Archive for SotA

My PvP Status

Posted in Arena, Battlegrounds, Strategy with tags , on February 1, 2011 by Vikt

I wanted to start off this post with a really wise war quote, something like from “The Art of War” that I’ve seen elsewhere and could pretend that I’ve read it but I apparently lack that ability or desire to do so today. It’s really a shame too; this entry is going to cover about everything involving my DK existence to this point, largely in part because Snowpocalypse 2011 dumped 2” of ice and my power wavering in and out isn’t all that conducive to grinding arena ratings.

(Though I obviously did later find a Chinese translator and translate “Of The Horde”)

I think it’s nearly universal from the PvP community that this season has been amongst the most balanced that arena play has seen, and while not perfect many factors that have tilted odds one way or the other are the being addressed in the upcoming Patch 4.0.6. In terms of death knights I believe that Necrotic Strike did need an adjustment as its implementation likely led many players to be rated significantly higher than they should have been, though my thoughts on how it is being done (lower absorb, can drop Desecration) will have to wait until the change occurs. A successful silence chain previously could lead to a healer being dealt 40k worth of NS stacks to recoup, and at the rate DK’s could continually deal damage and stack more the ability was simply a royal pain in the ass.

The 2H Frost damage buff coming in the patch is a welcome addition, and while I do harbor that ounce of sympathy for those who spent more for DW I have to call bullshit on your forecasting ability that told you DW would do more damage. When looking at the frost talent tree you have mirror images to choose between MotFW and ToT, and under no pretense did you predict that DW damage would stack on your oblits. Sorry, you went DW because you 1) liked the look/idea or 2) copied off your favorite Arena DK. My idea certainly carried no more research to go 2H, my only thoughts were that if Frost didn’t compare with Unholy in arena that I at least purchased the right weapon to switch. Either way, I’m comfortable with the weapon decision being a choice in the Frost presence and I am even open to the idea that each spec excels in different areas, but in no way should DW outperform 2H consistently in everything.

Anyway, since Cataclysm I have ran a Blood spec for tanking and 2H Frost for PvP and initially could not be more happy with my decision. The Blood spec was a response to the constant need of tanks in end game PvE content, and thinking about every time I thought to myself that I would like to do an encounter (mostly VoA for me) I was cockblocked by several much more shitty DK’s. While not a raider, I rarely was beat out on DPS and even held more than my own earning my Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher – but even getting raids attempting to get my Brynntroll was next to impossible because of the abundance of DK dps. In Cataclysm, I vowed to devote the same amount of time to PvE as I did in Wrath – but the problem is I’m coming up on 2 months past release and I still could care less.

The Blood spec is fun, and while I haven’t tanked on it since mid-December I use it every day running dailies. I wear my full PvP setup (medallion and badge included) in Tol Barad, Deepholm and Uldum, and when Allies attack even 3-on-1 I have come up victorious. If the Blood spec had any Arena function at all I would keep it, but that said I am starting to lean heavily on the side that I want to try out Unholy instead of 2H Frost.

Ahh yes, this debate. Most “pros” will tell you that you need to run Unholy at higher levels and that Frost is the “nub” spec. Nah. Unholy provides constant pressure at all times, and when coordinated well can overwhelm teams with a transformed ghoul and a gargoyle. Frost can give insane damage almost instantly, but the higher I get in Arena I find my burst being peeled much more efficiently than it was at lower levels. My mind isn’t made up on what I am doing and will likely see how Frost performs following the content patch, but in the near future if you are an armory watcher you will likely see a change of some sort.

Speaking of “pros”, other than quickly claiming 1550 achievements across the board in Arenas and an 1800+ rating in 3’s, the highlight of my Cataclysm experience so far was beating this team from Mannoroth. In this scoreboard shot reveals some of the most revered players in the battlegroup, including Lopez, widely considered to be the best DK on the US-Ruin battlegroup (he runs Unholy if you’re wondering). Now in the past I have said that Strand of the Ancients victories should not hold a lot of weight because it is simply an awful battleground, but since our big victory occurred there I take all that back.

Kidding, but it was exciting to pair our guild up (we have a 1750+ achievement requirement for entry) against élite players and come out on top, even if they did let us steamroll to the orb after shutting them out in the first round.

