Maybe you’re showing people what for in the Arenas.
Maybe you’re wiping the ground with the Alliance/Horde in the Battlegrounds.
Maybe you’re sporting a full set of Brutal gear.
But do you really know what you’re doing? Do you know how to survive in a world where anyone can swoop out of nowhere to smash your face into the ground?
There was a time in WoW where choosing between a PvP and a PvE server meant more than an increase of greifing, it was the difference between being able to PvP and… well… not. This was a time before Arenas *gasp*, before even Battlegrounds *DOUBLE-GASP*, where the only form of PvP was….
Say it with me now people, world – pee – vee – pee. It’s not scary, but it is out to get you in the most literal of senses.
Now, I believe I’ve mentioned in the past that I had come from a PvP server (Scilla, specifically) before I transferred to the PvE server, Hydraxis. I love telling people that I ‘grew up’ on a PvP server and didn’t transfer until I was lvl 63.
For those of you who’ve huddled close to their PvE server I’ll do my best to explain what it means to play and level on a PvP server. Perhaps I’ll be able to entice you to give a PvP server a try, or maybe not, but I do hope I can prepare a number of people to face Northrend and, more specifically, Lake Wintergrasp.
When you create a character on a PvP server everything starts as normal. You’ll kill mobs and level up in your race’s primary starting area. I’ll use Tauren as an example. You’ll romp through Mulgore and bang your head against the ground when you’re asked to find that darned wandering kodo, and eventually your big tauren eyes will fill up with tears when you’re forced to leave the beautiful rolling hills of Mulgore for the harsh and neverending wasteland that is the Barrens.
Once in the Barrens things will continue mostly as they have with one minor difference. You will most likely see your first Alliance here. They will either be raiding the Crossroads (Yes, I know, we’re as guilty as you with Sentinel Hill) or you’ll run into one or two on the docks of Ratchet.
The offending cross-faction person will be quite obvious. Their name will be red, it will not be yellow, it will not be green, it will not be blue, it will be RED. This means that if you were to hover your cursor over there your amiable little hand icon will turn to a belligerent sword, encouraging you, enticing you to attack and taunting you with your own cowardace no matter that their level reads as a skull.
Now, if you are in the Barrens, you will know that this area is Horde controlled. Above your map in the upper-right hand corner it will say Barrens in nice friendly green letters. If you were an Alliance in the Barrens it would list the zone but would be displayed in Red. Red means this is somebody else’s home turf and you’d better remember that sonny! These babies aren’t so far from home that their momma can’t come and whack you with her frying pan no sirre! Or, something like that. Basically, an area that is displayed in Red means you are not in friendly territory and every hand there will be turned against you, don’t try to make friends, they’re not in the mood.
Back to our wide-eyed little baby Tauren. You’ve probably by now discovered that, since this is your home turf the Alliance can’t touch you. Unless of course you touch them first (I’m not that kind of orc) or decide to really live on the edge and belligerantly flag up with a cocky /pvp. (I wouldn’t reccomend it, that area is prime for ganking) But now you’re in your late teens or even early twenties and Stonetalon Mountains/Ashenvale/Tarren Mill is calling.
You will notice, the moment you step into one of these areas that a YELLOW name will pop up on your screen letting you know what area you’ve passed into. Underneath it will say (Contested Territory). Congratulations son, you’ve stepped out into the big scary world of Open PvP. Your mommy isn’t going to hold your hand now, you are on your own. Anybody you see from the opposiong faction is a potential victim, but you know what? So are you. There is no such thing as an off-hand AFK, there is no such thing as waiting patiently in a spawn line. If you sit still for too long someone will find you and they will kill you.
Corpse hopping is a bitch.
But it’s not all that bad. You just have to learn to be a little more careful. Here are Tiger’s Top Anti-Gank Tips.
- Don’t AFK
- If you have to AFK and you’re near a town head in and AFK there. -This isn’t gank-proof though, see next tip
- If you have to AFK while in a town find a building to hide in, find the most out of the way corner and stuff yourself in it. If you can stealth, do.
- If you’re in the field and have to AFK and you’re land-bound (very common in STV) find an out of the way spot as free of mobs as possible (wouldn’t that just be the kicker to escape notice of the enemy only to be killed by a marauding band of jungle trolls?) Find some bushes and hunker down. If you’re a night elf, hunter, druid, or rogue either stealth or feign death. If you’re not, then pray, you should probably be fine, especially if your chosen hidey hole is far enough out of the way.
- If you have to AFK and you’re not land-bound then get on your flying mount/shift to flight form and fly up. Fly up really high. This is the safest method. Make sure you’re not in range of anything that anybody else can use to stand on and you’ll be just fine. If a druid thinks it’d be clever to moonfire spam you to death in bird form they’ll discover that moonfire puts them in combat and they’ll quickly fall to their doom.
- Guards are your friends, and roads are usually pretty safe (though not for those who are AFK’d.
- While grinding mobs you will probably be ganked while low on health. This is common and just something you’ll need to get used to. To help alleviate this you will get to be very good at pulling only the mobs you can reasonably easily handle and nothing more. Accidentally pulling five mobs, managing to kill them and getting away with only 14 health might sound hard-core, but you won’t feel very awesome during your run back to your corpse because someone 4 levels lower than you decided to jump on that golden opportunity. So, only pull what you can handle, and try to finish out fights with as much health as you can.
- Join a leveling guild. Guilds are great for social communities, making friends, and finding people to run instances with. In a good guild on a PvP server they’re also AMAZING insurance companies. Sometimes you will find some lowlife SoB whose only goal in life is to make you miserable and insists on camping your corpse. This is when you should call to your guild and, in a good guild, they will call in the cavalry. Thus will insue either a satisfying episode of revenge-camping or an epic guild-vs-guild battle when the camper becomes the campee and calls in his guild because you called in yours.
- Nesingwary is a quest hub without guards. As such his camp is usually littered with bones, tread warily and do not linger.
I was inspired to share these tips while I was puttering about the PvP PTR the other day. I was futsing with my talents, just sitting on a field in nagrand, when a hunter came up and wasted me. It would’ve been a fair fight if he hadn’t gotten the jump on me, but then I had been sitting out in the open, a cherry ripe for the picking. Leveling from 63 to 70 on Hydraxis had made me soft and I thought it prudent that, with a forced PvP area being available in Northrend, to brush up on my world PvP survival skills.
P.S.- If I’m completely out of my gourd and Wintergrasp is NOT an open PvP area even on a PvE realm then feel free to ignore that part of the advice, everything else still holds true for the rest of Azeroth on a PvP server though. Enjoy, and happy ganking!