This page is, ahem, a little out of data with Shadowlands coming. But the basics still apply.
See the linked pages below for builds, gems, and notes on the individual specs. This page is far from a comprehensive guide, but will point you to the appropriate pages on this site that have far more detail.
- Brief Class Notes
- PvE or PvP Realm?
- Gearing Up to 475+ for PvP
- Basic PvP Tips Video
- Glossary of teams and terms
- Earn lots of gold
Some Brief Class Notes
This section gives a brief overview of each class and what they might do to you.
Important note: If you want to be a high ranking team player (2s, 3s, BG groups) you will get a good headset and a mic and you and your team will get a communication system, such as Teamspeak. If you’re just solo (Duels, ganking, etc.) then it’s not necessary.
Death Knights are one of the strongest PvP classes in the game, boasting high damage both consistent and burst in addition to self heals, silences and other spell caster/healer controls, as well as a few self and team buffs. They will Death Grip you in close and beat your head in. Not much special movement capability, but they have some ranged attacks, will keep you infected with a hideous disease or two (Ok, not that bad,) and Unholy has the pets.
- Blood spec PvP – Very tough, something of the “Flavor of the Month” in Warlords.
- Frost PvP – Very nice damage, not as tough as blood.
- Unholy PvP – Master of Disease with a full-time plagueborn pet and summonable Gargoyle. Comparable to Frost.
Druids are one of the, if not the, most versatile classes in World of Warcraft, and this carries over into the Arena and Battlegrounds making most druids capable of accomplishing a myriad of roles regardless of their talent build.
The three viable builds for a PvP druid are Balance, also known as ‘Boomkin’ after the form it uses, Feral, which makes the most use of Cat and Bear form playing while rather like a rogue/warrior hybrid, and Restoration, a stereotypical healer with an emphasis on HoT (Heal over time) spells.
It’s important to remember that whichever talent build you choose to follow a druid always has access to decent heals and at least a few other utility spells that any Druid would do well to make use of if they want to be as effective as possible. For example, part of what makes a Feral Druid a druid rather than just another melee DPS is the fact that they can quickly shift in and out of caster form to heal themselves and root enemies giving them greater control over the battlefield.
- Feral Cat PvP – teeth and claws of massive gankage. As mentioned above, Feral druids have the class defining stealth ability of a rogue in addition to the strength and durability of a warrior when in bear form. They’ll sneak up on you and start tearing away, causing you to bleed.
- Balance PvP – Balance druids or Boomkins, as they’re sometimes called, are a dedicated caster class similar in some senses to a wizard or warlock. A Balance druid keeps his distance from enemies using abilities like Entangling Roots and Typhoon while blasting them with a variety of offensive spells, some of which will do damage over time.
- Restoration PvP – Lurk behind your damage wall and make them unkillable. Restoration druids are healers, providing their team with a wealth of HoT effects that can stack to provide a good deal of life back per second. They will out heal your damage (as will most WoW healers,) but if they’re dealing with you they’re not doing so much for their team.
Hunters are a ranged DPS class with some of the best burst damage in the game, but also a relatively high level of skill demanded to properly utilize their abilities to the fullest. Hunter play is designed around avoiding close contact with the enemy at all costs and they have a good number of abilities such as traps, concussive shots, and Disengage to help them do that. Level 100 Hunters can keep you continually slowed.
- Marksmanship PvP – Lots of damage and good “stay away from damage” skills. At level 100 has the option to run without the pet and do even more damage.
- Survival is the trap master and has a few advantages over the other Hunter specs, one of which is many more traps and another of which is more magic damage (gets through armor better.)
- Beast Mastery Hunters have very good damage output and a respectable burst with a good number of ways of damaging an opponent both through their pet and personally.
Mages are among the best PvP classes, admittedly this is primarily as Frost, but also occasionally as Fire under the appropriate circumstances. Arcane Mages have immense burst damage, but lack survivability. Fire Mages have nice AoE, but are vulnerable to dispel, and Frost Mages are simply the most effective, possessing both good damage and a wealth of survivability tools. Any mage will pump out a lot of damage, so stuns and silences are very good things to use against them. Most Mages can slow you and might be able to root you. All can Blink away.
- Mage PvP overview
- Arcane PvP – Lots of damage, but squishy.
