Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Warlock Way

I read a pre-release version of Jazz’s post The Worthless Warlock over at Arrens’s site this weekend, and I have to admit: I get the frustration of playing a Warlock, of feeling like you are possibly the crappiest class in the entire field.  You aren’t nimble like a Mage, you aren’t unstoppable like a Warrior or Death Knight, you aren’t invulnerable like a Paladin, you can’t heal, you can’t tank, you can’t even name your pets.  You are particularly weak against Rogues, who gank you at every single opportunity, and the only people you get to pick on in a battlegrounds are Druids, but then they go turn into a Tree and all you can do is stare at them evily.

Yet, while you’re feeling completely ineffectual, you’re one of the most feared and hated classes in all of Warcraft.  People will spit on you, gank you, teabag you, single you out for extermination above the healers.  If you ride your Felsteed or Dreadsteed into battle you absolutely will get killed first.

Despite all of this, I love playing my Warlock.  This complicated, crazy class is completely unique within Warcraft.  It takes patience, research and practice to master.  You have to embrace your limitations and use them against your opponents. And you have to adapt or die.

(Aw, who am I kidding?  You’re a Warlock.  You’re going to die.  A LOT.  It’s the first rule of Warlocking.)

THE WARLOCK WAY

I’ve finally started playing enough alts of different classes that I can articulate the philosophy behind Warlocks and the role they play in the game.  Each class has a certain general role they fill — damage dealing, tanking, healing — but within those roles, there are specific concepts that make each class unique.

The core concept of a Warlock is that we will kill you from a distance while you are helpless to stop us. This is why Warlocks are hated: no matter what spec they are, the Warlock way is to take control of the opponent and kill them, be it quickly or slowly or through a pet, but to also dominate the target so they cannot stop their own death.

Warlocks can do this in many, many ways.

  1. DoT, DoT, Fear, Run Away. This classic early tactic and core Affliction idea loads the target up with potential damage, then takes control of them to render them impotent to stop it.  If you can’t break the Fear, you can’t do anything to stop the damage or catch the Warlock from doing it again.
  2. You Have To Catch Me To Kill Me. Warlocks are a ranged damage class, with many, many tools to keep you from doing anything while we kill you from afar.  Fear, Howl of Terror, and Death Coil send opponents away from the Warlock.  The Felguard’s Intercept keeps you at a distance.  Shadowfury and Seduction freezes you in place.  And Curse of Exhaustion, Nightmare, and glyphed Shadowflame slow you down while we run away.
  3. My Death Will Not Save You. By loading up the Damage over Time spells, even killing the Warlock will not stop your own death.  You might be able to catch us, you might be able to kill us, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get you too.
  4. DoT Stacking.  Leaving a DoT that a Warlock places on you is a very bad idea.  Leaving Immolate, Corruption or Haunt up allows a Warlock to build up devastating combinations.

You’ll notice what these all share in common; establish control at a distance and inflict damage.  Every single tree has these tools.

The closest class that approaches the Warlock Way is a Rogue.  They too establish control over an opponent, but they do so close-up and personal, not at a distance.  Sneak attacks are vital to closing the distance for a Rogue, which is why stealth is so important to them.  Rogues and Warlocks are, in many ways, completely opposite expressions of the same core idea; one inflicts physical melee damage, the other ranged magical, but both take control of an opponent to prevent them from fighting back.

Mages are an interesting counterpoint to Warlocks.  Both classes are relatively rare due to their fragility, both deal ranged magical damage.  But Mages avoid damage by rooting, snaring, slowing their opponent, rendering them unable to move.  Warlocks take over completely, stealing their victim’s volition.  Compare Frost Nova to Howl of Terror, or Frostbolt to Death Coil to see the difference.  Between Blink and all the tools the Frost tree gives them, Mages are slippery, elusive targets.  Warlocks are not.  With one exception, we can run only as fast as our feet carry us.  Warlocks would rather you did the running.

