A quite unusual add-on has recently made it's appearance on Curse: ArenaLive! This plug-in is an exceptional tool for organizing World of Warcraft arena tournaments, having even been used on the European tournament and the King of the Hill series.
As an eSport, World of Warcraft is quite diverse, with both arenas, raids, and heroic dungeons being used as forms of competitiveness. Recently the genre has expanded, with the introduction of challenge modes. Yet, arenas lacked something extremely important: a spectator user interface.
ArenaLive is the solution. It displays unit frames, class icons, trinket and racial cooldowns, cast-bars and even the "cast history" of every player in the match. This last feature is quite unique: It displays the icons of the abilities recently used by each player, in the order they were casted. This makes it exceptionally useful for comprehending how the fight is progressing.
Organizers will also rejoice, as it is highly customizable, allowing to organize custom teams and even the rules for the game (ex: time limit), which will define the final result on the scoreboard.
Our friends at ArenaJunkies had the opportunity to chat with the add-on's author, Vadrak. Here's an excerpt of the interview:
What made you start working on the tournament UI?
It first came to my mind when I was watching a NAO or AJ tournament with friends and there were problems with the unit frames showing the wrong people, games had to be restarted and so on. I think everyone who watched these tournaments remembers that time.
I thought instead of customizing normal unit frames, it would be a better idea to build unit frames from scratch that are designed to fit the needs of an arena tournament and therefore save the nerves of both, organizers and viewers. […]
How did the testing go?
Well at first I just invited friends into a group and looked if the unit frame basics were working. […] As soon as the basics were working, I coded the instant cast icons and we started the first larger test.
After this test and some feedback I got from the people that helped testing, I wasn't happy with the instant cast icons anymore, so I got rid of them, tried another approach and eventually created that thing I call cast history (the small icons beneath the cast bar) which gave me a headache more then once, but in the end I guess it was worth it.
Then the first real test with the European tournament team took place, with shout casters, streamers etc. This was a very interesting experience and I guess my addon, which at that point consisted only of the nearly done unit frames, did very well. […]
Then I got contacted by Michael Chapman, who organizes the Curse King of the Hill series and he asked, if he and his team could use my addon for the games last Friday. At first I wasn't sure if the addon is ready for tournaments, but I finally agreed and one could say, that the KotH became the final beta test for my addon this way. After the event I got some feedback from the KotH team (thanks for that), fixed the last few issues and uploaded the release version to Curse.
So, looking forward. What do you think could come in the future as further development?
[…] I'd really like to further improve the addon in it's ease of use. One new feature, that goes in this direction, is a small plug-in that was written by a friend of mine. It enables you to store teams in a drop down, that will automatically load the name and the player's that belong to this team into ArenaLive. I guess this feature could be really awesome for larger tournaments and it will definitely be part of the next larger update.
Another idea I had in mind is to add a role check, like we know it from Blizzard's Dungeon Finder, where one can choose between "player" and "spectator". […] The problem with this one is though, that not only the organizers, but also the players would have to install this addon, in order for it to work properly. […]
How far is the step from your addon ArenaLive to a fully functional spectator client, used for LoL or CounterStrike?
That's an interesting question. Although I'd really like to see Blizzard releasing a spectator mode for WoW arenas, I guess we don't need this anymore. Since most of the features you need for a fully functional spectator UI are already included in ArenaLive or can be created with the tools we already have.
The only thing that I and I guess many others are really missing, is the possibility to get a 3rd person view of other players (like with priest's Mind Vision).
That could be used to extend the spectator client to Raids, Dungeons and Battlegrounds. Could one adapt ArenaLive to help stream other contents than arenas?
Basically it would be possible to do that, but first you would have to do small changes to the structure of ArenaLive, since in the current version it only shows the unit frames inside of the arena. But you could do that without big effort.