Commentary: Solving the compositional problems of solo queue arena

Stoopzz recently posted a video on improving the LFG system in WoW.

I think no person who actively plays WoW disagrees with the opinions stated in the video on the LFG: it is a severely outdated system that greatly restricts player engagement with end-game content. This is as relevant for Mythic+ and raiding as it is for arenas and RBGs.

More controversial, however, is the proposition of solo queue arena. I have previously written about how we can make a 1v1 bracket that is balanced and fair, which has some of the same challenges as solo queue. However, the major objection to solo queue 2v2 and 3v3 arena, and that which was previously expressed by Holinka and others, is that WoW is incredibly compositionally sensitive, and that this makes solo queue a bad fit. While it is of course true that comps matter a great deal in WoW, there is a very straightforward way of managing the complications that arise due to compositional sensitivity.

Solution: A comp shortlist

A shortlist of comps can be created by looking at the comps played above a certain rating in the appropriate bracket (e.g. 2v2 or 3v3). This will ensure that Arms Warrior/Frost DK/Holy Paladin ends up on the shortlist, while Windwalker Monk/Survival Hunter/Restoration Druid does not.

By creating a shortlist of approved comps, you ensure that each player is playing a comp that is either one of the best that their spec can play or one of the best comps that one of their team mates can play. For an example of such shortlists, take a look at the Top 3v3 comps for a given spec. Each spec could have at least 5 comps (but potentially more) that are on the shortlist. For example, for Subtlety Rogues, their approved comps might look something like:

Discipline PriestDiscipline Priest
Fire MageFire Mage
Subtlety RogueSubtlety Rogue
Fire MageFire Mage
Holy PaladinHoly Paladin
Subtlety RogueSubtlety Rogue
Discipline PriestDiscipline Priest
Marksmanship HunterMarksmanship Hunter
Subtlety RogueSubtlety Rogue
Restoration ShamanRestoration Shaman
Shadow PriestShadow Priest
Subtlety RogueSubtlety Rogue
Discipline PriestDiscipline Priest
Retribution PaladinRetribution Paladin
Subtlety RogueSubtlety Rogue

This is based on my very limited dataset (just over 100k 2v2 games). Blizzard will have orders of magnitude more data to construct the comp shortlists for every spec (and there may be far more than 5 comps for a given spec). In this system, some specs will have more comps than others. For example, Arms Warriors currently go well with most specs and so the shortlist will end up containing a lot of comps that have Arms Warriors in them. However, this is no different to what is the case in the standard 3v3 bracket: if you play a meta class, you have a far easier time finding a team. Importantly, the comp shortlist ensures that all comps that are played will at least be decent. In fact, if there are comps on the shortlist that are really bad, this is simply because a spec has no good comps to play. The shortlist can be updated every day based on games played in the last week. This ensures that the solo queue meta follows the premade arena meta closely when changes are made to the game.