Becoming self-critical: a note on improving performance

by Bigmoran // January 30, 2015

The School of Athens

One of the most famous quotes in philosophy is “The unexamined life is not worth living.” When Socrates uttered these words he was making a broader normative claim that anything and everything should be the subject of analysis. As a fourth year philosophy student, being analytical of the world is something I do often. As silly as it may seem, I have always used this way of thinking in how I approach WoW PvP. In short, I have always been critical of myself, especially when it comes to my gameplay. In this article, I will explain how being self-critical is essential to improving yourself as a player.

Popular Team Compositions - 3v3

by Bigmoran // January 28, 2015


Below you can find a list of the most popular current PvP team compositions for 3 versus 3 arena. This list will be regularly updated and the most popular team compositions vary with each patch – so be sure to check back!


RMP: Rogue, Mage, Priest
RLD: Rogue, Lock, Restoration Druid
RPD: Rogue, Shadow Priest, Restoration Druid
RPS: Rogue, Shadow Priest, Restoration Shaman
RLS: Rogue, Warlock, Restoration Shaman
WLS: Warrior, Warlock, Restoration Shaman
WLD: Warrior, Warlock, Restoration Druid
WLP: Warrior, Warlock, Priest/Paladin
WMD: Warrior, Mage, Restoration Druid
WMM: Warrior, Mage, Monk
WMP: Warrior, Mage, Paladin/Priest
PHD: Paladin, Hunter, Death Knight
TSG: Warrior, DK, Healer
HLS: Hunter, Warlock, Restoration Shaman
HLD: Hunter, Warlock, Restoration Druid
HLP: Hunter, Warlock, Holy Paladin
LSD: Warlock, Elemental Shaman, Restoration Druid
LSD2: Warlock, Balance Druid, Restoration Shaman
KFC: Hunter, Warrior, Healer
Dancing With The Stars: Rogue, Balance Druid, Healer
Beastcleave: Hunter, Enhancement Shaman, Healer
Turbocleave: Warrior, Enhancement Shaman, Healer
Thugcleave: Rogue, Hunter, Healer
Shatterplay: Mage, Shadow Priest, Restoration Shaman
Shadowcleave: DK, Warlock, Healer
Shadowplay: Warlock, Shadow Priest, Healer
Godcomp: Mage, Shadow Priest, Restoration Druid
3 DPS: Any 3v3 composition with all three members using a DPS spec

WoW Abilities Glossary A-Z

by Bigmoran // January 25, 2015

Here you can find the Skill Capped Glossary for World of Warcraft abilities. This glossary will be kept regularly updated so you’re always up to speed with the latest game changes and terminology. In our articles section you can also find a glossary for general terminology, World of Warcraft battlegrounds and popular team compositions.

B

Beam: Solar Beam; Balance druid ability which interrupts enemy spell casts and creates an area in which enemies are silenced.
BoP: Refers to the Paladin spell Hand of Protection, which provides an 8 second immunity to physical effects on the target.
Block: Ice Block; Mage spell providing 8 second immunity to all harmful effects.
Bubble: Divine Shield; Paladin Spell providing 8 second immunity to all harmful effects.

C

Coil: Mortal Coil; Warlock spell that incapacitates a target for 3 seconds.
CS: Counterspell; Mage ability that interrupts casting.

D

Dance: Shadow Dance; Rogue ability that allows Steath abilities to be used for 10 seconds.
Deep: Deep Freeze; Mage ability that Freezes a target for 4 seconds.
DP: Devouring Plague; Shadow Priest damaging ability.

F

Faerie: Faerie Swarm; Druid spell that slows players and prevents stealth.
Fear: Refers to Warlock Fear or Howl of Terror, Warrior Intimidating Shout, or Priest Psychic Scream.
Fists: Fists of Fury; Windwalker Monk spell that stuns targets within range.

H

Heart: Heart of the Wild; Druid level 100 talent that improves damage and healing.

I

Invis: Invisibility; Mage ability that causes the caster to be invisible for 20 seconds.

L

Lust: Tigers Lust; Monk ability that removes all movement impairing effects from the target and increases movement speed by 70%.

M

MD: Mass Dispel; Priest spell that removes buffs from enemy players and debuffs from friendly players.
Meld: Shadowmeld; Night elf racial ability.

N

Nimble: Nimble Brew; Monk ability that removes root, stun, fear, and horror effects from the player.
NS: Nature’s Swiftness; Refers to both the Druid ability and Shaman ability that makes the next cast instant.

