Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.
Listening Music: New Slang, by The Shins. My wife turned me on to The Shins maybe ~5 years ago and I've loved them and the genre ever since. This live version is raw and beautiful, even if a little slow.
Last Week: We talked about Alliance racials and why Humans are overpowered. Check it out if you have the time.
This Week: We'll be discussing Horde racials in arena. I've included power-rankings as well. Let me know if you think I'm spot-on or way-off.
War Stomp: Activate to stun opponents - Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
This might just be personal bias, but I absolutely love War Stomp. It's a racial that is often under-utilized -- I see PvPers trying to use it defensively a lot of times. This thing is nothing short of an extra stun in a kill-target lockdown repertoire. It can also double as a silence to interrupt healers.
While War Stomp isn't strictly better than Arcane Torrent, it comes pretty close. War stomp has a .5 second cast time, but works on everyone (silencing melee doesn't do that much). The .5 second cast time can actually be a benefit, as you have more time off the global cooldown once the ability affects your target.
For an active racial (as opposed to a passive racial), it doesn't get any better than War Stomp.
Endurance: Base health increased by 5%.
Because it's only base health, this isn't a big deal. If someone can tell me exactly how much hp this is, that would be awesome.
Nature Resistance: Reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%.
Nature Resistance is pretty cool. Most druids don't pick up the extra spell hit. You'll occasionally resist Cyclones.
My super cool PvP ratings for the race, based on each class. These are just personal ratings based on how I view their abilities -- scale is on 1-10 with one being garbage and 10 being a midnight show of Chewbacca on Ice:
Druid: 9.999 repeating = 10.
Death knight: 9.
Berserking: Activate to increase attack and casting speed by 20% for 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.
Berserking is an amazing ability if you're planning on doing loads of burst damage. It's not exceptional for healing (in my experience, anyway) as you're passing up better racials. While the extra 20% on casting heals might save your team, you're not standing in one spot pumping heals into a main tank in arena -- you'll most likely waste much of that 10 seconds, or heaven forbid your awesome racial gets wasted because you eat a crowd control spell.
Regeneration: Increase health regeneration bonus by 10%. Also allows 10% of normal health regen during combat.
On paper, this seems awesome. In arena, it's not. Can't say much more about it than that.
Beast Slaying: 5% damage bonus when fighting against Beasts.
This can be useful vs. druids and enemy hunter pets. 5% extra damage is a good chunk of extra damage. Chances are, however, players don't choose Troll because they want to destroy Fido.
Throwing Specialization: Increases chance to critically hit with Throwing Weapon by 1%.
I wish this mattered. Oh man, using throwing knives as a primary weapon would be awesome. We need troll ninjas in Cataclysm, who's with me?
Bow Specialization: Increase Bow critical strike chance by 1%.
Aimed at hunters (intentional terrible pun), this racial can sway some people, but as I mentioned last week, weapon specializations can actually be detrimental rather than beneficial.
Da Voodoo Shuffle: Reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%. Trolls be flippin' out mon!
Not the biggest deal ever. The extra snare duration rarely loses (or wins) games. The flavor text on this racial is kind of cute.
Death knight: 4.
Trolls aren't the laughing-stock of a class they once were. They score high marks on a lot of classes, especially hunter, rogue, and shaman.
Arcane Torrent: Activate to silence all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. In addition, you gain 15 Energy, 15 Runic Power or 6% Mana. 2 min. cooldown.
My main character is a blood elf right now (I recently faction changed her to blood elf). I gotta say, I'm pretty unimpressed with Arcane Torrent. While the spell will outright win games, it doesn't really do anything that War Stomp can't do for death knights or hunters. It is, however, very nice for those classes that could use an extra interrupt on healers. Discipline priests are probably the biggest winners here, as they don't have a reliable way to stop spell casts other than fear.
The resource regeneration from using this ability is also really nice, again, best for priests -- although rogues certainly gain a lot from an extra 15 energy.
Magic Resistance: Reduces the chance you will be hit by spells by 2%.
