Okay... so there's some alpha info out there, I have found a contact who is in alpha and is begging me not to release his info concerning unreleased stuff... and I find it really hard not to divulge it here. Though, Blizz would just apply pressure on me to give him up if I did post info, so I guess I will hold off doing that... for now. Aside from alpha info trickling out, we are getting to the point where we start saying things like "what's the point of arena points" and "what's the point of clearing Sunwell" etc. People are starting to sit back and wait for real content to creep out onto the page. Everyone is thinking about those level 80 talent trees being released before WotLK is even released (like back in TBC's new era). I am just not seeing how anyone will be able to take down a ToL druid without double dps... and even WITH double dps, they had better both be magic users.

So, in that same vein, I said to myself "self... your druid is on a decent 3s team that will earn him plenty of arena points for the remainder of the season, let's try out our 'drop/join team trick' on the 2s team and see how that works." After thinking about it for 3 seconds, I did just that. First, however, we played 3 matches on our warlock/spriest team, and won them all. We fought druid+hunter twice, then beat a priest+warrior that was pretty good (except the warrior never left zerker stance and was suitably raped for it). The druid/hunter team just had bad luck against us on the first match as the druid was doing a good job of keeping everyone topped off, but I could tell they were a newer team because they didn't communicate their tricks to one another. For instance, in the first match, I got hit with viper sting right off the bat. 1) You don't viper sting the warlock... he can get his mana back, 2) you always viper sting the priest... he ooms fast without viper sting on him, and 3) viper sting ticked once, then the druid cycloned me, so I got a full duration "get out of viper sting free" card. Because I didn't blow my trinket on cyclone (as my dots were out and I was avoiding viper sting and damage), when the hunter scatter-shot me, I naturally got ready to trinket out of freezing trap (which happened like I was listening on their vent). Then I feared the hunter, refreshed dots, and started dotting the druid. Next, the druid had to come out into the open a little bit because of the dots eating the hunter alive. They had gotten my spriest partner down to about 50% at this point, so the hunter is trying to keep his focus on him, but I started sbolting the druid because he was out in the open. I think I dropped two sbolts, then deathcoil and shadowburn as my priest rounded the corner for a mind blast, sw:d combo in the middle of the deathcoil for the kill.

The second time we faced them, it was much more cut-n-dry. For instance, the first time we played them it was on Nagrand, so the pillars were working in their favor because the druid can totally LoS us the entire match unless we pressure him into the open via damage on the hunter. However, the second time we were on Blade's Edge, which (in my opinion) gives our team a distinct advantage against most teams. So, the hunter is sitting on his side of the bridge, and we recognize the name, so we ride over and start dotting him, but he rides out of LoS. However, because of how oddly Blizzard has implemented pathing for pets, his pet takes this long weird way around the map, so we started dotting his pet, which is now dying along with his master and the druid is no where to be seen. Eventually the druid shows himself and tries to heal through the dots on the hunter and the pet, so I jumped down and focused on the druid a bit. We have a scuffle under the bridge for a minute with the hunter trying to solo my spriest and me trying to chase/kill the druid when everyone notices that my priest has the hunter at 10% and is casting mind blast, so the druid feral charges and bashes my priest who starts cursing (I'm sure). Do I lose my cool? No, I happened to have saved deathcoil for just such an occasion. I deathcoil the druid, then run around the pillar and make LoS on the hunter for the shadowburn kill.

Honestly, these two matches were awesome enough to warrant highlights in the video I'm making. Then the third match was against that priest+warrior. They were well geared (at least s3 weapons) and the warrior knew to target my pet for the gib on me, which came as a shock. Also, the priest did a great job of breaking LoS a LOT so we couldn't get any casts off on him. Essentially, what won the match was the warrior sitting in zerker stance the entire time (even at 10% hp) and ending with deathcoil on the priest and shadowburn-sw:d combo on the warrior. Then, the little fart ran around just dispelling and healing until he went out of mana instead of just letting us kill him or afking. What a bastardly waste of time. Oh well.

