Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.
Listening Music: Thriller. Not the full version, but most of it. I did the dance alone at my sister-in-law's wedding (just most of it, I couldn't remember everything on the spot). She said it "made her day." This was at the reception after she got married. I guess getting married is a close second to seeing me dance.
Last Week: We discussed Dalaran Arena's past and present problems, as well as solutions. The style of the article is similar, but the content is very different. After all, it's a completely different arena.
This Week: Similar to last week, we'll be talking about Orgrimmar Arena (a.k.a. Ring of Valor). We'll talk about some past problems and what Blizzard did to remedy the solution. Then we'll move into what can still be done and what should be done. Stick around to hear my ramblings, I promise you they'll be full of ramble, and maybe some Rambo.
Past Problem: Fire.
Let's salute Captain Obvious and state that the only thing that should kill players inside an arena...should be other players. The arena community was up-in-arms about this long before Ring of Valor went live, and for good reason. Sure, excellent players used the fire to break crowd control like Polymorph -- but is that really a plus? I remember death knights would Death Grip the kill target on top of the fire and Chains of Ice or Gnaw stun them to take extra damage. The extra damage added insult to injury.
Past Solution: Remove it.
Luckily, Blizzard decided to take the fire trenches out of the arena. It wasn't for months after it was released, but we'll chalk it up to Blizzard being patient and not making hasty decisions. It was a bad idea in the first place, but we should be glad we've had that learning experience for the future, at the very least.
Past Problem: Starting Gates.
The idea behind letting opponents start 10 yards from each other was that gates would prevent teams from immediately starting combat before everyone was ready. Well, it didn't turn out so great because players could bug through the gates and actually start one yard away from their opponents.
Lots of rogues knew how to get through the gates every single match and start with a sap on the opposing healer. Clearly, this was a problem. Blizzard tried to take Ring of Valor out of the arena rotation for a few weeks to fix the problem, only to have the same one when they reimplemented it.
Past Solution: Remove it.
Well, the solution was to just take out gates all together to not give certain classes a game-breaking advantage. Starting ten yards away from the opponent definitely gives certain classes advantages, but they're not anything close to what they were.
Past Problem: Invisible Demonic Circles.
For a very long time (three seasons if I remember correctly), warlocks were able to put down Demonic Circle: Summon without it being visible to other players. If you saw his cast bar, you could call out to your team where his circle was, but if you didn't, you had to wait until he teleported to find out where he was going to go.
I'm not 100% sure when Demonic Circles started becoming visible. In any case, this was a coding or zoning bug, but a bug that affected only Ring of Valor, which is why I'm lumping it in here. A lot of warlocks actually believed that the invisible demonic circle was intended due to warlocks dying so easily on that map -- I don't really understand why, it was pretty clear to me that it was a bug all along. Great fix.
Past Problem: Rituals not working on the starting elevator.
Handing out healthstones and mage water individually in 5v5 must have been lots of fun. Good thing it got fixed. I know priests who hate single-buffing fortitude when they're out of reagents, I'd hate to see them play a warlock pre-ritual fix in Ring of Valor.
Vehicles occasionally fall through the floor. When my 5v5 was rank #1 by a few hundred points a season or two ago, our paladin mounted up on a multi-person elephant. Two of us decided to jump on as he was running towards a wall and poof, three of us fell through the floor. Pretty infuriating to lose 100+ match making rating. Needless to say, our paladin didn't mount up on his elephant much more.
Totems can also still remain at the bottom. I thought this was a thing of the past, but just the other day in arena, I witnessed the same shaman dropping his totems at the bottom of the elevator for three games in a row. Either he got very lucky with a bug or was purposely exploiting. I personally don't report people for exploiting, but my teammates did.
Demonic Circle doesn't work on elevators. Unless they allow Demonic Circle to move on platforms instead of being location-based, there's not a solution to this one. It's the same reason warlocks can't cast Demonic Circle: Summon on the moving pillars.
Pets bug every single game. In order to get them unbugged, players need to summon a new pet, mount up, or spam petattack-petfollow-petstay. Pets bugging out is really lame, especially when that Spell Lock or Gnaw 5 seconds into the game can set you far ahead, but your pet isn't close enough or within line-of-sight. Players can start on the arena mounted, walk off of the elevator and dismount. I've found this solves around 90% of pet bugs.
No elevator music. At the very least, they could give us some Kenny G.
Possible Solution: Remove elevators.
Removing elevators would solve all these problems. If anyone likes Ring of Valor (even hunters I know hate it) it's not because of the cool elevator ride.
Problem: Starting 10 yards away from the opposing team.
Shadowfury. It's really powerful to stun every single opponent within 5 seconds of the arena starting. It's just icing on the cake to have the cooldown available again in twenty seconds. The elevator is just simply not large enough to avoid abilities like Shadowfury. A good warlock will jump-Shadowfury to hit your entire team before you can run off the platform.
Most rogues have a very difficult time sapping on this arena. Sap is an integral part of the rogue class, and it's kind of lame to punish them so badly on this arena. Moreover, because sap is difficult to obtain on this map, a rogue's opener is much worse. Add this in with stealth easily breaking because of Demoralizing Shout, Shadowfury, and other abilities -- and well, it might be an understatement to say rogues hate this map.
Possible Solution: Create two new starting zones.
They can be on either side of the large pillars or small pillars. It doesn't matter one way or the other, it will allow players to have a line-of-sight object nearby. I would prefer the new starting zones to be behind the large pillars myself, but it really doesn't matter one way or the other.
Problem: No Permanent Line-Of-Sight.
Having no permanent line of sight allows all kinds of funny things to happen to healers at the worst possible time. While pillars do move in a regular fashion, it doesn't make for interesting games when pillars come down and everyone on both teams scream "kill the healer, he's in the open."
While some hunters might love moving pillars, Megatf, one of the best hunters to ever play arena once said "hunters can use line of sight to punish the opponent just as much as they can to punish hunters." I disagreed with that statement until I played with an amazing hunter. If you want to punish hunters who don't know how to do anything on RoV other than dps, tell your entire team to stand on him whenever they can (and dps him as well).
Fear pathing also doesn't exist if you're standing on an elevator. Well, it does, but only in small measure. If you're afraid of getting feared away from your team, stand on a small pillar when it's on the ground -- when you get feared, you'll just move back and forth. You'll also follow the pillar up, feared, if it begins to move. It's kind of hilarious to watch.
Nagrand tornadoes were a bad idea. Moving pillars aren't much better.
Possible Solution: Remove the large pillars, make the two smaller pillars stay up permanently.
This will provide adequate line-of-sight while still retaining that very open feel to the arena. I would say keep all four pillars up, but the large pillars are exceptionally difficult to chase people with (they are very large). Can you imagine trying to catch a restoration druid who Travel Forms away from you? Sure, you can mount up once you get out of combat, but until then you're not doing much.
Ring of Valor Solutions Recap
- Remove elevators.
- Remove the large pillars (keep them in the ground permanently).
- Keep the two small pillars in the 'up position' the entire game.
- Add two new starting zones (or gates which fly open like in Nagrand) to each side of the arena where the large pillars are.
Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? Check out WoW.com's articles on arena, successful arena PvPers, PvP, and our arena column, Blood Sport.