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Posts with tag arena-season-5

The Art of War(craft): Arena Season 6, rise of the Casual Gladiator

I know, I know, most of you hate Arenas. I've been writing for WoW Insider -- ahem, I mean -- long enough to know that you guys probably aren't the most avid of PvP players. But the fun thing about it is that at least I'm not preaching to the choir, right? Anyway, I have to admit that I've gotten pretty tired of Arenas myself. Aside from two to three weeks worth of games in Season 5, I skipped the season altogether, unhappy with the balance then and the constantly changing rating and matchmaking system.

That wasn't even the heart of it, really. In the past seasons where I'd had the most success, I played with particular classes and specs that were viable in that season's environment. More importantly, I teamed up with players who were focused on PvP and were expectedly competent at it. The downside was that our success as a team was proportional to my loathing of the players on my team, particularly our team leader who was prone to excessive nerd rage and finger pointing. It sometimes happens that the best PvP players aren't necessarily your friends, and working together towards high ratings is sometimes a marriage of convenience. At a certain point when the stakes were extremely high, where wins would net us measly gains and losses would tank us badly enough for us to lose titles, Arenas became more stressful than fun.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (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 to close soon

We've been hearing an awful lot about Ulduar and patch 3.1 lately. As such, this announcement is really not a surprise. Vaneras and Bornakk posted on the forums today to warn us all that Season 5 is drawing near an end. The current season should close at the same time 3.1 drops, or very shortly afterward. (I'd guess "very shortly afterward" means "the following Tuesday.") Your Arena points will reset with the season transition, though your Honor points will remain banked.

The announcement doesn't set a specific date. He just says "soon." Since we traditionally get at least two weeks' warning before an official season ends, that does mean that the patch probably won't drop for at least three. And since Noblegarden has been expanded on the PTR, then I expect the patch to hit and season to wrap up in the beginning of April.

We haven't heard details about season-end rewards yet. That's important because we don't demonstrably know whether those rewards are going to be based on personal rating, team rating, or even the Match-Making Rating. The details of season-end rewards tend to fluctuate a little, but the best Arena teams can probably expect a title. The very, very best can expect the Arena mount. However, we don't know if it'll be a Nether Drake or maybe even a Proto-Drake. We'll let you know as we find out more.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Arena

Ghostcrawler talks a bit about Resilience

Let's face it, Resilience blows right now. In their effort to give escalating rewards through the Seasons, Blizzard allocated minimal Resilience for Season 5 gear. It's not bad, but in order to make Resilience count, you would need to stack over 1,200 Resilience Rating to hit the optimal cap. That's not even possible with the current gear. In order to even reach about 900 Resilience Rating -- the point where its effects start to be palpable -- players would have to gimp themselves with all their gems and enchantments. This means severely lowered damage output.

In the current Arena setting, it's all about burst damage, with matches lasting nowhere near as long as they used to back before Wrath of the Lich King. Ghostcrawler pops over the forums to talk a little about Resilience and how Blizzard feels that it still makes, or will make, a difference. He explains that the reason so many players are wearing PvE gear to PvP is because its readily available, going so far as to call Naxxramas gear the new welfare epics. He says that as more players get Resilience, other players will have to keep pace.

That might take some time. Like I mentioned, even with a complete set of Deadly Gladiator gear and non-set items, it's going to be impossible to hit the Resilience cap. Resilience makes very little impact in PvP encounters right now that the risk to using PvE gear over PvP gear is minimal. Hitting 600-700 Resilience is very possible with a decent complement of PvP gear, but this only reduces damage from crits by about 17% at best. Resilience in its current design does nothing to reduce normal, or non-crit damage. Until more Resilience shows up in PvP gear or its coefficients or ratios changed, the trend of using a lot of PvE gear will probably continue throughout Season 5.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Battlegrounds, 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


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

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

Arena season 4 over, season 5 to begin December 17th

Gnorog on the EU forums posted notice a while ago that Season 4 is over. That means that all arena teams and ratings have been cleared, and arena charter NPCs have been disabled.

Your arena points will stay with you until you reach level 71 however.

But the end of Season 4 isn't the news.

Season 5 will begin on December 17th for those players that have reached level 80. That's just a few days away. For those that haven't, the skirmish brackets of 71-75 and 76-80 are available. The time is now to start organizing your arena teams and get them in gear for the upcoming events.

