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Well, it's that time again and we got the official word from Blizzard that Season 9 will be ending soon:

Official Blizzard Quote:

Arena and Rated Battleground Season 9 is scheduled to end as early as June 21. At that point we will determine who is eligible for the end-of-season rewards, a process that should take approximately one week. It's very important for players who feel that they may be eligible for Arena titles and/or the Vicious Gladiator’s Twilight Drake to refrain from transferring their characters to another realm or faction until after Season 9 ends. During the break between seasons, all Rated Battleground and Arena matches will be unavailable.

At the end of the season, Conquest Points will be converted to Honor Points, possibly exceeding the 4,000 point Honor cap. All Season 9 items will cost Honor Points (equivalent to their previous Conquest Point cost) when the season ends, with the exception of any items with rating requirements attached. These items will no longer be available for purchase.

The next Arena and Rated Battleground season will begin for level-85 players approximately one week after the end of Season 9 and will coincide with the awarding of Season 9 titles and mounts. At that time, any Honor accrued above the 4,000-point cap will be converted into gold at a rate of 35 silver per point. In addition, Season 10 rewards will be made available for purchase with Conquest Points awarded during the new season. All Team and Personal Ratings will be wiped when Season 10 begins. Matchmaking Ratings, however, will carry over into Season 10.

We'll be working on getting the title calculator up and running ASAP. I'll keep everyone update on the progress here in the news feed as well as our Facebook and Twitter. I have re-activated the Gladiator Bubble forum for rating discussions as you make your push for Glad.

Good luck as you all push for titles!

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Barburas and I had a little chat, here is what came out of it:

General Information:
Most of the readers here at ArenaJunkies know who you are and what you have achieved, but would you mind just giving a quick introduction for those who do not know?
Hello, I play a warrior (and more recently a warlock) called Barburas. I’ve achieved gladiator every season as well as Vengeful Gladiator, Furious Gladiator and Wrathful Gladiator on my warrior.

I qualified for the 2010 European regionals playing Warrior/Warlock/Paladin setup as the team SK Sansibar and we came 3rd there – This Site has some videos of our games there if people are interested.

Any special story on how you came up with the name Barburas?
Nothing too special, I was a young kid and looking to make a name that sounded "warriorish" and cool and I guess I sort of modified Barbarian or something.

Real Life Name: James Goodhead

Location: United Kingdom

Age: 21

Player Introudction
Let us just start by getting the gaming rig set. Type of mouse, keyboard, and headset?
Currently using some nice steelseries gear that SK Sansibar kindly provided ahead of 2010 European regionals: Steelseries Xai mice, 7g keyboard, Steelseries 5hv2 headset.

You told me before we started, that you are currently inactive mainly due to frustration about the classes you are playing, would you mind giving details on that?
Well, I said that before patch 4.1 arrived. I haven’t played enough with patch 4.1 to tell if I’m enjoying the game as much as I used to; but it definitely has made helpful changes to both the classes I play which I was frustrated with.

Firstly warriors, I felt that patch 4.0.6 had wrongly went about addressing warriors, instead of lowering damage they decided to further reduce control, utility and mobility (which aside from mobility (which many warriors, myself included, felt was their “niche” and part of the reason the class was fun to play) warriors were already lacking in while increasing the damage which was already VERY high.

This was further followed up with hotfixes which added even more damage to warriors, as well as other overall changes to things such as snare length which affected warriors more than other classes (as most classes by this point have passive/non gcd based snare applications) into continuing to feel clunky and annoying to play. Essentially the patch culminated in there being less difference between good and bad warriors and skilful/interesting play being less rewarded over pop all cooldowns and one shot something play. For me, that was wholly unsatisfying so led to me more or less not playing my warrior at all.

Patch 4.1 has at least made some effort to address this, but I haven’t played my warrior yet enough to say if it’s enough to make me enjoy it again. Although there were some changes which I think are counter to this logic such as increasing Spell Reflect cooldown from 10s to 25s (20s with glyph).

On the warlock side, it was almost a case of an opposite extreme. While utility was very high, and overall damage was certainly not bad at all – the single target damage was pathetic, especially when compared to how as a warlock in wrath you could really feel like you were making a difference in killing a target rather than being solely a CCer. To make the point, if on my lock (while human so double trinkets) I popped every cooldown I have in a duel vs a Resto shaman who was doing nothing but spamming dispel on himself, I would be unable to drop him below 90%. That was also partly due to the strength of Cleansing waters, which was another problem this latest patch has remedied.

The patch has helped add a bit more damage to warlocks (albeit much of it is by pet damage which has its own frustrations) and made dispelling UA have a meaningful penalty again, and so far (despite playing with several bugs post patch which will be hotfixed soon) made me enjoy playing my lock more.

