Archive for the ‘PVP’ Category

So, Orphan’s Week. I do holiday achievements on my mage Invariant. It’s sort of an apology to her for not being my main any more, plus Analogue has flight form and doesn’t need a proto drake. So there.

I’ve gotten to needing Flame Warden (accidentally did that one on Analogue), two Hallow’s End achievements, and Children’s Week, which is the one I’ve been dreading. Saturday I spent farming up the Lovely Cakes and such that we’d need (they had gone to 100g on the AH when I checked) so that we could concentrate on School of Hard Knocks.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy PvP. In BC when Invariant was my only max level character, PvP was my end game. Heck I got her all decked out in purple shinies including the staff that looked like it might have questionable alternative uses (the pink glowing rotating… whatever… at the top. What was that anyway?). All from battlegrounds because I am not and never will be any good at arenas.

But you see, I have a really great mage pvp strategy. I spec into fire. I hate frost, just don’t like the playstyle at all. Then I run at a bunch of enemies and do as much damage as possible in the ten seconds before I die. This strategy works great when I get in a bg mood, which hasn’t happened lately honestly. Unfortunately it doesn’t work well for the School of Hard Knocks achievement, which requires me to accomplish goals with my orphan out.

Still. Ok, activate pvp spec. Check what I’ve got for pvp gear… ouch, not much, I did some pvp at the start of Wrath but I have very little. Still what I’ve got gives me 250 resilience which is better than nothing. I queue up and get started.

Arathi Basin has always been my favorite BG. It feels like the right size of battle, I can usually contribute and I know the strategies. In this case, I headed right for the Gold Mine – the Stables was the noob “click on the flag with the orphan out” honeypot – and get it done. Ten seconds in, we’re good, now I can enjoy this bg. Well I stay at the mine with a few other orphan tenders and when a horde guy comes by, we let him cap and then they recap a few times, and then the guy wanders away…. by this time every point has exchanged hands a dozen time and I realize this could be a long battle.

I look around for action. For a while there’s a bit of a fight at the Lumber Mill, but then the Horde take it pretty solidly and the Alliance doesn’t want to press there. So I go the the Blacksmith. It’s currently ours and Horde keep coming by to try to cap. I hang out by the flag and every time a group shows up – Tab, Living Bomb, Tab, Living Bomb, Tab, Living Bomb PYROBLAST TO THE FACE! How’d you like that? MWAHAHA. We held that flag against all comers for the next ten minutes; it ended up being the only place in the BG that actual pvp was taking place.

Lost the battle, got the objective.

WG next  – I come into a battle that’s already started and a Tauren immediately tries to stomp in my head. I manage to finish him off and notice that there’s a Troll picking up and dropping our flag, so I get that achievement too.  The game stretches on… and on…. and on… There were about two players on each side actually trying to run the flag. They got nowhere until five minutes from the end when the Horde decided to go on offense and we had to really fight to defend the flag. It ended up as a 0-0 tie. And frankly the most boring battleground I’ve ever been in. I had thought the AB was bad until I got to the Blacksmith for the battle there; that was nothing compared to dancing in our flagroom waiting for something to happen. (Go run the enemy flag yourself? I hear someone ask. Dude. Fire mage wearing non-pvp gear. That’s just not happening.)

Alterac Valley – fun BG usually. My first two tries dumped me into mostly complete battles where the Horde set up a gauntlet halfway down the map ganking anyone who tried to get to the end. No chance to try a tower. The third one, Reversion brought his hunter Approximate along. Approx is his pvp and holiday achievement character, and has a motorcycle and pvp gear. He got me into a tower in time to cap it. Yay! And then we puttered around killing things until someone managed to zerg rush the enemy boss. I mostly died a lot. I need better gear.

Eye of the Storm. Never a fan of this place. And right now, it’s a nightmare. The objective for the achievement is to cap a flag. I’m not sure I’ve ever capped a flag there. I’ll find out when I get it done as there’s an achievement for the first time you cap a flag. The first one I went to, we got three capped and the Horde kept the flag. Miserable failure. The second one, I ended up rousing the troops, running a solid defense of the Mage Tower  and Draeni ruins, pushing hard at the Horde; we had the flag the whole time and won convincingly. I never got near the flag. Clearly I’m doing this wrong. I envision a lot of EotS this week to get the achievement.

On the positive side, I’m gaining honor. Got to check a list for PVP gear for Invariant and maybe respec… I took Dragon’s Breath out and a knockout is great for pvp… she’s got a few arcane points she doesn’t actually need.

