BlizzCon 2008: Wrath of the Lich King PVP Update

Designers working on the second World of Warcraft expansion detail new player-versus-player arenas and battlegrounds.

ANAHEIM, Calif.--Day two of BlizzCon is in full swing, and judging by the length of the line to get in this morning, there are even more attendees here than there were yesterday. Most of them seemed to find their way into today's first panel discussion in the main hall, which focused on World of Warcraft's player-versus-player content.

When the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack is released a little over a month from now, it'll bring with it a number of new PVP features, including two new arenas, at least one new battleground, and a new objective-based PVP zone. We had a chance to see all of these demoed on a beta server today, while members of the design team discussed some of the locales' unique features.

First up was an arena located inside the Horde city of Orgrimmar named The Ring of Valor. Evidently the design team at Blizzard has gone to great lengths to make sure that the new arenas feel very different from existing ones, because this one brings a number of new features to the table. For one thing, when you enter the arena on platforms that raise up out of the floor, you'll be right next to the opposing team rather than across the arena from it. You'll also be flanked on both sides by dynamic fire hazards--vents in the floor that run all the way across the arena and spew flames at regular intervals. If the flames hit you, you'll take damage for the next 10 seconds or so, so you'll have to decide if running through them to reach or escape from an enemy is really worthwhile. Furthermore, there are four square pillars in the arena that rise up out of the ground and sink back down again pretty regularly--these can interfere with your line of sight for ranged attacks and heals, and if you're playing a class with ranged attacks, they can make for excellent (though temporary) vantage points.

The second arena being introduced in Wrath of the Lich King is Dalaran Sewers, which, as its name suggests, is situated beneath the new central city of Dalaran. This arena will be one of the smallest in the game and takes place in a circular room with a raised platform in the middle that can be reached only via one of two sets of steps. The starting areas are at opposite sides of the arena and take the form of large pipes a few feet from the floor that water is flushed through every now and then to prevent players from camping out in them. Water also falls down into the center of the arena at regular intervals, creating a dynamic line-of-sight obstruction and knocking back any players who are too close to it. Because this arena is small, you won't be able to use mounts in it.

Next up was a look at the new Strand of the Ancients battleground, which, even more than the aforementioned arenas, is going to bring a lot of new features to the game. For starters, the battleground employs an attack-and-defend mechanic, meaning that at the start of each match the two teams are tasked with attacking and defending an objective, respectively. The objective on this occasion is a large temple behind several large walls and with plenty of destructible gun emplacements for defenders to use. The attacking force will find itself in a situation reminiscent of the Normandy landings in World War II--arriving in boats and having to push forward up an exposed beach--albeit with plenty of siege weapons at their disposal.

The siege weapons are used primarily to destroy the walls surrounding the temple, but they also have the range and the firepower necessary to target defensive gun emplacements and the like. If you end up on the attacking side without a siege weapon to call your own, you'll find that mines on the beach can be picked up, armed, and dropped near the walls to cause damage comparable to that of the siege weapons. There are different routes that you can take through the network of walls to get to the objective, and the walls are color-coded so that it's easy for you to give instructions to teammates about where they should be concentrating their efforts. Strand of the Ancients was originally designed for two teams of 10 players, but after beta testing, the decision has been made to raise the number of players on each team to 15. When the attacking side manages to capture the objective, the two teams change sides and the new attacking force has a time limit (the time achieved by the first team) in which to achieve the same goal.

Last but definitely not least on the list of demos for the WOW PVP presentation was Wintergrasp, an entire noninstanced zone designed specifically for objective-based PVP on a large scale. The attack-and-defend setup is similar to that in the Strands of the Ancients battleground, but some pretty unique gameplay mechanics will come into play as soon as you set foot in the zone. For example, every honorable kill that you score will count toward your PVP rank for the zone (which resets every time the zone does), and this in turn will determine which siege weapons you have access to when attempting to take control of the fortress objective. Furthermore, since the zone will conceivably have hundreds of players in it at any one time--which increases the odds that one faction or the other will be hopelessly outnumbered--a "tenacity" buff will automatically be given to players on the side that's lacking numbers. The specifics of the buff are still being finalized, but it'll be scalable according to just how massive the gulf between the two factions is, and it'll afford players on the smaller team a boost to both their armor and their damage output.

