Warcraft Arena Tournament

Blizzard never ceases to amaze. Their recent Arena Tournament announcement revealed that they are taking World of Warcraft’s eSport side to an all new level. If you haven’t heard about this yet, or need a refresher, here’s the spiel from their faq:

The 2008 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament is a competition based on the Arena System in World of Warcraft. However, as distinguished from standard Arena System matches, all teams participating in the tournament will be competing on regional tournament realms — separate from the live realms — for a spot to play at live events and win prizes. In addition, there is a registration fee to join. This new format provides a means for professional-level players to face off in a highly competitive environment that emphasizes strategy, skill, and execution over all other elements of play.

The tournament will consist of two rounds of regional qualifiers, followed by live regional finals. Winners of the regional finals will be invited to compete in a global world championship. The cash prize package for this tournament, including prizes awarded at the regional finals and world championship, amounts to more than $200,000.

It’s actually a really good idea and exactly what I would expect from WoW. Blizzard is making it clear that they want to transform WoW into a game of competition. I definitely think it’s total crap that they charge you $20 – more than a month’s subscription – just to participate. Ever since Arenas were first released it became clear to me that Blizzard was most interested in providing an almost side-game of PvP  for the team based play style. As their faq states, solo players need not apply – you won’t be able to participate without a team of three.

It’s been said more than once that this is another of WoW’s responses to Warhammer. I’ve read everything from “You can’t make money in WAR!” to “GG WAR, It’s over. WoW remains king!”. Maybe I’m confused. Have you people even bothered to educate yourselves on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning? You folks really need to do more to broaden your knowledge than watch a few gameplay videos and walk away saying it ‘looks just like WoW’. I’ll break this down for you all.

  • WoW is a game where PvP is arcade-like.
  • WoW focuses on the individual (or groups of 3).
  • WoW’s pvp is instanced in arenas and battlegrounds.

  • WAR is a game where PvP is the game.
  • WAR focuses on the realm as a whole.
  • WAR’s pvp is first and foremost open world PvP.

Both systems work. One is not necessarily better than the other. I really do not think Blizzard is adding this feature to try and best Warhammer. This system is far too obscure and away from the mainstream. WoW will take jabs at Warhammer and other soon-to-come mmo’s by playing to its strengths. Mainstream content for mainstream interest. Charging players $20 to participate in a chance to win prizes that add up to $200,000 (I can’t believe how many people out there really think you can win $200,000) is neat, but nothing to cause any other games out there to shake in fear.

  • And you’re assuming that the gameplay where you get the snot beat out of you continuously for nothing will compete with balanced arena battles where you can play for a couple of hours and win money.

    I listened to Barnett. I watched that video. He’s saying you’ll play *just because*, and he wants you to spend all your free time getting better at this PvP *just because*.

    Blizzard will write you a check.

  • Probably there’s a lot of online poker tournaments with no money at stake, and players play just for the fun of it. I wonder how they’re doing.

    Blizzard has rewritten the rules AGAIN.

  • I’m just waiting for when WAR comes out and ends up completely disappointing everyone. I predict another Vanguard-gate, but not because the game isn’t polished or whatever, but because fanboys and fangirls have hyped it to the point of being completely ridiculous.

    All the problems you have in MMOs? Don’t worry, WAR will fix it!

    Bored of your MMO? Don’t worry, wait for WAR!


  • @Tipa: How many of the people dropping $20 at a chance to win any money will actually walk away earning any money at all? My guess? The standard 1 in a million. It’s going to be the elite players who are likely so far and away from the standard player.

    I would much prefer a game designed with PvP as the core of the game where the focus is shifted away from sole benefit to the individual and shared with a strong focus on the realm. Blizzard’s $20 pvp arena server is great for WoW because it’s more of the same general idea that Warcraft has been running with for the past 3 years. Warhammer Online, however, is going a completely different route.

    @Sarah: Warhammer is using the tried and true method of success from DAOC. This isn’t a crap shoot in the dark like McQuaid took with Vanguard.

  • But the thing is, Warhammer isn’t to the benefit of anyone, it is just a game. Capturing a city or keep has zero meaning. NOBODY CARES.

