World of Warcraft (WoW)

So You Think You’re A Gladiator – A Simple Arena Guide For New Players

Before you read this wall of text, there a few things I want to clarify so there is no confusion or assumptions:

  1. I am no World of Warcraft aficionado, meaning I do not know every little nook and cranny that the game has to offer. I have been around for three expansions (Cata, BFA, SL) so my knowledge is limited. If anyone has anything to add on to this, please do so in the comments.
  2. These are basic tips for surviving endgame Arenas. I say "surviving" because the meta for endgame this expansion revolves around BURST DAMAGE, meaning that fights can last between 2 seconds and 2 minutes. In the older expansions, Mists of Pandaria for example, the meta for Arenas revolved around which healer ran out of mana first. If anyone was watching WoW Arena Championships around this time, you know what I mean. This led to the degradation of Arena popularity, alongside other factors that I won't discuss here. With Shadowlands bringing back Honor/Conquest Vendors and changing classes to better serve the Burst Damage meta, PvP has seen a spike in popularity, including Arenas. RBGs allow for inexperienced players to have a "cushion" to fall on when it comes to minor things such as dispell usage, ability tracking, etc. Arenas, however, DO NOT. THIS post will delve into that in a simplified way.
  3. There is NO reason to hate, bash, or accuse anyone in the comments for sharing information. This is a HELPFUL post that ANYONE can chime in on. This isn't about YOU or ME, this is for NEW PLAYERS or PLAYERS WHO DONT HAVE A LOT OF PVP EXPERIENCE. I am not doing this out of spite of "bad games". I'm doing this for the sole purpose of HELPING OTHERS and your sole purpose for commenting should be the EXACT SAME THING. If you see wrong information posted within this thread, BE COOL ABOUT IT AND LET THEM KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG. NEGATIVE OUTBURSTS OR CONDENSCENDING MESSAGES WILL LEAD TO THIS THREAD BEING LOCKED.

Now that we got that out of the way, I am going to share beginner tips on how to survive Arenas. With the influx of new players and returning players due to SL PvP, there are a lot of people who struggle with making it in ranked Arenas. This new meta DOES NOT allow for small mistakes because fights come and go in a heartbeat. If anyone was playing SL Arena Pre-Convoke-Nerf and Pre-Rogue-Nerf, you understand what I mean. Yes, damage is super important in this meta, but so is also knowing how to anticipate damage, as well as managing ALL of your utility spells. For now, however, I will cover small things and come back to this post if there NEEDS to be something added on to this post.

The first five things I will discuss at this moment are DISPELLS, ENEMY BUFFS, DEBUFFS, BUFF STACKING PRIORITY, and ADDONS.

DISPELLS – Every class in the game (some are spec-dependent) come with a Dispell ability that will remove specific effects that either bolster enemies or cripple allies. It is of the utmost IMPORTANCE to find a way to implement your dispell ability within your rotation or have it on an easily accessible keybind, such as your <1> Key or <2> Key for example. Listen, I understand. IcyVeins or Wowhead told you that Fire Mage or Arms Warrior is the best DPS in the game and you just got your 200 gear. You want to see the BIG NUMBERS and make shit go BOOM, but how are you gonna make shit go BOOM if your opponent isn't taking any damage, mitigating damage, or is being healed through it? This is why dispelling is important. There are guides online specifically for your class and specialization on how to utilize your abilities, two trusted examples being IcyVeins and Wowhead. I get it, doing all of this research can be a chore. But welcome to the world of MMORPGs, where knowledge is just as important as skill. The more you know about the game and how classes operate, the easier it is to anticipate events, and the easier it becomes to deal with them. Ask your friendly neighborhood Discipline Priest. They literally have to KNOW the game inside and out to be good at their spec.

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DEBUFFS are negative effects that are placed on you by an enemy, such as Unstable Affliction or Shadow Word: Pain. There are various forms: Magic, Poison, Curse, and Disease. DPS typically have a dispell ability which only targets ONE or TWO of these magic types, while MOST if not ALL healers can dispell ALL forms of magic from one or more allies depending on the spec played.