The final pure DPS class is the other pet class, Hunters.  The difference in the two pet classes is remarkable in how they treat their pets.  Hunter pets are unique, named companions with their own talent trees.  They are excellent tanks that help keep opponents at bay.  Demons are tools to be used for their DPS and special abilities, to buff a certain tree or take advantage of the buffs of those trees.  Hunter pets are one of their ways to keep opponents at a distance, where they excel at dealing damage.   But they never take control of you to do so.

Shadow Priests bear mentioning here, even as a hybrid DPS, because of their similarity to Affliction Warlocks.  Shadow Priests are really the only other class that has tools that work like the Warlock, namely Psychic Scream and Mind Control.  Psychic Scream is like Howl of Terror, which means it’s full of win.  Mind Control certainly matches the Warlock ethos of rendering the opponent powerless, but unless you are near a cliff it does not help you kill them.  Fear lets you attack and stack DoTs while the victim is running in terror.

See the theme here?

One of my biggest frustrations with playing Cynwise is when I don’t play her like a Warlock, but like something else instead.  When I forget that my job in a battlefield is to be an agent of chaos and destruction, of making other players go GIVE ME BACK MY TOON, of making enemy healers curse me out because I am single-handedly taking them out of the action while everyone around them is slaughtered by my teammates — when I forget that, then I die, and die a lot.  When I do any of the following:

  1. Think that my job is to lead the Honorable Kill, Killing Blow, or Damage Done columns,
  2. Charge into a pack of melee instead of running away,
  3. Forget that my job is to take control of you before you have a chance to stop me,

… then I am not doing what my class is best at doing.

Yes, I want to stride across the battlegrounds of Azeroth like a titan, chopping and hewing and cutting down my foes before me.  But when I want to do that, I should get on my Warrior, Death Knight, or Paladin, because that’s what they’re good at.

When I want to enforce my will upon a battlefield — that is when I bring out my Warlock.

SQUISHY DOES NOT MEAN FRAGILE

One of Jazz’s chief complaints is how fragile Warlocks are.  This is a valid complaint.  We wear magical toilet paper for protection.  Even if you follow all my gearing advice, you are still going to have trouble when facing melee.

Take the following, put it on a sticky note, and place it on your monitor.

I WILL REMEMBER TO USE DEMON ARMOR IN CLOSE COMBAT.

Yes, Fel Armor is the shit in raids; self healing and spellpower are wonderful.  But Demon Armor is like throwing on a coat of mail armor in the middle of combat, plus increasing all your incoming healing by 20%.  Put Demon Armor right next to Fel Armor and learn to stance dance between the two.

Got that up?  Great, now take the following, put it on a second sticky note, and put it right next to the other one.

I WILL ALWAYS DROP A DEMONIC CIRCLE.

There is one single spell that goes against the Warlock Way, and is your only escape when your opponent nullifies all your Warlock tools: Demonic Circle: Teleport.

It is also completely useless if you do not have a circle dropped within range.  Drop it every time you dismount, as you’re running around.  Every time you stop, you should drop a circle.

I hope you have space for a third sticky note on your monitor, because you need one more to make you less squishy.

I WILL PICK UP SOUL LINK FOR PVP.

Taking 11 points in Demonology to get Soul Link, and keeping it up all the time, is the best thing you can do to increase your survivability in PvP.  No matter your warlock PvP build, Soul Link gives you a massive 20% damage reduction.  Your demon is not your friend, not your loyal companion.  It is a tool that you can use to shunt pain to, and heal if you like.

For talents, you may find my Warlock Battleground Talents post from 3.1 useful.  It’s still accurate, though deep Demonology has gotten some buffs of late.

WARLOCKS ARE FOR FITE

I have long considered writing a guide to playing a Warlock in PvP.  However, I don’t think I can do a better job than Dusk from Uldum did on the official forums.  Even though some of the class-specific information is a little outdated, it remains the best guide to Warlock PvP I’ve seen on the internet.

Read it.  If you’re a Warlock, read all of it.

