The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, Furious, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Frostwyrms. We're especially focused on the people who play these games, to further shed light on the world of the PvP player.
One of the challenges in presenting Arena each week is that it "takes two to tango." (Or, for that matter, it takes two to waltz, rhumba, and even a whole lot more to square dance.) As we get a chance, we try and look at several different angles to Arena competition. This week, we're able to look at two members of the exact same team, Uh Oh Polio. Dynlor is the team's Paladin, while Domustie is the team's Druid. Check out what they had to say after the cut.
WoW.com: Who are your teammates right now?
Dynlor: I'm Dynlor, a Prot-specced DPS Paladin. I've been playing with Ickz (a Fan of Knives Rogue) and Domustie (Resto Druid) since the end of Season 2.
Domustie: In 3v3, my teammates are Ickz and Dynlor. Our general plan is to do a steady amount of damage to more than one target, making it hard to heal through the pressure. We don't seem to have too many challenges except versus weird under-played compositions like Hunter/Healer/Caster.
WoW.com: What's the general plan behind your composition?
Dynlor: We initially made the team to counter all the melee Cleave teams, but it just so happened to do well against caster based teams and RMP.
Our plan out the gate is to keep up massive pressure on more than one target for the entire game.
Domustie: Run in and start immediately, before they have time to setup.
WoW.com: What challenges does your team have?
Dynlor: Teams with a Fear and a Hunter pose a massive threat, but thankfully we haven't bumped into many. Shamans who are really good with Grounding Totem can sometimes prevent multiple kills in a game. Aside from that, Cleaves with lucky crits can slow our momentum.
WoW.com: How do you prefer to run your comp?
Dyblor: It's really us or them. Since I'm Prot DPS, I can't use Hand of Freedom to get out of Stun or the ability to toss a 12k Holy Light around in tight situations. You could almost say we fall into a DPS race with most teams, but that's just fine with us.
WoW.com: What's your opening strategy? What do you like to do as soon as the gate opens?
Dynlor: Domustie will throw a couple HoTs on me and I'll barge straight in while Ickz gets ideal positioning. The key is pressure on their healer from the second I get in combat.
Avenger's Shield, HoJ, and Shield of Righteousness is usually what I get in before Ickz pops up with Fan of Knives on everyone.
WoW.com: Which mods do you use -- how have you customized your screen?
Dynlor: Peggle, Recount, Afflicted, Gladius, Bartender, and SCT. My screen looks very close to the standard UI, I just have my combat text in a slightly different area.
Domustie: I use nearly no mods. DR Tracker and Gladius is all I use for PvP. Everything else is default.
WoW.com: How do you work out target designation? (Does someone call it out, or is everyone on their own to figure it out?)
Dynlor: Since our comp fills such an odd niche, we're all usually on the same page when it comes to what targets we need to be on. When it comes time, I usually call the kills.
Domustie: I'll call out what to start on most the time and our "kill target" (which can change mid-match if the DPS calls it out.)
WoW.com: How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try and work during "good times to queue?" Is this different now than in previous seasons?
Dynlor: We try to set times depending on all of our schedules, but we rarely get into prime-time queues. I seem to recall a lot more teams queuing during the day back in Season 3, but it has pretty much always been this way.
Domustie: We all have lives and work, so we play when we can, which is only the afternoons.
WoW.com: What's been the biggest change in your strategy between each bracket of ratings? (1500s, 1600s) Is there a big change for this season?
Dynlor: Since we don't get to play as much as we'd like, we really have to treat each game seriously to ensure we get enough practice in. Granted, lower teams don't pose much of a threat but they allow us to take the time and try different things out. If we're lucky, we might stumble on a new strategy to use against top teams.
Domustie: Yeah, the big change is that Death Knightss don't remove my class from the Arena, so I can actually play now.
WoW.com: What signals to you that you need to radically change strategy midmatch? (And how do you accomplish that change?)
Dynlor: Cooldowns, cooldowns, cooldowns. Something as small as a Ghoul stun can give us the go ahead to switch strategies. If we can't get an early trinket forced on the healer, we really have to rework our game plan. Thankfully, we have Avenger's Shield, Silence, and 20-second HoJ to make a quick switch or even take a second to think the next few steps out.
Domustie: Sometimes we'll underestimate uncontested casters and change our strategy to shut them down while the healer (me) plays catch up. I'll usually call that out. Sometimes, my DPS will call for a kill switch on someone that's inadvertantly low.
WoW.com: What's the key for your composition's strategy? Are there multiple tactics you can use?
Dynlor: Flexibility and mistake capitalization. We have a very reactive comp, so it gives us a lot to think about each game. If you want a play-by-play, I'd probably have to send you a 30 step flow chart of "if...then..." which ideally allows us to "Clump 'n' Dump" (where we group everyone together, blow our cooldowns, and AoE their entire team down.)
Domustie: The key is to cause more damage than can be healed on a constant basis (with Wound Poison up) so the team has to be defensive almost the entire match.
WoW.com: You hear a lot about clicking versus binding. Which skills do you still click, which do you tend to bind?
Dynlor: Global cooldowns are 1.5 seconds. If you can't move your mouse to where it needs to be in that amount of time, there's something wrong. That said, I have different judgements bound to 3, Shift 3, Crtl 3. BoPs, cleanses, and Freedoms are also bound for each teammate. Anything off the GCD is bound which includes Trinket, of course. 1-7 is reserved for all of my attacks...pretty standard stuff.
Domustie: I bind most everything, but some stuff that's on real long cooldowns and that I almost never use or only use twice a match, I'll leave to click. Like Innervate.
WoW.com: What are you trying to improve?
Dynlor: I think Domustie and I are trying to nerd rage a little less. Even though I've played with my teammates for a long time, I'm still trying to improve on communication. I assume we're all trying to find ways to play better.
In addition, we're all trying to come up with another unique spec synergy for our comp in case we become outdated. Something on the table right now is Holy Paladin/Balance Druid/Ambush Rogue.
Domustie: I think I've peaked on my play skill personally.