Warlords of Draenor will introduce tons of new features and updates to improve and expand upon many aspects of World of Warcraft, including the PvP experience. We gave you a first look at some of our PvP plans BlizzCon, and as with any development process, plans can sometimes change as they—well—develop. We’d like to share a few of those changes with you today.
At BlizzCon, we unveiled plans for a new form of ranked Arena competition called the Trial of the Gladiator, a mode of play that would available during certain hours and which would require players to use a special Trial-only set of gear. The goal was to concentrate high-level competition to specific times, to better match players against competitive opponents, and to make exploitation more difficult.
While there were a lot of potential benefits to that system, ultimately we agree with some of the concerns community has raised about the way it worked. Ultimately, players who couldn’t play during the pre-set times for Trial of the Gladiator might feel like they’re missing out, and it was possible that normal Arena games would lose a lot of their replay value without rating to push for. Because of these issues, we’ve decided not to continue development of Trial of the Gladiator and to focus our efforts on giving players more ways to find PvP that suits them—so here’s what we’re doing instead:
You might recall the Skirmish feature that went alongside ranked Arena play when that feature was first introduced. It was virtually identical to ranked play, with the exception that there was no ladder or rating involved. However, Skirmishes felt very redundant at the time, and few players took advantage of them, so they were removed with the release of Cataclysm. However, as more and more players get involved in PvP, a higher demand for a form of “lower-pressure” Arena gameplay made us think it was time to revisit the Skirmish idea . . . and make a few important improvements along the way.
In Warlords of Draenor, Skirmishes will return as a form of unranked Arena play that will allow you to queue for 2v2 or 3v3 battles with friends or by yourself. Winning a Skirmish will reward you with Honor and a random bonus, which could be gold, more Honor, a small amount of Conquest Points, or possibly something entirely different. We think this will be a great way for players who haven’t tried Arenas before to get their feet wet, and will allow experienced players to experiment with alternate specs or builds without worrying about tanking their rating.
While Skirmishes should provide a great opportunity for some more laid-back PvP gameplay, we also wanted to address top-end competition as well. Tournament organizers, often with the use of various third-party add-ons, have been able to piece together a “spectator mode” of sorts and run online tournaments, but they’ve been required to jump through several hoops to actually make that work. We’d like to simplify that process and put more power in the hands of add-on developers so that community-run tournaments will be easier to organize, manage, and broadcast.
Our new Spectator Invite system will allow a match organizer to invite two teams to play against each other in a PvP spectacle called a War Game. Then, when the match begins, everyone in the match organizer’s party will be able to watch those two teams duke it out. We’ll also be opening this feature up to add-on developers so they can come up with tools for tournament organizers to customize how the match is presented on the screen. Finally, we’ll be providing Tournament Mode gear—a special set of gear that can only be used in War Games—to help tournament runners ensure that all players are on equal footing.