Monday, January 19, 2015

[WoW] My First WoW Arena Foray

Over the past couple weeks I've started getting into WoW's PvP, and I've actually had a pretty good time.

Now, let me make something clear: I still hate World PvP, where the modus operandi is wander around with a gang of players and find smaller gangs to annihilate. And after playing through enough Ashran to make my eyes bleed to get my honor set, I still hold that to be true. That is emphatically Not Fun. Oh the occasional one-on-one or two-on-two skirmish that I got into was a blast, even when I lost. But if I wasn't getting whacked by roving bands of the opposing team, it was watching the complete cluster that was the mobs of players on the main road.

Granted, a single Flame Shock and a judicious Lava Lash, run away and spam Fire Nova? Numbers everywhere the eye could see. But even that lost its luster incredibly quickly.

What I DID find fun was Arena. But let's back up a second.

My main character is an Enhancement Shaman this expansion, and since my BF convinced me to give Arena a try, and he always mains a healer, I figured, all right, let's take the DPS I'm most familiar with even if everyone says it sucks.

In Ashran, at least, I managed to make about 3k honor an hour thanks to Tablet of Ghost Wolf and just wandering around looking for treasures (which would net me anywhere from 30 - 150 artifact fragments). When you turn in 500 of those suckers, you're looking at 2k honor plus 2.5k rep. Getting my honor set went extremely quickly. I just basically ignored all the PvP aspects of Ashran to do it.

With a full set of honor gear, a little research into glpyhs/talents and PvP tactics away we went. We weren't expecting to win very many matches. He hadn't Arena'd since Cataclysm, and I never Arena'd at all. Add that to our very odd combination of Enhancement Shaman/Discipline Priest, and, well, we expected the worst.

Turns out we're better than we thought.

Enter the Arena

Sixty-one 2v2 arena matches, with a 54% win rate at a 1400ish MMR. Which isn't great, I realize. It's kinda terrible if you compare it to folks who do PvP with any sort of regularity. But given that's a grand total of 61 PvP battles I've **ever** had, and well, I'd say it's okay. Anyways, we were expecting closer to a 25% win rate to start.

However, boy am I really starting to feel how poorly Enhancement Shaman is set up for PvP. Our one major CC, Hex, 45 second cooldown. Our only stun, Capacitor Totem, easy to stomp, 5 second windup, basically requires Totemic Projection to be usable (which I'm still only so-so at). Compare that to spammable Cyclone, or a single Rogue putting me out for a full 12 - 16 seconds, even with a trinket, and it's just strange. I cannot begin to imagine how frustrating PvP was before they did a pass on hard CC.

Granted, I do have lots of snares, and lots of movement boosts, so unless I'm facing a DK, I'm pretty hard if not close to impossible to shake. DKs, on the other hand, are close to impossible for me to escape, even with Windwalk Totem/Spiritwalk.

And having 20%+ of our DPS tied to a totem that can be taken out in 2 GCDs? Thanks Fire Elemental, for absolutely nothing. I've gotten decent at hiding the totem behind pillars, or using Totemic Projection to move it if enemies are getting close, but anybody who's even remotely useful stomps it flat in no time. Actually, totems in general are a problem for that.

But spammable Purge? Yay! At least we're good for something.

However, Enhancement single target DPS is definitely lacking. Nine times out of ten the other team has more damage done than I did, even with all of my cooldowns in use. I simply cannot compete with Warriors, Rogues, DKs, or Ret Paladins for DPS even remotely. They usually have a good 30% on top of me. And don't get me started on Hybrid Heals. I've seen Frost DKs pull off as much healing as a healer does in an Arena match. I mean, what's the point of bringing a healer?

Comp Time

Anyways, those frustrations aside, I have been having fun. There are some comps that we generally just throw up our hands because unless they're totally incompetent, we can't do squat about them (Rogue/Warrior or Ret/DK are generally the case, though we've actually gotten better at surviving Ret/DKs and have actually won a couple, but there are a LOT of Ret/DK comps). Other comps are annoying, but we generally win unless we goof up.

I've seen a total of 2 other Shaman: a Resto and an Enhancement. The Enhancement Shaman was part of a comp with a Beast Mastery Hunter, and they summoned all the pets. I was like, okay, you're going to give me 6+ targets? You're going to get Fire Nova'd into oblivion. And they did, and we won in short order. It was like Enhancement was the perfect counter to Enhancement. The Resto Shaman I trounced quickly as well, burst them into the ground. They definitely did not pose a threat to us whatsoever.

Interestingly, the grand majority of players we've run into have been Ret Paladins, Frost DKs, Arms Warriors, Hunters, and Rogues, with a few Feral Druids for good measure. Pretty much every other spec we've only run into 1 or 2 (although that Brewmaster was lethal as heck. Another class where I just could not out-DPS their healing throughput). Not a lot of ranged classes, now that I think of it.

My BF is starting to note comps we lose or win to, and why we won/lost so we can start being more strategic about things, but it's been a good time so far. Should be interesting to see how things go. In any case, my PvP instincts are starting to get better, and hopefully we'll see if my skills improve. On the bright side, some of the Conquest 660s I've bought are good PvE upgrades since we're only starting to get into Heroic mode.
#WorldOfWarcraft, #PvP


  1. It's nice to hear you guys having fun in Arena - looking forward to hearing about more PvP shenanigans in the future. Rated BGs are fun, too, and are more accessible than ever - they're a more objective based style of balanced PvP as opposed to the kill based style of Arena.

    1. Thanks! I'd imagine I'd have some fun in a BG team that actually had strategy. I've run BGs in the past as part of the MoP legendary quest line, and it was the most miserable time. People willfully ignoring strategy when it was presented, or no strategy being presented at all.

      I think that's my biggest problem with PvP in general. Unorganized PvP is often directionless, and ignoring the rofl-stomp smaller groups of folks in World PvP, I really rather have direction in my gameplay. Some goal we're working together to attain, be it simply kill the other team, capture the flag, or whatever. And when folks are being disorganized and un disciplined about it, I get frustrated.

  2. I want objective-arenas. Give me a King of the Hill or something! I basically want Halo in my MMORPG and I think that's okay.

    1. WoW already has that: battlegrounds.

    2. Not exactly. Warsong Gulch is 10v10, Arathi Basin isn't really King of the Hill, etc. I'd prefer small-team (5, preferably), objective-based games in smaller arenas.

      In other words, Halo-style multiplayer with MMORPG-style gameplay.

  3. I mained an enhancement shaman this expansion as well and found your assessment to be spot on. Arena PVP has been a blast, however we do have many shortcomings. Our damage is significantly lower than other melee dps, our healing is above average and our CC/utility is difficult to use. Your best bet for 2v2 is to play with a sturdy melee like a DK or Warrior. Our off heals and purge are amazing. During cooldowns our survivability is excellent as well. Glyph of Purging is a must have IMO since it grants maelstrom procs on successful purges. Have fun and good luck on the arena climb!

    1. Yeah, I was running Capacitor Totem glyph, but found the 3-second windup not any easier or better to use, so I had switched to the glyph of Purging. Especially for facing healers, it generates a LOT of MW procs.

      Off-heals are definitely strong. Not as strong as DK or Brewmaster, but definitely up there based on post-game analysis. It helps I'm also running as a Draenei. The racial is amazing for helping heal through the initial volley.

      I still enjoy the fact that so many players seem to have the reaction, "Wait, shaman...what do I do?" Especially in the lower brackets, many of them have 0 idea how to handle Enhance. Can't rely on that very much anymore though, but was still amusing.