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5 Tips for World of Warcraft PvP

Updated on November 10, 2013

World of Warcraft PvP can be pretty daunting to newcomers. Unlike PvE, PvP does not have a learning curve to ease you in so if you're interested in this aspect of the game, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

If you want to PvP, the first thing to prepare for is that you are going to die. A lot. And it's okay, we've all been there. Since PvP is mostly a matter of skill, there will be no easy way to enter the scene than to drop in hot. The good thing is, if you die from another player, your gear durability is not affected so dying isn't really that costly (regular durability costs still takes its toll though).

That said, here are a few pointers to help you out.

1. Keybinds

The first thing that you need to prepare before PvPing is your keybinds. If you plan on PvPing, you are going to use your mouse for two things and two things only: looking around and targeting. You are not going to click your skills at all. Sure, it could be just as effective in the right situations but using keybind is just that more efficient.

When setting up your keybinds, try to make it as ergonomic as possible. Ideally, you spread your binds across the primary movement keys. Remember that you can use CTRL, ALT and Shift as modifiers as well as letters for your keybinds (though this may interfere with primary UI functions such as whispering, etc.). While enabled by default, I don't use the number keys from 7 to 0. It's too inefficient and requires me to lift my hand off the movement keys.

Experiment with your keybinds to see which works and which doesn't. Also, experiment with what skill is actually bound. Not every skill you have needs to be binded so only need to bind your most important spells.

2. Movement and Backpedalling

Aside from your keybinds, your movement is going to need to change. PvP is all about efficiency and the way you move is a big part of that. There are two basic commandments of PvP movement:

  • You will use and only use your mouse to turn
  • You will not backpedal.

If you are using your keyboard to turn, you are going to need to learn mouse turning. Turning with a mouse is much more quicker than turning with a keyboard. It just makes that much of a difference. It is also more accurate allowing you to look where you need to look. If you don't know how, you need to hold down the right mouse button to mouse turn. It would then feel like you are playing an FPS. The keyboard turn keys become strafe buttons and the mouse will control turning.

There is also a bit of taboo behind backpedalling. True enough, experienced PvPers often take backpedalling as a sign of an inexperienced player. The reasoning for this is that backpedalling is slower than simply turning around and moving forward OR turning sideways and strafing. While there is nothing inherently wrong with backpedalling per se, the fact that you are only disadvantaging yourself. If you can't stop backpedalling, you can actually rebind your back key and use it as a keybind.

3. Learn your class

There is no skating around it. If you want to PvP, you have to read up on your class. There are a lot of different sites around the web that you can read (, but the point is, you have to read up and learn your class. You need to learn your skills so you would know what to use and when is the perfect time to use them.

Skills are normally divided into sections:

  • Damage dealing rotations
  • Defensive and offensive cooldowns
  • Escapes
  • Crowd-controls and utilities

Damage dealing and rotation

These are your basic damage dealers. Usually, these skills aren't too different from your PvE rotations although there is usually no need to pull off a perfect rotation. PvP is more lenient in that aspect. Remember, in PvP, your primary objective is to not die, not a perfect DPS rotation.

Cooldown spells

As the name suggests, these are the skills that have a cooldown period. Cooldown spells are usually grouped into two: offensive and defensive cooldowns. Offensive cooldowns greatly augment your damage dealing capabilities allowing you to deal more DPS than you normally would. This is especially useful in Arenas where players synchronize their cooldowns and go for the kill. Defensive cooldowns are used when you are in a tight spot. Usually, these skills reduce or negate incoming damage.

Knowing when to use your cooldown skills are a must. Using them at the right time will be the difference between winning and losing.


Escape skills are used to get out of danger. Spells such the Mage's Blink and the Warlock's Teleport are considered escape spells. Although I call them as such, escape skillscan actually be used offensively.


This is probably the most important type of skills in PvP. Crowd control or CC allows you to take away a person's control of his character. Stuns, Fears, Polymorphs are crowd controls. CCs also last 9 seconds maximum when used against another player despite their description saying otherwise. CCs usually have a characteristic known as Diminishing Returns (DR). This means that you can not cast a CC indefinitely on a target. Diminishing Returns halve the effect of the CC skill if it's cast within 15 seconds of another spell that shares the same DR effect.

4. Learning other classes

Once you've gotten the hang of your character class, you need to learn all about other classes. Fortunately, the easiest way to do this is also the easiest PvP available to you: dueling. Dueling allows you to be familiar with other classes and their skills as well as gives you an opportunity to practice your skills in general PvP.

When dueling, pay attention to their general your opponent's style of play. If you lose, try to figure out why you lost. If you're stumped, there's generally no harm in talking to the guy you just dueled.

5. Do not be afraid to retreat

When you are about to lose a fight during PvP, there is no harm in performing a tactical retreat. Surrendering to an opponent that ganked you fosters a defeatist attitude and attitude is a big part of PvP. But that's not all. Retreating allows you to practice your escape maneuvers which will come very handy during Arenas. Successful or not, retreat if you need to!


In conclusion

All in all, PvP can be very fun and very rewarding if you stick to it and don't give up. When trying to learn PvP, do not be afraid to approach your friends. Or make new PvP friends if your friends don't like PvP too.

The best advice I can give right now is to just jump in and queue for battlegrounds. The more you play, the more experience you get and the better you understand the concepts of PvP. Good luck and have fun!


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