I specced the paladin prot, gave that a try. It’s very… different from the traditional holy. Understatement of the year. 19/52/0 is the spec I went with, head to toe in holy pvp gear.
So here’s what I’ve learned:
The loss of Holy Shock isn’t nearly as big a deal as I thought it would be. There have been very few situations where an arena game was lost due to a lack of an instant cast heal, and honestly we probably would have lost every one of those situations anyway.
Holy Shock was, honestly, a crutch. I don’t really need it, not even against dual DPS teams.
The extra utility a deep prot spec has is glorious. Avenger’s Shield ain’t no repentance, but a powerful snare/silence followed with HoJ every 30 seconds is extremely potent. We’ve even beaten druid teams! And, of course, the extra survivability is great. Something like 9% complete damage reduction, and 15% spell damage reduction.
Not that I can tell. Chaos Bolt + Conflagrate still hurts like hell, especially when both crit. Ow.
The trend of learning things the very hard way continues, and honestly it’s pretty fun. Paladins have a crap ton of utility, a huge array of Hands and weird little things that are extremely useful in arenas. Presumably.
I’m having to find out what their practical applications are by carefully watching other paladins PvP (Theseus and Hofflerand for instance), and just seeing how and when they use their abilities. Sometimes you’ll see them put in a little note, like “HoP the DK”, and I’m sitting there thinking “Why? Why would you do that? What possible reason could you have to do that?”
So I watch, and I make notes. Then I make a macro, and test.
See, here’s where it would be nice if a place like arena junkies could be more like elitist jerks. “LOL ur bad” results in a permanent ban on EJ, but on AJ it’s an acceptable form of greeting.
Anyway, so Hand of Protection then.
HoP renders the target immune to all physical attacks. Now what the tooltip doesn’t tell you is that it also immediately clears any physical debuffs on the target as well. I, for one, had no idea, though I suppose it makes sense. It works to get rid of Gormok’s bleed thingy, so why wouldn’t it work for a warrior’s bleeds?
And more importantly, what else can HoP clear?
Turns out HoP can remove Blind. I assume that it removes a whole array of physical debuffs, like a warrior’s fear or even Sap. Though I’d never use it on Sap. That’s just stupid.
So now I have a macro that casts HoP on me partner, and me partner has a macro to cancel HoP. It works very well.
And I’m forced to ask again, why isn’t this information out there, neatly categorized?
Oh the hypocrisy!
So let’s talk strategy for a bit.
Actually let’s get this out of the way here. “Strategy” and “tactics” are not the same thing. Rooting a warrior in order to shatter combo him, that is tactics. Getting fifteen players to defend Galv, then recap towers with 25 people going hard on offense, that is strategy.
So strategy then.
There are two types of defense, static and active. Static is, well, static. You stand there, defending a point, waiting for the bad guys to try and take it from you, then demolishing them (hopefully). Active defense is entirely different, and sometimes indistinguishable from offense.
Consider Warsong Gulch. You must defend your flag, preventing the [enemy faction] from taking it and capping it. A static defense would be having, say, three guys hang out in your flag room. An active defense would be having those same three guys out in midfield, preventing [enemy faction] from even getting across the field in the first place.
Static defense is almost always a bad thing.
Consider the same warsong situation. Three guys in the flag room. What happens when a warrior and a druid runs in, the warrior pops off an AoE fear and the druid snatches the flag, popping cat form and hitting sprint? The flag room is very small, and it only takes 2, maybe 3 seconds for someone to grab the flag, then be out of the flag room.
Having an active defense is significantly more difficult to counter. If your team controls the midfield, the flag runner doesn’t have anywhere safe to run, assuming that player even made it through in the first place.
Let’s look at Arathi Basin, and the classic horde iron triangle (that is, horde has farm, lumber mill, and blacksmith). For these three nodes, only a single player is required to be on static defense. I don’t mean one player per node, I mean one player for all three nodes.
Even that much isn’t necessary, as all horde really needs is one player that is able to see all three nodes at once, and is capable of calling out which one the alliance is going to attack. The horde then responds as necessary. Of course you will have people standing around flags doing nothing, but these people aren’t chained to the node.
Let’s say horde has five people at each node. The call goes out, “8 inc LM”. The horde numbers at LM thus swell from 5 to 10 or so to crush the alliance offensive.
And so on it goes.
Alterac Valley, Strand of the Ancients, and to a lesser extent Isle of Conquest are the only battlegrounds where static defense is actually a good strategy.
In AV, you need static defense to defend Galv/Balinda, and you need static defense to defend the towers you are capping. Having powerful static defense to pin the enemy team at your side’s choke points is also effective, though to pull that off usually requires defensive numbers high enough that your offense won’t be able to get anything done.
Strand, of course, you have to defend the walls and your graveyards. Most people forget to defend the graveyards, though. 😦
IoC will often require some keep defense, fortunately there are many cannons to help. This is variable, though. There should never be, say, “10 ppl on D”. Preferably there wouldn’t be anyone on defense, with people falling back to beat off offensives when needed. If nobody is attacking your keep, naturally you should have nobody defending it.
If you’ve got the entire enemy team attacking via blimp, glaive and demolisher… well, you’ve already lost, so bust out a picnic basket and enjoy your last moments.
On a random tangent, why on earth do people attack the front gate? Why would you attack the entrance with six guns defending it rather than the two gates with only three? What the hell?
Eye of the Storm, in my personal experience, is the worst for people randomly standing around on static defense. There should never, ever be even one person just standing at a node waiting for [enemy faction]. The nodes are extremely close together, and they are arranged in a circle. There’s not even a flag to cap, just standing near a node is enough to cap it in your favor.
Try to look at it this way. In Eye, everyone is on offense, all the time. The only thing that ever changes is what direction that offense is going in.
If you hold the draenei ruins, there shouldn’t be anyone standing there defending it. Let’s say the other team controls mage tower. Thus, your team is attacking mage tower. DR can be easily seen from MT. Say a couple [enemy faction] show up at DR.
A few players from your team would then break off the attack of MT (or whatever) and “attack” DR, killing the [enemy faction] there, leaving the node firmly in your control. Then they would leave, resuming standard offense.
This is ideal strategy. Whether the quality of players in battlegrounds are competent and alert enough to actually do active defense properly is an entirely different discussion, and a depressing one at that.