YOU ARE NOT (WAR)LOCKED IN

One piece of advice that I gave Jazz over email, and I’ll reiterate here, is that you should try other characters.  I find that taking time to learn other classes pays off on my main.  But also it’s good to get a break from the same old grind, the dotting and the fearing and the causing other players to howl in frustration, as rewarding as that sounds.  Tanking makes you a better DPS; healing makes you a better tank.  Playing a Hunter teaches you the value of a good jump shot, which you can then use for a Backdraft-induced Incinerate.

I started off saying that I understood Jazz’s perspective, and I do sympathize with him.  When I really look at my warlock, though, I don’t see a weakling, a waste of time, or a class that needs to be buffed or nerfed to compete.

I see someone that, in the right situation, played the right way, can become a goddess of death, destruction, and chaos, an instrument of power to enforce my will upon my enemies — and leaving nothing in her scorched wake.

That is The Warlock Way.

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Wednesday Reading

Here are some posts I’ve enjoyed over the past week.

  • The trend of calling fellow players out in posts continues, with Arrens and Psynister contributing very funny entries to the genre.
  • Nibuca runs down where your DPS is as Affliction.  All of those tips are great, and nearly all of them apply to Destruction, too.
  • Ihra contemplates the nature and future of guilds, and wonders about being in multiple guilds at once.  I’ve wondered this myself, as while I *like* hanging out with my raiding guild, I also have the desire to put many silly guild tags under my character’s names.  Oh, and see how other guilds do things, but really, I’m about the funny tags.  (<Fist Full of Cyns>, anyone?)
  • Cass breaks down Gnomeregan, and OMG did I need that map.  I’m not running it yet — still deciding what I’m doing with my level 24 paladin, to twink or not to twink, that is the question — but I am definitely someone who gets lost in an instance until I run it repeatedly.
  • Anexxia breaks down some of the fun new toys in the revamped Armory.  I’m of two minds about including gizmos on this site; on the one hand, SHINY, on the other hand, I’m a fan of simplicity.  Rilgon has a lot of fun with it, too.
  • Zach over at WowInsider has a great piece on fighting druids in PvP.  The only thing I’d add is that once a druid turns into a tree, they become Banishable.

Enjoy!

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Faster, Imp! Kill! Kill!

So, here’s an interesting warlock bug that I didn’t know about.

Seems if you leave your Imp on autocast, its Firebolt is affected by an old client-server casting bug that used to bedevil warlocks, especially with Immolate. So there’s a pause between each Firebolt as the WoW client communicates with the server. While small, this delay adds up over the course of a fight. Details are on the EU Forums.

There’s thankfully a workaround. See, the bug only affects autocasted Firebolts, not manual ones. If you spam the spell on the pet bar, the Firebolts fire every 2.0 seconds. If you don’t, they autocast every 2.14 seconds or so.

Obviously, considering how many of your buffs are tied into the Imp, this can’t stand. And you can’t micromanage your pets’ firing rate. You’re going to have to solve this with macros. If you’re not comfortable with macros, you may want to look at my Introduction to Macros and Warlock Macros posts. This is a relatively simple fix if you are comfortable with macros, so it’s a good time to try them out if you’ve never done so before.

At a bare minimum, your 4 primary offensive spells (Immolate, Conflagrate, Incinerate, Chaos Bolt) need to be supplemented with a macro that queues your Imp’s Firebolt for casting. You may want to include Curse of Doom in this list, too.

Here’s a sample macro.

#showtooltip
/cast Immolate
/cast Firebolt

Pretty simple, right? Do this for every one of your offensive spells, replacing Immolate with the appropriate spell name.

If you run with multiple pets (say for PvP), you may want to make your attack macros pet-sensitive. It is not known at this time if other pets are affected by this bug, but it’s easy enough to code around it if it is. Just use the slightly more advanced:

/cast Immolate
/cast [pet:imp] Firebolt, [pet:succubus] Lash of Pain

This should avoid error messages when the Imp is not available, and force cast each minion’s preferred attack.

