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Arena PvP

Arenas are instanced areas in which teams of players can compete against each other in deathmatch-style PvP. Unlike battlegrounds, the arenas are not based on objectives, but simply your team's ability to obliterate the other team. Two teams of the same faction are allowed to battle each other in the arena.

Arena matches are available in rated mode or skirmish (unrated) mode and can either be 2 versus 2 or 3 versus 3. In rated mode, winning and losing matches will adjust the personal rating and matchmaking rating (MMR) of players accordingly. Match selections are determined based on the average MMR of the team. This works similarly to rated battlegrounds.

Players can queue for arenas through the PvP interface. Skirmish mode allows players to queue by themselves or with their friends and the game will fill the remaining spots. For rated mode, players in a party of the appropriate size (cross-realm groups are supported) may queue for an arena bracket of the same size.


PvP Instanced Arenas[]

Blade's Edge arena 7.1

The Circle of Blood Arena in Blade's Edge Mountains.


The Ring of Valor was added in Wrath of the Lich King along with Dalaran Arena. The arena featured unique mechanics with pillars moving up and down. However, the arena was plagued with bugs and Blizzard ultimately decided to remove it with intentions of bringing it back as soon as the bugs were resolved.[1] The arena is the location of the horde's Brawler's Guild.

PvE Instanced Brawl Arenas[]

PvA Non-Instanced Arenas[]


Stub Please add any available information to this section.

Gorian Empire[]

Kargath Bladefist was raised a slave by the ogres of Gorian Empire. He was imprisoned and held beneath Highmaul for many years. Striving for his own freedom, he became a gladiator fighting in the Highmaul arena. The price to earn his own freedom was to take one hundred orcish lives while fighting in the arena. Having won every battle against his opponents, Kargath marched out of Highmaul, only to discover the promise of freedom to be a lie. Kargath was thrown in a dungeon beneath the arena, and desperately severed his hand, which was bound by shackles, in frustration and rage. The other orc slaves, seeing his resolve, followed in his footsteps and did the same. They followed Kargath in his uprising against the ogres and helped him slay the emperor. Kargath showed the severed head of the emperor to his followers, and they raised their severed hands, armed with blades, cheering at him. This moment marked the birth of the Shattered Hand clan.[2]

Rise of the Horde[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

Resources became scarce on Draenor during the Dying Time. With the Horde left without enemies to inflict bloodshed on, the clans started raiding one another for resources, with Warchief Blackhand barely able to maintain peace by ordering them to submit their finest warriors for controlled, one-on-one or small party fights in public display. The winners would receive food from the losing clan, and a supply of pure water as well as honor and fame.[3] Orgrim Doomhammer was one of the regular victors in these arena fights, and the champion brought many resources back to the Blackrock clan.[4]


Nagrand Arena

The Ring of Trials arena in Nagrand from above.

Several forms of rating exist for rated arenas. Arenas initiated as War Games do not affect any of your ratings, and are played against the selected opponents regardless of ratings.

Matchmaking rating[]

Matchmaking Rating (MMR) is a secondary rating that is used to match groups of players against others at about the same skill level. Each player's MMR increases or decreases with each victory or loss, adjusted by the MMR of the opposing team, and can only be seen at the end of each fight. Match selections are determined based on the average MMR of the individual members of the team, i.e. if you have 1600 MMR, you will almost always fight against other teams with around 1600 MMR.

  • MMR resets each time the player gains a level.[5]

Personal rating[]

Each character also has its own personal rating(s). A separate personal rating exists for each type of arena (2v2 and 3v3) as well as for rated battlegrounds. Personal ratings are only affected by your own accomplishments, and are adjusted according to your wins and losses against other teams.

If you have a personal rating of 2000 or more you will start being able to receive the elite equipment of the current season.



Arena combat comes with a number of restrictions, intended to improve balance and fairness in matches. Some items and abilities are therefore not usable in arena. Many of these restrictions also apply to rated battlegrounds. Restricted spells and items include:

Cross-team communication is prevented in arena and rated battlegrounds, regardless of faction.


Ruins of Lordaeron Arena

Inside the arena.

Upon zoning into the arena, players start in a staging area. Health, mana, and energy are all restored, all buffs and conjured items are removed and pets are dismissed (debuffs will remain, and pets can be re-summoned once you zone in). Players are also given the Spell nature wispsplode [Arena Preparation] buff, which removes the resource cost of all abilities.