- Fire PvP – Fire is a fun to play build with plenty of burst damage potential. Almost as squishy as Arcane, but a bit more versatile.
- Frost PvP – Built for PvP. Good damage and lots of control and survivability. The only Mage with a pet.
- Mage PvP Gear – Just the gear, what you need for the current PvP season.
Paladins are a powerful hybrid PvP class capable of dealing effective burst damage as Retribution or a serious PvP healer as Holy. Paladins are a natural addition to practically any team composition and can excel at the highest ranks of the Arena primarily as healers.
- Holy Paladins are one of the toughest, most capable PvP healers in the game. Lots of self-heals, plate armor, can out-heal your damage, etc.
- Holy Paladin PvP Gear – Just the gear, what you need for the current PvP season.
- Retribution Paladins boast tremendous burst damage, but outside of their burst windows are somewhat lacking in the ability to pressure an opponent.
- Protection Paladins fail to contribute much in the Arena, but can be marginally useful in the occasional Battleground as flag carriers and tanks to hold onto a flag/point such as in Arathi Basin or the Battle for Gilneas.
Priests are useful casters in PvP either as Discipline for support healing and utility, or Shadow for damage. Shadow Priests benefit from the ability to throw out a few heals if necessary, and have good DoTing ability for group fights. Discipline has a number of tools for effective PvP healing, think Shields, and beats out Holy under most circumstances.
- Shadow Priests are capable PvP DPS and can do fairly well in Battlegrounds, as well as be quite effective given the proper Arena compositions.
- Discipline is the go-to spec for Priest PvP healing.
- Discipline Priest PvP Gear
- Holy has some useful healing abilities, but simply can’t compare to what Discipline has to offer in survivability and utility, which is why it’s rarely chosen as a PvP spec.
Rogue is my favorite PvP class, regardless of whether it’s the “Flavor of the Month.” The combination of excellent control abilities such as sap, stuns, and blind along with escape tools like vanish make it one of the best all around PvPers both in teams and solo. Rogue would be the class I recommend to someone looking to PvP solo queue in random BG’s, their myriad of escape tools making them ideal for playing without support. They’ll appear from nowhere and burst you down. Plan on being stunned for at least part of the right. Less effective, especially Subtlety, if you can keep them out of stealth. Combat Rogues will have two swords (or similar,) the others will have two daggers.
- Assassination when played right, can be effective in PvP, due to excellent poison usage and talents such as Vendetta.
- Combat Rogue PvP – Traditionally Hard mode, but lots of consistent DPS. It the Flavor of the Month in Draenor due to that DPS and solid burst capability.
- The Subtlety Rogue is traditionally the best Rogue PvP spec simply due to the massive number of tools you obtain with Preparation, Shadow Dance, etc.
- Rogue PvP Gear – Current PvP gear for all three Rogue specs.
Shamans are a hybrid capable of effective PvP play in a number of roles depending on which specialization they take. Shaman’s provide good damage-dealing, and even when not specced, Restoration can still cast some adequate heals if necessary. Totems make for good support and allow a Shaman to be a team contributor, regardless of specialization, in addition to CC ability via Hex.
- The Restoration Shaman is immensely useful as a PvP healer due to its mastery focused on delivering immense heals to targets low on health, something that can easily take a player about to die all the way to maximum health in a spell or two. As with all WoW healers they’re very hard to take down one on one.
- Elemental Shamans are Caster DPS and play as you would imagine – destroying enemies from afar with a bevy of shocks and lightning bolts. They can pump out very nice damage quickly.
- Enhancement is an explosive burst melee style with a combination of melee and ranged attacks to blow down enemies. If a Shaman is attacking you with two weapons then he’s Enhancement.
Warlocks are effective PvP casters and quite able in PvP both Arena and rated Battlegrounds. Affliction Warlocks are the most sought after and a regular part of highly ranked Arena teams due to their ability to apply debuffs that last even when an enemy is avoiding line of sight, putting constant pressure on the opposition. Destruction and Demonology are less popular, but still quite capable in Battlegrounds and, to a lesser extent, the Arena.
- Destruction is an acceptable PvP build for Warlocks and has in somewhat more recent times become more viable with some buffs here and there.
- The Affliction build boasts good sustained damage along with high mobility and survivability.
