World of Warcraft can be a very humiliating game sometimes. Moments like getting out-DPS'd when I shouldn't be, for example, or accidently hitting my bandage macro instead of Soul Shatter definitely keeps me in my place and the ego in check, even being the almost completely narcistic Warlock that I am (but aren't we all? =P). Those moments of disparagement, as face-palming as they are, aren't really all that serious, however. They don't really cause harm to anything but our own. Getting out-DPS'd isn't really a big deal as long as the group's DPS is where it needs to be as a whole. Dying due to misclicking a Soul Shatter is often more funny than it is detrimental to the raid. And everyone enjoys watching a Warlock get owned anyway, so it's all good. All in all, we usually just embarrass ourselves a bit, poke fun at the newb that lives within us all, and move on. No ill effects. No problem.
But what of those moments that do have ill effects; those that actually do have an affect on other people? Drawing aggro on Prince, for example, and getting the Tank Infeebled, essentially causing a wipe. Forgetting to watch the Soul Stone timer, forcing the raid to release after a wipe, only to find respawns at the beginning of the dungeon and thus wasting everyone's time. Instances like that affect everyone and, well, they really are a big deal.
That's what makes 5v5 Arena so painful.
In 5v5 (lesser so in 2v2 and 3v3), everyone's rating depends on everyone's individual performance. No one person can make a mistake without ramifications, and on the flip side, no one person can carry a team. Everyone has to play their part, minimizing mistakes as best they can, or else the entire group suffers. It's like each toon is a supporting beam on a sailing ship -- when all are functioning as they should, the ship stays sturdy even in turbulent waters. However, even if one breaks, there's a good chance the ship will go down, and a sinking ship is no good at PvP, no matter how calm the waters.
So how do help keep yourself and your team above water? Sixis, one of my first WoW acquaintances, one-time guildie, and a damn good PvPer said it best. He likened 5v5 to a PvE raid in which everyone has their responsibilities. There's DPS, Heals, CC, even Tanking of sorts, all of which have to be executed in a timely and organized manner. If your DPS or heals are slack, it's a wipe. If your CCs break and are free to roam, it's a wipe. If people don't take care of their responsibilities, it's a wipe, and a waiting drop to boot, which is almost worse than zoning back in to respawns imho.
But how do we get there? How do we get organized in an environment that's totally not scripted and oh so chaotic?
Well, that's all about planning and experience, imo. Knowing what to do, what not to do, taking into account everyone else's responsibilities, and becoming adept at executing quickly = win. In other words, with practice and effort, it will come in due time. Motor memory and memory in general is like that -- give it some work and it'll repay you almost effortlessly. Things will become "second nature," if you will.
But that doesn't make 5v5 any easier or less complicated. There are many variables to take into account, like the composition of the opposing team, their specs, which Arena you are in, how and where the other team begins... you know, stuff you really can't control. But then there are the issues closer to home, and that stinky little detail about being tied in and dependent on your teammates, their specs, and their actions. How do you manage that?
Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you. I'd imagine it has to do with much excellent communication, individual effort, skill, and sacrifice, and maybe even a little bit of luck at finding a group with just the right amount of chemistry to get things done. "Flow" is what one top-rated Warlock on Tichondrius called it (interview incoming later this week), and while he agreed that luck does play a role, he did say that it comes down to dedication. "How badly does your team want to work for it?" he asked. "Do you just want arena points, or something more?"
Everyone has to want it. Everyone has to put in their all.
Otherwise, everyone will just end up embarrassing themselves in the end.