The opposing team's target frames are displayed in the user interface, allowing players to inspect the class and specialization of their opponents. Players can also reset their talents during the preparation stage at no cost, allowing them to customise their abilities in consideration of the opposition. Any changes made to a player's talents during this stage are reverted once the player leaves the arena.

After 60 seconds of preparation, the match commences. All buffs with fewer than 30 seconds remaining are removed and rage/runic power is reset to 0.

The fight[]

Dalaran Arena floor

Dalaran Arena in the sewers of Dalaran.

Players battle it out until all the members of one team are defeated or choose to leave, or until 25 minutes have elapsed. If neither team has won after 25 minutes, the match will end in a draw.

Once a player dies, they can choose to enter spectator mode and observe the remainder of the match as a ghost.


Achievement bg winsoa underxminutes [Dampening] is a stacking debuff that occurs in Arena matches that run too long, designed to prevent matches from ending in a draw. It reduces healing received and absorption effects by 1% per stack.

  • Dampening is applied after 5 minutes.
    • In 2v2 matches where each side has at least one healer, Dampening starts instantly.
  • Once this time has elapsed, each player will gain a stack of Dampening every 10 seconds.
  • Inv axe 96 [Necrotic Strike]'s healing absorption is not affected by Dampening.

Shadow Sight orbs[]

Tol'vir Proving Grounds

Tol'Viron Arena in Uldum.

Located around each arena are a number of Shadow Sight orbs. Walking into one of these objects will grant the player the 15-second Shadow Sight buff, significantly increasing their stealth and invisibility detection, but also increasing their damage taken by 5% and preventing them from entering stealth. These orbs are provided in order to facilitate combat with opponents who may prefer to remain stealthed. The orbs are consumed on use, but regularly regenerate.


Once all the players on one team have either died or left, a statistics window is shown similar to the ones in battlegrounds. The window also shows any rating adjustments as a result of the match.

The statistics window also displays your MMR. Note that this is the only point at which it is possible to view your MMR, as this information is not accessible through any other means.

Arena teams[]

In the past, players wishing to compete in arena combat were required to create or join an arena team. With Patch 5.4.0 formal arena teams were removed, along with team rating, and any player in a party of the appropriate size may queue for arena matches through the PvP interface. The term 'team' is still used to refer to a participating group of players.


Icon-time This section contains information that is out-of-date.
Main article: PvP rewards

At the end of each arena season, players that rank among the highest ratings within the 3v3 and 5v5 brackets are awarded titles marking their accomplishments. Players who have been in at least 20% of a top arena team's matches will receive a title according to their standing. Gladiator titles also award players with Master Riding and a Custom Gladiator mount. With Patch 5.4.0, arena ladders and rewards are no longer battlegroup-specific, but instead are sorted by region. See PvP title rewards for more information.


Bonus Event - Skirmishes

Skirmishes, also known as Arena Skirmishes, are a casual version of arena combat, featuring 2v2 and 3v3 matches.[6] Skirmishes are available to characters from level 15,[7][8][9] with brackets every 10 levels.[10]

Skirmishes do not affect ratings, and are intended to be a good way to try out new team members, specs or comps, as well as providing a chance to engage in arena play on a more casual basis.[11] Skirmishes are also intended to allow players who are less experienced in PvP or who lack the teammates for regular arena to discover and experiment with arena play for the first time.[11]

Players can queue for skirmishes in groups or solo, for either 2v2 or 3v3 matches. If the player's group does not fill the chosen bracket size, they will be matched with other queuing players to complete the team, similar to when queuing for a battleground.[11] Each player's specialization/class role will also be taken into account, and the system will attempt to create effective pairings, such as pairing a DPS with a healer.[11] Characters with experience gains turned off will be queued in their own pool, similar to with battlegrounds.[12] Skirmishes use a hidden matchmaking rating to determine pairings, but are more focused on speed than other forms of PvP, and will find matches more quickly than regular arena matches.[13]


While primarily casual matches, skirmishes are not without their rewards. Winning a skirmish will grant the winning players honor, and at max level will also grant a Strongbox which may contain gold, more honor, a piece of Honor PvP gear, or rarely even a piece of Conquest PvP gear.[11][14] Below max level, skirmishes will grant XP in place of Strongboxes.[15]

At max level, Strongboxes are intended to be the main reward from completing skirmishes.[16]

Brackets and level scaling[]

Skirmishes take place in mostly 10-level brackets, starting at level 15. Max level characters will only be matched against other max level characters.

