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Arena battles and "Must-See PvP"

Terra Nova has a good piece up asking a question I've been thinking about ever since I saw video of the WoW arena fights at WSVG: even if Blizzard (or anyone else) sets up the technology for us to watch professional arena fights live, are they really going to be "must see PvP"?

Joshua from TN says yes-- he says he enjoys watching for tips, including how the players move, what targets they take, what strategies they employ, and so on. Personally, I have to disagree. I enjoy playing arena or fighting in the battlegrounds as much as the next guy, but when it comes to watching just the ingame fight, I just can't get into it. Part of it really is the presentation; WSVG could do a much better job explaining what's happening, just by showing the teams' makeup and their separate goals before they mix it up, and also by getting a new announcer ("It seems" like he repeats himself, and "that's going to be the case"). They do pull it off once-- in the China team vs. the Pandemic match (which I can't direct link to for some reason-- WSVG should fix that, too), the fight comes down to a mage vs. a warrior, and that fight is simple and easy enough to understand that the tension actually builds to an amazing victory. With the rest of the matches, though, things are too crazy and chaotic for anyone but a really knowledgeable viewer to keep it interesting.

So even if the presentation was broadcast quality, I would think that the only people interested in watching these videos were the top arena players themselves. No one else would have the knowledge they need to catch every spell interrupt and every strategy choice. And the natural appeals of other sports, I think-- the glory of a football player making the play for his team-- don't apply here unless you show the actual people behind the keyboards, or at least show what that big Tauren warrior is doing when he goes for the priest instead of the mage. Will arena PvP ever be a really good spectator sport?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, PvP

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