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Posts with tag esports

Fnatic Orz just about the best team in the world

Familiar faces from the former Duelists Going For Gladiator -- Celex, Emolol, and Ely with a sub, Kesher -- who now compete under the new banner of Gravitas Gaming, faced off against the defending champions Fnatic Orz trio of Glick, Rhaegyn, and Hafu in the Finals of MLG-Dallas earlier today. Gravitas Gaming came into the Finals with a 3-1 lead carried over from their earlier matchup during the elimination rounds, needing only three wins to dethrone the MLG-Orlando Champs.

Fnatic played their strongest comp of Warlock (Glick), Warrior (Rhaegyn), and Druid (Hafu) while Gravitas Gaming countered with a Warrior (Kesher), Mage (Celex), and Priest (Ely) instead of their usual RMP. Some viewers wrote Fnatic Orz off considering their uphill climb to win five games against Gravitas' three, but the defending Champions showed exactly what they were made of by winning three straight matches after falling behind 5-2, evening out the competition at 5-5. The Grand Finals all rested on a single, do-or-die match -- played in Nagrand Arena -- a nailbiter that exemplified the best of professional Arena play. In what was one of the best comebacks I've seen in an Arena tournament, Fnatic Orz pulled off four straight wins to win back-to-back MLG Championships and cement their place in pro circuit history.

It was the second time the two teams met in the Grand Finals, with Gravitas still under the Frag Dominant banner. The games were broadcast streaming through GotFrag TV, with excellent, spot-on commentating and incredible camera work that made it relatively easy to follow the extremely fast-paced matches, although the last match's stream was plagued with hiccups. The winners walked away with $12,000 and three HP Blackbird 002, while the runners-up won $6,000. Pro circuit mainstays Team Pandemic took third place with $3,000 after losing to Fnatic Orz in the Semi-Finals.

Fnatic Orz' storied rise from being dropped by MoB Gaming, winning MLG-Orlando without a sponsor, and being picked up by Fnatic and winning a spot at the World Championships at BlizzCon just before this fantastic win today makes them one of the most exciting and favored teams to watch in the pro Arena tournament scene. It will be a treat to see them compete against the world's best at the World Championships next weekend... except that you'll need a DirectTV subscription for that.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Arena

BlizzCon 08 tournament brackets revealed

The other day, Blizzard posted the brackets for the upcoming Starcraft, Warcraft III, and World of Warcraft Arena tournaments at BlizzCon.

I don't follow every little motion in the WoW Arena community, but there is one team that jumped out at me immediately: Orz. They've won a few tournaments already, and in a way they're the 'face' of the Arena, if that makes any sense. As Zach Yonzon mentioned awhile back in one of his columns, every sport, no matter how big or small, has its stars. Even eSports. Here in the states, Orz is one of those star teams. Rhaegyn, Glick and Hafu are definitely the players to watch in this tournament. It looks like they've picked up a new sponsor since I last saw them in action, so I'd like to extend a belated congratulations to them on that.

Of course, this tournament also includes the Korean team Council of Mages, which won the tournament at WWI08. Pretty much every team on the bracket has done some great work in the Arena already, and the tourney should be really exciting no matter who walks away with the win and the grand prize of $25,000 per player.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, BlizzCon

European and North American Arena Finals this weekend

The World of Warcraft Arena Tournament hosted by Blizzard is coming to a head. The Regional Finals for Europe and North America will take place this weekend, September 6-7, with eight highest rated teams from each region clashing for the right to compete in the Global Finals. The North American Finals will be held at Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, Massachusets and the usual suspects seem to be present -- the Fnatic-sponsored Orz team of Hafu and company, Duelist Going For Gladiator and their standard RMP, as well as Team EG, GotGame West, MoB Shadowplay, and some old faces sporting a new banner as Gravitas Gaming.

Most of the finalists from both regions are Arena tournament veterans who have won or finished well in numerous LAN tournaments. The European Finals will take place in Madrid, Spain, at the Circulo de Bellas Artes and covered on live stream by ESL TV. The winning team will bag a $15,000 top prize, but two teams from each region will advance to the Global Finals, earning a chance to compete for the massive $75,000 grand prize.

