I am eager for rated battlegrounds to take off and I think it’ll add another PvP dimension to the game from a competitive stand point. Years ago, I used to be an avid Counterstrike player. I was a first string benchwarmer on a CS club in the Cyberathlete Amateur League back in the early 2000s. I think the furthest we got was CAL Main.
Would rated BGs move to become an E-Sport? Could they? I don’t know what Blizzard’s intentions are here. We can’t queue for battlegrounds anymore as a raid. I’m guessing we’ll be able to do that during Cataclysm and when rated BGs are available. I really hope that they allow “unrated” rated BGs like they do for arena (I don’t recall seeing that option available during the beta, but I most likely missed it). If they do decide to pursue it, there’s a couple of things that I wish would happen but for both technical and logistical reasons, would not.
I don’t even know if the tech for this is possible. Maybe they can work with the Warcraft 3 and Starcraft 2 folks to see if there is a possible solution. Being able to watch replays of teams going at it would be cool to have. For that to even come close though, there’d have to be some kind of client side viewer, I think. The size requirements would obviously be ridiculous too. I can see all the logistical problems already. But if there was just some way to implement it where we can watch other rated BGs going on, it would be an asset to BG teams so they can go over strategies and what worked for them and what didn’t. I used to watch CS replays to get an idea of what other teams did and how they positioned themselves. I liked the first person perspective modes just to see what they saw before those players made such clutch moves. Right now, we have to rely on VODs (or PvP videos from players).
Being able to float around a battleground and just watch what’s going on would be great fun too. You could “fly” from one side of the map to the other. It would allow players to actively “stream” into a match. There’d have to be some “tape delay” added to prevent ghosting (the act of telling people things they shouldn’t know, like telling players where people are when they would not be able to figure it out on their own). Doing so would also slow down or lag the match.
Specifically queuing to play against specific teams. Would be a great way for guilds to practice rated BGs against each other. Otherwise, you don’t know who you’re getting matched up with. The team you’re facing might be weaker or stronger than you. Having intra-guild or consistent partnering teams would be a good way to just keep getting the PvP team better.
If those technologies can be implemented, I can see it elevating the PvP game upwards. I don’t know if it’d be able to become a spectator sport or anything but it would be a good first step. Alas, one can only dream. Maybe one day.
On a side note, you can count me in as one of the players that were a little sad with the removal of 25 rated BGs. I know the arguments that were made for the removal and I understand it. It’s good to take it off the regular weekly rotation. Would it be possible to bring it back just for fun though? Having 25 vs 25 epic Isle of Conquests or Alterac Valleys that are completely unrated? 25 man raiding is still going strong. I think 25 man BGs might have enough of a support base to be a niche thing to do on the side. Look at all the AV or IoC premades in the past. Just imagine the technical, chess-like nature of the match. Raiding in 25s is one thing, but doing organized PvP in massive numbers like that offers a different cohesive feeling altogether. It literally is being a general instructing different groups and players to go in select directions. The Battlefield FPS series offered epic 64 v 64 matches with one overall commander leading and good commanders are really hard to find.