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In case you'd missed last night's impromptu "Play AGAINST The Blues" on the PTR, tonight is another chance to play vs or with Blizzard employees in Battlegrounds. This event takes place on the PTR, tonight, November 2! First, copy a character (one of your own or a premade one if you're interested in trying a different class out). Next, download the PTR client. While you're waiting for the update and transfer, check out the 4.3 PTR patch notes. Once that's finished, log onto your PTR client and queue up for some random BGs. Hope to see you there!

Official Blizzard Quote:

Greetings All!
We got such positive results from today's Play Against the Blues event we're doing it again!

Tomorrow 11/02/11 the mightiest combatants of Blizzard will once again gallantly stride across the blood-soaked soil of Azeroth. That's right, we're doing a Play-with-the-Blues Battlegrounds event on the PTRs!
From 3:00pm-6:00pm PST we'll be queuing for randoms Battlegrounds.
Hope to see you online!
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LFG Arena – Communication
In the last article we focused on people having the right attitude and how team mates need to stay positive at all times. In this article we will put focus on communication; both the preliminary steps and for teams that have already been together for a couple of weeks.

Over Reaction
One mistake that tends to occur frequently is the way people react to the information given to them. For example, not so long ago I was playing with a random priest for cap. During the fight I got feared and out of habit I called it out by saying "feared" on Skype to which I promptly get a very angry reply going something along the lines of "Dude, I f*** know that! can’t you see that I am stunned?" in a very frustrated tone.

This is not the only time this has ever occurred, I have witnessed this on multiple occasions; a given player, most often a healer/dispeller, acts with aggression when information is provided that he could potentially react to.

How do you solve such an issue?
First it needs to be clear among the whole team that when you say certain things it is not to discourage them or otherwise mock their capabilities, but merely to declare the given state your character is in. Only when this exception is set early and when everyone is on the same page (read LFG Arena – Basics) can you proceed to getting the communication right.

Getting It Right
There is no step by step guide for perfect communication within a team, but a lot of issues can be solved by taking a couple of minutes and talking through the different meanings of what is being said.

To help you along the way I have a couple of things that I always tell anyone that asks for help on getting their communication going more fluently. You will need to communicate differently depending on your combo but to help you better understand and to give a basic overview, the following will be written with the assumption that you are playing on a regular 3v3 team.

Saying everything you are doing at all times would be great if you were the only person on the team,  but you are not alone, my friend! The whole problem with communication is that there are three people sharing the same line for communication.  So the goal is to get such precise information out that it cannot be interpreted differently by your team members. You want them both to understand exactly what is going to happen when you give them any information.

Neilyo Communication Pro Tips
To get couple of real world examples we asked Neilyo how he thinks about communication.  He had a number of great tips to give that are sure to give your team an upper hand when you're fighting other teams, and most likely ease tensions on your teams as well.

Here's what Neilyo thinks about calling targets:

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In melee/caster/healer it's part of the melee's job is to direct most of the flow of the match. They call the targets because the melee knows who he can get on and who he can stick to. The melee also knows (mostly for Rogues) who is on stun DR, which plays a huge role in swapping.

In comps like MLS I would imagine Mage would direct a little more of who to target since Warlocks play more of a passive "zoomed out/bigger picture" role where they roll dots on most people, whereas the Mage must find a window to set up some big burst, set up a deep swap, etc.

It's not as simple as that though, it's a delicate and intricate synergy where everyone follows each other. In melee/caster/healer the caster cannot always be on the target the melee wants to go on due to positioning, so the caster must be vocal about who he can/cannot pressure and who he can CC, because who he can CC will also dictate who the target should be.

