Opening Moves: Win, Lose, Improve

This is the final article our Opening Moves series, where we talk to World of Warcraft esports pros about the meta-game and strategy behind the beginning of every match. Read part four here.

The best chess or GO players in the world didn’t get where they are today by intuition alone. They also didn’t achieve their rank by winning every game. As you progress in World of Warcraft Arena, losses will be an inevitability. While losing can be frustrating, it also presents an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, correct them, and improve your opening moves—and the rest of your game.

“There’s often a misconception that if you aren’t winning something like 90% of your matches, you’re doing things wrong,” said Jason “Pika” Smith. “On a bad night, my team might lose half of our matches in a session, but we don’t blame each other—we look at what went wrong, and how we can improve our individual skill levels.”

Arena matches are incredibly complex. Players have to make countless decisions based on constantly evolving circumstances, including positioning, cooldown availability, and information gathered over the course of a game. Alex “Alec” Sheldrick, team captain of World of Warcraft Arena Champions ABC, suggests analyzing matches with your teammates afterward. “After playing, we sit around and talk about our matches, what went wrong, and how we could have done better.”

Alec also stressed the importance of finding players with similar goals. “So many people using the LFG tool are only looking for players in that moment. Try to find players with similar goals as you, who are willing to practice and progress as a team.”

It also helps to have a good attitude and find like-minded players. What do the pros look for in teammates?

“My teammates and I need to be able to call each other out”, says Method Synergy’s Ryan “Trill” Costello. “You’ve got to be able to accept constructive criticism without taking it personally. Analyze your play and grow.”

“I look for people I can vibe with and talk to”, says Pika. “I want the game to be enjoyable, because we’re going to be playing—and losing—a lot of matches together. It’s important to stay positive and have fun.”

“Having a lot of pride or a big ego will work against you in Arena”, says Alec. “I value critical partners who are confident in their abilities, but not overconfident. That usually means they’ll be less willing to change.”

Win or lose, as long as you’re learning and improving your play, you’re making progress. Each time you head back into the Arena to execute your opening moves, remember your past matches, and let your previous mistakes and successes inform your decisions. Continue to build your game knowledge by watching pro players—you might even consider starting alts to learn about classes you have a tough time facing. But if you’ve been keeping up with our Opening Moves series, you’re already well on your way to becoming a better World of Warcraft Arena player. Thanks for reading, and good luck in your quest