An excellent suggestion from the forums is to also modify the macro so it doesn’t switch targets to your current one, instead keeping the original pet target.

#showtooltip
/cast Immolate
/cast [@pettarget]Firebolt

There’s more testing to be done, both on different stances, demon minions, and special abilities. But one thing’s clear — if you’re a Destro warlock who cares about raid performance, you should macro your Imp’s Firebolts until this is fixed.

UPDATE: I don’t know how I missed this last night, but OutDPS had an article up earlier about how a similar bug is affecting Hunter pets. It’s probably safe to assume all warlock demons are affected, too. :-(

SECOND UPDATE: Krizzlybear at Frost is the New Black goes into more details on the cast time mechanic, and how this affects Mages.

(Thanks to @Nibuca for pointing me to this thread.)

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Heirloom Gear

I love Heirloom gear.

Heirloom gear is equipment specifically designed to help you level. The stats on them scale to the equivalent to a very good blue item of your current level, so as you gain levels, your gear improves with you. You can enchant them with any vanilla WoW enchant, which gives you gear that is always enchanted. Some of the pieces give bonuses to your earned XP, while others give you access to stats (like Hit, Haste, and Resilience) that are very hard or impossible to find below level 60. And you can mail then between all your characters on a server, no matter what faction!

In many ways, that last attribute is the most desirable one about Heirlooms — they are Bind to Account items, which makes them usable by many of your alts. The time spent acquiring them can be paid back by their usefulness to several of your alts, in addition to the time they save in leveling.

HEIRLOOMS IN BATTLEGROUNDS

Heirlooms are great for leveling, to be sure, but they also shine in the battlegrounds. I’d go so far to say that if you have access to an endgame character and are fighting in any of the pre-80 leveling brackets, not having heirloom gear is putting you at a disadvantage. While not everyone will be running around with Heirlooms, enough do that when you encounter one it will not be a question of player skill versus player skill – it will be about the massive disparity in gear, which in turn manifests itself as character ability.

See, there are three factors that affect your play in both PvP and PvE: the kinds of abilities you have available (as determined by race/class), your character’s skill in executing those abilities (determined by skills and gear), and your ability as a player. Once you start, you don’t really have any control over the first factor, so it comes down to improving your character’s skill and gear, as well as your own. These are the things you can control in PvP – you can’t control your opponents, you can’t control Ghostcrawler nerfing your class, but you can make both you and your character as good as they can be.

And in nearly all cases, Heirlooms let you do that. Equipping an enchanted Heirloom is equvalent to having a best in slot, or near best in slot, item, no matter what level you are. This shifts your focus in a battleground from your character’s ability — can he or she do the things you ask them to do — to your skill and proficiency with the class. It’s no longer a question of gear, it’s about you learning your class and how it relates the the battleground.

As if personal development and mastery of your class wasn’t enough incentive, of course, there’s also that sweet, sweet bonus to experience gained in battlegrounds with Heirlooms. In case you needed another reason to go out and get some.

GETTING HEIRLOOM GEAR

Heirloom gear is available by one of three currencies available to endgame characters: Emblems of Heroism, Champion’s Seals, and Stone Keeper’s Shards. All of these currencies are available through PvE play, while Stone Keeper’s Shards are also available as PvP quest rewards for the Wintergrasp weekly quests. There’s a fourth Heirloom item available from fishing, but that’s an entirely different kind of grind.

Emblems can be somewhat confusing when you first reach level 80; basically, there are two types of emblems available at any given time, depending on what the current endgame raid is. Right now, Emblems of Frost are rewarded for killing Icecrown raid bosses, or doing the dungeon/raid quests, while Emblems of Triumph drop from all heroic northrend bosses. These can be converted into earlier Emblems by downgrading them at different vendors — my favorite place to do this is with Usuri Brightcoin in the Underbelly, because she allows you to move straight from Frost to Heroism without switching vendors, if you choose. There are three Heirloom vendors in Dalaran: Brammold Deepmine in the city proper, Enchanter Erodin in the Sunreaver’s Sancutary, and Enchanter Isian in the Silver Covenant enclave. These vendors all sell gear itemized for PvE.

