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WoW Rookie: The rules of duels

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. For links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's, visit WoW.com's WoW Rookie Guide.

What is the attraction behind low-level dueling? I never for the life of me can figure out why someone with barely half a dozen skills to his name invariably challenges me to a duel the moment I approach a newbie village. As someone who spends a not-insignificant amount of time running to the nearest newbie-accessible mailbox with level 2 characters (gotta collect a few copper for postage, you know) in order to contact a player for an article, I find it's rare that I can make it all the way to Razor Hill or Stormwind without some guy wanting to get a sniff of my big, fat Heroic Strike. You definitely can't beat 'em -- so why not give in and join 'em?

The prospect of a duel can be intimidating, but you really have nothing to lose. You won't die (losing simply brings you down to 1 hit point), you won't lose XP and you can't open yourself up to having your gear looted (which can happen in other games). Duels are a fun way to test how well you react to the unexpected. They certainly offer a graphic lesson in the capabilities of other classes in the game. You won't overestimate your endurance in a Battleground once you've discovered you have to kill paladins "at least twice"!

Dueling basics

  • To start a duel, right-click on your opponent's player portrait and select Duel, or target him and type /duel. A battle flag will come crashing downward to mark your duel territory.
  • Nothing begins until the player you've challenged accepts the duel. Then you'll get a short countdown to the start; your opponent's name will turn red the moment the duel is active. Be ready!
  • To win the duel, reduce your opponent to 1 hit point. If either or both of you run too far from the duel flag, you'll see a warning pop up. If you exit the duel area, you'll forfeit the match.
  • The results of your duel are broadcast to players in the surrounding area.

Good to know

  • You cannot duel inside a city.
  • You don't earn XP, honor or loot from dueling (although you will earn the Duel-icious achievement the first time you win). It's simply about having fun!
  • Spell or weapon skills will not increase during a duel (or PvP).
  • Type /forfeit or /yield to end a duel you don't wish to continue.
  • You cannot swap out gear or weapons during a duel.
  • When you are in combat during a duel, you cannot mount up or take other actions normally not possible during combat.
  • Dueling in neutral towns or cities is likely to anger the local guard NPCs. They'll attack you, and you'll suffer a faction/reputation hit.
  • You cannot duel somebody who has you on their ignore list.

The rules of duels: dueling etiquette
  • Ask potential opponents if they'd like to duel (in /say or /whisper) before actually issuing a challenge.
  • Never spam duel challenges. If someone declines your challenge, leave that player alone. If another player continually spams you with challenges, use /ignore.
  • Don't challenge players who are obviously busy with questing, tradeskills, mail, training or other activities.
  • Don't challenge players more than several levels above or below you. Challenging someone five levels or more below you would certainly be a social faux pas.
  • Avoid dueling in neutral or contested areas on PvP servers. If an enemy catches you both with low health, it's sayonara time for both duelists.
  • It is possible to duel a player from the opposing faction.
  • If you've asked someone to duel you in order to test a new skill or add-on, don't blow up if he actually tries to win.
  • Many players consider closing range on a warrior or caster opponent during the countdown (so he can't charge or get a spell off) to be tacky. Start off on even, fair terms at a reasonable distance; the strategy comes in what you do from there.
  • Don't complain that your opponent beat you "only because" he used a class skill. Abilities are meant to be used; learn from the experience, and adjust!
  • Give opponents time to buff before initiating the challenge and duel.
  • If you can heal and have mana left after a duel, whether you win or lose, heal your opponent. (Save your own heals for last.)
  • It's disappointing not to get a rematch, but accept your opponent's choice with good grace.
  • Choose a location away from PvE mobs. Have spectators deal with mob/adds, or if the two of you are alone, cooperate with your opponent.
  • Win or lose, be a good sport: offer a /cheer, /salute, /thank, /bow or words of praise.

The big, fat grey area

What's fair in the mini-war of dueling: Consumables? Long cooldowns? Buffs from friends? Player opinion on these matters is strongly divided. Most (but by no means all) players seem to feel that you should not use consumables before or during a duel, especially health or mana potions. Bandages are almost always considered fair game. However, those ideas are far from being universally accepted. Spend a few seconds ("No consumables or outside buffs, ok?") before your duel set the tone. Otherwise, don't be surprised by the actions of players who're on the other side of the fence on hot-topic issues.

  • Stat food, potions, flasks and consumables before combat
  • Potions during combat
  • Buffs from friendly players before combat
  • Using long-cooldown moves during combat
  • Running far enough away or being inactive long enough to use out-of-combat skills
  • Running behind buildings or large obstacles; hiding
[Thanks to commenters who provided updates to this information.]

Hot links for fresh 80s

For those of you just starting out in the end game, let's review the week's best posts for freshly minted level 80s.

Class Skills 101
Learn the basics of effective level 80 play for each class.

Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for more 101 guides and tips for new level 80s.
The art of rogue ganking
A rogue's ancient rite of passage, the art of the gank has been set aside by many for more important tasks. As trained assassins, rogues are masters of destroying unsuspecting targets before they even realize what's happened.
Tipping for trades
How do you get tips? How do you handle the tips? What goes into a tip? Let's take a look behind the jump and start breaking down the ancient art of supplying tips.

Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's. WoW Rookie walks you through all sort of new-player concerns, from game lingo for the beginner to joining your first guild as a mid-level player and on to what to do when you finally hit level 80.

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