- As a Demonology Warlock your pet becomes a more significant part of your damage-dealing, and you have access to a powerful cooldown in Metamorphosis.
Warriors are a class with very mixed performance, capable of devastating opposition given the right circumstances such as appropriate support. However, Warriors are also prone to failure when in solo situations as they are quite vulnerable to kiting by classes such as Mages and Hunters. Warriors are also very gear dependant and have limited build flexibility. Basically they’ll charge in, rooting you, and beat your head in. Some Warrior can charge twice, so be wary of hopping away (such as Disengage.)
- Warrior PvP page – Lots of Warrior tips, macros, more.
- Arms is traditionally the go-to build for Warrior PvP due to its emphasis on burst damage, which is king in situations where you need to out-damage healers and take down enemies swiftly.
- Arms Warrior PvP gear – Current season Arms PvP gear, this page also applies to Fury Warrior PvP
- Fury Fury is a lacking PvP build for Warriors simply because it’s missing a number of the tools present in Arms (bleeds, mortal strike, etc.) and has more of an emphasis on consistent damage as opposed to the burst of Arms. Fury is doing quite well in Draenor PvP due to a combination of Arms Nerfs and Fury buffs.
- Protection Warriors are tough and Warlords has introduced Gladiator Stance and a few other changes, making Protection much more PvP viable. Some say it’s even the “Flavor of the Month” in Warlords.
PvE or PvP Realm?
The below info will stay to let you know how things were. Battle for Azeroth introduced “War Mode,” which gives you the option of World PvP. Leave it off and no one will be ganking you as you travel the world. Servers are no longer PvE or PvP.
Turn on Warmode and start ganking. Also get +10% experience for appropriate quests and tasks. In addition, you get a whole set of “PvP Talents” that are in addition to your primary talents. They automatically activate when War Mode is on.
And the following is what was…
Assuming that you’re making a brand new character, or are thinking of transferring to a new server, there is this one question to answer.
In a PvE realm there is no Player Vs Player combat except in rare occasions. For example, if you do a battleground you will exit as “flagged for PvP.”
In a PvP realm you can be fighting other players at pretty much any time. The problem with this is that they are probably of a far higher level than you. Yes, max level characters troll lower level zones, looking for easy kills.
Way back when, when the level cap was 60 and gear was far less powerful, this wasn’t so bad. A bunch of lower levels could gang up on a max level character and kill him. No longer.
Even if the opponent is more or less the same level (rare, but it does happen) the attack will almost always be from ambush. You’ll be fighting some monster and then you’ll also be fighting an enemy player. If you have a clue and good gear than you have a shot. That’s about as fair as it gets.
Are you cool with this? If so, then a PvP server might be fun. There will be occasional same level players you can attack and there are always lower level ones you can gank in a more or less cowardly manner. (Oops, did I let an opinion slip out?) Don’t feel bad about that, though. You will also be a target of that ganking until max level, and sometimes even then.
Draneor was largely designed with PvP in mind. Plan on it.
If you’re NOT cool with this then you want a PvE server. You will be able to walk by enemy players, regardless of level, and they won’t be able to do anything to you (assuming you haven’t somehow become “flagged.”)
Gearing Up for PvP
Can I use PvE Gear?
Once upon a time the answer was a definitive No! Things have changed. PvP Power is dead, Resilience is dead, Reforging is dead. The answer now is that if you PvE gear has a higher rating than your PvP gear then you should use it. Especially if it has gem sockets or added Leech or Speed (tertiary stats added in Warlords.) PvP gear has non of those.
The only other consideration here is if the PvP piece has a set bonus.
This video is from Skill-capped and will lay out gearing. Note that Mythics and Raids are the recommended route. (The rogue page mentioned in the video is here, and they have similar pages for most specs.)
Honor points come from Gladiator’s Sanctum work orders, Battleground fights, Skirmishes, and Ashran Events.
Conquest points come from the same sources, except Skirmishes, plus rated BGs and Arenas.
Hmmm…. should this be a separate page???
Ashran is the Warlords PvP zone
Something of a ghost zone in BFA, but a few people still participate. If you want to give it a shot, then go for it.
Warspear and Stormshield are the cities with all the amenities, including an Auction House, vendors, bank, transmog, portals, etc.
