A deep mind for deep thoughts.
This whole thought process was sparked by a comment I left on Galoheart’s website.
To reiterate here, World of Warcraft can actually be divided into two separate games. One of which is the PvE, and one of which is the PvP.
These two worlds do not interact with each other, much as players and developers alike would love to say they do. They don’t.
One version is the technical detail, the precision, that goes into player versus environment. This is pitting live, human players versus artificial intelligence, and in WoW’s case, its almost always not intelligent, just scripted. Not a criticism, just a statement of fact, is all.
Then we have PvP, where it is a player versus another player. Nothing is scripted, little is preset. It’s simply players killing each other in a competitive environment with the tools they have.
PvE does not mesh with PvP. PvP does not mesh with PvE. You can have one or the other. A player character does not react to “aggro”. A prot warrior cannot use taunt to save his healer. A hunter cannot use disengage to drop aggro. In PvP, a PoM Pyro would be a great opener, dropping a huge amount of damage right at the start. In PvE, this is called “suicide”.
But I need not go into depth here.
Quite bluntly, PvE and PvP each require completely different talent specs and gear sets to be successful in each.
If you’re a heavy disc priest sporting 400 resilience, you are going to be a very poor raid healer.
If you show up to an arena with your epic Tier 5 healing gear, able to keep a tank up solo for an entire boss encounter, you’re going to be annihilated by a rogue named Zephirotth.
You can find hybrid specs, you can put points into both PvE and PvP talents… but in most cases, this will leave you sorely lacking in both spots.
Take mages, for example. In order to be successful arena wise, you must put hefty numbers of points into frost to be widely successful. You won’t go anywhere in a competitive arena as a raid fire mage, except for a quick and speedy dirt nap.
Likewise, if you try and raid as PvP frost, you will find yourself being out DPS’d by the main tank.
So. Now that we’ve got that out of the way.
The developers at Blizzard have made substantial efforts to attempt to make every class viable in both PvP and PvE. Not at the exact same time, but the tools are there. The tools to be successful in PvP are present, so there is no reason you should suck, as long as you know how to use these tools.
There are two “classes” of classes in PvP. There are the melee attackers, and the ranged attackers. That’s all there is to it.
Some classes attack/heal from range, other classes attack from point blank.
Each of these generalized classes need to have certain tools to be successful.
Still speaking generally, the melee attackers are restricted by the fact that they must be, well, in melee range to be able to do anything. This means, to be successful, the melee class needs to have these 2 key tools:
1) A way to very quickly close with a target;
2) A way to keep that target close.
Warriors, for example, can charge to a target, thus getting to point blank range swiftly, and can use hamstring to keep the target close.
The ranged attacking/healing classes require pretty much the opposite tools. They need to have:
1) A way to very quickly leave melee range;
2) A way to keep their target away from them.
Druids, for example, can swap to a movement form and quickly run away, and can also flat out root their target, preventing him from moving.
These abilities can be further generalized as ways to “control” the encounter. This is the essence of player versus player combat in any and all games. CONTROL.
If you do not have control, you get killed. If you have control, you are the one doing the killing.
Think about it. If you’re a warrior rooted to the ground, while your target stands about forty feet away shooting burning arrows into you, who’s in control here?
If you’re a rogue, plunging your daggers into some poor priest’s behind while he sits there, writhing in pain, due to the sword you shoved into his kidney, who’s in control?
And if that same priest suddenly unleashes a Psychic Scream, and melts your brain while your running about, guess who regained control of the situation?
This is the greatest principle behind PvP in WoW: keeping control of both your movement and your opponents.
You want your opponent’s movement to be as hindered as possible. Have them moving slower, in the wrong direction, or not at all is very much desired.
Keeping yourself moving as fast as possible, always in the correct direction, and at a standstill as close to never as you can manage, this is what you must strive for.
Turning to mages now. We are one of those ranged attacking classes, depending on our ability to flee our melee attackers to win in a fight.
In my rather humble opinion, mages are an extremely well equipped class in the war of mobility, and every spec adds at least one more tool. Let’s go over them, shall we?
