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Posts with tag Deadly-Gladiator

The Art of War(craft): Season 7 and the Battleground PvPer


The Art of War(craft) takes you through the paces of the myriad faces of World of Warcraft PvP. Zach, who writes this column, is tragically unfunny and has asshat blood running through his Asian veins. If you're looking for humor, head over to the musings of Christian or Allison. If you want some lore or news, Alex and Adam are your guys. If, however, you feel like bashing someone's face in and dropping The Flag of Ownership on their corpse, you, my friend, have come to the right place.

Season 7 started a while back, and we've now got Colby on the team to pick up on the Arena scene with Blood Sport. He covers all the basics of the latest Arena season in his debut column, so head on over and read up on everything you need to know. That's your primer. On today's The Art of War(craft), I'm going to discuss other things not quite covered by the basics.

First of all, what does a new Arena season mean to the Battleground enthusiast? I mean, who gives a shmoo? Arenas shmarenas, right? Well... not exactly. The sad fact is that Arena players are going to be playing the Battlegrounds, anyway, since the non-set pieces are purchasable with Honor points. While these items also drop off Koralon, the Flame Watcher, the fastest, most efficient way to obtain non-set Relentless Gladiator pieces is through Honor farming in the Battlegrounds.

That means successful Arena play, or at least the most conscientious preparation, requires Battleground participation. The converse isn't necessarily true. The gear disparity in the Battlegrounds is extreme, and it isn't uncommon to find players fresh from hitting Level 80 hitting the maps to grind Honor for gear upgrades. Gear isn't as critical, but it's a definite advantage. My view on the matter is that Arenas are a necessary, but fun, evil.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Arena Season 5 to end as soon as April 14


Bornakk posted a tentative date for the announced end of Arena Season 5, indicating that the season can end "as early as April 14" or a week after. It should be noted that the first four Arena seasons had no breaks in between, with one season beginning immediately after the last ended. Arena seasons were only suspended upon the release of Patch 3.0 leading up to Wrath of the Lich King, with the first season of Level 80 Arena play beginning on December 16. This time around, however, Bornakk makes it clear that the next Arena season will not begin immediately but have at least a one week break before Season 6 begins.

This should also be taken as an indication of when Patch 3.1 will be released. Blizzard has stated that they plan to unleash Season 6 almost simultaneously with the new raid content, so if Season 5 ends within two or three weeks, it should be expected that Patch 3.1 is just around the corner. It might even come sooner rather than later, as Blizzard has noted that Season 5 would "end with or shortly after" Patch 3.1 goes live. All of the necessary files such as Season 6 items are contained in the patch, so this only makes sense.

Bornakk reminds all players who feel they will be eligible for end of season rewards, such as titles and the Deadly Gladiator's Frostwyrm, should refrain from transfering their characters to another realm until after Season 5 ends (or until rewards have been handed out to be safe). During the break between seasons, all ranked matches will be disabled and all Arena points and ratings will be wiped [EDIT: Arena points and ratings will continue to be available during the one week break to allow players to spend their points, but will be wiped when Season 6 begins.]. However, players will retain their matchmaking ratings and Honor points.

Filed under: News items, PvP, Arena

Arena Season 6 details revealed


Blizzard Europe poster Ancilorn posted the lowdown on Arena Season 6 (Bornakk posted the same on the US forums), which is slated to begin at around the same time that Patch 3.1 is released. There will be some key changes to this season, the biggest of which will be that all teams will start at 0 rating instead of the traditional 1500. This way, players will generally have an upward progression throughout the season before plateauing at their estimated skill level.

Another change is that Blizzard has reevaluated the item requirements, feeling that many of them were too difficult to obtain. The lowest rating requirement for an item is currently set at 1250, which may seem low but considering players will be progressing from 0, that's a 1250 point spread. In Season 5, the lowest rating requirement is 1615, which is a mere 115 points from the starting point of 1500. It remains to be seen how much of the continually changing Arena system will award points and how easy or hard it will be to move upwards from 0. More details on the ratings after the jump.

