Monday, May 18, 2009

[Paladin] Making Progress in Arenas

With the passing of Out of Mana I'm not entirely sure where to get my holy PvP fix. Unlike PvE, which can be theorycrafted to death, PvP is more of an art. What talents you take, what spells you cast, matters much more on your group synergy than what a stranger on a forum says. That isn't to say that cookie cutter talent specs don't exist, because they do, but what works may vary by a handful more points from person to person than it would in PvE.

Unlike previous seasons, where everyone started off at 1500 and moved up or down according to their performance, now everyone starts at 0 and has to work their way up. In a way it's nice, because losing generally costs the player nothing and winning results in a big gob of points as the team rating makes its way to the players' matchmaking rating (which is, in a way, their "real" rating since that's what determines who fights who and how many points earned for a win).

On the other hand, that does mean a bit of grinding. Even at 40 points a win that's still a lot of matches to get up to 1250 (the first rating it's possible to buy anything at). The grinding does have some use, being that new teams can get used to each other and develop strategies without fear of just sliding down the ratings ladder, but it feels longer than it has to be, especially since the MMR still chooses opponents of comparable skill. There is not necessarily any steamrolling to be done on this grind.

I'm on two teams so far this season; 2s with a survival hunter, and 3s with an unholy DK and that same hunter. My focus is primarily on 3s since it's time intensive to grind out two teams and we get more arena points for the larger team. The hunter and I might invest more in our 2s if gearing becomes an issue (it's harder to get rating in 3s than 2s), but for now we're fine.

Pillar joined the battle (our team name) started at 1291 going into the weekend and ended at a tidy 1494. We're no longer getting 40+ per win now that our team/personal ratings are much closer to our matchmaking rating, so it's taking us progressively more wins to make any headway. A match against an equivalent team might net us around 10-12 points, 20 if we take down a team rated over 100 points more than us (man, was that sweet), but only 7 if we beat a team well below us.

I'm surprised at the range of teams we fight. We're hovering in the high 1500s for our MMR (though we did break 1600 for a short period last night), but the teams we've fought have ranged from the high 1300s to a whopping 1800. And yes, the 1800 smoked us. We did manage to fight a couple 1700s teams to a near standstill though.

Our consolation is that if we lose we generally end up losing to teams ranked above us, so in the end our rating continues to climb. One 1700 team in particular smacked us repeatedly over the course of last night. We didn't lose a lot of points to them, but it didn't help our win-loss record.

This is my first season actually seeing my team ranked on the Armory, and I'm rather surprised about it. We're 981st based off the 1291 rating we had last week. I'd heard that 3s are a lot less popular than 2s, and arena itself may not be quite as popular has it'd been in the past, so I suppose that's why we got a rating without even breaking 1300. Or maybe other teams just haven't grinded out to this point yet. It'll be interesting to see what 1494 gets us after maintenance this week.

My team's at the point where we're starting to tweak out specs and our strategies. I'm running a 52/19/0 spec with Divine Grace and Imp. Hammer of Justice, but even though I love using my stuns, I'm thinking of changing those two points out to Imp. Devotion Aura. Generally when we lose it doesn't feel like we're losing because I didn't interrupt their healer fast enough. It feels like we're losing because I couldn't keep my team alive. (On the other hand, it's extremely gratifying hitting the healer with a HoJ just as they or one of their teammates is about to die, since that usually nets us a win.)

Burst can be something vicious in 3s, with two dps focus-firing someone, particularly when they focus on our hunter. Having Imp. Devotion Aura will give me stronger heals and I'll still have DG for mitigation. I'm not that good at it yet, but I'm trying to get better at using DG and Hand of Sacrifice when I'm not being focus-fired as a way to mitigate damage to my teammates. Especially since I have Beacon of Light, if I can bleed damage off my teammates during early burst I can heal myself and the Beacon target at the same time.

I'm still working on getting off Aura Mastery too. I tried making a macro tying it to Holy Light (like my Divine Favor + Holy Shock macro), but for some reason it won't work even though AM doesn't invoke the global cooldown so I'm currently doing an awkward Ctrl+3, 3 button combo to first use Aura Mastery and then Holy Light. It just seems like it shouldn't take me two button presses to do what rightly should go in one, but I'm not sure why it's not working.

Next weekend we should hit 1550 for sure (I want my [Furious Gladiator's Pendant of Dominance]), though I'm hoping for 1600. I won't have the points to buy the Furious gloves yet, I'm still down a bit from having bought the [Deadly Gladiator's Libram of Justice], but my teammates will be able to start getting their gear and the higher rating let get me squeeze out more points come each Tuesday maintenance.


Klepsacovic said...

I've been using my normal prot spec with divine guardian and 20 second HoJ. The short stun is amazing. Perhaps it would be best to do the opposite of anything I suggest though, seeing as my ratings are... not so good.

I like how it starts low. That way you only go up, even if you're terrible (I wonder why I like it so much). This way it isn't really rewarding bad players, but it's giving a feeling of reward, and that makes it more fun for everyone.

It was annoying for our first 10 games or so fighting some teams which were way out of our league both in skill and gear.

Darksentinel said...

Nice work on those ratings.
And yeah Megan's sudden departure has left a void in the blogosphere.

Hope you get that furious gear!
I'm trying to work out why we're stuck at the same rating and can't move up :(

Hana said...


If I could afford the 20 second stun I'd love it, but I can't see myself going down that far the prot tree. I know there's a deep prot healing spec, but I'd have to give up Holy Shock for it, and I don't think I could do that. I get interupted enough as is when I'm just casting FoL.

I do like starting lowering in that it makes it easier to get rewards. Having the rewards start at 1250 rating is a phenomenal decision.

I just don't like grinding from 0 to 1250. :)

Thanks a lot! It looks like we're now 790st after maintenance. Good luck with your own games!