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

How can Blizzard improve Honor with Warlords?

If you read my recent initial PvP gearing post, you'll know that we're in a bit of a strange situation right now with earning honor. Honor points are the points for the mid-level PvP gear, where the entry level is crafted gear and the top level is Conquest gear. They are currently not earned at their best rate via PvP. Instead, in order to maximise your Honor point gains and gear up with Honor gear as quickly as possible, players would be best advised to do a few different things.

First up, you should farm the three rares in the opposing faction's Krasarang base. They drop 275 honor per kill, more if you have a Guild Standard or similar. Their respawn time averages out at around 30 minutes. There are sometimes oQueue realm-hopping groups, which, while frowned upon by many, are the most efficient ways to farm them.

Other than that you should do Wintergrasp and Tol Barad whenever they're up, they're usually deserted and an easy way to get some fast honor. And if that all seems too much waiting around doing nothing, then you can farm Justice Points by running heroic dungeons, and converting them to honor. Yes that was changed with patch 5.4 to be less efficient, but it's still far more reliable than what you should be doing: random battlegrounds. Yes, your first win of the day is worth getting, it nets you conquest points too, but if it takes you five tries to win one, you're wasting your time.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Warlords of Draenor

Battlegrounds in 5 seconds: Deepwind Gorge, Temple of Kotmogu, Silvershard Mines

One of the things which came up from my earlier posts about the basics and mentality of how to PvP, as well as the initial gearing and more in-depth gearing post, was that it might be helpful for some players to put together a Bosses in 5 seconds-style guide for battlegrounds. No, I'm not going into in-depth strategy here, that's something for another day, these are just quick, light guides for each BG to help someone out who has no idea what they're doing.

Deepwind Gorge
  • First team to 1600 gold wins.
  • Capturing mines earns gold per mine per second.
  • There are three mines in a line. From north to south, Pandaren, Center, Goblin.
  • Horde have a minor advantage capping the Goblin mine, Alliance with the Pandaren mine.
  • Carts can be picked up by clicking them. Picking up a cart removes 200 gold from your opponent's total, capturing the cart adds 200 gold to yours. If they return the cart before it's captured, they get that 200 gold back.
  • You pick up the cart in the opposing faction base, and carry it all the way back to your own base. Killing the cart carrier makes them drop it, then it can be picked up or returned. Some speed boosts work while you're pulling the cart.
  • Priority to win: Hold 2 bases, prevent the enemy from capturing your cart, capture the enemy cart. More detail here.

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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP), The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Blizzard explains, apologizes for PVP Season 10 gear debacle

The last few weeks have not been kind to PVPers, to be sure. Despite the new arena season starting on Tuesday of this week, conquest points were accidentally down-converted to honor points a week early, with the excess irreversibly converted to gold. Then, making matters worse, Blizzard launched a new tier of ilevel 371 Season 10 gear on Tuesday without warning, just a week after making ilevel 365 Season 9 gear available for purchase with honor. It was a pretty unique double screw, and it rightfully had a lot of players incensed.

In a rare moment of humility, Blizzard has taken to the official forums to address the pair of what the company is calling "mistakes." Specifically, Community Manager Zarhym (who looks adorable when posed next to a lifesized wyvern) had this to say:

i365 Vicious vs i371 Vicious - Comparison
Before getting into it, I want you all to know that we've maintained an open dialog with our developers over the past 24 hours regarding the way in which the PvP season transition went down since patch 4.2 (this includes relaying a lot of the feedback we've seen on the forums to them). We agree that the mistakes made were very unfortunate and unfair to a lot of players. We're currently exploring some options to try and alleviate some of the misfortune many of you experienced while purchasing PvP gear in the last week.


