Over the past week or so I’ve once again rediscovered the joys and frustrations of PVP in WoW. Except, this time around, as a Frost mage the former outweigh the latter.
See, prior to rolling my mage, I was a shaman. Specifically, a resto shaman. And after that, a Death Knight. And in many ways, the two are similiar. While the DK was more of an endurance melee powerhouse, the Shammy was an endurance healer. Both were similiar in that they’re quite immobile classes. The Shammy stands still and heals and if(or rather when) he gets attacked, he ‘tanks’ the damage trying to outheal the damage being done to him and survive long enough for his teammates to deal with the annoyance. The Death Knight would wade into the ruck and try and get into trouble as quickly as possible. Both were not very subtle classes. They either outhealed the damage, our outdps’ed it. Both had tools to mitigate damage and try and survive the damage a little longer, but neither really had any get out of jail free cards.
Enter the mage. With zero resilience I found myself dying to opening rogue stunlocks before I could react, but most of that was due to being crusty at pvp. After a time I found myself accumulating some pvp gear and figuring out exactly how to use those mage cooldowns, and it became very apparent that PVP’ing as a mage is a vastly different experience to PVP’ing with a shammy or dk. While I couldn’t heal myself through damage spikes or simply mitigate it, as a mage I can prevent it entirely.
Blink. Frost Nova. Deep Freeze. Mirror Image. Ice Block. Counterspell. Invisibility. All rolled into some of the best burst available through shatter combos. The mage has some amazing tools at his disposal to exert control over a situation, which I find much more refreshing than the reactionary play styles of the previous two classes, and it’s why I compare a mage to a rogue in terms of how strong it is for pvp and how it plays in pvp. Both classes are incredibly slippery, able to get into and out of bad situations, where other classes have to simply weather the storm and hope they win or someone heals them. Of course, make no mistake, a mage can be killed quite easily if he’s a scrub or he’s caught with his pants down.
It’s this lack of slipperiness that holds hunters and warlocks, as the other two pure-damage classes, from attaining the same PVP highs that rogues and mages tend to enjoy. Warlocks can at least immunize themselves from this hindrance somewhat by being able to tank damage with Siphon Life and Drain Life, but Hunters don’t quite have the same ability to escape from bad situations that mages and rogues do, nor are they able to soak damage long enough like Warlocks can. But, perhaps, giving them the same ability to simply reset a fight would be too much considering they have rather powerful and permanent, scaling pets.
PVP’ing as a frost mage has been a rather entertaining experience, surprisingly so since I’d considered myself burned out on WoW’s PVP, especially since comparing WAR’s PVP to WoW’s and heralding the former as the pinnacle of true large group PVP. But, once again, it all boils down to perspective. I wasn’t having fun playing as a reactionary melee brute or healer in WoW. But being able to pick my fights, lock down opponents, and experimenting with a veritable bag of tricks rather than being a one-trick-pony has revitalized the entire WoW PVP metagame for me.
While I’m not sure slinging spells is the be-all and end-all of PVE for me – I miss my tanking days at times – for PVP the playstyle is right up my alley. And while Cataclysm will probably mean shelving my mage for PVE in favour of rolling a goblin tank, I think he will indubitably live on as a PVP powerhouse, particularly within the context of rated battlegrounds.