Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all-things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in WoW.com's arena column.
Listening Music: Sting with some of my favorite folk, "The Snow, It Melts the Soonest." Although this version isn't my favorite, it's one of the only videos with decent quality I could find -- and it's by Sting, gotta love Sting.
Last Week: We talked about season eight compositions and trends, particularly in 3v3. Not much has changed since then. Check it out if you have the time, it's still very relevant.
This Week: We'll be discussing the wonderful imbalances we call "racials" for arena. The alliance have historically had worse PvP racials than their horde counterparts, but this might have changed in WotLK.
Remember back to a time when race changes didn't exist. In vanilla WoW and The Burning Crusade, players had to reroll or deal with the racials that they originally chose, even if those racials got nerfed or buffed. These racials were also far more imbalanced than they are today, which added insult to injury for certain race / class combinations.
Stoneform: Activate to remove poison, disease, and bleed effects; +10% Armor; Lasts 8 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
This racial is a shadow of what it once was. Pre-WotLK, this racial would give a 8 second immunity to poison, disease, and bleed effects. The difference is enormous -- removing a 50% healing debuff in Wound Poison for an 8 second window allowed the dwarf to receive some massive heals. The racial was also on a three minute cooldown, but most PvPers will tell you that the shortened cooldown does not make up for the 8 second immunity. Dwarf priests and hunters had a much easier time surviving against rogues in The Burning Crusade, which is probably the reason the racial was nerfed for WotLK.
Gun Specialization: increases chance to critically hit with Guns by 1%.
I detest weapon specialization racials. My hunter, like many others, has a ranged weapon specialization. While this might seem cool at first, one soon realizes the weapon specialization actually pins you down to always choosing a specific weapon-type. If the best weapon in game is a (PvE) bow and you are a dwarf, part of your racial itemization has gone to waste. PvP weapons always have a variety that players can choose from, but a dwarf hunter running around with a PvP bow will probably be /facepalmed by high rated PvPers. Gun specialization is (obviously) useful for hunters, but there are sacrifices that accompany it.
Mace Specialization : Increases expertise with maces and two-handed maces by 5.
If human didn't have a monopoly on warriors and rogues, this would be nice. Mace specialization is actually much worse than gun specialization in the sense that it is very limiting. Warriors who decide sword is a better spec would do much better with a different race, as this racial would give them no benefit.
Frost Resistance: Reduces the chance you will be hit by Frost spells by 2%.
I suppose this could be a minor selling point to choose dwarf -- many mages don't go to 6% spell hit for PvP, so this racial will actually cause a lot of misses with Frost Novas and other annoying spells. Let me emphasize minor selling point.
My super cool PvP ratings for the race, based on each class -- scale is on 1-10 with one being garbage and 10 being a midnight show of Chewbacca on Ice:
Death knight: 4.
Escape Artist: Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect. Instant cast.
Getting out of snares or roots is particularly great for melee classes - it helps to keep them on their kill target. Escaping a shatter combo can be game breaking as well. For most alliance melee classes, the choice becomes Escape Artist vs. a second PvE trinket (cough cough, human racial), and sadly the second PvE trinket usually wins out.
Escape Artist is such a fun, unique ability -- it would do much better to have a shorter cooldown. Giving gnomes slightly more appeal would help to reduce the overpopulation of humans. You might say that gnomes could use a boost.
Expansive Mind: Increase Intellect by 5%.
If gnomes could be healers (yay for gnome healers in Cataclysm), this would be something to really take note of. As is, only two classes can make use of this racial -- mages and warlocks. While it will help you get in two or three more spells before going oom, I don't know if anyone has chosen Gnome for their spellcaster because of the increase to intellect.
I guarantee this racial will be changed before Cataclysm, as a 5% buff to damage (or greater) is just straight up overpowered.
Arcane Resistance: Reduces the chance you will be hit by Arcane spells by 2%.
You'll resist some damage spells here and there, as well as the occasional Polymorph which might win you a game or two. Not a huge selling point, but something to keep in mind.
Death knight: 9.
Shadowmeld: Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threat is restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect, 2 minute cooldown.
