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.
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.