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Filed under: Items, Blizzard, PvP, Arena

65% fewer Arena teams in Season 5


Roma Victor over at Gameriot had an eye-opening entry recently that gives some hard numbers to a phenomenon that I'm sure a lot of players have known for a while... fewer people are playing Arenas lately. A lot fewer. About 65% fewer. He perused the Season 5 ArenaJunkies title calculator which allows players to see the cutoff for titles according to Battlegroup and compared the numbers to Season 4 -- a season already notable for having low participation due to its proximity to Wrath of the Lich King and steeper ratings requirements on gear.

The numbers were, as Roma Victor put it, "not pretty". Actually, the numbers were downright ugly. Take, for example, the cutoffs for the Bloodlust Battlegroup, the notorious BG9 where Arena participation has historically been intense. Last season, the top 235 teams in 2v2, top 92 in 3v3, and top 27 in 5v5 brackets were eligible to earn the Gladiator title. This season, those numbers dropped to 93, 36, and 8 respectively. That's a whopping decline in participation across the board in the most active Battlegroup in the US! ArenaJunkies also has numbers from Europe, Korea, and Taiwan and all of them show the same thing -- there are fewer players participating in Arenas than probably ever.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Arena

Arena Season 5 mount is a Frost Wyrm


This one has been in the game files for a while -- the screenshot above has been with MMO Champion since November of last year -- but the latest PTR Build reveals that the Arena Season 5 reward mount is a Frost Wyrm. Just as the otherworldly Armored Nether Drakes were representative of Outlands, the Deadly Gladiator's Frost Wyrm is the perfect symbol of Northrend. As with past seasons, the mount is expected to be a 310% speed flyer awarded to the upper 0.5% of Arena participants in each of the three brackets.

With Arena Season 5 expected to close soon, perhaps as early as the release of Ulduar, players now have a small window in which to earn that Gladiator title and what might arguably be the coolest-looking mount in the game. In mount-related news, the Coralshell Turtle was renamed to Sea Turtle, whose tooltip reveals it as the first aquatic mount in the game: "This mount can't move very quickly on land, but she's a great swimmer." Better practice that fishing...

Filed under: Patches, Mounts, Arena

[UPDATED] Arena Tournament has begun!


The 2009 Arena Tournament officially begun yesterday, kicking of a six-week qualifying period to find the best Arena players who will earn the chance to win prizes totaling over $200,000. Registration was opened a little over a week ago, with Blizzard enticing aspiring Gladiators with the Vanquisher title and a Murloc vanity pet that will translate over to the live realms. The tournament will consist of one round of regional qualifiers, followed by the regional finals, and winners of those finals will compete against each other for the top prize.

Registering for the tournament, which costs $20 or €15, will grant players access to the tournament realms where they can create Level 80 characters of any race and class. These characters will be outfitted with the best Arena gear available -- Deadly Gladiator items from Season 5 -- and will have access to other epic items as well as enchants, gems, and glyphs allowing them to customize their character as they see fit.

Players whose teams finish in the Top 1000 at the end of the qualifiers will receive the Vanquisher title for all their characters over Level 70. Casual players who don't play Arenas seriously still have some incentive as the only requirement to obtain the Murloc pet -- Murkimus the Gladiator, according to the Patch 3.1 files -- is to play 200 games over the six-week qualifying period with one team regardless of record. [UPDATE: According to this post, the first two weeks are considered a practice period and thus do not count towards the 200 ranked games required to qualify for the pet.] Players must have an active subscription in order to register.

Filed under: News items, PvP, Arena

Season 6 weapons as good as Ulduar drops


As an addendum to the recent Arena system FAQ posted on the forums, Kalgan addresses several concerns about the gear, the system, and questions of skill vs. gear. In a very forthcoming and transparent post, Kalgan admits that Blizzard "botched the ilvls" of the current Deadly Gladiator weapons by making them a full tier below the items from Kel'thuzad in heroic Naxxramas. At the time they designed them, Blizzard didn't account for how easily accessible Kel'thuzad would be.

