Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lessons Learned from Leveling on a PvP server

Having finally accepted the fact that Blizzard wasn't updating the paladin retribution tree anytime soon I started leveling a Drenai shaman so I could experience dps once again. Compared to my holy paladin my shaman found it easy to grind experience and quests by himself. The combination of earth shock and grounding totems made it easy to deal with casting mobs and I still could easily heal myself after battles. Before I knew it my shaman had gotten high enough to go through the Dark Portal and play in zones which actually had other people in them. While this makes it easy to find groups for dungeons and elite quests it also opens you up to the world of ganking on pvp servers.

In general I play on pvp servers since it adds a touch of excitement to the end game. Once your level 70 a lot of fun can be had from taking the spirit towers in the bone wastes or capturing the town of Halaa. Add in the occasional attempt on your life by a ganker and you got some major adrenaline by selecting a pvp server. However, when you are actually leveling a new character it can be a major pain in the ass. A small portion of players on each faction get their jollies by sneak attacking characters who are 20 levels below them. This has nothing to do with skill or proving their worth through combat but more in line with the weird fact that some people are just jerks.

Taking my shaman from basically 0-62 within the last two months has taught me a couple of general guidelines about what to expect from characters of the opposing faction. Unlike what you may suspect both factions are about equally likely to attack your character in an unfair manner. When my shaman got to 60 I decided to test out my equal level horde warrior and rogue in Hellfire Peninsula and see if there were any major distinctions between the horde and alliance gankers. I really didn't find any evidence that one faction was nicer or more fair in pvp then the other. I did however discover some guidelines for the next time I level up an alt on a pvp server.

1) Members of the opposing faction are more friendly when they are soloing.
*Its amazing how quick the /wave emote will be thrown around when your enemies know its a 1 on 1 fight.

2) To automatically summon a member of the opposing faction simply be below 50% health and engage two mobs by accident.
*Guaranteed to work every time.

3) All level 70 rogues and hunters you meet in the old world will attack you.
*The amount of level 70 hunters and rogues messing around in the old world is simply astounding and they could probably fill up 15 Alterac Valley queues. However, since they only know how to farm and gank level 40s it would make for some pretty boring games.

4) Warlocks and Rogues tend to always attack you no matter the level difference.
*Warlocks mostly do this because being feared while in an area with lots of mobs guarantees you get aggro and die. Rogues are just demented and will follow you around stealthed until .... well you read guideline number 2.

5) Paladins, Rogues, and Druids were the only classes that tried to run after a fight went bad for them.
*(Sprint + Stealth) = (Bubble + Hearth) = LAME.

6) Mages and Hunters like high places. Don't grind next to walls or buildings with accessible roofs.
*Just like in the horror movies, death comes from above.

7) Warriors who are leveling are probably the least aggressive class in the game.
*I only ever got attacked by warriors who were lvl 70 with mortal strike epic weapons or in a group.

8) Blood elf paladins are a lot more likely to attack a member of the opposing faction then alliance paladins.
*I am not sure but I think this might be related to their racial abilities which seem pvp oriented. Or it simply could be that there are more people leveling blood elf paladins then alliance ones at the moment.

9) Stranglethorn Vale ought to be napalmed to flush out the million asshats that make that place home.
*Its kind of obvious but don't go here on the weekends, or during the day, or during a holiday. Honestly you're only going to be able to quest here between 4 and 7am in the morning.

10) A group of more then two members of the opposing faction will always attack you.
*Three is the magic number where you become free honor and they have no risk.


Shalkis said...

I love Stranglethorn Vale. But then again, I'm a troll and it's our turf.

One of the reasons why people hate Stranglethorn Vale is that they think it's a level 30-45 zone. It's not. Go to Shimmering Flats, Arathi Highlands, Desolace or Dustwallow Marsh for levels 30-35. Having those five extra levels not only makes you tougher to kill while you're grinding, it also drastically reduces your aggro range. When you anticipate that you're about to be ganked you can run away without aggroing half of STV.

