There's no doubt about it: it's trickier and twitchier to level a character on a PvP (player versus player) realm than it is on a "Care Bear," PvE (player versus environment) realm. Some players thrive on the electric anticipation of the unexpected ambush; others wilt under the unrelenting stress. Being an experienced gamer and having the proverbial "friends in high places" can make the experience a lot more enjoyable – so is leveling on a PvP realm beyond the reach of a WoW rookie? Absolutely not!
But make no mistake, it's war out there ... and only the savvy will survive unscathed. Sounds ominous, eh? Let's knock off some of the mystery. First, we direct you to Zach Yonzon's insightful introduction to the PvP attitude. Zach explains exactly what is different about playing on a PvP realm, as well as the basics of concepts such as "flagging" and "honor." Soak up the basics, then join us after the break for 20 tips to help you survive your time as a WoW rookie, PvP style.
Our PvP survival tactics include pointers from WoW.com's Robin Torres, who shared some fabulous tips for leveling on a PvP realm in this week's WoW, Casually. Check it out; it's an informative read. We've included some of her most useful tactics in our own rookie-centric list here.
- Prepare to die. Yes, you're going to die. Suck it up. It's almost always nothing personal -- this is, after all, the point of PvP. Run back to your corpse and get back to business.
- Stay healthy. Enemies pick on vulnerable targets. Running your health and mana bars into the ground invites attention from opportunists.
- Use the buddy system. The enemy is looking for easy pickings; reinforcements take you out of that category.
- Monitor the defense channels. Local and World Defense chat are your distant early warning system, telling you where not to go. Before you head out to your quest area or dash back into town, make sure the defense channels aren't scrolling kill messages faster than Twitter in a slaughterhouse.
- Announce ganking and camping to the zone. If you're being "ganked" (most classically defined as being killed when you're at a significant disadvantage, such as being killed by a group of players or being killed by a much higher level player) or "camped" (being killed repeatedly), announce it to the local chat channels. Friendly players of all levels are often happy to come lend a hand.
- Being in a town does not make you automatically safe. Guards in lowbie and mid-range towns are nothing but troublesome gnats to high-level players. If enemies know you're there, they can and will get you.
- Stay off the roads. You'll attract the least attention if you stay off heavily traveled paths.
- Don't go AFK during flights. Gankers love to strike players as they land.
- When in doubt, hide. Yes, your nameplate may stick out -- but it may not. Bushes, trees, buildings, vines, rocks ... Use the environment to conceal your presence.
- Keep your back to the wall. Don't expose your back to Backstabbing Rogues, and keep an eye out for approaching enemies.
- Don't give up or run at the mere sight of a high-level player. Many high-level players are simply passing through. They'll ignore you as long as you ignore them. Even if they attack, many will move on after a single kill.
- Make nice. If you're questing near players from the opposite faction, you can try to elicit peace. Cooperate with enemies by helping them finish off the occasional kill; make a friendly emote (/smile, /wave, greet/, etc.; enemies can't read your speech or custom emotes, but they can read the text of your set emotes); or simply ignore enemy players altogether. Just remember: no matter how long an enemy seems to be cooperating with you, he may turn on you at any moment.
- Creature corpses on the ground mean player activity. Approach with caution.
- If a high-level player attacks, crowd control and flee. Your spells and skills will be resisted by players who are higher level than you. Put your efforts into crowd controlling or slowing them, then escape.
- Don't waste consumables. Most of the time, that health or mana pot won't turn the tide -- and the expense can add up quickly.
- Cover your resurrection. When you return to your corpse after a death, resurrect as far from your corpse as possible, preferably behind a tree, bush or other cover. The moment you pop back to life, run for safety.
- Be aware of the danger zones. Stranglethorn Vale and Hillsbrad Foothills are notorious for their world PvP. If you are going to quest there, expect to get killed despite any and every precaution. Find out what areas are questionable on your own realm.
- Save quests in trouble zones until you're higher level. It's easier to fend off enemy players if you aren't generating level-based aggro from every monster in the immediate vicinity. Increase your control by saving quest lines in hotspots until the quests and monsters are green to you.
- Learn from each death. How did that enemy manage to take you out? Consider what you might do next time to make yourself less vulnerable to attack.
- Learn about the other classes. What can your enemies do to you? Read up about the abilities of other classes. (Try the class columns and guides here at WoW.com.)
WoW Rookie feeds you the basics to get you off to a good start in the World of Warcraft, from game lingo to joining your first guild and even what to do when you finally hit level 80.