Guide to PvP Arena Tactics in World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is constantly evolving, and one of the most recent changes to PVP is the introduction of Arenas. However, since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, arenas have undergone their own evolution!
Ruins of Lordaeron
Unlike battlegrounds, the emphasis with Arenas is to simply kill the other team. However, there are many different techniques within individual Arenas that can make this objective a lot easier. Within the Ruins of Lordaeron, teams begin on opposite sides of the arena.
Many 'failing' teams decide to wait inside the starting area, but this tactic simply delays your own team's death. The key is to be offensive, and to use LoS (Line-of-Sight) to your advantage. The main object within this area that is capable of doing this is the Coffin, which is situated in the center of the area. Climbing on top of this will ensure no LoS breaks when attacking, however it also leaves you vulnerable to attacks from all angles. This is not recommend unless you find yourself in the rare circumstance of being up against a whole team of melee DPS.
The Graveyard, which is off to the side of the Arena, also offers breaks for LoS. There are three large tombstones which, when positioned behind, you cannot be attacked. These are great for healers who can stand behind them and move to the side when a heal is needed. Ruins of Lordaeron is known as one of the least LoS intense arenas out there, so finding these weak spots is vital to the success of a team.
The Circle of Blood
The most important aspect of this Arena is the bridge. It creates many opportunities to avoid taking damage, and ideal places to do serious DPS without interruption.
When the gates open, it is advised that you and your teammates move together up the ramp. The chances of the other team doing this too are high, and this means you should be able to view your opponents without fear of taking damage.
Once the battle is in full swing, casters and long-ranged DPS should jump over to the platforms on either side of the bridge. This simply places them out of range from melee. If you are, however, uncomfortable with jumping them then walking along the rope is also possible. This tactic is not without its risks however, and a fall could lead to the destruction of your team, especially if you are the healer. Practicing the jump in skirmishes is advised.
Another good tactic is using the multiple breaks in LoS. If your team decides that jumping from the bridge is the best tactic, this does not mean that the whole team needs to. If, for example, in a 2v2 battle, your team mate jumps from the bridge and both your opponents jump with him, then there is little fear of you being attacked by them. Predicting how an Arena will turn out is almost impossible, but adjusting to circumstances is not.
The Ring of Trials
This Arena is the most simplistic of the five, with the terrain being flat and four non-moveable pillars. The tactics involved within this Arena are also fairly simple.
Unlike other Arenas, staying within the starting area is not an option. Not only will you be exposed to the other team (due to the flat terrain), you will also be an easy target for stealth players. Therefore, the most popular tactic for The Ring of Trials is to hide behind the nearest pillar, which should be decided before the battle begins between your teammates.
Simply wait for the other team to approach you and hope that this either splits them or makes them easier for your team to attack them. However, if this tactic does not suit your team build (i.e. a team of stealth players, or a high DPS team) then the best option is to attack the other team fast. With little LoS, the other team does not stand a chance of avoiding a beating from a high DPS team. Healers should, as normal, use LoS to their advantage within this arena.
This is one of the two new Arenas that were introduced with the latest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard has wised-up to the 'cheap' tactics some teams used to use. In the past, the easiest way to force your opponents into offensive mode was to wait in the starting booths. However, this particular Arena punishes that tactic, and if your team waits in there too long then you will be shunted out. Avoid this, since it scatters your team and plays you into the hands of the other team.
Another unique aspect of this Arena is the center. There is a podium that can be accessed via stairs, but choosing to climb them can result in lost time. The rewards are high, however, with melee being forced to also climb the stairs to get close to you, by which time you could have easily jumped down. However, many players simply choose to avoid the middle due to the waterfall. This drops 'every so often' (according to Blizzard) and knocks back anyone in its way. The waterfall prevents casting and can lose the battle for teams unlucky enough to be affected by it.
Some swear by kiting their enemies onto the center stage, and allowing the water to hit them. This takes a lot of practice, and a certain amount of luck. A more simplistic tactic would be to go on the defensive and conceal your team (or at least casters) behind the crates on either side of the Arena. Using the crates along with the LoS created by the waterfall can result in players being cut of from the rest of their team. Burst DPS will see these fall, and will almost instantly win the match!
The Ring of Valor
This is probably the most exciting new Arena, with many unique aspects. The starting areas, for example, have clearly been designed to encourage a fast-paced battle. You and your team will raise up from the ground right next to the other team. You will be able to attack them instantly, and if you time it right you can kill at least one teammate before they have even had a chance to check their surroundings.
Quick decisions and even quicker reactions are needed to survive this first intimate meeting. After this, both teams will most likely slow down. Negotiating the fire walls is the next on most teams' priority list. These inflict damage and can often leave a player separated from the rest of their team. In most situations, players will not run through the fire, so use this to your team's advantage with burst DPS.
Casters should (if possible) position themselves on top of the rising platforms, just next to the starting area. This means they are out of reach from melee, but can still DPS/Heal. This only lasts a few seconds, but can be extremely vital if used against a melee-intense team since, unlike Dalaran Sewers, there are no stairs.
If your team finds themselves on the outskirts on the Arena, then just like The Ring of Trials, use the pillars to your advantage. Simply running around these can allow for mana/health to regain, and gives time for other teammates to come to your aid. Playing this Arena correctly takes a lot of practice, and luck does, unfortunately, play a huge part in this particular battle. Make sure your whole team knows of the benefits to this Arena's environment, and how each class can use them for their personal gain.