WoW Esports

World of Warcraft is a popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was released all the way back in 2004 – throughout the years it has managed to hold it’s standing as the premiere MMORPG title and has inspired the entire genre as games have followed the same style and similar game mechanics in order to deliver something similar in hopes it will continue to attract growing player numbers.

Whilst MMORPGs over the years have somewhat slowed and don’t have the same pull they once did, World of Warcraft is still able to boast strong player numbers and a very active scene for the markets it performs well in, and whilst not a traditional esports title, the game has started to try and edge towards some competitive offerings in recent years, and whilst to some mixed response, it has shown that there is an opportunity for MMORPG titles to at least operate in this space. 

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How WoW is played, and what you need to know

The competitive offerings come in three different flavours with a number of terms specific to each, and navigating WoW esports relies on being at least a little familiar with some of these terms although they can be universal with other MMORPG titles too;

1. PvE

Player vs Environment is one game type in the game, if you’re running around doing quests or just playing the base content on offer, for the most part it all encompasses PvE. For the esports betting side of things, PvE content is mostly around group play, pitting teams of either five or twenty against difficult challenges, often requiring very precise play and good communication amongst each of the players.

2. PvP

Player vs Player is the other big game type and is as the name would suggest – rather than playing against enemies which are pre-programmed by the AI and developers, you’re playing directly against other people. This is typically in a 2v2 or 3v3 scenario, and often played in a small arena to force fighting, however there are other aspects of PvP on a much bigger scale, just not for competition play.

3. MDI

One of the forms of esports in World of Warcraft comes from the MDI, the Mythic Dungeon Invitational – which pits teams of five players against each other. Dungeons are simply a piece of instanced content, a group of five players will spawn into a specific dungeon, and every encounter is the same – the path you take, the monsters you fight, and the bosses you kill.

World of Warcraft has something called Mythic+ dungeons, which essentially takes the base dungeon and adds a small modifier to make it more difficulty – maybe the enemies have more HP or do more damage. As an esports title, the MDI ramps these challenges up, and times each team to see who can handle the challenge the best and clear a dungeon the fastest, all whilst being on an even playing field in terms of gear they take in.

4. RWF

Another of the PvE parts of the game, the Race to World first is an event that takes place when a new raid is released. Raids are similar to dungeons as they’re instanced content, but often much larger and more focussed around bigger boss fights. The RWF is a community run event that has the best teams in the world race to see who can down the final boss on the hardest difficulty, with the teams being made up of 20-players to do so.

The race can take anywhere from one week to a couple of months and unliked the MDI players aren’t on even footing as those who are able to get better item drops maybe progress a little faster, but as new raids are only released periodically, the event can only take place every six months or so, depending on release schedules. 

5. AWC

The Arena World Championships, or AWC, is the PvP aspect of esports within the game. Played in a 3v3 setting, this is somewhat more familiar for esports fans as it’s simply played as either a best of 3 or best of 5, and much like the MDI all players are on even ground with equalised equipment.

Often coming down to which team has the better composition and mastery of their characters, it can be very exciting, albeit very difficult to watch from a new player perspective as a lot can happen very quickly, and it isn’t always clear what exactly is happening if you’re not sure what to look out for – in some part, it is a reason why this side of WoW esports has struggled over the years, only bring in the truly dedicated fans.

Which platforms can compete?

As the game is only available to be played on PC, it is the only viable competitive platform – as a whole MMORPG’s have yet to find any real success away from the PC as the console gaming audience typically doesn’t hold the same audience, MMO’s take a lot of play time in order to progress with many players having played for years and sunk thousands of hours into the game, and as console titles are often a little more casual in nature, there’s certainly a divide between the two and what they have to offer.

WoW Betting & Types of Bets

The betting market for World of Warcraft esports largely comes down to the content you follow, as betting on PvE and PvP tournaments can be quite different.

AWC Betting

The PvP side of things can be the most straightforward as the most likely bet you’ll make is simply who’ll win. Whilst this doesn’t provide many variety options in the type of bets you can place; it does make this part of the game betting much more accessible. 

MDI Betting

Somewhat similarly to the AWC, you’ll mostly be placing bets on who’ll win the tournament here, but there are some variations that can make betting options here a little more exciting – from betting on the number of player deaths during a run, to betting on the overall completion time of certain dungeons which can change drastically affected by factors like deaths. The MDI is still relatively new so more options are being found with each big event, particularly as newer options like completing the most difficult, rather than completing the fastest, also starts to be come available. 

RWF Betting

Finally comes betting options for the RWF, much like the MDI this is still relatively new only having had a few events so far and being community run it is a little different. The big problem comes with the time difference, as North America get their raid release up to sixteen hours early, it can skew betting options for the winner, but with the Europeans historically being the winners until recently that hasn’t been an issue. Whilst it isn’t really possible to bet on who will down certain bosses first as the first few are often already killed before the Europeans wake up, there are usually options for betting on the last couple of bosses to keep things interesting.

Tournaments and Prize Pools

There has been a bit of a change recently for WoW in what they’re offering for prizes and for tournaments – the MDI often goes on a schedule of a number of cup events throughout the year where teams will accumulate points ahead of a big final. Winning a cup does give a small cash prize of around $8,000 for first as well as a $20,000 per cup pool bringing the total to $80,000 shared throughout each cup, but this is a prize that has been increasing in recent years. The AWC is a little different as it has been running for much longer, and Season 1 back in May had a total prize pool of $160,000 for each circuit and the finals boasting a $200,000 total prize for the winners too – it is a big step up on what has been offered in previous years where the prize was often much lower, but many top players do complain that for the time invested and required, it is much lower than what is offered in other games.

As a community run event, the RWF has no official prize other than bragging rights, although some of the top guilds do invest heavily into streaming the event and distribute money to their players from viewer hours and earnings as well as any donations that happen throughout. 

How to gain an edge with World of Warcraft wagering

When it comes to gaining a wagering edge with World of Warcraft, the best bet is to either get yourself involved in the game with playing so you can develop a better understanding of what each individual is doing and understand which teams or groups may be doing better than others, or better yet tune in to the streams of the top players who often livestream their gameplay on platforms like Twitch – they’ll often answer any questions you may have, or another viewer may ask ahead of time too and they’ll provide all of the relevant information into helping you better understand the process.

Following a better understand, it may also be worth viewing older clips of previous events or previous tiers, particularly for the MDI for example, you’ll be able to see which teams won and in what fashion they were able to win, for quite some time in the PvE scene there has been a singular dominating team that have won most tournaments and are usually a safe bet, but if you’re looking to support the underdogs there are other teams that have performed very well too which may provide better esports betting odds.

Much of gaining an edge is simply by following the still developing scene, esports in World of Warcraft is still very young so there’s plenty of room for growth and plenty of change that’s yet to be seen too, other more established titles may have more sure-fire ways of securing a winning bet, but World of Warcraft is still closing that gap and figuring out the best way to approach esports as a whole, and other factors like players securing a win is typically down to simply whoever practices more, and whoever shows up on the day, as the same players have been sticking around for over a decade still.

WoW Conclusion

Whilst MMORPG’s typically haven’t had much representation in the esports scene, World of Warcraft has made efforts to try and put a front food forward, and whilst the options don’t fall under the traditional esports approach it does provide something new for enthusiastic fans who love the game and want to see it continue to grow. If you’re someone who’s never played the game before, it may certainly be overwhelming, but a little time commitment can provide all of the information you need, and you may start winning your bets in no time, and may even gain a passion for a game that has been around for 17 years at the same time.

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