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When I Asked If You Had BG Experience…

Some of these built-in commenting system things always put my latest blog entry below my name, when I comment on another blog. I’ve enjoyed having my latest post there because I think it makes me sound combative and fearsome. I could be saying, “What a cute mini-pet you have!” but underneath my name it says, “I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your A*s,” so it’s, “Visit Pugging Pally! We have fearsome things here like swords that I can’t use properly.”

Having such an intimidating tagline did remind me, however, that I tried holy PvP for the first time last weekend! A key component of this story is 1) I did PvP with my paladin and also 2) you’ll notice it’s not my paladin I brought to kill the griefing guy while trying to level my hunter.

It was one of the rare occasions when I’ve gone to PvP with other people. It started when Dirtface (that’s actually his name now, though I feel vaguely guilty using it as an honest-to-goodness name) needed some honour points for… something he needed to buy, I’m not sure. He had never PvPed as a warlock and so he asked if anyone would go with him. Kayla (hunter) was game to go, as was Draos (feral druid) and Ulla (resto druid). I’d been meaning to put Vidyala in a situation where other people could hit her in the face, so I agreed too.

Absolutely ready for PvP. 100%. If you don't count all the PvE gear.

I considered her not altogether unprepared, because she has a few PvP pieces I am using for her PvE set. An aside, I know that Blizz said they wanted to take away the component of PvPing to get gear for PvE (ever since the days of PvPing on my mage to get that giant pink staff, the one that couldn’t be replaced by anything past Kara) but I think they failed. You can trade 30 Stonekeeper’s Shards to acquire 2000 honour points. If you’re like me and on a server where your faction often possesses Wintergrasp, you have a lot of these things. All of my characters had a lot of these things, so it was easy to get enough honour for Vid to buy a 264 cloak and necklace. Neither is as good as something intended for PvE would be, but having the cloak has allowed me to delay purchasing the emblem one in favour of other things. All of which is a long-winded way of saying, I had a little bit of resilience. I even have the Flash of Light PvP libram, which I purchased because I’d thought about trying a FoL build, and it’s nice for 5-mans when casting HL is usually overkill. I used Triumph emblems to buy another PvP piece and off we went, armed with very little knowledge of paladin PvP in general.

A bit of miscommunication landed Ulla and I (both of the two healers) in an Isle of Conquest match while our other three folks were in Arathi Basin. It didn’t take us long to botch the Isle completely; though the Arathi Basin took longer. When we queued up together again, I groaned inwardly to see the Warsong Gulch loading screen. I have not had happy times with Warsong Gulch. I don’t know if it’s because usually it’s just a random assemblage of people who don’t work together… I’ll be honest with you, I sort of like when there’s a bossy person who takes charge of a BG pug. Or even if people are just talking like Gnomeaggeddon was saying the other day. I tend to freeze up a little when it comes time to decide where I would be best employed, and typically (as a healer especially) I’ll find someone to follow into the thick of things and keep people alive. Fortunately for me there are worse strategies as a healer – obviously I’m not going to go off by myself and try to damage things. I am most useful where the fighting is happening. (Except when the fighting is on the road).

But this Warsong Gulch was different, possibly because at least two of the people I was with had extensive BG experience. “I don’t do this one ever,” I confessed in Vent, “So if you want to just tell me where we are going that would be great.”

“We’re going to get the flag, and you’re going to heal us,” was the calm reply. Between the hunter, feral druid, warlock, resto druid and myself, we were one-third of that WSG team and we annihilated them. I got these achievements: Warsong Gulch Perfection (Win with a score of 3 – 0), Warsong Gulch Expedience (Win Warsong Gulch in under 7 minutes), and plain old Warsong Gulch Victory – an achievement I’m not sure any of my other characters actually has (don’t laugh). Sticking close to my buddies for that encounter seemed to work out well. I don’t even think I died.

