Every Thursday, V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.
In Season 2, the top teams in all three brackets of the Bloodlust battlegroup all had one toon in common: Serennia, a female gnome warrior. The diminutive warrior quickly earned the nickname "best warrior in the world" and became the gnome to loathe (or love, for some) in bloodthirsty PvP circles.
Behind this pint-sized powerhouse is a 23-year-old who is working on his multimedia degree in Houston, Texas. SK Gaming's Gosey had an excellent interview with him recently. Serennia talked about team setups, warriors, his druid alt, warlocks and offered some PvP tips.
Instead he characterized warlocks as the "only mana-based class that doesn't rely on mana". His argument suggested that if warlocks could deal consistent damage like warriors and rogues, they should manage more than just global cooldowns between life tap and drains. While he acknowledged the Warlock pet scaling issue, Serennia suggested that life tap and drain life needed a nerf. This one-dimensional assessment simply revealed his lack of first-hand experience playing the Warlock class - an over-simplification trap that many lesser players fall into, especially with respect to other classes they have not played.
Besides suggesting a nerf for warlocks, Serennia also thought that resto druids should be nerfed so that they weren't the only healing option for smaller brackets (he might have a point, warrior-druid teams seem to be running amok in 2v2, see below). He also thought that elemental shamans were a little over-the-top with their burst potential and needed "tuning".
Commenting on the best race for the Warrior class in Arena PvP, Serennia felt that blood elves would make good warriors if they could, with their AoE silence racial. Since BE couldn't be warriors, he thought that gnomes would make the best warriors in 2v2 and 3v3 due to Escape Artist, and orcs for 5v5s for their stun resistance and the wounding poison removal trick with Blood Fury and Blessing of Protection.
When quizzed on his thoughts on best team combos, Serennia pretty much endorsed the most common setups in the three brackets (hey, there's a reason why they are that common):
According to Serennia, this combo is the most forgiving and has the least number of weaknesses. It is also the most common team setup in 2v2 currently.
3v3: Warrior-Warlock-Druid or Warrior-Shaman/Priest-Paladin
He currently plays a Warrior-Rogue-Druid team, and it takes a "good deal of coordination", especially against Rogue-Mage-Priest teams. The two teams he outlined above are effective against most teams, and he pointed out that the winning Bloodlust team for Season 2 was a Warrior-Shaman-Paladin team.
This team lacks de-curse and CC for opposing warriors, but makes up with 3 DPS and 2.5 heals.
Serennia's dislike for Ruins of Lordaeron is apparent, although he didn't explain why. He called for gear swapping to be allowed in Arenas again, so that players can use their best gear based on situation instead of relying on luck. He also felt that the random effects of some abilities, such as warriors' mace stun effect and shamans' lightning overload, should be toned down so that match outcomes were more a result of skill and coordination, rather than lucky procs.
While I agree that too much randomness can dilute the skill/coordination element, too little of it will take away the drama and excitement in Arena matches. The most memorable matches are often about winning despite overwhelming odds. Removing random procs that could swing a match would mean that better teams will consistently steamroll weaker teams, especially in the tight PvP format of Arenas. Matches would become predictable and dry as a result. His suggestion of revealing your opponents' classes before the gates open would also take away the tension of matches. Arenas are about imperfect information; can WoW PvP gameplay alone really sustain excitement and interest if the unpredictable elements are removed?
The gnome warrior also touched on his own class issues, particularly the berserker stance, and offered specific dueling tips against feral druids. For players working to improve their PvP, he pointed out the benefits of min-maxing gear and sparing no expense on gems and enchantments.
It was overall a great interview, with some attempts at humor and loads of game speak from Serennia, if you dig that kind of thing. He also related his experience of having his account hacked, which should serve as a good cautionary tale for all of us. It is always good to "part the veil", so to speak, to take a look at the players behind otherwise anonymous toons. We can definitely all improve our own game by learning from others, WoW is an international community of real people after all. My only regret is not snagging the interview myself!
I've narrowed my sampling to just the top 50 teams, and as you can see, the class distribution doesn't move much, relative to the top 100 last week. The Warrior-Druid duo is simply dominating the 2v2 bracket at this level.
Looking at the popular team combos at the top, we have:
Warlocks are replacing mages in a big way compared to last week. It is also nice to see hunters included as part of the popular setups.
Almost half of the top teams you'll meet is a Warrior-Druid combo. 2v2 is a volatile bracket, most susceptible to class imbalances. Are we seeing a game-breaking trend here, or is the Warrior-Druid combo the harmless flavor-of-the-month?