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How To: Improve Your Arena Ratings

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#1 bloodwraith


Posted 06 July 2009 - 09:56 PM

Defining Arenas

So you want to get better at PvP? Well you've come to the right place. This article is designed to put you on the path to becoming a better player and in turn improve your performance in arenas. Lets take a step back and try to define exactly what Arena is:

Arena is the competition of two teams against each other in World of Warcraft on their computer. The teams are comprised of 2,3, or 5 characters. Characters are controlled by people through their mouse and keyboard.

Using this definition we can be sure that everything is covered in the article.

If you have anything that you think will improve the thread please let me know. Feedback is always welcome. It was created using multiple sources that I have found useful along with personal experience. This is not meant to be a guide for gladiators. It is merely meant to help maximize your potential. What you do with it is up to you.

Your Computer

Let's start with your computer. It is the medium through which you communicate with the game. It is important that this runs smoothly or everything else with suffer as a consequence. Your latency is very important. Latency is how long it takes your computer to communicate with the server so, naturally, the lower the better. Another important stat is your frames per second(FPS). In the case of FPS, higher is better.

  • Keep your desk clean. Clutter is going to get in your way and be distracting.
  • High Speed Internet is a must.
  • Configure your video settings to attain better FPS. PvP is all about your interface. Graphics aren't important so don't be afraid to turn your settings down.
  • If you have some spare cash you can always upgrade your computer's actual hardware. Your RAM, Video Card, and CPU are what you should look at. Tiger Direct is one of many places to shop for these. Don't be nervous about installing them; it's a very straightforward process. Anyone can do it.
  • There are many programs on the internet that reduce your latency for gaming purposes. They edit your registry to change your TcpAckFrequency. The best one that I have found is Leatrix Latency Fix. It work for all Windows operating systems.

Controlling Your Character

A keybinding is a shortcut that allows you to use your abilities quickly without interaction with the mouse. Clicking does things slowly and thus is less effective than someone who uses keybinds. Clicking forces you to watch your action bars and hinders you from watching what is going on around you causing tunnel vision.

  • To change your keybinds:
    • Press the Esc key, click on Key Bindings in the menu that appears in the middle of the screen, and scroll down through the various different abilities. The function of the ability is described on the left side, and the two boxes in line with the description are the two possible keybindings. To assign a new keybinding you click on the left box and press the keybinding you wish to assign. Click Okay after you’re done changing things.
    • If you're a Bartender4 user, type "/kb" and you should be able to clear and assign keybinds by hovering your mouse over the desired button.
  • The first keybinds you need to worry about is your movement base. These are the buttons you use to control which direction your character runs. Most players use "WASD" keys for their movement base. That would be W Forward, A Left, S Back, and D Right. Players with large hands use "ESDF" to take advantage of the extra keybind space.
    • These setups are aimed at right handed players. Left handers will either have to learn to play right handed or develop their own method.
    • You need to rebind your turn keys as the strafe keys. That would be A/D or S/F depending on your setup. You are unbinding the turn keys because the right mouse button is used to turn. Strafing moves your character right and left while still facing the same direction.
  • The most common reachable keybinds are 12345QERTFGXC. Of course, if you can reach further go for it. You can combine these with modifiers (Shift/Ctrl/Alt) to keep keybinds within reach.
  • Some players also bind things to their mouse wheels or extra mouse buttons.
  • The general idea is to keybind your most used abilities close to your movement base and branch out from there. This makes it easier on you and keeps your hand from cramping up.
  • Keeping similar abilities together can help you memorize them.
  • I find that Caps Lock is a great button for ventrilo.
  • Combining spells into macros helps save keyboard space.
  • Accelerate your keybinds through downloading an addon that activates your spells on key press rather than key release (default).
    • SnowfallKeyPress will do the trick. Install it and forget about it unless you have certain keys you do not wish to accelerate.
    • If you are a Bartender4 user, the option is available to you in the menu. Type "/bt4" then click on bars. Check the "Toggle actions on key press instead of release option".
Your Team

Teamwork is key to success in arena. Work on teamwork and communication and you will see a drastic improvement in your ratings.

