WoW Arenas suck – O rly?

LolarenasYa rly! (Sorry, couldn’t resist) They sure do take a lot of heat for being craptastic, but every so often the WoW boards surprise. Today I came across a topic that truly delivered both useful and entertaining information. Topic: ARENA – Not Cheating? Then you lose. (Apparently it’s on Part 3 because the threads fill up so quickly) Just in case Blizzard decides to delete the threads here’s the content:


Click that link and be prepared to projectile vomit.

Darky, an Elemental Shaman with 84 resilience and 603 spell damage, has gone 20-0 over the last two weeks on a 2627 rated 2vs2 team (Saranno Famosi, the #2 rated 2vs2 team in all of WoW according to arenajunkies). His personal rating is up to 2055 as well.

Apparently you can win trade an Arena team up to #2 in the ENTIRE FREAKING WORLD, and gear out a Shaman alt in full Vengeful including weapon and shoulders, without even playing in a match against actual competition and Blizzard doesn’t bat an eye in disapproval.

How times have changed. Back in the day when the first few guilds were raiding Molten Core, some guild found an exploit in which a rogue could stealth forward to a boss, aggro it, and then accept a warlock summon back to the entrance. The boss would then go all the way to the entrance without training any mobs with it for an easy kill without any clearing.

Unfortunately some GMs were observing and took away all the loot and handed out suspensions and bans, and in the next patch they fixed the exploit. This is back when cheating/exploiting wasn’t condoned. Now it has become apparent that if you’re not cheating in arena, you’re not trying.

Moral of the story – Cheat or get left behind.

EDIT: Here is a link to their 2s team:


Apparently there are two of them now. Both 20-0 on a 2627 2vs2 team, both with 2055 personal rating….in greens and blues. ONE gem and ZERO enchants between the two of them. This is disgusting.

So it turns out that this new amazing and “revolutionary” way of PvP not only blows but it’s riddled with cheaters — Whodathunkit?! Players are win swapping up into the top ranks, cheating, pimping themselves out in the best gear, and embarrassing Blizzard all at the same time. I won’t go too tongue in cheek but come on — Blizzard has proven time and time and time again that they don’t get it. This is just another obviously flawed system that Blizzard has forced on the players until they’ve had enough and get to the point of making so much noise that –any– change seems like a breath of fresh air. Blizzard’s modus operandi.

Now that the player dubbed “lolarenas” have lost any and all credibility as valid forms of PvP or legit competition, what will Blizzard do next? Try another form of PvP in hopes that it won’t be just another masked hamster wheel with sloppy mechanics and poor balance? Good luck with that. I suggest you stick with what you do best and add another dozen tiers to your raiding treadmill.

So until this is fixed, or swept under the rug, it looks like you WoW arena goers have only one option: If you can’t beat’em, cheat’em.

e-sports… “the wave of the future!” Lawl.

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Graktar - March 25, 2008

No, Blizzard’s response is to turn the arenas into a hardcore e-sport where you pay to participate on special servers. Lol.

Tipa - March 25, 2008

What’s win-swapping? Fighting a ranked team who always deliberately loses, then swapping winner and loser? (just a guess).

Keen - March 25, 2008

Abusing the matching system in order to pair up with someone who will trade off wins with you.

Graktar - March 25, 2008

My rough understanding of win-swapping is a couple of people make Team 1. They have some friends who make Team 2 with alts. They arrange to queue for matches during non-peak times to improve the odds they face each other. Team 2 throws every match against Team 1, allowing Team 1’s rating to soar. If Team 2’s rating drops too low, they disband, form a new Team 2, and continue until Team 1 has the rating they want. Team 1 then forms Team 3 with alts, and Team 2 forms Team 4 with their mains. They queue, Team 3 throws matches until Team 4 has the rating they want. Voila, teams 1 and 4 have high ratings without ever having to compete for them.

thallian - March 25, 2008

😛 Part of the blame of course is the player’s. If you choose to cheat you cheat yourself out of fun. Yeah, the other part of the blame is that Blizzard isn’t protecting you from the cheaters, cuz when they cheat they don’t just cheat themselves they cheat you too since its an MMO.

I once had mounted guys come up and start arcane exploding me without dismounting, taking no damage from my counter attacks (0 not even a resist) and then they disappeared instantly once I died. It might have been an isolated incident had it not happened a few times in the course of my wow play.

