Today marks the beginning of the Qualification Round on the 2010 Arena Tournament Realm. Players have been on the TR practicing, experimenting, and testing out the wide variety of items that were made available to players this year. That's all over now, now it's time to play for real.
Observing this year's tournament is a treat for a number of reasons. This is the first tournament in recent history that has had gear that is really up to date. Players have available all tier 1 Wrathful weapons as well as all Wrathful offset and set armor pieces, nothing new here. The big change to this year's TR that is making waves has been the addition of a huge variety of PvE gear that Blizzard has allowed players to use. Basically every item in the game at ilvl 264 has been added as well as some 258 favorites like the Trial of the Grand Crusader trinkets. This has given the TR a feel that is much more similar to how the game plays on live realms than any previous tournament has.
This format has also been a real eye opener balance wise. On live realms only the part of the population lucky enough to get into high level raids has access to some of the ultra powerful trinkets, rings, and other offset pieces which masks how powerful they are and how they lead to unfair PvP situations. Trinkets like Solace of the Fallen Heroic (168 spell power & 144 MP5), Bauble of True Blood (86 MP5 with a powerful instant heal cooldown), and the infamous dps trinkets like Deathbringer's Will and Dislodged Foreign Object are all used to devastating effect. Characters are able to output crazy numbers of damage and healers become invincible spamming machines that never run out of mana which leads to an unfortunate dynamic that has been heavily favoring casters.
The real story on the TR has been the Human racial Every Man For Himself or EMFH. This racial for those who don't know is essentially a free PvP trinket that frees up an additional trinket slot for human players allowing them to stack two incredibly powerful PvE trinkets at the same time. This phenomenon exists on live realms and has been complained about for some time but has never really been this obviously overpowered until now. Nearly every top team on the Tournament Realm is Alliance and every alliance character that can be Human is Human. Whether this is a comment on the state of the racial or the state of PvE gear in PvP situations is completely debatable, but the trend is unmistakable; this combination of EMFH and PvE trinkets is overwhelmingly powerful.
The Tournament Realm registration remains open for players interested in the competition or in the title and unique pet that is awarded to the top 1000 teams. It will certainly be interesting to see which classes qualify and whether or not anything comes of the extreme over-representation of Humans under these conditions. Stay tuned!
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