The full post, which is available after the break, gives a pretty good summary of the facts behind the case, and perhaps more importantly, what Blizzard intended to happen for the start of this and subsequent new arena seasons. In short: After an arena season ends, that season's PVP tier, previously available only via spending conquest points, will be available for purchase with honor points to give players one last opportunity to spend excess HP before the impending conquest-to-honor conversion (essentially, a one-week-only sale). When a new season begins, the old, sale-priced PVP tier will be taken off the market in lieu of new, better, current season gear.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Cataclysm

Blizzard previews new rated battlegrounds PVP mounts

Blizzard is making another big push in patch 4.2 to get players engaged in rated battleground PVP action with the new Vicious War Wolf and Vicious War Steed for the Horde and Alliance respectively. Both new mounts look amazing. Alliance players go a little crazy with Horde heads hanging off the back of their spike-horse; Hordies get to roll around with the skulls of their former enemies dangling as a warning.

The really interesting and cool part about these mounts are that they are awarded for 75, 150, and 300 rated battleground wins. That's right -- each time you reach one of those milestones, you are given another account-bound mount for use on one of your alts, with three mounts available total. That is an awesome change that potentially signals the beginning of more account-bound achievement items being earned and shared across players' accounts, as opposed to having to complete each achievement on each character. This is the first step in something bigger, I'm sure of it.

Rated battlegrounds have been a touchy subject with Blizzard, since depending on who you ask they are either wildly successful or not being used enough. Gathering 10 people for coordinated PVP is sometimes just as much of a pain as doing it for raiding, and the time commitment can be just as large. With these new mounts, Blizzard hopes to get more people into the rated battleground system and start fighting it out for some cool new mounts.

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

The Art of War(craft): Eye of the Storm rated battleground strategy

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. C. Christian Moore is filling in for Battlemaster Zach Yonzon this week, and does he have a treat for you -- rated battleground strategy!

Rated battlegrounds are a very fun subject to theorycraft strategies for; they're new and interesting. I recorded a rated Eye of the Storm that I originally intended to go with this article, but instead, I'll be bringing you the written strategy now and video later, complete with Ventrilo recording!

If you need a refresher on Eye of the Storm or you're new to battlegrounds in general, Zach wrote a great Eye of the Storm primer.

I've only played Eye of the Storm three times now in rated battlegrounds, although I've been a part of many different strategies from premades in The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. As far as I know, there are six seven different ways to play the battleground, although they're lumped into three camps. The three camps are 2v2, 3v1, and 4v0. The numbers are how many towers your team intends on capturing. Each camp (save 4v0) has differing sub-strategies within it.

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

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)

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)

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)

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for rogues 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.

Rogues are a class that lends itself extremely well to PvP, and even six years in, rogues pouncing on unsuspecting prey is one of the enduring visions (and fears) of the game. Rogues play entirely differently from most other classes because of their ability -- and need -- to utilize stealth. The only other spec that has a similar playstyle are feral cat druids.

Rogues always get a lot of goodies for PvP, and the new world isn't any different. It's a new game, though, and the stunlock as we know it is gone. It's been comatose for a long time, but shared diminishing returns put a final nail stunlock's coffin. There are abilities that steer the rogue to do more fanciful things, though. I mentioned before how Recuperate is such a game-changer, allowing rogues to keep up with other classes in a higher-stamina world. Longer combat also means more opportunities to use all those cooldowns rogues are known for -- but it also means they'll need to time it even better now, because blowing all available cooldowns for one big burst does not necessarily translate to killing an opponent.

Anyway, with about a week left to go before Cataclysm goes live, we'd better get this whole thing sorted out, so let's get right into what rogues should pick up for PvP.

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

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for priests in 4.0.1


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.

Never mind that it's actually going to be 4.0.3 pretty soon, we'll wrap up this series as quick as we can before the whole world crashes down all around us. Today we'll take a look at another hybrid class, the only one with two healing specs. It's going to be interesting to discuss the priest because even though many players consider healing in PvP to be less demanding as far as PvP-specific talents are concerned, it's the selection of key PvP talents that set great healers from the pack. In the battlegrounds, where healers have an easier time screening themselves from focus fire, there isn't a great need to dedicate to a PvP spec or even gear. Still, a good understanding of key abilities will help you perform better on the field, especially under the new paradigm.