    If you had fun doing it, fantastic! If you got to have a good time with friends, even better! But the goal ITSELF is meaningless. There is no REASON to capture a city, you might as well watch the first season of Sex and the City all over again for all the impact on the real world it will have.

    That’s Blizzard’s innovation. If you’re good, you can win something real.

  • If you look at it solely from one very narrow perspective then yes, you can make money in World of Warcraft and you can’t in Warhammer Online – I guess it’s important that I declare WoW the winner of MMO-eSports so that we can move away from this perpective.

    The vast majority of people playing World of Warcraft and other mmorpgs are not doing so to make money. The vast majority are playing for fun because this is a hobby. Looking at them as games for recreation, both are going two completely different routes when you look beyond the superficial. Capturing keeps, killing people over and over again, and playing the game are of consequence and people DO care.

    As for reinventing the rules and being innovative, I’m sorry but that’s simply not true. The eSport model has been around for a long time encompassing many of the pc and console genres. Blizzard’s decision to create an arena based server where characters go head to head to win prizes and cash is adaptive, not innovative.

  • Wasn’t it you who noted that port contention in PotBS was ultimately pointless? When every game just offers pointless goals, they’re all competing on the same level. Blizzard has upped the ante. Now EA/Mythic has to pony up. That’s all.

  • Correct, I said PotBS port contention was pointless. But that was due to that game’s specific design flaws. It would be completely inaccurate to associate one game’s design flaws with all PvP games ESPECIALLY PotBS which has proven time and time again that is so different.

    Based on what you’re saying Tipa, any game ever released would have to pony up to Blizzard’s new way of PvP. Every game now has to offer cash and prizes or else.

    There are plenty of games that don’t need to offer cash and prizes to keep player’s interest. 😉

  • Sorry Graev, they aren’t offering you anything unless you pay them $20. And even then, they still aren’t offering you anything unless you’re the most hardcore of basement-dwellers who has already spent thousands of hours in game earning the gear that would make you even remotely competitive.

    I can’t believe Tipa even brought up the argument of WoW being the only MMORPG worth playing because they’ll give you tangible, real world currency for winning a tournament.

    I can make money in any MMO… it’s called RMT.

  • As I pointed out elsewhere, you get to make a totally new character with gear they provide for the tournament.

    MMOs have plenty to recommend them — I play to have fun with other people. But in a competitive PvP atmosphere, you’re playing to… well, to beat the snot out of someone else, right? You aren’t really concerned with making friends. You’re there to crush and kill.

    So you and I fight. Wanna put some money on it?

  • That’s cooler if they give you all basic gear because then it comes more down to teamwork and skill. My bad, I didn’t know that before.

    However, the fact remains; only the upper echelon of players will stand a chance at winning money in this system. Is there a breakdown of prizes and monetary rewards anywhere?

    I find it kind of hilarious that they actually charge an entry fee. Sure, it keeps out the people who aren’t serious, but $20 makes it seem as though they’re actually trying to self fund the prizes. The game is already making hundreds of millions per year off their players and they can’t even afford to give back a measly $200k? With sponsorships and promotions, it would cost them even less.

    Seems greedy imo.

  • I agree with you about the money. But if they didn’t have SOME barrier, they’d have ten million entrants and nothing would ever get done. A single WoW server can hold, what, 5000 simultaneous players? I’m not sure of the exact number, but I think it’s somewhere around that. So how will you pick the 5000? Grabbing a Jefferson will keep most people away. So then you are left with the people who feel they are good enough that their yuppie coupon won’t be tossed away. And that should be some pretty good competition.

    What else could they use that would ensure serious competition?

  • Can i just point out:

    WAR’s pvp is first and foremost open world PvP.

    On a WOW pvp server there is open world pvp!! so WAR isnt the first. And yes when you get ganked repeatedly on WAR you will quit!

    Also in the next addon for wow taking cities and buildings will matter so blizzard making sure they are coving all bases (pun probably intended).

    The tournament in wow is for the those who want to be the best of the best, yes you could win money – im sure eve did something like this too.

  • WAR definitely isn’t the first but neither was WoW. The Realm back in 1996 was the first and almost every MMO with any care for PvP has tried to implement a good system.

    DAOC was the first to actually get it right. Yes, my opinion.