It is time to get in the pit! Blizzard has finally given us a glimpse of how PvP will work in Diablo III. With this PvP system the development team bring something new to the Diablo series - Battle Arenas.
Arenas are small areas separated from the rest of the world. There will be various arenas spread out in Sanctuary. Each of them will have a unique design with different scenery, features and terrain. You dive into the arena with your multiplayer character and battle out using all of the skills and gear you have accumulated.
Matchmaking and ranks Ranked arena matches will feature team-based combat where several players in each team fight in 'best-of' matches. Jay Wilson said the development team is still looking for the "magic number" of matches. They know they want more than 1 match so players will be able to react to the other team after encountering it once, but they do not want to draw out the matches with too many games. It appears that teams will be limited to four players in each, making the biggest match-up 4v4, but no official word on that has yet been made.
To participate in a ranked arena match you will use the Battle.net matchmaking system so that you get faced against opponents with similar rank. When you complete a match in the arena you will be awarded points based on your performance in regards to kills, accomplished objectives, wins, and other factors yet to be revealed. Those points will be used to advance within the ranking system and also brings us to the next subject: rewards.
The battle arena will not be a place to collect armor and weapons. The PvP reward system will be focused on achievements, ranks and titles for your character. Blizzard also hinted that ears will be returning in some sort as a proof of your victories. As of today those are the only rewards (along with the bragging rights of beating down other people online) we know of, but more are to be revealed.
Balance in the arena
Balance in the arena will be focused around the 3v3 bracket, but ultimately the Battle Arenas are not made to fill a super competitive niche in Diablo, but rather a place where you have fun fighting other players. Blizzard has stated that the matches won't focus so much on individual builds, but your teams build as a whole. They have also stated that there are certain skills being added that will be much more useful in PvP than PvE. This will let more dedicated PvP players build their characters to focus solely on PvP.
Official Blizzard Quote:
With almost 97 billion potential skill and rune builds, and then factoring in items, the talisman system, and traits, character balance isn't likely to lend itself to an eSport, and in fact the PvP for Diablo III has always been designed a side game intended purely for fun. We know you like killing each other, so that's what it's there to provide.
PvP in Diablo III is a lot about controlling your opponent. Stuns and slows are obviously very strong since they prevent or reduce the enemy's ability to do damage. In a quick-paced game like Diablo III this can become a problem. You don't want to sit around and wait for your character to be able to move while the enemy pounds on you, so to prevent PvP being all about crowd control Blizzard came up with the concept of 'counters'. Counters are abilities designed to break crowd control and they will play a big part in speeding up the PvP action.
In addition to the ranking system with team-based combat there will also be other type of PvP in the arena, such as 1-on-1 duels and unranked team battles where you can choose to fight your friends to determine who really is the best demon killing machine. More information on these game types will be available in the future.
With this system Diablo III PvP is taking a step in a new direction from the previous games. Jay Wilson also said that the battle arenas are just the first approach to PvP in Diablo III, and hopefully not their last, so we should be expecting more info on PvP in the future. Maybe they are thinking of some kind of world PvP, or maybe arenas similar to the WoW battlegrounds where killing the other player is not the only objective. Hopefully the Q&A panel will shed more light on it and answer all our questions regarding PvP.
I myself can't wait to get my hands dirty in the arena!
Update: In the open Q&A we got some answers and clarifications regarding PvP versus PvE balance. The final answer is that PvE balance is never and in no way going to be affected by the PvP. The main focus of Diablo III is PvE and they intend to keep it that way.
It was also said that if you enter the arena with your hardcore character: be prepared for permanent death.
Good I hope it turns out like typical Diablo PvP where skill > levels and gear.
Also hope they keep true to their word and don't try and balance it all like WoW where everything turns into cookie cutter heaven. Diablo PvP ran and still runs great without the help of Blizzard, we just need a place to do battle and well do the rest.
How do these arenas work with HARDCORE? A more pertinent questions imho
PS THE BARB LOOKS SO DAMN HOTTTT
I would imagine that maybe Battle Arenas will be available to hardcore character as well, to provide a PvP enviroment where you don't risk loosing your character. Although many will miss the special feeling and adrenaline that comes with hardcore PvP that would probably still be a welcome change for some.
It's still possible that they will add in some kind of hostility based pvp as well. We don't know yet.
Personally, I'm loving this system. It's exactly what i expected and hoped it would be. But as i have previously mentioned, i still think people should be able to put up stakes or wages before having a duel or pvp fight.
Like each team puts up 10k gold or even if one of the teams is short on cash then one team could put up 10k gold and the other 2 SOJ's (just as an example).
I hope its still D2ish. Player skill should be a huge factor. Despite what people who generally have never had a good pvp character say, skill and knowing how to play your character is important. The best geared character on bnet in the hands of a newb could easily be dropped by mediocre characters. Builds interacting with each other should play a factor, although, not too much. Its cool when you can have a 4 man team, and not think aw crap we're screwed because 2 or 3 of your guys are the same class and you lose out on buffs because every class gets buffs/auras.
I'm really hoping pk carries over to d3. I also hope unbalanced teams carries over. I always enjoyed the duel games that turned into 2v2v3v1 or 3v5, or even an 8 man free for all.
Sure its fun playing against people close to your ability, but its also a great way to learn to play someone much better then you. Some people are cool enough to give you tips and answer questions, but you can learn even from the biggest jerk who does nothing but stomp you and taunt you simply by figuring how what he's doing. Also, I'm not gonna lie, sometimes its just downright fun to go 7v1 rape a game full of morons. I've wipe hell baal runs with a fire druid before...that gave me much more of a feeling of success then any pvm feat lol.