This racial is 2nd best of all the "reduces the change you will be hit by..." racials. While not as good as Quickness, Blood Elves resist a lot. Many times (if not the vast majority of times) spellcasters will go to 6% spell hit to counter this single racial. If your opponents don't happen to max spell hit (many resto druids don't, for instance), they'll be cursing under their breath with a missed Cyclone or Hammer of Justice.
Death knight: 6.
Will of the Forsaken: Removes any Charm, Fear and Sleep effect. 2 minute cooldown.
WotF was once the bully on the block. Having two get-out-of-jail free cards with no additional penalty was just ridiculous, even if it was only for fears, charms, and sleeps. The five second immunity that followed was insult to injury. During the early portion of the Wrath of the Lich King era, over 80% of all high-rated arena players that could be Undead were Undead. That's just staggering.
The recent mega-nerf handed to WotF didn't just drop it down a notch, it nearly swept the ladder out from under it (I hope I understand the "drop a notch" analogy). Not only does a 30 second shared cooldown nerf the ability itself, but it drastically nerfs the PvP trinket the undead have access to. Instead of combining the two for an unquestionable amount of epic synergy, we now have the two at ends.
It's not surprising that many high-rated arena players have made the shift from undead to another race. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Cannibalize: When activated, regenerates 7% of total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Only works on Humanoid or Undead corpses within 5 yards. Any movement, action, or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect.
The best thing about Cannibalize is that you get to eat the corpses of your fallen enemies. It's pretty rarely used in actual combat, but can be spectacular in those 1v1 situations -- especially if you have no access to healing spells.
Underwater Breathing: Underwater breath lasts 233% longer than normal.
If we're given underwater arenas with Cataclysm, this might come into play. Yeah, just screwing with you -- underwater arenas would be less fun than cutting out an ingrown toenail.
Shadow Resistance: Reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%.
As we went over last week, Shadow Resistance is probably the weakest of the reduced-chance racials. I can't imagine anyone reasoning, "I was going to go Orc for my warlock, but decided to go Undead because of Shadow Resistance." Might as well go Blood Elf if resistance is a big deal to you.
Death knight: 1.
Blood Fury: Activate to increase attack power and spell damage/healing by an amount based on level/class for 15 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
Blood Fury gives 322 attack power and/or 163 spell power at level 80. Yep, that's pretty low. Blood Fury doesn't scale. It's decent when an expansion launches, but gets much worse over time. If Blood Fury were changed to a % based system, it might be more attractive -- especially in later seasons.
Hardiness: Reduces duration of stun effects by 15%.
As Tredd mentioned in a recent Colosseum article, Hardiness is a major factor for Orcs. With Hardiness, a five second stun is reduced to 4.25 seconds. That 0.75 seconds can easily be the difference between life or death. The more stuns you eat per game, the better this racial gets. Stun resist metagems are also (arguably) better with Orcs because of the ability to stack the gem and racial.
Command: Damage done by Death Knight, Hunter, Shaman and Warlock pets increased by 5%.
In Cataclysm, we'll also be seeing mages added to this list. Hooray for Orc mages! This is a pretty powerful selling point for a lot of classes, particularly hunters and death knights (I'm leaving out warlocks here because most warlocks use felhunters over felguards). 5% isn't going to make opponents shake in their boots, but every little bit helps.
Axe Specialization: Expertise with Fist Weapons, One- and Two-handed Axes increased by 5.
We need a new name for this talent. According to the name, Orcs are pretty good with brass knuckles because they chop trees down. Yeah, doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. Anyway, this can definitely be a factor for warriors and rogues. Horde side warriors, rogues, and shamans don't have an easy choice, so every little bit can be persuasive. I suppose it could be a very minor selling point for hunters as well.
Death Knight: 10.
Surprise, I have Orcs as the Horde's pound-for-pound best race. Taurens, Trolls, and Blood Elves are all pretty close, however. The alliance side has humans owning everything else -- I can see an argument made for almost any race/class combination being "the best" on horde-side, so if you disagree with my assessment, I won't be hurt at all. Speaking of which, leave a comment below!
Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? Check out WoW.com's articles on arena, successful arena PvPers, PvP, and our arena column, Blood Sport.