Neilyo also had some interesting thoughts on how to keep up good team communication during intense arena matches:

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Everyone should be calling every CC that is hitting them, and they should indicate if it is full, half, or short. Everyone should be calling their own forms of CC and if it is full, half, or short. Everyone when they have enough time should call everything a few seconds ahead of time to allow their teammates time to set up for it as much as possible. Everyone should be notifying each other of when their important CD's are coming back up soon - for example: calling up soon will reduce the chance of people willing or trinketing a fear that can be tremored. Calling "dance up soon" will allow your caster or melee partner time to get everything ready for a clean hard swap onto a target of choice.

Everyone should be follow-up calling on things which they have called as well. For example, if Mage calls that he is going to deep soon for a swap, or counter spell next cast, and then he gets CC'd or something happens that prevents him from doing that, he should follow-up that call with an update to let his partners know not to rely on that deep or counter spell because he is no longer able to do it.

Everyone should be calling anything of importance that they see the other team doing, because some enemies that are in your view may not be in your teammates view or your teammate may be busy focusing on something else. Generally whoever puts out a CC on the enemy is responsible for calling if that enemy trinkets the CC. Or whoever CC's a rogue is responsible for either keeping the rogue in combat after the CC to prevent a restealth or telling one of their teammates if they are unable to.

Lastly everyone needs to work on calling things more efficiently, some things are hard to say fast, or take too long to say, or are not specific enough. So it should be a joint effort to find better ways of calling things that will convey more information or the same amount of information but faster, with more ease. If two people call that they are going to CC someone, people need to know which CC should take priority, whichever CC is harder to get off usually should NOT be the one to back off and allow the other CC to go through. That way you capitalize on that harder to come by opportunity.

Attitudes and Effects
Again I cannot tell you enough how important it is to have a positive attitude. Yes, it can be hard to keep a smiling face when the same mistakes are repeated over and over but you luck out here because it is not about your face but only your voice. As long as the excitement in your voice could be mistaken with the excitement of a little girl just getting a pink pony, then everything is going to be fine.

You can do everything mentioned above but just having slight anger or frustration in your voice will slowly derail your whole team towards frustration and disbanding. It might sound extreme but a vast majority, and sadly not all, play this game for the fun of it. They enjoy playing together with people that are like minded, and they do not want to put their time into negative energy arena after arena.

Ventrilo vs. Skype
It is a matter of opinion to what people like the most, they each provide the same service but at different benefits so you'll need to decide which voice chat software is the best choice for you and your team.

Push to Talk vs. Non Push to Talk
Ventrilo has the problem with their non push to talk adding delay which is horrible when it comes to arena, so it is often concluded that Skype is the best for non push to talk and Ventrilo is the push to talk. Both have their pros and cons. Some people enjoy being able to control when sound is being transmitted so for them Ventrilo is often the best choice.

Not using push to talk also means that you will hear most of the things going on in the background and especially when playing with people who have kids or pets it often creates a lot of noise. So if your team mates often have people in the background shouting or just have a horrible microphone I suggest you use Ventrilo. However if you have a generally quiet environment and decent microphones then I suggest using Skype.

Quality
Ventrilo and push to talk was previously by far the best choice due to a lot of people having really horrible microphones with a lot of static noise and just really bad quality. So if you were to listen to them and their static noise even when they weren't talking you would pretty much go insane.

Skype did not always have the auto adjustment system that it does now and not to mention microphones have gotten a lot better. On top of that software has become a lot better at removing the static. Which is why a lot of people have changed to Skype, as it just provides better quality and easier communication and you don't need to find room for that extra key-bind to talk. If people decide to use Skype and use the push to talk option then they need to beware that this messes with the Auto Adjustment in Skype, so if someone is being loud the last few seconds of his transmit Skype will then auto adjust that down so that next time he talks will be a lot lower and will take time for Skype to boost his voice again often ending in information not being understood.

Last Week?
In case you missed the article about attitudes from last week you can find it here!

Have a question you would like to have addressed in one of these articles? Send me a PM or reply to this thread!

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Pico and video team have put together it's take on Blizzcon this year. So, if you missed it or have never been this should give you a taste of what it's like!


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