He promises they won't make the same mistake in Season 6, and that the new Furious Gladiator weapons would be equivalent to the items in Ulduar. Kalgan explains that the aim is to balance the accessibility of the items so that the number of raiders who have access to the best raid weapons is roughly the same as the number of Arena players with access to the best PvP weapons. He even goes so far as to say that Blizzard will make two tiers of PvP weapons if necessary. This might have been in the original plan as Hateful Gladiator weapons are in the game files but not available in the game.

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Filed under: Blizzard, PvP, Arena

Arena Season 6: Rise of the Furious Gladiator


Kalgan hopped on over to the forums to make a significant post that previews what can happen in Arena Season 6, the tiers of gear available, and what will happen to the Vault of Archavon. One of my fears going into the next Arena Season was that Archavon the Stone Watcher would lose his relevance, as he drops significantly lower tier gear a full season behind the current one. This would have greatly devalued control of Wintergrasp.

However, Kalgan reveals that a new boss in another wing of the Vault of Archavon will drop the Furious Gladiator pieces. He makes no mention of past season's gear, and says that the new boss' loot table will be structured slightly differently drom Archavon's. This could mean that the 10-man version can drop the Honor-bought non-set pieces rather than a lower tier of Arena gear and notes that the boss will not drop the chest piece. In the same post, he pegs the chest piece at a 1750 rating requirement, which should probably indicate that the boss will not drop items with a higher requirement (head, shoulder, weapon, etc.). This is an important announcement that ensures the relevance of Wintergrasp. The boss is also expected to drop Tier 8 pieces, making it equally appealing to PvE players.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Forums, Arena

Wrath 101: PvP welfare gear


With gear upgrades these days being so easy to come by, I'm not so sure 'welfare epics' is such an accurate term for PvP gear anymore. That said, Arena Season 5 started the other day without so much as a whimper. It kind of crept in quietly, without even a patch to go along with it. I'm sure it's taken a few players by surprise to see so many new PvP gear available from different sources that it can get confusing. I know I wrote about it in an old post, but quite a bit has changed since Beta, and some things don't quite apply. Don't worry, we're here to help you make sense of it all.

First of all, in the new PvP rewards system there are three tiers of PvP gear. The Savage Gladiator, Hateful Gladiator, and Deadly Gladiator are equivalent to Level 80 dungeon blues, 10-man raid epics, and 25-man raid epics respectively, with a lot of item points thrown in the way of Resilience and sometimes Stamina. These items aren't the best for PvE, so gear accordingly. You'll be wasting a lot of item points by way of Resilience, so keep in mind that all this new gear is best for your Battleground and Arena pursuits.

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Filed under: Items, PvP, Guides, Arena

Season 5 FAQ continued

Is it true that all Arena and Honor PvP gear require Arena ratings now?
No, although the very best ones do. Savage Gladiator gear are excellent rare quality items that require no Arena points to purchase but cost quite a lot of Honor. These items are also purchasable with Emblems of Heroism, so players don't even have to participate in a single Battleground or Arena match in order to buy them. [EDITED: Removed all reference to Arena requirements for Savage Gladiator gear]

Hateful Gladiator items require more Honor and Arena points and decent performance in Arenas... if you choose to buy them from an Arena Vendor. The gloves, chest, and leg pieces all drop from 10-man Archavon, so you can get Hateful Gladiator items from sheer luck. All Hateful Gladiator pieces, including the shoulders and head, are purchasable with Emblems of Valor. Most casual players will have a shot at Hateful Gladiator gear even without having an Arena team simply by joining a 10-man Archavon PUG.

Even Deadly Gladiator items, the best of the best PvP has to offer, can drop off the 25-man version of Archavon, so again players needn't worry about Arena ratings. The only real pieces that require any true participation and dedication to Arena play are the Deadly Gladiator weapons, and head and shoulder pieces. These are not available through any other avenue but Arena points and personal and team ratings of 2030 or higher.

So contrary to what many players have been crying about, this ironically makes Season 5 the most casual-friendly season and allows even complete carebears to run around in full PvP gear. It makes no sense, but the system is actually much more accessible than any other season before it.