The same gear is also available from Dame Evniki Kapsalis, the Argent Crusader’s Quartermaster at the Argent Tournament Grounds in Icecrown. Dame Kapsalis takes Champion’s Seals (the reward from various Argent Tournament quests and bosses) but she doesn’t take American Express… er, Emblems of Heroism. Doing all the dailies and a Heroic instance of ToC will get you 1513 Seals a day. Considering most of the Heirloom gear she sells starts at 60 Seals, this means you can get an additional Heirloom every 5 days or so. She also has some great other gear to buy (especially consider the Argent Crusader’s Tabard, for the free port to Icecrown, and the Argent Pony Bridle, which gives you access to a mailbox, bank, or vendor) but if you are looking to gear up alts quickly, doing both random heroics and the AT dailies are a great way to do it.

A different set of Heirloom gear, this with more of a PvP focus, is sold in Wintergrasp. You can only access them when your side controls it, but Knight Dameron and Stone Guard Mukar both sell a great selection of PvP gear that I may have mentioned once or twice on this site. They trade Heirlooms for Stone Keeper’s Shards, rewards for the Wintergrasp PvP quests and looted off bosses (normal and heroic) when your faction controls Wintergrasp Keep. These Heirlooms are tuned more for PvP, and are one of the only ways to get Resilience at lower levels.

The fourth place to get an Heirloom, and easily the most difficult, is from Elder Clearwater, the host of the Kalu’ak Fishing Derby. He doesn’t sell Heirlooms per se, but he does offer a very nice Heirloom ring as a reward for winning the Derby. The Dread Pirate Ring is itemized so it’s good for pretty much every class, and it gives an experience bonus to boot, so if you can get it: do so. But it’s not easy.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT GEAR

There are some great tools out there for evaluating Heirloom gear. My personal favorite is the Heirloom Items Scale, which allows you to see how all of the gear will look at a specific level. (This really helps when trying to twink for a specific bracket, for instance, but also when comparing against normal blue items. Knowing when something will be outdated is useful). You can also do a general search for all Heirlooms on Wowhead, which will return not only the gear, but also commendations, enchants, arcanii, and other cool BoA stuff that you can get from your level 80s. There’s a lot of gear to look at, and in most cases you should be able to equip your new character with Heirloom shoulders, chestpiece, weapon, and trinkets, for any of the three major specs. (If you have the ring, you lucky bastard, you already know you can use it too.) The one glaring exception is the lack of an Heirloom shield, which would benefit Protection Warriors, Paladins, and Enhancement Shamans.

For leveling, you will generally want to start out with a set of shoulders and a chest piece to get the maximum XP bonus available. For battleground use, several items are clear standouts, though.

  • The Inherited Insignia of the Alliance / Horde is practically a necessity for any non-human characters you’re leveling. While it has the longer 5-minute cooldown of the lower-level Insignias, it provides Resilience at levels where you would not normally get it and is superior to the PvP trinkets available up through level 70. At level 70 you should be able to pick up the Medallion of the Alliance / Horde with the superior 2-minute CD without much trouble.
  • The Swift Hand of Justice should be your other trinket, and if you are human, you should have two. Even if you are a caster who could benefit from the spellpower of the Discerning Eye of the Beast, having Haste on your actions in low-level battlegrounds is exceptionally useful, and conserving health is more important than mana. Even if you’re playing non-humans, I still think you should have two of these, because they are so good to have when you don’t need a PvP trinket.
  • Heirloom shoulders are exceptionally potent at early levels, because shoulder items don’t start appearing until the late teens. The Exquisite Sunderseer Mantle is possibly the best single purchase you can make, since it gives the XP bonus in addition to reasonable stats, while being the one piece everyone can wear. Just ignore the spellpower and you’ll be okay! Other standouts are the Exceptional Stormshroud Shoulders (for just about every melee class), the Strengthened Stockade Pauldrons (for warriors, DKs, and pallys), and the Aged Pauldrons of the Five Thunders (for shamans, hunters, and holy pallys.) The Lasting Feralheart Shoulders are okay (especially if you’re playing a balance/resto druid or shaman) but the Pristine Lightforge Spaulders are … well, they’re pretty bad, and usable only by Holy pallys — who would probably prefer the Intellect on the Aged Pauldrons of the Five Thunders.
  • The Grand Staff of Jordan is a monster of a weapon. Resilience, stamina, and hit, all in the same weapon? Enchanted with either Spellpower or Mighty Intellect, this is a great staff for many classes, not just casters. Similarly, the Dignified Headmaster’s Charge can be used by more than just casters; anyone who needs Intellect can benefit from it. (*cough, cough HUNTER WEAPON cough*.)

