Tips & Tricks
1. Don't Get Frustrated!
Every sport has a learning curve, some of which are steeper than others. If you're not finding success right out the gate, or after several weeks, don't get frustrated! Losing is a part of the learning process and every duelist has experienced it at some point in their career. If you reach a point on your own where it's overwhelming there are a number of methods, several listed here, that can help you get over the hump.
2. Don't Get Ahead of Yourself!
If your goal is to climb up the ranks of your favorite sport there's nothing wrong with sticking to dueling opponents that are at your rank. If you're a Glass in the Outback you don't have to take on all the Emeralds in the room. Simply seek out a duelist of the rank you'd like to fight or make a public room request. You can also check the most recent standings to see who is currently at the rank you'd like to fight so you can approach them more directly.
Joe Duelist: "Any Glass ranked fighters available to duel?"
Joe Duelist: "Glass seeking to fight another Glass!"
Of course there are those nights where it seems like there's nothing but higher ranks to fight. If you find yourself in a room filled with Warlords, Emeralds, or Mages, you can always request, in character (IC) or Out of Character (OOC), that they fight you at your rank. This can be achieved OOC via an in room IM (instant message).
Joe Duelist's IM: Hey. I'm only a Glass but there aren't any other duelists at my rank in here tonight. Would you mind dueling me without your fancies? I'd appreciate it since I'm still learning.
The most acceptable method IC is to ask the opponent in question to duel you "straight up" as modifiers (fancies, feints, foci) is a strictly an OOC term.
3. Get Help!
Each sport has their own special system to help newer duelists by pairing them up with more experienced ones. The Duel of Swords has the Squire system, Duel of Fists has the Mentor system, and Duel of Magic has the Neophyte system. Each of these programs has their own set of rules and requirements. Don't hesitate to post in the forums if you're interested in utilizing any of the systems to help you advance! Also, don't be afraid to approach a duelist directly in the room via IM if you'd like to ask them to take you under their wing, or ask the caller on duty any questions you may have or about issues that arise.
4. Keep Tabs!
Keeping a pad and pencil nearby to track your duels will give you an idea of what you may be doing wrong (or right!) and also help keep your record in order in case you spot any inconsistencies in the week to week standings. Tracking your duels round by round can help you spot any patterns you may unknowingly be falling into, or possibly expose any in the duelists you face frequently.
5. Practice, practice, practice!
There's nothing wrong with showing up before or after a shift to engage in practice duels. Anyone who knows the matrices can call an unofficial duel in any of the rooms during off hours. Just ask! But remember, practice is not available during a shift or by an official DUEL host. So feel free to stay later and hone your skills off hours!
With thanks to Harris for putting this together.