The following editorial contains views that are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views of Allakhazam.com
A few days ago, the runner up team in the Korean Extreme Masters World of Warcraft 3v3 Tournament, Kill e A, decided to disqualify themselves from participating in the Global Finals, located in CeBIT. While there have always been self-disqualifications in tournaments that arise from visa issues or lack of funds, Kill e A is not attending the tournament for completely different reasons. In an official statement from Sang-Yeoi 'miracle' Lee of Kill e A, the team told The Electronic Sports League the following:
"Upon consultation with my teammates, we have regretfully decided that we will have to withdraw our participation from the tournament.
Due to recent balance changes resulting from the 3.0.9 patch, we believe that it is no longer possible for the Mage and Rogue character classes to remain competitive in a high-level PvP setting.
In addition, our testing has shown that it is now impossible for other classes to compete effectively with the Death Knight.
As the Mage and Rogue remain integral to our teams' strategy, and because we do not have a member prepared for competitive play with the Death Knight class, we have decided to withdraw our participation from all competitions for the time being until these imbalance issues are rectified.
Please accept our sincerest apologies."
While Kill e A is the first team in the history of competitive World of Warcraft to abstain from a tournament on the basis of imbalanced game play, it should be noted they are also the second best WoW 3v3 RMP (Rogue / Mage / Priest) team in all of Korea. To achieve second place, Kill e A had to beat out SK.Asia (formerly Council of Mages), the Korean 3v3 RMP team that absolutely dominated last year’s Blizzard WWI 2008 Tournament. In other words, Kill e A is considered to be one of the best World of Warcraft 3v3 teams to run Rogue / Mage / Priest, which means that their choice to opt of a $15,000 cash prize was not an easily made decision.
Other World of Warcraft bloggers, like Vance 'Serennia' Phuoc of SK.USA and one of the top rated Death Knights in North America, have gone so far as to state that "this is potentially the worst arena season [Season 5] to date." Noting that class compositions, like who's playing a Death Knight and who's not playing a Death Knight, ha ve become far more important than any form of individual skill. Where Season 2 and 3 tournaments had a small amount of diversity in the competition (but only one hunter...), Serennia notes that if you "enter an arena match and see a certain [team] that counters yours or is overall stronger, [you will know] that your team has no chance to win regardless of how well you play or how poorly the opponent plays." He argues, however, that Survival Hunters are 'broken,' and 'overpowered,' noting that for this upcoming tournament, "almost every single comp outside of PMR [Priest / Mage / Rogue] for the arena tournament will most likely include a [Survival] hunter if they want to succeed."
SK-Gaming also hosts a World of Warcraft Arena database that sifts through all of the top arena teams across the world, and sorts their data in a variety of ways. Currently in the world, the 2v2 combination of Holy Paladin and Unholy Death Knight constitutes a whopping 30.9% of the 100 highest rated Arena teams, with Survival Hunter and Restoration Shaman coming up second with 14.4% of the top teams. In 2v2, therefore, Paladin / Death Knight and Hunter / Shaman teams make up almost 50% of the 100 top rated 2v2 teams around.
In 3v3, which is the format for most professional tournament play, the Death Knight class plays in an astonishing 25% of the 100 highest rated WoW 3v3 teams, while Hunters participate in 30% of these teams. Other damage dealing classes, like Mages, Feral Druids, Rogues and Warriors, all have representation below 15% - in fact, most of the classes just listed are under 5% representation in the 100 highest rated teams.
While Blizzard may believe that classes are balanced in terms of overall population, the statistics represented here hint that, when played right, some classes just have a greater advantage over others. The problem, however, comes right back to the nature of competitive gameplay combined with trying to make World of Warcraft equal for all. It's obvious that some classes have to be unique in relation to other classes, there is definitely a problem when there are a grand total of 3 Warriors in the 100 top rated teams (and one of those Warriors is a former champion of previous World of Warcraft tournaments, Rhaegyn), but there are four times as many Hunters and Death Knights milling around. With 3.1 slated to be coming out on PTRs soon, perhaps we might see these changes sooner than later.
Christopher "Pwyff" Tom