Also, one could look at Stranglethorn Vale as a learning experience. Since it's the first zone where the majority of players meet their first opposing faction player, you have to learn how to grind/quest safely in contested zones. Although making careful pulls and keeping your health and mana up are useful skills, the most useful one STV teaches you is situational awareness. You start to recognize telltale signs which indicate when PvP is imminent and evaluate your odds and possible means of escape/victory.

Relmstein said...

When I was questing there with a level 38 I was only attacked by one non skull player. This means the majority of people that ganked me were 48+ in that zone. Getting agro from mobs wasn't really the problem it was the ambushes, aimshots, and pyroblasts that hit for over 2k.

Another bad factor is the layout of the zone which requires players to either take the main road or the coastline to move between the north and south. Since most quests require travel between Booty Bay and areas in the far north it means there are a large number of questing players that have to use these two paths.

Its very easy for jerks to simply pick a spot along those two paths and pick off all the lower level questing players.

Dani said...

I think Blood Elves are just more likely to attack anyone period, but I'm biased.

I've found much the same to be true. I've also found that, if you find a horde alone and help them to kill something, they aren't likely to attack you. In fact, more than once a horde and I have quested together. :)

As for druids running away...I don't even engage anymore, just run. Then again, I'm a level 65 resto druid. I'm not killing anyone unless they're 20 levels lower and stand still. But I can live an annoyingly long time.

Stranglethorn Vale is one of my favorite zones, even with all the ganking. I've been known to be remarkably tolerant of that kind of thing, though, so maybe it's just my patient nature.

Awesome post, had me laughing and shaking my head at the sheer brutal (yet hilarious) reality of it.

Pvthudson said...

Great stuff, so true

Apoc said...

Stranglethorn vale made me so furious on so many multiple occasions that it only took me about a day to decide to say screw it and abandon every single quest I had in the area and take my ass up to southshore and just grinding a few levels out of the way before heading to arathi...

Shame on STV! The place is nothing but a highway for level ?? members of the opposing faction, even now at level 57 I still get ganked there by level 70s. What are they DOING there?

It is reasons as such that I mercilessly gank every horde in the southshore/hillsbrad area on a regular basis. They took STV. I took hillsbrad. Deal with it.

Annelle of Stonemaul said...

As a 61 resto druid, I have been on the butt end of an attack from any and every horde charachter on my server (it also took me more than a year to get to 61, but let's not go there). Until recently, when I kicked the ass of my buddy who is a 61 Shadow Priest Dranai in a duel that lasted about 20 minutes continuously, I would run away at the sight of horde, /wave or just become a miserable blob on the ground and wait for them to leave once they were done pounding my purple ass into the dirt. Thanks for the post! Great way to start my morning, and revel in my victory... :)

Kruncs of Cho'gall said...

As a Hunter, I always leave the opposing faction alone in either world unless a) I see the 2v1 against my faction or b) they seriously try to attack me. If it is (b) and they are below 60, then the pet gets to rip their face off.

STV is a place I have never quested for more than one or two quests on any of my dozen+ pvp-relam characters. STV on Mannoroth and Cho'gall are typically being run by groups of 70 Alliance the Horde has better things to help their own... Only time I've been in STV for more than 30m was when I went to go act decoy for a guildie who was dumb enough to try and quest there, but instead found a group of 5 Lv70 corpse campers.

Lastly, my first pvp character was Warrior. Yes, we get slaughtered regardless if we were bothering the opposing faction or not, but typically they do wait for a second to come just so they don't have to act alone.

Anonymous said...

Riding around on a giant chicken brings out the aggression in anyone. Everyone "/laugh"ing at you all time.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I both play. We both have 70s. When leveling new toons, we enjoy the privilege of "Speak softly and carry a 70 mage/lock/hunter."

This will most often discourage unnecessary attention from the opposing faction in any old world zone.

Although, we've been known to use the lower level as "bait" and wait for an opposing player to attack. I've often wished that WoW toons were able to have facial expressions. The reactions are priceless when they discover that what they thought was an easy kill is actually certain death.

Anonymous said...

My favorite moment... Running up on a Hordie who waved and hugged me. We quested in the same area, helping out now and then. When his/her friend came in the area (5 or 6 minutes later) they both proceeded to pound me in the ground. The "/cry" emote being played by him was a nice touch. I know.. he couldn't help himself.

