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PVP Basics Guides

Here are some general hints on playing hardcore PvP. Note that some of these hints apply only to playing on a dedicated PvP server (see below) but most can be applied to playing PvP on normal servers as well.

Win the battle before it starts - With the exception of Rogues, Warlock pets, and players laying an ambush you can see most threats coming. Knowing when (and where) to run is more than half the battle.

There's safety in numbers. When travelling, round up a crew of faction friends despite their levels (typing /anon will hide your level from other players) and stick together.

Stay out of the open, stay on the move, and stay alert; especially when you're fighting NPC mobs.

Casters and hunters need line of sight to execute their most powerful attacks. Grab some cover whenever possible, but don't get yourself backed into a corner.

Do what you do best, but do it big & fast - If you're specialty is damage, set up your talents to do lots of damage quickly (casters should concentrate on direct damage spells rather than damage over time spells, for example). If you're a healer, heal big and buff big; worry less about mana consumption than being able to heal a few players fast and give them a better chance to resist mind-control spells.

Most battles are less about winning than making your opponent lose. For example, snare a hunter's pet and close on him or her fast to minimize the hunter's ranged attack advantage. Silence/stifle/pummel a warlock so that they can't DoT and fear you. Root or snare a warrior to stay clear of their powerful melee attacks. Find a way to survive a rogue's initial barrage, mark them, and you should be in good shape to turn the tables.

PvP Servers

Player vs. Player servers are for a special kind of gamer. While nothing matches the satifaction you get from beating a tough human opponent, similarly nothing quite matches the depths of frustration you'll sink to if you meet up with players who've turned griefing into an art form (in the name of PvP, of course).

Here are some classic PvP terms that you should be familiar with. If you feel a twinge of excitement from reading these definitions, you might find a home on a PvP server. If you feel a tinge of disgust, my advice: stick to the normal servers.

Ganking - Most commonly, this means sneaking up on a player engaged in PvE (Player vs. Environment) combat, and attacking them when they're at their weakest. Not the most gracious form of combat, but all's fair in war.

Zerging - Rolling through a lower-level contested zone with an army of higher-level players, or simply beating a player with numbers and/or level. Relatively safe (with PvP, there's always safety in numbers) and fun if you can get a bunch of like-minded people together.

Corpse-camping - Waiting around and attacking players as they attempt to retrieve their corpse. Regarded as one of the most despicable acts of all in World of Warcraft, there's really no defense except to outwait your opponent. Remember, they're probably as bored as you are and have less to gain by waiting around. Sometimes you might corpse camp to send a message, but let your ego subside; let them get up and flee at some point.

Assisting or Target-Calling- Well-organized PvP groups and raid groups stay alive longer, so you should always have one player that the group "assists". This player calls targets for the rest of the group to focus on, so that targets are taken down as quickly as possible. While this is a strategy for both PvE and PvP, it's worth mentioning here since a group fighting multiple player-targets is going to be a complete wipe in no time.

Just because the server is labelled "Player vs. Player" doesn't mean you'll be dealing with hostile level 60s from day one. In fact, you'll be safe from hostile players as long as you stay in your faction's controlled regions, which are available to help you gain experience until approximately level 20. Within a controlled region, a player of opposing faction can only attack you if you attack them first (or aid a player or NPC whose attacking a player target). Similarly, you cannot attack a player in their faction's controlled region until they attack you. It's a wise policy to steer around the opposing faction's controlled regions wheneever possible, as many controlled zones act as travel hubs. In other words, you could be dealing with a lot of PvP heat fast if you're discovered and announced. That, and corpse retrieval is going to be a nightmare, with opportunistic lowbies hanging around for the easy kill.

Normal Servers

Normal Servers offer some important distinctions from PvP servers. You cannot be attacked by players of the opposing faction unless you are in a battleground, arena, you attack an NPC of the opposing faction (note: opposing NPCs can and often will attack you if you stray too close), or if you toggle PvP mode via the "/pvp" slash command. If you see the crest of your faction appear next to your avatar (the picture of you next to your health & mana / rage bar), you're in PvP mode and can be attacked by players of the opposing faction. You must wait five minutes after toggling /pvp off, leaving a PvP area, or engaging in a PvP action before your PvP flag will clear.

Normal Servers offer two dedicated PvP areas for players to test their mettle.

The Arena

Every three hours (starting at 12am in-game time), a chest appears in the middle of Gurubashi Arena (located in the heart of Stranglethorn Vale) and the first to open it gets the loot (usually some decent potions, but the big draw is a +Stamina item-- players can return 12 of these trinkets for an uber Grand Master trinket that wards damage. The arena is a free-for-all; even players of your own faction can kill you inside, and is generally limited to higher-level (40+) players.

Warsong Gulch is capture the flag, WoW-style. Bring the other team's flag back to your base while defending your flag. Players that die will be resurrected in waves at the Graveyard (which players can and do camp). Arathi Basin is an all-out assault; each side vyes to kill the opposing faction general. Capturing various structures throughout the map provides benefits like better NPC guards. Alterac Valley is a high-level brawl where each side tries to capture and hold a number of resource nodes, which slowly build up resource points for their faction. The more nodes, the faster the point accumulation.

If you haven't tried out BGs, you should! It's a blast, and even though you won't gain much toward your next level, you will gain contribution points and special battleground rewards. Contribution points, you say?

The Honor System

No, this isn't the honor system your mom put you on when she left you alone with the freshly baked cookies. In WoW, you gain contribution points by helping to defeat NPCs or players of equal or higher level or rank, or helping to defend racial leader NPCs. You lose points by defeating NPCs of a much lower level. At the end of each week, your contribution points are translated into an honor ranking. These rankings are available on all servers.

Dueling

Dueling has no real purpose other than bragging rights, newbie entertainment / harassment, and to provide a good use for that /chicken animation (if someone turns down your duel request). Note that if you make the duel request, the duel-ee gets to decide when the battle begins. This can translate into quite a disadvantage if you're challenging a rogue.

When the duel challenge is issued, a totem comes down. If either combatant drifts too far from the totem for too long, they lose the match. Duelists don't fight to the death, but fight to near-death, when the loser is reduced to a heap and the winner and loser are announced to the region.