One great improvement for Patch 4.0.1 geared towards leveling in Cataclysm is the ability of each healing spec to hold their own offensively. While obviously not as powerful as DPS specs, there are clear offensive abilities in each healing tree that's intended to make the leveling experience easier. Consequently, this gives healers better ways to strike back at opponents in PvP. For some players, this can make healing specs more fun and inviting, giving healers an even more active role and opening up some options between healing.

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

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for paladins in 4.0.1

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 have to confess that I couldn't wait to write this part of the series, if for nothing other than I just love the paladin class. Paladins get a brand new resource on top of mana in 4.0.1, the exciting holy power that is bound to see a little more tweaking throughout Cataclysm. A few changes are going to happen from here until the expansion, such as a critical change to Divine Storm that will no longer require its dependence on holy power. Little tweaks like these will find their way to the game, which will make gameplay better for players everywhere (and we can finally use Divine Storm again, yay!). It should be clear that things are slightly different now than how they'll be in the expansion.

For now, we'll take a look at all the talents that should prepare us for Cataclysm PvP. I might sound like a broken record every time I say this, but paladin PvP really gets more interesting this time around. The new mechanic brings in a new flavor to the game experience, and the new talents are just a lot of fun. Let's dive right into it.

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

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for mages in 4.0.1

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.

The Cataclysm is getting close, so we've only got a few weeks of this transitional stage, but it's important to pick out our PvP talents heading into the expansion. Today, we're going to take a look at mages, who have the usual set of tools and a couple of new ones. Nothing drastic has changed, despite the overhaul in 4.0.1, so mages are still casters who do best at range. Nothing has made them capable of wading into melee and standing toe-to-toe with rogues or anything silly like that. Instead, what we've got are three interesting trees with slightly different ways to crush their opponents -- all of them fun.

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

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for hunters in 4.0.1

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.

We don't have much time before Cataclysm hits, so let's get down to business. We've talked about some optimal talents for death knights and druids for PvP, so now we turn our attention to hunters. Hunters have always had a tough time in arenas, not necessarily because the class was broken but because the format simply wasn't conducive to the hunter playstyle. It got so bad, in fact, that Blizzard designed an arena -- the Ring of Valor -- specifically to benefit hunters. On the other hand, hunters have always lorded it over in the open expanse of the battlegrounds.

The good news is that battlegrounds will be cool again. Well, they've always been cool in my book, but soon they'll be rewarding cool gear, too. That means hunters will once again feel like PvP gods (without needing the help of an enhancement shaman). There's one big change to hunters in Patch 4.0.1 and that's the change in resource from mana to focus. The difference with the way focus behaves is that rather than a resource well that pays for spells and abilities (mana), hunters have abilities that generate focus in combat such as Steady Shot and Cobra Shot, and then a whole load of focus dumps. In a way it's like death knight runic power or warrior rage without the decay. This means you'll always want to have nearly full focus but never gain focus that will simply slough off because you're over your maximum. It's a careful balance of gaining and spending, although focus regenerates at a steady rate.

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

The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for druids in 4.0.1

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.

Let's try to get you prepared for Cataclysm, shall we? In the new (banged-up, broken and burnt) world of the expansion, battlegrounds play will stand toe to toe with arenas as far as gear acquisition and quite possibly have even better participation. You don't want to miss out on that. Today we'll discuss the best PvP talents you can pick up as a druid, and you can decide for yourself what other talents to round out your PvP spec.

Perhaps the biggest change for druids in patch 4.0.1 is a new mechanic for balance druids called Eclipse, which relies on the buildup of lunar or solar energy conferred by casting either nature or arcane damage spells, respectively. This means that balance druids will be constantly trying to achieve an Eclipse by casting spells from one school, then shifting to another school once they've gotten the bonus. Out of all specs, balance plays the most differently compared to before the patch, but everyone gets fun tools to use in PvP. Let's check out all these toys across all specs.

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

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