Updated Sat, May 21, 2011 by jeffprime
This article is out of date. Click here to return back to the Rogue Guide to find newer articles. This one is from WoTLK, some of the information may be useful but overall is very dated. However, the basics behind Rogue PvP hasn't changed much, so there are still many lessons to learn.
You’ve killed a hundred different bosses in innumerable instances, slain every conceivable creature that walks on two or four (or as many as eight!) legs, and now you’re getting bored. What’s a bloodthirsty rogue to do? Well, the answer is…… (Cue booming cool voice)….you now hunt the greatest prey of all…..night elves…or tauren….or orcs! That’s right, other players! Why hunt down and kill other players in WoW? Well, besides the sheer joy of watching them attempt to flee and then fall beneath your blades as you chortle with unholy glee, there are some other benefits. Chief among these is that you can get some cool roguish gear to suit your thieving lifestyle. However, you mainly due it for the fun and, hopefully, for the glory.
This handy dandy little guide is here to help ease you into the treacherous world of PvP (player versus player). Our aim is to have a brief overview of the different ways you can PvP in WoW, what benefits you can gain from engaging in PvP, and what rogues can do to earn their keep (ha! Other classes should be thanking us for helping them in combat!) in PvP. What this guide will not do is to tell you how to fight the different classes, what build you should have, what attack rotations you should use, or other such nonsense. The main reason is that there is no one way and only that one way. Every player has their own playstyle and favorite way to do things. Yes, I know that certain methods are better than others, but those can change over time (and with patches, they usually do). What works one day can be nerfed in the future. We’re here to help you learn the basics, not master quantum physics.
A quick note on your first forays into PvP world; don’t get discouraged. You will suck at first. You will be killed often and in many different ways. Then, you’ll have to watch one of the opposing players do a dance over your corpse just to mock you. Get over it. Until you get a firm grasp of the strategy you need to employ as a rogue, learn to work with other good players, and get better equipment, you will be at a disadvantage. Just suck it up and take the harsh lessons to heart. In the end, you will become better and you will strike fear (and your dagger) into your enemies’ hearts!
Methods of PvP
There are several ways to engage in PvP in WoW. They are dueling, battlegrounds, random PvP, arenas, and zone or world PvP. Some methods provide rewards and some don’t. The usual PvP reward is honor points. You get honor points if you kill somebody that is equal to your level, higher level than you, or up to 8 levels lower than you. Now, let’s examine each PvP method real quick.
Dueling: Dueling is strictly a one-on-one fight when you challenge (or are challenged by) another player. You’ve probably already done this since if you stand still for 5 seconds outside a capital city or instance, some bored nutjob will probably constantly challenge you. Sadly, there’s no real reward for dueling except for the satisfaction of killing the bastard.
Battlegrounds: Battlegrounds are instanced areas where the two factions (Horde and Alliance) can duke it out. To play, you have to enter the queue (the line to get in) by talking to a battlemaster in a capital city or at the portal instance entrance (if there is one). Most battlegrounds are of the capture-the-flag or gain points by taking various objectives variety. The number of players per side can vary from 5 to 15, with Alterac Valley allowing up to 40 per side. Playing in battlegrounds can give you Marks of Honor and honor points. You can use these to purchase special gear. You can start playing in battlegrounds at level 10.
Random PvP: This is just when you encounter a person of another faction and they happen to have their PvP flag turned on, which allows you to attack them. However, if you do so, your PvP flag will be turned on and last for 5 minutes, allowing you to be attacked by others. A common trick is for a group to have one person flagged for PvP (the bait) whilst the rest hide nearby. When that person is attacked, the others spring out and kill the attackers. If you see a lone person nonchalantly walking around with their PvP flag up, watch out! It’s probably a trap. You can earn honor points for random PvP.
Arenas: At level 80, you can compete in arena matches in order to gain Arena Points. Lower level characters can do practice matches, but do not receive Arena Points. To play in the arena, you form a team of 2, 3, or 5 players per side. You’re allowed double that number as a roster. For example, if you create a 2 man team, you can have 4 players total on that team, but only 2 can fight at a time. To gain Arena Points, your group must compete in at least 10 fights during the week and your character must have participated in at least 30% of those fights to be eligible. The end result is that you can spend Arena Points on really high quality gear, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to grind it out.