So, then we hop onto the warrior/druid team and I drop/join the team. Our first match is against a full s3 rogue and a mostly s3 mage. We lost... shocker... and ended up losing 15 points, so I started to wonder if my plan was working. I checked their armory and they were an honest-to-goodness 1775 team. "WTF!?!?!" I remember thinking, but I decided to give it another go. This time we faced hunter+rogue or some such nonsense. We mopped the floor with them easily (didn't even target me and I didn't use nature's swiftness at all), but only got 9 points for the win. I went into the armory to check and see, and sure enough, they were a 1565 team. We ended up playing the remaining 5 matches and only lost 1 more against a full s3 warrior and a mostly s1 shamang, and after checking their armory, I noticed they were doing the same thing we were: their warrior was a 1750 personal rating on a 1750 team and the shamang was 1450PR. We ended up losing 19 points to that team (lucky bastards... it happens from time to time though... and we knew what we were getting into when starting this trick). So, if we take into account every rating gain and loss, it went like this: +18, +16, +17, -15, +9, +5, +3 (lawl), -19, +9, +8, which is a +51 on the day. Long-story short, our team rating went up 51 points, and my warrior's personal went up more than that.

The idea behind this strategy is reasonably simple: fighting in the lower brackets, you expect to win a lot more than you lose, but your wins are worth less and your losses are worth more. So, you just have to ask yourself, are you better suited at facing lower teams and winning most of them, or facing higher teams and breaking even. My guess is that because we gained about fifty team rating on the day, we are probably better at facing the 15-1600 rated teams by a large amount more than the 1700 teams. Why this is, I cannot say for certain, but I am guessing that there are a lot of rogue+mage groups that simply cannot get above 1800 because there are a lot of rogue+druid and rogue+priest teams sitting at 1850 trying and failing to beat better versions of their team to hit 2k. I could be completely delusional, but I feel like we see more rogues in the 1700-1800 bracket than we do in the 1600-1700 bracket. Because rogues (and warlocks) are our only real weakness, we expect our games played versus net rating change to go up more quickly than if we were fighting in the 1700 bracket legitimately.


Okay, so I forgot I was writing this post... either a boss walked by or my mind was similarly lost. Either way, I ended up going home for the night and leaving this open without posting it. Also, I created a graph showing the progress using the 'gaming' method versus the legitimate method. I came to a scary realization, Kalgan may have been correct in saying that this method of "gaming the system" would not work. My graph shows that even with a 90% win rate, this method of doing arena would still cross 1850 at about the same games played as a 55% win percentage would legitimately. However, in my experiment I made the game change steeply, perhaps more so than the actual world would allow. For instance, I made it so that legitimately we would win or lose 15 points every time, which isn't a horrible misrepresentation of the truth, as we would expect it to work like that in the long-run. However, I used 1700 as my base for the 'gaming' method and used estimations for the rating changes. For instance, as we gained average rating (which I just used off the team's rating), the wins would be worth less than where we started (for instance, 1700 might be worth 8 rating whereas 1750 would be worth 6-7, 1800 is 4-5, etc) and the losses would scale inversely (a loss at 1700 would be worth 18, 1750 is 20-21, etc).

Okay, so let's look at the week, ignoring the first match (which was a loss against a 1700 team worth 15 points... we can assume that this was a first-time fluke, I think, and was running off my established personal rating before leaving the team, then the loss sank in the sub 1500 personal rating throughout the system) and the other loss we had against the full s3 warrior and his shamang friend who were trying to do the same thing (or at least, achieved the same thing by accident) that we were doing, we went 100% wins. We can probably state that if we don't run into any (I need to come up with a name for this trick... Pumping) Pumpers, then we should be able to defeat any legitimate team that the arena can throw at us. Maybe my 90% win simulation was a bit pessimistic, but I wanted to see how it went in the "worst" case (the worst case happens to be our only test case at the moment).

SOOOOO... if we play 25 games, and win them all, then we will have gained (let's say 5) rating per win, and have gained 125 team (and a little more personal for the warrior) rating. If 1725 is the starting point, then 1850 is what you have hit... it is almost crazy enough to work. So anyway, my rogue on our 3s team has a 2s team around 1750 right now, so I'm gunna try and Pump him to 1850 some time this week just to see how nasty the waters are.