O

Orb: Frozen Orb; Mage ability that does AoE damage and grants the caster Fingers of Frost.

R

Reck: Recklessness; Warrior cooldown that increases critical strike chance.
Red Buff: Refers to Combat Insight, a Combat Rogue buff that increases damage done by 30%.
Ring: Ring of Frost; Mage ability that freezes a target for 8 seconds.
RoS: Roar of Sacrifice; Hunter pet ability that causes a target to take no critical strikes within its duration.

S

Sac: Hand of Sacrifice; Paladin ability.
Skin: Barkskin or Ironbark; Druid abilities that reduce damage taken.
Sheep: Polymorph.
Snap: Cold Snap; Mage ability that resets the cooldown of certain spells (notably Ice Block).
Stealth: Refers to Rogue ability Stealth and Druid ability Prowl.

U

UA: Unstable Affliction; Warlock damage over time spell that silences targets who dispell it.

General Terminology Glossary A-Z

by Bigmoran // January 25, 2015

Here you can find the Skill Capped Glossary for general World of Warcraft terminology. This glossary will be kept regularly updated so you’re always up to speed with the latest game changes and terminology. In our articles section you can also find a glossary for in game abilities, World of Warcraft battlegrounds and popular team compositions

A -

Aggro/Aggressive: When a player is using abilities offensively, characterized by liberal cooldown usage.
AoE: Area of effect; the radius in which certain spells effect multiple targets.
Aura Mastery: When a player uses an ability to become immune to interrupt effects.

B -

Blanket: A silence effect that prevents an enemy from using spells.
Burst: Damaging abilities that do high damage.

C -

Cap: Capture.
CC: Crowd control: Abilities that prevent players from using abilities
CD: Cooldown.
Chain CC: When multiple abilities are used on a single target to prolong the duration a target is controlled.
Cleave: Refers to a team composition in which damage dealers exclusively deal either physical damage or magic damage.
Combo: Combination (of players or abilities).
Comp: Composition (of players).
Cross CC: When a player or multiple players use more than one ability to control multiple members of the enemy team.

D -

Dispel: Removing a buff or debuff from a target.
Dispel Protection: Adding an additional buff or debuff to a target with the intention of preventing other buffs or debuffs from being dispelled.
DoT: Damage over time.
DR: Diminishing returns; the decrease in duration of crowd control effects (see: http://www.wowwiki.com/Diminishing_returns).

E -

EFC: Enemy flag carrier.

F -

Fake casting: Cancelling a cast to cause an enemy to miss their interrupt.
FC: Flag carrier.
Float: When a player positions themselves in between bases.
Freedom: When a player has an ability that makes them immune to snares and movement impairing effects.
Full: When a CC effect lasts for its maximum duration.

G -

GD: Good duel.
GG: Good game.
Global or GCD: Global cooldown; the cooldown that occurs every time a spell or ability is used.
Globalled: When a player dies very quickly.
GY: Graveyard.

H -

HAM: When a player goes offensive or uses major offensive cooldowns.
HoT: Healing over time.

I -

Inc: Incoming; refers to an enemy team pushing towards a node.
Insta: Instant.
Interrupt: a spell which disrupts casting and forces a school lockout.

J -

Juke: When a player cancels a cast, to make another player use an interrupt spell incorrectly.

K -

Kick: Any ability that causes a school lockout when used on a cast.
Kite: When a player keeps themselves at range from a enemy while doing damage to a target.

L -

Late game: The later stages in a PvP match.
LoS: Line of Sight; a positional relationship in which two targets are able to use abilities on one another.

M -

Melee: A player who primarily uses physical damage abilities.
Mongo: When a player uses abilities aggressively.

N -

Node: Refers to bases within battlegrounds (ie, Lumber Mill in Arathi Basin).

O -

One-shot: When a players health pool is diminished very quickly.
Opener: The early stages in a PvP match.

P -

Peeling: When a player uses spells on an enemy target to prevent pressure the enemy player from pressuring a friendly teammate.
Port: When a player instantly changes their position using an ability.
Purge: Any ability that removes buffs from a player.

R -

Range: Distance between players; distance in which spells can be used between players.
Rebuff: Using buff abilities mid combat.
Res: Resurrection; Any ability which brings a player back to life.
Reset: When a team pulls back to its original position to try and refresh the pace of a game.
Root: Any ability which demobilizes a player.

T -

TC: Target caller; The player on the team who calls out which targets to attack.
Train: When one target is attacked for a long period of time.
Trinket: When a player uses their PvP medallion to remove all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of their character.

