A little while ago, I wrote a Breakfast Topic asking if you like PvP. I was really pleased to see lots of people commenting, and we got some really interesting responses telling us why some folks don't like PvP. A lot of it was predictable, things I had anticipated as someone who's gone from really disliking PvP to absolutely loving it, making it the main thing I do in WoW, and eventually writing about it for WoW Insider. I know you may not believe me, but my early PvP experiences were basically just going into Battlegrounds and having no comprehension of what was going on, and declining duels.
Now, I'm not trying to persuade you to become a PvP nut like me. I just want those who don't like PvP to take a moment to read this and maybe see if I can persuade you to try a little PvP, armed with some more knowledge. That is, after all, my main aim.
A good number of complaints relate to PvP gear, how you have to grind for it, and how you need it in order to be successful. There are a few simple steps to deal with this, though!
- Buy the crafted set from the Auction House, or have it crafted, or craft it yourself. There is a set for everyone, and a jewelcrafter can make you jewelery to go with it. The mats aren't hard to find or expensive to buy, and anyone who's leveling the profession that makes the gear will be making it. Ask in trade; you may get it for the mats. This will net you a cool 3,250 resilience.
- If you're a dedicated raider or PvE player, you're going to have spare valor or justice points lying around by now. Justice points convert to honor at a rate of 375:250 and valor to conquest at 250:250.
- Your first priority with these converted points is to get the pieces you couldn't get from the crafted set, if any. Trinkets are usually what I recommend. Unless you're a human, the first one needs to be a freedom trinket that gets your character out of all effects that cause you to lose control.
- If you have good quality PvE weapons and wands/relics, keep them. They're just as powerful as PvP choices, if not more. Replace other PvE gear instead.
- Your next priority is to get gloves for 1,650 conquest or honor. They usually have a stand-alone buff to a key ability and are part of the set bonus, the second piece of which will give you a +400 resilience buff. Shoulders (1,650 conquest/honor) are the last priority piece.
So once you have your main-hand and off-hand or two-handed weapon and the two-set bonus, that's 4,000 resilience. Sorted, as we say here in Essex (UK). Once you're a bit resilient, you'll die more slowly and have time to work out what's going on!
But you can go into Battlegrounds with a lot less than that. My new mage was recently in Battlegrounds with 2,900 resilience and a 312 item level staff. I tickled my enemies to death. They died laughing. Still fun, but you have to know a few things about how to play.
How to PvP in two simple steps
Before we get to the two steps, you may need a PvP spec. Yes, you can PvP with your PvE spec -- but if you're DPS, your PvE spec probably takes DPS over survival, and that's bad. If you're a tank, it probably takes survival over damage, and that's not ideal. If you're a healer, you might be OK.
How do you get a good PvP spec? Go here, click Filter by Talent Spec, check the relevant box and steal a set of talents. They may not be perfect, but they'll do.
And have a little look at the Forums section of Arena Junkies for class-by-class help.
How to PvP: Step 1 Never walk alone. Would you try to solo Ultraxion? No, you wouldn't (or if you did, you wouldn't be surprised if you didn't do very well). One commenter described their PvP experience as follows:
- Run at the enemy.
- Run at the enemy.
The biggest mistake new PvPers make is being by themselves. Safety in numbers. You will get caught out alone, make getting to your friends a priority. Look at the map. They're all the dots.
How to PvP: Step 2 Defend yourself. Most classes have defensive abilities of some nature. Work out what they are and use them. Open up your spellbook, and look for survival skills.
What's a survival skill?
- Any heal
- Anything that makes you invulnerable or shields you
- Anything that makes you faster or makes your enemy slower
- Anything that gets you away from melee enemies
- Anything that interrupts or silences caster enemies
Speaking of healers, I wrote a whole guide for you guys a while ago. You're wonderful people -- you deserve it.
The power of perseverance
I was quite surprised by how many people said they'd only tried PvP once or twice or a few times. Imagine if you did that with raiding or dungeons! Rocked up in Zon'ozz's lair, got the ball bouncing wrong and gave up forever?
