What makes Rank 1 players so amazing? What can multi-season Gladiators do that single-season Gladiators cannot? How come do I go that extra distance and avoid another season of Duelist? How can Rivals step it up? What's a Challenger to do to break the ice? Where does a Beginner start? These are the questions I will be tackling this week. I'll be exploring the difference between the skill level and consistency of players between the different rankings (Multi-Glad, Single-Glad, Duelist, Rival, Challenger, Beginners).
Before we start I want to mention things that I won't be taking into consideration. These are factors that do not directly affect how good a player is between the ratings and create too much of a hassle when trying to identify the exact difference between each ranking.
Things not taken into consideration for the purpose of this article
-How hard you try and how often you PvP
-The gear you are wearing
-What comp you play
-How good your class is this season
Remember these are the things that I'm not taking into consideration. These things DO matter as far as getting certain rating, but it makes it too hard to tell the difference between the rankings without excluding these factors first.
We'll start with the chumps, the newcomers, the learners: the Beginners. What does it mean to be a Beginner? Are you the absolute worst player on the planet? Of course not. Beginners just need to go in a good direction and start learning basic arena gameplay. Let's go over common themes that Beginners have.
Beginners, let's be honest, you guys are pretty terrible at PvP. You don't know what the best abilities to press are and at what times to press them. You don't have the best gear. You might ask questions like: "What the heck is Line of Sight?", "What makes a comp good?" "When should I use my defensive cooldowns?" or say things like: "We died so fast, what could we have even done?" or think "Why do I need to be 2200 to play with other good players?"
Can anyone even help me?
Hold it there buddy. You're not ready to step into the arena. Veteran arena opponents will ruin you faster than you can say 'Realz'. Let me introduce to you your new opponent.
Do not underestimate what you can learn from battling this formidable opponent.No, this isn't some joke. The best way to begin your PvP adventure is to start with the basics of the game. You need to learn what the best buttons to press when attacking or healing are. This part can be very simple or you can get really technical with it. I would just go for with simple path for now. We're going to visit a well known site: www.elitistjerks.com
Here, through the PvE forums, you will find valuable information about each healing and DPS spec. You can learn your best stats, your top DPS rotation, your best enchants, and other key information.
A typical Shadowpriest DPS Priority
With that said, Elitist Jerks is a PvE Healing and DPS site. You're just trying to learn the basics from them. Don't copy the exact talent specs, glyphs, gearing, and gemming. If you think you're going to run around arena in PvE gear and spec with 0 Resilience think again! If you don't want to sift through that information you can watch PvP videos and see what abilities they prioritize. For some classes this is easier than others, but you should take the time to learn the basics before stepping into the arena!
Next up is the inexperienced, the not-so-deadly, the tunnel-visioners: the Challengers. You're done with those training dummies. You are finally ready to break it down in the arena, but do you know how to handle yourself in there? You know what line of sight is, but do you know how to use it? You know the DPS rotations, but can you keep up with the other things going on? Let's find out more about common Challenger traits.
I'll go over DPS first. They generally make poor target choices, or better yet find a target and tunnel it until it goes down (or not) in an arena match. If they get crowd controlled at all, they are trinketing; whether it was a 1 second stun, an 8 second blind, or a frostbolt snare, they have to get back to their target!
Healers, you're next. You guys tend to have next-to the worst positioning possible. When you're healing you lose a sense of what is actually going on in the match and tunnel vision your party health bars to make sure they live, even it it means running straight into the enemy Death Knight and Warrior.
And finally Challengers, do not use or do not look at their focus frame. Even if you do use it: do you know what you're looking for on it? Do you know who to focus each game? Let's talk about what Challengers need to do to improve.
What's a Challenger to do?
I recommended this in my old blog and I still recommend it today. Whether you are the healer or DPS you can work on this together. Go into a battleground with a friend (1 healer 1 DPS). Try to get into engagements with 2 DPS at once and try this out. Put one of them on focus (generally a caster class) and watch what they cast. Do this while killing the other target or healing your partner. If you can watch exactly what they are doing and heal/do damage at the same time - you're one step closer to becoming a better player.
Next we'll move onto the Rivals. What does it mean to be a Rival? You understand the basic concepts of arena battle. You don't run straight in the open and die anymore. You understand that when someone is Deep Frozen with a Rogue on them that they are in big trouble, but what is there still to understand? Let's find out.
I'll start with DPS again. Rival DPS still generally tend to chase one target, but know to get off of them if they are chasing them way out of line of sight of their healer. They will swap targets based on this more than anything else.
Time to criticize the healers! You know to generally stay by pillars to avoid getting controlled. However, once the action gets going you lose a sense of where you are and why you are at that pillar. You start drifting away from the pillar as you start to panic. That Mage is trying to sheep you. That Warlock is trying to fear you. When the going gets tough you end up crowd controlled or swapped to.
Rivals, you know to use your focus frame, right? Don't worry about knowing exactly who to focus, instead think more about what you want to use the focus frame for and what to watch out for. If you can think of those things then you will know who to focus each match because you know what you want to watch for.