Speaking of the 1750+ achievement, I never had it when I joined my current guild as I was let in without it because of some run-ins in battlegrounds and Wintergrasp with some of the members. I have always considered myself good at PvP, but if you’re reading this far into my post you know that people judge you almost solely upon your highest ratings as often as people mistake your gearscore for skill in a dungeon. It was refreshing to know that I have no difficulty grinding out this rating, though I am starting to understand why people get stuck at certain ratings. There is a noticeable difference in competition at 1800, and I have heard the same at every century interval after that. Now being that I only started season #9 with just over 100 wins, my recent addiction to rated arenas has me in line for the 300 win achievement within the next week or two.

Now with all that rating talk in Arenas, my goal this season was to acquire a ranking higher than 2200 in order to purchase the best weapons and armor. While I feel that I am going to be much better in arenas by the end of this season, I don’t believe that I will grind out a 2200+ rating in one of them. The best way in order to do this in the current implementation though is to via rated battlegrounds. In the above picture alone you see ___ players with a 2200+ ranking, and from all accounts that I have seen it is very difficult to lose points from a battleground, while every win seems to raise you without consequence. Many non-2200+ arena players are in line for the “heroic” Vicious Gladiator gear as of now because of rated battlegrounds, so my guild taking note has begun taking them a bit more serious. Vikt currently sits at 1096 (4 points from the “Scout” title) and is 17-7 so far in those.

Finally, if you already scoffed at the Vengefully Dedicated screenshot for Gladius being out of order with the Blizzard default, I am also in the process of changing my keybinds as well as my UI. So, the screens that you’ve seen for the better part of 2 years are going to change a bit as I’m working towards something a little more user friendly and using keybinds that are easier to manage – you know, now that I know what I actually need to use and how often. Before I was fine with having Empower Rune Weapon as Ctrl+C, however when bursting a target in arena I simply cannot pull this move off in the time, and thus need an easier keybind and then I need to make sure I don’t use it accidentally when I don’t need it…stuff like that.

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First Week Back

Posted in Battlegrounds with tags , , , , on September 5, 2010 by Vikt

After being on vacation for 10 days I was admittedly more interested in playing World of Warcraft than I was blogging about it, but after a week of battlegrounds and a little pre-expansion questing I need to dump some screenshots.

My first battleground back completely illustrated a post I read on Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual ironically during said vacation, entitled “The Battleground Scoreboard” that talks about all that is wrong in the way that battlegrounds are scored. This could not be more true if you analyze the lopsided Horde domination in all aspects of PvP, however still losing to an organized Alliance team. The Alliance had 2 feral druids and a rogue that capped bases behind us, an elemental shaman and a boomkin that blew us off the ledge at the lumber mill – just all the elements of a successful Arathi Basin team minus geared Gladiators.

Also, I posted recently about a badass hunter being your best friend in a battleground, and in that you had Draxiel from Skullcrusher just pouring damage into the Alliance. Again, we lost, so all for naught.

Again with the hunters, this time being Bohan from Shattered Hand (in complete PvE gear) and Hektor from Magtheridon. These hunters lit everything up so effectively that I somehow was never the target of a group and that my defensive cooldowns were enough to keep me alive most of the time, which is plus considering I’m always at the front of the battle. Four more damn kills and I would’ve got my wrecking ball achievement…shit.

This is of course the anti-first picture, where we dominated all the stats and still won. I would assume that Strand of the Ancients is much more conducive to one of these types of results than Arathi Basin is, because if you lose out in the mass PvP in and around the demolishers you pretty much don’t fair very well. The reason this battleground is shown is because I inherited (stole, whatever) my new saying when I capture the relic in SotA or Wintergrasp…except I spell it right.

You know how every portfolio, resume or whatever has that one item in it that supposedly shows versatility? Ya, this is me claiming I can do more than bash heads in Eye of the Storm. You’ll note in the bottom of my UI that I go to the extent of keeping Swiftness Potions in my inventory, as well as alternate between Unholy (run speed) and Frost (tank) presences in order to be an effective flag carrier. If you’re losing a lot of battlegrounds and not taking similar steps, try re-evaluating your approach (quit being a tightass!).

This is the obligatory “we defended Wintergrasp and I kicked ass in it” screenshot that pretty much makes every screenshot-dump post that I do. To judge your own personal asskickings, download the WinterTime addon from Curse which will not only tell you when Wintergrasp starts, but how many kills and honor you earn while inside of it. It also comes with extra achievements which in no way count towards your total, but it still kind of rocks when you earn things like “Won Wintergrasp wearing no pants”.

Of note there is no achievement for that, but you get the idea.

Such a questing whore, told you I was trying to tie up some loose ends before Cataclysm.

