Team-based competitions, at least in the mind of this editor, are some
of the most heated events I’ve ever been a part of. Rather
than simply relying on your own skills and abilities to defeat your
opponents, you’re also at the mercy of your teammates and
their weaknesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re on
the football field or in a Knowledge Bowl round; if you have one person
that isn’t pulling their weight the rest of the team will
suffer because of it.
Arena system was introduced in WoW's Burning Crusade expansion.
And the same holds true in
Arena PvP system as well. For those of you that haven’t had
the opportunity to try your hand at Arena PvP, here’s a brief
breakdown of what it’s all about. With the release of The
Burning Crusade back in the early 2007, the developers at Blizzard
introduced the href="http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/pvp/arena/index.xml"
target="_blank">Arena PvP system, which allows
players to fight in 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3 and 5 vs. 5 skirmishes. Players
come together to form their teams and, if all members of a team are
level 80, they can participate in rated matches with the possibility of
earning an epic flying mount and a special title for their character.
The competitive spirit in these battles is obvious. Players want to
prove that they’ve created the best build for Arena PvP and
no one, not even the guy with the immense flaming sword, can prove
otherwise. If you’re not prepared to cycle through your
opponents faster than you can think, you’d better hang up
your boots because you’re going to get punched in the nose so
hard you’ll have snot bubbles coming out your butthole.
Although many MMO gamers would state otherwise, the style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
Arena system (which is very similar to what ArenaNet
introduced to the MMO scene with Guild Wars) is the bread and butter of
team-based competition in MMOs. While many individuals can point to
their piles of l33t l00t or hoard of purple items, nothing states
“I’m better than you” more than a unique
title like “Gladiator” or
“Duelist.” That said, gamers still need to be
competent in other areas of World
of Warcraft besides PvP to be able to
stand a chance in the Arena. Most skilled combatants use a combination
of gear earned from raiding, faction grinding, battleground combat, and
other sources to create the perfect set of Arena
A number of
players complain about how PvP affects their PvE stats.
Despite the complaints that adjustments to player versus player combat
often causes issues with players in PvE battles, I would argue that the
Arena system in World
of Warcraft has done nothing but help the game
collect more subscribers and continue to pull players into the MMO
market. While there are literally millions of players in WoW that enjoy
the game simply because of the incredibly polished PvE experience,
there’s something inherently addictive about wanting to go
into an enclosed space and show another player that you’re
the better gamer. That your team has a better strategy, and that you
can win despite the odds.
Seeing the popularity of the Arena system, Blizzard decided to leverage
their experience in the realm of e-sports to create the ultimate level
playing field. Last year, Blizzard announced that WoW players could
spend $20 to be entered into the ultimate Arena tournament, where
players are all given the same assortment of gear and talent points and
the winning team actually takes home a nice cash prize. While Blizzard
didn’t give out any numbers, I’m sure we can safely
assume that thousands of players entered and took part in this epic
contest. The finale, which was broadcast live from BlizzCon 2008,
target="_blank">Nihilum Plasma facing off against the
selective queuers and the team from across the Altantic Ocean
pulled off the victory.
Perhaps the most fascinating prospect about the World of Warcraft Arena
system is the fact that gamers who actually succeed and continually win
in these virtual cage matches actually garner a degree of popularity.
Players who are heralded as being "the best of the best" often get a
variety of sponsorships from gaming hardware companies, energy drink
manufacturers, and humorous t-shirt vendors. Anyone that takes a quick
look at the target="_blank">Nihilum website quickly notices
the branding by Dell, Razer, Intel, and the huge amount of merchandise
that's available in the guild's web shop.
Plasma won the BlizzCon 2008 Arena tournament.
But, as all of us know, success in anything doesn't come overnight. The
Nihilum gamers have shown time and time again that they are the high
overlords of WoW, and until someone successfully dethrones the reigning
champions, they will continue to soak in their success. If any of the
Nihilum competitors are reading this, feel free to get in touch with me
I'd love to hear about your experiences in the WoW Arena and
how you've come to be so dominant in the online gaming sphere. Although
I can't personally claim any sort of achievements in the WoW Arena, I
have dabbled in the newer maps and I'll continue to try to get my feet
wet so I can really give the Ten Ton Hammer readers a thorough taste of
what it takes to be a extreme combatant in the WoW Arena.
Next week, I'm going to be taking a look at some of the online games
and development companies that aren't necessarily MMO-focused but are
being absorbed by some of the bigger MMO networks (see NCsoft and SOE).
As always, thanks for reading In the Trenches, and if you ever have any
questions, comments or have an idea for an article, href="mailto:email@example.com">shoot me an email
or post on the forums.
Until next week, dig deep, fight hard, and kick 'em where it hurts.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.