Taiwan Regional Finals winners ??????????? (which translates roughly into 'Marine Corps') and Made in Taiwan, announced last August 6, are waiting for the rest of the Global Finalists alongside the Korean Finals winners H O N and Council of Mages (who won the Worldwide Invitational tournament) -- both Rogue, Mage, Priest teams -- who qualified last August 31.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, PvP, Arena

Nihilum Arena wins CGS Championship

The premiere 3v3 Arena team from Europe of Cherez, Beasteh, and Hydra -- aka Nihilum Arena -- won top honors at the recently concluded Championship Gaming Series Arena Tournament. This win comes after their notable absence from MLG Orlando despite a 2nd place finish in San Diego. Considering the purse for the MLG series is $12,000 (and an HP Blackbird for each team member), Nihilum fortunately participated in this tournament, winning a whopping $25,000.

Frag Dominant Duelists continued their strong showing on the pro circuit, finishing 2nd again after falling to Orz in MLG Orlando about a week ago, and placing first in MLG San Diego. FD-DGFG ran a double healer Rogue, Druid, Priest comp, taking home $12,500 after their defeat to Nihilum Arena's Hunter, Druid, and Priest. Two runner-up teams took home $6,250 apiece. The tournament used a format that pitted Europe's against the United States' best in the finals.

The coverage was different from the MLG series, being much more friendly to viewers not overly familiar with the game or Arena tournaments, with extensive previews of the characters used by the players, and an overview of the Arena maps prior to matches. The shoutcasting was also much more casual-friendly, at a significantly slower pace than the MLG coverage. The choice of the infamous Leeroy Jenkins to commentate was definitely a marketing move, with more than a few mistakes (calling Scatter Shot Distracting Shot, saying Ice Block's cooldown as 2 mins vs. the correct 5, being fooled by Cherez' Feign Death, etc.). The level of analysis wasn't as deep as MLG's, which featured Arena pros for commentating. Camera view was also an overhead style as opposed to the third person view used by MLG. Both tournaments had good points, and it's exciting to see Arena play gaining a stronger foothold in the pro gaming scene.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Arena

2nd Qualifying round of the official 3v3 Arena Tournament ends

In the midst of the hubbub over the Worldwide Invitational 3v3 Arena tournament and the MLG PC Circuit tournaments in San Diego and Orlando, the official 3v3 Arena Tournament seems to have fallen by the wayside -- At the least, people don't seem to remember it much.

It looks like it's looking to burst back onto the scene in a big way, though, as Blizzard announced the end of the 2nd qualifying round of the tournament today. The next round will see the winning teams from the 1st and 2nd qualifying rounds facing off in live matches in Boston, Madrid, Seoul, and Taipei in the coming months.

The list of first round winners has some familiar faces in it already. MLG San Diego winners Frag Dominant will be competing in the Boston event, WWI winner Council of Mages will be competing in Seoul, and WWI runner up Improved Clicks will be headed to Madrid. There's no word yet on which teams won the 2nd round, or when the next round's matches will take place, or whether we'll get live streaming from the events. We'll be sure to let you know all the details right here as soon as they're available though.

Filed under: Events, News items, PvP, Contests, Arena

Tom Chilton talks Arena with Gotfrag

We aim to hold premiere events every year, and this year is no different. Our intention is to continue running topnotch competitive events that players want to take part in and spectators want to watch.

This is what first leapt out at me when reading the new article over at Gotfrag. We've already seen the fine folks at Big Download quiz the folks at Blizzard about how Arenas are developing and affecting the overall gameplay of World of Warcraft, so it definitely seems like there's a renewed emphasis on PvP as an e-sport going on. Maybe I just missed the boat on them doing something every year for it... how is this going to work for next year, when Wrath of the Lich King has been out for a while?

We're looking to add new Arenas for Wrath of the Lich King that may be a bit different from the current Arena environments, but we're not ready to go into specifics just yet.

