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Playing Better

July 19, 2011

One of the things that I’ve been trying to figure out is how to play a better game. If you’re thinking about PVE, then it could be rotations, optimal cooldown use, or just knowing the encounter. Now, if we translate this into PVP, then these same things generally apply, but there’s the added components of the human mind and the objectives of the map to contend with. As well, we have to consider some limiting factors in these equations: gear, player skill, your teammates (or raid members if you’d prefer), skill of your opponents (in PVP), and the encounter (or map).

The first thing (and easiest thing) to help even the odds is acquiring better gear. If you’re going into battlegrounds with less than 100k health at 85, then you’re creating an undue burden on your teammates. If you’re going into the Zul’agains with just ilvl 346, then you may not have an optimal experience. Find some of those upgrades you can afford, throwdown the cash, and begin equalizing the playing field. Lately, when I’ve been playing my druid in battlegrounds, I’ve been getting instagibbed by the opposing team. It happens. It is very frustrating, but I’m working on acquiring the gear to equalize the experience. However, you’re going to have to suck it up, but there’s going to be an intrinsic benefit of playing a bunch to acquire the better gear.

Improving your skill level will come with playing consistently. You can have the best gear in the world, but if you don’t consistently play in the arena that you’re looking to master, then you’re going to plateau here quickly. A friend of mine started working on tanking right before the Zul’roics came out, and he was having a hell of a time with it. I asked him what was giving him the most fits, and he said, “I spent so much time DPS’ing, I don’t know what all my tanking cooldowns do!” But he stuck with it, and when 4.1 came out, he was ready to roll through them and provide a consistent tanking experience. Gear can help increase the gap at which skill becomes important, but it can’t remove it entirely. You have to stick with it to improve.

However, both of the above things can be quickly undermined by the skill (or lack thereof) of your teammates. The biggest variable in any encounter is how someone that you can’t control will react when things go. If your healer spends his entire time casting big heals, then he’s going to run out of mana. If your DPS don’t stay on the marked target (be that player or boss), then something will go wrong (you marked it for a reason, right?). If your CC targets keep getting loose and no one controls them again, then your incoming damage will spike or you’ll get controlled. This does get better if you know your teammates and play with them regularly, but in the world of random battlegrounds, dungeon queues, and PUG raids this can be a nightmare to deal with. Just stay calm and don’t panic.

The same thing goes for your opponents. If you have a group of players coming at you that really know how to accomplish their goals, then I hope you have the same thing going for you. Without an equivalent level of players, prepare to get rolled. The first time I set foot in the Battle for Gilneas, we went up against a premade. That sucked. A lot. I mean, like, 3 capped in less than 5 minutes kind of suck. Now, the buddy I was playing with and I did give them some good fights, but without the same level of coordination, it was over quick. So, take what you can when this happens, but just understand that you will lose sometimes with very little control over the entire thing.

The final thing, and I saved it for last because it needs to be said, play to the encounter. If your goal in an encounter is to kite a boss across the room, then kite the boss. If your goal is to take and hold enough points to generate more than your opponents, then take your points and defend. Push if you need to to generate pressure, but don’t forget the goal. The most frustrating thing in battlegrounds and dungeons is trying to play the game to the objective without any support. I hate WSG for that reason. For some reason, people think that just grouping up and killing random players is a worthwhile activity… while the flag carrier just runs right by. What the hell, guys? You could kill that one random DK, but not the guy running the flag? Sure, some of this is improved by situational awareness (player skill), but some people just ignore the encounter objectives completely.

Most of this can be translated to any activity, though. If you’re playing a card game, better cards can help your decks. If you’re playing a sport, practice increases stamina and skill. If you get a bad teammate, then you can work with them to help them get better (if you play with them consistently). If you get rolled a bunch by the same opponents at a game, then maybe you take a break and try to find someone else to play with. Most importantly, if you’re starting something new, then you can learn the rules. Take the time and work on what you can control, and you will get better.

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From → MMOs, WoW

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