ENEMY BUFFS are abilities which give enemies a buff that make killing them difficult, such as a Druid's Thorns or a Shaman's Elemental Blast BIG difference>. Every class has a way to buff themselves in some form or fashion, and in the heat of battle, if a Paladin can maximize their uptime on Divine Shield or if a Druid can capitalize on Regrowths and Wild Growths , it can turn a bearable situation into a HOT MESS.

If you are new player and are playing this game without addons, you are missing nearly half of the information the game is trying to throw at you, which includes knowing when dispellable buffs are applied to enemies. Ever been fighting a druid as a melee character and wondered why your health was draining even though the druid wasn't attacking you? That's due to Thorns, and Thorns is dispellable . Don't worry though, I will leave addon links at the bottom that I believe are beneficial for new players, as well as how to install them.

Buff Stacking Priority is something a lot of people don't talk about, but is a very easy concept to grasp and can change the tide of a battle from bearable to unwinnable in many situations. This is how it works. If there are multiple buffs on an enemy target, and your dispell can only target one or two at a time, it will target the buffs with the MOST AMOUNT OF TIME LEFT ON THEM. You cannot PICK and CHOOSE which buffs you want to dispell, as there is a pecking order to how the game decides which buffs are removed from your opponent. Here is an example:

You are fighting a Druid , and the druid has three buffs applied to himself: Thorns – 5 seconds left / Regrowth – 6 seconds left / Wild Growth – 7 seconds left. As an Enhancement Shaman, your dispell ability is called Purge, which removes two beneficial magical effects from your opponent. Thorns is a MUST-REMOVE buff, so you try to dispell it, but it's still on your opponent, which forces you to Purge twice. Why? It's because Thorns has the LEAST amount of time left on it, and the game will assume that you want to dispell the buffs that have the MOST amount of time left on them. So, in order to obey this rule, the game will dispell Wild Growth and Regrowth, and leave Thorns on your opponent since it is viewed by the game as the least important buff. This is why it is IMPORTANT to have a HEALER with you in Arenas, regardless if it is 2v2's or 3v3's because healers can dispell MOST if not ALL buffs on an opponent. Those little 2 seconds you save from not having to Purge twice can be applied to more convenient uses, such as managing your rotations. It may not sound like it would make a big difference, but remember: this is a BURST DAMAGE META: EVERY SECOND COUNTS.

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I know this is a lot to process, especially if you are new to the MMORPG scene and haven't fully processed how complicated these kinds of games can be. It wasn't easy for me to learn either, neither was it for anyone else here when they first started playing MMORPGs. Please for the love of god take your time learning the ins and outs of the PvP scene. It will overwhelm you in a heartbeat, and the last thing any of us want is to intimidate new players and dissuade them from trying this game out. Blizzard understands how much of a bother this information can be, which is why they allow the use of Addons, which are external utilities that expose information normally not exposed by the base-game only. For example:

DBM, or Deadly Boss Mods is an Addon which tells players when certain Raid or Dungeon boss mechanics are about to come into play. In Raids and Mythic+, knowing when bad things are going to happen and anticipating them literally makes or breaks a group, and in Heroic/Mythic Castle Nathria, one small mistake from a DPS can WIPE THE ENTIRE GROUP AND FORCE A RESET.

At the same time, however, people don't want to have to go through an entire video or forum analysis on how the boss fights work. A lot of people don't even read the Adventure Guides which TELL you all of a boss's mechanics and everyone's role in dealing with them. This is what DBM is for. It won't tell you everything ad-verbatim, but it will tell you everything you need to know, such as MOVE OUT OF THE FIRE or RUN AWAY FROM BOSS or STACK ON BOSS. This Addon is so important in PvE content that most Raid and/or Mythic+ groups WILL NOT take you if you do not have DBM installed. Yes, it's that serious. And they can tell who has DBM and who doesn't. Trust me, if you're the only one sitting in fire, it's a dead giveaway.

For now, however, I will only focus on and send links to PvP addons which will visualize everything I mentioned in this thread to make your life as new PvP'er easier. I will also add a cosmetic PvP addon which will help identify which target you are focusing, because in the middle of a fight, you want ALL of that information directly in your face. Trust me. If you have to look all over your screen to absorb information in the middle of a fight, you are GOING to screw up as your attention isn't where it needs to be: on the fight at-hand.

