HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Battleground Independence

A Tower is left undefended. I can do nothing.

A tower is left undefended by the enemy. I can do nothing.

I’m going through a phase of Battleground discontent. Playing Discipline is fun. But I’m certainly not a one-man-killing-machine. More and more often I watch my map, stuck “defending” a node on my own. Of course, I can’t really defend it on my own, I can only hope to scare off attackers who assume that my back is being guarded by a stealthed Rogue.

And I watch as a single Alliance mounts up and takes to the road picking off unsuspecting passerbys. You know the type. I’ve started to think of them as Lone Rangers. They can operate independently. They rarely stay with the group.

They can lead an attack. As a healer, I can only follow.

Who is mostly likely to be the Lone Ranger in your battleground? Forever riding off into the sunset with just his trusty horse as his companion?

  • Paladins
  • Druids (well, the ones that switch between all the forms and can deal a lot of damage… so not the Tree Form ones)
  • Death Knights
  • and these days even Warlocks

Notice that these are the classes that can deal quite a lot of damage while regenerating their own health or healing? These players don’t need other players to run around behind them healing them or helping them kill their target. Sure it will speed things up. But one on one, playing aggressively, they will usually come out on top.

As a healer, it doesn’t matter if I can spot the weak points in the enemy’s defense. Sure, I can point them out in battleground chat, and I always usually do, but I can’t run off and attack.

And when I get so frustrated that I do just run off on my own, it always goes badly. I can draw out combat with one other player for a good long time (assuming they are light on the stuns) but I won’t be able to kill them. That is, I won’t be able to kill them before help arrives. By then the element of surprise is well and truly gone and you’ve just highlighted to your enemy the weak point in their defense.

As a healer, I’m of best use to the group when I’m actually, well, healing. Not defending a node on my own. So often I’m lumped up with 90% of my team while we all attack one point. Even though I can see that we’re going to lose our other 2 nodes while we capture one. I can wish that 3 or 4 of our offense would break away and head back to defend our nodes. But I can’t make that happen. If I get truly frustrated, I’ll break away… and then remember I’m not a Lone Ranger.

I think this problem was hammered home in a Eye of the Storm match. I was stuck at Fel Rever Ruins with a Death Knight that I was pretty sure was AFK. They had parked their butt at the node closest to the graveyard. But I was still grateful. Just having another person next to me might deter the enemy from attacking. However as time went on, and we were losing, I could see that the Mage Tower, under Horde control, was apparently undefended. And most of the participants were squabbling over at the Blood Elf Tower.

So I suggested several times that we should try to capture MT over chat, both /battleground and, unsuccessfully, via /say to the Death Knight next to me.

Minutes go past. And I figure, fuck it. That AFK Death Knight can defend on their own. And I mount up and rush over that bridge. And who do I find single handedly trying to take on a Druid?

Another Priest. Another Discipline Priest at that.

[Battleground][Cassandri]Help MT need dpw

That’s meant to read “dps” but it’s bloody hard to type properly when you’re under attack.

The Druid wears us down and our cavalry never arrives. Within minutes I’m back to try my luck again. And so is the other Priest. Screw healing. I’m Smiting and Penancing my ass off. I think we actually did kill the Druid. Didn’t cap the tower though. But that Priest and I were buddies for the rest of the match.

Is that smart? To have two of your healing Priests trying to DPS their opponents side by side, far away from the rest of the group, keeping all the golden glowing goodness to ourselves? I don’t think so either.

I’m left pondering my place, as a healer, in Battlegrounds. I don’t feel that it is my job to defend a node. Certainly not on my own. But I can’t initiate an attack and expect to win. The best battlegrounds that I’ve played have been where I’ve, through chance, hooked up with a partner that can dish out the hurt.

As time goes on, and I become even more discontent with Battlegrounds, I’m becoming more active in my quest to find a partner. Sometimes I’ll just flat out ask in Battleground chat at the start of the match for a partner. This seems crazy, I usually join the queue to join a battleground because it’s one of the few activities at level 80 that doesn’t require you to organise a party beforehand.

Mr Lone Ranger… can I join you? Ride your coat-tails?

27 Responses to “Battleground Independence”

  1. KellsNo Gravatar says

    When I’m playing one of my healers alone in a BG I’ll just pick a DPS and follow it around. Once that Warrior or Death Knight you’re following realises that you’re keeping him alive he will generally do the same for you. If he ignores you and continues slashing away at the Prot Paladin while a rogue is eating your face? Ditch him and find someone else!

    DPS in battlegrounds need to remember one of the golden rules of BGs: kill/cc the enemy healers and protect your own healers (because the other team’s trying to kill them too).
    .-= Kells’s last blog … The Window to my World =-.

  2. WindsoarNo Gravatar says

    This is a general problem in BG’s — when I was leveling in BG’s, I had people asking ME to help THEM because they knew with a healer as their friend that they could pwn faces and live.

