Video version of this guide:
PvP Basics & F.A.Q.
There are 2 types of pvp besides open world pvp. Battlegrounds (BGs) and Arenas. BGs are the pvp maps such as Eye of the Storm or Alterac Valley. These are more casual in TBC (outside of premade tourneys) and there’s no rating or ranks for battlegrounds – it’s purely just there to do some pvp, farm honor and get marks.
Arenas on the other hand are competitive. Arenas are done in set premade teams of 2, 3 or 5 and you gain/lose points after every match. Your rating at the end of the week gives you points and unlocks gear that you can buy with those points.
Currently all arena gear is unlocked to everyone except 2 items:
- Weapons require 1850+ arena rating to buy
- Shoulders require 2000+ arena rating to buy
You just need the rating to buy the gear, but you don’t need to keep the rating afterwards to continue using those pieces.
In addition, if you are in the top % of rating at the end of the arena season you get a fancy title and everyone gladiator and higher receives a 310% speed flying mount as well (photo courtesy of wowwiki):
These are the titles and how high you need to be on the rankings:
- Infernal Gladiator (Top 0.1%)
- Gladiator (Top 0.5%)
- Duelist (Top 0.5% – 3%)
- Rival (Top 3% – 10%)
- Challenger (Top 10% – 35%)
Your arena armor is generally (but not always) going to be among your best pieces for your pvp set because it has a new survival stat called resilience, as well as having other good survivability stats such as high stamina.
There are also very nice bonuses on arena gear typically aimed towards helping your class pvp better, such as the +10 energy for rogue 4 set or the deadly throw bonus on their gloves:
There is also honor gear which is bought with honor gained in battlegrounds/open world pvp and they are budget versions of the arena gear. They also fill in some slots such as neck, back and ring slots that do not come from arena points.
The most important piece of honor gear to get is going to be your 2 min CD pvp trinket, which costs 8k honor points:
You can pick up a 5 min cooldown version for cheaper, but you still 100% want to grind towards getting the 2 min pvp trinket as soon as possible. It’s one of your most important cooldowns in an extended arena match.
Resilience is a new stat for TBC that reduces the chance of getting crit and also reduces the damage you take from crits. Every 39.4 resilience is 2% less crit damage and 1% less chance to be crit.
For resilience to be noticable and effective, you’ll want to stack a lot of it to get those percentages up (which is why all the arena/honor pvp gear tends to have resilience). It varies based on your class, but most pvpers aim for anywhere from 170 to 200+ resilience if possible.
Combined with stacking a decent amount of hp, resilience can completely change the feel of the game for some squishier classes in particular (such as priests who become giant targets if they don’t have resilience).
How do arena points/ratings work and how much will I get each week?
Blizzard is using a new rating system for this version of TBC arena, so this may change slightly if they tweak it, but currently it works like this:
1. You start at 0 rating BUT you climb very rapidly
Every new team starts at 0 rating. From 0 rating to about 1300~ or so rating you seem to lose barely any rating for a loss but gain massive amounts for a win. It’s not uncommon to win 80-99 points for a win.
If you just keep playing games you should be able to climb to 1300~ fairly quickly, even without an amazing win/loss ratio.
2. You must have a ‘personal rating’ within 150 points of your arena team + participate in 30% of games that week to get points
There is both a team rating and personal rating for arenas. You can view your personal rating if you click on your team in the pvp tab. This rating needs to be within 150 rating of your team’s arena rating if you want to qualify for points from your teams rating.
Note: It has also been reported by some folks that if your personal rating is more than 150 points outside your teams rating, then it seems to be giving points based on your personal rating instead. I haven’t tested this myself though so do this at your own risk.
In addition, you must also participate in at least 30% of games played that week to be eligible to receive points.
3. 5v5 > 3v3 > 2v2 for amount of points earned
You gain more points for the same rating in a 5s team vs. a 3s or 2s team. This is why you’ll see a lot of players boost/grind 5v5 to secure their points each week, even if they’re already highly rated in 2s or 3s.
Grinding out a good 5s rating also means you can freely leave/join teams in your 2s and 3s without worrying about missing out on points that week.
