Monday, February 23, 2009

Just Play

Finally, I'm in non blue gear, and while Archaevon still won't drop any Deadly junk for me, my teams have started creeping up into the range where I could spend arena points to start buying the Deadly Glad stuff. I'll still wait for after Tuesday Vault runs before spending points. I can't help being a cheap Asian! I recently made the decision to go with the 4p Kodohide set bonus, instead of using 2p Kodohide and 2p Wyrmhide (Resto/Boomkin respectively), for the 2 seconds off the Swiftmend cooldown. Truly, it's a huge deal because Swiftmend is one of the only things that keeps me alive for a little longer vs Plague Strike and Blood Plague.

Screw you, Deathknights, and the demonic Hearthglen pony you rode in on.

Anyways... on to a more serious topic.

One of the interesting dynamics that I've seen in my years of PvPing across various games and MMO's are the various attitudes and approaches people take when stepping into the realm of competitive PvP. The reasons (and excuses) for why people don't want to seriously commit themselves to PvP are legion. Some people just abhor the thought of PvP (we call them Carebears), but for a good portion of the gaming community, the desire to PvP is there, but biggest barrier to actual participation is in their heads.

Now, some reasons are kooky-crazy and some are definitely reasonable, but before I continue, keep in mind that regardless of what you think of their reason, it's really your opinion vs. theirs. Got that? Good. Also remember that although someone has a reason and an opinion backing it, it doesn't mean that they're immune to being made fun of. Being made fun of just means that someone likes you enough to say something. (Keep telling yourself that)

So what have I seen while gaming? Well, I had this one friend in college who wouldn't play until he had memorized the entire Tekken move list and practiced until he was 'ready'. Of course, watching him get countered over and over while trying to mash out a 14 hit combo chain was even funnier. Another friend once spent his entire weekend practicing Super Smash Brothers only to get ganged up 3v1 style for a straight hour by 3 Donkey Kong's carrying him to his death on every map. We laughed in his face for wasting a weekend. Both friends had their reasons, no matter how twisted they were.

Bringing this to WoW, the most common reason to not PvP I've heard is "I don't have any gear." In some ways, I can understand that sentiment, but I do respectfully disagree, which will be explained in a little bit.

The important thing to reiterate here is that whatever reason is given, that reason is completely 100% legit, though some may be outlandish enough to illicit mockery. As far as I'm concerned, however, in interpreting all of the various reasons on why 'now isn't a good time', the distilled summary of it all is that it's all about the feel... and if someone doesn't feel right about it, there's a good chance they won't have a good time or even learn anything about the experience.

So, why do I disagree with the lack of gear reason? Because my opinion is that there's more to WoW PvP than just gear. I'd argue that gear really doesn't matter if you're just starting out because of a few key aspects of PvP that need to be developed if you want to eventually be successful, gear or no gear:
  1. Synergy. Every successful team out there (WoW or otherwise) has a well developed synergy. Their members understand their roles and strategies. Sadly, synergy doesn't drop from a raid boss, so spending time is really the only way to accomplish this.
  2. Strategy. Just like synergy, establishing and refining a set of strategies for each of your expected opponents is very important. While some teams have published their strategies as guides, actual execution of some of those strategies takes time. Spend your time getting that Blind/Sap/Fear combo off now when you're in the lower brackets!
  3. Dealing with the jitters. I always get nervous before my first match of the night, and I'm sure that it's the same for many first time PvPers. For some, even the thought of Arenas cause anxiety. Best way to get over those cold sweats and nervous tics? Play more games!
  4. Getting over that loser feeling. It sucks to lose, but you can also get over that loser feeling with more games played. You'll eventually learn that it's not that big of a deal to lose... presuming that you learn from the losses so you eventually stop losing.

All that being said, if you or a loved one has reservations about jumping into the Arena, that's fine. But if you do become a little bit more daring, make a team and jump in head first. You might find yourself learning things about the game that you didn't realize before.

Or you might find the bottom of the pool's shallow end.

Either way, you'll definitely learn something.


Gronyon said...