While you can’t tell in this picture, I finally decided that I could tank bosses at the end of battlegrounds. While I am certainly not ready to tank Alterac Valley and all the tower guards yet, I decided that I’ve watched enough people sit around long enough when the waiting party was sufficient to take down the end boss. You know the routine, 15 people standing outside the boss in AV or Isle of Conquest and everyone looks at each other with their dicks in their hands? Ya, I’ve started going frosty and charging bosses – pretty good results so far.

While this final battleground doesn’t look like much, we were actually even around 350 with the Alliance beginning to take the upper hand. I ran down towards the Gold Mine and helped a warrior and a druid take out 2 Alliance as well as the respawn, and immediately after the battle a warrior named Gormic from Mannoroth stepped up, inspected me and said let’s roll together. We capped the mine, he hopped on the Death Mammoth along with Mandazar and ripped the blacksmith from 4, the lumber mill from about the same and then went Operation: Dumbo Drop back to the blacksmith in route to a 5-cap. It was perhaps one of the most dominant runs against superior numbers I’ve had without a healer…it was ugly for the Alliance.

L80 Wrathful Hunter

Posted in Battlegrounds, PvP Videos with tags , , on August 10, 2010 by Vikt

Normally I post videos of PvP as I come across them in some fashion, but being that I have been unable to play as of late I admittedly forced the issue to find one. In reviewing the classes of what I have posted, I realized that I hadn’t posted a video of a badass hunter.

I hate hunters. I mean, my view of a hunter is absolutely some Night Elf jumping and flipping all over and trying to kite me, and this hatred stems all the way back to my days vanilla as a warrior. As a DK I don’t seem to have problems with them, but when fighting in groups they can wipe me out really quick. Fact is, a really good hunter is about your best friend on the battlefield other than your pocket healer.

Oh, and even harder than living through a hunter burning his cooldowns on you is finding a good hunter video on Youtube. My god there are horrible hunters out there. As a tip to prospective video … uhh, uploader-guys, if you keyboard turn, click buttons or backpeddle when kiting – just don’t subject yourself to the abuse.

This video is of Mohgrummar from Crushridge/Cyclone, who honestly I would assume is shooting most of this in PvE gear like the limitless number of people who want to pimp their gearscore in battlegrounds. Either way, his play is very good and the damage is reminiscent of the point I wanted to make in posting the video.

Terribad Night in BG’s

Posted in Battlegrounds with tags , , , on August 3, 2010 by Vikt

If you follow my Twitter posts (all 22 of you) you read my bitching this morning about going 1-7. Well, I’m getting ready to log in tonight – and the more I think about WoW I’m waffling to get on because of how bad it was. Oh, and I was mistaken on the whole 1-7 thing, it was 2-6 but the first victory here gave arena points for yesterday.

This was the only battleground I ran the night before last, and honestly – if you can’t win a Warsong Gulch on US-Ruin then you’re trying to play on a bad night. You can tell by the damage done that I was in a pretty good pug, and there was an Alliance rogue named Gnardawg. How sweet is that?

(Holla if you just did an Andy impression)

In this AV I decided against the whole blitz thing that everyone tries to do, and honestly unless you spot a badass tank and a guilded healer the chances of a successful blitz are slim to none. In my experience, the ideal blitz comes when someone does the instructions at the beginning and state they are in a premade. They assign groups to certain things, they have a tank and they have healers – unless these things occur, kill Balinda and hold onto towers…don’t run to Vann to sit while the Alliance win.

Back on subject, in this one there was no such tank, there was no such healer, so I killed Balinda and then went re-capping to give the douchebags a shot if they got their act together. They didn’t.

In this AV, glancing at my 4th group member you’ll notice a warrior by the name of Cudmaster, sitting pretty in full ICC 25 heroic gear. We rushed to Vann, he said heal me and charged after confirmation from everyone else – but turns out he and I were the only ones that did.

In this one it was obvious that Cudmaster was a bit pissed, and pleaded for heals in the tunnel. Again, we got there and you can see where the rest of the raid is (and if you don’t care to look it’s in the middle of the goddamned map).

After trying two straight AV’s as the Call to Arms I decided to go random, and what better BG to redeem myself than in the only battleground the Horde wins frequently (you know, after AB, EotS, IoC and WG).

(If you’re following at home that means we suck at SotA as well, just slightly less than AV).

In this one the Alliance employed a great strategy, where the top 2 from Stormrage jumped in the demolisher and roasted anyone that came close to it. The paladin followed close behind, but the Alliance honest to god captured the relic in about 1:30. On offense we had one person break the wall in the whole seemingly 30 seconds we had to win, but ya – you see the results there.