The incentives for capturing the fortress will be numerous, since doing so awards the winning faction control of the entire zone for around two and a half hours. During this time, that faction will have exclusive access to a number of daily quests, to a portal between the zone and Dalaran, and to currency drops from creatures that can be used to purchase gear, mounts, gems, and other goodies. The icing on the cake will be a raid instance containing a boss that drops both player-versus-environment and player-versus-player loot that can be accessed only from within the fortress by the faction that controls it.

Toward the end of the session, talk shifted away from features that will be introduced with the Wrath of the Lich King launch to ideas that are under consideration for future updates. Methods for measuring each and every player's contribution in PVP settings will hopefully cut down on the number of players leeching rewards by entering battlegrounds and then going AFK (away from keyboard). As in Warhammer Online, you'll be able to queue up for battlegrounds from anywhere so that you don't have to spend all of your time waiting around in cities. And, also as in Warhammer Online, you might be able to gain experience while in battlegrounds rather than exclusively from PVE content.

There are big changes coming for PVP, and while not all of them are eligible to win a prize for originality, they promise to breathe new life into the game, and, crucially, they were met with huge applause when they were mentioned during today's session. Next up, the dungeons and raids panel.

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46 comments
Rdkil
Rdkil

*Ahem* let us not forget that WoW is technically a rip-off of every MMO up to this point. Perhaps the only original MMO was Everquest(or whichever MMO came first). WoW just did an excellent job of putting the Warcraft universe into the pre-built "MMO frame" and in integrating some new "parts" to the frame. WoW didn't invent the frame though.

game34353
game34353

what do you mean that wotlk is taken from WAR. War is a total copy of WOW because they suck and can not find original ideas

wolfetones91
wolfetones91

@gordois What makes it the worst ever? New game dynamics and PvP tweaks = good not bad! And il take that Runescape comment as a joke

gordois
gordois

This new wow thing is the worst ever every one come play runescape its free and not useless

jason19
jason19

THAT UPDATE SUCK MADE ME RESTBOT GAMES IT NOT WORK IN NEW PC SO IM GOIN QUIT WOLRD OF WARCFT NERE PLAY AGIN

Gangrel15
Gangrel15

Hah this is a good one! It looks like Wintergrasp is a combo of WAR's public quests and RVR all rolled into one. Arh what the heck, they basically ripped everything from WAR including the exp gain in PVP. I don't mean this is not a good thing, but Blizzard could have at least thought about before

EVillumsen
EVillumsen

Wow is like sh*tt*ng on your own computer! You all need to get a new game!

Husko
Husko

I've tried just about every large scale MMO and WOW is definatly my favorite. This new expansion is going to be great. As much as i've come to be dissapointed by new MMO releases, I'm very thankful for a game like WOW. And it just keeps getting better and better.

Vlaimir_Lem86
Vlaimir_Lem86

WAR's pve system, ie quests and dungeons, pretty much blow compared to other mmo's. But makes up for it big big time, yes i said big big, in the pvp department. Theres nothing like running scenarios in between questing, or takeing over a keep by killing the lord, haveing to deal with the npc's and actual players while takeing it over. Then defending it against actual players. Nothing compares. ill stick with WAR, cause i like to pvp, but if i had to chose a pve based game, WoW would def win.

PedestrianPolo
PedestrianPolo

Also, a comment onto airmanwilkins' about the WoW vs. WAR debate. It is true, it all boils down to preference, but don't be quick to criticize. Just sit back for a moment and really think about how much time each game has had. WoW has almost like 6 years under its belt, and in those 6 years there was massive amounts of patching and tweaking and so on. Warhammer hasn't even been out for a month yet, and it's already a very good game that's competing with WoW. So just consider those factors in when playing both. To me, I agree with airman, they are both very great games. I, however, don't play WoW anymore purely because I've just played it for way too long and I'm sick of it all, you can only get so many 70's...

airmanwilkins
airmanwilkins

I'm looking forward to the expansion! As for the WoW vs WAR debate... there is no simple answer. It all boils down to preference. Don't take anyone's word for it. Play both and decide for yourself. I myself have played both and I enjoy both for different reasons.

