On Learning to Accept the Role of your Class


I want my warriors to be better at PvP than they actually are.

It’s strange for me to say that, because there’s really not much more I could do on Cynderblock to improve her. She has BiS gear for every situation I’ve been able to plan for. All three specs, different situations, PvP and PvE. Low level questing, high level questing. Trash tanking, boss tanking, instance soloing. Stamina stacking, Armor stacking, Avoidance stacking, Crit stacking, Intellect Stacking – all of it.

But no matter how good I make her, she’s still going to suffer from some huge drawbacks in PvP:

  1. Inability to maintain Time on Target due to lack of Warbringer, Hamstring, Concussive Blow, etc., reducing overall DPS as well as burst damage.
  2. Only gap closer requires you to get out of combat.
  3. Rage issues due to lack of shouts.
  4. Lack of true self-healing like Paladins and Druids.
  5. Overwhelming potence of Hunters, Mages, and Priests in the bracket; ‘block can be killed by a Hunter’s pet in 5-7 seconds while the Hunter kites.

The counterbalance to this is that she’s incredible in PvE. In a traditional 5-man setup, she’s an awesome tank. She’s fun to quest on. She can kick ass with authority in a dungeon.

But in PvP, she’s … listen, I play a lot of classes in PvP. Warriors are weak against Hunters and Mages in the 19 bracket. They’re one of the two weakest DPS classes. They can be strong FCs, but they really need a pocket healer to be fun.

Tonight, I queued up for WSG, got in, and saw that there were a few familiar names. Everyone was over 1000 HP, something I haven’t seen in a while, and I attribute that to the removal of the F2P twinks from the bracket.

But I wasn’t the FC – a shaman was, and she did it very well. I don’t sit there and pout when this happens; I switch over to Offense, slap on my DPS gear, and give it my best go. I get in position to repick, or I make myself a nuisance with the EFC – I try to contribute as best I can.

It’s usually not a lot of fun. Hunters zoom in on me as a free HK if I’m crossing the field. I’m not very effective.

Warriors are the best tanks at level 19, surpassing Paladins for threat (especially AoE) and Bears. They’re fun and dynamic little pocket rockets, stance-dancing their way through an instance. I know that with the threat changes it’s not really saying much that Warriors have great threat from 15-24, but… it’s what they have.

Tanking Deadmines? Great. Having versatility in PvP? No. Not yet. They can be extremely versatile at level 85, but … not at 19.

Level 70 is better, but not balanced yet. You have a lot of the gap closers, but hunters and mages are still nightmares. DKs are crazy good. I prefer playing Prot PvP because of the mobility it gives me, letting me ping-pong around the battleground, stunning, shocking, pummeling, charging from one caster to another. I see how the toolbox has improved, and how it just needs a few more tweaks.

It took me a few weeks of playing both warriors as my primary characters for me to realize a few things.


  • Alterac Valley. Hot damn, A little PvP for a warmup, then tank Drek? Sign me up.
  • Warsong Gulch, as the FC. I’m getting pretty good at FCing, but I need a good healer, too.
  • Arena. I did one level 70 Arena. Even though we lost, I had a lot of fun.


  • Arathi Basin. Sometimes it would be okay, sometimes I’d just get steamrolled.
  • Strand of the Ancients. This could be frustrating, or it could be an easy game to get through. The mobility of Prot helps a lot with slowing down the tanks.


  • Warsong Gulch, any DPS role.
  • Eye of the Storm. I usally love this one, but I would get destroyed every time in EotS. The open fighting style – heals are very distributed on the map – spells trouble.

Interesting breakdown, isn’t it? I was tempted to say, hey, this is problems with these specific brackets. But I didn’t struggle in the same BGs on my Priest, and my Druid handles them all pretty much the same – Bubble/HoT all the things!

I remember this happening on Cynwise (warlock) and Cynwulf (death knight), when they were pretty much the only toons I played. I struggled on WSG with ‘wise – a lot, OMG, did I use to hate that BG – but once I switched over to ‘wulf, WSG was cake. It was easy. AV was fun on both toons, but I did very different things there. Areas where I struggle on one toon are trivial for another.

Warlocks are a good example right now. If I were to base my opinion on warlocks based on how they do in leveling BGs, I’d be really down on them. Man, they suck in almost every bracket.

Except 85, where they become kings and queens of the 3s. Where they do just fine in PvE. Where they do fine in most BGs, though they’re not part of a standard rBG comp.


Isn’t that odd?

I mean, we talk a lot about class parity and homogenization in PvE, but – in PvP at least – I’m not seeing it. Sutble differences in abilities affect playstyle, which then interacts with our individual preferences.

