Monday, February 12, 2007

Enter into the Arena and let the Games begin

Its a little early to be talking about the official Arena season which doesn't start until this Friday (Feb 16th). However, based on the volume of traffic I'm getting to my Arena posts I'm guessing its on a lot of people's mind. A couple of months ago someone linked my posts about the Arena rules onto WowWiki and I've been getting increasing traffic since then. Recently I've gotten a couple emails reminding me about the season kickoff and asking some general questions about what to expect.

Scoring Structure

Well on Friday we should be able to start participating in official arena matches instead of just using the practice option that is currently available. Your team's arena rating should change immediately after any official match since the calculations are based only on you and your opponent's rating. At the end of each week your team's rating is used to award a specific amount of arena points. At the end of an arena season the ratings are reset and the process starts all over again. A season is supposed to last 3 months but expect the developers to change it at their discretion.

Your team is matched against other teams that have a similar rating on your server's battlegroup. If the queue is taking too long the computer might allow a opponent with a higher or lower rating but you will earn more or less points as appropriate to your opponent’s difficulty. Winning against opponents with a higher rating will advance your rating much quicker then fighting a lower ranking team. Losing against a lower rank team will hurt your rating greatly. Remember you could find yourself fighting horde or alliance but will be prevented from communicating with them regardless of your faction to prevent throwing matches.

Arena Team Structure

Arena Teams are formed like guilds except instead of a tabard you get a banner which you carry around during matches. Teams are composed of 3, 4, or 5 people and can have double the players for alternates. This means a 5 man team can have 10 people in it so you don't have to worry if someone is out sick one week. To get your teams rating turned into points you have to fight at least 10 matches a week. For a member of your team to get points they must have participated in 30% of the matches. Points are awarded equally to all members of the team that meet the 30% participation rule. If you are in more then one type of arena team you only receive points from the team that did the best that week.

Arenas have very specific rules that you can fully explore in the practice rounds. Before the start of the match all buffs are removed but you are given full mana to recast and prepare any spells. Potions and most disposable items can not be used during a match. Most cooldowns on a long timer can not be used so you don't have to worry about Paladins using lay on hands during the match. If the match goes on too long items will start spawning that allow players to view stealthed opponents at the cost of a small debuff.

The Rewards

Arena points are awarded each week and can be used to buy items from the Arena quartermaster. Just like honor points there is a maximum amount which a player can hold to prevent hording. Expect items that are available from the quartermaster to change from season to season as the developers try to match pvp rewards to the current raid awards. Seasonal awards are also expect to be award to the top teams in each arena team category. Its been confirmed that one of the awards for the first season will be a the netherwind drake mount.


Expect most teams to play a lot of games in the beginning of the season often going over 10 games each week. As the season starts to get close to the end expect the queues to get longer as teams try to hang onto their rankings.

Expect most of the members of the best 5 man team to also be in the best 3 and 4 man teams.

Expect very fast queue times since the horde and alliance imbalance will not come into play.

Expect a very low chance of running into better geared players as they should quickly increase in rating.

Expect the battlegroup forums to get a lot more popular