Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Complex Thinking

A break from our regularly scheduled "How to Heal a BG" to tell a story. A story about strategic thinking. Like a baby opening its eyes and seeing the world for the first time, I have recently realized that you can introduce a whole lot of strategy into your game, and gain rewards for so doing. I recall reading an article a while back about eliminating the holy trinity tank-dps-heal mentality, and while that was off-topic from today's discussion, they did mention things about positioning that I found intriguing. Now, you just throw the tank at the bad man, and the rest of us stay at range and heal or dps or whatever, moving out of the bad goo on the floor. That article (and damn, that I can't find it now) suggested the scope of possible changes if they got rid of tanks would include positional formations -- putting the plate-clad guys on the outside, and the squishy ones inside. Etc.

Now most importantly, this strategic thinking is something I've noticed on my 2s team recently. When I first started doing arena, the gates would open, and we would blast away at the other team until someone died. Recently, we've been employing more complicated maneuvers. Attack the dps until the healer gets tunnel-vision, and then pull an abrupt swap and kill the healer. Attack the healer until he gets so pressured that he runs away, and then pull a swap and kill his dps when he's out of range. Or the same result by rooting/cycloning the healer and luring the dps out of range himself. Are these standard arena tactics in the not-bottom brackets? Almost certainly. But you never see that kind of complicated maneuvering outside of arena, and me and my partner certainly could not have pulled that kind of stuff off when we first started. It's a nice indication of how far we've progressed.

The story I want to tell takes place in Tarren Mill. Me and four 80 buddies (a surprising turnout for my guild, for pvp) were slaughtering the denizens of this Horde town in a desperate attempt to make them get their mains. Times like this that make me both miss my original realm (a PvP realm), and at the same time kind of alleviates that feeling of loss. Eventually, an 80 dk showed up, but, being sensible, decided not to flag himself with 5 alliance 80s in the area. He was joined by a mage and a pally, but they still would not engage. Goading them is not working so I come up with a plan. Our resident mage makes a portal to SW, very obviously right in the middle of Tarren Mill, then invizzes right as he comes up to the portal and hides. Me and the boomkin go kitty and stealth right as we "go through" the portal. Thus we have split our force, half "porting" to SW, and the poor DK and warrior sitting there. Sure enough, horde takes advantage of our exit to try and gank the tailing end of our escape. Then the druids reappeared, the mage came out of hiding, and we destroyed the now-flagged horde. What followed was a glorious running battle back and forth between Tarren Mill and Southshore; occasionally we had the upper hand, and occasionally they did, but even when we were losing it was lovely fun.

It's not always blasting away at a bad man in front of you. Use the ol' brainbox first, strategic thinking has more of a place in WoW than many people are willing to credit!

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