The 2009 Arena Tournament officially begun yesterday, kicking of a six-week qualifying period to find the best Arena players who will earn the chance to win prizes totaling over $200,000. Registration was opened a little over a week ago, with Blizzard enticing aspiring Gladiators with the Vanquisher title and a Murloc vanity pet that will translate over to the live realms. The tournament will consist of one round of regional qualifiers, followed by the regional finals, and winners of those finals will compete against each other for the top prize.

Registering for the tournament, which costs $20 or €15, will grant players access to the tournament realms where they can create Level 80 characters of any race and class. These characters will be outfitted with the best Arena gear available -- Deadly Gladiator items from Season 5 -- and will have access to other epic items as well as enchants, gems, and glyphs allowing them to customize their character as they see fit.

Players whose teams finish in the Top 1000 at the end of the qualifiers will receive the Vanquisher title for all their characters over Level 70. Casual players who don't play Arenas seriously still have some incentive as the only requirement to obtain the Murloc pet -- Murkimus the Gladiator, according to the Patch 3.1 files -- is to play 200 games over the six-week qualifying period with one team regardless of record. [UPDATE: According to this post, the first two weeks are considered a practice period and thus do not count towards the 200 ranked games required to qualify for the pet.] Players must have an active subscription in order to register.

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.

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