Throughout World of Warcraft‘s long life, one of the most common requests on the forums has been single-player dungeons, in which players could solo more of the powerful enemies typically found in such places. Though it might have taken a few years, Blizzard has finally introduced a feature allowing players to take on enemies with the difficult mechanics of raid bosses all by themselves. This is the Brawler’s Guild, and it delivers.
Of course, before any brawling can commence, the player has to gain entry into the guild in the first place. There are actually four ways to go about this. Certain rare enemy faction mobs in Krasarang have a chance of dropping a Blood-Soaked Invitation. The Black Market Auction House puts up about ten of those invitations up each day with a starting bid of one thousand gold. A friend that has already gotten to rank seven with the guild can give you a bind-on-equip (BoE) invitation (but he only gets one!), or you can choose to buy one of those BoE invitations off the normal auction house from people that value money more than friendship. In practice, all these methods pretty much guarantee that anyone that really wants to join the Brawler’s Guild can do so. While invitations might have sold for extravagant prices early on, competition has dropped immensely.
Speaking of spectators, the ability to watch other people play is one of the most exciting and entertaining parts of the experience. Bosses will give no indication of their mechanics (many of which are new to World of Warcraft players) or convenient raid warnings, so the only way to defeat them lies in trial-and-error or by watching the fights beforehand. The fellow brawlers can provide some assistance; in fact, it is customary for them to start a raid group so that everyone can provide buff spells for each other. Thus, the Brawler’s Guild ends up having a social aspect, despite forcing players to fight against monsters individually.
One necessity of the Brawler’s Guild’s setup that will make it far less attractive to certain players is the implicit specialization requirement built into the encounter design. Do not expect to get very far in the Brawler’s Guild without a DPS specialization. While well-geared healers and tanks might be able to pull through the first few ranks with few problems, the first boss of rank four is a pure DPS race and all the bosses following pretty much assume that the challenger is a damage-dealing spec. Out of all the design aspects of the Brawler’s Guild’s current setup, this focus on DPS will probably leave many players feeling left out. Hopefully, a successful run of this feature will motivate Blizzard to add similar challenges for healers and tanks as well, but that is pure speculation.
The rewards for the Brawler’s Guild are relatively few at the moment. Each match gives items that can be vendored for a nice price. These items often provide some humor and even a few inside-jokes for long-time players. Rank four unlocks a new pet robot that can be used for pet battles and rank seven unlocks the first heirloom fist weapon, based off of a cool claw graphic previously only used on a Monk-only weapon. At rank eight, players receive the “Brawler” title.
The Brawler’s Guild is exactly the kind of feature the game has needed. While the Brawler’s Guild does not have a great degree of content at this time, Blizzard has already mentioned that they will happily expand this feature if players enjoy it. The Guild is certainly a good challenge filled with the characteristic Warcraft humor, but that potential for expansion is what truly makes it an exciting addition to the World of Warcraft.