Zone/World PvP: Depending upon what type of server you play on, you’ll come across whole zones that flag you for PvP when you enter. Some zones have some PvP required quests or objectives that you can partake in (Eastern Plaguelands, Silithus, and Hellfire Peninsula for example). In Northrend, the Wintergrasp zone is different as that the entire zone is one giant battleground that resets every few hours. Wintergrasp is different from other PvP areas as that you can gain ranks through killing enemy combatants or by taking or defending the keep. You can create various weapons and vehicles depending upon your rank. Wintergrasp has up close and personal combat as well as siege combat. Once you achieve the rank of First Lieutenant, you can gain Wintergrasp Marks of Honor by participating in a battle. You can spend those marks on special gear from vendors in Wintergrasp Keep if your faction holds the keep. If your faction controls the keep, then you can also gain Stone Keeper Shards by defeating dungeon bosses or doing daily PvP quests. You can turn in the shards to your faction quartermaster in Wintergrasp Keep for various items, enchantments, and jewelcrafting recipes.
Your role in PvP
So, the question is; what is your role as a rogue in PvP? The answer to that is simple; it depends upon the situation. For random or zone PvP, you’ll have the basic function that you normally do as a member of the group or solo. For battlegrounds, that role can differ from being on defense (guarding a flag or objective) or on offense (helping to take a flag or objective). In arenas, your role is determined by your teammates. Normally, your role (in any PvP setting) is to take out the weaker (by hit and armor type) members of the opposing side. In arenas, you might actually be the tanking member of your group! It’s pretty rare, but possible. The end result is that you try to do what you do best: sneak up and unload a world of hurt on the bastard opposing you.
In all PvP, communication with your teammates is vital. Formulate a strategy with clearly defined roles for each member. If you’re expected to hang back and guard a vital point, then do so. Keep your side informed of any changes (such as you being attacked). Arena combat really focuses on a group working well together. Basically, use common sense. Don’t be a hero and try to capture an enemy flag in a battleground and run through a gauntlet of foes to bring it home. You’ll just get yourself killed. Let the tank do it; that’s his job.
Most high level characters tend to keep 2 sets of equipment. One set of PvE gear and one of PvP. For us rogues, this boils down to a couple of stats that have greater weight in PvP. The first is resilience. Resilience reduces the chances of you receiving a critical strike or critical spell effect. In addition, it reduces the damage taken from criticals and damage over time spells. The only way you can increase resilience is through gear, enchantments, gems, flasks, or elixirs. You start with zero resilience. Normally, resilience is only found on level 60+ gear or items as that it was introduced in the Burning Crusade expansion. Therefore, don’t worry about it if you’re lower level and happily ganking other players.
The second stat is stamina. While stamina was nice in PvE gear, it is vital in PvP gear. When you’re raiding in a large group, the tank was normally the one being beat up on. In PvP, there’s only you. A tank can’t force a player to target him and ignore you. Therefore, you’ll need to be able to take some shots, which requires you to have more health. You’ll want to have as much stamina as you can get your grubby little hands on.
A useful item in PvP is poison. Normally, your poison types depend upon your spec, but in PvP, crippling poison is extremely useful. A lot of your foes will try to kite you. That is, they’ll keep running away from you trying to keep you out of melee range, but within their ranged attack range. Their hope is that while you can’t hit them, they’ll be able to drop you with ranged attacks. A nice crippling poison on your off-hand will keep them from getting away from you.
As stated earlier in the article, participating in PvP can give you some nice rewards (besides the satisfaction of disposing of those pathetic losers who dared to think they could be better than you!). You can gain some really good gear and enchantments by turning in honor points, Arena Points, or Marks of Honor. Listed below is a sampling of what you can get.
All in all, playing PvP can be extremely rewarding, but it does present some challenges. Fighting another player is vastly different from fighting a normal mob, and each class has a myriad of abilities that will take some time getting used to. Your attack sequence will probably be different from what you normally use and you’ll use a lot more of your abilities than the norm. However, there’s nothing like the rush of being able to sneak up and take out another player, knowing that his response could be as unpredictable as the player himself.