W -

Wall: When a player uses an ability that dramatically reduces their damage taken.
Wizard: A player who primarily uses casted damaging spells.
WP: Well played, a sportsmanlike phrase to use after a game.

Z -

Zerg: To play extremely aggressive.

World of Warcraft Map Terminology

by Bigmoran // January 25, 2015

Here you can find the Skill Capped Glossary for World of Warcraft map terminology. This glossary will be kept regularly updated so you’re always up to speed with the latest game changes and terminology. In our articles section you can also find a glossary for in game abilities, general World of Warcraft terminology and popular team compositions.

Battleground Maps

AB: Arathi Basin
AV: Alterac Valley
IoC/Isle: Isle of Conquest
EoTS: Eye of the Storm
Strand/SoTA: Stand of the Ancients
ToK: Temple of Kotmogu

Alterac Valley
RH: Relief Hut
North: Alliance base
South: Horde base

Warsong Gulch
Leaf: Relief Hut containing Restoration buff
Mid: The area in between the Alliance and Horde base
Ramp: The hill leading up to the Alliance and Horde bases
Side ramp: The hill leading up to the roof from the tunnel in the Alliance and Horde bases
Speed boots: The movement speed buff that increases run speed by 70%
ToT: Top of tunnel
Tunnel: The center entrance to the Alliance and Horde bases
Zerker: The Berserking buff that grants 30% increased damage

Arathi Basin
BS: Black Smith
GM: Gold Mine
LM: Lumber Mill

Eye of the Storm
DR: Draenei Ruins
FR: Fel Reaver Ruins
MT: Mage Tower
BET: Blood Elf Tower

Silvershard Mines
Lava: Capture point in the southeast corner of the map
Mid/Water: Capture point in the center west of the map
Top: Capture point in the northwest corner of the map
Turning: Refers to a team changing the tracks of the carts

Twin Peaks
Broken Ramp: The eastern entrance to the Horde Base
Water: The area of water on the west side of the Alliance Base

Battle for Gilneas
LH: Lighthouse
WW: Waterworks

Temple of Kotmogu
Orb: Orb of Power

Deepwind Gorge
Bot/Bottom: Goblin Mine
Mid: Center Mine
Top: Pandaren Mine

Lessons learned from low-level PvP and Hearthstone

by Bigmoran // January 25, 2015

Twink BG’s

For a while now I have been actively playing twink characters. For those who aren’t aware, twinks are low level characters that play at the maximum level available in each battleground (BG) bracket whilst being decked out with the best possible gear and enchants – For example, a level 39 paladin can twink in the level 30-39 BG bracket. You twink by visiting the Experience Eliminator for your faction. The Alliance Experience Eliminator can be found in Stormwind City. The Horde Experience Eliminator can be found in Orgrimmar. I have been playing twinks for over 6 years–starting in vanilla and Burning Crusade and then taking a break until Mists of Pandaria. At one point both my Rogue and my Druid were twinks and playing in these low level battlegrounds sparked my interest in competitive PvP.

Example of a 19 twink

I will be the first to admit that twinks have carried a stigma in the PvP community. In the past people would argue that twinks ruined all the fun from low level BG’s. This sentiment led game designers to create separate BG’s that recognize when a player is not gaining experience so hardcore twinks could be separated from casual BG players. Since then, there have been infrequent queue pops for low level twink BG’s. Nonetheless competition is still fierce and the gameplay – though mechanically simple – is incredibly fun.

With my recent participation in twink PvP, I have learned some valuable lessons that have led me to rethink the way I play at max level.

I. Movement speed matters

When you play at low levels, not every class has an ability that can slow enemies. This is especially true at level 19, where the only Hunters, Brewmaster Monks, and Frost Mages have abilities to snare opponents. As a melee DPS, getting snared by an enemy is one of the most frustrating things to deal with. There aren’t many gap closers at low levels, so getting snared is quite an effective crowd control. Moreover, there are only a few ways to increase movement speed. A level 19 Rogue doesn’t have Sprint or Burst of Speed. This makes it nearly impossible to catch Druids in Travel Form, who are moving 40% quicker than everyone else in the Battleground.

Playing in these low level BG’s have made me realize how important movement speed is in max level PvP. Being faster than your opponent matters for lots of things: kiting enemy players, pillaring, getting in positions to pump out Crowd Control on enemy healers, repositioning to accommodate your healer, etc. Realizing this can improve your gameplay at max level. It really makes abilities like Shiv, Hamstring, Faerie Swarm, and other snares seem much more valuable for surviving. Being faster than your opponents can sometimes give you an edge in any PvP situation.

