Friday, November 20, 2009

Dueling Etiquette

I remember my first duel. I was leveling in STV near Grom'gol and I came up against another player, who was ~2 levels higher than me. I don't remember their class. There was no greeting or emote, just a duel window popping up suddenly while I was questing.

duel flag

I was curious to see how duels worked so I nervously clicked the "accept" button. I really wanted to win my first duel but to my chagrin, I was losing. At this point, I already knew that even with my HP low, being oom was a bigger concern. I used my mana pot to try to regain some precious mana but too late, I was dead before I could heal myself up to full.

Later on, I told my boyfriend what had happened earlier and he told me that I did wrong by using a consumable. This was my first hint of the existence of a loosely followed dueling etiquette.

People argue that dueling is dueling and you do everything you can do for that win. However, if it is no holds barred PVP, there can be some cheap tactics implemented. Therefore, many people tend to follow a certain etiquette so as to not win by cheap, OP tricks.


One of the biggest controversial moves in duels for paladins is Lay on Hands. This spell would not be that big of a deal if we also didn't have bubble on top of it. So we get 2 reset buttons to use during duels. Therefore, it is considered quite rude to use LoH when you would've lost otherwise since it is on a long CD. Some people even argue that paladin bubble is a cheap trick too, though I would not go that far.


Why am I interested in this? I heavily dislike dueling as a holy paladin but I watch duels often (usually in front of Orgrimmar).


It has always been my opinion that prot/holy or protribution is a gimmicky spec in that they give ret and holy pallies highly offensive ability without having to sacrifice much of their dps or healing capabilities depending on the gear equipped. Prot pallies are hard to fight and when you finally get them low, they blow LoH - it just feels so cheap as they already get Ardent Defender, which passively procs whenever they are low in health.

So here are some of my observations when it comes to dueling etiquette, especially for paladins.

  1. Don't use Lay on Hands - in a PVP situation, you're not always going to have LoH available as it is on a long CD, so you can't always depend on it being available when you need it. Dueling is like practice for PVP, especially arena, so to use LoH defeats the purpose of this exercise.
  2. Don't blow consumables - unless you can not self heal and the fight is being reset, don't bandage or pot. Drinking is fine as strategic drinking is an essential in arena.
  3. Do use bubble/iceblock - These abilities can be called cheap but they are essential in PVP. Knowing how and most importantly, when, to use these spells is key.
  4. Be a good sport - if you won, good for you but there's no need to rub it in or talk about how they should've won. Dueling is to practice and learn, not to shove your e-dick in people's faces. Even highly skilled arena players continue dueling so they do not lose their edge. People will not want to duel with you if you antagonize them and that only hurts yourself. In addition, if it was your loss, don't be a sore loser and attribute it to their class being OP, etc. Just be civil in conceding your loss and try to learn from it.
  5. Know that there is always RNG - it can be frustrating to have RNG work against you but sometimes, it works for you too so try to not get too frustrated. The RNG aspect of dueling also applies to PVP and PVE so learn how to accept it.
  6. End the duel well - It is customary to say "gd" or "good duel" at the end of the duel, no matter the outcome.
Dueling is a past time that is generally neglected by the devs but it has many active participants. People discuss in /say about class balance, spec, etc and make friends while they are at it. It's a way for WoW players to meet and greet, our version of the social mixer. It's enjoyable for me even though I am not an active participant but rather an observer.

So next time, try to experience the dueling scene or create one on your server!

Bladestorm lol

Random lol pic from AJ (My warrior friend should get a big kick out of this one)

Till next time!


  1. Good article. I've had my share of dueling experiences. The two that jump to mind... An Alliance toon 5 levels above me (29) wanted to duel my Horde toon - I figured what the heck and got a severe beating until near death where the Allie let me win (probably because I kept fighting despite the mismatch). In another case I was dueling someone two levels above me and barely lost. The guy pst's me... "You f'ing idiot, you could have won... why did you try to run?..." I have no clue what he meant by "try to run" since I was facing him most of the fight.

  2. As a paladin I try not to use bubble but when I duel other paladins, they seem to use it. And just a tip, never duel a prot pally since they have an instant res. I also dueled a druid once who used flight form. Now that is cheating.

  3. Unless both parties explicitly agree that an ability or item is off limits, using any ability or item is fair game.

    Simple asking for arena rules would be sufficient for most people. Among other things LoH is not usable in arenas.

    Some people all but ask the other person to die for them. Saddest example of this is people challenging locks and saying "no fear".


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