- Frost Nova. This is an AoE that roots all targets around the caster. Natch, an 8 second root is an incredibly potent ability, and rightfully so. This leaves our opponent motionless, leaving them helpless while we can safely get to range.
- Blink. A spell that simply fires the mage 20 yards forward. It breaks any and all roots, as well as stun effects. It is an incredibly potent spell. Breaking movement impairment affects on yourself, as well as instantly gaining twenty yards on your opponent… it’s probably the best tool you have on the mobility front.
- Frostbolt. Simple. Damaging spell that also slows the target down to 60% of his base movement speed. This spell is most effective if the mage is specced into the frost tree. Namely, it will do more damage, take less time to cast, can root the target outright, and can reduce the movement speed down to 50%.
- Polymorph. Turns the target into a cute farm animal. This is a pure form of crowd control. The target cannot move, and cannot use any abilities.
- Frost/Ice Armor. Only bother with this pre-Molten Armor. When you get hit with a melee ability, the target is almost always slowed, and if specced frost, can be rooted some of the time as well. Use this for PvP up until Molten Armor becomes avaliable.
- Slow. This is a spell that is at the end of the Arcane tree, and is the only snare/root the Arcane tree has. Many do not like this spell, seeing as how it is rather lacklustre for an end tree talent. Nevertheless, it’s here, an excellent kiting tool right up until it gets dispelled. Excellent to use against other ranged attackers/healers, as it vastly increases the amount of time they spend casting. It also increases the time between a hunter’s ranged attacks, so there ya go.
- Impact. An extremely handy talent, it adds a 10% stun chance on any and every damage-dealing fire spell. Stuns are extremely effective in PvP, and these are no different.
- Blazing Speed. Essentially, it makes you run real fast, as well as dispelling movement impairing effects. A very nice ability, it is limited by the fact that it is random. Maybe it will proc and allow you to escape from hamstring, maybe it won’t. If it does, it is a golden ability that will have your enemy in fits of rage.
- Permafrost. Increases the effect of the mages slowing effects. With this, spells like Frostbolt become more powerful.
- Frostbite. 15% chance that a frost slowing effect will instantly freeze the target. Basically a frost nova that procs at random.
- Water Elemental. A handy little minion who deals extra damage for you, and also comes with his own rooting ability wired in.
Anyone see the natural synergy that the frost tree has? Go take a look at the talents in the frost tree. DO IT RIGHT NOW!! You see whats in there? More powerful snares? More root spells? The chance to proc an additional root? And of course the incredible high power frost spells have against rooted targets?
See why mages go frost for PvP? The spec is designed for it.
So when should we use these abillities?
With all these tools at our fingertips, knowing when to use these abilities requires a cool head, and knowledge of the class you are fighting to avoid doing something incredibly stupid.
If a warrior charges you, and you frost nova and blink away, that same warrior is simply going to intercept and start beating on you again. This is not smart.
Blinking away from a rogue, and then watching them sprint + cloak of shadows and run straight at you again is also not smart.
The first step is to familiarize yourself with the classes you are fighting. Learn what other classes have to control mobility. Go check out an ability list on wow wiki if you must.
Learn that warriors have Charge. Know they cannot use it while in combat. Realize that they can Intercept in combat. Learn what its cooldown is.
This can be the hardest part about playing a mage in PvP combat, is knowing what abilities your opponent is going to use, and how to counter them. So let’s quickly run through them, shall we?
Remember, only EVER use blink AFTER the warrior has intercepted. NEVER BEFORE. EVER. If you blink and he has the spell avaliable, he WILL use it and you WILL be anally raped. That’s just how it works.
When going into combat, try your best to prevent them from charging. Open with ice lance to get them in combat before they can charge.
When the warrior first closes to melee range, either by charging or simply walking up to you, use frost nova then and simply walk away from them. Get off a frostbolt and/or Shatter to do some damage and get them snared.
Don’t forget about Cone of Cold. If things get intense, use it. It is a better snare than Hamstring.