I have nothing to say to excuse those player’s actions of course, they hacked the game so that they could be scumbags, just like these guys are “hacking” the arena system to be scumbags. However, Blizzard is the self nominated police and judicial system in its fantasy playground and they are very sluggish, if not completely unresponsive in their duties.

Andrew - March 25, 2008

Keen are you guys going to announce what server on warhammer you are going to plan on so we can guild up?

Bartlebe - March 25, 2008

I plan on playing on the server that has the most wide open PvP available. No flagging or kid gloves business. Full blown face smashing.

Keen - March 25, 2008

@Andrew: Yep we’ll announce our WAR server of choice once they release info on them. It will definitely be an Open RvR server (where there are no safe PvE areas).

Andrew - March 25, 2008


Snafzg - March 25, 2008

The saddest part? This has been happening for months and Blizz still hasn’t done anything about it.

Anonymous - March 25, 2008

I don’t think you know as much about wow arenas as you think you do. Just want you to know that this post made me finally unsubscribe from your blog.

(and nothing of value was lost)

Keen - March 25, 2008

Well, my anonymous friend, please enlighten me and the rest of us with your obvious vast knowledge. If you can’t, no one will think less of you. 😉

Izecu - March 26, 2008

Are people still exploiting in WSG and hiding the flag in terrain above the horde base thats unreachable without exploiting? I know that existed for at least a year, and still wasnt fixed when I quit WoW. They seem to have their priorities all mixed up.

Tarvold - March 26, 2008

I was a part of a 2k rated 2v2 team when arena first came out and my partner and I met quite a few of those alt teams who happened to get us instead of their friends. They were horribly bad and way under geared. However, you would see other teams with records of 15-0 or higher and incredible ratings despite an apparent lack of skill. This, among other things, is what caused me to quit WoW.

Adrenis - March 27, 2008

So, people cheated and you think this shows that Blizzard “doesn’t get it”. Interesting…

In a related story, I once cheated at Monopoly, so this apparently shows that Parker Bros. knows nothing about making fun board games.

I don’t read this blog very often, but every time I come by you guys are bashing WoW and praising WAR. Your opinions are your own, of course, but you should be aware that your bias is not going unnoticed.

Keen - March 27, 2008

Blizzard created a system where players could easily cheat the system and take advantage. They made a system that was, from the beginning, flawed. Your monopoly analogy, while cute, is invalid. Cheating at monopoly does not directly affect the other players around the world playing Monopoly. Cheating in WoW’s arenas makes the entire system pointless — it’s based entirely on a ladder system that directly affects the playtime of others. It’s Blizzards responsibility to protect the interests of their players, and they’re failing to do that.

I am definitely biased and hating on wow, but with good reason. WoW’s pvp has been crap from the beginning when they failed to deliver on their promises they made back in 2005. Their game quickly became a hamster wheel of poor mechanics and balance.

Neef - March 27, 2008

full disclosure: I am a rabid WoW fanboy.

With that out of the way, I don’t think you can dismiss a system (PvP or PvE) because someone cheated the hell out of it. DAOC took PvP pretty seriously, and the number of ways to exploit DAOC were legendary. Remember when 3-4 stealthers took a relic (took them 24 hours, but still)? Radar? Buffbots? Heck I played from release and you didn’t even NEED to cheat – Rangers could one-shot you and restealth before the arrow landed.

The important thing is that a game goes after the inevitable cheats/imbalances (which Mythic did). Show players that the integrity of the system is important, and they will forget all the faux-pas. Most people probably don’t even remember Rangers-at-release, or Thanes-at-release, or early Manachanters, etc.

Finally, the mechanic that was abused isn’t really inherently flawed. The chances of being able to pick your opponents is really fairly small. Players will go to *extraordinary* lengths to exploit mechanics, and sometimes you just don’t see it coming. There was a Hunter who soloed a Dragon – took him almost 2 hours. Who predicts that sort of insanity?

I’m not saying everyone should like WoW’s version of PvP – far from it. But the fact that it can be abused is not unique.

