Season 6 is right around the corner, and it’s shaping up to be a rather “new guy” friendly place. With all teams starting at 0 rating, a team has nowhere to go but up. No more will your moral be dampened by watching your rating go down for three weeks solid when you start.
If that wasn’t enough, arena gear is being offered for those with lower ratings. Even if you have a “mere” 1400 rating, there’s still arena gear you meet the requirements for and can purchase.
Of course the gear won’t be the same quality as, say, a 2400 arena team has access to, but still. It’s something, which is a whole lot better than the nothing new players had in previous seasons.
So if you’re new to arenas, maybe just dabbling in them for the first time, or just haven’t played them in a long, long time, here’s a quick primer of things to get you started.
While not the most important factor, class combination (or “comp” (for composition)) is still a very important factor in deciding arena matches. Spend some time thinking about the abilities your class has, and how it can interact with your teammates.
Try to come up with some strategies to react to things long before they happen. For instance, decide what you’re going to do if a rogue tries to stunlock the healer. Does the healer blow his own cooldowns? If you have a Death Knight, does he Death Grip the rogue? What if the DK is crowd controlled himself?
Your strategies will certainly evolve as you play, but they need something to evolve from. Don’t run in with no preset techniques.
I cannot stress how important it is to communicate clearly and immediately with your teammates. Lemme try and put it this way:
YOU NEED VOICE CHAT.
It doesn’t matter how you do voice chat. Skype, Ventrilo, Teamspeak, play in the same room, use the in-game voice chat if you must, just make sure you are talking to your teammates.
Once you have that accomplished, make sure you use it. Call absolutely everything out. Call out when you polymorph, when you blink, when you frost nova, when you’re going to shatter combo something… EVERYTHING.
It probably will not be necessary to call the less important abilities out once you’ve had a chance to play for some time with your teammates (Blink and Ice Barrier, for instance, should simply become automatic). Always call out the important things. When you Ice Block, move for a Shatter, use a crowd control, never stop calling those out.
After a battle, discuss it. Discuss what went right, what went wrong, and try to devise ways to deal with those situations. You will make mistakes, make sure you learn from them. Just don’t let them bog you down.
Gear is Important!
Just as it is in PvE, having the correct gear is important in order to be successful.
Your top priority is the PvP trinket. There are many versions of it now, pick whichever you like the best and go get that one. There is nothing that takes priority over the PvP trinket; do not do anything else until you have it.
Don’t forget to give it an easily-used keybind.
From there, concentrate on epic PvP gear first. Bracers from honour, Chest and Hat from Wintergrasp PvP, your second trinket from WG PvP, Belt/Boots from either WG or honour, rings and neckpiece from honour.
Run lots and lots of Wintergrasp and spend your honour on epics. Don’t bother with the blues.
Pick up the craftable PvP starter set at first, but try really hard to replace all of the pieces as fast as you can. They aren’t particularly good, but service well as slot-fillers while you get better gear.
Run Vault of Archavon (and the other, more difficult guy if you can) whenever you have some spare time to see if you can nab an epic or two from there.
Line of Sight!
For starters, you’ll want to read this post by Megs. And that’s… basically all you need to know. I used to have a bunch of stuff written here, but it’s been essentially posted there first.
There’s a mage specific article in the works regarding LOS. That should go live before S6 starts.
Put raid symbols over yourself and your teammates. This will allow you to quickly spot exactly where your teammates are, whether you have LOS to them, and help you act more cohesively.
This may not be needed later on, once you’ve developed a seventh sense of where your teammates are at any given time, but early on this is immensely helpful at keeping yourself together.
Especially if you are running a comp that doesn’t have a healer, make sure you have first aid and plenty of bandages to go around. Bandages are one of the very few consumables allowed in arenas; take advantage of it.
You likely won’t get a lot of opportunities to actually bandage, but when you do, you must take advantage of it.
The Kitchen Sink, Too!
Go absolutely overboard with stuff you can summon and your buffs. Mages should give manna biscuits to everyone, warlocks should give healthstones to everyone, both should buff everyone else with everything they have.
Slow Fall? Everyone gets it. Underwater Breathing? Make sure none of your teammates leave the starting area without it.
This is PvP at it’s most focused, you need everything you can get to be victorious. Slow Fall and all those other useless little buffs are still buffs, meaning they benefit from the 30% dispel protection and can protect that vital buff (like Icy Veins) from being removed.
That’s all I can think of.
As always, the comments section is open to your ramblings too.