But what about the filler pieces like the belt, boots, and bracers?
Hateful Gladiator Honor pieces do not require any Arena ratings but cost quite a bit of Honor and can be bought in the Hall of Legends in Orgrimmar or the Champion's Hall in Stormwind from the Apprentice Armor Quartermasters. Deadly Gladiator Honor pieces only cost Honor (no Arena Points required) but have moderate personal and team ratings. This means that players wanting the absolute best PvP filler gear must participate successfully in Arenas in order to purchase an Honor item.

Note that since no Arena points are required, players need only to play enough games to raise his or her personal and team rating to the required level and purchase the item. Since personal and team ratings are calculated live, players can become eligible to purchase items as soon as their ratings change with every match.

Should I even bother with Savage Gladiator gear?
It could be much worse. Savage Gladiator items are several steps above the craftable PvP sets but inferior to the easily obtainable Hateful Gladiator gear. With persistence and luck, it's far easier to get Hateful Gladiator pieces off 10-man Archavon or even Deadly Gladiator from the 25-man if you get into a group. It will take much longer (you can only try Archavon once a week) but if you shun PvP, it's definitely the best route.

On the other hand, Savage Gladiator items confer the Gladiator bonuses, which the craftable PvP sets lack. It also has higher Resilience and Stamina as well as sockets. Honor is extremely fast at Level 80 and it's possible to get over 10,000 Honor in a day casually playing Wintergrasp and some Battlegrounds. It will take some time considering the cheapest piece, the gloves, cost 50,000 Honor. I recommend pursuing the shoulder and head pieces first if you are eyeing Savage Gladiator at all. [EDITED: Removed all reference to Arena requirements from Savage Gladiator gear]

Where are the Savage and Hateful Gladiator weapons?
Good question. It seems like Blizzard has decided to restrict Gladiator weapons to the Deadly Gladiator or 2030 level. In the Beta, there were three tiers of weapons similar to how there are three tiers of armor sets, but these lower tier weapons no longer appear to be available. It remains to be seen whether they'll bring them back at some point in the future, although it's not very likely.

Will there be better Level 70 Arena rewards?
No. Go buy Wrath of the Lich King and level up. Level 80 is where it's at.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, Arena

UPDATED: Season 5 FAQ


Just like that, Arena Season 5 sprang upon Wrath of the Lich King. Even though Blizzard already made the announcement, it still feels kind of sudden. If Season 5 caught you with your pants down (we really hope not), then let's get you up to speed with what's happening in the latest and (hopefully) the greatest Arena season yet. Here's a quick FAQ about the new Arena Season 5.

NOTE: Most of these answers are based on information taken from the Patch 3.0.8 PTR, such as gear availability and ratings requirements. If the items don't show up when servers go live today, this post will be updated when they finally do.

At what level can I join Arenas?
You can enter Arena skirmishes at any level, with brackets at Level 71-75 and 76-80. However, only Level 70 and Level 80 players may participate in rated Arena matches, acquire personal and team ratings, and earn Arena Points to purchase Arena gear. Only Level 80 players are eligible for end-of-season rewards such as titles and possible new 310% speed flying mounts, although none have been announced or found in the data files as of this writing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, Arena

Breakfast Topic: Are you ready for Season 5?


It's finally here. The real reason I rushed to 80 and moderately gear up by mid-December is because I wanted to be ready for Arena Season 5. To be quite honest, now that it's here, I'm a bit nervous. Not nervous, that's not the right word... giddy, I think, excited like a six-year old going to the playground. Strangely, though, I've been having so much fun in Wintergrasp that I've hardly given a thought to Arenas.

Now that I've given mulled it over a bit, I realize that the gear gap -- or lack of one -- is going to become immediately palpable simply because so much gear is readily available in Northrend. Any player who has just hit 80 will have immediate options for gear, and it won't be so hard to catch up or gear up for Arenas. Even without Resilience, so much gear has massive amounts of Stamina. I mean over 100 Stamina for a trinket? That's kind of insane. Players have so many options for gear now that some people won't even be doing Arenas to get Arena gear.

