That's right folks, it is a Monday and this is a new post for the second straight Monday. What is even better is that I am not even posting for the sake of posting, but something interesting was actually revealed over the weekend! Before I get into that, let me just get this out there: I have not played on the live servers for probably over two months because of the wedding, for one, and because of how hilariously broken the game is at present, for two. I still subscribe to Squanky's YouTube channel and as such I receive email updates whenever he posts a new video. He recently came back to the WoW scene of late to run some triple-dps Hunter games, and I have to say that they really illustrate how broken PvP is on live at present. His Ret Pally can heal just about anyone on the team for ~80% of their total HP, Squanky can (in decent gear) drop 30k crits regularly, and Rogues are still a broken bag of control, damage, and survivability. That being said, I have been sticking to L4D and DIII.

Enough of that! What did the Devs post over the weekend? Well, it did not make much of a splash on MMO-Champion because it was posted on the European site, but there was a developer blog entry entitled The Future of PvP in Mists of Pandaria. In this post Tom Chilton, the original and current game director, answered questions posed from Nethaera regarding the direction and design of PvP in MoP. While the majority of these questions are fed from Tom, it seems, we get two small pieces of truly interesting PvP insight.

First, the new arena is called ToL'vir Proving Ground and is located in Uldum. Interestingly, the arena is hyped as a new Nagrand-style arena with less gimmicks and more balance, but has a definite lopsided feel given that there are only three pillars.

From this view, one can see that there are two definite entrances with two pillars are the (what I will simply call, for now) southern side of the map and a single pillar finishing the triangle at the mid-north. What will be most interesting about this map, besides the interesting pillar count and placement, is the extra angles gained from each southern pillar against a vantage that remains in the starting zone. Think about tournament 3v3 matches on Lordaeron; almost always one team or the other will decide the best positioning possible is in the jaws of the starting area. On Lord, this is more due to the fact that the mid-pillar is so ill-designed and the teams who utilize this technique are nigh-unkillable and put out insane damage when LoS is not an issue *cough*RLS*cough*, but on this new map, I could see the allure for moving from a pillar to a starting area for LoS purposes.

The second interesting piece of information from the blog post is that arena matches are getting an update. Particularly, Tom suggests that prior to the start of an arena match, every player will know the class and specialization of their opponents. Apparently, the UI will be updated to show the classes and specialization names of each opponent before the gates open, giving teams a bit of time to strategize before being tossed into the match. This is a boon for teams like mine who usually do not have a set strategy for a lot of odd comps, and take a few moments before acting, but it is also a huge boon for less experienced teams who might make the mistake of seeing two players and a stealthy and not see the buffs at first leaving them caught off guard when what they thought was an RLS turns out to be an MLS and the mage was Invisible. Similarly, it gives teams ample time to pick a target and get a strategy ready for facing triple-dps teams where surprise is usually part of their success.

Sadly, there was acknowledgment from the devs regarding the 'blacklist' (being able to set two maps to 'never play this map ever' on randomly queued BGs) as it pertains to arenas in a different post:
At this time blacklisting is not a part of the arena queuing system, but maybe this will change in the future.
There is a very subtle hinting at the understanding that players only want this implementation so that they can effectively turn off RoV and Dalaran Sewers (though I would rather play on Dalaran than on Lordaeron sometimes).

Lastly, another bit of sad news from the devs suggests that while they understand that players want the ability to spectate arena matches, they have no plans to implement such a feature at this time. I am afraid that this speaks largely to the death of competitive arena play supported by Blizzard. There is simply no future for Blizzard supporting such a feature because they could never utilize it properly since they no longer have arena tournaments in their conferences. Sure, it would be neat for the players to be able to spectate a given arena match, and it would certainly make broadcasting third party tournaments that much easier, but it would be of no use to Blizzard (much like the skirmish system that was removed to make way for the arena challenges).