Obviously, you need to consider your class and spec first when choosing heirlooms, and an appropriate weapon and chest piece are vital. But if you’re just getting started, or are on an Emblem diet to fuel your main, consider the above pieces first.

IT’S NOT (JUST) ABOUT THE GEAR

Yes, I love Heirloom gear. I think it’s a great addition to WoW and can make leveling a real joy. But it makes it a joy not because you’re OP — though you are — but because you can focus on other elements of the character, like how to use their abilities better in PvE and PvP. Heirlooms remove the distraction of having to constantly replace your gear as you explore Azeroth (and beyond.) I don’t have to walk into a battleground worrying that my gear is substandard; I have the best gear I can get for my level.

Everything after that point is up to me, the player. And now it’s up to you.

Enjoy your Heirlooms.

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The Battleground Finder

I know I mentioned this only in passing, but the more I think about updating the current Battleground queueing system to work like the Dungeon Finder, the more I like it. Give me a battleground, any battleground, and if we win, I get rewarded. Losing the BG gets me nothing special, but winning the first one of the day counts as my daily BG quest.

Generally speaking, I don’t really care which battleground I do. (Yes, that even applies to the Isle of Conquest.) The daily quests help give extra incentive to some of the less popular battlegrounds, but the quest givers are in out-of-the-way locations in cities, whereas you can now queue from anywhere – fishing, at the Argent Tournament, questing, wherever. Back in the days when you had to talk to actual Battlemasters to queue for an instance, those out-of-the-way places were anything but — they were happening PvP spots! The War Room in Stormwind was where a lot of folks hung out, buffing each other as they waited for their chosen field to pop. You would pick up the daily quest as you queued, because it was right there.  What else did you have to do?

But now, queueing is completely separate from picking up the quests. I’d wager that even with the Arena point buff, fewer daily battleground quests are getting done now.

The introduction of the Dungeon Finder highlights this disconnect. I don’t think I noticed it when the Battleground Queues were revamped because the quests were an incidental bonus, a tip, a hey-thanks-for-playing, not a real reason for playing. This is a separate issue, where the rewards for playing battlegrounds are too low to drive people there. 1400 honor and a few gold? I won’t say no, but it pales in comparison to what you get in Wintergrasp. It’s not enough for me to take the extra time to hearth to Dalaran and run to the back of the Silver Covenant war room. On my level 19 twinks, it’s an even more inconvenient task.

But with the Random Dungeon of the Day, these small barriers are removed for picking up the daily. Queue up and you’re ready to go. Keep questing, gathering mats, whatever – when a group is ready, you’ll have a shot at getting your reward. The act of signing up for the queue signs you up for the daily. You are automatically rewarded for success.

A side effect of the Random Dungeon Finder has been to expose people to a instances they wouldn’t or didn’t run before. A Random Battlefield Finder would not only give people a chance to see new things, but address the population imbalances which exist in certain brackets of certain battlegrounds. This varies from Battlegroup to Battlegroup, but my canonical examples are Alterac Valley and Warsong Gulch in the 50s bracket of the Ruin Battlegroup. Alliance had a slightly unfair advantage in AV, which led to the Horde not playing it, which led to a massively unfair advantage for the Alliance, which sent all the good Horde PvPers to WSG, which caused Alliance to stop playing it. Randomizing your participation can help correct this imbalance.

