Friday, August 29, 2008

How I overcame my phobia about battlegrounds

Until recently I’ve been just like a kitten whenever entering a battleground: cute and sweet but utterly defenceless. The claws and teeth just weren’t sharp enough to deal with the merciless combatants in those places. Or maybe a better description would be a chicken? A headless one, just running around like everybody else seems to be doing, pretending I know what I’m doing.

It’s really nothing I’m ashamed of – it’s just that I’ve chosen to explore and advance in another part of the game. I’ve always taken a pride in that I’m not one of those who have geared up in PvP and then want to go raiding. I’m PvE geared right through – mostly by badges, a few drops and some crafted stuff.

Forced to PvP
But lately I’ve more or less been forced to do some PvP. I realized I needed the Medal of the Alliance trinket badly for some raid encounters. And I also had to increase my stamina in certain raid situations – the best way seemed to get Guardians Silk Belt to replace my Belt of Blasting whenever needed.

This was nothing to question or think about – I simply had to do a bit of PvP to support my PvE progression.

So the last few weeks I’ve been around in quite a few Alterac Valleys and a decent amount of Arathi Basins (the 40 badges that belt requires is quite a lot when you lose most of the time) and just a few of the others as well, when it was the daily quest and I hoped for some additional honor.

And I haven’t only got the gear I wanted – at the same time I’ve gone from being completely hostile or even in war with those places to be at least friendly, if not yet honoured or revered.

The post of today is about what I do, as a PvE fan and PvP noob to make battlegrounds a bit more enjoyable. Maybe it can give some inspiration to others who’ll find themselves in the same situation.

I volunteer to watch the flags.

Running around as a headless chicken you don’t do much to help the raid group you’re in. Finally I found something that I actually could do: I volunteer as a flag and tower guardian.

It clearly needs to be done by someone, but many players seem to find it pretty boring – if you’re unlucky or lucky, depending on how you see it, it won’t give you many honorable kills or a nice position on the chart. I don’t mind the job at all.

I sort of get into the role as the lonely outpost, watching the battle at a distance. Especially in AB you can see the fight by the next flag. The nukes from the mages, the cries and the victories and losses in the horizon - the war frontier. You look out if someone is coming your way and pull the alarm if needed. You can even entertain yourself with some closet roleplaying, thinking about the ongoing war and why you’re into it, to protect the glorious city of Stormwind and the peaceful Elwynn Forest. Or whatever it is that you’re fighting for.

Sometimes it’s a lonely business. It’s just me and my vanity pet. I go around puffing some low rank AE from time to time to see if any rogue is trying to sneak up on me. But at other times I find myself in party with other fans of flag watching. And that brings us into the second thing I do to have a more enjoyable time:

I socialize.

If you’re on a watching assignment or if you’re perhaps waiting for the start signal to take down Drek in AV, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to get to know some other players from your realm.

The beginning is often just like when dogs greet each other, sniffing in… well… you know.
Our way of doing this is that we inspect each others gear and spec. This is often a nice opener for a little conversation, which runs along until some enemies turn up and we get our hands full.

If things work out well we manage to defend our flag until they’re gone – and then we chat a little bit again. It’s really very enjoyable for a talkative innkeeper like me.

Some players seem to draw this even further than I do. Like the rogue I met the other day, while I was watching one of the towers in AV. I had a look at his gear and was just about to complement him when I noticed he didn't have any head for some odd reason. And then suddenly it was all gone and replaced by a tuxedo, and he burst out in one of those peculiar nightelf dances. Luckily enough no enemies turned up for the minutes we stayed there, having a miniature party on our own. We kept in touch for the rest of that BG, talking about guild progression and stuff like that. And so, a little bit too quick in my opinon, Drek was down and we had won and that was the end of our friendship.

"See you" he said, but we both knew it was a lie. He was on another server of course, it's quite unlikely that we'll ever meet again. Still it was one of those random meetings which can make PvP a pleasure.

I stick to the things I’m fit to do.

Considering my talent build and gear is intended for raiding – not PvP – and that I lack experience and skill in duelling, arena and such stuff, there are things in the BGs that I’m more or less suited for. A perfect assignment for me in AV is to take down the NPC bosses, since my nuke power is pretty OK. I can take them down quicker and easier than many others. So I try to be around the bosses as much as I can.

Taking a mine, if it’s needed for reinforcements, is another perfect job for Larísa, provided I don’t get lost in the corridors, which happens from time to time.

A not-so-perfect job is to be right in the middle of those spots where there are 10 hordes and 10 allies in the middle of the road. I’ll be pretty likely to die if I run in there, without any frost shield or other skills and utilities to survive.

Sometimes I can sheep someone however, if I stick to one of the sides. But generally I try to avoid the huge crowds if I can and find better things for me to do.

I fight wholeheartedly even if the odds are against me. But I don’t expect victories.

PvP is much more fun if you actually try to win. Since I started to put in a bit more of feelings into it, to fight with passion, I enjoy it so much more. Even if we loose a lot most of the BGs if it isn’t an AV, it’s more fun to so when I know I’ve done the best I could.

I’m present not only with my char, but in my mind, and I’ve stopped looking upon the BG as something that just needs to be ended, something I wait for to be finished. The “I-really-hate-this-attitude” didn’t help me at all, it just made me miserable.

At the same time I try to keep my expectations low when it comes to how quickly I’ll gather the marks requested for a gear item. I don’t expect to get anything more than 1 mark out of every BG. Anything more than that is just a happy surprise, nothing else. This attitude saves me from feelings of disappointment and frustration.

Even if we loose I’ll get my reward and gear eventually, so there isn’t much to complain about. And I’m rewarded in other ways too. PvP is actually great training for my ability to react and improvise and I know it’s really what I need to perform better in raids.

I call for help from my tiny helper gnomes.

I know this sounds really silly, but it’s a fact. The BGs really became more fun since I got my Tiny Voodoo Mask trinket from Hex Lord in Zul Aman. It’s got a long cooldown so I can’t use it more than a couple of times in a BG, but oh how I enjoy it whenever I do it! OK, those three miniature gnomes that spawn aren’t any great damage dealers, but they sort of interrupt the enemies and do cause some confusion. And above all they make me smile.

I guess I can’t recommend everyone to get that trinket – it takes that you’re in a guild that regularly downs Hex Lord and that you’re a bit lucky with rolls. But perhaps you’ve got an old one collecting dust in the bank? The Ancient Cornerstone Grimoire from Onyxia could work the same way; it’s something fun to treat yourself with if you from time to time find the BG a bit dull.

The End of my PvP Career?
So, I’ve got my belt and my trinket and even a Stormpike Battle Charger as a nice bonus from all those AVs. Does this mean that my short PvP Career has come to an end? Nope.

I’m seriously thinking about getting the neck as well – Guardian’s Pendant of Subjuction with spellhaste or possibly Guardian’s Pendant of Conquest with crits.

I can’t say I’m totally thrilled at the expectations of running more BGs, but at least I’m not annoyed anymore. It’s pretty much an OK thing to do a raidless night when the LFG channel is empty and you just can’t bear the thought of picking another herb.

It’s a bit social from time to time. You see some fun stuff, and 1 out of 20 BG:s you can even enjoy some real cooperation going on, reminding a little of what's going on in a real party.

My days as a PvP hater are definitely over.


Mama Druid said...

I'm glad you are having fun in the Battlegrounds!

Captain The First said...

Hehe welcome to the battle grounds. They're not as bad as people would make them out to be. Still a far cry from nice outdoor pvp.

If you're sitting around in defense anyway you could try proliferating yourself as bg raid leader and give some information and instructions.

I wrote a post on that yesterday or so.

Did you figure out which bg's you like the most / least yet?

Ghostboci said...

If you don't join alone, but with a party, your chances to win increase a lot. Even a single companion who cooperates with you can make a huge difference.

Also a macro that tell the "headless chicken" where to go can make huge difference. My greatest archivement of the game is the turning of the tide in AV in a whole battlegroup. I started PvP with my druid main in lvl60 because I thought it's easier honor against other lvl51-60 players than against S2-3 players in lvl70. So I stopped at 60 for a month, bought some lvl60 epics for couple hundred gold and started playing AV. As it's usual, the two groups rided for Drek/Vannadar, ignoring each other. Alliance won 90%. Then I noticed that there is a bottleneck at Icewing Bunker, close to Stoneheart GY.

