The Psychological Effect of Game Death in PvP

When I first made the transition over to PvP, there was one major roadblock I had to overcome before they could really enjoy myself: death, in PvP, is not bad.  I’ve been hearing/reading some comments around the Lillisphere that some of you are going through the same pains right now, so let’s discuss.  People with a PvE background are trained to associate toon death with failure.  Death means someone didn’t properly execute the plan, or that the plan itself is borked.  It often coincides with group/personal drama, it’s just painful all around.  But NOT in Lilliworld!  How so?  Excuse me while I break this down.

Why did they all go after me?? (Or: How I learned to die productively in PvP)

When I was a kid I often heard “He’s just as afraid of you as you are of him”.  Yeah, sure dad.  That scary snake/rat/dog is afraid of me.  I’m six, and a scrawny six at that…but of course he was right then, and he’d be right now.  PvPers will naturally seek out and remove the largest perceived threat to their group’s success; good PvPers will work together to do this because coordinated burst on force multipliers wins games. Why? What’s a force multiplier? Stop making up words!!

Force multiplier is modern military jargon (for Gnomes, the best jargon) for a factor that dramatically increases the combat-effectiveness of the force as a whole; healers and controllers are the force multipliers in WoW PvP, no matter what bracket.  In other words, every clone the pops out of the Clone-o-Tron 5000 is a potential force multiplier.  An adorable, dancing force multiplier.

Think about it (no, not dancing Lillis).  Priests have one of the better healer toolkits at 24, and every single spec has Psychic Scream, the only mass fear at level 24.  Warlocks all have a spammable Fear, and access to the Succy’s Seduction (watch out, shares diminishing returns with Fear), Afflicition has an aoe magic damage taken debuff (for all Lillis to enjoy) and Destruction has an on-chance aoe stun and a short cooldown disorient. All Mages have spammable Sheep, a ranged interrupt, an aoe freeze and slow.  Fire mages have an on-chance instant-cast stun, Arcane has a blanket silence while Frost has two more aoe freezes (one of them ranged).  Oh yeah, and Arcane and Frost do more damage to frozen targets, no matter who freezes them.  We are a threat and we wear magic toilet paper.  We will be targeted, and we will revel in all the attention.

Now that we’ve accepted we are going to die (a lot) how can we make the best out of each death?  Most PvP battles are decided by the team that can put the right force is in the right place at the right time; our job is to disrupt the enemy’s ability to coordinate.  Pulling key players out of position at crucial times is often the best use of your death, make them choose between finishing you off and executing their strategy.  As casters line-of-sight object are our best friends.  Keep a look out for objects to dance around when casting, knowing that you can run around it if you get targeted.  Melee will have to chase after you and casters will have to run back into LOS to start another cast.

When you’ve made the enemy so mad they leave our flag carrier to go after you as you ride up, you’ve doing it right.  When you can hold four horde at a flag with persistent solo suicide runs, congrats you’ve provided our team a 3 player advantage for the rest of the map.  Make every death a success and you will come to love PvP!

Ok, I died.  Now what?

So the world has gone grey and there’s an annoying little clock counting down the time until you can DO SOMETHING again.  Whatever you do here, just don’t get mad/frustrated/annoyed.  There are much more than productive uses of your time.  You have up to 30 seconds to breath and plan.  Review what happened, and then decide on what you’re going to do next.  Objectively run over the last battle in your mind, while taking a good look at your abilities to see what you could have done differently.  Pop open your map to see where the Lillis are massing and decide where you will be the most useful.  Call out how many horde were in the area you just died.  Or say something encouraging to your team in /BG.

After all, it’s nothing personal, it’s just a job.  It is the enemy’s job to eliminate priority threats.  It is your job to be a threat worth eliminating.

Happy hunting Lillis!