Below max level, players will have their effective level raised to the maximum level allowed in that bracket.[17] Players' base stats and spells are scaled accordingly, and are treated as the same level when determining hits, misses, and critical effect chance. Note that although players' stats and abilities are scaled, lower-level players will still lack new abilities and talents not gained until higher levels, and may still therefore find themselves at some degree of disadvantage. Heirloom items are normalized to the maximum level of the bracket. Normal gear does not scale.

Bonus Event[]

During the Arena Skirmish Bonus Event, players earn 50% more honor when competing in arena skirmishes.


Skirmishes were first introduced along with the arena system itself at the start of The Burning Crusade. However, by the time of Cataclysm the feature was seeing very little use by players[6] and the feature was removed, replaced by War Games.

With plans for the Warlords of Draenor expansion, the developers felt a growing demand for a form of "low-pressure" arena play, leading them to consider reintroducing the feature.[6] Another motivation was the observed higher player participation in gameplay such as battlegrounds where solo-queuing is possible.[11] The reintroduction of skirmishes may also have partly come about due to the cancellation of the planned Trial of the Gladiator PvP feature.[11]

Skirmishes were reintroduced in the Warlords of Draenor systems patch, Patch 6.0.2.

Arena Tournament[]

Main article: Arena Tournament

Every year an Arena Tournament is held on a special event realm where players of all battlegroups compete against each other for cash and prizes.


Arena achievements
Note: This list is up to date as of Patch 10.1.7

Notes and trivia[]

  • As of June 2014, less than 0.5% of Arena games lasted the full 20 minutes.[18]
  • A spectator feature was requested as early as 2006[19][20] but only added once battle tag integration in a much later expansion.

Patch changes[]

