For those of you that are unfamiliar with either of these features, custom arenas will allow any Guild Wars 2 player to create, host, and customize their own private sPvP matches while spectator mode, fairly self-explanatory, will allow anyone to observe those matches as they are happening.
Not only do custom arenas provide a platform for those that have been aching for smaller fights, such as 1v1 dueling, or even team scrimmages (without affecting your place on the leaderboards), you can also use custom arenas to create private and public tournaments. This by itself opens up an assortment of opportunities, but we'll touch on those later.
New Gem Store Items
When the patch rolls out later this month, you will be able to purchase a starter kit from the Gem Store that will be used to create custom arenas. Another purchasable item you’ll find are time tokens. These tokens will allow you to add more time to your custom arena rental or to someone else's if you wish to help support the players you enjoy watching and/or tournaments that you enjoy playing in or watching.
As far as customization options go, here are a few that will be available to you once you start the arena creation process:
•Ability to name your arena;
•Ability to choose which map(s) are playable;
•Ability to set a password;
•Members blacklist (ban list).
While we haven’t had a chance to test spectator mode just yet, and therefore cannot attest to the customizable options that will be available for it, even at its basic implementation it’s not hard to grasp the importance of adding such a feature alongside custom arenas.
With spectator mode it will finally be possible to shoutcast live matches without having to rely on pre-recorded footage, which in turn opens up some interesting possibilities for those wanting to host tournaments, or perhaps for players that might be looking to produce high-quality videos for their team, guild, or the community in general.
Another great way to utilize spectator mode is that those new to the sPvP scene, or those that wish to brush up on their performance, can always pull up a custom arena from the PvP interface and observe higher ranked teams to watch an assortment of high level gameplay. This, in turn, provides the observer with the ability to learn new tactics and strategies as well as learn how they can play their profession more effectively and efficiently.
With that being said, here comes the catch: custom arenas will first roll out as a limited beta feature. Creating custom arenas will only be available to a small pool of players - specifically, those that placed in the top 50 for both NA and EU in Qualifying Points and a few chosen media sites - but anyone can play in a player-created arena and have access to spectator mode.
Unfortunately we don't know how long the beta will last, but seeing as everything tested just fine internally, ArenaNet just wants to make sure that everything is on the up-and-up before releasing custom arenas to the entire in-game populace.