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Blood Sport: How to cultivate successful PvP attitudes

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Sport for arena enthusiasts and The Art of War(craft) for fans of battlegrounds and world PvP. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 Gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more.

Today, we'll be discussing attitudes of successful PvPers. I find attitude a subject I find myself dwelling on frequently. I believe attitude is the quintessential ingredient in not only PvP success, but success in whatever we do. The important thing to remember is that we can change our attitudes, and we do it all the time.

Expect victory

Expecting to win puts you in the mindset to win. My football teammates always used to throw around a phrase that went something like: "Don't play to not lose; play to win." Other than the double negative, the phrase teaches us something very important about expectations and their effect on reality.

The placebo effect and Pygmalion effect have been demonstrated scientifically; expectations shape reality more than most of us give them credit for. In fact, speaking of scientific studies, the entire reason double-blind studies are performed is because of the observer-expectancy effect and its ability to influence the choice of others.

No doubt you've heard of self-fulfilling prophecies. Although these are usually spoken of in a negative light, we can use self-fulfilling prophecies for our benefit and success. If we make ourselves believe we can accomplish a goal, that goal becomes much more obtainable.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, like him or love him, has inspired many to become the best they can. Read these quotes and tell me that they aren't inspiring:
  • "Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength."
  • "The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent."
  • "We all have great inner power. The power is self-faith. There's really an attitude to winning. You have to see yourself winning before you win. And you have to be hungry. You have to want to conquer."
There's more to being successful than just believing, however. You have to make it happen. You have to go out there and accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish. If you want to be successful in arena, start believing that you will be successful in arena -- then start to make it happen.

The power of mind over matter is very real. Never say "we can't beat that team." If anyone tells you that in arena, they have the wrong attitude. Sure, maybe that team has a composition that counters your own, and maybe they outgear you, and maybe they're more skilled than you are -- for now. In the future, after you put some work into your gear and your play, you'll be able to beat them. Figure out how and get to work.

Look within yourself

We've all played with that guy. Oh, you know the one: the guy who plays perfectly and always wants to put the blame on others. It's never his fault that you lost that arena match or wiped to that dragon. You're always the problem -- not him.

People look to blame others before themselves because no one wants to believe that he is the weak link. News flash: Sometimes, you are. Everyone is the weak link sometimes. I played arena yesterday with some of my buddies, and I Spell Locked a rogue. I was not playing well that game. After the game, I didn't yell at my friends and say, "You guys played terrible." Did they? Maybe; I don't know. The point is that I played poorly in that game, and even if it didn't cost us the win, it was still poor. I've played with people who have said, "Well sure, I accidentally Spell Locked a warrior, but you had terrible positioning the entire game! We lost because of you, not because of that irrelevant Spell Lock I did!"

I recently played with a shaman who would try to shift the blame any way he could. After one of our 3v3 matches when he died to a single warrior beating up on him, he blamed our rogue for not casting Smoke Bomb. After the rogue asked how popping Smoke Bomb would help (especially as he was away from the shaman and warrior), the shaman explained that it would make the enemy team play defensively and the warrior might freak out.

Okay, while that might happen 0.00000000001% of the time, it's more than likely that the shaman made a few mistakes trying to survive. Instead of asking for advice on what he could do differently or how we could approach that team in the future, he told the rogue that it was his fault he died because he didn't pop a completely irrelevant cooldown.

As a wise man once said, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5, ASV)

That shaman was seeing anything but clearly.

Be lighthearted

Arena doesn't always have to be serious business. It's usually a lot more fun if it isn't. While setting goals and accomplishing them is awesome, don't trample over people on your way to the top. Being a douche doesn't get you anywhere; it just makes you a douche.

Laugh about losses; you're going to endure them. No one goes 400-0 to rank 1. And if a team ever did, it's because they've been practicing forever and have the right attitude about winning.

Whenever I lose to a team really quickly, I usually just laugh about it and joke about rerolling to a member of whatever class just beat us. I don't mean it seriously -- it's just to lighten the mood. Getting in a rut about how your class or composition is severely underpowered or whatever isn't conducive to winning more games. It will, however, get you in a bad mood.

Playing arena is supposed to be fun -- have fun with it! Even though winning is fun, sometimes it's far more fun to play on a five-boomkin 5v5 or a triple-healer 3v3. Besides, you might invent the next big trend in arena by accident (haha, probably not). Having fun in arena will keep you playing arena, which will make you better in the long run. Remember to always have fun.

Listening Music: U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday. One of the best songs of all time by one of the best bands of all time. Enjoy.

Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? We'll steer you to victory with the best arena addons and let you in on some rank 1 gladiator PvP secrets. If you're looking for the inside line on battlegrounds and world PvP, read The Art of War(craft).

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

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