Our next BG was an Alterac Valley. I’m more confident here, because before “random” BGs were available I spent a great deal of time maging it up in the frosty north. I like the big, epic battle zerg and I actually know the names of strategic points etc. Our little strike team roamed the map reclaiming and defending places while the zerg people down South focused their energy on killing Drek. I still can’t say at this point that I was getting down to the nitty-gritty of healing as a paladin in BGs. I healed a bit, but we never got stuck in a chokehold with a great deal of fighting, it was more short skirmishes. The real combat began in our last match, Arathi Basin.

I think of all the battlegrounds this one’s my favourite because it’s fairly straightforward, the map isn’t too large (less opportunity to get lost) and a single player’s contribution can have more effect than in a huge place like AV. Again, we were ideally suited for this because we were on Vent and could talk to each other and decide which node we’d go to – and defend it against attackers, or move on to claim another if there were other people remaining behind. Here’s where I really started to actually PvP as a paladin. Random observations:

1) I love Beacon so very, very much.
Putting Beacon on myself and going to town healing everyone around me is so much fun. I’d be healing and a hunter would sent his pet after me… I could just flat out ignore it. It couldn’t interrupt me. It tickled a bit.

2) Wearing plate armour is OP.
All of my other healers have definitely been squishier than this. Granted, my priest was never Discipline, so take my opinion with a gigantic grain of salt. But I definitely felt more durable.

3) Interfering with the way other people are trying to hurt your team-mates is almost as much fun as just healing them.

With a nearby resto druid’s HoTs, I usually had ample time to make extensive use of my Cleanse button. Removing poisons, diseases, and magic is awesome. Living Bomb on someone? Whoops I’m sorry, ‘fraid not. There’s something immensely satisfying about removing something that was going to hurt – forcing whoever is attacking to either re-apply it and waste a GCD. But they usually didn’t have time at that point because someone would have killed them.

4) I’d rather be casting Flash of Light.
I can really see where different gear/gemming/spec would make a big difference here. In almost every situation, even with the haste I have – Holy Light takes too long. Having more oomph behind my fast little heals would make me more effective for this, I think. The Libram is nice but it can only go so far. I don’t really have the luxury of picking up a second Holy spec because when I do PvE stuff I’m often filling a DPS role (quick VoA which I choose to bring Vid to instead of my main, likewise for the raid weekly). But a PvP spec here would be pretty useful. Preferably something that reduces the duration I can be silenced for, which brings me to…

5) The sound of silence
This is like the kiss of death, and I’m not used to it at all. My only healing PvP experience prior has been as a resto druid – seldom casting anything long enough to be properly interrupted. Rejuv, rejuv, Wild Growth, Lifebloom, oh, are you hitting me? You didn’t notice the bark, right? Well, being a paladin wasn’t like that, but perhaps there’s something I’m missing here (like potentially a PvP spec). Silencing is very bad. Fortunately it never resulted in my death because I had my little posse with me, but even so. I always feel guilty when I’m silenced, and this may be a carryover from PvE content. Because if you get silenced casting when those big skeleton guards in front of Marrowgar do their shout thing? That’s your fault, that is avoidable. But I have the same feeling in PvP! “Oh god I’ve been silenced why what was I doing I must have been casting while the skeleton was shouting…wait.”

6) Blending into a crowd is nice.

Maybe I’m naive and I’m more visible than I think I am, but I definitely felt a bit more incognito as a holy paladin. I don’t have the pew pew green healing lasers of a shaman, although I do have the shield. I don’t have obvious bubbles like a priest, or the dress. More importantly to me, I’m not a giant walking tree, which always screams, “You know my HoTs are OP, try to kill me!” Many times attackers at our nodes would simply never start attacking me at all, which allowed me to focus on healing my people, and inevitably led to success. Obviously the success wasn’t just because of me, but at least I didn’t feel I was a hindrance.

7) Striking out on my own is dumb.
In fact, the only time I died where I died alone and felt that it was completely my fault was when I was heading from Lumber Mill to go with our hunter to a different node and I was lagging behind a bit. A rogue sapped me and my bubble was on CD and I kermitflailed. Probably a good paladin could have escaped it – but I never claimed to be a good paladin – and I died. I think if I had either stayed behind with the group or been RIGHT with the hunter it wouldn’t have happened. I have learned my lesson, just because I wear plate armour doesn’t make me invincible.

