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Blood Sport: Beginner's guide to arena, Part VII


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's arena column.

Listening Music: 15 Step, by Radiohead. If you liked it, check out the full set -- it's fourteen tracks, and they don't stick to just In Rainbows! Myxomatosis and Where I End and You Begin (a personal favorite) are included.

Last Week: Beginner's guide to arena, part VI. A glossary of arena terms is important for any starting arena player. We went over some of the more interesting and often confusing terms PvPers like to use in casual conversation. Get acquainted with some gladiator jargon.

This Week: We'll be discussing some helpful tips for finding arena partners. Everything from trade chat to recruitment forums and more. We're gonna do this quasi-chronologically. You might shift around the order a bit, that's cool.

1) Get as much PvP gear as possible.

Do Vault of Archavon 25-man and 10-man each week. Grind heroics for badges to buy PvP main pieces. Grind battlegrounds for off-set pieces. We talked about ways to gear up in Part I of our beginner's guide series. Having a lot of PvP gear will help you to win games, which helps to get skilled PvPers to notice you.

2) Play as much arena as you can.

Experience is the most important qualification a player can bring to the table in an arena match. You'll also get arena points which help you to gear up, so it's a win-win situation for you and your teammates. Of course, to play a lot of arena, you need other players...

3) Use trade chat.

It's great for picking up PvPers, and you'll occasionally get someone who really wants to get into arena (like yourself). Think of doing games with someone you've never met before like a pug. You should do alright, but it's probably not going to be anything amazing. Try to have fun with it.

4) Use your realm forums.

Lots of people want to play games but might not want to put that initial step forward. Your realm forums can be a great tool for pugging arenas. People who respond to arena ads on realm forums tend to want to play often, so if you have fun with it and are moderately successful, they might become a regular teammate of yours.

5) Try to get connections from the best players your server.

You can go on the arenajunkies rankings tab and select your server to find out who is currently rated highest, or you can just ask around. I personally find asking around to be a better policy. Ask if they know anyone that is really into PvP but isn't geared yet. After you get some names of people you want to play some games with...

6) Send them a whisper to see if they'd be interested in playing a few games with you.

  • Sell yourself as someone who has some arena experience. Research terms and comp names so you sound like you've played arena somewhat. Last week's article is a good place to start for a basic glossary.
  • Explain everything you've achieved up front. If you've hit 1600 in 2v2 before, say so! If you have a lot of raiding achievements, tell them that you're a hardcore raider looking to get into PvP. Try to keep it concise, but hit all the 'big points' that will sell you as a potential teammate.
  • However, be humble.
  • Tell the truth! If you say you've hit gladiator in the past, but not on this character -- they will find out and word will get around. Just stay away from dishonesty.
  • Emphasize your excitement about playing arena with them.
  • If they refuse to play with you, be polite and kindly ask if they know anyone who might be interested.
7) Try to maintain a positive attitude, even if your partners are jerks with no skill.

I personally will play games each week with a few people just because they are genuinely great guys. Try to have a 'nice guy' persona, it'll take you a long way (I wonder what tier druid shoulders Mr. Flowers is wearing). See articles on Scrubby McDouche and Improving Your Play for more information on arena attitudes.

8) Constructive criticism is contagious.

At the end of each game (particularly losses) ask if there was anything you could have done differently. Even if you view yourself as better than your teammates (which sometimes is the case), "baddies" can still give great advice. If you're playing with someone much better than yourself, they'll be able to help you immensely -- don't squander the opportunity to learn and skill up!

9) Don't talk yourself down or make things super serious.

I see this happen a lot when gladiators help new players. Listen, the gladiator is going to assume you're not very good, you don't have to tell him yourself. When I play a few games with someone off of trade for fun, that's exactly what I'm looking for -- a good time.

When I was first getting into arena, a ridiculously well-geared restoration druid just transferred to my server. This guy was completely decked out. And this is when arena gear really meant something -- your resilience number was your PvP gearscore skillscore. I wanted to play games with him, but my gear and skill were pretty bad. I asked him if he'd like to play a few and he was pretty enthusiastic. I coughed up the gold to make the team and invited him to it. I immediately started downplaying myself. I said we'd probably have a lot of trouble around 1800 rating but we could get through eventually get through it.

I heard him groan. He wasn't looking for anything super serious, he just wanted to have some fun. We played about twenty games, and miraculously won about eighteen of them. We got up to 1950 or something, far surpassing my expectations. The next day, even though we did very well, he left the team and never played with me again.

10) Don't pester people to play with you!

I kept pestering that druid to rejoin my team and carry me to a high rating, but he never 'got around to it.' No one wants to be used. I wanted to learn and have a great time -- and I thought I was being cordial, polite, and going about it the right way. Nope. I failed to look at things from his perspective.

If you're going to ask someone to play with you, please only do it once every few days -- and make sure they're not currently doing anything at the time, like playing arena with their regular set of teammates. This might be obvious, but don't ever ask them to leave a team to join yours.

11) Never nerd-rage.

Self-explanatory. You'll get a bad reputation and no one will want to play with you.

12) Act like you don't care about how much you win/lose, even if you do.

If you get too focused on winning, arena isn't going to be fun. If you try to have the maximum amount of fun possible, you're not going to get bored and you'll make progress quicker -- both with gaining skill and gaining partners.

13) Choose smart goals.

Please don't be one of those people who set a goal of number one rank within the first month of playing arena. You shouldn't be going for gladiator here. Your goal should be to have fun. Besides, if you set your expectations low you have a higher chance of success, and it will feel like you've accomplished something, and that will help you keep a positive attitude. If setting giant goals works for you, that's cool, but try to hedge it at least a little bit when it comes to arena. It can be very discouraging, especially when you're just starting out.

14) End on a winning streak.

Nothing is worse than ending on losses. When you get to the upper echelons of arena, lots of arena players have a two-straight-loss or three-straight-loss quit policy. That's fine, everyone knows that if the team isn't doing well, it's time to stop, and it's there to prevent tanking lots of points while the team is in a funk.

If you lose six straight then end for the night, people will start thinking about joining other teams. Afterall, you probably just lost tons of points on the night, how can they be certain it won't happen again? Even if you were 40-0 before your slump, five or six straight losses leaves a very nasty taste.

If you just had a huge win streak, consider stopping for the night. This will allow your teammates to talk amongst themselves about how well you played. If they're some of the big name PvPers on your server, they might tell all their friends about how well you played. Boom, instant in.

15) Look on the arenajunkies recruitment board for possible teammates.

Be warned, a lot of these posts have very exaggerated claims about what they've achieved. Many people are willing to xfer to you, but some want to stay on their server. Make sure you get all the facts before you transfer anywhere -- you don't want to waste twenty-five Washingtons.

Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? Check out's articles on arena, successful arena PvPers, PvP, and our arena column, Blood Sport.

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