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The Art of War(craft): Winning Tol Barad


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

Just like Wrath's introduction of Wintergrasp, Cataclysm implemented an outdoor (non-instanced) PvP zone where the Horde and Alliance fight for control. This place is called Tol Barad, and most of what I'd written from the beta still applies. What I didn't write about then (and what wasn't quite apparent from beta testing) was how imbalanced the zone could be in favor of the defenders. If you're level 85 and play a few battles of Tol Barad, you'll understand what I mean. While I've won more assaults than I've lost, this anecdotal experience belies the fact that the defenders have a distinct advantage -- they only need to keep one point from being captured, while the attackers need to hold all three at once. Because of how the flag is captured, through proximity and numbers (similar to the towers in Eye of the Storm), it is ridiculously easy to ruin an assault by simply zerging one capture point.

Mat McCurley's post going through the problems of Tol Barad is a pretty good read and should give you an idea of the problems with the zone and some suggestions on how to fix them. For today, we'll take a look at how we can win in the zone despite the overwhelming odds. A fix is probably due, but until then, we'll all have to do battle under unfavorable conditions. This happens often in war -- so soldier up.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for warlocks in Cataclysm


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

Whoop! Two weeks into the expansion, and I just have to ask ... are you guys having fun? Because I am. PvP is amazing, even being undergeared. Stamina is up at this point, so even lacking the right gear, combat will last more than a few global cooldowns. Today we'll conclude our talent review series with a look at warlocks and some really cool talents they can pick up to help in PvP. We still have lots to talk about in The Art of War(craft), from Tol Barad to The Battle for Gilneas to Twin Peaks to rated battlegrounds ... oh, Cataclysm is loaded with PvP goodness. Hit the jump to get started.

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Filed under: Warlock, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Blood Pact: Gearing up your warlock in Cataclysm

Every week (when the regular warlock writer hasn't been eaten by a prince of hell or something, that is), WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology and destruction warlocks. For those who disdain the watered-down arts that other cling to like a safety blanket, for those willing to test their wills against the nether and claim the power that is their right, Blood Pact welcomes you and invites you to take a seat.

If there's anything that surprised me the most out of Cataclysm, it's how fast you replace your gear. While Blizzard made it clear that you would be replacing your Wrath endgame purples with greens as early as the first few quests, I didn't quite expect to replace the Cataclysm blues I got with quest greens in the next zone. In the end, you'll only be wearing your new shinies for a few hours (depending on how fast you level) before replacing them, so looking for gear before level 85 will be somewhat pointless. You're supposed to dump your gear, so don't fall in love with it, even the blues. Especially the blues. The folks at Blizzard want you to graduate to purples. They've made it so easy that they made blues easy to replace.

So what do you have to look forward to in Cataclysm? Well, quite a bit. While this is supposed to be a gearing guide, anybody who's quested through the expansion knows that you pick up gear as you go along. On the other hand, it's going to be nice to know what to aim for once you hit the big eight-five. Hit the jump to start looking at purple shinies.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, (Warlock) Blood Pact

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for warriors in Cataclysm


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

I tried to get this whole guide done before the Cataclysm broke out. I failed. Now that the expansion's out, we're running a bit behind, so we'll hop right to it. Today we'll look at warriors, those bruisers in plate, who get a wonderful boost in PvP with some basic abilities being usable in multiple stances. In Cataclysm, each warrior spec plays differently from one another -- even fury from arms -- which is a great change for flavor and playstyle. Arms warriors play like disciplined martialists who conserve rage and use it at strategic times while fury warriors are like berserkers who thrive on generating loads of fury and getting enraged; protection has always had a different feel.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Cataclysm 101: A guide to PvP changes and challenges

There are quite a few changes to PvP in Cataclysm. Let's have a look at how the changes in the past few patches will affect the other aspect of World of Warcraft gameplay ...

Resilience is different

Resilience no longer reduces critical strike chance but instead only reduces damage across the board. As resilience is the premier PvP stat, this impacts gameplay in a major way. First, critical strikes are back on the table. This means that talents contributing to crit are valuable in PvP again. Burst damage from crits will happen more often, and players can opt to stack crit for PvP without it being devalued ... much.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Cataclysm

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for shaman in 4.0.3


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

Gah. A few more days left, and we're only on shaman. This can't be good. Let's get right to it, then. Shaman are incredibly fun to play, especially with the changes that came with 4.0.1. The improvements on the totem interface in the past have made it much easier for shaman to manage their totems. The best shaman utilize their totems in the heat of battle, and one interesting skill to master is knowing not just which totem to put down for a situation but which sets of totems, now that shaman can drop it down all at once. It's a convenience that changes a few things. There is also higher survivability, better mobility, and clearly defined playstyles for all three specs.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

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