Ouch! A Lesson in 5v5 Arena Combat

Main Entry: are?na
Pronunciation: &-'rE-n&
Function: noun
1 : an area in a Roman amphitheater for gladiatorial combats

Main Entry: 1team
Pronunciation: 'tEm
Function: noun
4 : a number of persons associated together in work or activity: as a : a group on one side (as in football or a debate)

When Blizzard first introduced Arena into World of Warcraft, I did not have the time or desire to compete. I only had a Priest then. I knew I would get my ass thoroughly handed walking into combat with the lack of survivability in my gear. I took a new approach and leveled a Shaman. I’ve always wanted to create one but I had no interest in rolling on the opposite faction to do so. Burning Crusade solved my dilemma. A Shaman brings a lot to the PvP circuit in comparison to a holy, dwarf priest (at least MY holy dwarf priest). I could cultivate my Shaman from the ground up instead of having to slowly and meticulously migrate my PvE build priest to a PvP build priest. A restoration Shaman offers much more survivability and utility then my Dwarf priest would have been able to. Besides wearing mail, Nature’s Swiftness and Earth Shield are a staple and a godsend.

I signed on with several long time friends in the creation of our main circuit: 5 v 5 Arena.

Presently, from my observations, there are two distinct types of teams: A 3DPS, 2 healer type and a 4DPS, 1 healer type (Also known as gib). The team I’m with runs the former as I’m not sufficiently geared enough to sustain a team on my own.

We feature 2 Warriors, 1 Paladin, 1 Mage, & 1 Shaman (me). Two Warriors bring two Mortal Strikes to the board applying pressure to two separate targets (Casters or healers). The mage brings CC. The Paladin brings durable and resilient healing. I bring spell interrupts, heals, and Heroism.

After a few forays in the five’s arena, it didn’t take me long to figure out that I would be the main target. This week we ran into some difficulty against several teams. After taking down notes, I’m beginning to see a pattern emerge which needs to be broken.

Match 1: Warrior, Warrior, Shadow Priest, Shaman, Druid
DPS pressure was applied onto their Shaman. Kaliburn (our Paladin) got repeatedly mana burned.
We were caught off guard as Demi, one of our Warriors, randomly rushed up and started to DPS before the rest of us were prepared.
Their Druid kept repeatedly cycloning and CC’ing either myself or Kaliburn as much as possible.
Eventually, their Shaman dropped, then their priest, then their warrior, druid and other warrior. Not a bad start, albeit a shaky one.

Match 2: Shadow Priest, Warrior, Warlock, Paladin, Elemental Shaman
This was the first real instagib team I’ve played against. Sixvisix, one of our Warriors, went down super fast due to line of sight issues. The map was on Lordaeron and that stupid tomb was in the middle. Kaliburn was unable to heal him as well. I’ve never seen a Warrior go down that quick before. Demi advised him to slap on a shield and sword and switch to defensive in the event he noticed his health dropping super fast until his health became topped up. I didn’t even have time to get Heroism up that fight. The best I can do is drop a Grounding totem and hope it mitigates something really bad. I’m contemplating Earth Shield on Six, but Earthshield costs a hefty 900 mana. I only have about 8.6k. That’s over 10% of my resources. With Six down, it didn’t take much longer before the rest of us dropped.

Match 3: Shadow Priest, Shadow Priest, Elemental Shaman, Paladin, Warrior
Another fast damage team except they decided on applying pressure on Frostyone (our mage) first instead of me. Frosty wasn’t able to hit his Iceblock fast enough. I truly think in a situation like this, we could’ve won. It’s just a matter of gear. Two shadow priests are quite lethal in tandem. Again, we fell quickly. The worst of the bunch was coming up

Match 4: Warlock, Warlock, Paladin, Shadow Priest, Warrior
Forget Strength of Earth totem, Tremor and Grounding’s/Windfury would be the order of the day. Two Warlocks and a Shadow Priest meant we would spend a good portion of our time running around. A quick NS Heal and a BoP delayed the inevitable. With so many fears going off, the only decent way I can think of surviving is if our Warriors stance danced (Does that even work in PvP?), and if our Paladin glues his ass to my tremor totem. The Paladin can dispel me while I busy myself with healing and E Shocks. I think this was one of our longest matches, but we had no choice but to succumb to the fears and insane damage output by the other team.

There is still a lot more that I need to learn and more gear I need to acquire before I can truly be an asset. By next week, I will definitely have my Season 2 shoulders to go with my helmet. Then I’ll slowly finish out the Chest and Legs before concluding with the gloves. I have a decent shield for the time being, but I’m gunning for [item]Light’s Justice[/item] or [Item]Shard of the Virtuous[/item] so I don’t have to put points in yet. T4 pieces will be converted to Elemental sets.

Perhaps the one thing Blizzard may learn from NC Soft is to make WoW more spectator friendly by adding options to spectate and record matches live. I’d love to watch my own demo’s to learn what I did wrong and how I can get better. The only way to improve is scrutinize your own actions and learn from them. They added replay’s to Starcraft nearly half a decare after it’s debut. For WoW a similar function would be a boon.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.