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We just got in some exciting news from Blizzard about arenas. For a long time, Blizzard has given most of their attention to raiders, but today we're finally getting some love with the addition of Heroic Arena Maps! We've got preview of the patch notes and it appears these will be live in 4.1.12.

Official Blizzard Quote:

World of Warcraft Patch 4.1.12 Preview


Arena Maps
A new feature has been added to arenas to challenge those who have achieved ratings of 2400 or higher. Heroic Arena Maps are now available for the most dedicated PvP Players, featuring exciting new game mechanics and additional map balance tweaks.

Heroic Blade's Edge
Our new Heroic version of Blade's Edge Arena will include multiple new features to intensify up the gameplay. Included in these additions will be the following:
  • Stairs will be attached to both pillars to compensate the keyboard turners and melee players who have been falling off or been getting knocked off. In addition a pole similar to that in a fire-station will be accessible for z-axis transport.
  • A bomb will be placed on top of the fireman's pole and will detonate every one minute of game play with warnings preceding every detonation. This bomb will deal 250,000 damage to anyone in line of sight, so players will be required to avoid the detonation blast by jumping into the lower level and using line of sight to avoid the blast. One could also utilize massive defensive cooldowns to survive the excruciating damage from the blast if they cannot avoid it.
  • The extensive detonations have ignited the sand at the lower level, turning it into lava that deals 2,000 damage per second to all players in it.

Ruins of Lordaeron
The tomb on ruins of Lordaeron has been remodeled with spikes that deal damage to all players that are within a 3 yard radius. This has been done to alleviate players staying near the tomb and hence abusing line of sight mechanics.
The slime has been replaced with fiery magma that deals 10,000 damage per second. Conveniently placed fire hydrants have been added to drench the magma by soaking players in water.

Dalaran Sewers
The middle of the map has been remodeled to remove the random nature of the waterfall. In its place we've placed a spike-filled pit that permanently kills any character that falls in it.
To compensate those with knock-back abilities burdened by the addition of stairs and a fire pole on Blade's Edge Arena, we have removed the stairs from Dalaran Arena forcing anyone who falls off of the platform to be permanently stuck on the bottom floor unless they or their team has abilities to transport them back up.

Nagrand Arena
Due to overwhelming community feedback about Nagrand Arena being the most balanced map, we've added a boxing ring to the middle of the map, where randomly selected players from each arena team may face each other in one versus one combat.
The outcome of the boxing match is determined by the achievement points of each contender.  

Unfortunately, these aren't on the PTR yet, but a contact at Blizzard shared some early renderings of the Heroic arenas with us here at AJ below. We're really excited to see these fully rendered and in game. Finally, Blizzard has brought chess back to arena.

Blade's Edge
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When we posted about Reckful 3, we promised we would be highlighting more content from our users. And it just so happens that the past week or so has seen some epic arena videos from some big names, so we're rounding them up for you!

Below are recently released videos from Arthess, Azael,  Vileroze, and Vanguards. Vanguards' video was released today and we have a mini-interview with him as well.

NOTE: I have embeded the HD YouTube streams that were available, but if you follow the links by clicking on the video title, you will find alternative (probably higher quality) ways of viewing the videos that the creators have recommended.

Arthess 4

Azael 6

Unavailable as an embed. View here on WCM or download from the link above: http://warcraftmovie...w.php?id=180679

Vileroze 4

Vanguards 4

Mini-Interview with Vanguards

Vanguards launched his fourth video today and I got a chance to ask him a couple questions. He also happens to be currently rated as the top arena player on our Player Rankings.

What's new since Vanguards 3?
This video includes games that were much closer, I hope these closer games will make it more intense and enjoyable to watch. Vanguards 4 also has very slightly more editing than Vanguards 3, adding some captions for certain events that occurred in a game. Though these captions will probably be more of a humorous thing for ArenaJunkies members!

What keyboard, mouse, and headset do you use?
I use a Razor Keyboard and a Logitech Wireless Mouse that has 2 extra buttons on the left side. As for headset, my headset is just a plain Microsoft headset (it's very uncomfortable) that costed like $8 at Staples.

Not really haha, I don't really care for much on factions. Kinda just go wherever friends are and good partners are to play with.

What's your team composition? What's your biggest strength and biggest weakness?
In Vanguards 4 my team composition was Ret + War + Priest. It's biggest strength as probably anyone can figure is it's insane burst that it brings. The weakness is mobility and how vulnerable we are to CCs.

What are the top 3 tips you would give to a Paladin that's new to arenas (besides watching your videos )?
I would say these tips are more for Ret Paladins as I've never played holy.
1.) Looking at your party screen constantly
2.) Be considerate with your cooldowns
3.) Communication, it's better to talk a lot and call out insignificant things for your partners than to miss out on something completely

What's your current spec? Any changes you think you'll make in 4.1?
My current spec is 2/7/32. I'm planning to try out a spec without selfless healer in 4.1, and also in the Prot tree I plan to put eternal glory into Divinity.

Give us a little perspective on the current state of Paladins and where you see the class going in PvP?
I find holy paladins to be underpowered right now, they are from what I can see the weakest healer in the game. 4.1 doesn't seem to be addressing this in any way. Rets are strong right now, but we're getting huge nerfs in 4.1 and I definitely see us being underpowered after patch hits. So I would say from a PvP perspective paladins seem to be heading in a wrong direction.

Any shoutouts?
Shoutouts to my partners Mouzi, Getcleaved, Diziet, Venoma, Alex, and Debao!

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We had a chance to interview Reckful over the weekend. This interview kicks off a series of interviews we will be doing with top PvP figures.

We hope you guys will enjoy. So far, we've had a blast doing these and getting to know these guys a little better.

