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BlizzCon 2008: WoW PvP Panel

Posted Thu, Oct 16, 2008 by Xerin

At BlizzCon ’08 there was a lengthy discussion about Player vs. Player (PvP) combat hosted by Tom Chilton, Greg Street, and Cory Stockton. A lot of discussion was had not only about future plans but reasons why they’re doing implementing these various elements like they were.

The panel began with discussion about the arenas where Blizzard has recently began focusing more and more of their attention on trying to shape World of Warcraft into an e-sport. If you need a little bit of a primer on Wrath of the Lich King PvP then check out our PvP Compendium.

Arenas

Orgrimmar Arena

The Ring of Valor was once an unused portion of Orgrimmar that has now will be upgraded to a full fledge arena. It features a lot of dynamic content like moving pillars and lines of fire that add a lot of dynamic gameplay that is all on a timer removing any randomness from the game. A lot of detail was given about these dynamic elements.

The pillars are to add in various LoS (Line of Sight – Many spells & abilities require direct sight from the character’s eyes in order to cast.) issues that players will have to either use to their advantage or if someone is already doing that then they’ll need to adapt and work around it. The pillars move up and down at timed intervals where players can either get on top of them (being unreachable from the ground) or run around them to get out of LoS. They have textures on top of them that allow players to call out which one they’re getting on top of.

The fire element was added as another dynamic element. Multiple fire hazards run the full length of the arena that fire at timed intervals causing players to have to adapt and make choices. They can either wait for the fire to subside to say get within range of another player or to hop on a pillar or they can walk through it which does a non-stackable DoT (10% for 3 ticks). They’ll have to choose the damage or the setback of waiting. The damage can’t stack so players will not get stuck in the fire.

The starting position is also a really good talking point. Players will start inside of a box inside of the ground that will rise to ground level at the start forcing both groups to be eye to eye with one another. When players see the loading screen that’s when Blizzard wants them to go “Woah this is the one where we start really close”.

Dalaran Sewers

Dalaran - City of Mages
The bottom portion will house
the arena within its seedy
underbelly.

Dalaran Sewers is the other arena coming with WotLK. You’re going to be in a small arena that is not complicated and very simple. It’ll fit into the “Underbelly” (Dalaran Sewers) theme and you’ll be able to sneak looks into it from the real world. It’ll have a simple layout but will have a lot of dynamic features that Blizzard is now utilizing with their new technology.

Players will start in water pipes. When the match starts they can jump down into the actual arena area. If they don’t then a stream of water will push them out on to the ground. In the middle there will be a waterfall that is similar to the fire hazard in the previous arena map. It’ll be on a timed schedule and will create a large pillar of water in the middle that can be used for LoS purposes. If a player is in the middle of it when it comes down then they’ll have a slight knockback (that doesn’t interrupt too much or knock you down) and if they try to walk into it then the same will happen. The knockback can’t be accidently triggered.

In both Blade’s Edge Arena and Nagrand Arena you can mount up as soon as you load into the game while in the Ruins of Lordaeron you can mount when you’ve exited the holding box. In the Dalaran Sewers you will not be able to mount. This provides a little bit of something different.

Battlegrounds

Strands of the Ancients

Strands of the Ancients
Battleground utilizing siege
weapons on a defend/attack
style map.

Strands of the Ancients is currently in the beta server and playable. Blizzard is getting a lot of feedback from the beta and are working to fine tune the battleground. The battleground is basically an attack and defend type scenario where groups take turns attacking and defending. The defender protects an ancient artificate with the attackers try to get it. The attackers use siege vehicles to blast down doors to reach their goal while the defenders can use various siege weapons mounted on walls to fight back. The attackers have until a certain time to take down the final wall while the defenders have until a certain time to defend it.

They will be upping the player limit from 10 players to 15 players along with doubling the available siege vehicles. The doors, again marked with symbols and colors for ease of use, have multiple paths to the goal. So that each time you play you can switch up which way you go for a little bit of variety.

Wintergrasp – World PvP

Click here to view our preview of Wintergrasp.

The audience began slinging “Warhammer” about at the start of the discussion about Wintergrasp, but I think that’s a little unfair. That of course is for another article. The discussion began with talk about vehicles. In the beta currently there can only be so many vehicles up so someone who has a vehicle has to be someone who is contributing. They’ve got it worked out where you’ll need to earn vehicles in order to be fair. Right now it takes two honorable kills to get the first weapon. Workshops will build the vehicles and they’ll have a lot of availability. So the major focus point is that only contributors will be able to get the vehicles and the vehicles will be awesome.

Once the keep is taken players will have two and a half hours before the next “match” begins. Until that time they can do daily quests, have a free portal to Wintergrasp from Dalaran, and a special raid instance that is only open to those who hold Wintergrasp. The boss has a one day cooldown and will drop a lot of good loot. Vehicle vs. People combat WILL be balanced.

What’s New in PvP

Blizzard will be revisiting PvP itemization and the arena vs. bg rewards. They noticed that everyone has a different playstyle and a way they PvP and they want everyone to have fun and get loot. They will continue to fight AFK’ers in the battlegrounds and will soon allow bg queuing from anywhere. Guild battlegrounds are currently in the work as well. Along with the much desired experience from PvP.

Q&A

Paladins will get a little bit of help in catching enemies in melee range in PvP. There will be a buff to help balance issues in Wintergrasp to scale your damage as fewer players are on your side. No forced grouping in Wintergrasp as well.

That wraps up the PvP panel! Be sure to check out more BlizzCon ’08 content, our Wrath of the Lich King Portal, and explore our WoW – Ten Ton Hammer community site for more excellent World of Warcraft articles, guides, and editorials.

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