In a post on the official blog last week Blizzard announced a few changes that we’ll see in the way Arenas will work in Warlords. At the most recent BlizzCon, Trail of the Gladiator was announced for Arena play. The intention of this system was to promote high-level play by running only at specific times of day to increase the pool of possible players to be matched with. Additionally, all players would be using the same Trial-specific gear to level the playing field and make winning about skill.
The largest issue with this system, as you can probably guess, is with the time-of-day element - if you weren’t available when the Trails trigger you’d be out of luck and wouldn’t be able to participate. This system was largely debated by the community and in response Blizzard has decided to scrap the Trail of the Gladiator system all together.
The ranked Arena battles will remain as they are in the current state but Warlords will bring the return of Arena Skirmishes. These are unranked Arena battles that players can queue for solo or with a group to earn honor points and a random bonus such as Conquest points, gold, additional honor or a random item.
Skirmishes are a great way to get into Arenas without the anxiety of competing on a ladder. It’s also a great way for PvPers to experiment with different builds or classes without taking a ding to their rating.
Lastly, Blizzard will be implementing a Spectator Invite System which will allow organizers of Arena War Games (war games are when pre-made teams compete against each other in Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds) to also invite spectators to watch the action in-game. Blizzard will also be introducing Tournament Mode gear for participants of Arena War Games to level the playing field of future tournaments.
For spectators of Arenas, Blizzard will be opening features to add-on developers so that they can create and customize the way information is displayed on screen. This may greatly help with the information overload of watching intense Arena fights.
My wish for Arenas going forward is for Blizzard to introduce automated tournaments (and same for StarCraft 2 and Hearthstone) where tournaments will autofire when enough players/teams have signed up. We saw something similar to this with WarCraft 3 and not since.
Hearthstone Shaman Deck
To finish things up, if you’re a Hearthstone player looking for a good Shaman deck with a strong opener, check out our own RipperX’s Shaman Deck video he put together - great tips and a solid deck to hammer out some wins.
So, what do you think of the new character and building models we’ll see in Warlords? What about Arenas - will the new Skirmish system get you into the Arenas or is there not enough of an incentive for you? Let us know in the comments below!
This week’s throwback item: Sanctified Lasherweave Headguard
Heartstone card of the week: Faceless Manipulator
Further Warcraft reading:
Reza Lackey / Reza is a giant nerd who loves video games, board games, film and way too many other things. Works in the film industry, on some startups and thinks science is cool. Also launches rockets.