II. Finding new routes to run flags

The most popular low level BG is Warsong Gulch. It is the standard for determining the rankings of individual twink guilds and twink players. Because of this, capturing the flag is the main objective in twink PvP. Twink FC’s utilize every part of the map–taking flags to the top of the tunnel to wait for escorts, carrying the flag at the very edges of the map, kiting to the far end of the Alliance graveyard, and line of sighting behind the Horde relief hut.

I have been playing RBGs for a while now and I have seen enemy flag carriers make the mistake of consistently running the flag through the tunnel and across the mid field. This usually means that they run straight into the enemy team, putting themselves in a very vulnerable position. These miscalculated decisions can cost games. One thing I have learned from twink BG’s is to be creative with where you run flags in WSG. Communicate with your team to find out where the enemies are on the map and plan your route accordingly. Don’t tunnel vision the tunnel, open your horizons to new areas of the map to run the flag.

Hearthstone – Trading abilities

One of the core elements of Hearthstone PvP is the concept of trading cards. Trading means using your cards to kill of enemy minions in order to gain control of the board. Effective trades involve using lower cost cards to kill off high cost enemy minions.

This concept can easily be applied to trading cooldowns in WoW PvP. Consider an ability like Recklessness. If you are a Restoration Druid fighting against a Warrior, you trade his 3-minute damaging cooldown  with your 50-second Barkskin Cooldown. This means that you were able to counter a high cost spell with a low cost spell, resulting in an effective trade of abilities. Recognizing the value of abilities is really important in PvP. Always try to find the most effective answers to enemy cooldowns. Try to be as efficient as possible with trading your abilities with enemy players. Sometimes you will make bad trades, other times you will make good trades. Being consistent with the value of your trades can help you win games and give you a road map for dealing with enemy cooldowns.

Early Impressions of Season 16 from a Resto Druid PoV

by Bigmoran // January 25, 2015

While not exactly a guide, below are some thoughts on the expansion so far. It is very possible that some of the mechanics I mention below will be changed in future patches. It is important to keep in mind that early PvP metagames do not necessarily reflect what the game will be like in future patches.

The Near Perfect RBG Composition, Updated For WoD

by Bigmoran // December 25, 2014

I have had a lot of requests to update my MoP guide on the best RBG comp. Although it is pretty early in the expansion, there are a few classes that are excelling in RBGs. Though the metagame might change, here are the best classes for RBGs in Season 16.

In Pursuit Of The Hunt - A PvP’ers Guide To Hunter Specializations.

by Yoske // December 12, 2014


Introduction

I have been finding myself frequently being asked the question “Which spec is FOTM this season?”. The answer to this question, is none. They are all viable.

I am going to go through what specialization you want to be in PvP, mostly arena, and why. Keep in mind this is aimed at readers with knowledge on the basics of the game and how things work, up towards the end of Mists of Pandaria and pre-patch of Warlords of Draenor. With that being said, I will go over any Warlords of Draenor changes that are key in choosing your desired specializations as a hunter.

The 3 specializations are unique in their own way and give you the wonderful freedom to choose what you desire to play in accordance to your play style and preferences.

Introduction to Juking/Fakecasting in WoD

by Bigmoran // December 11, 2014


  1. Introduction
  2. Tools To Juke
  3. Juking As Anticipating Enemy Reaction
  4. Finding A Pattern
  5. Healers, Don’t Juke Yourself To Death
  6. Use All Of Your Spell Schools
  7. Dealing with Pre-kicks

Introduction:

One of the most anticipated changes of the pre-patch was the change to server responsiveness. Roughly speaking, this change made abilities land as soon as their key press was registered. This means that whenever a Rogue uses kick, the ability will immediately register on the server. Part of this change was to address a problem Warriors and DKs had with their Pummel and Mind Freeze abilities. Prior to the patch there was a noticeable delay between when the Warrior/DK used their interrupt abilities and when the abilities actually landed on the target. Some people expressed frustration that their kicks were not landing when they obviously should have. Moreover, latency would often increase the effects of ability delay, making kicks even harder to land for high latency players. These problems were resolved by the change to server responsiveness; people with higher latency could now have some of the advantages that their lower ping friends have had for years.

Lately, however, I have been hearing people express that they are having a harder time juking their spells. With interrupt abilities landing significantly faster, some people are having a harder time faking their casts. In this guide I will explain my philosophy for juking casts. This will include some basic juking strategies as well as some suggestions for playing against higher rated players that are more difficult to juke.

 
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