Jul 2, 2013

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World of Warcraft: Patch 5.4 Arena Update

World of Warcraft: Patch 5.4 Arena Update

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Blizzard Entertainment has announced an update for the upcoming patch that aims to revolutionize the Arena system in World of Warcraft. Convenience and enhanced competition are key, and these following changes may be making an entry on the public test realm very soon.

For a little recap, Arena today continues to remain limited to realms within a player’s specific Battlegroup, and in order to participate, the system requires a team of friends from the same realm to be created. Blizzard has reported that in the upcoming patch, region-wide matchmaking will be implemented in order to “expand the pool of competitors and improve the Arena experience for all World of Warcraft players.” That said, players will no longer need to join or create an Arena team from scratch in order to compete. Instead, queuing will be similar to Rated Battlegrounds and opponents will be chosen based on the average Match Making Rating of a player’s party. In summary:

  • You’ll no longer need to worry about invitations, joining, or leaving an Arena team. Now you can play with who you want, when you want.
  • You’ll be able to join a cross-realm group and queue for Arena matches with friends from other realms.
  • The Arena ladder will no longer be sorted according to Battlegroup. Just like Rated Battlegrounds and normal Battlegrounds, now all Arenas will be region-wide. You’ll be competing with a field of opponents that includes every Arena player in your region.

Mechanics remain the same, as players will continue to gain and lose personal rating based on wins and losses. The Conquest Point cap and rating requirements to purchase items, however, will now be based on a player’s personal rating. While these changes promotes the expectation of quicker queue times and discourages money to be spent on unnecessary realm transfers (the more technical side of things), I can already see an angry mob with raised pitchforks going against the revamped competitive play.

For instance, region-wide matchmaking will completely alter the ranking ladder, as all players compete for rewards at the top. Current top contenders of each battle group with ratings around 3000+ will no doubt compete amongst one another, thereby leaving those between the mid 2000-2800 with great difficulty to compete for a fair shot. Now, the changes are undoubtedly more positive for casual players who are just looking to add an extra slice of adrenaline to their PvP experience. Practically no queue times, playing with friends from across the globe, and avoiding similar opponents over and over? Great! Furthermore, the disbandment of Arena teams will also promote fairer matches since players can no longer disband and reset their ratings with hopes to be matched against lower ranking teams. But Arena-junkies who have long competed for mastery might have a different reaction. There are still looming questions about this update, such as: will the gap for top players be widened? As in every update, pros and cons are inevitable, but overall, I can personally say that the change is for the better as it is catered towards the majority.

Now, how about making BoA’s cross-realmed as well?

[Source: Blizzard Entertainment]