  • Legion Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): The 5v5 Arena bracket has been retired.
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.2.0 (2015-06-23): Arena matches now end after 25 minutes (up from 20 minutes). The amount of time before Dampening is applied remains unchanged.
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2014-11-13): Resolved an issue where item levels for Battlegrounds, Arenas, and Skirmishes brackets below level 100 were not scaling correctly.
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2014-10-17): Resolved an issue that could cause Mages and Hunters in an Arena match to incorrectly drop out of Invisibility or Camouflage (hunter ability).
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2014-10-16): Arena Skirmishes now award more Honor Points to the winning team. The amount awarded will return to normal once the portal to Draenor opens. An explanation and details on this temporary change is available on the forums.
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14):
    • Players can now accept summons to queued battlegrounds and arenas while in combat or dead.
    • Rated Battlegrounds and Arenas now have the same base Conquest cap.
    • Arena Skirmishes have been reintroduced and are now available for players that want to test their mettle against other Arena teams in an unranked environment.
    • Dampening is now applied to an Arena match starting at the 5 minute mark for all Arena matches.
      • However, Dampening now starts instantly in 2s when both sides have at least one healer.
  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2014-05-13):
    • Spell warlock demonicportal green [Demonic Gateway] can no longer be cast during the Preparation phase in Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Rated Battlegrounds.
    • Ruby Hare is no longer usable in Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.4.7 (2014-02-18):
    • For the 2v2 Arena bracket, Dampening is now applied to the match starting at the 5 minute mark (down from 10 minutes).
    • For 3v3 and 5v5 Arena brackets, there is no change. Dampening will continue to be applied at the 10 minute mark.
  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2013-10-22): Players who pick up a Shadow Sight orb will be unable to stealth for the duration of the effect.
  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2013-10-21):
    • [Requires a realm restart.] The Crowd Chose You has been removed and replaced with a debuff called Dampening.
    • [Requires a realm restart.] For Arena matches that last more than 10 minutes, all players in the Arena will begin to receive Dampening.
    • Dampening is a stacking debuff applied to all players in the Arena every 10 seconds.
      • Each stack of Dampening reduces all healing and damage absorption by 1%.
      • If neither team has won after 20 minutes, the Arena match will end in a draw.
      • Inv axe 96 [Necrotic Strike]'s healing absorption is not affected by Dampening.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.4.0 (2013-09-10):
    • Redesigned Arena System
      • Players no longer need to create or join an Arena team to compete.
      • Similar to the Rated Battleground system, players in a party of the appropriate size (cross-realm groups are supported) may queue for an Arena bracket of the same size (2v2, 3v3, or 5v5).
      • Each player will have a personal rating that increase or decrease based on victories and defeats against other rated opponents. Opponents will be selected based on the average Match Making Rating of the party.
      • Conquest cap, requirements on gear and enchantments will be based on the player's personal rating.
      • The Arena ladder will no longer be sorted according to Battlegroup. Just like Rated Battlegrounds and normal Battlegrounds, all Arenas will now be region-wide!
      • At the end of an Arena season, the top players in a region will still earn titles and mounts.
      • For more details about the change to Arenas, please see the blog titled: Patch 5.4 Arena Update.
    • For Arena matches lasting longer than 15 minutes, one of the teams will receive a buff called "The Crowd Chose You" that increases damage, critical strike chance, stealth detection, and reduces damage taken. The buff is awarded based on the following criteria.
      • Team with the largest number of players alive.
      • Team that brought an enemy player closest to death (lowest health).
    • Arena Rating scaling in the 2v2 bracket has been tuned to be consistent with the 3v3 bracket.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.3.0 (2013-05-21):
    • Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas now have an ilevel cap. All gear will be scaled down to ilevel 496.
    • Several new arena team icons have been added.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.1.0 (2012-11-27): Arena matches now have a 25 minute time limit (was 45 minutes).
  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2012-10-16): Teams queueing for Arenas will temporarily no longer be placed into the The Ring of Valor.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Players in arena matches are now automatically added to the opposing team's enemy unit frames UI component as soon as they zone in, allowing players to view the class and specialization of their opponents during the preparation period. Prior to this, players had no way of discovering their opponents' classes or specializations until they were encountered during the match.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26):
    • Arena teams are now awarded guild experience for wins. The entire team must be members of the same guild to earn this experience.
    • The amount of Conquest Points awarded for Arena wins has been normalized across the board. Players will now receive 180 Conquest Points for a win up to the weekly cap, regardless of rating or matchup.
    • Arena matchmaking can now extend beyond a team's Battlegroup.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.6 (2011-02-08): Spell nature bloodlust [Bloodlust], Ability shaman heroism [Heroism], Ability mage timewarp [Time Warp] and Spell shadow unholyfrenzy [Ancient Hysteria] can no longer be cast while in Arenas.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12):
  • Wrath-Logo-Small Patch 3.3.3 (2010-03-23): Players can now be queued for battlegrounds and arenas at the same time.