Phil - March 27, 2008

I find it funny how people take the armory as absolute law and completely infallible. While I don’t doubt there is cheating going on in arenas, I’m not buying this shammy’s gear. He can easily change his gear, logout and voila: Crappy gear on a high ranked Shammy. I’m betting he has A3’s sitting in his bags and is getting a big laugh out of being the topic on BLOGs.

But, Keen, this doesn’t make me hate your BLOG. I’m still going to read it. Sometimes I’ll laugh, sometimes I’ll cry, sometimes I’ll roll my eyes, but I’ll still keep reading cause its a good BLOG. 🙂

Also, I wont quit WoW because of Arena’s being crap. I can’t quit. I’m addicted. I’m addicted to WoW and naked pictures of Bea Arthur from the Golden Girls. Wait, did I just type that out loud?

Yeebo - March 27, 2008


I think you make a good point. I remember Smite clerics being pretty damn broken around launch as well. If DAoC (a true PvP game) had similar issues, why should we expect WoW to get things right when most of the PVP is an afterthought that they jammed in nearly a year after launch?

However I do think there are a few key differences that explain why folks are flipping out over this.

First off, Blizzard has set up an expectation that Arenas are where “true competitive” PvP will occurred. The mouth breathing masses can fart around in the battle grounds and get last seasons PvP epics, but to get the really good stuff you need to be in an arena team. I think it is for this reason that an exploit apparently being the best way to rank up in the arena really rankles.

Second, in DAoC, once you hit max PvP rank it didn’t get anything for you personally. You got things for your realm. Realm bonuses, access to DF, whatever. At best you would get high up on the kill boards at Mythic’s website, and I know that some players did get heavy into that. But it wasn’t like you were unlocking some bad ass armor that the average player has no access too.

Finally, expectations are simply higher for Blizzard (which I will allow isn’t at all fair). They have shown that they are capable of feats of game design few other developers could even approach. This is the company that gave us Starcraft! It’s mystifying to a lot of observers for them to keep making what seem like pretty obvious blunders with their PvP.

For example, Blizzard had a PvP system that was well and truly broken for a solid year (i.e., the old battle grounds). What made them think a system that required you to play 60 hours a week to hit the highest ranks was a good idea for a mass market game? If they intended it as a viable alternative to raiding, it was a pretty amazingly naive design.

Blizzard isn’t a developer prone to mild success. When these guys step up to the plate, we expect them to hit it right out of the park. I personally think that is just what they did with the 1-“level cap” game (barring a few personal peeves, of course). They single handedly raised the bar for MMOs in so many areas, accessability, polish, financial success…sheer “fun.” I just wish they could figure out some sort of post 70 game I could stand to play for more than a month.

Rawrasaur - March 27, 2008

I fail to see how this will affect wow as an e-sport. Cheaters who get into the top ranks won’t win, because they will be pitted against people who are actually good in tournaments. It just means that some people have figured out how to game the system, and get free loots. The ELO rating system is zero sum. It’s really no different than T6 raiders taking alts along for free loots.


Yeebo - March 27, 2008

For clarity…

When I said once you hit max rank it didn’t get you anything in DAoC, I meant after you had earned all of your post cap RvR abilities it was no longer a form of personal advancement.

My kingdom for an edit button.

Keen - March 27, 2008

Since this has received a lot of attention this afternoon I’ll address a few points.

1) People are jumping to conclusions and getting all up in arms throwing out the “cheating is in every game!” flag. I’m being called a fanboy and people are asking if I think WAR will have no cheating (as if that had ANYTHING to do with this topic).

You’ll notice, if you actually read what I wrote, that I never said WAR, DAOC, or any other game out there is or will be cheat or exploit free. Never said it, wouldn’t dream of saying it. I never compared WoW to WAR or any other game’s PvP. I judged WoW against WoW.

2) It’s not so much about the fact that there is cheating in the arenas. It’s that anyone with two eyes could have seen it coming. Blizzard is clueless when it comes to PvP. They screwed up their first attempt at open world pvp, they screwed up their second attempt at open world pvp, they screwed up their first attempt at BGs, and now they’ve screwed up with arenas. Every system they make is exploitable, full of cheaters, or designed so horribly that it’s unplayable by anyone who isn’t a complete masochist.

Blizzard has been failing to deliver on their promises with WoW PvP since 2005 (that’s the first time I became aware of them. They’ve possibly been failing since far before). I got tired of it and quit the game. That’s what I do when a developer loses sight of their plan and the focus shifts in a direction that doesn’t interest me.

