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World of Warcraft Arena Tournament Interview

Author: inwowgold Source:

GameSpy: Have you looked internally at the distribution of players doing arenas on the live realm, separating those who are playing competitively with those selling teams or just tanking games to get gear?
Tom Chilton: We don't really have any way of knowing that. We can't distinguish what the intent of a given player is, whether they consider themselves to be competitive or whether they're just doing it for the gear or whatever. Certainly as far as players who are trying to exploit the system through loopholes, we have some changes coming in a patch just a few weeks away where we'll close a lot of those loopholes.
GameSpy: Are you able to talk about those changes yet?
Tom Chilton: Not just yet.
GameSpy: But we can expect the changes will be targeted at the point-selling teams.
Tom Chilton: Point selling, personal rating selling.
GameSpy: The two big things that players seem like they're against are the point-selling teams, since you can face highly skilled and geared players at even the low ratings, and those who bring alts or friends on a team to tank a team so that they can then get a high personal rating on the real team.
Tom Chilton: Exactly, that's what we'll be addressing.
GameSpy: How did you go from way back in the days when you didn't believe that World of Warcraft could ever be a competitive eSports type game to now, when you have an eSports team on board?
Tom Chilton : I'll tell you, it's been a slow evolution. When WoW first came out, we didn't really have any semblance of organized PvP. We had Tarren Mill versus Southshore...
GameSpy: Which was awesome!
Tom Chilton : That's nostalgia speaking! I remember you were interviewing me at E3 a couple years ago and you not thinking that it was so awesome.

We kind of slowly went from there, to trying to bring some organization to it with the Battlegrounds. Giving the game a little more capability for players to feel like it was a fair, controlled encounter. Then it was a natural evolution from that.

Granted, the arena as a concept has been around for years. Years before WoW came out we were talking about the idea of an arena system. But we never really knew when we were going to get around to doing it. It was one of those features that was sort of over the top, and as it became more realistic it kind of crystallized and made sense.
GameSpy: Has shifting WoW over to a game with a full-fledged arena system for competitive players heavily influenced development in other aspects of the game? Making sure that classes and talents remain arena viable?
Tom Chilton: Sure, we call it the Arena magnifying glass. There's definitely more emphasis now on class balance. It puts everything under the microscope. Even what would ordinarily be considered extremely small balance differences really look big under the arena microscope. It's definitely influenced us in terms of the things we have to do so that players feel that it's a strong and balanced environment.

At the same time, WoW isn't just an arena game. We always have to play that against what the implications are for the rest of the game. To make sure that nothing that we do isn't making the rest of the game not fun. All aspects of the game are now tied together. Inevitably, changes that we make don't influence PvP alone, and don't influence PvE alone, so we're very cognizant of that every time that we make a change.

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