Arenas are instanced areas in which teams of players can compete against each other in deathmatch-style PvP. Unlike battlegrounds, the arenas are not based on objectives, but simply your team's ability to obliterate the other team. Arena matches are available in three size: 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5.
Arena is a form of rated PvP. Winning and losing matches will adjust the personal rating and matchmaking rating (MMR) of players accordingly. Match selections are determined based on the average MMR of the team. Alternatively, players can queue for unrated arena matches through the War Games option.
Players can queue for arenas through the Conquest tab of the PvP interface. Players in a party of the appropriate size (cross-realm groups are supported) may queue for an arena bracket of the same size.
Seven arenas are currently available:
- The Ring of Trials in Nagrand
- The Circle of Blood Arena in Blade's Edge Mountains
- The Ruins of Lordaeron in Tirisfal Glades
- The Dalaran Arena in the Underbelly of Dalaran
- The Ring of Valor in Orgrimmar
- The Tol'Viron Arena in Uldum
- The Tiger's Peak in Kun-Lai Summit
Several forms of rating exist for rated arenas. Arenas initiated as War Games do not affect any of your ratings, and are played against the selected opponents regardless of ratings.
Matchmaking Rating (MMR) is a secondary rating that is used to match groups of players against others at about the same skill level. Each player's MMR increases or decreases with each victory or loss, adjusted by the MMR of the opposing team, and can only be seen at the end of each fight. Match selections are determined based on the average MMR of the individual members of the team, i.e. if you have 1600 MMR, you will almost always fight against other teams with around 1600 MMR.
Each character also has its own personal rating(s). A separate personal rating exists for each type of arena (2v2, 3v3 and 5v5) as well as for rated battlegrounds. Personal ratings are only affected by your own accomplishments, and are adjusted according to your wins and losses against other teams.
Personal rating is used to increase the maximum amount of you may obtain the following week, and to let you buy even more powerful PvP rewards. The cap (for arenas) starts at 1350, but as soon as your personal rating exceeds 1500, the cap will gradually increase. This cap can be calculated if you go to the bottom of your character's armory profile and press "More PvP information", then click the "Conquest Point Calculator" in the top right. Personal rating is also used in requirements for some enchantments and elite gear. If you have a 3v3 or 5v5 personal rating of 2200 or more you will start being able to buy the elite equipment of the current season.
Arena combat comes with a number of restrictions, intended to improve balance and fairness in matches. Some items and abilities are therefore not usable in arena. Many of these restrictions also apply to rated battlegrounds.
- In general, abilities with a cooldown of 10 minutes or longer cannot be used
- A handful of other abilities also cannot be used
- Certain items cannot be used, including most flasks
- Conjured consumables, bandages, and purchased water may be used. Other consumables may not. Any water that requires level 90 can be used.
Cross-team communication is prevented in arena and rated battlegrounds, regardless of faction. Like battlegrounds and rated battlegrounds, arena is also affected by the PvP item level cap.
Upon zoning into the arena, players start in a staging area. Health, mana, and energy are all restored, all buffs and conjured items are removed and pets are dismissed (debuffs will remain, and pets can be re-summoned once you zone in). Players are also given the Arena Preparation buff, which removes the resource cost of all abilities.
The opposing team's target frames are displayed in the user interface, allowing players to inspect the class and specialization of their opponents. Players can also reset their talents during the preparation stage at no cost, allowing them to customise their abilities in consideration of the opposition. Any changes made to a player's talents during this stage are reverted once the player leaves the arena.
After 60 seconds of preparation, the match commences. All buffs with fewer than 30 seconds remaining are removed and rage/runic power is reset to 0.
Players battle it out until all the members of one team are defeated or choose to leave, or until 20 minutes have elapsed. If neither team has won after 20 minutes, the match will end in a draw.
Once a player dies, they can choose to enter spectator mode and observe the remainder of the match as a ghost.
Dampening is a stacking debuff that occurs in Arena matches that run too long, designed to prevent matches from ending in a draw. It reduces healing received and absorption effects by 1% per stack.
