Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

PvP impressions in 5.0.4


So here we are. The patch has landed in both the United States and the EU, and we're all looking, bewildered, at our new talent screens. Alas, there are no arenas or rated battlegrounds available with which to really try out our talents, but we can take some small comfort in the continued availability of non-rated battlegrounds. (I do, by the way, find it rather frustrating that the main PvP content is absent from the game for an entire month. Imagine if raids were closed down! But anyway, that's a complaint for another time.)

Of the things I am really excited about in 5.0.4, the top one has to be talent trees. A lot of these talents, while providing situational bonuses in PvE, are really going to be game-changers in PvP. It was promised to us by Tom Chilton that, before arenas, we would be able to see the class and spec of the opposing team and be able to modify our talents accordingly. We won't, however, see exactly how the opposition's talents are distributed.

One important change for healers to note is that your dispel now has an 8-second (current beta build) cooldown but removes two effects rather than one. Gone are the days of spam dispels -- warlocks, rejoice! Warlocks are doing a lot of rejoicing right now.

Also notable is that Spell Penetration has been turned into PvP Power, Resilience has become PvP resilience, and everyone is now running around with a base 40% damage mitigation. PvP resilience numbers seem to provide a little less mitigation than the old resilience did, in a full conquest point set, gemmed for resilience, damage mitigation is 68.32%. The tooltip indicates that what was 5,200 resilience has been altered to 3,058 PvP resilience. This translates to 28.32% of the 68.32% total mitigation figure.

Ghostcrawler recently expressed concern about the new talent system in a rare post on the PvP forums.

The thing I am most worried about are the huge number of variables now in terms of who has what ability. It used to be that you knew what cooldowns and escape tools and CC a Frost mage had and you knew what an Arms warrior had to counter them. With the new talent system, you have to be prepared for almost anything. When there are too many variables, you risk losing some of the predictive and reactive tactics that many players (including me) enjoy. If I have no idea what tools you have, I am more likely to just to tunnel on you, blow all my cooldowns, and hope for the best. Not a ton of depth there.

I really think this is a valid concern. I've been saying for a long time that PvP is a question-and-answer game that requires as much knowledge as possible of other classes. With the new talent system, you just don't know what other classes are going to have. I do suspect, though, that certain talents will become more regularly used than others by certain classes and specs.

Now, I certainly don't have the space here to run through every single talent tier for every single class, but there are certain key talent types that are key to PvP and some within those categories that seem like good choices.

Do please note a couple of points. First and foremost, things can change. Any of these talents could be altered before Mists actually launches, nerfed or buffed, or perhaps removed altogether, although I think it's unlikely. Additionally, I'm not presenting this as an overbearing PvP talent picker. I'm hoping readers will add their own input, particularly for classes I don't know as well as others. Think of this as my take on talents that will be interesting in PvP.

Movement talents

PvP impressions in 504 WEDSThese talents are key in PvP. If you're a melee class, you need to be able to get close to your target to connect and actually deal damage; if you're a caster or a healer, you need to be able to get away from melee players to avoid damage and interrupts. Every class seems to have a movement tier, but they appear at different levels. There are a lot of talents dedicated to either slowing or controlling a target or increasing one's own movement speed, with the former coming in at level 15 for most but not all classes.

Stand-out talents in this tier seem to me to be Tiger's Lust for monks, with a short cooldown and massive speed increase. However, no mention is made of immunity to slows, stuns or snares after the initial cast. Druids' Displacer Beast shows promise, with a blink and restealth allowing feral druids another chance at an opener, but it does not currently remove DoT effects. Hunters' Narrow Escape sounds amazing. Disengage has a 25-second cooldown, and with the removal of minimum range, a hunter can use this offensively as well as defensively.

I would be surprised if shaman felt that any of the other talents in the tier were better than Frozen Power. Given the short cooldown of Frost Shock and that it's already something widely used in PvP, this seems like a more obvious choice than one of two eminently killable totems. Priests have an amazing talent in Phantasm, the upgrade to Fade, which not only removes all movement-impairing effects but makes you untargetable by ranged attacks. Like, woah.

The warlock talent Unbound Will is definitely worthy of a mention. This talent is effectively another trinket. I have not seen evidence that it shares a cooldown with trinkets, Will of the Forsaken, Escape Artist, or Every Man For Himself, but that may be subject to change. However, Unbound Will does cost 20% of maximum health, as Megan explains, even though it doesn't state as much on the tooltip. Will PvP warlocks take this talent over Blood Fear, changing the regular Fear to an instant-cast spell but giving it a 5-second cooldown? Perhaps.

Control talents

This is yet another group of talents that are absolutely vital in PvP, whether you're a melee type or a caster. Again, there are some stand-out choices here, ones that will be really interesting to play with, and ones that I can't help thinking are bracing themselves for a nerf-bat pummeling.

I've saved up the paladin talents for both movement and control until this point, as there are two that I think could work really well together for PvP. As an occasional retribution paladin, I've long bemoaned our lack of a true gap closer in PvP, but if a paladin combines Long Arm of the Law with Burden of Guilt, they suddenly have a Judgment that, as long as it hits, increases your movement speed by 45% while reducing your target's movement speed by 50%. Judgment only has a 6-second cooldown; the speed bost lasts for 3 seconds, and Burden of Guilt's slow lasts for 12 seconds. Of course, a lot of classes have ways to escape slows, but I think this is a really exciting combination for PvP paladins.

PvP impressions in 504 WEDSBoth death knights and rogues have abilities where a stacking slow results in a stun with the fifth stack. The rogue ability, Paralytic Poison, is applied to the target like any poison, while the DK ability, Remorseless Winter, requires targets to be within 8 yards but is applied to all targets in that range.

Priests have a really interesting choice to make between Dominate Mind, Void Tendrils and Psyfiend. Dominate Mind will still, in my opinion, be the control spell of choice for fights at the lumber mill in Arathi Basin and in Eye of the Storm. Its conversion to an instant-cast channeled spell makes it possibly an overpowered choice for arenas, although it will, of course, DR. For battlegrounds where there's no fun to be had hurling people to their doom with Dominate Mind, the priest has to choose between a root and a full CC. The Psyfiend's Fear does have a cast time and can be modified by Glyph of Psychic Scream, but it has a resultantly slower ramp-up time than the tendrils, as well as a longer cooldown. In arenas against melee teams, I think the tendrils will be a really powerful choice as a CC to alternate with Psychic Scream.

The Druid Ursol's Vortex deserves a mention purely for entertainment value. I love the idea of people being dragged back into the vortex when they first try to leave it. Could be a really valuable spell when guarding an objective, and I shudder to think about the interaction of this spell with Solar Beam.

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

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr