Monday, August 10, 2009

*Be* the team

So...there was a patch last week. And you're probably thinking that I'm going to talk about it at length. But you'd be wrong, because I know that if you're the type of person who hunts down blogs to reead about your class, then you've probably already had your fill of talk about 3.2 and are getting kind of sick of it. I know I am. So, I'll mention briefly in passing:

1) Resilience. I covered this already in a previous post but I haven't noticed a huge difference in battlegrounds. Arena I'm sure I'll see something but as my arena partner insists on not waiting for me and instead running with his idiot pally friend and going 7-12, well, I can't comment on that as yet.

2) LB had it's final bloom nerfed by something like 20%. This I noticed but not as much as I would have thought. Yes, it's less effective as an anti-rogue tool (crap, stunlocked! oh wait, LB keeps ticking and when it blooms it will save me!) but I usually let it bloom for the mana return more than the health anyway.

3) New BG. Very fun, a nice artful mix of several different BGs that takes the best of many worlds. I still prefer EotS but only barely. Also, boo to the 1600 nerf on time for eots / are way too short now. If you blow the opening your chances of recovery are much less than they used to be. I was in an eots this morning where we started shorthanded and even though we made a comeback late, there just wasn't enough time to finish the job and ended up losing for no reason we could control.

4) I didn't post last week and for this I apologise if anyone got knocked out of rhythm. Though I'm sure they won't be judging from the number of comments at this point (0).


Today's topic is about how to make a team. How many of you have seen the following advertisement in trade chat "LF3m [insert instance] -- need tank/healer" and mocked them in your head ("so a guy and his death knight buddy got together...")? Did that contribute to you rolling a healer? Let's face it : we're half the team, the tank is the other half, and the DPS is like the extra people that tag along but don't really know how to take care of themselves. Well it's better in a battleground : now instead of being half the team, you ARE the team, b/c nobody takes tanks into BGs.

There's a synergy in pvp between heals/dps which is similar to heals/tank in pve -- if you keep them alive, they will keep you alive. I'm sure we can agree that's more balanced than a pve situation which says "we keep them alive, and they...kill the boss so we don't run out of mana by having an epic forty-five minute heigan fight with just the tank and my occasional pathetic starfire for dps". Not that I'm saying that's ever happened to me. No sir! In PvP people will kill you, they will thirst for your sap, they will join in hate clubs whose sole purpose is to make your life a living hell. Fortunately, unlike our squishy priest friends, we have barkskin, natural perfection, and the improved armor in ToL form, which means we can effectively be the "tank" that everyone's pounding on while your DPS buddies pewpew on said hate club, at least for a good fifteen seconds which is a lot longer than it sounds like in the hectic environment of a battleground. Those 15s can be key in holding on to a node, or capping one, or allowing time for reinforcements to get to you (or to rez at a node you're defending).

So, you accept your role as a punching bag. What else do tanks do? They usually get given lead and marks and all that other important stuff. Guess you get to be leader too. But since you took the initiative to roll a healer in the first place, I hope that taking initiative is something that comes reasonably natural to you. And that's my main point here : you have to be willing to take charge of a battleground, especially b/c you carry the "i can stop you from dying" ace that almost everyone will subconsciously follow. Which do you think gets better results:

Choice A: "Everyone rush FRR!"
Choice B: "I will heal an attack on FRR" / "I heal; Give me some dps backup and we can take FRR"

If you're still thinking about it, let me tell you the answer is unqualifiably B. Battlegrounds are not safe places. People die violent deaths, and they do so with a fair amount of frequency. I'm a healer and I die every 3-4 minutes on average, think what a tough time our dps compadres go through. If you give them the illusion of a safe haven, most players will jump at the chance to extend that mediocre life span.

There is a widespread belief that people check their intelligence at the door when they go into BGs, which is why there are so many idiot n00bs all the time. With the possible exception of non-pvpers trying Isle of Conquest just b/c it's new content, it's important to realise that this is not generally true. People check their *caring* at the door. People who go into battlegrounds are not stupid, they are LAZY. They do not want to come up with a plan. If you come up with a plan *for* them, they will by and large try to follow it, at least at first.

A secondary point to this : if you can get a premade together, it is not difficult to dominate a battleground. 5-7 people is more than enough for the 15-man ones, and I would venture to say that as low as 4 could make a significant impact in WSG. The reason for this is that you have NON-LAZY people in a BG filled with mostly lazy people and that cannot compete with people who have a plan. I have absolute confidence that I could win an Alterac Valley match if I could get four dps to follow me in a U-turn around the field of strife to recap defensive bunkers while everyone else mindlessly rushed drek. I was in my first attempt at a premade on my new server yesterday, and it fell apart b/c the leader couldn't get 30 people interested and wasn't willing to run with the 10 we had, which would have been more than sufficient to cause a serious impact on any BG we had attempted.

So when you go into a battleground, realise that your role is not just to keep people alive. It is implicit both because of that ability, and b/c of the psychological advantages you can employ, that you need to be willing to take a leadership role.

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