- Dampening is applied after 5 minutes for 2v2 games, and after 10 minutes for 3v3 and 5v5 games.
- Once this time has elapsed, each player will gain a stack of Dampening every 10 seconds.
- 's healing absorption is not affected by Dampening.
Shadow Sight orbs
Located around each arena are a number of Shadow Sight orbs. Walking into one of these objects will grant the player the 15-second Shadow Sight buff, significantly increasing their stealth and invisibility detection, but also increasing their damage taken by 5% and preventing them from entering stealth. These orbs are provided in order to facilitate combat with opponents who may prefer to remain stealthed. The orbs are consumed on use, but regularly regenerate.
Once all the players on one team have either died or left, a statistics window is shown similar to the ones in battlegrounds. The window also shows any rating adjustments as a result of the match.
The statistics window also displays your MMR. Note that this is the only point at which it is possible to view your MMR, as this information is not accessible through any other means.
In the past, players wishing to compete in arena combat were required to create or join an arena team. With Patch 5.4.0 formal arena teams were removed, along with team rating, and any player in a party of the appropriate size may queue for arena matches through the PvP interface. The term 'team' is still used to refer to a participating group of players.
Winners of arena matches are awarded , used for the purchase and upgrade of the most powerful PvP rewards.
At the end of each arena season, players that rank among the highest ratings within the 3v3 and 5v5 brackets are awarded titles marking their accomplishments. Players who have been in at least 20% of a top arena team's matches will receive a title according to their standing. Gladiator titles also award players with Master Riding and a Custom Gladiator mount. With Patch 5.4.0, arena ladders and rewards are no longer battlegroup-specific, but instead are sorted by region. See PvP title rewards for more information.
- Main article: Arena Tournament
Every year an Arena Tournament is held on a special event realm where players of all battlegroups compete against each other for cash and prizes.
|List of content achievements|
As of June 2014, less than 0.5% of Arena games last the full 20 minutes.
Warlords of Draenor
This section concerns content exclusive to Warlords of Draenor.
Planned for Warlords of Draenor are the return of skirmishes, a casual version of arena combat, featuring 2v2 and 3v3 matches. These matches will not affect ratings, and are intended to be a good way to try out new team members, specs or comps, as well as providing a chance to engage in arena play on a more casual basis. Skirmishes are also intended to allow players who are less experienced in PvP or who lack the teammates for regular arena to discover and experiment with arena play for the first time. Skirmishes will also be available to low-level characters.
Players will be able to queue for skirmishes in groups or solo, for either 2v2 or 3v3 matches. If the player's group does not fill the chosen bracket size, they will be matched with other queuing players to complete the team, similar to when queuing for a battleground. Each player's specialization/class role will also be taken into account, and the system will attempt to create effective pairings, such as pairing a DPS with a healer.
While primarily casual matches, skirmishes will not be without their rewards. Winning a skirmish will grant the winning players as well as a random bonus, which could be gold, more Honor, a small amount of , a piece of Honor PvP gear, or rarely even a piece of Conquest PvP gear.  Below max level, skirmishes will also grant XP.
Skirmishes will use a hidden matchmaking rating to determine pairings, but will be more focused on speed than other forms of PvP, and will find matches more quickly than regular arena matches.
Skirmishes were first introduced along with the arena system itself at the start of The Burning Crusade. However, by the time of Cataclysm the feature was seeing very little use by players and the feature was removed, replaced by War Games.
With plans for the Warlords of Draenor expansion, the developers felt a growing demand for a form of "low-pressure" arena play, leading them to consider reintroducing the feature. Another motivation was the observed higher player participation in gameplay such as battlegrounds where solo-queuing is possible. The reintroduction of skirmishes may also have partly come about due to the cancellation of the planned Trial of the Gladiator PvP feature.
- Hotfix (2014-05-13): "
- can no longer be cast during the Preparation phase in Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Rated Battlegrounds.
- Ruby Hare is no longer usable in Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds."
- Patch 5.4.7 (2014-02-18):
- For the 2v2 Arena bracket, Dampening is now applied to the match starting at the 5 minute mark (down from 10 minutes).
