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Blood Sport: Having fun in the arena


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 in Blood Sport.

My internet is down this week (lame!), so I'll be writing about a topic near to my heart: having fun in the arena. I was originally going to write about how to make the best use of your time in WoW when you don't have much of it, but then I thought two things:
  1. Everyone spends time in game differently. Some people like PVE, some PVP, some prefer the auction house, and others (mindbogglingly) enjoy reputation grinding. For me to throw out a list of how to best use your time would be madness, absolute madness.
  2. Considering we are WoW players, making the best use of your time might not be the most well-received article.

Fun for you

Having fun is by far the most important aspect of arena. In fact, it's the most important aspect of anything in the World of Warcraft. If we can't enjoy the game and it gets too serious, too monotonous, or too bothersome, why play? I've met plenty of people in game who have lost their enjoyment for it. When questioned as to why they continue playing, they respond that they have obligations to keep up to their guild or arena teams.

Contrary to a somewhat popular belief, sacrificing your own fun to help others is not necessarily the best thing. People get burned out on WoW very quickly when they are only playing it to help others. Do yourself a favor and put the game down, then go out and do some physical activity like play sports, lift weights, or run a bit. Come back to the game when you feel like it's a way to relax and enjoy some free time. Better yet, go handle real-life obligations first. Those are actually more important than in-game obligations, as crazy as that might sound to some.

Wow, this suddenly got more serious that I had anticipated. I went from saying how fun arena was to lecturing on the importance of real-life obligations. Yeah, let's move on.

Fun? This is Sparta!

Some people treat fun in arena like it's madness. You can't have fun while playing arena. For these people, arena is pretty much synonymous with serious business. Don't listen to these people, even if they are high-rated.

Whether I win or I lose, I'm always looking to have a good time. I would rather be rated 2,100 and enjoy every second of arena than be 3,000 and enjoy none of it. Sure, you get some cool, prestigious titles with the second option, but I've been there and done that and can attest that I'm not better off for them.

The best stories aren't ones where I'm explaining intricate details of a secret strategy we developed to hit Rank 1. The best stories are ones that involve a lot of laughter, perhaps a ridiculous personal challenge and how we fell flat on our face (or somehow barely succeeded) in what we set out to accomplish.

I've told people about my first Rank 1 title (which is probably my most memorable high-rated arena story) maybe 10 to 20 times. However, I've probably told other more humorous stories over 100 times each. Here's an example: A 5v5 team of mine went into an arena match completely naked and with autorun turned off (we were all walking). We were also formed via autofollow like a Mighty-Ducks-style Flying V. We played 17 games, 17 losses. We didn't win a single match, but we loved every second of imagining the looks on our opponents' faces, especially when they saw the Rank 1 gladiator titles we had.

Enjoyable teammates are worth their weight in gold

The first Rank 1 title I got was on a 5v5 where everyone was a friend of mine (and subsequently, everyone enjoyed each other's presence). We played approximately 200 games of arena in four days. That's a lot of arena for anyone, but none of us minded because we were all enjoying ourselves, even when things got rough. Figuring out how to defeat enemy strategies was enjoyable because jokes were being cracked throughout the whole endeavor instead of the normal frustration coupled with criticism that we see so often.

On the other hand, I've had a Rank 1 team where I've disliked three out of my four teammates. That's not a good situation. It's worse when everyone on the team only had a single friend (or in some cases, not even that). The only reason I stayed with that team until the end of the season was to get another title. That is a terrible reason to play arena, and I dreaded our weekly playtimes. Blame was passed out like candy at the end of every loss; it was a pretty unfun situation for everyone involved. The only thing I really got out of that title was an hour or two of heartache every Friday and Sunday night.

I used to play Halo 2 competitively. Our team of four would practice for hours and hours to understand complex intracacies in new maps that were released before a tournament. We wanted to memorize spawn points, weapon timers, and advanced grenade ricochet geometry better than our competition. While we had gotten the majority of this down, two of our teammates went off into another dorm room to just play a fun game or two between themselves. We heard them laughing about ridiculous things -- just enjoying the game again as bright-eyed new players genuinely exploring the maps.

The somewhat awkward thing was that they had found almost as many competitive tools in their few games of fooling around than we had trying to form and perfect strategies in the hundred or so games that we had played amongst ourselves. They had found jumps that we didn't know about (that took a great deal of skill but were eventually mastered) and a legal super-jump that was one-time accessible with a sniper on an explodable fuel cell. While this probably makes very little sense to you, the long story short is that their fooling around helped us access valuable information that we otherwise would not have known. We won the tournament largely because of these fun games.

Listening Music Radiohead's Lotus Flower. Can't go wrong with Radiohead. Ever.

Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? We'll steer you to victory with the best arena addons and let you in on some rank 1 gladiator PvP secrets. Be sure to check out our guide to PvP keybindings.

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