I like playing AV on Ashwalker. I enjoy tanking on her. But I’m discovering that I enjoy PvP a lot more when there’s a healer involved, because she kills waaay too slowly. I enjoy PvP more on my Druid, where I feel like I’m making a massive difference by healing everything in sight, than I am on my warrior – except when my Warrior is tanking or FCing. So I’ve stopped queueing for randoms on Ash, while I continue to random it up on Cynli.

I have been thinking on and off about Vidayla’s struggles with Firelands healing and the Hybrid’s dilemma – what happens when you want to play a character, but the spec you want to play is not a good fit? There’s tension that arises there, between the suitability of the class for the role, your comfort in playing different things.

There’s also tension when you have a main (like Vid does, like I … used to) and that main is you, it’s your avatar, and you realize that because of the way in which you’ve strucutred your relationship with your avatar – the limits placed on the toon transfer to you. I’ve looked at a lot of PvP achievements and realized that they’re just easier for some classes to do than others, so if you happen to play one of the harder classes, guess what? You’re screwed. Not your character, but you get screwed over by the game and made unhappy.

Vid had a good example of this – The FL fights she’s on needs more DPS, fewer heals. So she either had to stick with the character she liked (for healing) and DPS in a spec she didn’t like, drop healing and go full time DPS, or sit out the fights.

I can play Ash in AV and WSG as PvP, or I can tank all the things. Those are the places which make me happy to play her. I can play other BGs on her, but it’s not as much fun, and is sometimes downright painful. Blcok is even more limited in her scope right now, which makes me sad.

This may be a good side effect of the project-based toon creation I’ve been doing of late. I get them to where I want them, and then see where the fun actually resides. It’s been a challenge learning to be honest with myself about where I do and don’t have fun on a given toon, of accepting that not every character can be everything at all times. We’re all just searching for balance, here.

I think it’s important to be honest about how your playstyle interacts with the class, and how that in turn will make certain activities in the game more or less enjoyable for you. If it’s raiding or PvP, questing or running 5 mans – accepting the role you fit best into is vital for long-term happiness.


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

5 responses to “On Learning to Accept the Role of your Class

  1. Redbeard

    Well, that explained why I saw an overabundance of Warriors rezzing with my Lock in the lowest PvP brackets. And I kept thinking that they were just being ganged up on after us clothies got zapped.Strand is… Well, if you’ve got a class with good CC or a speed boost, then Strand is okay. If you’ve got limited utility for CC or, your CC doesn’t work on the demos (/cough Pally /cough), you could be in for a miserable time.And I think you’re dead on the money with heals in a BG; you feel it more when you’re getting beat on, and melee DPSers in those low level BGs are absolutely reliant on them to compensate for the Rogues and Hunters.

  2. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @redbeard:Yeah. I’m always surprised at how squishy I am as a Warrior, when really it’s that I’m getting kited all over the place, taking a steady stream of damage. Warlocks suffer in that they lack a lot of tools to stay at range, and have little burst until higher levels. (Destro excepted, of course.I watch Pally FCs in the 19 bracket and I’m like… I WANT TO BE ABLE TO HEAL TOO. My OOC Charge just doesn’t make up for that. 😦

  3. Somnar

    I was thinking the exact same thing in the 15-19 bracket in WSG this morning Cynwise, I had one match where I had a healer with me on the two FC’s I had, and I capped pretty easily after peeling the Rogues off them (And wow is HHTD HELPFUL) while they kept me alive. But the next two matches we had no healers, and I just got slaughtered! Great post as always!

  4. dakotarick

    Not only do certain classes have an advantage for achievements but the level that you do them also has an impact. I started thinking about that when I got Ironman on my Mage. At level 28(right before Cata)it was really pretty easy to do. Now she is 71 and it would be much harder to do under the current dynamics. If I was going to attempt Battlemaster I would chart out what I need for each bracket.

  5. gameldar

    I think part of the influence for me is understanding your own abilities and preferences too. I geared up my warrior this season and it took me a while to realise that I’m just not that effects in the DPS role (some I can attribute to Australian latency… but I just don’t do enough damage for whatever reason) – I do better in protection flag carrying or protecting the flag carrier. However I feel similar frustrations FCing when there isn’t a healer. When they are there I’ll help them and do everything I can to peel and support them – but I feel a lot weaker by myself than I did playing my Prot Paladin … before WoG got nerfed,That feeling led me back to playing my paladin – but healing – and I’m really loving it – I’m actually contributing to the battleground in an effective way. I can keep people up… and I can keep myself up – and being actually useful is what takes me back into the BGs (although not as much lately – I’ve finished the gearing game… – now I do it more to play with guildies).But I also have attachment to my Paladin – because he is my (somewhat reluctant from a PvE perspective) main – my achievement, pets and mount toon – and so going back to playing him means I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I wonder if they moved to ‘account wide’ achievements of some form if that feeling would dissipate ? I know I’d feel less likely to.