Monday, August 13, 2007

How to Add New Battlegrounds without increasing Queue Times

This week in the forums CM Nethaera posted that Blizzard was considering additional battlegrounds but was worried that it would cause queue times to increase. At the moment with four battlegrounds available to players the queue times can become long enough to affect player retention. Many a battleground starts with one side having a full compliment of players while the other side suffers from having AFK players in the queue. Honestly with queue times of fifteen minutes its easy to see how players can become distracted and not realize their queue has popped.

However, I do have a suggestion on how to add more battlegrounds without affecting the queues too much. Based on what Blizzard has done in the past it's probably even possible without too much development work. Simply group a new battleground with one of the older ones so that they share the same queue. Blizzard could even make the reputations and marks of honor the same for battlegrounds that share a queue. This would allow players to gain the specific marks they need for PvP gear without worrying about having to gather a new type.

Picture a new forty-man battleground were the Stormpike and Frostwolves fight over the Ruins of old Alterac. The battleground could have new and exciting game mechanics and not increase the average queue time for Alterac Valley. True players might want to try out the new Alterac Ruins map instead of the older Alterac Valley one but Blizzard would have discretion to how the games were created in the queue. Perhaps in the beginning two Alterac Ruins games could be created in the queue for every one Alterac Valley. As long as similar amounts of honor were awarded I don't think it would effect balance very much.

After all the arena system uses multiple arenas with different layouts without letting players choose which one they want. The battleground system might also need a similar randomness to make matches more fair. At the very least it would offer new content to PvP players without making the older battlegrounds ghost towns. Plus it would preserve the four week cycle of battleground holidays.

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