Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.
Lcd Soundsystem is pretty unique. I can definitely groove to some of the beats James Murphy creates. Tribulations is one of my new kicks, and it'll be our listening music for today. It's also kind of fitting for our subject matter. Don't expect a lot of the techno-disco-dance-punk genre (or whatever you want to call it) in the future, because well, there's not a lot of it out there. Savor the moment.
Last week, we finished up the 3.3 Patch Notes. This week, we're going to shift gears and talk about an issue that I think is about as important to PvP as kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. We'll be discussing how to avoid the noobsauce, terribad, furious badiator, or whatever flavor of the month term is going around for the holier-than-thou arena player. I personally call him Scrubby McDouche.
Check out what's up after the break.
On class balance and team composition
We all know that guy. Don't be that guy. Scrubby is a gentleman that is anything but gentle when it comes to accepting arena defeats gracefully. Any loss he endures amounts to Blizzard not understanding his class. If his class is viewed as being poor in arena, he will let you know. But he won't stop there. Everyone on trade chat, your realm forums, your mom's realm forums, and every PvP website will soon feel the wrath of the injustice he suffers. To show Blizzard who's boss, he might even quit PvP, or the game altogether. Yeah. That'll show 'em.
Moreover, opposing arena teams have "no skill" and a "much more favorable composition" than he does. It doesn't matter if he's playing the most overpowered team composition on the SK-100. He just hit eight straight countercomps, even though none of his opponents compositions were remotely similar. The arena gods just always seem to have Scrubby's number.
Don't get me wrong, certain classes are bad in certain arena seasons. Achieving gladiator as a warrior or druid in season five is one of the more difficult PvP achievements to ever be accomplished. Certain compositions are also doomed to failure from the very start. I don't care how skilled your team is, you're not going to be running a triple demonology warlock team to rank #1 anytime soon. I will eat my words if anyone proves me wrong. The challenge is out there.
Likewise, countercomps definitely play a role in arena success. I'm not going to name any because there's always someone who disagrees with the analysis of team matchups. Said person also plays the said team and has never lost to the said countercomp team. But we're not talking about Mr. Better-Than-Everyone-At-Everything Commenter, even though he and Scrubby are best friends.
However, we'd be infinitely far off base if we were to proclaim that success in arena is based largely on class and composition. We've all seen, heard of, or experienced the fully epic'd out rogue-mage-priest team destroyed game after game by the exact same composition, but in full blues. Skill is definitely the deciding factor.
The problem here is when our over-confident arena teammate blames everything on class and composition. It's like a kid throwing a temper tantrum about a candy bar. When he doesn't get it, he cries "it's just not fair." Rise above it and move on, dude. There are even a few druids and warriors with Deadly Gladiator title (the author is not one of them). They overcame and succeeded, you can too.
On game mechanics
The only losses our villain encounters are the result of terrible random number generation.™ Mace stun was his bane in The Burning Crusade. In season one and two, "skillherald warriors," as he would call them, "are ruining the game with their easy mode weapon." Unless, of course, he was the player using it. Today, he complains that his team would win every game if it "weren't for that destruction warlock critting three spells in a row," or "Dispel Magic hitting everything except Hand of Protection."
Of course, Sir Scrubalot's team has abilities to deal with a warlock's cast time abilities and/or debuffs required for monster burst. Dispel Magic removes HoP a lot easier if the target is already fully debuffed. Don't tell that to him, however. He'll counter that he "didn't have time" to line-of-sight or interrupt that Chaos Bolt. He was too busy dpsing/healing/crowd controlling/being amazing at this game/whatever excuse pops into his head, rather than Purging the kill target clean so he could dispel Hand of Protection.
On the greatest arena player to ever grace competitive e-sports -- himself, obviously
We've probably all played with an individual that will never look over what he could have done differently, whether it be in PvP or PvE, or life outside of the game. Mr. Perfect cannot fail.
Flawless play is his hallmark. No, scratch that, it is his birthmark. He is known worldwide for his amazing skills. Or at least nationally. Ok, maybe not. But almost everyone on the battlegroup has, at least one time, alt-f4'd upon seeing him on the opposing side of arena. No, that wasn't an accidental disconnect. The opponent was "saving himself the humiliation."
Of course, you don't dare correct him. Oh no, you've tried that before. Upon first mention of any type of error or inconsistency he may have committed, Scrubby immediately becomes an IRL prot warrior and shifts into Defensive Stance. He quickly tries to Disarm you:
"I've made it farther than you ever have. (Or: Dude, you don't even play my class) You don't even come close to knowing what I know. Stick to playing correctly, and I'll stick to dominating noobs."
If that doesn't assuage you, he'll immediately Taunt you with something like, "You played terrible that last game, don't even try to tell me what I did wrong."
If all else fails, his Last Stand will be to pop Berserker Rage (his rage bar hits full), and he'll hold down his vent button with the force of ten thousand powerthirst bodybuilders (NSFW). He will attempt to Intimidating Shout you. It will be loud. Your ears will bleed. If you play with speakers instead of headphones, neighbors will think Chewbacca wielding a jet engine just murdered you.
Okay, so I probably went overboard with that protection warrior analogy. Point is, it's easier to tell him he's awesome just to have him shut up about his relatively minor accomplishments. Use this power wisely, for it is Scrubby's kryptonite.
On your play, and how bad you are compared to him
Scrubber Ducky plays exceptionally well at every point in the game. Mere mortals, like yourself, however, are not so blessed. If he gets sapped within the first ten seconds of the fight, it's your fault for not spotting the rogue, or getting in combat earlier so he could cast something on you. He'll proclaim your inexperience forced him into a vulnerable position.
If he died, it's your fault for not healing him or protecting him. Disregard that he didn't notice you were crowd controlled, or that he was in the center of the map with no line-of-sight within 30 yards of his corpse. He was doing more important things. That's what she said.
All his cooldowns are always unavailable because he has to protect and spoon feed you. And he's always in between globals because he's constantly doing something, unlike you. He "shouldn't have to say everything" going on in the arena battle, but does anyway, because without him, how could anyone win?
Closing thoughts from the author
Most arena players are not like the stooge we discussed today. The vast majority of arena players are enjoyable to play with. There are, however, bad apples -- beware of them! These people will do everything they can to advance themselves (and their own ego) while tearing you down. Even if they are "the best X spec of Y class on the server," don't feel forced to play with them.
Don't get caught in the trap of thinking you need to play arenas which are zero fun. Arenas were made for fun, and this is a game -- even if dolts occasionally confuse it with the most important thing in the world.
Next week, we'll be discussing the "good" arena player archetype, (although I probably won't have a quasi-clever name). So tune in again with Blood Sport when we talk about what attitudes and perspectives help players to become better at arena, in a positive way. Until then, I'll be hard at work thinking up more names which might draw a chuckle from nerds like me.
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.