Ahh, off to Arathi Basin – the first battleground all night that we have a better than average chance of winning. I mean of course, unless your resident DK ends up 3RD IN HEALING.

Amazing. No one on the team had any motive to go anywhere, and after running to defend the Farm from the Alliance I stood with 2500 health remaining while 2 priests and a shaman stood there with me. I finally sat down to eat, then got up and bandaged myself in amazement that none of them tossed a heal. Even if you don’t have a healing spec, you can throw a damn 4k heal on me to at least pretend like you give a damn.

SO – what I did for revenge: I stood up in front of everyone until the Alliance came down from the Lumber Mill to attack. I let them run up and when they got close I mounted and took off. The faux-healers got hammered, we lost the farm, and I stood on the bridge in route to the Gold Mine laughing irl. Dick? Yes, but seriously (we were also already down like 800-300).

Bear with me, almost there. By this time Mandazar logged in and I thought at least I have another guy who has a relative clue of how to win. Well, he and I slaughtered the east side, but in less than 2 minutes the Gate of the Yellow Sun was under attack…really? Really. We lost.

Success! Finally! We blitzed, charged in with no towers down and got one. For those that support the blitz, allow this screenshot to show that it is possible…and of course let the other screenshot(s) show that it rarely works.

Hopefully tonight doesn’t suck as bad.

Backlog of BG’s

Posted in Battlegrounds with tags , , on July 16, 2010 by Vikt

This was really the only battleground I have ran with my brother in a long time. After zoning into the random battleground, screaming “SHIT!” as loud as I could after seeing it was Strand of the Ancients – it really turned out pretty ok (as evident in my comment in guild chat). You could even say Eleet outplayed me – nice to have some competition now and then.

When I talked Eleet into playing I wanted one of those unkillable paladin pricks to run around with, and when he plays he is just that. It would be scary to see us running around more than once every two weeks.

Another Strand that we actually won, where Mandazar and I carved up a pretty bad set of Alliance. I really can’t remember much else other than that about this one.

But this one on the other hand I do. See, one of the defining ways of discovering a noob Death Knight is their use of Death Grip. New 80’s for some reason have a fascination with death-gripping everything in sight, but sometimes you have some interesting experiences with ones that probably shouldn’t suck. I have never been death gripped more in a battleground by one DK than I was by Pulverized the Kingslayer, who had some unhealthy fascination with fighting me instead of…you know, even getting off the beach. Even travelling around with a pocket holy paladin – well, you can see the results for yourself.

This is just one of those absurdly fruity family pictures, but this warlock named Infectiion and I pretty much won an Eye of the Storm on our own. See, I am a pretty habitual Draenai Ruins crasher off the start, and then I work my way around nodes that seem to be unguarded or have little opposition – meaning if there’s less than 3, I and whoever (if anyone is with me) are going to take the node or tie up half the BG in trying to defend it from us. Anyway, we had 2 nodes and were getting raped at the flag, and with a huge lead the Alliance then took the Felreaver node…

I was running towards the middle and decided to assist the solo warlock there, and this was the end result. The rest of the Horde was short-sighted on the east side of the map, while this warlock and I defended FR by ourselves for the rest of the battleground. He wasn’t geared very well, but I just went into peel and root mode and AE’d everyone down while they attacked him. He pretty much used every ability available to warlocks to live through most of this, but whatever he did he did it very well.

I mean, I know it’s old, but seriously – “that’s what she said” jokes still make me laugh. The art of the joke always lies in the presentation, and when it hits you when you don’t expect it … I dunno, just funny.

Well, speaking of “that’s what she said jokes” ….

This was just Mandazar and I the other night. We were smoking them like 800-300, then 1150-600ish – and ya, then we got our asses kicked. Just goes to show, even when you gift wrap a battleground in a pug that you think it would be impossible to lose – you just never know.

How Random?

Posted in Battlegrounds with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2010 by Vikt

A complaint I see on many different forums stems from how – not – random the random battleground feature is. Well, after running what seemed like 10 Strand of the Ancients in a row I started marking down which battleground was selected and with what frequency it occurred.

I started keeping track of the data 50 matches ago, as I couldn’t necessarily tell you which battlegrounds were random and which were selected from the screenshots prior to that. Other variables to consider in how these were likely selected would be time of the day, server population and perhaps how many battlegrounds were running at that particular point – but I really didn’t think about all of that from the start and I didn’t want to start over…so ya. Additional conditions you could argue would be that I rarely go into battlegrounds alone, and that my group typically consists of at least 3 people. We all play generally between 10pm and 1am EST. But anyway, this chart is only about frequency.