4. Points earned below 1500 rating are slightly increased vs original TBC
To help out beginners, points earned below 1500 rating get a higher gain vs. the old TBC system. This is how many points you can expect to earn between 200 to 1500 rating.
- 214-344 points per week for 5v5 arenas
- 188-302 points per week for 3v3 arenas
- 162-261 points per week for 2v2 arenas
5. If someone new joins an established 1k+ team, they start at 1k personal rating.
New members will need to catch up their personal rating, but you do get a slight boost up to start at 1k+ instead of starting at 0 if you join an established team:
MMR is matchmaker rating and it’s not displayed by default UI. It’s how your team matches up vs. other teams.
The game is basically seeing how likely you are to beat the enemy team based on your recent win/loss and ranks your team with a hidden rating. Your + or – rating at the end of the match is given based on your hidden mmr vs. the enemy teams mmr.
There are weakauras that will help you track MMR though, I’ve included one below:
- Get this weakaura here: https://wago.io/YUNQzUiYD
If you’d like to do calculations yourself, there’s a handy calculator at http://www.arenapointscalculator.com/ (just be aware the points calculator before 1500 is not accurate because Blizzard is purposely increasing point gains before 1500).
Note: A lot of blue honor gear is just filler equipment until you pick up gladiator gear. Certain purple/epic pieces can be very nice though depending on your class and the gems are good as well depending on your needs.
PvP Essentials – UI & Add-On Guide
You’re going to want to grab some basic mods for your UI to make it ‘ready’ for pvp. Here are my recommendations and some simple tips to make your life way easier.
Here are the essentials:
You’ll 100% want one of the popular arena raid frames if you plan to do Arena. The 2 most popular ones currently are SArena and Gladdy. Personally I started on SArena, then swapped to Gladdy because it looks way better and is way more customizable in how you want to display things.
Gladdy includes many things you used to need separately, such as diminishing returns and trinket/racial trackers. You can even display enemy cooldowns and their buffs/debuffs.
You can turn parts on/off, move where they display and change the size and look of everything. For example here’s how mine looks after I adjusted the skins, fonts and turned off the settings I didn’t want showing:
For the patreon members out there, I have a full bonus section with my 2 custom gladdy imports for you to get started easily and a full bonus video explaining why you want to turn certain areas on/off and how to use Gladdy more effectively:
There’s an add on called ‘Talented Classic’ that allows you to set up and save talent profiles. When you want to swap talents later it’s as simple as paying the respec cost, then clicking a button in the talented add-on.
This is super useful with how often you’re constantly respeccing for PvP in TBC (and honestly it helps me avoid being paranoid that I accidentally learnt the wrong talents).
Watch the video at the start of the guide for a rundown of how it works/how to use it.
- Get it here (download the TBC Classic version): https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/talented-classic
One problem A LOT of people run into a lack of key bindings and hotkey spots, so many people re-use certain keys and hotbar spots for pvp and pve. The problem is then you’re stuck with needing to fix it again every time you change specs.
There are 2 popular solutions for this problem. I’ll cover both of them and you can pick which method you prefer.
Option 1: Use MySlot to save a PvE and PvP profile
There is an add-on called MySlot, which will save your action bar layout, hotkeys bindings and macros. You can save and load profiles easily once you’ve set them up one time.
I simply save one copy of my pve profile and one copy of my pvp profile and just use MySlot to swap back and forth easily.
- Get it here (download the TBC version): https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/myslot
Option 2: Use Bindpad to save macros/hotkeys/key bindings without relying on action bars
Bindpad is an add on that allows you to bind hotkeys and abilities/macros outside of hotkey bars. So you actually drag the ability/macro onto Bindpad and you can keybind it there directly without messing with any hotkey bars at all.
It also has a ‘myslot’ type function via Profiles, where you can save profiles based on talent spec. This will automatically swap binding sets when you swap your talents if you have profiles saved. Think of Bindpad as a more powerful solution to keybinds/hotkeys, but it will also take more initial setup vs using MySlot.
There isn’t an official Bindpad TBC release, but there has been an unofficial ‘fixed’ version to stop the errors displaying in TBC.
- You can get the unofficial TBC version of Bindpad here: https://github.com/hepkat/BindPad-Classic-bcc/releases/tag/c0.2
You have a few options here to see debuffs on nameplates. It’s a lot of personal preference here so I’ll cover 2 fairly popular methods and you can pick what you prefer.