And so ended Vidyala’s PvP adventures. We won the Arathi Basin, I got an achievement for 100 HKs and some healing stuff and also Back Door Job which sounds incredibly wrong.

I did, belatedly, find this article about healing tips for holy paladins. It’s arena specific, but I assume many of the same principles apply to battlegrounds. Otherwise, if you’re looking for general PvP info, Cynwise has always got it covered. Please feel free to suggest links to any other paladin PvP resources you may know of, or otherwise elaborate in comments all the ways in which you are better at PvP than I am (really no huge feat, truthfully). I enjoyed it and I think I’ll do it again when the time and inclination hit me. Hitting me is okay, incidentally, silencing? Way below the belt.

What happens if the PvPing Paladin strays too far from her bodyguards, complete with dramatic death scene and anguished hand clasped to...uh. Right.

I Am Not Afraid of You And I Will Beat Your A*s

It’s a great time for alting. The ICC buff keeps going up, helping our merry band of Sunday raiders (alt nights, baby!) roll through ICC. Granted, familiarity with the fights doesn’t hurt. It also doesn’t keep us from going through there with a definite air of “herp derp derp,” but that’s a story for another time.

It’s always good to have alts. As I was telling Redbeard yesterday, a draenei hunter is just what I need to help complete my set. I have one at level thirty, but he’s male, and doesn’t really feel like mine – I also have no idea what to do or where to go with him to quest. So when Rades and I realized that Lara had a small warrior tank we could pug with – well naturally a new hunter alt was just the thing.

But I love them so, my precious.

Incidentally, it’s probably sad when you have so many draenei that you need to make a little diagram so that you can choose a hairstyle and colour that won’t duplicate any of your others. The diagram helped! Clearly what was missing was buns. It makes practical sense, they’re out-of-the-way, you can shoot your bow/gun/whatever without any of that annoying flyaway hair in your face thing. So my young hunter and her hair buns have been questing through the Draenei starting area happily. As you can well imagine, I know the quests here pretty well so it doesn’t take too long to speed through the zone. I dispersed some powder, inoculated some owlkin, and was soon merrily murdering the entire population of pretty white deer.

(I’m sure my younger Bambi-loving self had no idea what I’d enjoy later in life. The DEHTA folks would have a bird.) There’s something about hunters. I’m trying to get into the psychology of them. They’re very solitary people, and with good reason. They don’t need anyone else. The mobs see me coming and they just die. They don’t even try, it’s just, “Oh, game over, here comes that hunter and her fearsome pet.” Needless to say, leveling was going well, right up until the moment I hit a snag.

I was at Azure Watch to turn in a quest, when the sound of combat reached my ears. I’m a bit slow on the up-take sometimes, so I looked around in confusion. Why were things fighting? A golden shield flew by my head to strike the NPC behind me. My first instinct was BOLT FOR YOUR TRAINER and train the level you came here to train before the jocular hunter bites it. I just managed to train. The Blood Elf paladin, name of “Gleeka,” was decimating Azure Watch. (This is an aside; I’ve heard people who really like the show “Glee” calling themselves “Gleeks” but in MY day, “gleek” was a verb and it means something rather different. My older brother was particularly pro at this and it was especially disgusting.) So I don’t know which this paladin was thinking of, if any, but that was his name. And he targeted and then laughed at me. But I’d manage to conclude my business and so (I mentioned I have an older brother, right?) I knew that the best way to deal with him was to ignore him. Not receiving a reaction, he’d likely grow bored and wander off. I headed down to hang out with Admiral Odyseus and finish my next series of quests.

Something about me must have said “entertainment” to this blood elf though, because he followed me a little ways. He stopped, got on his big mammoth – and then began to speed ahead. Oh. Hell. No. He reached the mini quest hub far faster than I could on foot, of course, and was killing the last NPC just as I arrived. He waved at me. I did not wave back, but plopped my character down to wait out the twenty seconds before I could log out. He waved good-bye to me. I’m pretty sure he didn’t know what was coming next.

