Diziet: Lots of practice, good teammates, and an atmosphere where no one is screaming at each other.
WoW.com: What's your advice to players who might be wanting to pick up arenas for the first time?
Diziet: That's a really difficult question. When you think about how arena players organize, it's all very compartmentalized. All the top players know each other, or know someone that knows someone. When you've got a few r1 (rank one, brutal gladiator, relentless gladiator etc) titles, chances are you know most of the other top players. I can log on xfire and look at friends of friends and see all the top players, all those guys you see on sk100, I can message them if I want.
For someone trying to break in to being competitive, it's really difficult. You can't just walk up to someone and ask them to play with you. They will not give you a chance. Top players want to play with someone that is also at least as good as they are. At the end of every season we have the mad scramble to get as many rank 1 titles secured as possible, people transfer servers and play tons of games at the end of the last week. They won't even stop to look at a duelist, much less someone with even less experience.
But I've learned something from watching other players that I use to consider 'bad' that achieved good ratings, and from having played with a few of them. There seems to be this magic formula, that combined with a little bit of luck will yield the greatest increases in rating.
- First, the players in question must have some innate talent. They must be able to learn fairly quickly.
- Second, there must be a group of players with the same goal. They all must be willing to improve, to reach the top percentiles. Did you know that just by getting duelist, you're already better than the other 97% of players?
- Third and finally, these players that have the same goal, they must play a lot of games together. And I mean a lot. I mean about 1,000. I know that sounds like a large number, but that's what it takes -- they need to make steady progress. They need to learn something new every time they lose, every time they win. They need to not repeat mistakes. They need to consider, what can I do better, is there an ability that I am forgetting? That's the only way to success if you're starting from the position that most, the vast majority of players, are at.
I always bring this concept up: Let's say you could go on the AH and buy this gem. It's got either 300 strength or 300 agility or 400 spell power. It's unique. It's pretty rare, like a world drop. How much would it sell on the AH? I'm sure quite a bit, many thousands of gold. I know I'd buy it, I'd cherish it!
But if we look at the improvement it brings to a player, they might gain, what, 5% dps or healing or something? It's not so much, right? It won't make you hit twice as hard. So most people, they'll just get a little bit more stats.
But if we look at most people, and compare them to the really good players, I mean players that are really good, rank 1 title players, raiders that get world first kills, there's a difference, right? So if we take some player, and fly in a player from Vodka, or whatever the top PvE guilds are, by plane, to their house -- and we take that top PvE player, and have them sit on the computer of the player, and have them play their character, most players will be amazed at how much more dps, or healing, or whatever, the top player will do. I've done this myself too, I've sold rating to people.
So, if we take the average player, who's pretty good, they've got the basics down, they can do good dps in their guild runs, or they can top a heroic meter, and they've got decent arena rating and maybe some wrathful gear, and we infuse them with all the experience of a top player -- they will do much more than that 300 strength gem would let them. Much more than 5% more dps.
Of course, no one is asking anyone to fly in players from Vodka on a private jet plane to your house, or to give you lessons, or anything like that. But you've got to look at it from an efficiency stand point. If you learn how to play your character a little better, learn some tips or tricks that the best players do just to push it a little bit more, you might do 10, 15, 20%, who knows how much more DPS. And it will be with you forever. No matter what kind of gear you use.
So this is why it's important to use the same kind of tools that the best players use, to bind your keys instead of clicking buttons, to have as good a understanding of the game as possible.
WoW.com: What can players improve with their UI (user interface) when it comes to arena?
Diziet: Oh, well this is quite a can of worms. I've got a long love story with my UI. I've been working on it since day 1, in 2004!
There's really two schools of thought. Some people -- some of them the best, top players, the kind that get to play in tournaments, they like to play with no UI. Except, you know gladius (arena addon). And moved frames. The kind of stuff blizzard lets you do now.
And most, most players, they understand that a good UI is essential to know things about the battle. The default UI is really not the best. You can't see many debuffs, you can't do all this fancy stuff with it.
Now, many people sometimes go a little bit overboard with UIs. I've got a picture that will let you know exactly what I mean. This is an example of how not to design a UI, it's quite a laugh!
I'm currently working on a video, to put on Youtube, about designing a great UI. I've always been interested in this kind of stuff --- sometimes a little bit too much. I went to great lengths to research this kind of stuff, I mean, I went and read psychology text books, studied human vision in great detail, read scientific articles and publication about HCI (human computer interaction). I sent emails to people working in the field. I'm a little crazy about this kind of stuff sometimes, I mean, I've got a membership in SIGCHI (special interest group on computer human interaction), just because I want to do research into UIs. I'm talking about scientific publications, it's a little bit crazy.
But I can't go and say there's just one best UI. I can't just take my UI over and give it to everyone and expect it will make them better right away. It takes quite a bit of time to get used to playing with a new UI, but some UIs are objectively better than others-- maybe because they display information better, or it's grouped better, or there's less clutter. This is the kind of stuff you can judge and if you want to be really thorough about it. You can design experiments and run studies based on reaction times, but we can't do that (unless someone wants to write me out a grant).
If you make UI modifications, make them one step at a time. Move something here, see if it works. Add a new focus casting bar. Add a diminishing returns timer. Add another new mod. Maybe get rid of something. Give yourself time to get familiarized with the changes.
Think about the times where you started playing a new game, and for the first few hours the new game (be it Call of Duty, or the Starcraft 2 beta), the UI confuses you. You're not used to the UI elements at first, but as the time goes on, it grows on you. So the same thing in WoW, you first need to play for a few hours with each new addition, do a few skirmishes, get used to it.
I hope I can get some kind of guide produced eventually, it's really tough work. But I can show some kind of idea about what I use myself, as far as arena frames go. It's really taken quite a bit of work for me to get it into this shape.
Diziet: Well, I'd like to congratulate the readership if they made sense out of my mad ramblings. My arena partners, friends, girlfriends, and parents often struggle to make sense of what I say.
On a serious note, I am always interested in learning what kind of advice works or strikes true with the readership. I've been always interested in trying to see what kind of guidelines or articles make sense to most players that play the game, not just the special and small community of arena players. /Wave to everyone that has ever played arena with me or talked to me about arena, too many people to mention but you know who you are.
The Colosseum is WoW.com's interview series spotlighting strategies, compositions, and tactics from the Arena fighters who use them. For more PvP information, be sure to hit up Blood Sport and the Art of War(craft). If you'd like to be interviewed for The Colosseum, please feel free to contact us -- be sure to include your armory as a link!