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Blood Sport: Red flags for realm transfers


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Sport for arena enthusiasts and The Art of War(craft) for fans of battlegrounds and world PvP. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more.

Listening Music: David Bazan's "In Stitches." If you like slow, trippy indie and haven't heard of David Bazan (or Pedro the Lion), you should YouTube him. These KEXP recordings have come through surprisingly clear.

In my four years playing WoW, I've transferred servers for PvP around 15 times. For some, that might seem like a small amount but for the majority of you, it's probably a really often (and costly)!

Now, please take into account that I play multiple characters and I've happily stayed on some servers for many seasons. Other times, I've only been on a server for a few days -- finding out that your new PvP teammates aren't everything you expected them to be is pretty rough. Fifty bucks down the drain is worse.

So I've decided to write this article on giant red flags that might appear in the transfer process. The warning signs are obvious -- but sometimes only after you've already made your decision and thrown down your hard-earned cash. No one is immune to some crafty deception; even the best of us can bite that golden hook of a tempting offer or a myriad of other reasons for transferring.

Before I transfer anywhere ...

  1. I look at my future teammates' arena history on the armory. Are the players any good? I look at games played and damage/healing within those games, and also how long they've had their last team for.
  2. I ask my future partners about their goals. What do they expect? Gladiator? #1 gladiator? Just to have a fun time?
  3. I ask my future partners what times they play (and how often they are available to play) to see if they will line up with my own. This is very important, and most people don't take the time to ask this very important question.
  4. I ask around on their server and battlegroup (other top teams) about why they are looking for recruits. Did they just kick the last guy off because they didn't like him? Or did he transfer mysteriously? Do my teammates have a weak link? What is the community's consensus on my future teammates?
Flattery will get you nowhere

Are your potential teammates saying everything you want to hear? Does it seem like the primary objective is to "get you" instead of trying to figure out if you're a good match for their team? Steer clear of these people!

While everything might seem great, they could be the kind of arena players who change partners a lot. I've found flatterers to use a strategy of getting lots of players to transfer over, then playing a few games with them to see if they actually mesh with the team. Meanwhile, they're continuing to look for someone else, to keep a revolving door of PvPers spinning. These individuals rarely try to iron out problems and might not be ready to take criticism themselves. (The problem is usually with the other players instead of them -- hence the reason they try to recruit lots of players.)


While this might be obvious to some of you, do your research before you transfer over! If they said they were rank 1 four times, make them show you some kind of proof. Moreover, if you've never been above 2,300 before, why would they be so willing to take you on the team if they've hit rank 1 four times? You can eventually make it to the top, but a 2,900-rated team probably isn't going to recruit people they view as unproven.

It might seem like you've just hit the jackpot with arena partners, but beware of the liar. There are plenty of arena players who want people to respect them based on their accomplishments -- so much to the point that they'll actually make up past achievements. If you're rated around 1,800, expect to get paired up with people not much higher than yourself.

You don't want to waste $25 by transferring over to a server only to find out they've been lying to you all along. I had this happen to one of my friends. I felt so bad for him; he had thought he had hit the jackpot and instead, got scammed.

2 + 2 = 3?

Beware when people give you statements that seem fishy or don't add up.

I fell for this one. Yep. It wasn't obvious to me until I looked back on it. I was transferring over to play with the rank 2 team in both 3v3 and 5v5. The rank 1 teams in those brackets were each on different servers (different players).

It was a classic case of not doing my research. I had seen that they were exceptional players and were easily capable of hitting rank 1 and just needed a third (and fifth) that was similarly skilled. I failed to follow up on their past history or their teammate who "mysteriously transferred." I also didn't ask around their server to figure out if they were honorable gents or not.

It turns out that they had win-traded (that is, cheated) up to rank 2 and their gladiator titles were friends playing on their accounts. They were maybe 2,100-caliber players with a penchant for making it big in PvP. I have no idea why people cheat to get higher in WoW PvP; it's very transparent and does nothing but ruin your reputation (that you're trying to build).

Le sigh; a few days later and I was transferring to another server.

Underestimating difficulty of achievement

"It'll be no problem, bro, we'll have rank 1 in a single day, LOL."

I fell for this one, too. I transferred over to a remade rank 1 team. The captain of the previous team rage-kicked everyone on the 5v5 a few weeks before the season ended, all they needed was a warlock, and luckily, I had a geared up warlock alt that I had been playing with semi-casually.

Unfortunately, a few problems came up:
  1. None of the top teams queued up until a few days before season's end. This made game to game very long, as our MMRs were all very high; when we did defeat an opponent, they were only rated ~2,200, which stopped giving us big gains once we hit 2,400. Gains were very slow.
  2. Our availability times were very different. Some days I can play arena from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., but those days are pretty rare. I have a lot going on in real life, so squeezing in time for arena is pretty difficult. Turns out that our times just didn't sync up very well, making games even more rare.
  3. A few players got disenchanted after we didn't get in the top 20 in a single day, let alone rank 1. They started doing other things, assuming that we wouldn't get there; and unsurprisingly, we didn't get there. We had a few weeks before season's end, but sadly, my alt did not get a cool rank 1 title beside his name. Oh well, lesson learned.
Other easy-to-see red flags

When people say they've been rated exceptionally high (2,900+, for example), check their arena page! It lists all the highest personal and team ratings a character has achieved.

If they link lots of armories at you, make sure you check to see if they're actually who they say they are. You'd be surprised to find out how many people lie about who is and who is not their character. I had one druid tell me that his main was a professional-level warlock. I had actually played with the warlock, so I knew for sure it wasn't him. It ruined his reputation on our server and rightfully so, it's foolish to lie about who your main is.

If someone is offering to pay for your transfer, he might just be looking to steal your account. Don't give anyone your account information, even if you think you will get an awesome free transfer out of it.

Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? Read Blood Sport for pointers on arena play. Don't miss our interviews with successful arena PvPers, and see The Art of War(craft) for the inside line on battlegrounds and world PvP.

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