    At 80, I’ve found it’s a “you’re on your own sucker” system. I run around trying to find the most competent dps to keep alive, and they often leave me to death-gripped, snowballed in the face, and dead on the ground. As I curse them for ugly dogs, I realize how much I despise being a class that relies on the group to survive.
    .-= Windsoar’s last blog … And a Fond Farewell =-.

  3. Ohhh yeah… sounds so familiar…

    I think the DPS get some sort of blood lust.

    Ohh look, piles of Horde I can go and shed blood with…

    Meanwhile, I am looking around the map for the most useful place for my heals… which generally is where someone is actually intelligently trying to take an objective.

    Problem is, often by the time I arrive it’s just me against them…
    .-= Gnomeaggedon/Squidly’s last blog … I did what I couldn’t do =-.

  4. ZahrahNo Gravatar says

    healers should not be babysitting flags/nodes When healing bgs ( yes I have been doing that lately.. more Hk’s when you follow the action) if I find I am on babysitting duty and am one of the only healers I will tell bg
    .-= Zahrah’s last blog … Where Shadow Priests come from. =-.

  5. KaeNo Gravatar says

    Agreed, Zahrah. The only time a healer should be defending a node is when the main group has enough healing, and the group is coordinating themselves so that the healer (usually a durable one like a paladin) will get backup as soon as they call that they are getting attacked, and thus they just serve as holdout until the cavalry arrives to clear out the attacker.

    In organized BGs (rarely seen anymore, but speaking of the old same-realm BGs of vanilla), healers were usually put to either that “warning system” defense or were following the group’s onslaught… or if they were a druid in WSG, they were carrying flags with another druid, most often (mmm Green Whelp armor!). These days, I just take a look around at the players as the battle is starting, pick a well-geared one, and make myself their pocket-healer (healing anyone else in range, of course): they often appreciate it and will defend me. If I’m left behind alone at a node, oh well: that node is lost, because I’m not going to sit there twiddling my twiggy thumbs waiting for my death to come, cuz it’s not like I can actually kill anything without it taking so long that their backup arrives before mine even considers coming to help, if I even get a chance to type it out around all my HoTs and fleeing and roots and cyclones.

    The reason healers usually feel like they get “stuck” guarding is because we tend to be the helpful players who see the node unguarded and feel like they have to do it. The DPS all want to go get HKs and pew-pew and kill people and see big numbers, so most of them have no interest in actually guarding, and run off as soon as they can. Healers just shouldn’t let that push them into a bad guarding-role when their heals are much better put to use with those fighting the bulk of the enemy, unless they are capable of taking out attackers themselves. If a node is unguarded, it is rarely the healers’ fault.

    • MeyliendhaNo Gravatar says

      I understand what you’re triyng to do with the 1 hour random thing.The problem I see with that is that tanks will look at the LFD window, see that it’s not “tank hour” and will not queue. “Meh, I’ll try again next hour”. Same with healers.Indeed, it’s a bad situation for all pure DPS classes, unless Blizzard locks people into their tanking/healing spec and removing all options to switching back to DPS.

  6. I hate defending, I always get stuck doing it on my paladin. I run off on my healers. Screw that idea. lol. I run around till I find a progression group taking nodes.
    .-= Sushicookie’s last blog … Rawr! =-.

  7. YaneNo Gravatar says

    I’ve done my share of healing as a priest and druid and one of my best times was when a guildmate of mine joined me on her warrior. She didn’t die once, she tried to make sure I didn’t die either (but that’s inevitable!), she had the most kills, it was so much fun! I remember asking her a few more times if she wanted a healbot but we never did it again. :(

    Players often ask why don’t hybrids heal, they’d be amazed how much we can heal when someone has our back just like we have theirs!

    I’m leveling up a paladin now and I feel like I have more freedom in battlegrounds. I like being the Lone Ranger instead of wistfully looking at one while “pretending” (like you did) to defend a node. :D
    .-= Yane’s last blog … Leveling through Vanishing Azeroth…battlegrounds =-.

  8. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    Perhaps I should follow along like a good little sheep – making the most of my heals. I feel that it’s not my place to tell others to defend if I’m not willing to defend. I guess the thinking part of my brain finds it really hard to fit into the mob mentality of battlegrounds.

    @Yane I knew Paladins had more independence in BGs!

  9. PapaNastyNo Gravatar says

    imo, just find one of these lone rangers, ideally one who looks relatively successful at it, and healbot them :) Since anyone who’s good at smashing face, is 5x as good at it with a good healer at their back.

    hehe maybe inspect all of the ret pallys / warriors / dks at the start of a bg, see which are you think the most geared, and then just follow them around :) They might charge headlong into nodes which you don’t think are the right ones to attack, but even if severely outnumbered, one of these classes can be a serious wrecking ball with a good healer behind them.