Option 1: Plater Nameplates or similar custom nameplates
There are a ton of customized nameplate add-ons, but plater is my personal favourite option. It let’s you customize your nameplates to a crazy level and it also gives you a ton of control over the debuffs/abilities tracked on your nameplates and shows class colors nicely for quick spotting.
The downside is it can take longer to set up Plater exactly how you want, but I’ve included a link to my plater profile (updated now for PvP), if you wish to copy my plater look/settings.
- You can get Plater for TBC here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/plater-nameplates
- You can get my plater profile here (it’s the one used in the photo above): https://wago.io/NRhdsm9nn
Note: If importing my plater profile make sure you import in-game under the /plater add on (not in weakauras) and it will lag for 10-20 seconds when you import it at first (this is normal).
Option 2: BigDebuffs or nameplate debuffs weakaura
If you like just using default nameplates, but want to see debuffs on your nameplates then another solution is to use one of many weakauras or add-ons which simply add debuffs over your existing nameplates.
There are plenty of options here from weakauras to add-ons, with BigDebuffs being one of the most popular options (and it’s fairly customizable too for placement and sizing of the debuffs).
- You can get it here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/bigdebuffs
- You’ll also want OmniCC so it displays countdowns/timers on the bigdebuffs: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/omni-cc
If you prefer just having a basic weakaura for all debuffs, you can use the popular debuffs on nameplates weakaura to accomplish the same basic usage as BigDebuffs.
- You can get the weakaura here: https://wago.io/DebuffsOnNameplates
Where and how you prefer to have enemy cooldowns tracked will be a lot of personal preference, so I’ll cover the 3 most popular methods.
Option 1: OmniBar
This will place a bar on the screen that tracks all selected enemy cooldowns and abilities in one spot. It’s very customizable to add/remove tracking.
If you have OmniBar unlocked you can also mouseover each ability to see what it is (handy if you’re new to arena and still learning each classes abilities).
- You can get omnibar here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/omnibar
Option 2: Have Gladdy do it for you
If you’re already using Gladdy mentioned earlier, you can just have gladdy track enemy cooldowns for you like this:
I moved to having Gladdy do my cooldown tracking because I prefer having the cooldown tracking sorted by player vs all in one spot together (but this is personal preference).
- You can get gladdy here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/gladdy-tbc
If you’d like my personal Gladdy skin as shown above, I’ve included the cooldown version of it for my patreons as well:
Option 3: Enemy Cooldown Count
This tracks enemy abilities based on target. I used to use this add-on, but I find this limiting in Arena because I don’t always want to swap to target just to see their current ability cooldowns.
- You can get Enemy Cooldown Count here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/enemy-cooldown-count-classic
Sometimes you’ll want to know whether your teammate has an important cooldown or his trinket/racial. This tracks all of this next to your party frame.
You can also configure it to only show specific friendly CDs that you want to see, such as only showing trinket and racial CD:
- You can get it here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/att
You’re going to get hit by a lot of CC in pvp. Sometimes multiple at once. A lot of pvpers like using a variation of the ‘Loss of Control’ add-on to track when they get CC’d.
It shows the CC over your character (but you can move/resize if you wish) like so:
There are many variations of this add-on/weakaura, but the current version I like using is the add-on version for TBC.
- You can get this here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/loca-loss-of-control-alerter-for-tbc-classic
Sometimes the in game join queue button bugs out and doesn’t let you join the BG/Arena. This fixes it (but if you click too fast it still bugs sometimes – you have to wait a couple seconds after queue pops for some reason).
- Get it here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/safequeue
Bonus: Fixing your ElvUI filters for PvP
You may be an ElvUI user like me and notice that your target frame/focus frame is not showing any debuffs from any other players. This is a problem when you try to do arenas with partners.
To fix this, you want to go under esc > elvui > unit frames > individual units > target or focus and right click the filters under ‘debuffs’ here to remove them all:
You may find this lack of filters very annoying in PvE raids as every debuff is displayed on target, but the solution to this is to save 1 Elvui profile for PvE and 1 for PvP, then you simply swap profile whenever you respec for pvp/pve.