Solo Shuffle in Patch 9.2 - A 3v3 Solo Queue Solution?
01.02.2022 um 19:56
With Shadowlands Patch 9.2 bringing a much-requested solo queue option for 3v3 arena PvP in the form of Solo Shuffle, you may be wondering what it's all about. With LFG for arenas in a sorry state due to spam and picky groups, it can take hours just to find a team to queue with. PvPers have been asking for a solo queue option for years, but will Solo Shuffle solve the problem it sets out to fix? Our Shadow Priest PvP writer,
, explores the pros and cons of this new game mode below.
What's the Big Deal about Solo Queue?
It's fair to say that rated PvP has one of the biggest barriers to entry - even after you've geared up, got all your conduits, gems, and all the fun stuff, the biggest problem is still finding partners to play with. This is partly due to the problems with the current LFG system. Take a quick look at the LFG tool and you'll see it's filled with boosters, advertisers, people only wanting to play certain compositions with certain classes, and just people in general not really giving others a valid chance unless they've got every PvP-related achievement imaginable. If you're lucky enough to some partners to play with, losing your first game often causes everyone to leave and the process starts all over again. Overall, the LFG tool for rated PvP is a miserable experience. Compare this to other popular games like League of Legends or CS:GO. Imagine if you opened the game and then had to sit there trying to find 4 other people for whom you fit their strict criteria to play with before you could even start a match.
We do have skirmishes, but skirmishes have always been presented as a casual game mode; providing no stakes, no rating gain, no rewards, no gear upgrades, and a very flawed queueing system due to long queues and no punishment for players not joining, resulting in many games having uneven amount of players.
This is where solo queue comes in. Solo queue is a system we've seen have great success on many dedicated PvP private servers, giving aspiring PvPers the chance to just queue up at any time, be placed with two other players, and thrown straight into a decently balanced 3v3 rated arena match - skipping the gruelling process of spending all your free time hunting through group finder for partners before you can even attempt to play while also having some rewards attached. This gives you the feeling that you're actually accomplishing something by queueing, not just wasting your time which is how it feels to queue the current iteration of skirmishes.
Patch 9.2 - Solo Shuffle
After countless forum posts, YouTube videos, and blogs demanding some form of solo PvP content, Blizzard's answer to this will be implemented in 9.2: the release of a new brawl system called 'Solo Shuffle'.
On its surface it functions exactly like an arena skirmish and is queued up in the exact same manner but it's currently considered a brawl on the PTR, so at this point we're unclear if it's some rotating game mode or just an alternative to the current skirmish system.
Unlike skirmishes, Solo Shuffle is strictly 3v3. The matchmaking system will pick 4 random DPS and 2 healers (or tanks) and place them onto a random map out of the avalible arena map pool. The 6 players play in a 6 round arena brawl consisting of 2 DPS and 1 healer (or tank). The 'shuffle' comes in after the first match where the teams will be mixed up so that every combination of 2 DPS and 1 healer (or tank) will be played. Something important to take into account is that tanks are considered equivalent to healers in this format, so if you queue up as a tank you'll have two DPS on your team. Protection Paladins are considered to have specific advantages, so teams with a Protection Paladin will only face other teams with a Protection Paladin. Unlike in skirmishes, if a player leaves or doesn't join, it counts as them having lost every round with a subsequent penalty.
To prevent games from lasting too long, dampening begins at 2 minutes and then quickly ramps up to 100% healing reduction at the 5 minute mark, and as soon as a team is the first to kill an opponent the round will instantly end. This will make games infinitely shorter than you would otherwise see in skirmishes or rated arena. After each round you'll be placed in the arena preparation room with your new mix of teammates and be given a ridiculously short time to then swap and adapt your talents for the new matchup.
After the 6 rounds are all over, a scoreboard will pop up with the amount of rounds that each individual player won.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
At this stage I'm sure there is one thing on your mind; is solo shuffle the answer we need?
From playing it on PTR and gauging other people's responses, everybody seems to really enjoy the concept, even if things seem a bit fast-paced and chaotic. The main problem Solo Shuffle resolved is that PvPers can now just jump into 3v3 game, which was the biggest issue for many people. In many ways it feels exactly like queueing LFG but without the hours of attempting to find teammates. For players who have limited time, are bored, or just want some no-strings-attached arena games, this is a great solution.
How it's set up is very well done. Having 6 players and constantly shuffling the teams is a great way of balancing and dealing with the solo queue experience, giving everybody a level playing field. How private servers have usually implemented solo queue is by forcing compositions to be melee/caster/healer, which can result in some very unbalanced team comps and it definitely pales in comparison to the shuffle format.
One complaint with the format currently is how tanks are handled. As mentioned earlier, tanks take the spot of the healer. Imagine you queue up and instead of a healer you're pitted with a Blood Death Knight tank that brings zero healing for your team - even though the enemy also has a tank, this may not be the experience you're looking for, especially when 3v3 with a healer on each side is considered the norm.
On top of that there are still a lot of other issues, mainly due to incentives. Part of the community's request for solo queue was for a rating system with rewards; this could be different types of Gladiator mounts, different tabards, or even just the ability to upgrade your gear and meet these rating brackets; essentially like the current arena system in terms of rewards but adapted for solo players. Solo Shuffle currently has none of this and the rewards are abysmal, in fact they're the same as you would expect from queueing a standard skirmish - gaining a miniscule amount of Honor and a ridiculous 3 Conquest for repeat wins. This means you'll still have to find teammates and queue rated arena if you want to cap your Conquest and gear up.
Speaking of gear, another very big issue is that Solo Shuffle has no form of gear scaling. The brawl could be a great solution for solo players to gear up for PvP without the need to find partners to grind out a ton of games. Without gear scaling though, you will still need to gear up through other means (like rated PvP) in order to have a chance in Solo Shuffle.
Furthermore, much like a skirmish there is indeed some from of MMR system but it's all hidden, you can't see your rating and there is no ladder. Outside of just queueing for the sake of fun, Solo Shuffle lacks any real incentives other than that fun factor. This is fine for a lot of people, but those wanting more of a competitive experience have no real reason to ever queue up, which will end up massively hurting participation.
However, the fact Blizzard are even moving in this direction is a huge step for the PvP community and it has to be said that Solo Shuffle is still on the PTR so we could still end up seeing some form of rating system and the rewards being greatly improved upon when we get closer to the 9.2 release date.
To summarize, Solo Shuffle is a great addition for PvPers. It's fantastic that Blizzard is listening to the community and implementing a new game mode but if the problems aren't addressed, regardless of good the game mode is, it doesn't completely solve the core issue.
About the Author
is a eight time Rank 1, 3450 rated, tournament-competing Shadow Priest. He has been playing at the highest level for multiple seasons in all aspects of Player vs Player content, being the highest rated Shadow Priest in the world in 2v2 and Rated Battlegrounds for the entirety of Legion. You can catch him either on his Stream or on Discord if you have any questions or inquiries.
Xot#8585 - Discord
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