In the latest Mists of Pandaria beta patch, Wowhead has uncovered some quite interesting new client strings that might herald a change in the way you choose which Arena or Battleground to fight in.
ERR_PVP_BLACKLIST_CAP = "You have already blacklisted the maximum number of maps."
ERR_PVP_MAP_NOT_FOUND = "Blacklisted map not set."
To me, this seems like an excellent idea for Arena players. There's always lots of controversy about the random damage and LoS components found on some maps (hello, Ring of Valor); this would let you avoid that entirely. Of course, that means you can no longer use it as an excuse, either -- so you may not want to reach for the blacklist too quickly. While I don't do much in Arenas, I certainly wouldn't mind a way to ensure not getting WSG three times in a row.
One concern, though, is if Blizzard allows too much blacklisting, that could make matchmaking much more difficult. A smooth matchmaking process has been one of the highlights of WoW compared to other online games, so any algorithm tweaks have to be made carefully. It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!
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.
I said it before, and I'll say it again: the new Arena maps suck. The gimmick-laden maps of the Ring of Valor and Dalaran Sewers are great fun in a Takeshi's Castle sort of way but are a bad idea in serious Arena play. You would've thought Blizzard learned their lesson with the cyclone effect in the Nagrand Arenas. The new Arena maps introduce unnecessary RNG that some high ranked Arena players don't appreciate. In fact, both of the new maps are banned from the recent ESL Arena Tournament in Germany.
Blizzard applied some hotfixes over the past few days that should help make the maps less of a circus. The gates have been removed from the Ring of Valor, allowing players to engage as soon as the problematic elevators hit the arena floor. The moving pillars were adjusted to start the match in the elevated position, whereas they used to rise a few seconds after the match started. Most importantly, the damage from the flame wall was changed to break certain effects such as Fears and Roots after a certain amount of damage has been dealt. The last change is nice, but it's still problematic. The only thing that should damage another player in an Arena is another player.
The Ring of Valor is a new space in Orgrimmar -- it features an elevator that rises up to a starting position that leaves players in close proximity, and then there is a set of fire obstacles and two moving pillars that can be used to as many tactical advantages that you can come up with. The other space, the Dalaran Sewers, also mixes in a few line-of-sight tricks, including a periodic waterfall that blocks LoS and a raised platform in the middle that can only be reached via two sets of stairs on diagonal sides.
Personally, I think the new mechanics are exciting, but then again I've played maybe four Arena matches in my life -- word I'm getting from most of the Arena players I know is that these changes add a little too much RNG to the maps (considering the all the obstacles are timed, they're not really random, but that's just what I think). What say you, Arena players?
Any discussion about World of WarcraftPvP nowadays inevitably involves Arenas. With the onset of Season 4 and its new rules and requirements, Arena play is getting more intense than ever. Of course, as the competition heats up, the cries of an imbalanced contest grow louder than ever. Blizzard seems to be aware of the issues and have taken some steps in the development of the Wrath of the Lich King to address class and spec viability.
During the panel on "PvP Game Systems", however, lead designers Tom Chilton and Corey Stockton devoted most of their Arena discussion to the new maps rather than the hairy, and probably inconclusive, issue of class balance and representation. The new Arena maps follow Blizzard's philosophy of keeping things simple yet have room for innovation; having dynamic points of interest; having conceptually different starting areas; and leave allowance to make adjustments during development.
Ask and ye shall receive. Readers have been requesting an action video for quite some time, however not many PVP movies kick buttocks like this one does!
Kung let us know that he's back with the sequel to his popular Ring of Valor series. The previous movie focused on tigers, decaying scourge, and arena matches. This time he mixes it up a bit by showing the health bars, but eliminating the flashy effects. In addition, he included sound. For more information on the event, check out the Warcraftmovies page, and the writeup by Crocolisk.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Some days I surprise myself and enjoy a PvP movie. I know. I was totally shocked too! Kung and friends used the empty arena in Orgrimmar to arrange epic showdowns between tigers, decaying scourge, and arena matches.
These clever guys managed to pull this off on an official server, Maelstrom, so they were limited in what they could do. However, Kung is working on more variety for his next film, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, check out the high resolution version.