  10. HoliterraNo Gravatar says

    I play BG’s on all my toons, but my favorite has to be my Disc priest. I really enjoy it. I love PvP more than PvE. I’m one of the ones in /bg telling people hey we need more people defending X, surprisingly most of the time they listen.

    I love BG’s, love it even more when we are winning. Since switching to Disc spec I can hold out a long time, rarely die. It definitely can get frustrating too though. Im usually defending, if I find myself doing it solo I’ll definitely say, hey we need someone else over here. Help usually arrives.
    .-= Holiterra’s last blog … Stranglethorn Vale; Savage Jungle =-.

  11. jtrack3dNo Gravatar says

    You hit the nail. With dual-spec people rarely heal in BG’s anymore because they can use their DPS spec instead and be the lone ranger. Who wants to chase DPS around helping them and getting nothing in return. Essentially, they control the shots and you have the choice to follow and hopefully not die or defend and die.

    I have a druid feral/resto… forget resto in a PuG BGs. Tree is only for a pre-made.

  12. omgtreeNo Gravatar says

    I hear you. I’m an excellent BG healer as a tree. You can’t hurt me most of the time. I can last a loooooong time in most attacks, even rogues with their silly stunlocks (abolish poison + hots + thorns = lols). But I can’t last forever. You will eventually kill me. My only offense? cyclone + moonfire (good luck with that!)

    The other day I almost got AV All-Star, only to be left looking at a single GY (which I had left to attack) protected by 4 gimpy NPCs and nobody to kill them for me. So sad.

    EotS is very frustrating – people do tend to pile and and I think you may be right about the blood lust that happens. This is why I play battlegrounds as a cat. I stealth and rawr and mangle and heal myself. I am the Lone Hunter. I am victorious! (Also, pls get out of middle if we don’t have at least 2 bases, kthxbai!)

  13. PaulioNo Gravatar says

    Nice blog post — accurately describes the current state of PuG BGs. I found it quite apt that your pic was from EotS as was your recent example, because I’m on a ghastly losing streak in that BG. The weekend just passed was the EotS holiday weekend, and Alliance lost the last 11 games I was in. Sure, sure, I can hear it now, ‘maybe it’s you…’, but… no, I’m usually top quartile, and I’ve usually got a flag or two or at least a return. I put it down to newbies just following the leader, which works OK for AV but which is a supahfail strategy EotS. It doesn’t take 6 people to cap and hold a node.

    I think EotS is one of the worst BGs for lone rangers because, unlike Arathi Basin, in EotS you can see almost every tower (flag) from most other towers, which I think promotes DPS wanderlust. It’s hard to stay put on defense when you perceive a nearly-unguarded tower just a few seconds away across the bridge.

    For the record, as a rogue, I love seeing ppl using /bg chat to direct people to needed locations. I know I can have some value as a lone ranger but my power is so much greater if I’m with a plate-wearer and a healer. If I see heals flashing on me I’ll always give someone a /thank or /salute to let them know I appreciate them. Then I’ll get out in front and sap an incoming DPS to try to slow the rush. There are tons of ways to work together.

    And if you do enough BGs and tend to play at a consistent time period, you even start recognizing ppl cross-server. Of course, this goes for seeing good players and baddies. Last night I was in WG with a rogue wearing mostly blues who had NO trinkets equipped and no second weapon equipped. I whispered him (a friendly “did you maybe forget to equip something(s)…?”) and he replied that he was a new 80 and was still gearing up. That may have been true but if I ever see him in a BG again I’m leaving forthwith, because being ungeared is just a way of saying that you’re there to waste other people’s time. This rogue kept stealthing away from the group, grabbing the horde flag with no allies nearby, then sprinting for his 15 seconds of fame before inevitably being cut down like a blade of grass before the group could get to him to assist him. Lone rangers in WG = loss for the group. Learn it, know it, live it.

  14. ErclesNo Gravatar says

    You pretty much summed up why I’ve given up on BG’s. Most people seem to zerg either the flag in Eots or the BS in AB, while 3 or 4 of desperately try to cap and defend everything else. *sighs*

  15. ziiNo Gravatar says

    The frustration is not much different from dps.
    Even if fighting alone is posible, the best change you have is when your 1 on 1 against someone. Hoping they aren’t better then you. If there is even 1 more in the mix, the change of winning drasticly decreases.

    And people just don’t go where you would want them to go.
    (all zerk one base and abandoning the capped bases. or going for flag in eots before having the bases). So you end up being a lone ranger against your will.
    But if noone else is out capping that base, you just go and try your best against better judgement.

    But your right, it is more frustrating as a healer.
    When i go on my healer i just ride with the group that goes in any sort of logical direction and hope for the best.