It’s possible to do a lot of Ashran with zero PvP, but that depends on the other faction and what they are doing, as well as what your own team is doing. In theory you could collect a lot of honor and some conquest without ever fighting other players. You won’t get any bones, though.
Just ride into the Ashran warzone and you will be automatically placed in a queue. That Q may be instant or it may take awhile, depending on the number of people wanting in at any given time. Once the Q pops you will have a minute to accept the summons.
Vendors and Quest Givers
Your PvP gear vendors are in your base as well as in Warpsear/Stormshield.
Quest givers are scattered about. Automatic quests also will appear as they become available.
Other quests happen when you enter the event areas, whether or not the event is actually happening. These take the form of killing off a set of mobs, not players, and will award honor.
Winning events gives you some honor and a Asmaul Strongbox.
When the event starts a large beastie with your flag will appears. You and your team will escort it around the track for five (in season 2) laps. If you complete that before the other side does then you win.
When the event starts you will need to collect Risen Spirits. A button should appear on your screen, use this to bag spirits once you find them.
When the event starts you and your team will need to park next to one of the five fires in the area and control them for the duration. Points are awarded for time on the fires, first team to 1500 wins.
When the Empowered Ore event starts you and your team will need to collect piles of ore that will appear and take the ore pieces to your faction’s cart. First side to get 20 ore wins.
When the event begins, your goal is to collect Apexis Marks of Redemption by taking down the Arakkoa ghosts that haunt the depths. Hand the marks into a ghost named Rukmaz. The first side to 50 winds.
Win 5 events in Ashran and defeat the enemy faction leader. Awards Conquest and a Gleaming Ashmaul Strongbox with a chance to contain Conquest gear.
Summoning Big Things
Honor and Conquest
Collect Honor by killing people, turning in artifact fragments, completing events.
Conquest by killing bosses and completing events.
Skirmishes are like informal arenas. You can join as a team or just let the system assign you a partner. Honor is awarded and, if you’re under the level cap, experience. Yes, you can level doing nothing but Skirmishes.
In case you’ve never participated in an Arena Skirmish, here’s an easy how-to guide:
- From anywhere in-game, open the Group Finder (default hotkey: i)
- Select the Player vs. Player tab on the bottom of the window.
- Under Arena Battles, choose either 2v2 or 3v3.
- Click the Join Battle button to be matched up with teammates.
General PvP tips, applicable to most classes. Even in Warlords of Draenor and beyond.
See Skill-Capped for up to date smashing heads info.
Glossary of PvP Terms
Note that the abbreviations are not entirely standardized and some don’t specify the specs.
- FMP – feral druid, mage, priest
- HLD – Hunter/Lock/Druid – MM/Aff/Resto
- HRLS (Heroic RLS) – Rogue/Priest/Shaman. Sub/Shadow/Resto
- KFC – Kung-Fu Cleave — warrior, hunter, healer (Arms/MM/Resto, healer can vary)
- LSD – lock, elemental shaman, restoration druid
- LSD2 – lock, restoration shaman, balance druid
- MLD – Mage/Warlock/Druid. Frost/Aff/Resto
- MLP – mage, lock, priest
- MLS – mage, lock, shaman (restoration)
- PHD or PHDK – paladin, hunter, DK (Holy/MM/UH)
- RDR – Rogue/Rogue/Druid – Sub/Sub/Resto
- RLD – Rogue/Lock/Druid – Sub/Aff/Resto
- RLS – rogue, lock, shaman (Sub/Aff/Resto)
- RMP – Rogue/Mage/Priest. (Sub/Frost/Disc)
