Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.
Listening Music Nine awesome minutes of Elton John's "Rocket Man." Enjoy.
Last Week My PvP perspective on new talent trees might shock you. For example, I advocated last week to remove every PvP talent!
Goals The No. 1 issue players have to deal with when they decide to go for gladiator isn't about gear, teammates or even skill. If you are a dedicated raider in a competitive progression guild, you can relate to what we'll be discussing today. The issue is the desire to attain goals and sacrifices that must be made.
Some players want gladiator far more than others, just like some players want to be the first on their realms (or first in the world) to slay dragons. I'll be the first to admit that I don't care a whole lot about slaying dragons. I was once in a top 50 U.S. guild but left it because raiding required too many hours -- hours that could be spent playing arena (which I enjoy considerably more) or doing necessary IRL stuff.
Let's compare PvE and PvP goals.
Many raiders don't understand the amount of devotion it takes to be a high-rated PvP player. As an officer of a high-level progression raiding guild, what would you do if one of your members showed up with five pieces of gear missing gems, enchantments and appropriate glyphs? Oh, and he's asking you if he can have a flask from the guild bank because he doesn't have consumables, either. On top of that, he has complete ignorance about the boss fight because he didn't read up about it before hand. The coup de grâce, of course, is that he's not even specced for PvE -- he's sporting a brand new 30/30/11 "battlegrounds" spec.
Players who show up to raids like this are frequently /gkicked, ignored and mocked -- even in casual raiding guilds.
However, many players show up to PvP in the same way. Having two raid specs is awesome and everything, but if you're totally against using one of them for a PvP spec or spending 100g every time you want to PvP, perhaps you should re-evaluate your time investment in PvP and ignore it altogether. Save yourself some time and money -- honor grinding, gemming, enchanting and practicing are useless if you're not intending on doing anything with them.
If you actually want some of the awesome rewards that come from PvP, you must be prepared to make some sacrifices ...
Finding skilled teammates with an acceptable composition is no small matter. Finding teammates who can play at the same times you can and are equally devoted to attaining the same goals as you is challenging (to say the least).
While it's true that many individuals can simultaneously do arena and raid to exceptionally high levels, it's because they've taken the time to see what is required of them on both ends.
There is nothing wrong with learning from others. In fact, the vast majority of knowledge that any of us possess is because it was taught to us. While I would love to say that I discovered and invented uses for cephalosporins, I cannot. I know about cephalosporins because my professor taught me about them in my microbiology class. I feel no shame when I tell you that I have become more knowledgeable about certain antibiotics because of another person's ingenuity and experience. I would feel quite uneasy about a "doctor" that told me he never went to medical school because he didn't want to be a "copycat."
Why then, I wonder, are so many players opposed to learning from other PvPers?
Bite the bullet
Stop hindering yourself by thinking you're better than everyone else -- especially people with higher ratings than yourself.
Some players don't want to use the exact same spec, gear or team composition of a gladiator of their class who is 900 arena points higher than they are. This boils down to pride. I have friends that are adamantly opposed to playing "faceroll" compositions. Being "faceroll" is usually whatever the generally accepted "best composition" is.
One of my friends and arena partners fell into this trap. Even though he had access to all the best players on the server for a particular team composition, he said it was "too easy to play," "not complex enough to show true skill" and "probably boring anyway" -- but what he meant was that he was "above playing a good composition." Instead, he chose to play subpar compositions because he thought it would make him appear more skillful. It doesn't.
A gladiator title is a gladiator title. The mount doesn't magically change into a lesser mount if you use a "faceroll," "cheesy" or "easy-mode" team (or spec) to get it. With only three exceptions, every time I've played to rank 1, it has been with a previously successful composition.
PvP's golden rule
"All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them," (ASV) isn't the golden rule we're going to be talking about today.
Shadowmourne is a pretty beastly axe. In the hands of a gladiator, it can be an exceptionally fierce tool. In the hands of a 1,200-rated death knight? Ehh, it's way better than the Edge of Oblivion he was using a while ago, but it might only get him 100-200 more arena points. It's not going to change him from 1,200 to 2,100 overnight. However, if that 1,200-rated death knight now has incentive to PvP because of the axe he just got and gets PvP gear, a PvP spec, gems, enchants and skilled teammates? Well, he'll definitely improve drastically compared to what he was at before -- he might even break 2,000. Getting any higher requires intense scrutiny of yourself and your play.
PvP's golden rule is recognizing that you can always always improve your play. As soon as you realize that you have a lot of growing to do, a lot of growing you will do. If you can't handle criticism, you should set goals that don't require excellence.
Excellence is forged in the fire of self-improvement.
Ask yourself if you can do anything better in your arena games. Ask your teammates if there's anything you can change with what you're doing. Go so far as to record your games and look back on them for things you could have done better. If it's legal and improves your arena rating, do it.
Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? Check out WoW.com's articles on arena, successful arena PvPers, PvP, and our arena column, Blood Sport.