be a great way to give people the motivation to try a few arenas, and they might like it. Part of the reason why random battlegrounds are the most popular content is that they are solo-queued, and award honor. Of course, there's also the thinking that it's easier to blend in to a crowd in random battlegrounds, to hide if you're not great.

And, if we're really in moon-on-a-stick territory, I'd love if they could start from a lower level, say 70, and award XP. Sure, low-level PvP is not perfectly balanced, but that doesn't matter, and what's more that's something that is being addressed. But being able to level via casual, solo-queued arenas would be a wonderful thing. What do you think? What would you like to see added to PvP?
Do you want to capture flags, invade cities, attack towers, and dominate the enemy for your faction? Do you dream of riding your War Bear with pride? We'll steer you to victory with secrets of Battlegrounds and Arena, prepping you with proven addons and keybindings that win! Send questions or comments to olivia@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

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