I have become very familiar with the term 'KEK'! I would think that alliance players on PVP servers are all too familiar with this term. It means start running back to your corpse.

Heartless_ said...

This is why I always make sure to be the one doing the attacking.

WoW PvP servers do suck. They are not about PvP, but more or less about ganking. Ganking will never be PvP and Blizzard is fucking retarded for making it out that PvP servers are for PvP.

Brian Carnell said...

"My wife and I both play. We both have 70s. When leveling new toons, we enjoy the privilege of "Speak softly and carry a 70 mage/lock/hunter."

Awesome. Some of the best times I've had in WoW have been killing the low level characters that 70s escort around STV. When you can kill the lvl 35 over and over while the 70 can't touch you, that's my idea of fun.

And the main article is wrong...it's not about being a jerk, because lets face it -- if you stick in one area long enough and kill lowbies you will get a crapload of 70s headed your way. Its a PVP server ... its just part of the game.

Anonymous said...

"Awesome. Some of the best times I've had in WoW have been killing the low level characters that 70s escort around STV. When you can kill the lvl 35 over and over while the 70 can't touch you, that's my idea of fun."

Schadenfreude is a German word meaning 'pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune'. That and playing against people instead of the AI seem to be the main reasons people play on PvP servers.

Anonymous said...

Just to defend uss hunters, the reason we gank at every chance is that we are helpless against other classes at ecual levels. Gangink low levels is basicly the only chance we have at killing players of the opposite faction.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, these rules were still true when I discovered them 3 years ago (other than the Blood Elf paladin thing, of course).

Anonymous said...

"Just to defend uss hunters, the reason we gank at every chance is that we are helpless against other classes at ecual levels. Gangink low levels is basicly the only chance we have at killing players of the opposite faction."

You are out of your freaking mind.

Anonymous said...

People complaining about getting ganked needs to reroll to a PVE/RP server. Simple as that. It's part of growing up in a PVP server.
-This is when people realize it's WORLD OF WAR_craft.
-This is when people start to hate the opposing faction
-This is when people start gaining pride with their own faction (FOR THE HORDE!)
-This is when you get de-virginized and realize the opposing faction is your enemy. RED = BAD.

This is just a phase when leveling up. Everyone has gone through it. Be glad it's isolated in one location. You can easily go to a different place. But stop complaining you monkeys....

Teresa said...

STV isn't too bad when you quest with a group. Most of the people there are same level horde/ally that are just questing and minding their own business. And yes, I also /wave in hopes of inciting a truce; I dont feel like fighting when I have 5 quests to do.

There's always a group of 70's that have nothing better to do than stalk camps and main roads waiting for lowbies that are of no threat, to haplessly run into them. And it's not a one time gank, its repeated camping. They WILL stay there for hours on end, knowing all of us have pirates to kill. There's been times when the same 70 Horde druid's been stalking people from morning til late night. It's cowards like that, that ruin questing in contested places like that, a pain in the butt.

I think, if you gank so many people way below your level in a month, should be branded with the title LOOSER in their name.

Anonymous said...

1) Level 70s ganking in a lowbie zone is not 'War'. It's walking into a country village in full combat gear with a panzer tank, then shooting random people. There's no possible way they could defend themselves, and are of no threat to you in any way. Why bother? Even if you're doing the psuedo-RP 'This is war' thing, this doesn't apply to most races unless you're Forsaken, they want to kill everything. Just for the Horde, Thrall would kick your ass if he found you killing the defenseless, Cairne wouldn't stand for it either and well the Blood Elves probably wouldn't care very much but you could lose societal standing.

2) But anyway, @brian_carnell, why can't you kill the 70? What's wrong, not strong enough to kill someone one-on-one, so you can only run in, one-shot and run away? Also, while bringing a level 70 in to fight for you just because you lost to someone your own level is lame, I -never- attacked anyone who didn't attack me or make trouble first, yet that didn't stop the 70s from riding past, stopping, then turning around on their epic mounts to ride back towards me and kill me. Even going so far as to chase me halfway across zones out of their way.