Last season was filled with Drama regarding Win-trading, Sharing Titles and people doing everything to get their titles. I remember reading one incidence that really sticks out as one of those amazing stories, that being how you achieved your Wrathful Gladiator. I know this has potential to be a really long story, but could you just sketch this up as I find this a pretty fascinating story?
Sure, As it is a rather long story I will just quote my answer from a previous interview:

The following is taken from zileas interview with Barburas from December 8, 2010.
"Sure, The story I guess starts in that our original team on cyclone had myself and another warrior Bladey in it. Anyway I was messing about with SC2 some after regionals as I had just got it and was having some fun and in that time they played some with WLP with bladey and got up to a share rating with another team playing prot war/hunter/pala. When I asked to play since my personal rating wasn't in range Draintrain said he didn't want to so I was forced to do something else to get rank 1. Fraki had another paladin so said he would help me out and James from aAa also was up for helping, so we looked for a BG to go to and decided to go to EU-Charge because there were 7 teams sharing there and the prospect of breaking such a share was quite fun. So we got there, made a team called "sharing is wrong" and within a week or so had took rank 1 with a good lead.

But here's where things got interesting, there's a person on that BG called "Mr. B" who apparently likes to consider the BG his "own" and took this as an insult so he convinced a priest/warlock from cyclone to migrate over to play double healer warlock with him to take rank 1 from us - which under normal circumstances they'd have no chance of doing but they managed to get my IP and used a technique called DDOS attacks to overwhelm my connection and force a reconnect - essentially causing us to tank rating. This was done by one of "Mr. B's" guildies "Mr. R" and he even made a joke picture out of it You can see it here It's in german but it basically shows me doing no damage because they d/ced me and got a free win.

So anyway they were blackmailing us to share rank 1 with us (in reality they wouldn't share, not that we wanted to) because they could just d/c us and take rank 1 for themselves. As it came down to the last night I was able to change my IP so was hopefully safe from being DDOSed and they hadn't quite reached our rating but they were win trading with guildies in "Guild C" to try get above us at the last minute. The warlock/priest were still not in PR range and they knew they couldn't get in range and only then did they realise "Mr. B" didn't care about them and was just trying to take r1 to fulfil his ego about "owning charge".

Anyway, they tried a last ditch effort to stall us by sending a 3 healer team from their guild with high MMR to stall us with a game until the servers went down while they finally win traded above us - but with poetic justice this plan backfired horribly and we killed their 3 healer team in under 2 minutes and gave us so many points that they couldn't possibly pass us - You can see the match here The servers went down 2 minutes later.

And just to add even more awesomeness to the story, "Mr. B" was due to get r1 in 5s with a 4 way share since we ruined his 7 way share in 3s. But blizzard decided they didn't like sharing so much anymore and only 1 team got r1 from 5s and it wasn't his. Quite the story!"

What is your opinion on Sharing titles and could you also comment blizzards approach of banning some and just giving the title "randomly" to one of the teams?
Well, generally speaking I don’t really like mass sharing as it cheapens the title and goes against the fun sense of competition. I don’t really know about blizzard’s inner methods so I really won’t comment on that as it would only be speculation.

Right, enough of the drama potential. Time to get a little more into detail, what do you do in your spare time, besides playing WoW?
I’m studying Veterinary Medicine at a university here in the U.K. so that takes a fair bit of my time, I play some other games like Starcraft 2 as well as single player RPGs like Mass Effect/Dragon Age occasionally too and play some Tennis/Squash (at a very amateur level).

How did you get into gaming, what were some of the first games you played?
I don’t really remember all of the very early games I played but I started gaming quite young on consoles like the Sega Mega Drive and later the Nintendo 64, playing games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Zelda, Mario, as well as some early PC games. I got a PS2 and played that for quite a bit playing a variety of games though the Final Fantasy series was always my favourite, but since then I haven’t really played that much on consoles and mostly stuck to the PC.

What made you start on wow and what made you stay on wow?
I’d been playing some kinda average MMORPGs after being introduced to them by friends/relatives such as Star Wars: Galaxies. Anyway one of my brother’s friends had lent him a copy of WoW sometime early in release and I played a paladin up to like level 20 over a week on that. I had planned to roll a Ret Paladin but my brother was rolling a priest and he told me a Warrior would go with it better so I went with that (reluctantly at the time).

Anything you are specifically proud of in terms of gaming accomplishment?
I guess I was fairly happy with how I did at European regionals, considering it was my first (and only) LAN I had been to. But otherwise nothing too specific.

What about the future, can we expect to see you back in the wow scene if so what would you like to achieve and if not then what should change before you would come back?
If I find the game fun then I’ll probably continue to play to some extent, the extent being based off how much time I need to commit to irl stuff such as exams and so on. If there are future tournaments then I’d love to try attend some but as I’ve not been too active lately I don’t really have a team to go with currently so that would be difficult I guess!