- For 3v3 and 5v5 Arena brackets, there is no change. Dampening will continue to be applied at the 10 minute mark.
- Hotfix (2013-10-22): "Players who pick up a Shadow Sight orb will be unable to stealth for the duration of the effect."
- Hotfix (2013-10-21): "
- [Requires a realm restart.] The Crowd Chose You has been removed and replaced with a debuff called Dampening.
- [Requires a realm restart.] For Arena matches that last more than 10 minutes, all players in the Arena will begin to receive Dampening.
- Dampening is a stacking debuff applied to all players in the Arena every 10 seconds.
- Patch 5.4.0 (2013-09-10):
- Redesigned Arena System
- Players no longer need to create or join an Arena team to compete.
- Similar to the Rated Battleground system, players in a party of the appropriate size (cross-realm groups are supported) may queue for an Arena bracket of the same size (2v2, 3v3, or 5v5).
- Each player will have a personal rating that increase or decrease based on victories and defeats against other rated opponents. Opponents will be selected based on the average Match Making Rating of the party.
- Conquest cap, requirements on gear and enchantments will be based on the player's personal rating.
- The Arena ladder will no longer be sorted according to Battlegroup. Just like Rated Battlegrounds and normal Battlegrounds, all Arenas will now be region-wide!
- At the end of an Arena season, the top players in a region will still earn titles and mounts.
- For more details about the change to Arenas, please see the blog titled: Patch 5.4 Arena Update.
- For Arena matches lasting longer than 15 minutes, one of the teams will receive a buff called "The Crowd Chose You" that increases damage, critical strike chance, stealth detection, and reduces damage taken. The buff is awarded based on the following criteria.
- Team with the largest number of players alive.
- Team that brought an enemy player closest to death (lowest health).
- Arena Rating scaling in the 2v2 bracket has been tuned to be consistent with the 3v3 bracket.
- Redesigned Arena System
- Patch 5.3.0 (2013-05-21):
- Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas now have an ilevel cap. All gear will be scaled down to ilevel 496.
- Several new arena team icons have been added.
- Patch 5.1.0 (2012-11-27): Arena matches now have a 25 minute time limit (was 45 minutes).
- Hotfix (2012-10-16): "Teams queueing for Arenas will temporarily no longer be placed into the The Ring of Valor."
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Players in arena matches are now automatically added to the opposing team's enemy unit frames UI component as soon as they zone in, allowing players to view the class and specialization of their opponents during the preparation period. Prior to this, players had no way of discovering their opponents' classes or specializations until they were encountered during the match.
- Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26):
- Arena teams are now awarded guild experience for wins. The entire team must be members of the same guild to earn this experience.
- The amount of Conquest Points awarded for Arena wins has been normalized across the board. Players will now receive 180 Conquest Points for a win up to the weekly cap, regardless of rating or matchup.
- Arena matchmaking can now extend beyond a team's Battlegroup.
- Patch 4.0.6 (2011-02-08): , , and can no longer be cast while in Arenas.
- Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12):
- All Arena Points, , Battleground Marks of Honor, Stone Keeper's Shards, Venture Coins, and Spirit Shards have been converted into new Honor Points.
- Honor Points will be awarded instead of these currencies, with the exception of Arena Points.
- Higher-tier Conquest Points will be awarded to players competing in each of the latest Arena or Rated Battleground seasons after the launch of Cataclysm.
- The Arena Teams pane has been improved.
- Undocumented: Skirmishes have been removed.
- Patch 3.3.3 (2010-03-23): Players can now be queued for battlegrounds and arenas at the same time.
- Patch 3.3.2 (2010-02-01): All healing abilities (including items such as potions) will be decreased in effectiveness by 10% when in Battlegrounds, Arenas, or Wintergrasp.
- Patch 3.3.0 (2009-12-08): All abilities that have base cooldowns of 10 minutes or longer cannot be used in Arenas, down from 15 minutes.
- Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04):
- Beginning with season 7, players will no longer have access to the newest season's weapons or shoulder armor and will not qualify for the <Gladiator> title/rewards with ratings from the 2v2 bracket alone. Ratings obtained through 3v3 and 5v5 game play will be required for these rewards, while the rest of the newest season's items will remain available to players in all brackets (standard rating restrictions still apply).
- and no longer usable in arenas. Amount of health and mana has been increased, and the cooldown reduced.
- Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): Enemy Unit Frames: This feature is only available while in Arenas, with several options in the Interface Options.
- Patch 3.0.8 (2009-01-20):
- Arena rating requirements for all Deadly Gladiator's Arena items have been reduced by 100.
- All rage and runic power are set to 0 when an Arena begins and the preparation period is over.
- Ring of Valor: The small pillars will now rise immediately once the arena begins.
- Arena: Dalaran Sewer: The Flush effect which pushes players out will now also remove the ability to use Demonic Circles summoned during the arena start time.
- Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14):
- Two new Arenas have been added; the Orgrimmar Arena and the Dalaran Arena can now be accessed.
- Buffs that have 30 seconds or less remaining will be removed once the game starts. However, the mage spell " [Invisibility]" is not affected by this change.
- Patch 2.4.2 (2008-05-13):
- If a character's personal rating is more than 150 points below the team rating, they will earn points based on their personal rating instead of the team rating.
- If the average personal rating of the players queuing for a game is more than 150 points below the team's rating, the team will be queued against an opponent matching or similar to the average personal rating.
- Patch 2.3.0 (2007-11-13):
- The top ranked team of each battlegroup for each format will receive a new unique title for the end of Season 2 called “Merciless Gladiator”.
- New Arena System: Personal Ratings
- The Personal Rating will be unique for each team the character belongs to.
- It will rise and fall using the same formula as the Team Ratings.
- It will only be affected by the games that the player plays in, not all team games.
- Eligibility for end of season rewards will be determined by the Personal Rating, which must be within 100 of the team's rating.
- It can't be padded by joining a new team. The Personal Rating will reset for the bracket when a new team is joined.
- Season Three gear will require a certain amount of arena rating points. Furthermore, the rating requirement is based on a new personal arena rating that is independent for each member on a team.
- Patch 2.2.0 (2007-09-25):
- Arena calculations have been modified. In addition, the penalty for smaller arena teams (2v2, 3v3) has been slightly reduced.
- Items that are indicated as quest items in their tooltips and have a "use" or "equip" ability will not work in PvP arenas.
- Players will no longer be able to change armor once an arena battle has begun. Changing armor will still be available during the one-minute prep time prior to the battle. Main hand, off hand and range weapon swapping in combat remains unchanged.
- Patch 2.1.0 (2007-05-22): For those combatants engaging in the Steamwheedle Cartel’s gladiatorial combat, an arena nestled within the Ruins of Lordaeron has been added to the mix of venues. Players taking part in either rated battles or skirmishes may now find themselves battling for glory within the new arena.
- Patch 2.0.12 (2007-04-03): Players will no longer be able to see their opponents in the Combat Log of an Arena match-up before the game starts.
- Patch 2.0.3 (2007-01-09):
- Players can use the /teamquit or /teamdisband command in order to leave an Arena team.
- Healthstones and summoned warlock pets will no longer cost a soulshard to summon in the Arena preparation area. All summoned items and pets will be dismissed on leaving the arena.
- The last pet a player had summoned will be resummoned outside the Arena upon leaving.
- Patch 2.0.1 (2006-12-05): Two New Arenas are now available in three different modes.
- 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 matches
- Players may queue up at Goblin NPC's in Stormwind, Ironforge, Orgrimmar, Undercity, and Gadgetzan
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-06-23).
- ^ a b c Warlords of Draenor—PvP Update. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-02-18).
- ^ a b c d e f g WoW Source: Warlords of Draenor PvP and Class Updates. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-04-22).
- ^ Brian Holinka 2014-05-03. Brian Holinka on Twitter.
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-06-29).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-07-07).
- ^ Brian Holinka 2104-04-22. Twitter / holinka.
- ^ Brian Holinka 2014-04-18. Twitter / holinka.