So you want to become a Pro? This sort of thing doesn’t come overnight! It takes dedication, practice and most of all, patience. The first part of this guide will be focused on general tips to improve gameplay and lifestyle choices that can genuinely impact your performance competitively more than you think. After this part, we’ll get into the nitty gritty details.
Though not all of this is from my mouth, I’ve got tips from Hydra and Azael to help you become better!
“I love competing in general, and even if something is overpowered, there is still stuff you can do better and when you beat those terrible players, playing an overpowered class /setup with your inferior one, its amazing.” – Hydra
In real life:
Hydra says: “You should just be sitting up straight in a comfortable position, if you’re playing anything that requires tight aiming, wrists on the edge of the table is better for pivoting, but for WoW it doesn’t matter so much.”
Or try to. A good exercise for the eyes is to find something in the distance to stare at. Use your window perhaps and find something outside to concentrate on that’s quite far away. Trust me, your eyes will love this.
Hydra says: “Fatty, fast food stuff makes you sluggish and slow after you eat it, physically and sometimes mentally. If you’re tired when you play then you’ll be more prone to tilting or making a less effective choice or decision that can make you lose.”
I’m personally guilty of doing the above until recently, I switched to OJ and I’ve felt much better, more refreshed than anything else. When they advertise Energy drinks they don’t show people sitting at desks for a reason, though I’m sure we’re a big part of that market.
Try and use add-ons only as a necessity, most competitive WoW players shouldn’t and won’t use any at all, because they can’t in tournaments. Yet in reality, it helps you become a better PvPer anyway, without add-ons telling you the low-down all the time, your internal cooldown tracker becomes better and you become more ‘self-aware’.
I highly recommend the minimilistic and useful Hydramist UI. Oh and those of you using that add-on where the lovely sounding lady tells you what skills are being used, do you even have eyes or ears? In short, use what you need!
A good thing about WoW is that we have a thing called choice, 3 big choices at first. Dealer, Healer and Tank. Now maybe the latter of those three options isn’t very viable for arena (well until recently, screw you Vengeance!), but it shouldn’t stop it from being a choice.
If you and a friend want to 2v2 and you’re a Rogue and he’s a Priest, let him be Shadow if he wants. He’ll like you more for it, and you never know, he might enjoy it more because he’s better at it, ever think of that?
For me, it came naturally. I was getting boosted by a level 40 Mage in Vanilla through Wailing Caverns and he was spamming Flamestrike. Thus, I fell in love with the Fire spec. Long story short I play it because I still, even now, enjoy it more than any other spec I’ve played in the game. And so, on a good day, I’m sick at Fire because of it. Because of sticking to it, all this time.
Although still to this day my Mage is my only max level (because of time restraints and other more important things – i.e I don’t care for anything other than Fire) it hasn’t stopped me from playing other classes and specs. One thing I learnt straight away about playing another class is how you adopt a different mindset entirely (especially if you’re going from DPS to Healer). You notice a hell of a lot more about a Priest, playing a Priest, than looking at a Talent Calculator or watching a PvP film, that’s for sure.
When I first bought Fraps, I used it to see what I was doing wrong; and many others have done the same. You won’t believe what you notice when you’re watching yourself, you pick up on your bad habits and go “Really?” Now though, I might use it more to record for Youtube or a film I’m working on, but with all the clips you save up for a film, all those gigabytes, do you really think there are going to be no mistakes?
Hydra says: ” Recording games and going back over losses is sick, Starcraft players watch their own replays tons to train, WoW is no different.”
If you’re reading this and you still click any skill on your hotbar, get it bound! I hear all the time, “What are your binds to Ice Block?” and Hydra gets asked, “What is Penance bound to? Mine feels weird so I’m not sure what to use”. Of course it feels wierd! You’ve been clicking it for years! All your binds should be personal and all of them should come natural.
If they still don’t come naturally and still feel weird after a very long time, a good way of getting around it is adapting certain keys and letters to words. For example; ‘I’ is for interrupt, so put Rebuke on it. ‘G’ is for Go, so put Sprint on it. If you have multiple characters this becomes easy after the first one is done. You’ll do Sprint on your Rogue and then when you log your Mage you’ll automatically want to put Blink on ‘G’.
Everyone has their bad days, and with gaming it’s no different. Sometimes no matter what you do it all goes wrong, and you might get some “BM” for it. Be it playing League of Legends, Call of Duty, SCII or World of Warcraft, you’ll get someone mouthing off at you and do you know what, it doesn’t matter, they’re probably five years old anyway.
If it is arena and you are having a bad session, know when to call it. “Just one more game?” Can lead to very bad things!
I watch PvP films for entertainment now, but back before people like Vurtne, Blinkmaster, Poorguy and Noone, nobody really knew the full potential of a Mage and his/her kiting ability. Soon after those guys released their masterpieces, people aspired to be like them and thus, the age of Undead Male Mages soloing 3 scrubs in a BG with Metal on in the background, began.
It’s the same with streams, you can learn a lot from a good player, regardless of his or her class, just by watching them. Their movements, positioning and team co-ordination, passively and with communication, it all comes as part of a bigger package that adapts with the game, over time.
Hydra says: “There is no such thing as perfect play, there is always something you can improve on, be it looking ahead and planning Globals or positioning down to the last yard”.
If you play a Rogue, and you have two friends who happen to play Priest and Mage, sure go for RMP but don’t shy away from developing new comps and strategies. You never know, you might be the first to do something different.
Hydra says: “I like RMP because its rewarding to win as RMP.”
I’m not saying find someone with tons more experience than you so they can carry your ass. This is so you can leech from their experience and knowledge, though if it seems like your partner is carrying you, he/she probably is and said player might be vocal about that!
By all means have a laugh, but I’ve played with the likes of Icematikz and I couldn’t concentrate on tying up my own shoe-laces never-mind actually playing my character. Though as long as you find someone to enjoy arena with, you shouldn’t really have problems here. The trick is finding someone with the same goals, mindset and humour. Never, ever let the game wind you up. Instead just talk about what happened and evaluate things.
Azael says: “The thing that motivates me most when I’m frustrated with WoW is simply talking with my friends and teammates and trying to come up with ways to overcome imbalances, counter comps, or whatever other frustrations you’re dealing with. It gives me a really rewarding feeling when we’re slamming our heads into a wall trying to figure out how to beat something and then it finally clicks – it kinda is what makes doing arena worthwhile for me.”
Cataclysm nearly destroyed the fun and very essence of being a Fire Mage. When I want to remember how much of a better game it was back before Deathwing broke my Spec, I watch films. Razghul, Nutty, Flekz, HP, Lecken, they’re all regular. And it does inspire me to carry on, sometimes! After watching Hydra 8 don’t you just want to log your Priest and play some Nine Inch Nails and dispel stuff?
This is where our streaming section comes in, we have hundreds of streamers. Some more entertaining than others, and some more skilled than others. Maybe you’ll watch a pro and realise, “Hey, wait a minute! He dies too…I guess we’re all human after all!”.
I still believe the number one reason people still play WoW is for the social aspect of things. We’ve met and created many friends over the past 7 or so years. I’m sure if you talk to someone about a problem you’re having in WoW, they’re bound to have had it before too.
Until next time:
I hope you’ll stick with me for the next instalment of this self-help guide. Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear what you think about any of what I’ve mentioned! I’ll leave you with another, quite simple quote from Hydra.
Hydra says: “The thing that drives me most, is the search for the perfect game.”