A Battleground Finder won’t solve all the problems affecting battlegrounds in 3.3. The rewards are still too low, even selling honor for cash. It’s easier to get battleground gear by running dungeons than it is playing battlegrounds. And, as much as PvE raiders, battleground enthusiasts are at the mercy of Arena nerfs that solve balance problems that don’t exist in our chosen realm.

But at least a Battleground Finder would put us on equal footing with 5-man dungeons again in terms of convenience, if not rewards.  It would be a start.

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Wednesday Reading

Over the holiday, I found myself reading:

Happy Reading!

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PvP For Profit

Players participate in battlegrounds for many reasons: fun, the thrill of victory, a break from questing, an alternate means of leveling, gear, and yes – profit. I’m all for fighting for honor, glory, and a righteous cause, but getting paid to do it warms my cold mercenary heart and makes my banker very happy.

Making gold in the battlegrounds, much like making gold by raiding, is not an obvious thing. Unlike 5-mans and the Dungeon Finder, you can’t queue for a random battleground and get 13 gold for every fight.

(Though, how cool would a Battlefield Finder like that be? Make it happen, Blizzard!)

No, aside from the daily battleground quest, there’s no direct monetary payout for PvP. Instead, you have to take the personal rewards you are given – honor and marks – and transform them into things of global value, which in turn can be converted into cash.

In other words, you PvP for epic gems and sell them for gold.

Honor is the currency of the battlegrounds, and with it you can buy raw rare and epic gems at the honor vendors in Stormwind (Captain O’Neal) and Orgrimmar (Lady Palanseer). These raw, uncut gems are the materials needed to create the gems that get socketed into high-end gear, and are always in demand by Jewelcrafters.

Which, in turn, means they’re always in demand on the Auction House. Your server prices will vary, but right now the raw epic gems which cost 10,000 honor are going for 150-225g on Durotan. There’s your conversion rate between honor and gold, right there: if I can consistently net 200g profit off each gem (which is very reasonable in this upgrade-heavy part of the release cycle), then 50 honor points = 1 gold piece.

The process works something like this.

  1. PvP for Honor, just like if you were grinding it for gear. Focus on the Wintergrasp weekly quests, the daily battleground quests, and then the high honor battlegrounds (Alterac Valley, Strand of the Ancients, Isle of Conquest) when Wintergrasp is not up. Wintergrasp whenever possible.
  2. Convert the Marks of Honor you receive in the various battlegrounds to honor. Wintergrasp Marks can be turned into BoA Wintergrasp Commendation badges at the Wintergrasp heirloom vendor (9 Marks for 2000 honor) and the other battleground’s Marks can be turned in for the repeatable quest Concerted Efforts / For Great Honor (1 mark from each battleground for 1489 honor).
  3. Purchase the gems from the vendors in Stormwind or Orgrimmar. Which color you get should depend on two factors – what sells well and what you use yourself. As a Warlock I really only use three colors of gems: Yellow for Hit, Red for Spellpower, and Purple to activate my Meta gem (PvE) or Spell Penetration (PvP).
  4. Sell (or use) the gems. If you have, or know, a JC you can often sell the cut gems for much more than the raw gems, but uncut gems are in higher demand and will sell more quickly. Defraying your own gemming costs with these gems is a good strategy, as saving the cost of buying a gem is even better than selling it (due to the Auction House’s cut of the profits.)

The nice thing about this method is that, just like any other honor grind, there’s a lot of honor right up front for the casual PvPer in the Wintergrasp quests and a few daily quests. 10,000 honor every week is very reachable at level 80 with a minimum of effort. One or two Wintergrasps can fill your personal gem needs, and the rest is pure profit.

It’s nice to slaughter your enemies. It’s even nicer when you’re getting paid to do it.

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