A lot of people say they'd PvPed for School of Hard Knocks and then gave up. That's not normal PvP. I avoid Battlegrounds during Children's Week because they're a mess. Again, go into Ultraxion for the first time, and don't let the raid kill it without getting the Minutes to Midnight achievement. No? Thought not. So, don't do the same with PvP!
Yes, the first time you try PvP, it is likely to be highly confusing, but the same is true of pretty much any part of WoW. If you don't believe me, I refer you to another recent Breakfast Topic! And just like anything else, PvP gets better with practice. You will die a lot, yes. Everyone else is dying a lot, too. There's a reason there's a Deaths column on the Battleground scoreboard. And you die a lot in PvE, too, for that matter.
Lastly on this topic, if you want some more lighthearted PvP that's a bit easier, check out my twinking guide.
PvPers are jerks
The complaint that PvPers are jerks comes up a lot. And it's perhaps the only one that I don't think is unfair!
First and foremost, wherever possible, PvP with friends. I can't tell you how much better this makes it.
I don't know quite why people get into Battlegrounds and start complaining as soon as their team falls a little behind. Some people don't even wait until then. I've landed in many a waiting room and had someone moaning that this Battleground is rubbish and [insert your faction here] can never win it because they suck.
Well, step 1 in those situations is not to feed the troll. Agreeing with them is counterproductive; arguing with them is not going to get you anywhere. They'll pull you down to their level and beat you with experience. And anyone watching won't be able to tell the difference. Quotation mashup!
I am a fan of swift and decisive use of /ignore. I'm in Battlegrounds to enjoy myself, and some muppet going on about how awful we all are gets in the way of that, so why allow it to appear on my screen? I wouldn't advocate turning off Battleground chat altogether. It's useful for calling out helpful things like incs (when a group of the opposition is coming to a base).
Another element of PvPer jerk-ness is people who use emotes in battle. I wrote yet another Breakfast Topic about the use of /spit covering exactly this. One responder said you can turn off all emotes, but I haven't worked out how just yet, so I'll settle for just ignoring those people -- not /ignoring, just not paying attention.
And don't be one of those players.
OK, they're elitist jerks!
No, not the website -- it's actually a very clever joke about PvP players! There seems to be some elitism around PvP, and some even cropped up in the comments. I definitely don't agree with this notion that PvP is inherently harder. It's just different.
PvE demands a near-encyclopedic knowledge of different fights. There have been over 30 raid bosses this expansion, not to mention a plethora of dungeon bosses and tricky trash groups. Sure, these fights are fairly predictable, but not perfectly so every time. The PvE player needs to know those fights, at least to a level that they can complete them while not making errors that wipe the group.
PvP, on the other hand, requires a different skillset. There isn't such a huge breadth of knowledge required. While in Arena, one could argue that every comp you face is equivalent to a different knowledge set, in Battlegrounds, there are 10 (soon 11) classes you will be facing. And sure, within each of those classes there are three specs -- but I certainly can't tell between an arms and a fury warrior in a hurry.
PvP knowledge is based on responding to a variable situation and requires a greater depth of knowledge about those 10 classes. It's sort of like a question-and-answer session. What abilities do you have that respond to abilities other classes have? Playing a shammy and see a DK running toward you? Drop a Grounding Totem so his Death Grip doesn't work. Playing a mage? Wait for him to grip you, then Blink away. Playing a DK? Wait for that mage to blink, then grip him. Or grip him, use Dark Simulacrum, steal his Blink and Blink after him. That rarely works, but my God, it's satisfying when it does!
The only thing that makes PvP harder is that you haven't done it as much. Go on, give it a go!
Do you want to capture flags, invade cities, attack towers, and dominate the enemy for your faction? Do you dream of riding your War Bear with pride? We'll steer you to victory with secrets of Battlegrounds and Arena, prepping you with proven addons and keybindings that win! Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.