General Information
In-game Nickname and Alts:  Reckful
Real Life Name: Byron Bernstein
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Age: 21

Player Introduction
How did you get into gaming?  
I don't really remember it, but when I was two years old, I started playing mega man on regular nintendo.  My brother played a lot of MS DOS games when I was growing up (he's 10 years older than I am), so I played some Civilization 1 and Bullfrog's Syndicate, but I mostly played console games.   The most memorable ones are Secret of Mana and Super Mario RPG for SNES and then later on Final Fantasy 7.   Eventually around 1999 my brother (he's a programmer) wanted to make a Pokemon MMORPG when Pokemon was peaking in popularity.  We went to buy an MMO to see what they're like.  We first picked up the Everquest box but someone working at Circuit City told us Asheron's Call was much better and to get that, so we did.  I ended up playing that for years.  He never made Pokemon: The MMORPG.

Favorite game of all time?  
Asheron's Call.  In that MMO, if someone was Frostbolting you, you could move out of the way and avoid it (spells moved very quickly but so did players).  Because of this, it was possible to beat people 1v5, even 1v10 and I ended up making a name for myself as a mage named Anti Parazi, clearing out entire cities sometimes in FFA PVP and looting everyone's items.  When I started playing WoW I was disappointed that instant spells automatically hit me.

Tell us about your personal gaming rig. Type of mouse, keyboard, and headset?
I use a Noppoo Choc Mini chinese keyboard, a Logitech G500 mouse, and when I use a headset I use Creative's Sound Blaster Sigma (but I usually play with speakers and a table mic).

What classes do you play in WoW? Which are you competent with on a competitive level?
Only confident as a rogue, but I enjoy warrior as well.

Current PvP Spec?
8/2/31 Subtlety now, probably 10/0/31 Subtlety in 4.1.

Why Alliance?
My friends wanted faster random BG queues at the beginning of Cataclysm... they're impatient.  I don't really care alliance or horde.

What do you do in your spare time, besides playing WoW?
I've been with the same girl for 5 years now, so that (Hi Jenna), and I did some photography when I was younger (anticide.deviantart.com), but recently I've only been going out for restaurants.  I really like going out to eat for some reason.  Took two trips to Las Vegas this year that I really enjoyed but traveling gets hectic sometimes.

What is your most important gaming accomplishment to date?
I still consider my biggest accomplishments to be in the other game I played, Asheron's Call.   Hope that changes someday though.

Why are you a hardcore arena player and not, say...a hardcore raider?
I've tried hardcore raiding (raided with Exodus on Ysondre) but I just can't stay focused for entire boss encounters.  It doesn't interest me

What goals do you have for your gaming career?  
I feel like I'm satisfied, I guess my only real goal would be to make consistent money from gaming somehow, something that won't go away when I stop playing WoW.  Releasing a popular product, for example.  Maybe the world's most comfortable ass cushion.

You're known for making epic videos, Reckful 3 being your most recent. What's your motivation for putting these together? When do you think we'll see Reckful 4?
Positive responses sometimes make me smile.  It's also a nice feeling to create something permanent, as unimportant as a WoW video is in the big picture.  Reckful 4... maybe season 10.

Team Perspective
What's the most critical aspect to a team's success?  
The ability to handle a loss - continuing to communicate well and not losing respect for each other.

Current ideal team composition?  
Rogue / any dot class / healer.  I don't like playing with mages and I don't like playing cleave.   Rogues feel way less important in RMP than in other comps - garrote, cheap shot, kidney, gouge, blind, sap all share diminishing returns with RMP crowd control.   It's a good comp, of course, just not my style.

You play for Complexity on coL.Red with some other huge names in WoW PvP. What is that teams greatest strength?
Our greatest strength is Snutz's positivity.

Our greatest weakness is my negativity.

How do you think your teammates would describe you?
I'd like to think friendly, but probably bipolar.

What are you goals for coL.Red?
Happiness : )  I don't like for it to be too attached to winning.

Pro Tips
How does a player know when they are ready to try and go pro?
I don't really know.  Lots of players are over-confident and others have low self-esteem.  Personally I never intended to go pro; I was asked to join and ended up doing alright.  I didn't watch many WoW tournaments or care for it, but I enjoy it now.   If you're first in your battlegroup with a non-FOTM comp, you're probably ready to try.

Any mistakes you might have made in your professional gaming career that other players who might be trying to go pro should try to avoid?
Mostly just some social mistakes, but I can't help with those

What are the top 3 most important pieces of advice you would give a rookie arena/rbg player?
  • Watch buffs/debuffs/cast bars more closely
  • Learn all the defense & offensive abilities of each class
  • Keep experimenting for the most efficient ways to use your own

What do you enjoy MOST about WoW?
When little things make a big difference.

What are your thoughts on World of Warcraft Arena and where it is going?
There will always be some balance issues for people to complain about, but I like arenas now more than WOTLK.   I have way less matches where I feel hopeless, like what I do doesn't matter.  (I'm sure some classes have more match-ups like that, though.)  I also like the pace of the game.  It can be really demoralizing when teams beat you spamming cooldowns, so it's good to see that going away a bit.

If you could change one thing about World of Warcraft Arena, what would it be?
Less instant crowd control and more maps.  The maps don't have to have ground-breaking differences, just a change of scenery would be nice.  As for instant CC, it takes away the fun when you're put in too many unavoidable CCs (I know rogues have a lot of them).

Shoutouts to Complexity, Creative, everyone I play with, and Jenna.

Reckful also asked that I put a link in for the WarcraftMovies competition. Thanks so much for chatting with us Reckful.

Be sure to keep your eyes out for our next interview with Zetox. If you have any suggestions for folks you would like to see interviewed (or nominate yourself), please send me a PM.

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