Monday, March 15, 2010

A whole new world

By Azariell

I've never ventured very far into the PVP world. Sure I collected the occasional pvp gear piece when for some reason I had some honor to burn, but I never made a real attempt to be learn how to play pvp. Now that I switched my druids dps spec to a healing spec with 'fitting' gear me and a warrior friend decided to give the arena a go. Quite frankly we suck at it, but its pretty fun to do and I've just scratched the surface till now! But why is it soo much fun (atleast in the starter phase where I am at).

WoW in general is too predictable it seems. Several bloggers such as Larisa at the Pink Pigtail Inn and Ciderhelm over at tankspot posted about the lack of surprise and maybe even the lack of new challenges to be one of the weak links in 'modern day WoW'. Well, I've found quite big and for me relative new challenge in the Arena.

First of all, nothing is predictable. You never know what team you will face, and as you are facing human opponents, every team (even with the same class composition) is different. Sure you can think of a certain strategy to go for but the fun thing is that selecting the strategy can only be based on the class composition which you will only know when you enter the arena pit and already have to 'defend' yourself. Its more like a battle field, where you can make the greatest of plans in theory, but the real situation will always be different and requires constant vigilance and improvisation.

Now at this point I'm just focusing on keeping myself alive (especially during the first few matches I played), but the potential of any healer is much greater than just healing. Next to decursing and de-poisoning we've also got roots, cyclone etc but also some minor DPS capabilities. Now I'm already starting to use it at times but more when I think I've got a few seconds where I can 'slack' on healing and CC their healer for a bit. But timing those spells just right so that one big 'saving' heal for the dps is interrupted, or making sure the dps cannot reach me or 'save' his healer when my buddy is dps-ing him down, will become crucial if you want to survive in the higher ranks.

That is one of the other 'fun' things. There is no fixed level of difficulty. You will start low, and as you learn you get better (hopefully) and will be facing higher ranking teams which will require you to pull out more 'tricks'. You will need to learn how to use your class abilities to their fullest potential, but you also need to think outside of the 'role' box. You are no longer just a healer, tank or DPS. You need to focus on all of those aspects if you wish to survive.

And in all this the best thing is, there is no script that is followed, no big flashing boss mod messages telling me to stop casting, or tell me to move to position X. Sure there are addons that will give you more info on what the opponent is casting and which could tell me what the consequences will be. But with all those things, it will always be dependant on the situation how to deal with it.

Now one of the things I always thought was 'Playing arena is all about learning a few dozens tricks and apply those', but its more. Just knowing the tricks is not enough as for one you need to apply them at the right time, but also need to realize that each trick has a counter trick and its up to your creativity to think up new 'tricks' and new applications of older tricks.

Arena, an unexpected versatile aspect of WoW....