If you like the arena style pvp, don’t care that people can cheat to get the best gear while you work hard, and don’t mind paying $15 a month to run on a hamster wheel then by all means enjoy World of Warcraft. I don’t.

Anonymous - March 27, 2008

Logout Gear. Nuff said.

Adam Tiler - March 27, 2008

He’s in greens… oh God. It’s coming up.

happypappy - March 27, 2008

I guess if PVP wasnt so dependant on gear this wouldn’t happen? Thats the idea of the new servers, even the playing level in gear.

Ghiest - March 28, 2008

What’s the point in getting really good pvp stuff if you don’t pvp one bit?

As someone said gear does not make skill, they come up against a proper team even lower geared they get destroyed.

Neef - March 28, 2008

I agree with all three of your points, actually. I don’t think the problem is so much the *form* of Arena PvP as it is the expectations and rewards. If you’re going to position yourself as an e-sport, integrity has to be your *primary* concern. Along the same lines, if some of the best rewards in the game come from Arena, that’s the LAST place you want players exploiting.

I do think that some of the reaction is run-of-the-mill BilzzardHate(tm). Objectively, WoW PvP isn’t particularly bad. EvE is better world PvP (at the cost of PvE depth), Guild Wars is better balanced (at the cost of character development), but there is no flaw in WoW PvP that at least one other game doesn’t share.

Re-reading your post, I can see how someone would think you meant “Arena sucks because it was exploited”. I sure did. You mention “Players win swapping up into the top ranks, cheating, pimping themselves out in the best gear, and embarrassing Blizzard all at the same time.” You talk about losing any and all credibility. Both of those criticisms seem to be a direct result of the cheating accusation.

Ban - March 28, 2008

Hm…where to start..

First I have to say I agree that the arena system is not all that amazing, and I am personally jazzed for Warhammer Online.

But…..stop making an assumtion until you have been in the room with development and have specificlly been told we do not care.

This post is like ever single other jump to conclusions post. Such and such happened in X game so that games creators must condone it. Well thats just an assumtion and is, well, stupid.

While I totally agree that this kind of stuff is lame and should be fixed I know for a fact that developers of any game would want it to be fixed. Changing code in a game the size of an MMO is not just like flipping a switch…

How long did it take for SP1 for Vista come out? Was it because the developers of vista liked having things break. Yes it must be….give me a break.

Blizzard, just like any other game company, made a game…In this case a really good game. Its not perfect, but lets face it, compared to the rest of the field its pretty amazing. Sooner or later something better something better will come around and we will move on, but right now its pretty much the best thing around.

Realize that people will try to cheat, Blizzard will fix it as quickly as possible, quickly as possible being the key word, amd then people will find something new.

And yes, I have worked for several game companies.

Keen - March 28, 2008

If this were the first horrible system Blizzard designed, sure. If this were the second horrible system Blizzard designed, sure.

But when this is the fifth horrible system that Blizzard has designed.. I start to really question whether or not they care. Hey, maybe they do care. But they certainly don’t get it.

Which game companies have you worked for, Ban?

Ban - March 31, 2008

This is not about the Arena systems being well designed, this is about people assuming that Blizzard wants players to cheat or not.

It is a huge assumtion that players have never…I repeat, never…be able to get hard evidence of. In fact the exact opposite should be assumed if you look at the history of things. While many things take much longer then we all would hope, the shear amount of “cheats” that have been fixed, or “cheaters” that have been banned is staggering. I personally remember times when wow banned tens of thousands of players for cheating in one fell swoop.

Now design is a totally different subject. Like I said, I am not such a fan of the Arena system. If I had to guess they are trying to make a system that everyone is able to play, kind of like connection speed….I know im not on 56k.

The other thing to think of is that everyone keeps saying its all sooo horrible, but 10 million subscribers says different. Everyone can keep flaming, but its hard to argue with hard numbers. That being said the time will come when a new game comes out that has things we all like, and a lot of us will move on. Dont think I am saying wow is the end all of games and has no issues….I will be playing warhammer. Currently I have been playing Eve, Wow, and COD4.

