Sunday, March 13

General Arena pvp Advice

So, since most people here seem to be asking the same questions, I thought we could condense a lot of it here. This could be useful to very new pvpers like I have seen recently, or more experienced players.


Keybindings are the most useful fundamental change you can make as a player to improve play.

a. make sure every single ability that you will ever use in arena. This includes skills you will rarely use like Resurrection. This does not include skills like bloodlust, lay on hands, and eagle eye, which cannot be used in arena. Those skills may waste keybinds you will need for things we are about to talk about.

b. Targeting enemy keys. Setup keybindings for Targeting arena enemy 1,2, and 3. Setup focus keybindings for arena enemy 1,2, and 3. These used to require a macro, but are now are built into the default keybinds system. These keys will make switching and targeting a far quicker and more efficient experience.

c. Targeting Friendly Keys. Make a keybind to target yourself, especially important for skills that can be used on enemys and allys alike (eg. penance). Target party 1,2. You can either use the party target feature in keybindings or specific name targeting macros. using the party target keys will be easier as you won't have to change everytime you switch partners. However if you do this, know that party 1 and 2 can change depending on who enters the arena first. To keep them the same, you will have to ask players to make whoever you want to be party 1 leader of the group. The other will automatically be party 2. If you don't like the idea of messing with that, make 2 macros like this. /target friendsname and key it where you like. Myself and many people use mouse wheel up and down for this targeting.

d. Make sure anything you make macros for is keybound. There is no point in macroing something if you are still clicking it.

e. Side note about keybinds: Since this doesn't fall anywhere else, either Unbind your S key or bind S to something else. This is a must. To make this change myself I made it a "move forward skill". examples: Charge, Freedom, Blink, Shadowstep, Burst of speed, ext. This made the transition quick for me.


This section will be shorter but is just as important. Macros will make you quicker and effecient as much as keybindings will, saving you the time of hitting multiple abilities, or targeting before using abilities.

a. COMBINED ABILITY MACROS. Often called "one shot macros" these will usually stack offensive abilities together. The abilities will be in order line by line. For instance: Warrior: /cast Recklessness /cast sweeping strikes /cast Bladestorm. Combine powerful abilities together to gain the most burst without having to move your hand around to press all of the hotkeys. Likewise, you can do this defensively as well. For the most part you want to stagger your defensive abilities, but there are some things that can be used together. For instance: /cast Rallying Cry /use Healthstone

b. : SUPPORT MACROS. I will use paladins for this since it has the most use of this (note this is mostly for dps but can be used by healers). Make 2 macro for important support abilities like your cleanses (remove curse, purify, ect). Also for abilities like Hand of Protection (commonly known as BoP), and Roar of Sacrifice for hunters. Also movement boosts, like Hand of Freedom, and Master's call for hunters. Also macro your heals for teammates. This is especially important for classes that have insta heal procs like Enchance, Rets, and Ferals. These macros will all be the same, just change the names of the skills and teammate in macro. For instance: /cast [target=healersname] Flash of Light ... /cast [target=dpsname] Healing Touch.

c. FOCUS MACROS. While we already spoke about keybindings, we havent mentioned focus macros. Focus macros will help you use abilities quickly like CC or offensive dispel without changing your target (good for dps and healers). make focus macros like this /cast [target=focus] Blind. Make macros like this for every cc or crowd control ability you have. Also make them for things that work similar to dispel, purge, tranquilizing shot. /cast [target=focus] Purge.


Some of these are by choice, but in my opinion most of them are not. Interface changes not default or not used in pve are as followed.

a. NAMEPLATES found under names in interface, turn on enemy nameplates. Show pets and totems as well, make sure to turn on class color, this will help easier identify targets in the middle of fast combat. IF you are a healer, you can also turn on friendly name plates. Some players like them, some think it makes the screen to full and use raid icons to find teammates instead.

b. PARTY FAMES found under raid profiles, at the top right click use raid style party frames. in your options, turn on show pets, display power aura and turn off the border. This gives you a clean, moveable set of party frames.

c. FRAMES AND PORTRAIT LOCATION the stock frame location for your own portrait, your targets portrait, focus portrait, and your partys frame is a poor location and becomes worse the bigger your monitor is. Everyone has a different preference on this, but the default is usually not it. I like to put my portrait just up and to the left of my character, and my targets right next to it, and my partys just below my potrait so it all lines up nice. Many players have unique twists on theirs. I personally like the famous ret paladin and moderator to Arena Junkies, Vanguards set up. Here is a screenshot where you can see the party frames on the right, the self and target portrait below, the focus to the bottom right, and the arena frames to the far right. Play with yours, find something comfortable to you.


