make it to your family. Do you want your
children to grow up fatherless?”
I like that James doesn’t sugarcoat it.
Furthermore, his advice is applicable to
anyone who’s stepping into the Arena:
coordinate with your teammates to pick a
target for crowd control abilities, but don’t
get tunnel vision.
I felt more confident than ever stepping
into the Arena after that. All it took was a
few conversations with a good friend who
was able to watch what I was doing and
provide personalized feedback. I still have a
lot to improve on—I didn’t quite break
even with my total win-loss record—but at
least next time I’ll remember to Ice Block.
The Five Steps of Arena emotions:
pain, rage, guilt, depression, repeat.
On the live World of Warcraft servers, I’m a Warrior. A Protection
Warrior, usually, tanking for my
guild against the likes of Arthas
and Deathwing. This, I understand. PvP situations? Not so
much. I’ve spent a lot of time in the
Battlegrounds using my Protection
spec to carry flags and to be annoying.
The FAQ had a ton of information about
specs, equipment, and tactics. There was a
detailed discussion about maximizing
damage output once your victim was in
your grasp. It was a lot of new information
to digest, and this was about a class I’ve
been playing for years. The notion of
learning a new class was shelved so I
could concentrate on bashing
heads as an Arms Warrior.
When we played, we either had a
three-DPS lineup or a two-DPS/
one-healer lineup, which changed
the way I played matches. With the
DPS only, we’d make a kill order, and I
tried to cause as much pain as I could. With
a healer, things become more complicated
and more communication was required.
Having a healer added two things to my
plate that I learned about the hard way—by
one of us dying. The first is that line of
sight matters a lot. I found creative ways to
accidentally get out of our healer’s line of
We learned to cherish the rare moments when all three of us were alive together.
sight at crucial times, killing myself and
dooming the team. So the tunnel vision I’d
developed in the all-DPS lineups was
replaced by a more careful approach. Are
there pillars? Where is Jessica? If I drop off
this platform to hit that Death Knight, will
I get healed? I still made a ton of mistakes,
but at least I was aware of them.
Save the healer
The other matter was keeping the healer
safe. A dead Priest casts no heals. Sometimes Jessica would call for help, but I found
it was better to keep one eye on her to see if
she had picked up an attacker. Awareness of
the whole team’s situation became a larger
priority for me.
I also learned that it doesn’t pay to underestimate Warrior healing. When our composition was three DPS, I found I was a big
target for the other team, given that the
Rogue was in stealth and the Mage was
invisible. The first few times this happened,
I would be whacking away at our target
then suddenly drop dead.
I learned to use Enraged Regeneration
every match. It paid off in a game against a
Druid-Shaman-Rogue lineup. We focused
down the Rogue, then killed the Druid, but
not before the Shaman took out our Mage
and Rogue. That left me to battle it out
with the Elemental Shaman. He did his
best to keep his distance and burn me from
afar, but Second Wind and my new favorite
trick—activate a stamina trinket, then hit
Enraged Regeneration—returned almost
130,000 health, and I was able to kill him.
I’m still definitely not using my entire
toolbox. I don’t change stances as much as I
should, and there are things I forget, like
Recklessness and Retaliation. But I’m
learning every time I step in the Arena.
#222 VOLUME 19, NUMBER 1 JANUARY 2012