The powers that be have announced that 3.1.1 will be coming out today, and what's worse is that they have extended the maintenance until 1PM PST. That's not terrible, but it does mean that I'll have to find some way to get into the game later today and reapply all my talents, as they will be reset today for mysterious reasons (something to do with some talents being bugged... dual talents causing errors... I dunno, something about refunding all talents, but not glyphs, will fix it).

Anyway, today is the start of season six, as well. Moving forward with the assumption that Feral damage output will still be really high due, in large part, to Rip, we're going to try and get some games out today. Most notably changing this season is the starting point. Because the change over to the MMR-system makes the entire arena population steadily inflationary by design, the devs have decided that instead of starting at 1500 rating, teams will start at 0000 rating. This is completely and utterly bonkers, but something I completely support. Why would I support something so obviously insane? Well, I support it because the system is bonkers to begin with, there's always a period where the more overpowered teams rise to 2200+ before they are even on the nerf-bat radar.

DK+Pally facerolled their way to the top and no one even started complaining about them until half-way through the season when 90% of the top 200 teams on every battlegroup was pally+dk. Guntir and I saw this trend coming, so we geared our specs to being able to handle this team, which has worked well to this point. Now, in season 6, if a team is overpowered, they will hit 1850 well before anyone else (presumably), and that will get them on the radar. However, they will be on the radar well before the 2k brackets, so changes have a chance to be made delicately and quickly before people bubble themselves up to 2200+ and sit there for the rest of the season.

Either way, this change is definitely going to mean one thing: no more 10 games a week for serious arena players. Admittedly, the more serious arena players already did more than 10 games a week, but Guntir and I figured we wouldn't press our advantage so early (plus we kept running into hunter+pally teams that completely curb-stomped us so we'd get frustrated and stop at 10). Last season, for instance, Guntir and I had 195 games played. Less than 200 games played and we were damned near 2k rated. There are a couple teams on the front page of the arena rankings who have 200 games played, but more often, you see teams that have as many as the 10th ranked team... closer to 800 games played (and most high-rated ferals have close to 1000 games played).

Going from zero rating to 1500 rating is going to be... simple with a dash of tedious. Essentially, the system is supposed to work like this: we have a 1938 MMR, so we will get matched against another team with a ~1938 MMR. However, we will both start with 0 team/personal rating. The winner will gain points as if they were 0 rated beating a 1938 team, thus heavily favored to lose, and gain ~20-30 team/personal rating. The losing team will lose points as if they were 0 rated losing to a 1938 team, thus heavily favored to lose, and lose 1-5 rating. Essentially, if you can maintain a 50% win:loss ratio, you expect to get up to 1500 again in right about 100 games played.

Interestingly, a few aspects of this new system are still up in the air. Firstly, can a team go into negative arena rating? Secondly, is there really an advantage to playing 100 games today and striving for 1500 right away, given that many teams will spread their games out over a longer period of time, and getting a higher team rating just means one will lose more when they lose, and win less when they win? Only some time will tell whether these are really concerns or not. In fact, we have not yet heard what the upper-bound for wins will be, so we might even see something like 50 point wins... maybe higher? I have also heard of losses being zero before, so perhaps this is just a weed-out process for the sub-1500 players so that they will sit even lower now.

Only time will tell...