The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator to interview some of the top Arena fighters on the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Frostwyrms. We're especially focused on the people who play these games, to further shed light on the world of the PvP player. If you'd like to be interviewed for The Colosseum, please feel free to contact us -- be sure to include your armory as a link!
Today's interviewee is Jeebeez, current holder of 1st place in US-Whirlwind's 3v3 bracket. He plays a somewhat unusual composition of restoration shaman-frost mage-shadow priest. We thought it'd be interesting to ask him a few questions about arena and his 3v3 team.
WoW.com: What's the most impressive thing you've ever done as a restoration shaman in arena? Don't be modest.
Jeebeez: I 2v3'd Worlds team back in season 6 playing restoration shaman/rogue. Also, we just recently had a pretty sick kill on a warlock (playing WLD). We killed the pet, switched to warlock. I shocked Fel Domination, blanket silence into another shock on Fel Domination into death of the warlock. That was when I had about 30 ms though (almost no lag). Restoration shamans are about consistency more than anything, so its probably more important to be consistent with shocks/grounds/heals/Purges than it is to pull something crazy off.
WoW.com: Why did you choose to play your 3v3 team makeup over other possible compositions?
Jeebeez: Well, I've tried comps like RLS (rogue-warlock-shaman) and warlock/mage/restoration shaman (wizard cleave or spell cleave) and have found the skill cap on wizard cleave just isn't that high on live. RLS has a steeper learning curve than shatterplay (frost mage-shadow priest-restoration shaman) but I lacked the people to play with. I guess I play shatterplay because I enjoy the switch coordination and the high damage output it does.
WoW.com: Why play frost mage / shadow priest / restoration shaman? Your classes can also play elemental shaman / frost mage / discipline priest. Why does your team spec the way they do?
Jeebeez: We actually have tried that in the past -- but noticed I get trained as elemental and do hardly any damage output. We have also played triple dps against some teams and it does extremely well against any non-rogue/DoT team. Also, we spec the way we do because we don't always rely on gibbing something so we do spec for mana efficiency and glyph for it as well (such as Glyph of Dispersion).
WoW.com: What's your normal gameplan? Do you pick a target, try to freeze it in place and burst it down from start to end, or do you make lots of swaps?
Jeebeez: Against lesser skilled teams it's pretty easy to just gib (quick kill) someone with Heroism up as the frost mage-shadow priest-restoration shaman team's damage is pretty insane. However, against more skilled opponents that almost never happens. We have to coordinate a switch a lot according to cooldowns we have available, as well as the cooldowns our opponents have available. Against good opponents, the only time we get a gib is if we get a lucky Counterspell or crowd control chain on the healer and the target we are on messes up on defensive cds, or failed peels. So I guess you can say we switch a lot.
WoW.com: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your team? Are any team compositions difficult for you to win against?
Jeebeez: The major strength of our team that people are probably familiar with is its high damage output. 3 interrupts/silences are pretty insane too when you are puting out that much damage. The main weakness of our team is shadow priests mana efficiency and how trainable shamans are. We have trouble against WLD (warrior-warlock-druid) surprisingly, but it's not that common. We have also had trouble with double dispel/healer/warrior in the past. Spriest/rogue/rsham is surprisingly good against us if they know how to train the shaman properly. Other than that, we are able to beat pretty much everything else quite easily as long as we dont mess up our switch badly or disconnect, haha.
WoW.com: Do you have favorite classes to kill on the opposing team?
Jeebeez: Druid. If they have both trinket and Barkskin down, it's pretty much a free kill if we have a silence up.
WoW.com: How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try to play at times when lots of high rated teams are queueing up?
Jeebeez: Yes, now we do. We tried queuing recently against low rated teams just to get the team rating up higher and I disconnected twice which was an automatic 42 points lost. So now, we really only snipe high rated teams because we don't want to risk a disconnect against a 1 point team. We schedule our play time based on when teams are queuing and how bored we are.
WoW.com: You mentioned you 'snipe high rated teams,' how exactly does one do that?
Jeebeez: Basically, you make a character on the certain teams server and just see if they are queuing. It's funny because a couple teams have caught us sniping them and it causes quite a bit of funny chitter chatter on the forums. It's essentially the opposite of queue dodging.
WoW.com: What's your opinion on queue dodging? A lot of people consider it dishonorable, and other people just consider it part of the game. (Queue dodging is when a team doesn't queue up vs. opposing teams they believe can defeat them to avoid losing points)
Jeebeez: Well, to be honest, I don't like it either -- but when you play teams like beast cleave (beast mastery hunter, enhancement shaman, healer) that can be so unpredictable you don't want to risk a 20 point loss. They can quickly gib our priest or mage.
However, when you're like Bilian and do it just because you know the other team is better, I consider it dishonorable. If the team isn't a hard counter, I believe you should queue into them -- that's what makes you better as a team and part of the fun of the game. However, obviously if that team starts farming you, you should stop.
WoW.com: How did your team start playing games together? How long have you been playing as a team?
Jeebeez: We have been playing together for only one month. I originally was on Blackrock-US under the name of Oolie. Siphr (the mage on our 3v3 right now) contacted me and asked if I was interested in transferring for the rank 1 gladiator title (Wrathful Gladiator). It was a pretty random opportunity, as I did not know Siphr or Disperse at all -- but the team coordination and synergy was immediately there, and it has been working out pretty well so far.
WoW.com: Wow, only 1 month. That's not a lot of time at all. How has your team changed since you've started playing together?
Jeebeez: Quite a lot actually, we have gotten a lot better (on my part mostly) coordinating switches/Hexs interrupts, etc. We all also know how to multi-class a little so I hope to play with them going into Cataclysm and the tournament realm as well.
WoW.com: How is season eight so far in terms of balance? I.e. are there any classes or compositions that are too strong or too weak?
Jeebeez: Season 8 is by far my favorite season in WotLK. I would say double healer/warrior is a bit too strong at the moment (or warriors in general) and pmr (priest-mage-rogue) is a bit too weak (due to rogue damage being pretty low). Overall though, everything is pretty balanced except for spriest damage. Disperze can solo almost anything with Heroism, haha.
WoW.com: What's the biggest thing that differentiates a good player from a great player?
Jeebeez: Like i said before, consistency is key to being a great player. Also, having a firm grasp on arena mechanics and other classes abilities is absolutely essential. I would also say maximizing your global cooldown usage and apm (actions/attacks per minute) is essential to be great as well.
WoW.com: What's your advice to players want to start playing arena for the first time?
Jeebeez: Learn as much as you can about every class before you start. Do some skirmishes to get a feel for arena mechanics such as line of sight and positioning. Practice, practice, practice -- whether it be dueling, battlegrounds, arena, or even doing PvE. Bind absolutely everything and get used to those binds. In a nutshell that's about it -- you can start innovating your playstyle from there.
WoW.com: Thank you so much for the great interview, Jeebeez -- is there anything else you'd like to say?
Jeebeez: Just a shout out to my arena team Our Old Shaman Was Mean (Siphr, Convulse) and to everyone I played with on Blackrock.
The Colosseum is WoW.com's interview series spotlighting strategies, compositions, and tactics from the Arena fighters who use them. For more PvP information, be sure to hit up Blood Sport and the Art of War(craft). If you'd like to be interviewed for The Colosseum, please feel free to contact us -- be sure to include your armory as a link!