Monday, July 6, 2009

Fewer Rewards for 2v2 Bracket

Blizzard has announced that in Arena Season 7, the 2v2 bracket will no longer be a ticket to all Arena rewards. More specifically, Season 7 Arena weapons, shoulders, and titles may only be unlocked through 3v3 or 5v5 Arena matches. Check out the official announcement thread here.

Reactions have been mixed thus far, but have leaned appreciably towards the negative. The Arena weapons and shoulders are far and away the best and hardest to attain pieces of PvP gear available. Several 2v2 aficionados have gone so far as to argue that only allowing access to the other pieces is a meaningless token. Obviously, these arguments are false and merely an attempt to get the shoulders and weapons back, but a segment of the player base is certainly fired up. The only legitimate arguments on that front have come from Death Knight and Druid tanks who value the PvP weapons for PvE and want to be able to equip themselves for instances without becoming top tier Arena players.

Aside from those who obsess over the arena titles, few can argue that this approach is not an improvement over Blizzard's original plan. At first, Blizzard had asserted the 2v2 bracket in Season 7 would not unlock any gear and only titles. Though it is natural for exclusively 2v2 players to want everything, the new plan is clearly an improvement over the old.

I think this change to arena rewards is largely a cop out on Blizzards part. Though it is true that there are severe balance problems in the 2v2 bracket, rather than neutering the rewards, Blizzard should fix the problems. Though I can appreciate that fixing those issues is not an easy task, this change simply recognizes the issues and attempts to put Blizzard in a position where they never need to be fixed. It is the equivalent of Blizzard lowering the quality of the loot in the Crusaders' Coliseum after 3.2 drops because the bosses turn out to be exploitable. Obviously I am hopeful that Blizzard ultimately fixes the bracket and restores the rewards, but I am far from optimistic.

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