3) The two worst things I found are level 70s escorting lowbies, where the level 70 just oneshots anyone who walks by (in ANY contested zone, not just STV), and level 70s who'll just sit at well travelled quest areas for hours waiting for lowbies to gank (yes, I've seriously seen it). Hell, I don't mind at -all- fighting against anyone around my own level, even if they did almost always gang up, and even if I lose I won't go crying for a 70. As for the Horde on my server (Tichondrius) however, you kill a Horde character of your own level a few times and a raid of 70s might just show up (actually happened, in Hellfire when I was level 60). Guild [H A T E], that was.

In any case, I completely feel for the writer of the article, been through it all a number of times myself.

Anonymous said...

My first character way back in '04 was a Warlock. He is the only character I've ever actually leveled through STV (I have 3 60+ characters now).

I do admit to ganking low levels. Usually I'm just bored and happen to pass buy them. I am more likely to nuke a BE than I am most other lowbies just because they are all either Warlocks (FotM) or Paladins (and Ret at that). At one point while leveling herbalism on my 70 paladin I killed 2 BEs and left their Tauren buddy alone... I think they got the point that I'm just a bleepin racist.

Anonymous said...

I got ganked and corpse camped more in STV than any other place in WoW, with the Shimmer Flats a close second. I go back now as a 60/70 to get some pay back... I know it's not the same people who ganked me, but wtf... And it's about the PvP experience. You grind through 5 or 6 levels in STV on a PvP server and you know your class and you know the other classes (and how they kill you fastest)...

And as to "who'll pvp who", as a rogue, I will go after ANY hunter, up to 4 lvls above me. Of all the classes that will gank someone minding their own business, hunters are number one.

Anonymous said...

Also, this is a good place to be able to skin. Nothing will get you ganked faster than leaving a trail of bodies that leads right to you, where you're probably fighting another mob...

Anonymous said...

I agree with a poster above -- ganking someone 20 - 40 levels below you is NOT PvP. It shows no skill, no class and no intelligence. It's a loser's attitude. Go one on one with someone your own level, and then you can be proud of your win or your loss.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the article. I also did the escort thing when the wife just wanted to play there and kept getting killed by skull x. so i did kill lowbies when they shot at her often with a 60 or 70 with them as well and i died by rogues being a mage. one exception would be rogue that decided to sap me while fishing in bb had to chase him down and bbq him for the brave/stupid choice.

Asad said...

It would be against everything pure and just if Rogues didn't try to kill you.

Morely said...

PvP servers are for those who haven't had a career in the military; it's a game to them.

Go ahead, kiddies. I have 23 years in the Army behind me, and I stick to PvE servers; Sure, I do Halaa and other *objective-based* PvP, but ganking is something that is only done by losers living in Mama's basement. Not having to concern myself about the next twitch-boy 12-year-old when I didn't *choose* to PvP makes the game enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

"ganking is something that is only done by losers living in Mama's basement"

lol totally agree

Saylah said...

STV is a hell-hole. I skipped in all of my characters except the two rolled late in life - priest and hunter.

The hunter was pretty easy. I'd just stand on a frost trap to protect me from gankers. It worked most of the time. But I was very careful about pulling mobs. I stood with things at my back, never ever quested near the road and on the coastline had the water at my back. If I needed mobs that were out in the open, I just kited them back to my safety spots for killing.

When all else failed, I parked my Warlock nearby.

Anonymous said...

I have been playing on a PvP serve for 3+ years now and leveled 3 characters through STV. The first character was not bad because everyone was leveling a character at the time and you just keep in groups. The second one was a little tougher because there were alot less people of your own faction and alot more level 60's that had nothing to do. The trick was to park your level 60/70 where you are questing. Camping the ganker for a few minutes gives out a point nicely. The third was the easiest because it was after BC and I had my two 70's parked where I was questing and there was very few people around. Why both 70's? Because I can choose which class to us based on the class of the ganker. My first character was a druid, second was a warrior and third was a mage.

Anonymous said...

Playing a rogue is great for PvP leveling. Sure, you can kill lowbies if you are weak. But if a higher level ganks you you have great tools for bothering the crap out of them for revenge. I really enjoy hassling a higher level enemy for a while even if I can't kill him. Sap, cheap shot+vanish, distract, shadowstep+backstab, stealth farts, etc...

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