Use the water elemental liberally. Its root effect can be targeted, meaning you can root a warrior thats so far away it isn’t even a threat yet.
And Blink right after Intercept. It’ll blow there MIND.
Notorious escape artists. Spam them with snares/roots as much as possible, laying it on thick with instants. The goal is to wear down their mana, so as to render them unable to shapeshift.
Treat Feral Charge the same way as a warrior’s intercept. Wait for them to use it before you blink.
Mobility wise, they will most likely break anything and everything you throw at them very rapidly. Hit them with something new every time they shapeshift. If they shift out of frost nova, nail them with cone of cold right away. Pop a water elemental freeze on them ASAP. Pray for a frostbite proc.
An excellent strategy is to silence them, then Shatter combo the druid. That will force them into caster form to get heals off, which is your cue to unload with everything you have. A druid is vulnerable while in “normal” form, and really cannot take very much damage at all.
Your biggest enemies here will be cloak of shadows and sprint.
CloS removes all magical effects, and gives them a 90% immunity to all spells while it is active. You have little choice but to simply flee when they use this. Hit them with at least one ice lance during this time to prevent them from leaving combat. Once CloS fades, get them re-snared/rooted ASAP.
Sprint, by itself, is not a huge threat. Once they use it, hit them with a snare/root of any kind to defeat the running boost.
The true threat here comes from when CloS and sprint are used simultaneously. At this point, you CANNOT run, because they will catch you. This, is when you Ice Block. Tag them with ice lance first to give you the full 6 seconds to out of combat. You must break ice block early, or the rogue will stealth. Alternatively, have the elemental out to keep them in combat, letting you remain ice block for the full 10 seconds if you wish. Get them resnared/rooted right as you come out of ice block. CloS will be gone at this point. Also, you can use blink upon emerging from ice block, and land a snare from there. With CloS/sprint burned, the rogue will have almost no means with which to get at you.
Dealy Throw is not very deadly. A simple snare, simply ignore it. It is not a threat. If your spells get interrupted, oh well. No big deal. Deal with it like you would a counterspell or shield bash (?) or whatever reason.
Shadowstep is an interesting development, and would be the bane of you but for one, slight problem on the rogues side. It does not break snares or roots.
Obviously, if they CloS then shadowstep, you have a problem. Well, one that can quickly be solved by Ice Blocking, but whatevs. Usually, the rogue should end up behind you, rooted to the ground. If they aren’t, root them ASAP, or use blink then root them. Blinking from a rogue is usually their cue to hit sprint or something, so try and refrain from using it until after CloS, at the least, has been burned.
Shaman are embarassingly easy in the whole mobility department. They have only two ways to keep you close. Frost Shock, which is a “meh” snare, and Earthbind totem, which is another snare, with the added difficulty that they already have to be in melee range for it to be useful.
As a class, shamans are going to have a lot of trouble fighting you as a mage. They will never have an opportunity to use earthbind on you, since they should rarely actually close to melee, if ever. If they do, blink, and their totem is officially useless.
Frost shock will be a hard use for them. If they use it, they’ll have a standard snare on you, and will be unable to earth shock your casts.
Mobility wise, spam them with roots, stay out of the earthbind.
Paladins really only have the one way to affect your mobility. Hammer of Justice, we all know it. The uber paladin stun. You can blink out of it; do so. They will have nothing left at that point.
Also, beware of them Blessing of Freedom..ing… themselves, rendering them immune to roots and snares. It is highly worth a spellsteal attempt or two to snag it. Otherwise, wait it out and immediately root them again once it has expired. The cooldown will be ruinous to them once they have used it.
Please note that I have only covered stuff that has to do with Mobility here. Stuff like counterspell has been ignored, as that has nothing to do with mobility.
Questions? Comments? That’s nice, I don’t care.
I’M KIDDING!! Jeeeezzz…..
Edit: can someone tell me why the line spacing is all buggered up after the list in there? I can’t seem to find anything HTML wise, the only stuff in there is the tag at the start, and
throughout, and the
tag at the end.