I started spamming "Let's stop the ally at Galvangar, and take SH GY to place the front to IW. This way we defend all of our objectives and take SH bunker, IW bunker and Balinda. That's 250 reinforcemen pt advance, we simply grind the rest"

At first they called me stupid since taking SH GY was an abomination before the reinforcement points. So I started to take it alone. There was always some defense at the back so with stormpike GY being their only point, the ally couldn't send reinforcements to the battles fast, so the front slowly but surely formed at IW. If our defenses were insufficient, the ally burned some towers and killed Galv. But they definately couldn't reach Drek. We still lost lot of games but we won some. This motivated some other people to support my plan. They started defending Galv, taking SF GY and helping taking/holding the key: SH GY. Day by day our win-loss ratio increased. At the last week of my AV session we won most games.

7 months later, my little lvl60 mage entered AV to win 140 marks (100 for the return q at lvl70, 40 for my staff). During my AV session we lost ONE match, against a 30 man guild premade, and it was a 0:82 loss. The strategy was still the "take SH, def Galv", strike that, it was more than a strategy, it was common sense, those who told: "Rush to Stormpike", "skip SH" were flamed, called noobs.

So the point is: a single little pink haired gnome can also make huge difference.

PS: in some cases it's impossible. On lvl 70 I couldn't introduce my strat because as someone very clearly calculated a loss in 10 minutes give more honor/hour than a perfect victory in 30 minutes. So the horde play for sure but quick loss on lvl70. I hate going to AV on 70.

Entropy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Entropy said...

I think BGs provide a nice break from the leveling/farming that I normally do. I never played many battle grounds on my main. But my little alt priest has spent quite a bit of time in there. BG's is where I try out different things that I have read about that will not cause a wipe when people are depending on me to heal them in an instance. I learned in BGs very early on to stay outside of the pack and when I can to try and hide myself a little bit. A BG twink can cut through my leveling greens pretty quickly.

krizzlybear said...

I seemed to have forgotten to include "I respecced Frost" as one of the headers =)

krizzlybear said...


ugh, I fail. =(

Larísa said...

@Mama druid: thanks, yes, I'm surprised myself.

@Captain the first: oh, becoming the raid leader... I guess I've got to get the hang of it a little bit more first. I've finally killed so many people that it shows up in armory (2k kills). That really isn't a lot...

Yeah I definitly like AV most. The settings are nice and it's less crowdes and some nice npc bosses to nuke.

@Gnostboci: very interesting read. I hope I'll become cleaver about tactics one day. But it's sad to read that hord playes for losses. Guess it explains why alliance wins most of AVs (everything else is lost though).

@Entropy: that's a good idea, to try out new stuff in BG:s. I've tried out some settings for unit frames and such, but you could also try out macros/combos and such. Should think about that.

@Krizzlybear: no way! Did you see that Gnome has gone frost? I'm more or less on my own now against all those blogging frost mages. Someone's got to watch that flag...

krizzlybear said...

WHAT! Gnome's gone frost! Link please, or it never happened! This is disastrous for the balance of mages everywhere!

Larísa said...

Yep he has. Read this post. It's kind of hidden, but he actually reveals the news in here.

So now I'm on my own in this fight against a world of frost mages.

Mae said...

Sounds like great advice all around for anyone who has trouble doing BGs. I'm not much of a pvp'er either, but I enjoy it from time to time!! :D

Rubymelon said...

Reminds me of the first time I stepped into battlegrounds. And I enjoy defending flags in AB as well:D My favorite node was LM, what's yours?

Larísa said...

@Rubymelon: oh, I haven't been to AB since TBC so I've almost forgotten about it. I've only doen Wintergrasp after the expansion...
Actually I often got stuck at the first post - stables. And I didn't mind it! I did like the mine thing for some reason. It felt a bit remote sort of. I felt like the last outpost defending it.