weirjf
weirjf

one word: sweeeeeet

kakotan
kakotan

I cant wait till this come out. I have been saving everything I could for my future Death Knight. The wintergrasp zone sounds like i might even give pvp there a shot. I enjoy how WoW isnt overly pve and isnt overly pvp . I feel it has a great ballence that other MMOs dont have. Thats why i feel WoW will continue to do great and I think that most WoW players (not all) that went to WAR were all the ganksters that all they did was pvp and try to cause ppl to pvp on relms that are pve. So im happy that those are gone hehe but I think we will see some back after Wrath comes out so it will be nice for a while lol. So if you got toons in westfall and crossroads go lvl them out of those areas lol :p

Diernes
Diernes

"Look, the PvP of WAR don't have any strategy is only press 4 buttons for kill the enemy. I can only say: When this expansion of WoW will launch it, WAR will be own" Your kidding right? Either that, or your a Blizzard fanboi idiot, who cannot grasp the basics of grammer. WAR, has a far more strategic PVP system than WOW, it makes WOW's PVP look very stupid. But on the other hand, WOW has a better PVE system. If you truley believe you can just hit four buttons to win in WAR, you must have never even got out of t1

Anakiin
Anakiin

I disagree with GIF, I think the graphics in the game still look great. If they are going to overhaul the graphics engine they might as well come out with a newer, updated Warcraft MMORPRPG that fuses voice overs and a wider variety of spells to choose from.

mindstorm
mindstorm

Hopefully this will take out a little bit of the almost grinding feeling that pvp gives. I'm not entirely sure what to think about getting experience from pvp as well. Does that mean 19/29/39/etc twinks will gain experience in BG's as well? If so, some will be quite upset. I suppose it has it's positives and negatives. I have no twinks so I'm happy about it overall. :D

J1GS4W7
J1GS4W7

Completely agree, GIF. WoW's graphics are outdated. I know people think that the graphics add to the artistic appeal and setting of the game but, come on. As far as all the WoW vs WAR exclusivity, I don't understand it. I played WoW for 3 years and I'll probably pick it up again during the WoTLK just to see if they can redeem it in my eyes. WAR is more PvP focused and that's why people will stick with it. Also, I would argue that WAR is just as strategic, if not more so, than WoW. Sure you can just press 4 buttons...and you'll be owned in any tier after 1.

GIF
GIF

WOW needs a graphic overhaul. Stop giving us more of the same content and hire an entire team of artists to upgrade the whole world visually. And yes I would like to take part

IDarkNight
IDarkNight

Look, the PvP of WAR don't have any strategy is only press 4 buttons for kill the enemy. I can only say: When this expansion of WoW will launch it, WAR will be own.

ramesses
ramesses

I don't know what everyone is talking about. I like both WoW and WAR....improvements to WoW get me just as excited as future enhancements to WAR. Why do you have to be one or the other?

Roland123_basic
Roland123_basic

too bad WOW still cant compete with WAR in the PVP department... blizz should stick to what they are good at and just cut PVP out of the game. WARs pvp is far superior to wow.

Teh_Dana
Teh_Dana

WAR doesnt needs more non pvp content because its not pve game like WoW.

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

Wellppp there goes any hopes I had that one day WAR would be able to compete with wow. War's only chance now would be to lower monthly costs and get to work on non pvp content in my opinion.

Kashmiro
Kashmiro

I don't know where every gets all this about WAR... I played it, it is WoW in a shiny new cover. Except that it doesn't function as well as WoW! It just seemed extremely jumpy to me... and on my character in WAR all it was was 1/2/1/2/1/2/1/2 there was nothing interesting just really basic attack... no strategy!

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

People only say WAR is amazing because it's new. These are the same people that said WoW was awesome because it was new. After time, flaws became apparent, and they got bored of WoW on top of that after playing it for years. Same thing will happen with WAR. Eventually, flaws will be apparent, and people will get bored of the game because they've played it for too long. Then they'll be saying WAR sucks compared to whatever latest MMO is coming out.

Mystoksor
Mystoksor

I'm glad to see Blizz taking some action to galvanize PvP content, but this really feels like more of the same

Heero47
Heero47

for me i see many people telling that war is better but i cant afford both and i like wow i hate war cuz they wanna be like Wow not different they steal ideas but no matter graphics, performance and other things i like blizzard and they'll be ultimate in my opinion, i first played starcraft one then warcraft 2 then 3 then wow private and i love them all and i still play them , i know some people will say u r just saying that cuz u didnt play war b4 but yes i didnt and i know ea and their games, also i think im gonna buy wotlk ^^.

-Unreal-
-Unreal-

Its funny seeing people saying WoW's now stole some ideas from WAR when these things were being developed for a while. Besides, in what way is WAR's PvP any better than WoW's? Most people that say it is, don't have close to a decent rank in PvP arena. I read on the PC forum all the time WAR fans telling people "play WAR for the PvP and WoW for the PvE", its just as if they're trying to settle at that, or "meet in the middle" as an agreement to the whole MMO vs MMO debate when the game's PvP isn't any better in the first place. There's a lot of Warhammer fans too, that even if they were fans of WoW, now play Warhammer and back that game up because they are just big fans of Warhammer.

las42
las42

If people say WoW is lame it's all because they can't afford it .

wolfie1993
wolfie1993

"The new PvP concepts are interesting enough to bring me back if I didn't already have those concepts in WAR right now." QFT All these features are available now in WAR in a new and interesting environment. Thanks for the fun, Blizz...but I'm sticking with WAR.

buckizard
buckizard

The new PvP concepts are interesting enough to bring me back if I didn't already have those concepts in WAR right now. Too little, too late. Great game that kept me playing for years but after 4 70s I realized I needed to find other games and MMOs are really beginning to evolve and get better all the time. WAR is one example. Only my opinion, but WoW has the player base it does because the game will play on any system, its been around for so long, and their overseas market is huge. I'm sure Wrath will please the players and keep them busy for a while longer.

zunit88
zunit88

wow.....they wont keep up with warhammeronline

himeraz
himeraz

Well they stole the idea of keep control in zones and experience in pvp from WAR faster then I expected.

Ztoky
Ztoky

First of all - WoW doesn't suck and do you know why? Because there is soon 11 million players playing it and I don't think they are sitting and playing the game and saying to themselves "I think this game is lame". They just can't be wrong period! Second - The ones who are saying this have either played the game too much so it gets boring or the ones who are playing another MMORPG and are just trying to come up with negative things to say about the game e.t.c. You who says the game is lame don't belong in these kind of forums and I wish you all just could stop writing these lame comments of yours. Third - You're not suppose to sit 24-7 in front of a game and then quit playing because it just got boring and tell everyone that it sucks and it lacks things to do. Forth - The ones who are saying that the graphic sucks makes me laugh, have you even seen the updated graphic on the PTR server or BETA? The textures are better and the shadows just blew my mind away. The ones who are saying that warhammer looks better are not making any sense because the environments are dull and the only thing that beats WoW on the graphic is the character models. WoW got it's own special graphic which imo will never grow old, it's just perfect for an MMORPG and the shadows are the only thing I don't like with the WoW graphic but now it's so detailed that I can't really believe my eyes, it's just so nicely done. Fifth - I've played the game since it first came out and I still got things to do on the game just because I'm not a hardcore gamer. I can get bored but I always come back because I always realize how bloody awesome the game is. I can keep on going with reasons to defend this amazing game and imo Blizzard are doing a superb job and are putting a lot of effort to make a terrific expansion with a lot of more cool content.

Thade_Claves
Thade_Claves

Looks like it will b fun, Wintergrasp sounds cool.

js0823
js0823

I keep laughing and applauding those who are still trying to get people off WoW by giving us the most convincing reasons "WoW is lame and it's crap". o_O

person2
person2

don't do it, unholy, WoW became lame long ago when they introduced server transfers, it isn't going to get any better

Nikalai_88
Nikalai_88

I think the problem with creating world PvP is that it competes with instanced PvP. Instanced PvP is usually easier to access, more fair and importantly more consistant. So if I que up I know there will be action soon, the exact opposite of world PvP; where you can show up and find nothing or be too outnumbered to do anything.

hector530
hector530

i really hope they stopped the HUGE focus on arena, from what i saw on the ptr all pvp items need arena. i for one hate the arena its boring. world pvp and BGs are where ALL real pvp happens.

Unholy_Terror
Unholy_Terror

Nooo! I've been off WoW for a while now, I feel like I shouldn't go back, but this sounds awesome

Beesond
Beesond

Awesome, I still play the hell out of WOW, and its nice to get more than just new content, these new features are fantastic. Having a giant PVP zone, that actually offers great incentives will be a very welcomed step from the crap that is Halaa.

Nekromenos
Nekromenos

Blizzard CAN'T fail. They never have.

Rasjr20
Rasjr20

Might be getting back into Wow now

cjno13
cjno13

WoW rocks cant wait for WoTLK!!