Shadowmeld is kind of underwhelming. It seems like it would be this amazing ability for PvP, almost like a second vanish. It's not. I've seen it do some pretty cool stuff, but those times are few and far in between. I could be wrong here, if there are any Night Elves out there that swear by Shadowmeld, please leave a comment below and I'll update it. As is, I'm pretty unimpressed with the ability.
Quickness: Reduces the chance that melee and ranged attackers will hit you by 2%.
Quickness, however, is awesome. Melee and hunters almost never go the extra 2% hit, after all -- only one race has any reduced chance to hit for physical attacks. I've heard of hit capped warriors and rogues missing three straight abilities on night elves, just because of Quickness. It's a particularly awesome ability if you're a rogue, as you're a common target for physical damage. Hunters and priests also gain a lot of benefit from Quickness. Out of all the "reduces the chance you will be hit..." racial abilities, Quickness is by far the best.
Elusiveness: Reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while Shadowmelded or Stealthed.
Another awesome ability for a rogue. Reduced chance to be detected is fantastic, even if it's not a large stealth level increase, it's definitely noticeable.
Nature Resistance: Reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%.
Nature Resistance is kind of cool. Most druids don't pick up the extra spell hit. You'll occasionally resist Cyclones. You also have Quickness, so it's kind of like a double whammy for survivability.
Rogue: 9 and a half, human rogues have a very slight edge in the author's opinion.
Death knight: 5.
Gift of the Naaru: Heals the target of X damage over 15sec. The amount healed is increased based on the caster's Spell Power or Attack Power, whichever is higher. 3 minute cooldown.
While it's not the strongest heal in the game, it is free and instant. Some interesting facts about the spell:
- It will knock you out of Shadowform.
- Because it doesn't use mana, it doesn't reset the five-second rule.
Heroic Presence: Increases chance to hit with all spells and attacks by 1% for you and all party members within 30 yards.
Definitely useful, allows you and your team to budget smarter. I wouldn't say this is a huge selling point, but I know people who have rolled Draenei for this racial.
Shadow Resistance: Reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%.
Because Shadow Resistance is found on three races (I'm including Blood Elves here), warlocks, priests, and death knights are pretty keen about getting 6% spell hit in PvP. Because of this, oddly enough, Shadow Resistance is probably the most ineffective resistance racial.
Shaman: 81 and seven elevenths, with approximately 0.5 margin of error.
Death knight: 5.
Every Man for Himself: Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character. This effect shares a cooldown with other similar effects, 2 minute cooldown.
Best alliance racial, period. Actually, who am I kidding? Best PvP racial in the entire game. If you're a hardcore raider with access to some insane trinkets, this racial gets even better for you, as that 2nd trinket slot normally reserved for a PvP trinket doesn't apply to humans. Every Man for Himself effectively allows a player to trade mediocre racial X (take, for instance, Shadowmeld) and a static secondary stat (such as 153 resilience) for a trinket of their choosing. The trinket will almost always win out over the static stat + mediocre racial.
Perception: Increases your Stealth detection, passive.
Talk about a slap in the face to every other race. Okay, so not only do humans get unarguably the best PvP racial in the game, they have an easier time getting druids and rogues out of stealth? Where do I sign up?
Mace Specialization: Increases expertise with maces and two-handed maces by 3.
Sword Specialization: Increases expertise with swords and two-handed swords by 3.
The Human Spirit: Increase spirit by 3%.
Is this overkill yet? There's something for everyone here. If you're a melee class, you get increased expertise with
The only class/specs that don't benefit from mace+sword weapon specialization or increased spirit are holy paladin and assassination rogue.
Death Knight: 10.
Yep, human is the best possible Alliance race for every single class it has access to. Luckily, horde racials (what we'll be going over next week) are much more balanced. What did you think of my ratings? Am I pretty close, or a bigot? Leave a comment below!
Also, disclaimers are fun!
Disclaimer: This column is about arena PvP. Even though the author has extensive raiding, soloing, and battleground experience, this article has the perspective of a gladiator. The benefits and detriments described therein prescribe to these conditions, as they would be quite different in other scenarios.
Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? Check out WoW.com's articles on arena, successful arena PvPers, PvP, and our arena column, Blood Sport.