  16. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    @Paulio I broke my EoTS losing streak (going strong for about 5 days – but I dont BG every day) just before posting this. I was amazed at how poorly my team performed each time. I kept checking the BG screen to make sure we weren’t up against a premade. Why were they so organised? Why were we so… not? And even when it was 2 vs 2 at a tower we’d just lose. The overall skill and gear of the other side just seemed much higher.

    I don’t get it. Alliance used to kick ass at Eye of the Storm in BC.

  17. EldrynNo Gravatar says

    Keels said, “When I’m playing one of my healers alone in a BG I’ll just pick a DPS and follow it around.”

    Funny thing is when I’m playing my hunter I pick a healer and follow them around. It really keeps the deaths to a minimum in the lvl 80 BGs.

  18. ZuiraaNo Gravatar says

    My friend, I feel your pain. I can’t TELL you how many times I’ve been left to defend a tower as a lone discipline priest.

    One thing I can suggest, especially for alliance, is to make a helpful suggestion rather than a typical BG gripe (you &*%$ noobs, tards, morons, you #@&*%$ suck). These inarticulate expressions of rage, while therapeutic, don’t really tell people what they need to be doing.

    A lot of people are screwing up because they don’t know what the heck is going, so try saying “need two on defense at MT” or “please don’t cap unless we control middle” or god help us, I can’t believe it needs to be said: “please run the flag to a tower we control and not into a group of the enemy”.

  19. ViktNo Gravatar says

    Healers are pretty synonymous with winning I think. In the post-DK era the typical composition of an Arathi Basin tends to be 5 DK’s, 3 warlocks, 2 warriors, 2 rogues, 2 enhancement shaman and a Spriest – and as a DK I often will actually tap back more hit points than anyone heals for. For reasons as you’ve stated in this post, I really can’t blame healers for wanting to go dps in BG’s because of the way they are ignored in PuG’s.

    Great post btw – I have to admit I just started reading this week but that I didn’t expect to get a great PvP article like this.
    .-= Vikt’s last blog … Night Elf Mohawk Pt. 2 =-.

  20. GregNo Gravatar says

    I do BGs as a disc priest as well… I have been much more succesful in killing opposing players than it seems you have been. Its really pretty easy to wear someone who can’t heal down over time, just keep SW:P and DP up constantly, holy fire on cooldown, keep shield and renew up, stop to heal whenever you go less than 75% hp, and use smite as a filler.

    Also, don’t forget mana burn!! Ret paladins are a great candidate for mana burning, since if your shield absorbs their judgement they don’t get mana back! And, divine plea may be dispellable… I can’t recall atm.

    Finally, whenever I enter a BG, I first look for the plate dps with the larget HP pool/Gearscore. Ideally, you want someone with ~30k hp, warrior is usually best, dk 2nd, and ret last. (Warrior has MS, which makes taking out those opposing healers much much easier.)

    When I see someone, I’ll whisper them “Hi my new friend! xD” They usually are like wtf?!and I’m like… Do you like disco? Lol… they usually start laughing at that point and we run the whole BG together.

    Failing a plate dps, look for a well geared rogue with a arena tabard, or pvp title. They probably will do well.

    Finally, if you see some caster dps in like full relentless, they will prolly rock as well. (Warlock with 30k hp works fine, esp if they are affliction.)

  21. JackNo Gravatar says

    If you feel like you’re not getting support as a healer, its most likely because you aren’t making good choices about where to position yourself. If you know the strategic importance of whats going on, and get yourself to the battles that will have the greatest impact on outcomes, you will usually find yourself fighting next to the other people that know what they’re doing.

    As for playing lone ranger as a healer, if you can go into an enemy node and distract 3 or 4 of them by yourself and prevent them from reinforcing somewhere else for 15-30 critical seconds, you may as well have gone in and one-shot them all. If you killed them all instantly, they’d be sitting waiting for a rez. If you got them to chase you to a remote corner of the map before they killed you, you’ll probably be back in meaningful action before they will, and you’ve effectively changed the odds somewhere else in your teams favor by 2-3 bodies.

  22. HafengrimNo Gravatar says

    You have exactly described the reasons I stopped playing in PuG BGs.

  23. CassandriNo Gravatar says


    I found myself as part of a long losing streak doing the daily Strand of the Ancients last night. We had so many players AFKing a mimimum of 5 from the start of the battle! I reported them. Seeing the same AFKers load in on the 2nd and 3rd games really made me mad and I started pushing others to report them over Battleground chat.

    Anyway, on the 3rd match I noticed that I was Battleground Leader, so I started … well leading. Telling people when to fall back, when we needed more at a gate, to kill vehicles (it seems obvious, but maybe it isn’t?).

    And we won. With about 3 still AFK (although we’d removed some of the repeat offenders).

    I don’t think I’m an expert at Battleground strategy, but perhaps the majority of my team know less than I. Scary thought.

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