- RPD – Druid/Priest/Rogue – Resto/Shadow/Sub
- RPP – Rogue/Pally/Priest. Sub/Ret/Disc
- RRP – retribution paladin, rogue, priest (usually healing, could equally be a paladin)
- Thunder cleave – Warrior/Shaman/Healer – Arms/Ele/Healer
- TSG – Warrior/DK/Pally. Arms/UH/Holy(Original). (Fury/Frost/Holy and Arms/Frost/Holy variations)
- WLD – Warrior/Warlock/Druid. Arms/Aff/Resto
- WLS – warrior, lock, shaman (Arms/Aff/Resto)
- WMD – Warrior/Mage/Druid. Arms/Frost/Resto
- WMP -Warrior/Mage/Pally. Arms/Frost/Holy
- WMS – Warrior/Mage/Shaman. Arms/Frost/Resto
- !@# – Warlock/Shaman/Druid. Destro/Ele/Resto
Other Team Names
- African turtle Cleave – Warrior/Hunter/Pally. Prot/MM/Holy
- Angelcleave – Pally/Priest/Shaman(Druid). Ret/Shadow/Resto
- Arthas Cleave – Dk/Dk/Healer – Frost/Frost/Healer
- Batman Cleave (Thug Cleave with a Warrior or Power Cleave) – Rogue/Warrior/Healer. Sub/Arms/Healer
- Beastcleave – Shaman/Hunter/Pally. Enhance/BM/Holy
- Boring Cleave – DK/Priest/Druid. UH/Disc/Resto (Has variants with replacing the druid with another healer)
- Dancing With the Stars Cleave. Rogue/Druid/Healer – Sub/Boom/Healer
- Dispel Cleave – Warrior/Priest/Druid. Arms(Fury)/Disc/Resto
- Ebola Cleave – Druid/DK/Healer. Feral/UH/Healer
- Hogwart’s Cleave – Mage/Mage/Shaman. Fire(Frost)/Frost/Resto
- Kanye Cleave – Rogue/Shaman/Druid. Sub/Enhance/Resto
- Kittycleave – Pally/Druid/Warrior. Holy/Feral/Arms
- Liberty Cleave – DK/Mage/Priest. Frost/Frost/Disc
- Lumberjack Cleave – Warrior/Warrior/Pally. Arms/Arms/Holy
- Man Cleave – Warrior/Warrior/Pally. Prot/Arms/Holy
- Melee Cleave – A comp that contains two Melee dps and a healer (example being TSG)
- Mongolian Earthworm Cleave – Shaman/Druid/Pally. Enhance/Balance/Holy
- Owlplay – Priest/Druid/Shaman. Shadow/Balance/Resto
- Original Cleave (First “Cleave”) – Warrior/Shaman/Druid. Arms/Enhance/Resto
- Scatter Play – Hunter/Priest/Shaman. MM/Shadow/Resto
- Shadowcleave – DK/Lock/Healer. UH/Aff/Healer
- Shatterclaw – Mage/Shaman/Priest. Frost/Enhance/Disc (Might not be actual name)
- ShatterCleave – Mage/Shaman/Priest – Frost/Ele/Disc
- Shattreeplay – Priest/Mage/Druid. Shadow/Frost/Druid
- Shadowplay – Priest/Warlock/Shaman. Shadow/Aff/Resto
- Shatterplay – Priest/Mage/Shaman. Shadow/Frost/Resto
- ShadowRMP – Rogue/Mage/Priest. Sub/Frost/Shadow
- Sheen Cleave – Rogue/DK/Shaman. Sub/UH/Resto
- Smokebomb Cleave(Broken Arm Cleave) – Rogue/Dk/Healer – Sub/Frost or UH/Healer
- Spell Cleave – A comp that contains two Caster dps and a healer (Example being Shadowplay). Also refers to Ele/Destro/Hpally from S8.
- Spicy Chicken Cleave – Mage/Druid/Priest – Fire/Balance/Disc
- Stealth Cleave – Rogue/Druid/Healer – Sub/Feral/Healer
- Thug Cleave (Venom Cleave) – Hunter/Rogue/Healer. MM/Sub/Healer
- TreeSG – Warrior/DK/Druid. Arms/UH/Resto
- Turbocleave – Shaman/Warrior/Healer. Enhance/Arms/Healer
- Unholyplay – Priest/DK/Healer. Shadow/UH/Healer
General PvP terms:
- blanket/silence: A silence debuff, something that prevents an opponent from casting. “Blanketing Priest!”
- burst: High damage applied over a short period of time.
- cap: Short for capture. If your team have just killed the EFC (Enemy Flag Carrier) they may be shouting “Cap!” a lot in chat.
- chain (CC): A chain of Crowd Control (CC;) using different CC abilities to keep a player’s character out of their control for as long as possible.
- cleave team: A team with, at least, two DPSers and a healer.
- cloned: Short for Cycloned.
- comp: The class makeup or composition of an Arena team. Such as, “My comp was RMP…”
- CC: or crowd control Spells and abilities that limit an opponent’s ability to control their character.
