Friday, October 12, 2007

Why Paladins and Warriors rule the Arenas

If you have spend any amount of time in the arenas in World of Warcraft then you have gotten the feel for the popular class combos that players like to use for making teams. Some of these combination revolve around class tricks like stealth while others go for strategies like massive crowd control or insane burst damage. Yet despite all these gimmicks almost every arena team with a rating over 1600 is going to have one thing in common. They are all going to have a charging juggernaut with a huge 2-hander who wants to introduce you to Mortal Strike.

Not since the days that the Arcanite Reaper ruled the battlegrounds has World of Warcraft seen such a multitude of mortal strike warriors. They are the number one class in all three brackets of arenas right behind their bosom companion the paladin. Rogues with their healing reduction poison are also in high use but lack the survivability of a warrior when focused on by multiple dps classes. Thus you often see rogues in 3v3 teams but they tend to become a little sparser in the high end 5v5 teams.

Still as most teams have found out through trial and error their chances of winning are highly effected by whether they have a mortal strike warrior in their team or not. The ability itself is not as efficient as some of the fury ones for dealing damage on targets but in the dynamic and fast moving world of PvP it's king. Unlike standard PvE fights, targets do not stay in one place which makes melee damage very spotty unless it can be concentrated into a burst. Mortal strike fits this requirement and also reduces healing by 50% on the target which is vital if the other team has a healer.

From my experience having 50% reduced healing on a target is enough to allow any two competent dps classes to kill it as long as there is only one healer on the opposing team. If the opposing team has two healers then there is a chance that they can keep the target alive. If one of the healers is a paladin then they can usually interrupt the 50% debuff with a blessing of protection. This is especially devastating when there are multiple melee dps on the target since they often go into a feeding frenzy and don't notice the target is immune to physical damage.

Just like in world PvP the one thing that makes paladins so hated in arenas are their bubble spells. Though whether paladins deserve the disdain for using a cheap spell or whether melee dps deserve disdain for not switching targets is debatable. Either way the one sure-fire effective way to negate Mortal Strike is to have a paladin healer in your arena team. I've made a little ladder that shows the stereotypical advantage one team has over another based on mortal strike and healers.

2 Healers (paladin) and Mortal Strike
1 Healer (paladin) and Mortal Strike
1 Healer and Mortal Strike
1 Mortal Striker
1 Healer
0 Healers or Mortal Strike

* This ladder is built on the assumption that mortal strike allows a team to negate the effects of one healer while a paladin negates the effects of all mortal strike warriors. Two mortal strike warriors do not negate a paladin simply because dps must focus to be effective in arenas and blessing of protection blocks all physical damage. Also in my experience most healing priests are not quick enough or reluctant to spend the mana for mass dispel so I chose not to include their effect.

Now there are a couple of ways to combat the juggernaut that is mortal strike and paladin healing but most of those ways revolve around classes that are easy to kill by focusing your dps on them first. The number one example I can think of is using a shadow priest to mana burn the paladin constantly. A more conventional team that uses mortal strike might be beaten by such a tactic if the paladin runs out of mana before the dps can kill the other team's healer. However, this usually only works once since the next time the team will focus on the shadow priest first. Well I've gone off enough on mortal strike and paladin shielding and I think next time I will talk a bit about other interesting class combinations I've seen.


Gwaendar said...

They are the number one class in all three brackets of arenas right behind their bosom companion the paladin.

Just an issue here, my own research, based on a crawl of 3 EU Battlegroups ' top 100 teams in each bracket shows otherwise. You make it sound like Pallie and Warriors are an overwhelming majority, and while I (still) haven't run a grab on a couple of US Battlegroups, I daresy this is more urban myth than reality. Yes, they are among the top classes, but don't stand out any more than priests, locks and rogues in the small formats, and priests in 5v5. In two of the three surveyed Battlegroups, pallies were in particuliar under-rerpresented in 2v2.

The grab is a month old, and probably not yet too tainted by top teams selling a team spot for money, something which makes me reluctant to run another grab when the end of season 2 is now in sight.

You can check out the data I collected here.

SolidState said...

Gwaendar, I don't understand.

Your post shows number of class in the given teams. It says nothing about ratings of those "top 100" (are the top 50-100 below 1800 rating maybe?), or the percentage of a class combination in the highest teams (maybe there are many paladins but most pala+warrior are in the lower rating of the teams you gave)?

Your data needs more clarification before you can dispute the OP claim.

Gwaendar said...

While the data captured back in September didn't track ratings, rest assured that even then the top 100 teams were above 1800 rating (nowadays above 2000).

As stated, I cannot so far provide the required in-depth numbers, but the claim that pallie / warrior teams form the vast majority of the top 100 cannot be substantiated either. I did a manual check of EU Blackout's top 40 2v2 about a month before coding the first version of my crawler, and the most frequent duo was rogue + priest. Hardly representative numbers, although Blackout is, in EU, the one battlegroup holding the oldest servers. My reasoning is (and that can of course be disputed) that on those servers you will be most likely to find players who have been around for nearly 2 years, have had more than one char at level 60 by the introduction of TBC and are most likely to chose the most efficient class.

In short, my point is that there is little hard data actually substanciating the conventional wisdom that pallie and warrior are massively over-represented among the top arena teams.

That being said, I'm still redesigning the database working with my armory crawler, and any input on the amount and type of additional data (short of getting full char sheets per player) you believe to be useful is more than welcome.

Relmstein said...

I'll have to look at the armory results for the top ten teams in my battlegroup(vindication) but I believe a majority of them use the pally/warrior combo.

One explanation a reader gave me for paladins being under represented in 2v2 teams is that they have a easy time getting invites to good 3v3 and 5v5 teams. In general I have to agree with this explantion since I think most players play in the bracket that will get them the most points.

Tholal said...

2 vs 2 teams are quite a different beast than the other brackets. Warlocks and Druids tend to be king there. It's not really a very balanced arena bracket.

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