  • Run a viable arena team.
  • Work on teamwork and communication. Call out heals that are going out, crowd control (CC) that is going out, CC that is coming in, damage taken, kill opportunities, etc.
  • Raid symbols can often be a huge help to track the movement of your team.
  • Practice with your team and develop complex strategies. Simply using basic strategies like “attack the healer” will not get you to the top of the arena ladder.
  • Get your teammates to work on improving as well. They should be doing these things just like you should be.
  • You and your teammates should share the same goals.
  • You should be able to meet for a few arena sessions each week.
  • They need to be around the same level of skill that you are to make sure neither player is holding the other back.

The Game

Warcraft is a complex game. You need to research and make sure you are playing at the most optimal level.

  • Look up PvP guides for your class.
  • Look up the top players for your class. Take note of their gear scheme, talents, and glyphs.
  • Watch Arena videos and streams. Preferably of your class but just any class can help you to gain perspective and strategies.
  • Try to do as many duels and 1v1's in BG's as possible. This will help make you a better player and increase your knowledge and ability to guess what classes will do in different situations.
  • Try to learn each class's Talents/Abilities/Cooldowns/and Durations. You can ask your friends, play other classes on the PTR, and look things up on Wowhead along with your general experience.
  • Know where to line-of-sight your enemies, and know where they can line-of-sight you. Know where your enemies are going and know where your teammates are going.
  • Don't overreact in a 1v1 situation after your partners have died. If you get nervous you will play badly and won't be thinking clearly.
  • First Person Shooters (FPS) can seriously improve your play level. They help improve pretty much every aspect (communication, reaction time, predicting opponents etc.) of WoW arena and is generally done at a much faster pace. Some popular FPS games are Halo, Call of Duty, and Counter Strike. There are plenty of others, I'm just naming a few off the top of my head.
  • I personally couldn't see myself playing without nameplates showing. You can turn them on by pressing V. This puts a floating healthbar over your enemies. Since 3.0 you can see these for your opponents no matter how far you are from them in an arena. You can also set these to display class colors through the interface combat tab. You can download addons like Aloft to configure the appearance of nameplates. With that addon you can turn off certain things like pets and totems to avoid clutter.
  • Being able to see what is around will greatly improve your situational awareness. Copy and paste the following script into chat to make your camera distance go to the maximum possible setting: "/script SetCVar("cameraDistanceMax",30)".
  • Macros are an important thing to have. Create/find macros for your class that improve your performance, reduce keybinds, and make things easier.
  • Use focus target to have a better idea of what is going on. Combine focus target with macros to play more efficiently. Focus macros are useful to have for roots/slows, CC, and interrupts.
  • WoW PvP is very interface driven. All of your critical information is displayed by the elements of your interface.
    • Keep your addons up-to-date.
    • You want to have more space and less clutter.
    • Don't use addons if they aren't doing anything for you.
    • If you have a large screen, try not to put anything important along the right/left edges. If you put important things along the edges it will be easier to miss something important if you tunnel vision.
    • It is important to be able to see everything you need to without taking your eyes off of the main action.
    • On a larger screen it is easier to forget to look at something if it isn't scaled up so make sure the information you need is large enough.
    • Gladius is an enemy arena frame mod. It has a ton of useful settings such as announcements and trinket tracking.
    • I made this addon list over a year ago but you may still find it useful: Wrath Mod List.

You are the final and most important part of arena success. Through practice and discipline you can move up the arena ladder.