- CS: Short for Counterspell. “I’m CS-ed.”
- deep: Short for Deep Freeze. “I’m deeped!”
- DR: Short for diminishing returns; CC is subject to diminishing returns, so as you cast it repeatedly the CC time is progressively shorter until the opponent is temporarily immune to your CC. For example, three successive Saps. After that, it is reset.
- fake casting: Stopping a spellcast before it completes to trick an opponent into wasting their interrupt.
- farming: Repeatedly beating the same team and gaining points or rating. “We farmed that RMP.”
- FC/EFC: Flag carrier or enemy flag carrier in a Battleground.
- full: Refers to CC. “I’m sheeped, full” or “Full sheep on priest” means that the sheep in question is not subject to DR and is a full-length sheep.
- ganking: Killing someone in world PvP, normally from stealth or somehow unexpectedly. Suggests an strong advantage on the attacker’s side.
- global/nuke: To kill an opponent extremely quickly.
- griefing: Using world PvP to your (usually unfair) advantage to make another player’s game time unpleasant, such as high levels ganking lowbies.
- interrupt: Any ability which forces a school lockout. Pummel, Kick, Counterspell.
- juking, juke, juked: Stopping a spellcast before it completes to trick an opponent into wasting their interrupt. “He juked my kick.”
- kick: Interrupt “Kicking shaman!” “I’m kicked!”
- kite: To limit an opponent’s damage by keeping out of his range of offensive abilities, usually employing snares, roots and slows.
- LoS, LoSing: Using line of sight to avoid damage or other abilities being used on you. “LoS that hunter, I can’t keep you up.”
- opener: The abilities or spells with which you start or open a game.
- NS: Short for Nature’s Swiftness, an ability that allows druids and shaman to cast their next cast-time cast instantly. “I’m NS-ing you.”
- peeling: Using crowd control to keep opponents from attacking your teammates or peel them off the one they are attacking. “I need a peel.”
- pillar: humping A defensive strategy that involves avoiding the opponent by moving around or behind pillars.
- reset: Trying to regain health and mana so that a game is essentially returned to how it was at the start.
- sheep Polymorph opponent to a sheep.
- switch: Change targets to take advantage of poor positioning. Usually needs to happen at great speed. “Switching shaman, hard!”
- train: All members of the same team attacking the same target.
- trinket: Use a trinket that frees your character from CC, roots, silences, etc. “I can’t believe he trinketed my Sap.” Sometimes used to refer to humand and gnome escape abilities.
- tunnel: All members of the same team attacking the same target.
- turtle: Playing defensively. Games where both teams turtle are incredibly boring!
- win trading: Two or more teams working together to gain an advantage through the Arena queue system. Win trading is against WoW’s Terms of Service.
- zerg: Playing on the extreme aggressive as a group. A tactic used necessarily by triple DPS arena comps.
Kick Butt Leveling Guide
Just getting started? On your 47th alternate character? Either way you’re looking at thousands of quests and a million mobs to grind the trip to max level and that can be a bit daunting. Not to mention wondering where to go and what to do. Of course you always blow $60 and boost the character…
To solve that problem we recommend an in-game leveling guide. Start from any level, hit the dungeons for a few levels, work the battlegrounds for awhile and when you come back to questing the guide will detect where you are and advance appropriately. New to WoW or experienced, geared or not, heirlooms or not, even if you’re running Recruit a Friend the levels will just come boom, boom, boom and you’ll hit the level cap a lot faster than you ever did before.
Zygor’s Leveling Guide takes care of all the “looking up stuff.” No more switching from game to quest log, no more asking questions in chat or guild, no more browsing some website for tips. No more doubts or questions about what to do next.
Zygor’s guide appears as an in-game window (very small and moveable) which tracks the quests you’re on, and the objectives (kill this, collect that.) It automatically updates as you complete tasks and quests and provides all of the “where to go and what to do” info that you will need to level quickly.
Where it beats WoW’s in-game quest helper all to heck is by laying out the best path all along the way. Plus, if you spend some time in the dungeons or PvP leveling then, when you return to questing, Zygor will automatically update to your new level and show you where to go next.
Always updated for the latest patches and expansions, even Shadowlands and beyond, Zygor’s will never be obsolete.
Grab your copy here and get leveled fast.