I have worked for both EA and Vivendi. Currently I am working for a small software development house in another industry, but I am still interested in the game industry. =D I am just tired of people who have not been there say they KNOW what they clearly don’t.

Keen - March 31, 2008

Well Ban, you’re wrong about it not being a design issue. The cheating and exploiting are a direct result of the poor design. How else can you explain players taking advantage of the flawed matching system? If Blizzard understood their problems then why would they design over half a dozen flawed and broken systems? — Many of which were more than flawed but severely lacking in fun gameplay. And the fact that they’ve had to ban tens of thousands of cheaters doesn’t make their position look any better. They create the cheaters and then punish them; yeah, that looks real good.

As for your argumentum ad populum… I don’t buy into the “10 million people can’t be wrong” crap. This is a fallacious argument that people bring up when there are no other logical explanations. Sorry, it’s simply not going to stand up.

Ban - March 31, 2008

I did not say that design is not the cause. I am saying that my comments are not about design. They are about people assuming that a development studio wants X to happen.

You are simply trying to change the point I was making into something else.

I can give you 1.2 billion reason why ad populum works…at least in blizzards case for last year.

We are not talking about a broken system. We are not talking about good vs. bad design.

We are talking about people saying they know for a fact what other people think and feel. Lets say you spell badly, does that then mean that you think spelling badly is cool or something others should do….no of course not.

If you want to say that Blizzard is designing crap, its a totally different discussion. I would disagree, they are related, but not what I was talking about.

All I am saying is stop making assumtions. Most game devs work amazingly hard and they do not deserve the crap that the majority of people give…especially when all those people do is give crap instead of making something themselves.

Keen - March 31, 2008

You may not be talking about design or broken systems, but I am. The entire blog entry is all about those very subjects. How else are we, the consumer/player, to judge their thought process if not by their actions — the very essence of their direct interaction with us?

Provide me a better way to judge whether or not they understand and I’ll gladly look into it. By their actions they prove time and time again that they are either clueless or do not care.

Ban - March 31, 2008

Sorry Keen…..I thought I made it clear that I was not such a fan of the arena system and what not, and really this is due to design. I just dont have a lot of fun in it either. Which is another problem since wow from day one was supposed to be fun.

The best way you can understand is to make something and then have a million people flame you and tell you not only do they know better, but they know what you are thinking. Making a game can be really really hard. And compared so some of the other crap out there wow is waaaaayyy above the bar. In fact it raised it.

I actually have really been having fun talking about this…but if you want an example of what I am talking about just read the wow forums. I do from time to time when things are slow at work. A lot of the time you see people screaming that Blizzard sucks for doing something or not doing something. It is the same for any MMO. And it will never matter what Blizzard does, the flames will continue.

A good friend of mine who used to be a Senior Producer at Activision once said to me…”game testers….you will love them and hate them at the same time!” “they keep breaking my game.” Now, imagine that your testers are 10 million strong, have the computer screen to hide behind, and a lot of them are uneducated children. (Bliz does have internal testers as well, thats why patchs get pushed back) I am not excusing bugs, rather I am saying that games will always have bugs and people will find them. =D

Guess the last thing I can say is that Blizzard has a reputation for making some of the best games in the business, they have earned this and wow is no exeption. It is larger then an os and is the current king for a reason. I personally am bored of it, but that is to be expected….I not playing Ultima 4,5,6 any longer either. I am just saying that cheaters and design is not always the same, they are related, but decent design can still have flaws in it that cheats will exploit.

Oldschool - April 26, 2008

What really hurt pvp to me in WOW was resilience. Don’t get me wrong I still play the game and still enjoy it (been playing since launch). When your trying to build up an arena team the right way though, and you go up against people in Full S3 gladiator gear with a rating of around 1400 starts to suck.

I’m a good pvp player and know how to counter just about ever class but that doesn’t matter when you go up against gear like that people with over 400 res is retarded how much they resist and numb down your damage.

You are right you can win ever so often but you have to play your a$$ to actually win a match just because of their resilience is so high. I hope with season 4 gear coming out soon they will find a way around that issue.

Also if a player reaches a certain rank with his team and changes teams he keeps that same rank for the rest of the season. So if they delete and create and new team he still stays in that rank category, will allow you to go up but not down. Maybe keep going up against full S3 or S4 when it comes out at the 1300 ranks.

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