Since I brought it up in the last post and it seems to be a popular topic right now, I thought I’d provide a healing 101 post on PvP. According to one of my favorite military adages: “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance”. So lets prepare for PvP…
For an absolute beginner at PvP head on over to Wow Insider’s PvP Introduction and Beginner’s Guides to Battlegrounds. These will introduce you to the basics of what is PvP and battlegrounds. Arenas are an advanced form of PvP and is usually played by experienced PvPers and I will touch on arena toward the end of the discussion, but for most of this post I’ll talk about battlegrounds. So now that you know what PvP is, you might be wondering how does a healer fit into this?
While Battleground roles are not as simple as PvE raid roles, they are replaced by situational roles for each battleground. Healers still play a defensive role in that they are serving in the situational battlefield roles such as flag carrier support and enemy flag carrier offensive group support. However, a new healer jumping into a battleground for the first time in Cataclysm will encounter a lot of factors that make it particularly confusing. Not only is the new player dumped into a new environment completely different from questing or dungeons, but also within your typical random battleground group you have potential social factors such as are somewhat encountered in dungeons, but to a more extreme. PvP and battlegrounds are a chaotic, messy experience, but there is a certain rush to keeping a teammate alive long enough to win a ‘node’ or ‘cap a flag’.
So you’ve queued for your first battleground (whether at level 10 or level 85) and now you are hooked. What’s next? Planning and Preparation! Planning involves understanding the basic strategies and terminology of the battlegrounds you are playing. For simple battleground strategies (and the terminology you will see to convey this) I won’t rehash what Cynwise has done a good job of providing in Simple Battleground Strategies and his amazing post on alternative maps for the battlegrounds. These are older posts and don’t cover the Cataclysm battlegrounds Battle for Gilneas and Twin Peaks, however he has a later strategy discussion for Battle for Gilneas and the strategies for Twin Peaks somewhat resemble Warsong Gulch.
Now for the Preparation piece! At this point you are ready for gearing, talents, and playstyle. Gearing in PvP is similar to raiding but with a slight twist, you want slightly different gear. PvP gear has to keep you alive so you can do your job, therefore you lose potential healing output as a tradeoff for survival. Resilience is the first stat on PvP gear that is different. It reduces the incoming damage you take, this means fewer heals you have to cast. Ideal is around 32-40% resilience to be able to keep yourself up against any dps 1v1 using only your non-casted heals and timing your cds. The next two stats that are a little different compared to PvE are hit cap and spell penetration, which are basically: 6% hit and 195 spell penetration (for most situations). Some healing classes have talents and glyphs that change these numbers, but those are a standard metric, and for more information I recommend more advanced reading. Finally, the other stat we need is our basic stat: intellect. Talent specs are somewhat based on personal playstyle so I recommend trying a couple of options and find what works best for you. This brings me to playstyle…
Playstyle is the type and level of PvP that you engage in, whether it’s a casual battleground or a ranked 3v3 arena team. THE source of all things PvP for serious PvPers is Arena Junkies, and arena is a whole new level of battle. Now while I have stepped foot into all forms of PvP (including rated battlegrounds and arena), I am certainly not ranked, nor do I pretend to know even the tip of the PvP iceberg. But I bring you this battle plan so that you may find enjoyment in a different aspect of WoW.