  • Wrath-Logo-Small Patch 3.3.2 (2010-02-01): All healing abilities (including items such as potions) will be decreased in effectiveness by 10% when in Battlegrounds, Arenas, or Wintergrasp.
  • Wrath-Logo-Small Patch 3.3.0 (2009-12-08): All abilities that have base cooldowns of 10 minutes or longer cannot be used in Arenas, down from 15 minutes.
  • Wrath-Logo-Small Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04):
    • Beginning with season 7, players will no longer have access to the newest season's weapons or shoulder armor and will not qualify for the <Gladiator> title/rewards with ratings from the 2v2 bracket alone. Ratings obtained through 3v3 and 5v5 game play will be required for these rewards, while the rest of the newest season's items will remain available to players in all brackets (standard rating restrictions still apply).
    • Inv alchemy endlessflask 06 [Endless Healing Potion] and Inv alchemy endlessflask 04 [Endless Mana Potion] no longer usable in arenas. Amount of health and mana has been increased, and the cooldown reduced.
  • Wrath-Logo-Small Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): Enemy Unit Frames: This feature is only available while in Arenas, with several options in the Interface Options.
  • Wrath-Logo-Small Patch 3.0.8 (2009-01-20):
    • Arena rating requirements for all Deadly Gladiator's Arena items have been reduced by 100.
    • All rage and runic power are set to 0 when an Arena begins and the preparation period is over.
    • Ring of Valor: The small pillars will now rise immediately once the arena begins.
    • Arena: Dalaran Sewer: The Flush effect which pushes players out will now also remove the ability to use Demonic Circles summoned during the arena start time.
  • Wrath-Logo-Small Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14):
    • Two new Arenas have been added; the Orgrimmar Arena and the Dalaran Arena can now be accessed.
    • Buffs that have 30 seconds or less remaining will be removed once the game starts. However, the mage spell " [Invisibility]" is not affected by this change.
  • Bc icon Patch 2.4.2 (2008-05-13):
    • If a character's personal rating is more than 150 points below the team rating, they will earn points based on their personal rating instead of the team rating.
    • If the average personal rating of the players queuing for a game is more than 150 points below the team's rating, the team will be queued against an opponent matching or similar to the average personal rating.
  • Bc icon Patch 2.3.0 (2007-11-13):
    • The top ranked team of each battlegroup for each format will receive a new unique title for the end of Season 2 called “Merciless Gladiator”.
    • New Arena System: Personal Ratings
      • The Personal Rating will be unique for each team the character belongs to.
      • It will rise and fall using the same formula as the Team Ratings.
      • It will only be affected by the games that the player plays in, not all team games.
      • Eligibility for end of season rewards will be determined by the Personal Rating, which must be within 100 of the team's rating.
      • It can't be padded by joining a new team. The Personal Rating will reset for the bracket when a new team is joined.
    • Season Three gear will require a certain amount of arena rating points. Furthermore, the rating requirement is based on a new personal arena rating that is independent for each member on a team.
  • Bc icon Patch 2.2.0 (2007-09-25):
    • Arena calculations have been modified. In addition, the penalty for smaller arena teams (2v2, 3v3) has been slightly reduced.
    • Items that are indicated as quest items in their tooltips and have a "use" or "equip" ability will not work in PvP arenas.
    • Players will no longer be able to change armor once an arena battle has begun. Changing armor will still be available during the one-minute prep time prior to the battle. Main hand, off hand and range weapon swapping in combat remains unchanged.
  • Bc icon Patch 2.1.0 (2007-05-22): For those combatants engaging in the Steamwheedle Cartel’s gladiatorial combat, an arena nestled within the Ruins of Lordaeron has been added to the mix of venues. Players taking part in either rated battles or skirmishes may now find themselves battling for glory within the new arena.
  • Bc icon Patch 2.0.12 (2007-04-03): Players will no longer be able to see their opponents in the Combat Log of an Arena match-up before the game starts.
  • Bc icon Patch 2.0.3 (2007-01-09):
    • Players can use the /teamquit or /teamdisband command in order to leave an Arena team.
    • Healthstones and summoned warlock pets will no longer cost a soulshard to summon in the Arena preparation area. All summoned items and pets will be dismissed on leaving the arena.
    • The last pet a player had summoned will be resummoned outside the Arena upon leaving.
  • Bc icon Patch 2.0.1 (2006-12-05): Two New Arenas are now available in three different modes.
    • 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 matches
    • Players may queue up at Goblin NPC's in Stormwind, Ironforge, Orgrimmar, Undercity, and Gadgetzan


  1. ^ Cataclysm hotfixes
  2. ^ Lords of War
  3. ^ Rise of the Horde, chapter 21
  4. ^ Rise of the Horde, chapter 22
  5. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-10-10).
  6. ^ a b c Warlords of Draenor—PvP Update. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-02-18).
  7. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-09-25).
  8. ^ Brian Holinka 2014-05-03. Brian Holinka on Twitter.
  9. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-06-29).
  10. ^ Statement by Brian Holinka, live on stream 2014-10-05,
  11. ^ a b c d e f g WoW Source: Warlords of Draenor PvP and Class Updates. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-04-22).
  12. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-08-07).
  13. ^ Brian Holinka 2104-04-22. Twitter / holinka.
  14. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-10-13).
  15. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-07-07).​ “We're planning on granting some XP from skirmishes.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-10-14).​ “yes it will
  18. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-06-23).
  19. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Drysc 2006-10-02. Re: Arena Spectators?. Archived from the original on 2006-10-02. Retrieved on 2009-06-30.
  20. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Nakatoir 2012-11-16. Re: Spectator mode in Arena?. Retrieved on 2013-04-04.

External links[]