I would say it has a lot to do with Frustration.

I am part of that group that 'wish to pvp a lot, but had so many excuses to not doing so'.
So, in LK I decided to try out harder. I'm feral. I was used to BG in BC and before, so I went there, in quest blue. Burst is insane. Spending more time in cimentry than alive isn't fun.

So I specced moonkin (I had tried moonkin bg before, and I'm more confortable with placement, fleeing and the like). I dressed full 187 LW Resil gear. 300ish. Went to bg, well moderate success, you still drop like flies but since you are from range, you can hide in bushes, take people by surprise, or remain behind some big fat DK. Then I tried arena (a few games only) : tough.

Odds made it I had to respec feral to be able to go to 5-mans with friends. So I left arena aside. I geared my 5-man heroic and faction reward bear and cat. Then decided that 5-man tanking shouldn't leave me out of pvp. So I went back to bg, and guess what... I had the feeling I could actually help my team win ! I would die, yes, but I could survive long enough defending points for reinforcement to arrive etc. I could even stealth burst some clothies ! and I had 0 resil.

So I spent a bit extra honor (I have the 84 trinket already), my 15 wintergrasp victory marks, and I went to arena with barely 150 resil. With a disc priest. We felt we could actually win some games.

But, the first two weeks, despite 1 win for 2 loss, we kept losing so many points per loss (like 20-25) vs earninng so few per victory (like 3-8) that we ended up 1000 rating.

For three weeks of games, we saw no progress at all in gear, poor arena points gained. Only sinergy and strategy increases. The jitters lowered. THREE freaking weeks to get there ! I can't remember having spent that much time to be able to correctly tank my first raids...

Now we are about 1 victory 1 loss, we feel "quite" comfortable. I have better understanding of how to burst, when to bear, who to focus first, etc. Yet the question remain : how and when will I hit the 1500 rating back ??? and then... will I hit that 1650 freaking rating before next Season gets out, and everybody else gears up but me ?

PVP (or arena ?) is fun, yet very very frustrating.
Maybe it's because i have 3 years raiding behind me, but gearing in raid or instances, doesn't seem to take so much time, and is certainly not that much frustrating.

or ?

Chu said...

This is exactly the reason why many PvP'ers think that PvE is easy compared to the Arena (not BG's). In PvE, you have tanking rotations and in raids, that tanking is usually just 1 boss or 1 add. It really can't get any easier.

But in PvP, you're often dealing with far complex situations, using your cooldowns situationally instead of every time they come up (Barkskin, Berserk). It's that decisionmaking process that bogs people down.

You and your disc priest are doing the right thing by sticking with it and getting better. Fortunately, ferals dont need as much gear as other DPS since they can swap into Bear form to mitigate alot of damage, however, as you learn and gear up, you'll start seeing returns for your efforts.

If you raid alot, spend badges on Hateful Gear. I think Naxx 25 pve gear is better than Savage, but I would shoot for 400-500 resilience through Vault/Badges of Valor.

The reason why Raiding and gearing up through PvE is so easy is because Blizzard dropped the ball on making the entry level raids REALLY easy. It's essentially free loot, but getting to 1700 for many is still very difficult, and part of that is because they expect it to be easy as well, but Blizzard has no control of opponent skill.

Gronyon said...

Thanks for that answer, quite a pleasure to read that my feeling about raid being easier isn't just illusion.

Yet I raid no longer. But do you mean that if I use badges to get PVP Gear then there is no team rating applied to it ?? Same for archavon's vault ?
Man, do you mean you have to PVE to gear for PVP ?

That would be funny, because in BC you needed to PVP to do good in PVE for most melee dps class (for the weapons). Bah.

Chu said...

Yep. 30 Badges of Heroism gets you either Savage Gloves or Shoulders. 45 Badges gets you Chest, Legs or Helm.

30 Badges of Valor gets you Hateful Gloves or Shoulders. 45 Valor gets you Chest, Legs or Helm.

No rating required on any of it.

Yep.. you have to PvE to PvP.

Seems like the tables have turned...