Many of us are aware of the excitement that surrounds the end of a season, for some it is the anticipation of their own accomplishments being rewarded after pushing every rating point they can to achieve a gladiator title – but for all of us it’s the drama, and Season 11 delivered.
Where to begin?
I’m sure if you’re reading this then you’ll know all about where this is going, but I figured I should cover it and compile it all regardless. Our own Hydra was unfortunately enveloped in the early wrath of this season’s drama. After comfortably holding the Rank 1 spot for the majority of the season, his team appeared to vanish from the ladder.
Anyone who has played on Stormscale knows of the vast amount of characters that wander around in Durotar, and when a big name is around then they become swarmed with inspects – these people were the first to see that Hydra no longer had a 3v3 team, or a 5v5 team. With this news, Arena Junkies blew up. Moments later people tried to inspect Khuna, also seeming to not have a 3v3 team – however this was later found out to be a bug of some form.
Shortly afterward confirmation came from Hydra that he had been hacked, but as he had an authenticator, the person in question would have needed to send in a form of ID to remove such a device and enable them access to the account – and this is where it begins to get interesting.
While Khuna was streaming, he (un?)fortunately pulled up a folder on his screen revealing some strange looking ID scans – Thus, the threads on AJ exploded into a field of “OMG”s, varying between “Khuna would never do this” and “What a filthy scoundrel Khuna is” (Okay, those may not be direct quotes but I’m not sure I can quote much without heavy censoring).
Eventually screenshots appeared of a skype conversation between Khuna, Xandyn and one other heavily blacked out person that cleared Khuna’s name (Sort of… a little… kinda… maybe?). In the first of the conversations, the video Xandyn links contains shots of Hydra, in high definition, against a white background – with the wonders of photoshop Xandyn would appear to have been able to paste this onto a form of UK ID and take control of the account, then enabling him to log on and disband the rank 1 3v3 team.
As of now, Blizzard are still investigating the teams – Hydra does have his account back, though.
With all the above drama just beginning to settle, ArenaJunkies.com’s site traffic spiked again with the news of some players receiving emails from Blizzard telling them their teams had been disqualified from end of season rewards for cheating. Over time, the number of people this affected grew to a scale that is believed to surpass any previous similar action taken by Blizzard.
The initial reaction seemed to be one of relief and hope, as we’ve all waited a long time for blizzard to show apparent care for the WoW pvp community, rid it of wintrading and so on – but eventually the people who initially spoke praise of these actions were sometimes ending up with an email themselves, those who believed themselves innocent to any wintrading or cheating suffering a similar fate.
Blizzard began disqualifying whole teams if one member of the team was deemed responsible for account sharing – from what I have been able to find out, you are flagged for this if your account logs on from a computer with a different MAC & IP address that has also previously been used to logged on to different accounts. Once your account is flagged, from what I know, there is a team of two Blizzard GMs that look through the different flaggings and determine whether or not you are guilty – how thorough they are being with checking, I do not know, but it is safe to say that if you are aware of having logged on someone elses account from your computer, or logging on your own account somewhere else, or even if you aware that someone from your team has done this – you will only have to wait for time to tell to see if you get that email.
This disqualification of teams has hit many top players, as well as the lower ones (There are instances of 1400-ish rated teams recieving this email), and has made the ladders quite unpredictable as to who is even in Glad range, never mind rank 1.
Across EU it is believed that almost every rank 1 team with the exception of 3 have been disqualified so far. With the most current information, one of the hardest hit battlegroups is Vindication EU, with all of the top 8 teams disqualified. This has also forced the Gladiator range to be as low as 2273 perhaps. All of this information is subject to change, however, as it does not seem blizzard are quite finished disqualifying teams.
If you are hit by this, proving innocence is rather difficult but possible. There are rumors of a few teams that have managed to overturn it, but it is extremely situational – if anyone from your team (not just you, but anyone in the team) has account shared, boosted or anything of the like I’d imagine you need not even bother.
I personally am quite glad to see such intricacy from Blizzard, although I am aware of some of the disqualifications being perhaps a little too thorough, it does make sense. With the news of Blizzard allowing a spectator mode in Arena, as well as the introduction of PvP power and so on, it would appear that they wish to try and put WoW on the esports map with all the success they have seen from Starcraft 2 – whether or not it will work, we will only have to wait and see. I for one feel that this is a step in the right direction, but only a small one – we will have to see a great bit more for WoW to really compete with the big boys of the MOBA/Starcraft scene as an esport that people want at their events.
But in Blizzard’s strive for legitimacy, have they completely ruined the legitimacy of the Season 11 titles? With many big name players having their teams disqualified because they’ve been boosting, and so many other teams suffering similar fates, the rating requirement has dived so low that will you really look at someone with a Gladiator title (once they’re awarded) and believe they were truly a Gladiator level player?