Team And E-Sport Questions
Now time to get a little more into the team oriented questions. First of all you are one of the most eligible to answer this question as you have managed to find success with your teams every season, what do you think is the most critical aspect to a team's success.
I guess a good team atmosphere and getting along is probably the most important. Try not to rage at each other (though playing a warrior prior in 4.0.6 really frustrated the crap out of me) and don’t be afraid to try out new strategies and try overcome your weaknesses rather than instantly giving up if you have trouble with a team/strategy and so on.

Now even though you are inactive currently, did you find yourself to try Rated Battlegrounds? And how would compare Rated Battleground's to Arena, in terms of skill level, team effort and such?
I tried them out a little bit early on, but if I’m being honest that type of thing isn’t for me. I prefer smaller scale PvP where the only objective is to kill the other team first, rather than the larger scale objective based PvP – so I’ve more or less ignored them.

As you had success and made it that one step further, perhaps you could share some of your knowledge to this success, How does a player know when they are ready to try and go pro and what can they actively do to try and get to the point?
I don’t really know about there being a point where you know you’re ready to go pro, especially with a game like WoW, I never considered going pro or consider myself a pro because I went to a LAN event.

WoW is often in flux in terms of balance and is if honest not currently the best game for an E-sport. I just treated it as a fun side thing that I got to do and just did my best at the LAN. Otherwise, I wouldn’t say you need any special knowledge just try to improve as much as possible as a player.

Improving as much as possible as a player, could you explain what lies within this?
Keep trying to improve and try not get such a big ego that you think you’re better and always will be better than others, because if you get into that mindset I think you’ll generally get worse.

As you have been to a tournament a lot of people are curious as to know more about the whole experience of going there. Perhaps you could take us through a normal "weekend" at the tournament, what you do when you are there?
Well, I’ve only been to one tournament and I don’t really think I could call my weekend there typical… But basing what I know from that tournament (which I think is typical of the blizzard run regionals) is get there the day before, meet others and find out the general schedule/check into the hotel – went to a blizzard paid dinner at a nice Brazilian restaurant.

Next day setup at the computers they provided and tried to have everything ready for the matches which started a few hours later, played the first day in that room (and also some games on stage), if you got knocked out at this point you would go and have a good time, my team wasn’t so we didn’t drink too much or anything at this point and got up early the next day to practice ahead of the 2nd day games.

After all the games were over we mostly just had fun with the other players while we waited for our flights. I ended up drinking a little too much though and ended up waking up in a german hospital the following morning… not really proud of that one but shit happens.

In the upcoming to the tournament, did you and your team have any special training you did before you went there, or did you just play a few more games up to it?
We just practiced as much as possible particularly against the setups we struggled the most versus as well as theorycrafting a bit about where we’re weak and how we can become better in those areas.

e-Sport right now for Arena is pretty weak, do you think Arena will ever have a strong or at least stronger role in e-Sport in the future?
It’s possible, I don’t think WoW will ever be an e-sport on a big level in the way say Starcraft 2 is, but could be ok for occasional events if the game isn’t in too stale or bland a place (for example LSD/MLD dominance s8 or early PHD/beastcleave dominance s5/s6).

Pro Tips
Let's start by three quick tips to the warrior who wants to improve
I guess it’s the same as I would to any class really, keybind as much as you can (preferably everything), play as much as you can to get used to the keybinds/what strategies work/how you move your melee and use a clean UI so you don’t have information overload.

When seeing beginners play warrior is there something common, mistakes or such that they tend to do that you think is wrong?
One thing I see a lot of warriors do which I think don’t think should be done as commonly as they do is blowing their major cooldowns like Recklessness before the 15 seconds or so it takes to stack up the talent Lambs to the Slaughter which gives them a 30% damage bonus on their major special abilities.

Wrap Up
If you were to change one thing in World of Warcraft: Arena, what would that be?
I guess as I’ve not been playing lately I’ll just say a general one which has been an issue since forever – I’d remove the ability to use PvE gear, at least any above an item level that can be obtained from PvP.

What song are you listening the most to right now?
Some dubstep song, not usually listening to any specific one but I guess I like the artist Skrillex right now.

Anything you would like to add or any shoutouts?
Not really except to thank my partners who’ve played with me now and in the past and for SK who gave me this nice gaming equipment!

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Hey guys, this is a minor update, but I wanted to make sure everyone check out the updated videos section. We now have thumbnails, a featured video, and popular videos. Of course, you can still sort by bracket.

So, if you haven't already seen it, go check out the update videos section and submit your own PvP videos.

That's all for now. Hope everyone's having a good week thus far.

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