Arena: Week 1
Last night we ran our second week of arena, but before we get into specifics we should cover generics for the uneducated reader(s). Someone commented on yesterday’s post so I know I have a reader. They might even come back.
The World of Warcraft is not-so-neatly divided into two styles of play: Player versus Environment (PvE) and Player versus Player (PvP). In PvE you fight against computer-controlled creatures that behave and react in fairly reliable and predictable ways. In PvP you fight against other players, usually in completely non-reliable and non-predictable ways. I say that WoW is not divided neatly between the two because I play on a PvP realm (server). If I am outside a capital city, I am fair game to be involved in PvP combat. What generally happens is that while engaged in PvE fighting or just minding your own business heading off towards something PvE to do some jackass comes out of the woodwork and attacks you. Yes, I am that jackass on occasion, but usually only in response to other jackasses. I tend to be live and let live, unless someone has been messing with me or a fellow guildmate or faction member, or unless you’re a gnome. Can’t stand the buggers.
There’s a million more words to say about PvE versus PvP. But suffice to say for the purposes of this post, that I am focusing on a regulated portion of PvP known as the Arena. Arena play is vastly different than the jackassery encountered while slaughtering shoveltusk for yummy shoveltusk flanks. You join an arena team, available in 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5 flavors and willingly subject yourself to the brutalities of the other team in an enclosed area with no outside interference. (I still think there needs to be an Un’Goro Arena with a T-Rex that spawns randomly and attacks indiscriminately.) Arena is a pure test of skill. Which is why I am the suxxorz.
I am on a 2v2 team comprised of me, an Arcane spec mage of 53/0/18, and another mage, Frost spec of 18/0/53. (More on specs in another post, if you don’t know what they are just follow along with we are both magic users with virtually no armor to protect ourselves.) In previous seasons this would have been a horrendous idea. Two squishies? No heals? Arcane? Noobs. But there are changes happening that have made Arcane a very viable choice in the arena, assuming the player has skill. Since I have no skill, our team composition can just be classified as a gimmick for now. But hey, we’re having fun. I think.
The nice thing about the arenas is the ranking system. You start a new team with a rank of 1500 and go up or down depending on your wins and losses against teams that are ranked higher or lower than yours. The ratings move around 14-18 points each match. But you will be matched against other teams that are in the same general rank as your own. A ranking of 2000+ is greatly desired.
There are also skirmish battles that can be fought for practice that do not affect your rating. We wanted to get some skirmishes in but no one else was in queue. We gave up and went for the glory with no practice.
Last week was our FIRST venture into arena. I mean, we didn’t even play with it at 70 and we were hardly a consistent participant in the Battlegrounds (more on those some other time). Other than dealing with and being the jackasses out in the world environment (Note to gnomes: do not run along a main road close to Tarren Mill at 20% life, I just can’t help but kill you. Actually, keep doing it. It makes me smile.) the two of us have enough PvP experience to keep in a shoebox. A very small shoebox.
So here’s the rundown from last week:
- Paladin and druid – You have discovered a new area! This match was lost before the gates opened and we could see our opponents. My partner and I use a program to converse in real time through microphones (Ventrilo or Vent) while we play. Good communication is essential, even if that communication is, “Crap. My mouse just died.” The gates open into the arena and I realize that I am going to get fucked hard. To his credit, my partner did manage to get in there and do some damage sans mouse, but it was very short lived.
- Shaman and rogue – You have discovered a new area! Another loss.
- Mage and rogue – Another new area discovered and another loss.
- Paladin and death knight – Another loss, but flying through the air under the influence of Death Grip is kinda fun. And another new area. It took us all 10 matches, but we finally discovered all the arenas.
- Mage and druid – Druids are a bit annoying, their Cyclone ability even more so. Had a learning moment when I discovered I cannot Blink out of a Cyclone. Seems it counts as a banish effect or some such. I really should go look that up.
- Druid and rogue – Fights like this start with the gates opening and… where is everybody? The game is telling me I have 2 opponents… where the fu… SAP! Oh, found the rogue! And then a feral cat is chewing on your face and you just cry.
- Hunter and shaman – This fight was horrible. The shaman camped out in the starting box (Lorderon map) and set up totems. The hunter just hung out over there and waited for us to be stupid and go check it out. We were stupid.
- Hunter and mage – Yep, lost. At this point we just want to kill ONE person. Doesn’t have to be the whole team, but c’mon, one fucking person is going to die besides us tonight!
- Shaman and death knight – Someone besides us is going to die tonight! Really! Just not in this match.
- Shaman and warrior – Sweet, sweet victory! We obliterated them and then celebrated in drunken revelry after guzzling the tears of our opponents. The best part is, we both got the achievement for winning our first arena victory and the other team could see it. Cry harder, my cup is almost empty! Seriously, we actually played that fight without being stupid. We hung back and let them investigate us. For some bizarre reason, everyone focuses on me (must be my charisma). I drug them to the side a bit and went Invisible. I stayed by my partner who was able to use his Water Elemental to Frost Nova them in place. I broke the Invisibility, grabbed his target, we popped Mirror Image (OMG there are now 8 fucking identical mages in the arena, WTF!?!?!?!!!), and unleashed mad damage with Shatter. It helped that they had virtually no resilience to dampen those critical hits (there are craftable PvP blues… you should really look into it, even we were smart enough to do that much) and they were probably in the same boat we were: new team sinking to their appropriate competitive level during the first week.
We stayed up and talked about what we did and didn’t do, what we should and shouldn’t do. All in all, we were pretty happy that we got one win and promptly went and bought our first piece of welfare PvP gear.
Next post: Week 2!