On the whole, Blizzard succeeded in making me want to pvp again with this achievement. They also succeeded in making pvp kind of boring. There were battlegrounds where I only died once or twice. That… doesn’t happen, not with my gear like this. Hopefully I’ll stay in a pvp mood next week when it’s fun again. Right now – well sorry hardcore pvp folks, I’m in UR BGs being a N00b. And sorry achievement mongers – I’m just good enough at the bg to mess up things for you. Don’t hate me – hate the shiny shiny protodrake-shaped carrot on a stick Blizzard is dangling at you…

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Battleground Leadership

How is that title for an oxymoron? Nonexistent right? Impossible even!
Sort of yes and sort of no. See like other leadership situations you only have as much authority as the people around you are willing to give you (see my tanking leadership post for more on this). In a battleground that is zero. So what is left? What is left is going with the flow… mostly.

So I just read a great post by Cynwise on simple battleground strategies. One very critical point he made is that execution is more important than the actual strategy. I wanted to expand on that point. The thing is that almost any strategy CAN win a battleground. The critical thing is not which you pick (as long as you are not going for the dreaded nekkid rush). The critical thing is executing well the strategy that is there.

The astounding thing is that the strategy can work even if there is no strategy there. Have you ever been in a WG where all the ‘morons’ run around in the center while one or two people that are actually good went around them and ran the flag? Did you think those one or two good players won the battle DESPITE everyone else? If you thought that you were wrong. What happened was a very sound battle ground strategy. By controlling, or even just semi-effectively attempting to control, the center of the map, the bulk of your team limited the movement of the enemy, slowed their ability to get to your base and perhaps even intercepted enemy flag carriers. The only thing left to make that an effective strategy to win is to have a few players run in and get their flag. So it works or can work. The bulk of your team may have had no concept of that. The flag runner might have even though he was going for the solo win. But in reality they were executing a simple and effect strategy.

Now let us say you are in this battle and not sure what to do. You think everyone is a moron for not defending so you go defend and grumble in chat about it. Then when the 3 rogues jump you and take the flag you blame everyone else for not defending. Is it their fault that you decided to use a completely different strategy? Then because there is one fewer person controlling the center their flag runner runs past. You blame them again for being ineffective despite the fact that you deliberately weakened their force by taking one more person (you) away from it. On the one hand you are sort of right. They didn’t defend well and they didn’t stop the runner… but you did things that did not help the overall picture because you were fighting your own team by running off and doing some other strategy.

We have ALL done what I just described at one time or another.

What if instead you stay near the center. By being near the bulk of the players you might help turn the tide there. To be more effective and to help the whole you also call out when you see them with the flag and you help slow the flag runner down. You are working WITH the masses instead of swimming upstream. By doing things that help them do a better job in the center (calling runners etc) you are helping the overall strategy. Or maybe you go run their flag, or some other thing. The point is not the particular strategy. The point is that you assess the situation and adjust your personal tactics to work WITH everyone else rather than just griping in chat about how dumb they are. You are probably right. But even if you are the smartest one there you are wasted if you just run off and try to run some solo strategy that you can’t actually do solo.

So what should you do? You should constantly adjust your strategies to be complimentary to what everyone else is doing. EVEN if you think what they are doing is dumb or ineffective. Additionally you can work to push the mass in a direction or take steps to make them more effective. No one is defending in AB? YOU defend. And you call out incoming as early as you can to give the others time to help you defend. Doing what you should do is a form of leadership. It is leading by example. Does it always work? Hah! No way. But it does help. The key is not to grit your teeth and just stubbornly execute your own favorite strategy. Instead constantly check the map, see what everyone else is doing, and update your personal plan based on that. Adapt and overcome but do it by working WITH rather than against. A weak strategy well executed will always defeat a team trying to do 3 strategies at the same time. You adjusting your personal actions can at times be the final stone falling into place to turn a rabble into an executed strategy.

No one is driving a demolisher? YOU drive it. But either drive where you don’t need defenders or keep near your team so they can defend you, even if it is accidental on their part. No one is defending? Decide if they are doing an effective rush that you should join, or if one person defending will be effective. And then do something that works with the whole. No one capping and guarding AV towers? Do it! And call out as early as you can when you are getting attacked. Lead by example but not by going against the flow. One person defending towers can be effective. One person charging the general and dying, not so much.

How to win Battlegrounds:
-Know the basic strategies.
-Adjust your personal actions to adapt to the group strategies.
-Where possible, help increase the effectiveness of the strategies being executed.
-Do NOT attempt strategies that are incompatible with the whole, or weaken the whole.

Execution > Strategy

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