Frankly, new arenas sounds like a good idea to me, but I'd also like to see a new arena bracket. 2x2 has always struck me as being too small to really be anything more than glorified dueling, but I enjoy 3x3 (I'm not terribly good at it, mind you) and find 5x5 starts to get a bit hectic. I think 4x4 could be a fun addition to arenas, but I have no idea how popular it would end up being. The masochist in me would like to see 10x10 brawling, or even 10 man King of the Hill style arena matches where all ten players are hostile to each other, similar to the way Gurubashi Arena and the Maul currently work. It would be a means for single players to gain arena points but would be challenging and a change from dueling.

They're also considering means to allow for spectators on arena matches, which I'd be interested in seeing. The whole article is up at so feel free to take a look and see what you think about the future of arena as put forth by the inimitable Mr. Chilton.

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

European Arena Tournament 1st qualifying round ends, 2nd round begins

Slorkuz has posted some information of interest for European PvPers. The first qualifying round of the Arena Tournament is over, with the second one beginning today, May 21st, and lasting until June 2nd. You can sign up at the European Information page (for Americans, our information page is here). Ranked matches for this round will be starting on June 16th and last until July 16th, so you should have plenty of time to prepare and practice, and plenty of time to get in your matches.

Remember, if you win, that's a good 25,000 dollars in the bank. Not bad for a bit of 3v3, if you're already into it. Good luck to all competitors!

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Contests, Arena

[1.Local]: A week of reader comments

[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Readers seemed to be on helpful mode this week at WoW Insider, with lots of mechanics and theory questions addressed in post comments. The Very Serious Business of Guild Business was definitely top of mind, as readers shared insights on raid scheduling, application procedures and fine-tuning the performance of lovable but noobish guildmates. Readers also talked about wearing their WoW on their sleeves, the whole e-sports concept and the continued fill-in-the-blanks-until-WotLK trend of retro raiding.

Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread and add your own thoughts – unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Know your Lore, Interviews, [1.Local]

Major League Gaming hosts WoW competition

Major League Gaming, which is apparently the parent company of WoW Insider favorite MMO-Champion, have announced that there will be a new PC gaming circuit, featuring our favorite MMO. The circuit will have events in San Diego, from June 13th–15th; Orlando, July 11th–13th; and Dallas, October 3–5. Each event will have $22,500 in prizes -- it's no Blizzard Arena Tournament, but that's still a lot of money.

The circuit will be played on HP Blackbird 002 computers, so I guess you won't have to worry about frame rates (that thing has 1 GB of VRAM). The competition will be 3v3, just like Blizzard's tourney. Only 32 teams will be allowed to register, and you need to have an account set up on MLG's site first; registration opens May 15. They say "more details on rules and the official format will be released on May 15th" -- maybe Blizzard will let them use a special tournament server? At any rate, it looks like Blizzard may have been more successful at turning WoW into an esport than we thought.

[Thanks, Jeff]

Filed under: Events, News items, PvP, Arena

Bornakk speaks on the whole esports thing

So a while back, Tom Chilton talked about turning WoW into a "viable Esports platform" in an interview with Gamespy, and lots of players did not take it well. Some time later, the fire has still not died down. Darqchild of the Perenolde server posted another complaint about this the other day, expressing a belief that the creation of a 2nd rule set and the domination of the esports concept had already gone with the implementation of a Tournament server.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Classes, Buffs, Arena

Why the PvP game exists in WoW, and why it's a good thing

Last night I posted why I feel that the PvE game has been, is, and always will be the real game in WoW. One of the interesting inferences that people made was that I don't like PvP, and that I don't do it. Nothing is further from the truth. It was interesting to read the number of comments on that article, and I think it might surprise some folks that save for this introduction paragraph and a few edits I made, this article was written before I wrote my PvE piece.

So, why do I PvP? What attracts me to the PvP game, and why is it a worthwhile thing to do in WoW? There are three primary reasons that PvP is a game worth playing. First, it provides a critical and necessary change of pace from the PvE game. Secondly, it gives those with limited play time an opportunity to enjoy the game and succeed at what they do. Finally, PvP is beginning to turn into a legitimate eSport, and provides some good entertainment there in. Let's look at each of these reasons individually.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

Breakfast Topic: The secret lives of Blizzard employees

Tom "Kalgan" Chilton, in his interview we posted yesterday, said that one of Blizzard's class designers was the guild leader of one of the world's best known PvP guilds, but he wants to keep him anonymous. Wait, what?