NOTE: THIS IS A TL;DR LINK. IF YOU CANNOT BE BOTHERED DOWNLOADING THESE ONE AT A TIME, HERE IS A VIDEO LINK WHICH WILL SHOWCASE NECESSARY ADDONS TO ENHANCE YOUR PLAY EXPERIENCE. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS VIDEO FOR ALL PLAYERS, BOTH NEW AND OLD:

sUI – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/sui — An all-around-the-board helper that enhances and simplifies your User Interface, as well as makes it very slick/clean and provides utility information, such as Health bars with colors that reflect a person's class etc. And it will also notify you whenever a Rogue nearby has entered stealth or if a Hunter has entered Camouflage, which is MUST HAVE information for Hunters with Flare or Demon Hunters with Spectral Vision.

Ability Team Tracker – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/att — An Addon which allows you to keep track of your ally's big abilities, such as a Shaman's Ascendance or a Paladin's Avenging Wrath. This is a MUST HAVE in 2v2's or 3v3's because it allows for non-verbal communication between players. If your ally Paladin isn't around but pops Avenging Wrath, this Addon will notify you, which can help you combine big damaging abilities or play around them to manage uptime consistency.

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RSA – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/rsa — Have you ever been in a group and seen someone /say something along the lines of ABC123 has interrupted +? This Addon is responsible for it. This is just good for all around non-verbal communication, as it informs you WHO casted the interrupt, WHO it was casted ON, and WHAT ability was interrupted. It has more minor uses, but this feature is what makes RSA a mandatory pick for PvP addons.

weizpvp https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/weizpvp — This is NOT a mandatory addon, but it is very useful if you have a hard time seeing small details on your screen. This will provide you a PvP exclusive feature which will create a Call-of-Duty-esque scope crosshair on whoever you target in Arenas or RBGs. This is ESPECIALLY good in Capture-the-Flag BGs such as Warsong Gulch. If you target an EFC, you will be able to see the EFC regardless of their location because of this addon. However, do not get confused. This will NOT let you see enemies in stealth. It just makes seeing who you are targeting and where enemies are A LOT easier.

IMPORTANT NOTE: BECAUSE THIS IS A BASIC BREAKDOWN POST I WILL NOT MENTION WEAKAURAS IN THIS THREAD. HOWEVER IF I GET DRAGGED THROUGH THE MUD BY PVP VETERANS FOR NOT INCLUDING WEAKAURAS, I WILL UPDATE THE POST AND PROVIDE LUXUTHOS LINKS FOR EVERYONE. YES, WEAKAURAS ARE VERY IMPORTANT FOR BOTH PVE AND PVP CONTENT, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO SAVE THAT FOR ANOTHER POST IF THIS DOES WELL. OR YOU CAN POST LUXUTHOS LINKS AND EXPLAIN WEAKAURAS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW. EITHER OR IS FINE.

In order to install these Addons once you have them downloaded, go to your File Explorer and follow this exact directory AFTER YOU UNZIP THE FILES AND COPY THEM: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT YOU DOWNLOADED WOW DIRECLTY TO YOUR PC.

This PC -> Windows (C:) -> Program Files (x86) -> World of Warcraft -> _retail_ -> Interface -> Addons

Once you reach your Addons folder, paste whatever UNZIPPED files you have in there and restart your WoW client. Once you log back in, ALL ADDONS within the folder will be automatically turned on and run as prompted. If you need to see which Addons you have active at any given time in-game, hit the ESC key and go to addons. All addons that are checked are active. All addons that are unchecked are inactive.

I really hope I was able to help out someone with this wall of text I provided lmao. I've been in your shoes before. These games are a lot. And they take a lot out of a person. It seems like a lot, but I promise you, if you go ahead and get these things embedded into your head, they will come naturally to you over time. And everything I mentioned here will separate GOOD PLAYERS FROM THE BEST PLAYERS.

I wish you all good fortune out in your adventures to Azeroth!

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