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Blood Sport: Gearing up for Arenas

V'Ming Chew

Every Thursday, V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.

Thank you for your comments in my previous article on "How to beat a Warlock". The article must have struck a chord in many players, and I hope to bring similar articles for other classes soon. I started with warlocks mainly because I'm most experienced with playing the class. The fact that they seem to be the most 'hated' class currently, of course, has nothing to do with it. ; )

Much have been discussed about 'gear inflation' in PvP. Do new entrants have a chance against more established PvP toons? No. Can newbies gain a foothold eventually? Yes.

New or inexperienced PvPers often get a rude shock when they decide to participate in rated Arena matches as soon as they hit 70. Targets that fall predictably suddenly become deadly PvP opponents who can kill your toon before you realize what's happening. Other than obvious gear differences, the skills and experience that you have accrued during leveling simply do not cut it in the Arenas.

In short, it's a different ball game.

Fortunately, you'll get better at Arenas or PvP in general by simply participating. Unfortunately, getting better isn't a overnight process. Assuming that gear matching works correctly in the Arenas, you should be matched up against opponents with comparable gear. However if you walked into a rated match with PvE blues, you'd still probably be steamrolled, in the current environment where Arena gear is so prevalent.

While you can probably use PvP gear for PvE with no great loss, the reverse is certainly less than optimal. PvE gear obviously lacks Resilience and Stamina - two important stats for any length of longevity in Arena combat. A freshly minted 70, with gear derived mainly from quests and instances, is simply "not prepared" (to quote Illidan).

What can you do to close this gear gap?


If you're keen to compete effectively in the Arenas as soon as you hit 70, get into the battlegrounds as soon as possible to accumulate honor. Get the insignia (2,825 honor) as soon as you have the honor.

Using a Warlock as an example and keeping in mind the honor cap of 75,000, your 'shopping list' at 70 can be something like this:

Total honor required: 76,326 (and various BG marks). This list is made with the objective of getting as many PvP pieces in as many slots as possible, while minimizing the cost of upgrades later on. I picked the Veteran's Band as an initial investment, as you can pair it up with the Vindicator version later. The Season 1 gloves and shoulders will stack with Merciless and Vengeful gear, when you start earning Arena points. Your immediate priority next should be the PvP medallion.

This set should serve as a good starting point. The time investment in acquiring PvP epics is significantly more flexible and less than raiding for epics. PvP epics can also be doubled up quite comfortably for PvE duties, and this has been the subject of the 'welfare epics' debate.

PvP gear from PvE

There are some resilience gear available from crafting and PvE. Of note are the Exorcist's items that you can purchase in Terrokar Forest with spirit shards from Auchindoun instances.

If you must use PvE gear for PvP, focus on the following stats, in decreasing order of importance:

Stamina > Resilience > Crit/DPS/Heal

Generally you should maximize Stamina, without gimping your DPS or heals too much. Regeneration stats, like MP5 and Spirit, are useless in PvP.


Even if you have invested in some PvP gear, be prepared to lose a lot initially in the Arenas. It's important to remember that by simply participating in 10 games per week, you will accrue precious Arena points. No Arena means no points. No points mean no progress.

If your team's rating has fallen to a point where your point gain every week is simply not worth your time, consider reforming a new team to start anew at 1,500. Yes it will cost you gold, but it's better than grinding with no appreciable return.

Besides gear, other factors like team makeup and coordination are important in Arena combat too. As you close the stamina and resilience gap, also think about improving the team's game and your personal skills. PvP epics alone won't win you matches.

What other gear tips do you have to offer newbies? Do you think it's a lost cause for latecomers to the Arena game?

As usual, these are the class representations for the top 100 US teams after last week's matches. Warlocks dominate the 2v2 bracket again, while warriors and priests enjoy a good distribution across all brackets. More hunters are hovering at about 2.5% representation, and seem to be better represented in 2v2s compared to last week's numbers:

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