Chilton meant that Blizzard has solid ties into the community, but should it worry us at all that those ties might be a little too close-knit? We already know that Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan has major ties to a guild in the game (he was actually hired by Blizzard from his Everquest raiding guild), and quest designer Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi also comes from a guild that is still active in World of Warcraft. In fact, we've already seen Blizzard get in trouble by their own admission for treating the devs' guilds differently -- is it right for them to keep their guild associations anonymous?

On the one hand, obviously it's much easier to keep the developers' ingame identities anonymous, otherwise they wouldn't be able to play the game at all without getting approached with questions and complaints every time they log on. But on the other hand, not only is there the potential for favoritism in terms of game design, but what if the PvP guild mentioned in the article was one that won an eSports or the Arena realm tournament? Is it right for Blizzard's developers to keep their guild associations anonymous?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Rumors

Fun with the Arena server

I had the opportunity to play on the Tournament Realm with Amanda Miller and Adam Holisky on Friday night. Yes, we got schooled but we had a great time. As Amanda mentioned I rolled a Resto Druid, but I specced short of tree form. I was most interested in mobility. I usually heal arenas as a Resto Shaman. I really enjoy the mobility of the druid, and I'm afraid I would lose that in tree form. Take a look at my spec, for those of you who know Druid better than I, tell me where can I improve?

I absolutely love the tournament realm. I've really enjoyed the opportunity to play Druid, and it encourages me, and I may very well level one on my live realm. I think I will try a Warlock next. I've enjoyed the tournament server so much that I haven't even logged into my home realm. I would probably get bored with just playing WoW as an E-sport full time on an arena realm, but I've found the realm to be worth the price of admission.

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Filed under: Druid, Shaman, Events, Alts, Arena

Blood Sport: Is WoW turning into a PvP game?

V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.

Looking at some of the upcoming class changes in patch 2.4, I can't help but feel that many of them are driven by PvP - particularly Arena - issues. Blizzard is undoubtedly trying to level the playing field for the classes before the 3v3 Arena Tournament, tentatively set to begin in April. That's a very short time to iron out problems and further imbalances that the patch will bring.

A design philosophy that Blizzard has insisted on from the beginning is that each class should play similarly in both PvP and PvP. Tom Chilton (Lead Designer, or Kalgan) said at last year's Blizzcon that the game "shouldn't have significantly different rules for spells in PvP vs PvE."

"Slower" water in Arenas is the latest change that depart from this philosophy, in addition to PvP-only diminishing returns, and PvP-oriented stats like Resilience and Spell Penetration. However, since many class changes apply to both PvP and PvE, PvE players seem to be "dragged" along by changes meant to tune their classes' PvP performance. Shamans and druids seem to be most affected this patch with changes to Nature's Swiftness, Elemental Mastery, Call of Thunder for shamans, and Lifebloom for druids.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

Blizzard announces a 3v3 arena tournament

Blizzard announced today that they will be hosting a 3v3 Tourney beginning in April with international qualifiers and some pretty hefty cash prizes at the end. After paying an entrance fee, teams will compete in qualifying tournaments with other teams from their region for cash prizes totaling $27,000 before proceeding to the global championship, where the grand prize will be $75,000. The twist is that this tournament will take place on dedicated servers in which participants will play with pre-made level 70 characters. You can read the FAQ here.

It sounds like this Tournament will be something that PvP Enthusiasts will want to watch with interest. The entrance fee should ensure that most of the field is made of dedicated players, or at least players who are somewhat sure of their ability, and the establishment of pre-made characters to ensure a "level" playing field should definitely lead to some exciting matches in which we'll see how differences in skill can make or break an arena match. However, It may also bring to light class and talent discrepancies as we watch which team make-ups rise to the top and which fall. Since we already know that additional class changes will be coming to 2.4.0, we certainly have to wonder if Blizzard will try to make some last minute class adjustments to this patch in preparation for this tournament, or if they'll use data from this tournament in making further decisions on class balance.

But either way, if you fancy yourself to be pretty decent at 3v3 Arena play and think you're willing to part with a bit of money to try and win a lot MORE money, it sounds like you'll want to keep an eye out for the sign-ups for this.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Contests, Arena

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