What my poorly constructed pie graph shows is that essentially Eye of the Storm was the most selected battleground at 28% of the time, Strand of the Ancients and Arathi Basin at 20% a piece, Warsong Gulch and Isle of Conquest somehow being tied with 12%, and then Alterac Valley at 8%. If anything can be taken from these 50 games, it’s that the top 3 random battlegrounds selected are all 15 vs. 15, and that those 3 alone accounted for 68% of the random battlegrounds I was in.

If you are interested in the results of the 50 battlegrounds (I know how everyone likes to relocate to a server where their side dominates), we went 30-20 overall – and it is really an all or nothing scenario…Horde either rapes, or sucks bad. We went 3-7 in Strand of the Ancients and 1-5 in Isle of Conquest, and if you just figured out why you never see those 2 battlegrounds mentioned much on this site then you just found out. On the other end of the spectrum, we went 11-3 at Eye of the Storm, 7-3 in Arathi Basin and 6-0 in Warsong Gulch. The PvE race that is Alterac Valley came in at 2-2, but truth be told AV would show similar numbers to SotA and IoC given a larger sample size.

I’m Back

Posted in Battlegrounds, Strategy, World PvP with tags , , , on April 19, 2010 by Vikt

I can’t exactly say why I feel my post deserves theme music today, but after titling it I sang it the whole time I was uploading pictures. For that reason, hit play on the video and then remember to hold down shift when you click the pics so you don’t leave the site.

While I enjoy stroking my e-peen to the idea of being high in most categories, it’s not necessarily something I overly care about. That said, I hate it when I run into a DK who’s better than I am. After checking the armory of Duelist Tems from Arthas, I don’t feel all that bad anymore. For those of you scoring at home, he uses a PvP spec virtually identical to mine – so if you follow my specs then know there’s a ringing endorsement. In fact, Thejdawg (Balance Druid) and Essienlol (Spriest in this one) are nice templates for those PvP classes as well.

This one isn’t like a major feat or anything, but this was a battleground where a member of my crew came along and played well. Gimmedahealz, otherwise known as the worst-named restoration druid playing WoW today kept me and a relatively newly 80’d-geared Dreyjin alive well enough to 3-0 a Warsong Gulch.

Same group, just had to fight quite a bit for this win. We were down close to 700-250 at the start, as the Alliance took their 2 nodes as well as Fel Reaver off the start. The tide changed when the 3 of us went to Draenai Ruins and held off 5 of them during a 5+ minute battle, but that increased attention before several more showed up allowed us a few flag caps as well as the opportunity to take back the Blood Elf Tower. The screen doesn’t do this win much justice, but this is a classic case of where noobie battleground participants can’t pass up an uneven fight, and seeing 3 of us was just too much to keep them all away. When we died it was honestly 8 on 3 with most of them on their 2nd and 3rd spawn.

Oh no I didn’t win both SotA’s I got into this weekend did I? Believe it or not, the BG I loathe the most has me sitting undefeated in it since the random battleground change. In this fight the Alliance managed to break into our courtyard with 4 minutes to go, however did the unspeakable and capped the final graveyard. Since I never wax poetic about this horrid BG (but actually fun I’ve found with competent players), DO NOT EVER CAP THE FINAL GY. What happens is you allow the enemy to spawn right next to the relic, and unless you are dominating in the individual matchups you’ve just capped yourself into a stalemate. Also, you know how much of a sucker I am for a well-played warlock, and as you can see Fadedness of Lothar is pretty badass.

This is just an example of the beauty of a pocket priest, as Chiarore of Bloodhoof jumped on board my war mammoth and followed me as I capped a couple of flags. The opposition was pretty good, but simply the 2 of us running in and out of the flag room was more coordination then the alliance had as they battled the other 8 Horde who insisted on gaining control of the middle. Of note, no stat exists on the board there that mentions how well anyone did fighting in the middle, but if you check the honor of the priest and I you’d think people would learn something.

The last one here was a defense of Wintergrasp last night, which was the only thing I did other than list 120 gems on the Auction House to make up for lost time. I managed not to die in this one, did half a million in damage and got credit for 171 honorable kills. Not my best, but certainly one of my better showings. What happened in this one is the Alliance got pigeon-holed into one area, and then continually ran back into the same hole in the wall where the entire Horde was sitting and waiting for them. We owned every workshop, had 20+ demolishers focused on the breach and just farmed people for the better part of 15 minutes. A word of advice, poking a hole ANYWHERE else in the fortress would’ve allowed a win, as 2 holes is simply too much for the average WG defense PuG to defend.

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