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WoW Rookie: Becoming a PvP legend, step 2

New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide. WoW Rookie is about more than just being new to the game; it's about checking out new classes, new playstyles, and new zones.

We talked a few weeks ago about how to become a PvP legend. That advice was the pretty general stuff like "master the mouse turn" and "learn the other classes." Let's start talking about the more advanced stuff that will take your game to another level.

Remember that learning how to PvP isn't an easy road. While you can look up specific strategies and mods for boss fights, battlegrounds and arenas are dynamic, fluid fights. Your opponent will act and react according to your behavior, not follow any kind of script. The challenges are different, and it will take some time to pick up the way PvP works.

Healers: Protect yours, kill theirs

I feel like I say this a lot and am in danger of sounding like a broken record. Still, I suppose if it's a broken record someone listens to, it's a broken record worth playing: it's about the healers. The way healers are balanced, you're just not likely to blow through your enemy if he's getting healed. Healers just output way too much healing to be left alone.

Here are some tips to help you actually accomplish that:
  • Keep your healer in your line of sight; you can't protect what you can't see
  • When you get the enemy healer in your target reticle, announce it to the rest of your team so that they can back you up
  • Keep your interrupt handy; it's hard to kill a healer through their heals, so you need to stop those spells from getting off
  • If you have DoTs, spread them around; anything you can do to produce pressure is a good idea

Thinking in terms of pressure

While doing damage is how you will ultimately kill your target in PvP, just like it is in PvE, the real currency of player combat is "pressure." Damage is a type of pressure, certainly, but it isn't the only kind.

Other types of pressure include:
  • Crowd control applied to opponents
  • Consistently interrupting and stymying opponent's attempts to cast
  • Snare, slow, and debuff the enemy player
Pressure is anything you can do harry and harass the opponent. If you can't get an opponent locked down so that you can apply immense damage, in the very least you should be applying as much pressure as possible.

These techniques are more effective against most players than they even are against PvE bosses. Players frequently panic and lose focus when they get lit up with debuffs and DoTs. Getting the other guy to panic is just as good as an actual game-mechanic crowd control.
Learn names

Due to the cross-server nature of battlegrounds and arena, you will usually face a huge variety of opponents. That's okay. Start learning their names anyway. Pay attention to who you're fighting. Do this even inside a single battleground; learn the name of that vile rogue who's farming the graveyard or the annoying hunter sniping people toward the flag.

Once you've done that, start specifically countering those folks. If you recognize the name of someone who dies easily, take the time to kill them. If you recognize someone who kills you easily ... avoid them!

While you won't often recognize the same person between battlegrounds, you absolutely need to take advantage of the times you do.

Zergs win

If you are by yourself, and you charge into a pack of ten players, you're going to die. More importantly, you're going to die uselessly. And then when you're uselessly dead, and uselessly waiting for the spirit healer to bring you back to life, those ten players are going to go succeed at their goal.

It helps to stick with other players on your team. This provide mutual protection and a much higher chance of success.

I sometimes like to stick with a particular player. Not only does that give me the chance to roleplay that I'm in a buddy cop movie and pretend to be the loose cannon running side-by-side with my straight-laced compadre, but I find that's a good way to develop a rapport and improve skills.

Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from how to control your character and camera angles when you're just starting out, to learning how to tank, getting up to speed for heroics and even how to win Tol Barad.

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