It's going to be a completely different ballgame. The presence of Death Knights will completely change Arena PvP, as it already has in PvE. Knockback effects such as Thunderstorm or Typhoon will be exciting tools in the movement-heavy environment. How will players react to a sudden Death Grip into the opposing team's kill zone? Will HoT-impairing effects like Shadow Embrace or Plague Strike be enough to curb Druid dominance? We'll see. It's exciting. Are you prepared for Season 5? Not just in terms of gear, but psyched and ready for the unpredictability of the metagame, at least for the first few weeks?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Lake Wintergrasp: Balance, badges, bosses, and bling


I have to confess that I haven't spent as much time in Lake Wintergrasp as I thought I would. Even when we got premade Level 80s to fiddle around with in the Wrath Beta, I ended up spending very little time in the zone because it was simply too confusing. It didn't help that every build wiped your talent points, so I'd end up logging in to a crossfire without any abilities on my hotbars. In general, my Beta experience with what still promises to be my favorite zone of all time was rather unfulfilling.

The good news is that there's a lot of work being done on the zone and the siege vehicles and buildings do a nice job of blowing up. I also appreciate the return of my favorite guys from Alterac Valley, like my Pusoy Dos buddy Lieutenant Murp. In general, though, Lake Wintergrasp needs a lot of breadcrumb quests and hand-holding just for people to get the basics. Blizzard has big plans for the zone, and they detailed a lot of those in yesterday's PvP panel.

The zone is massive. In the Beta, there were areas that felt somewhat abandoned and felt empty. This is certain to happen in live realms, as there are off-hours of play. But Blizzard's aim is clear: they want this place to be all combat all the time, with hundreds of players bombing, killing, attacking and defending. In fact, they prepared their servers to handle such a load. If this happens -- and by the Light, I hope it will -- and hundreds of players do fill the zone for unadulterated combat, I'm going to have one hell of a good time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds

Blood Sport: Everything Savage, Hateful, and Deadly


I realize now that the debate about Arenas will never end. A lot of you don't like it -- this is apparently the wrong blog site to enthuse about it. But the fact is that Arenas are a big part of the World of Warcraft today. Some would say too big, but I personally think it fits its niche rather nicely. There's a lot of room for debate on this, and reading through everyone's comments in past columns, it's easy to see that there won't be any resolution to it.

Well, we're not talking about that today. This column is for people who like Arenas. If you're not a big fan of the format, you can skip right to the end of the column and post your well thought-out arguments about it (a lot of you are very impassioned about the matter, and I'm greatly impressed) or you can skip to another post as we've got a lot of good reads elsewhere around the site. No, this column is for those Arena freaks, the guys who get giddy when the queue pops up and get an adrenaline rush when the gates open.

The next Arena season is going to be fun. We'll have ten more levels to slog through and a lot of experimentation to do before we settle on a PvP groove and find out which specs and playstyles actually work for us. At the end of it all, when we finally hit Level 80, a new era of Arenas will begin and there'll actually be three tiers of gear to reward every level of play. For anyone who's ever stepped foot into an Arena and liked it, it promises to be the best season yet.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

The Art of War(craft): Kalgan speaks on Blizzard's PvP philosophy


Like it or not, Arenas are here to stay. I think we should all learn to live with that. A couple of days ago, Kalgan showed up on the Beta forums and put up a lengthy, illuminating post about Blizzard's philosophy when it comes to PvP itemization. He talked about and mostly defended Arenas and the existence of Arena ratings for obtaining PvP gear. It goes a long way towards explaining the new tiered itemization -- an impressive three tiers that appear to be concurrently available -- within the PvP system.

One poster's contention was that there was no access to PvP gear before engaging in Arenas was countered with Kalgan mentioning their efforts to include craftable PvP gear. This was an omission in The Burning Crusade that became apparent as the seasons progressed, with newer players or Level 70s struggling to break into the Arena format faced against opponents who had gathered gear through several Arena seasons. This was addressed philosophically with the introduction of Outlands reputation PvP gear, which were identical to the rare PvP sets obtainable through Honor. I say philosophically because by the time these item sets became available to players, it was too late. Starting Arenas at that point would find players matched up against other players wearing epic gear from the past seasons. In fact, wearing such dated gear only served to mark the player as easy targets.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

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