Moonrunner is not a PvP server. I don’t want to be on a PvP server. Not because I don’t enjoy PvP from time to time, but because I want to be able to choose the time and place that I will engage in it. This was the time. Millya, my mage, is my character with the best PvP gear and the most PvP experience. (Extreme top left in my diagram, if you’re curious.) Voss was online and he came along to have fun poking the Blood Elf. As far as I was concerned, this Belf had wasted his chance to stop being a jerk and move onto some other form of entertainment. The funny thing was that Voss got there before I did, and the Belf ran when he saw him coming. He just mounted up and headed for the hills. Voss kept following him at a safe distance. He did a “sorry” emote. (Too little, too late, buddy). So it was easy for me to track him down. Again, I didn’t feel too bad about tag-teaming him. Perhaps it’s not sporting, but he’s a paladin – your average paladin I’ve met can handle a prot warrior and a mage. I mean, really.

We chased him through the countryside – he headed for Ammen Vale, and this was the funny part. He dismounted and tried to hide in the bushes along the path. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, really. To say that we annihilated him would be an understatement. I stood a moment over his cooling corpse, thinking about whether or not I would kill him again. I thought for a moment before deciding, “Nah, he must have gotten the message.” The message being: Go away, or I will continue to kill you with my main character. I was so confident in this, I even teleported back to Dalaran before logging back over to my hunter.

The NPCs were alive once more, so I was able to turn in my quests. By this time Rades had logged in, and I told him about the guy who’d been killing NPCs, secure in the belief that he would have moved on. It was nearly supper time for me and I was about to log off – when a familiar golden animation sped by my head. The Belf was back in Azure Watch, killing all of the quest givers again. It didn’t take long for my mage-y self to speed back to Azure Watch, and this time I took on and killed him solo. (In the interests of posterity, I’ll confess that after I’d killed him once he came back and killed me while I was eating. Who knew the graveyard at Azure Watch is so very close? But I don’t think ganking someone who is still injured counts.) In any case, this back and forth went on for awhile – we killed him again and assumed he’d give up. Even if he didn’t, supper was ready and we had to go.

When I logged in again after supper (a good half-hour later at the least) I was heading merrily down the path, pet in tow, when, imagine my surprise – Mr. Gleeka on his mammoth. He followed me for a little ways and had me targeted; naturally I wasn’t flagged… and then he left. I’d like to think that he made the connection between my tiny, baby hunter and the frost mage who made him eat his own shield repeatedly. I find myself wondering – what do people who do this get out of it? I suppose it’s some kind of power trip. “I can kill your NPCs and stop you from questing, I am so powerful.” I’ve PvPed against paladins before; I am not the world’s greatest at PvP by any means, and they’re usually more than a match for me, so I know that this guy was not especially good, or especially geared. Heck, in the heyday of retribution paladin PvP, I had to check my combat log to see what killed me in a BG. It was like “ALL I SAW WAS GOLDEN LIGHT WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN.” I don’t think I’m better than I was then, so it was satisfying to kill this guy (again, and again). The story has a happy ending because he eventually did give up and go away – but what if he’d been there all night?

My next step would have been to make a lowbie Horde character and just ask him to leave or stop. I don’t know if that’s a wussy sort of thing to do or if it would have worked, but I suppose it can’t hurt to ask. After that, I’m pretty sure that murdering an entire low-level zone could constitute “griefing” and I would have opened a GM ticket for harassment. But on our server, tickets take hours, sometimes even days to be answered, so I don’t really consider that a viable solution. All of this is my roundabout way of saying: I liked having a PvP-geared 80 main to murder this guy, but what if you don’t have that recourse? Have you ever killed low-level NPCs this way (and if so, why?) you can comment anonymously if you think I’m looking to vilify someone. Otherwise, I’m sure most of us have encountered this kind of thing while trying to quest or level – how did you handle it?

p.s. Extra credit for anyone who recognizes where the title is from. Credit towards what, I don’t know. If someone would invent the transporter I would give you a cookie.