  • You will always have room to improve. Once you accept that you can start getting better.
  • To win you must successfully recognize what your opponents are doing/planning and act in such a way that their plans do not succeed or force them to deal with your actions
  • Look for and correct mistakes you make. After you cast a spell think about if it was the correct thing to do. If something isn't working experiment to find better ways.
  • Skill in PvP can be described by what you do with your GCD. Some players use the comparison to chess (Each GCD= a turn). While there are some exceptions that are off the GCD, like vanish or interrupts, for the vast majority of actions the speed of performance is neither highly variable nor an indicator of player skill. The skill in this game, just like in chess, comes from which action the player chooses to make each turn. The more turns the game lasts and the more choices the player makes, the more they have a chance to influence the game by how well or poorly they play.
  • If your computer is good enough you can record your arena games with FRAPS. Go back over your games and you can critique your own gameplay to prevent making the same mistakes twice.
  • Ask more experienced players for advice and information.
  • Avoid tunnel vision at all costs.
  • Don't forget that timing is everything in arena. If you don't take timing into consideration you won't get very far.
  • Don't get frustrated and just play to have fun. There's zero reason to yell at each other over a video game. If you aren't enjoying yourself or you don't even want to play it (to practice at least) then you won't succeed.
  • Try to be unpredictable. Distancing yourself from what the other team expects gives you an edge. Remember they've played your class and comp tens of times and have learned how to be victorious.

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#2 Básse1296679130

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 10:07 PM

i hope this helps people ^^ good post <3
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#3 bloodwraith


Posted 06 July 2009 - 10:13 PM

Thanks :D
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#4 Illused

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 10:14 PM

Do you need an addon to turn off pet and totem nameplates? or can this be done in the interface settings somewhere?
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#5 bloodwraith


Posted 06 July 2009 - 10:24 PM

You need an addon. The only options you have standard are class colors.
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#6 Nocorras

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 11:01 PM

You need an addon. The only options you have standard are class colors.

Any idea what the addon name is? I hate having totem name plates out.
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#7 Magdain

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 11:07 PM

"most important rule of self improvement is to eat a well balanced diet of fruits and vegetables" -diziet on arena
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#8 bloodwraith


Posted 06 July 2009 - 11:09 PM

Any idea what the addon name is? I hate having totem name plates out.

I included a link to it. It's called aloft.
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#9 Grilldarksorrow

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:01 AM

1+ internets.
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#10 Horuku

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 04:39 AM

Looks good, mostly common sense stuff though, but good for beginners.

Another tip would be to not get frustrated and just play to have fun. There's zero reason to yell at each other over a video game. If you aren't enjoying yourself or you don't even want to play it (to practice at least) then you won't succeed.
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#11 Altairin

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 04:56 AM

That last one is probably the most important

It's not fun to play the game when you're nervous that your arena partner will explode into rage at any moment and you feel he views you as a temporary partner until he gets someone who he deems good.

I watched Bilian stream on his warrior, his paladin teammate sounded so emo, as if Bilian's famous nerdrage sprees had drained the life and joy out of him lol
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#12 Käsen1296679913

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:06 PM

Sounds solid
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#13 Tetsuma

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:22 PM

Any idea what the addon name is? I hate having totem name plates out.

This is what I use.
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#14 Lumast

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:09 PM

Good post.
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I'll never understand the reason to have pets in the game, when you could just as easily require a person to skillfully use a skill to produce the same results...but without all the ezmode of a pet.

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#15 Schaefer

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:52 PM

Another tip would be to not get frustrated and just play to have fun. There's zero reason to yell at each other over a video game. If you aren't enjoying yourself or you don't even want to play it (to practice at least) then you won't succeed.

AS mentioned this is such a vital point, when your team gets frustrated, you lose rating, it really is that simple.

Another point you kinda touched on is thinking you are better than you actually are, then you rage because you lose to people that you just assume are worse than you with no evidence whatsoever :D

Good guide some very basic+handy points in there
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#16 Marathi

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:05 PM

Managed to buff my fps a lot by turning off the shizzle in screenshots in my video menu :>
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worst terran eu

#17 bloodwraith


Posted 07 July 2009 - 04:10 PM

Added the point about getting frustrated.

Added Overhead in the nameplate section.
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#18 Bklyn420

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 04:53 PM

nice basic tips for beginners, macro guild was gud and keybinding ass well
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#19 bloodwraith


Posted 07 July 2009 - 07:07 PM

nice basic tips for beginners, macro guild was gud and keybinding ass well

Thanks, glad you liked it :D
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#20 Algrumm

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 07:38 PM

worthy of a sticky :o
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