While addons, especially interface addons most raiders like to use like xpearl, bartender, and bagnon are unnecessary, some addons are quite useful for arena. Here are the ones I either use, or know are commonplace for high end players.

a. Gladius OR Sarena-- These addons function similar, however I prefer Sarena. While gladius makes a new interface including things like trinket timer, dr tracker, and current CC status, Sarena merely makes the default arena frame customizable in size and location as well as displaying a trinket timer.

b. Lose Control - This addon will display important effects including CC status as well as cooldowns on the target such as ice block or bladestorm ON the enemys potrait and arena frame and focus frame. It will also display CC on teammates portraits as well as your own. This addon is great for perfectly following up a timed CC chain or stunlock/silence chain.

c. DR Tracker - There are several addons with similar names that all work the same. DR stands for diminishing returns .Use this addon to accurately decide when you can land a "Full" cc. Important for spammable CC like sheep and fear, shows you when cc will be 1/2, 3/4th time, and immune to CC and for how long. Also strong for stuns DR. If you use gladius instead of Sarena, you wont need this addon as gladius has a DR tracker built in.

d. Gladiator LoSSA - This is a widely controversial addon, although it does not break any terms of service to blizzard. This addon has a voice feature that will call out important abilities. For instance if you are focusing on healing and hear the voice say Fear, you know to Line of sight behind a pillar. It also calls out enemy offensive and defensive abilities which can be useful since buffs and debuffs can make it hard to see, as well as if you don't have the person targeted. This can also help casters not get caught in interrupts because you will know when a class uses an interrupt without looking. Also this is great for melee to know if they landed their interrupt or not, since sometimes its hard to see.

e. Omni Bar Interrupt bar was on this list previously. As I started using omni bar I realized it was a huge upgrade and replaced interrupt bar. On top of kicks, this addon also shows any major cooldown you fancy tracking. I track bubble, bops, grounding totem, and some offiensive abilities on top of the major interrupts. Great addon.


Communication is perhaps more important that everything else I have went into detail here. Your team cannot perform at full potential unless everyone is aware of their surroundings. Get a voice over IP program such as skype, ventrilo, mumble, or raid call and be in a voice chat with both team mates. DPS- Make sure to call your kill and CC target clearly, call strategies and kill target switches as soon as they happen. Time your Damage cooldowns with the other dps. saving a cooldown 20 seconds to lineup with a teammates can often keep pressure to land a kill or at least force cooldowns. HEALERS-- It needs to be your responsibility to tell your dps when they are in trouble! If you are going to use a cooldown or are sure you can keep them alive without, tell them DO NOT USE ANYTHING! If use a cooldown, tell them. If you have no cooldowns tell them! If you have no pvp trinket, tell them! always tell them when they need to use defensives, or if they are out just tell them they need to kite away from enemys. Also let your teammates know when YOU need a peel. The current state of the game is very melee heavy, there will be times you cannot just heal yourself. Ask for peels, ask for heals, make sure your teammates know if they keep training a target you WILL die.


my biggest advice is to take everything you know, and try to apply it. If you are a new player, don't worry about holding cooldowns, use everything you can to stay alive and get a kill. The more games you play the more you can try and win without using big abilities. This will help you manage cooldowns in the long run. My magic number is around 500 games played on a new class or just new to arena. I try to play that many before I let myself get frustrated that I'm no good. The more you play and the more you practice the RIGHT things, the easier it will get.

Last but not least, have fun. You wont get any better if you get too frustrated at losses. Likewise enjoy the games you win, at any rating. Feel free to call your opponent a noob over skype with your friends. They will never know. Learn from your losses, try different strats, and just keep practicing and the fun will come.

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