With all the changes in Wrath the next arena season promises to be interesting. Here's to bigger and better weapons! /cheers

Filed under: News items, PvP

Arena Season 5 start date announced

The big announcement has been made, and it's about what one might have expected. Season 5 for the Arena will begin on December 16th, when level 80 characters will begin rated play to compete for gear and end-of-season rewards.

This announcement came during a reminder that the "Limbo Season" will end this Tuesday. That means you're not going to get Arena points for any rated matches you're playing this week. There will be no rated Arenas again until December 16th, which is kind of a shame when you consider the two new Arenas in place.

A side effect of this announcement, of course, is that we now know for certain when Blizzard expects most of their players to reach level 80. Since you have to be 80 to get into the rated matches, you can guess the developers were waiting for a significant portion of the playerbase to be ready before starting the season. No doubt, high end Arena fighters will already have been storming the battlegrounds and collecting honor before the season starts.

WIth the gear changes and mechanics changes, it's going to be exciting to see the first season of Wrath. I'm definitely excited to see what new dynamic Death Knights bring. It's certainly going to be a different show. Good luck!

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

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

Rise of the Hateful Gladiator

While the actual news isn't nearly as dramatic, it seems like the Arena Gladiators have taken a turn for the worse. From Season 2's Merciless, which wasn't so bad, and Season 3's Vengeful, which was alright, we progressed (regressed?) to Season 4's Brutal Gladiator, which was brutally ugly. The first Level 80 Arena gear has shown up on wowhead, and it's hateful. No, really. The new Arena gear is called Hateful Gladiator and it's actually pretty sweet, with single pieces conferring up to 1.3k health.

It's too early to tell if the stats will keep until release, but it's safe to say that players should already looking ahead to the end of Season 4. Blizzard has stated that there will no longer be any further iterations of Level 70 Arena gear, meaning that Level 70 Arenas will end on an ugly note. Curiously, even the Honor-bought gear such as rings and amulets, are also called Hateful Gladiator (who thinks up of these names, seriously?) instead of Guardian or Vindicator. The new Hateful Gladiator items still have placeholder graphics and are seem to be in Beta merely to help test the broken Lake Wintergrasp. For now, we PvP addicts to content ourselves with the small nugget that Season 5 is going to be a Hateful one.

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

Wrath PvP gear hints at Arena Season 5

I was somewhat puzzled when the first pieces of PvP gear started showing up in the Wrath of the Lich King Beta. The traditional 5-piece set of helm, shoulders, chest, legs, and gloves (as well as the weapons) were of blue or rare quality while the non-set pieces normally obtained through Honor -- bracers, belt, and boots -- were purples or epic. The blue items were tagged 'LK Arena 1' items and the purples were tagged 'LK Honor' items, which were easy enough to decipher.

However, MMO Champion uncovered an epic quality 2-handed mace tagged 'LK Arena 2', which is a rather curious item considering the game files already have LK Arena 1 2h Mace. What does it mean? At this point, not much. A lot can change from now until Wrath finally goes live, but if we were to put some weight into the item nomenclature, it might indicate that Blizzard plans to tier Arena gear similar to how they plan to create two separate tiers for 10- and 25-man dungeon items.

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

Arena points reset in Wrath for Season 5

If there was a question about how Blizzard planned to deal with Arena points in Wrath of the Lich King -- which seems so palpably close -- Wryxian explained their resolution to the problem of carrying over points from Level 70 to 80. The answer? They won't. Players who hit Level 71 will have all their Arena points reset to 0 and be removed from all Level 70 bracket Arena teams.

New skirmish brackets will open up for those between Levels 71-75 and Levels 79-80. As mentioned before, Level 80 players will be able to participate in rated matches and be eligible for Level 80 Arena rewards that will, thankfully, look distinctively different from PvE gear. This means that players should be spending their Arena points now instead of banking the maximum 5000 points, as it will not carry over past Level 70. In this scheme of progression, Level 70 Arenas will conceivably die an eventual natural death.

What does this mean for the current season? When the pre-Wrath content patch is released, we're likely to see a shake-up in class representation in Arena play, as more classes become viable. It is also highly likely that the current season will end when Wrath is finally released, and competitive or rated Arena play will be in a state of limbo as Blizzard is likely to allow several weeks for players to reach Level 80 before starting a new Arena season.

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

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