A focus frame lets you keep track of important things such as enemy casts
These concepts will be very difficult to execute at first, but with time you will learn them. You need to learn the art of correct defensive cooldown usage. First, keep track of your own team's defensive cooldowns. You should be communicating with your teammates when you think you need extra healing or when a defensive cooldown is needed. This does not just mean when a player is low on health. Second, you need to track the enemy's defensive cooldowns. The focus is more on swapping than anything else. Rivals know how to deal high amounts of damage so you will force cooldowns by attacking a target. Once you see a cooldown, though, I want you to try something new. Once you see that Anti-Magic Shell, Pain Suppression, Barkskin, Cloak of Shadows, etc try switch targets. It doesn't matter if your target was at 20% or 30% health, it's almost always best to swap targets. Their healer will still be trying to heal the person at 20%, but when you get someone else is to 50%, you've just made their job that much harder. Play around with this idea of swapping based on defensive cooldowns and you will surely improve.
We'll follow with the Gladiators-to-be, the almost-there, the hard workers: the Duelists. You guys are almost there. You understand Line of Sight now, even as DPS when you know you're in trouble. The focus frame is a piece of cake now. Swapping? Hah. You're masters of that now. What gets you to that next tier? What brings you to the next level? What's it take to get that sweet yellow Arenajunkies helmet!?
Let's go back to the beginning. As a beginner you learned the proper way to DPS a target. You attack it with your best spells and kill it as fast as possible. When's the last time you took a look at your DPS rotation? Is your DPS rotation out-of-date?
Has something changed over the past couple patches to change that rotation? Is a PvE rotation of spells the best rotation for you? Is it better for you to split damage between targets? What about burst? Isn't that something necessary in PvP? Ask yourself these questions. There's always something you can do better every game as a DPS. Think about when you use your offensive cooldowns. Is it best to use them at the start of the game every time? Should I save Shadowfiend for mana? Is it good to use Deep Freeze in the opener? Should I Recklessness instantly or should I wait? I'm sure your DPS ability usage could use some work.
How do I go that extra mile?
To get to that final goal of becoming a Gladiator we're going to need a lot of practice. Be critical about your play. Record your games via streaming, FRAPS, or any other program. Watch yourself. Question yourself. Don't question your teammates, just yourself. Could you have used Line of Sight there? Look for mistakes that make you exclaim: "Wow, I could have reflected that Frostbolt" or "I could have just killed him here." Find out what you did wrong and what you did right. Repeat the things that worked well; correct the things that did not.
Take some time to learn about all the different abilities in the game. Do you know how long Divine Shield lasts? What's the cooldown of Divine Protection as Retribution? As Holy? What's the duration of Cloak of Shadows? How does Impact proc? What does Fingers of Frost do? What school is Mana Burn? Know the game. Take the time to learn ALL the abilities and figure out what to do when you see them. Next, get a feel for how much damage a spell should do normally and how much a spell should do with trinkets/cooldowns up. It's much easier to know when to use cooldowns and when you are fine when you understand where the damage you are taking is coming from.
Whether you are a Gladiator from seasons past, or you're a Gladiator from last season looking to repeat your success, this section is for you. You know how all the abilities in the game work. You've watched your games and critiqued your own play. What's next?
Continue recording your own play if that is possible. It's difficult to have someone else critique your own play and it is rude if you try to critique others without them asking for you to. Now is the time to start coordinating with your teammates. Reading through previous passages you could easily be convinced the main type of PvP in this game was solo or 2v2. You're playing 3v3 or 5v5 to get your Gladiator. You need to coordinate with your partners! Let's go over how we do that.
Many players simply do not know what to say in arena. Let me talk about what to communicate and why communication is so important.
What to communicate:
-When you have cooldowns up and you're attacking a player
-When you just used a defensive cooldown
-When you trinket
-When an enemy player trinkets
-Things you are doing that may be good to know (running to fear someone, Frost Novaing someone, running out of Line of Sight to kill someone)
Sure they can see what's happening, and you might be saying something they already know. However, if everyone communicates those things throughout a game, suddenly your team can concentrate on other things like line of sighting better or managing their cooldowns better. Once you get communication and coordination down you are one step closer to becoming a better player and a consistent Gladiator.
We'll finish off with the triumphant, the victorious, the multi-helmeted Multi-Season Gladiators. What makes players at this caliber so good? Why do they always get Gladiator regardless of their composition or their gear or the season? Let's discuss.
First of all, you can't be a Multi-Season Gladiator unless you have fun with the game and the people you are playing with. You don't need the best of the best players at your side to get Gladiator. Find people you enjoy playing with and work well with to make it to the top. Multi-Season Gladiators do one thing better than everyone else and it's precisely what the Single-Season Gladiators need to learn: communication and coordination. RMPs in the past have been the best example of this. The great ones were able to coordinate their kills with chain crowd controls, heavy burst damage, crazy swaps, and great team play. They know each others game so well they could play almost as good without verbal communication.
Here's one thing to really work your heart on to become a Multi-Season Gladiator or even a rank one player. Make an effort to use chain crowd controls on not just one, but multiple players at once. Sheep the Priest with a Kidney Shot on the Rogue and a Fear on the Mage. Do this while coordinating damage and managing enemy cooldowns and your own cooldowns. Watch your own play, critique yourself. Don't get caught up on the flashy stuff shown in PvP videos. Sure he Shadowstep Kicked that heal, but does that make him a great player? As Day would say "Learn how to be a better gamer." We'll learn more in the coming weeks on just how to do that. Till next time.
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