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Blizzard Entertainment publicized in 2006 that the total amount of world wide subscribers to its hit title “World of Warcraft” had hit 8 million. To put this into perspective, one would have to combine the populations of Utah, Vermont, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Nevada to reach 8 million.
In January of 2007, Blizzard launched the first expansion pack for the game, The Burning Crusade. They shattered the record of most units sold in one day with 2.4 million copies sold. With such staggering stats as these, it is safe to say that the World of Warcraft universe is undoubtedly a titan in the video game world. So how does World of Warcraft fit into the world of eSports?
The announcement of the first World Wide Arena Tournament by Blizzard has ushered in a new age for the monsterous MMORPG. Players now have the chance to show their skill in 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 player versus player combat (PvP).
PvP is something that has been around for some time now – especially in massive multiplayer role-playing games. From the most widely known PvP-centered MMORPG, Ultima Online, to other titles such as Asheron’s Call, Diablo II, Dark Age of Camelot, and Shadowbane, it is something that gamers have always been interested in.
World of Warcraft is the melting pot of many MMORPG's. People from all of the above mentioned games came to WoW only to be faced with a lackluster PvP system. Objective based PvP was fun for awhile, but after players entered Arathi Basin, Warsong Gulch, or Alterac Valley for the thousandth time, many questioned why they were playing. Players believed these battlegrounds required little skill and was more about who has the greater numbers in battles. However, with the arena system now live, it is the answer to the cries of the PvP community.
The true hardcore PvP’ers have been begging for a deathmatch system for quite some time. 5v5 in WoW is much like 5v5 in Counter-Strike. Each player plays a specific role and the players must be able to react to situations on the fly. Also, the number of variations within groups are limitless so teams need to create different strategies at the beginning of every match.
Top teams such as Notorious, TAO, Overrated, Eminence, Insurrection, and Vicious Cycle have already started to dominate their respected battlegroups. For the most part, the hardcore players of the game have been focused more about player versus. enviroment (PvE). Racing for the world's first kill was the only thing that mattered pre-arena. Now with the arena system, they have something to show their own individual skill as well as teamwork.
Not only is it a higher skill based system than that of the old style PvP, but players now are fighting for something more then item rewards for their time spent in the arena. Teams participating in the 5v5 matches will be competing for a spot in a regional qualifier, ultimately heading towards a spot at the first ever World of Warcraft World Championships. If this isnt an eSport in your mind by now, then what is it?
GotFrag plans to be here every step of the way and bring you the best coverage of the events ahead. Player interviews, in-depth character guides, patch changes and how they will affect the game, weekly arena standing updates and much, much more.