5 thoughts on “The Psychological Effect of Game Death in PvP

  1. Very well put, Master Manglehaft!

    Death in PvP is a given, and in many cases there’s absolutely nothing at all that you can do about it. You should never take it as a sign of failure, and in many cases you can actually take it as a sign of success. Like Mangle said, four people camping the flag specifically to kill you over and over are four people that aren’t fighting the rest of your team. Similarly, players who will chase you around the field all day long because you’re a healer or because you control them the whole game is yet another player that’s not focused on the rest of your team.

    In PvP, people choose their targets one of three ways: Weakest, Strongest, Closest. You’ll see DPS classes, particularly Rogues and Ferals, going after whoever has the smallest health pools in almost every game because they like to make themselves feel good about having a lot of honorable kills. You’ll see DPS classes, high-CC classed, and experienced/competitive players going after the strongest people for the reasons Mangle mentioned here. And you’ll see inexperienced players go after whoever happens to be closest to them because as long as they’re participating in some form or fashion they’re good.

    I often see people in low level PvP calling out other players for having low health, telling them they’re bad and going to cost us the game. I LOVE low health people in my BG’s because they make fantastic targets, thus luring opponents away from the bigger threats on your team. They also tend to be the most grateful players you’ll find in PvP if you actually make an effort to help them out. Want to make a new friend? Go heal a Mage with 300 HP while he takes on 2 Hunters, a Rogue, and a Warrior at the same time.

    Also, don’t forget that death can be an incredibly useful tool. Out of mana? Go punch a Rogue in the face and let him kill you. There you go, instant full heal! You’re in the enemy base and your FC needs needs an escort fast? Go taunt a Hunter. There you go, instant teleport to the other side of the map!

    In the hands of a twink, even death is a tool.

    • I think your comment about types of players can easily be applied to all brackets. People will do anything to maximize their KBs, when KBs alone don’t win games. If you are just killing someone at random, or because its easy, what does that solve? They’re back up ready to go in 30 seconds, congrats you’ve spent x amount of time removing someone that may or may not have a large effect on the game. When running up take your time to analyze the opposing force. Who’s going to make a difference in this push and how can I stop it?

  2. “When you’ve made the enemy so mad they leave our flag carrier to go after you as you ride up, you’ve doing it right.”

    This is completely A couple of nights ago in WSG, I noticed that I had pissed off a (twinked out, 24) blood elf rogue to the point that he was picking me out of crowds to aggressively stunlock down. So I started making it a point to mount up and run towards the main BG action in a wide arc away from everybody. If there’s anything more tantalizing to a rogue than a cloth wearer, it’s a cloth wearer with no self heals hanging out far away from their allies all alone.

    I died about six times to that rogue… but every time, he was killing me far, far away from the rest of the team, and depriving their main push of one of their strongest players. We ended up winning… and the rogue was about 15 HP from killing me a seventh time when the BG ended. (I couldn’t help a /y HA! at him before leaving.)

  3. I’ve played many an AB where the rez timer & I were in sync while defending a node.

    Rez, get in there, disrupt the flag cap and die… within 30 seconds.. Then, near instant rez and I am disturbing their cap again. rinse, repeat, win.

    Remember also that if you have died in a fight near a controlled graveyard, you have a couple of advantages over the enemy.
    1) You get a moment to think through who your primary target *should* be on your return and when you do, you will be at full health and mana – probably unlike them.
    2) You and your allies are spawning and respawning, so you can wear them down.

    Just make sure you are protecting the node.. love tap anyone close to the flag – repeatedly!

    Dying in the appropriate place can also score you a “free port” to a better graveyard. Cynwise has some great posts on the “segmentation” of BGs, in particular their relationships to GYs.

    For instance, can’t get past the Stables after rezzing at the base? Head away from it, towards your closest capped node.
    – GM, head hard left and ride like your rez location depends on it.
    – LM, do a hard right after leaving the gate and jump across the rocks of the water fall (don’t panic if you fall, there are opportunities to get out of the water). Advantage of this one, is they wont cross the water, just the bridge, so you get some unmolested time and might get close enough to LM if they are determined to hit you.
    – BS. The LM strat of creating space will work
    At least that way, you are dying on the road with a higher purpose, or strategy in mind.

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