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The Colosseum: Patch 3.3 and the Arena


The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, Furious, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Frostwyrms. We're especially focused on the people who play these games, to further shed light on the world of the PvP player.

There have been no immediate changes to the Arena directly due to patch 3.3. Okay, well, that's not entirely true, but the changes to the Arena are mostly change by implication. Nonetheless, there's enough little things that will affect the gladiators that it's worth spending a little time examining.

Probably the biggest change we've been hearing about is that you can now pick up Arena points from doing your daily battleground quest. At 25 Arena points per daily, It's not a huge amount of points. If you're already a very highly rated arena team, then you're probably not going to get a large amount of use from an extra 175 points a week. What the extra arena points do successfully, however, is promote a reason for battleground-players to try out the Arena.

While they could use the Arena point to pick up extra Honor points, it's not like those have ever been hard to come by. Instead, these new Arena points will hopefully tantalize those who haven't tried the Arena in Wrath of the Lich King. If that does happen, it will lead to some amount of inflation in Arena ratings. That would provide some relief to teams who are struggling to get a little higher, as well as introduce new players to our favorite e-sport.

Take a look behind the cut to see what else might be changing.

Icecrown Citadel

One of the easily overlooked effects of patch 3.3 is the introduction of the Icecrown Citadel. While the 5-man dungeons and raid do not directly provide any Resilience gear, the new source of advancement will certainly be seen in the Arena. Some of the super-sweet trinkets will definitely make their way into the Arena, and non-raiding gladiators are already concerned about having to face down Shadowmourne.

More importantly, however, is that PvPers who have an Arena Rating less than 1800 will finally have the opportunity to upgrade their weapons. Since the 5-man dungeons offer sweet weapons, like the Tyrannical Beheader, we're finally going to see retribution paladins and death knights sporting something other than the Edge of Ruin.

And though it's subtle, hunters finally have new ammunition with which to pewpew in PvP. While there's a little bit of argument about these new projectiles, you're certain to see hunters using them in the Arena.

AMG, pets get resilience!

C. Christian Moore covered this best, but it's worth mentioning again that pets finally get resilience. That probably won't make the strategy of "zerg down the ghoul" any less common in the Arena than it is now, but it will certainly help out those hunters and warlocks who rely on their pets for significant abilities.

Again, pets won't become unstoppable juggernauts, single-handedly cleaving through your team like an angry, angry kitty hurricane. This change will, however, mean that opponents need to take a little more time in deciding to waste their GCDs on a pet.

Arena Set Bonuses

The 2-piece bonus of all the Arena sets has been changed to provide 100 resilience as well as either 29 spell power or 50 attack power. The 4-piece bonus is remaining exactly the same, although it will now also provide an additional 88 spell or 100 attack power.

I'm not quite sure what spurred this bonus, although I certainly appreciate it in much the same fashion I would appreciate any buff. I suspect that it is somewhat meant to make PvP gear slightly more viable in PvE. While PvP gear isn't likely to return to the age of Season 2's "welfare epics," PvP gear is still some of the most "soloable" gear in the game. However, until now, it's had absolutely no application in the PvE game.

The 4-piece bonus, especially, will help provide a reason for rarely-tunneled classes to stick to their four-piece sets. Classes like retribution paladins, for example, might wear almost entirely PvE gear into the Arena. Why not? Because of their innate survivability and their iconic bubble, many 3v3 teams will leave the Ret to be killed last. However, with the little extra attack juice fueling their attacks now, that Ret might choose to stick for their 4-piece PvP set.

Mages

With the addition of Glyph of Eternal Water, you're going to see a lot more mage pets cruising in the Arena. They'd already been a significant anchor in the Mage's Arena toolbox, but this additional glyphs means they're going to be out all the time. In a sense, the glyph truly means that there are four pet classes available to rock the Arena world. (The other three, of course, are Death Knights, Hunters, and Warlocks, in alphabetical order.)

The Glyph does strip the Water Elemental of their Freeze ability. The jury's still out on whether or not that ability loss is going to be sufficient to convince Arena mages not to go for the permanent pet. I guess the decision will come down to whether the mage wants the pet to consistently be adding to DPS, or if the mage wants the pet to put out a little extra crowd control.

Class Changes

There's obviously been an entire bevy of class changes and balances. For discussion of most of those, I'd recommend checking out C. Christian Moore's breakdown of the patch 3.3 class changes.

Death Knights and Druids should check out part 1 of Blood Sport: Patch 3.3. Hunters, Mages, and and Paladins should read part 2. Warlocks and Preists are talked about in part 3.

The season isn't over

The last, big news about patch 3.3's effect on the Arena is a subtle one. It's an issue of omission. This is to say that the Arena season isn't over. There was no reset simply because patch 3.3 did not end the current Arena season.

That means that all of the changes -- new PvE gear, class changers, Arena points -- are all going to have an effect on the current ranks of gladiators. The season that they end will not be the same season that they started. It's too early to say whether the new weapons and gear will really changes things all that much, but there's going to at least be some mix up.

It would be a stretch to say that Blizzard wanted to let these changes affect the Arena directly because they were meant to provide some kind of fix. But I do rejoice for those battleground players who felt the Arena was out of their reach without honor weapons. With weapons coming from the Icecrown Citadel being fairly equal to 1800 level weapons, this gives them an opportunity to get into the Arena and get their hands dirty.

Good luck out, there, folks.

The Colosseum is WoW.com's interview series spotlighting strategies, compositions, and tactics from the Arena fighters who use them. For more PvP information, be sure to hit up Blood Sport and the Art of War(craft).

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Colosseum

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