This weekend I had recoverd from my physical illness, but in its place I found I had, out of nowhere, caught the PvP bug. Usually, I'm content to just raid, run dungeons, or grind levels/professions/rep. But every once in a while, I just want to crit a clothie in the spine. I specced the cookie-cutter Mutilate/Prep build and hopped into BG after BG in my raid gear.
By now, I've heard months of complaints throughout this internet, about how burst damage is king in WoW PvP. I'm here to tell you: everyting you heard is absolutely true.
Now I want to give this next point space, because it's important, and I really, really mean it:
Don't enter a Battleground unless you are a rogue, paladin, or death knight.
Without resilience, fights uniformly last a matter of seconds. Unless you are in good plate, I will kill you during my stunlock. If you survive, it's entirely possible you will kill me in 2 globals if you can just get out of melee range for a second. Yesterday, I popped out of stealth and killed a priest, mage, and druid before any of the three of them could react to me being there. I've been killed by hunters in 3 shots from range before my computer even had time to render them at that range. It's a frakking circus out there (sorry, BSG marathon yesterday).
But it's not a sign of massive game imbalances for which we should personally burn Ghostcrawler in effigy or whatever. It's simply an unintended, but unavoidable, result of the game's reliance on every-improving gear. You don't need resilience to level, so most people start up their pvp experience with little to no resilience. The people who spent all their badges on blue pvp gear probably don't exist, and most others aren't willing to trade in their naxx epics for blue crafted pvp gear, especially when naxx 25 epics are (ludicrously) easier to get than a pile of badges or the mats for the crafted sets.
And this isn't some dev error: it's innate to the game's design that you can't start everyone out in high-resilience gear, or else they will have nothing to shoot for. So every new expansion cycle will begin, as TBC did, with Burst City followed by OMG I'm CCed and Soon I'm Dead leading to a finale of Wow This Arena Match Is Lasting A Long Time And That Druid Keeps Humping That Pillar. Mark my words. Which classes are on top this time will follow almost the same arc they did in TBC, because it's innate to how the class design interacts with resilience. It's only slightly different this time because DKs are new and Ret paladins are stronger than they were.
The only reason Warriors aren't dominating like they did in S1 of TBC is because the rogue version of MS (Wound Poison) has been changed to be much more competitive with the ol' MS debuff. This is also the only time in arenas except for that brief spell of AR/Prep where rogues could combine burst damage and the surivability of Prep in one spec. Since warriors were just brought for the MS debuff before, and now rogues are much more appealing, warriors have fallen out of favor. Wait a few months and I bet Intercept, Hamstring, and plate will start to seem a lot more appealling than a guy in leather who runs out of cooldowns after 30 seconds.
So anyway, everyone is running around in BGs in either quested greens/blues or raid epics, which means 99% percent of the people you run into are going to go squish if you look at them funny, especially if you're the one, like me, running around in raid epics.
It's obvious which classes will thrive in this environment: the 3 classes that combine instant attacks (lol @ cast-times), foolproof defenses, and burst damage.
Many classes have instant attacks and burst damage, but none have the level of self-defense possessed by rogues, paladins and death knights.
Paladins are flat-out criminal in one-on-one pvp. (The devs consider themselves immune to criticism on this because they only design around group pvp, which is a bit of a cop-out considering how much everyone loves 1v1 duels and how much people invest in their characters as their own personal avatars, but that's getting a bit off-topic. People want to play that way, whether you balance it or not.) Sure, they can be kited, despite their ability to dispel and flat-out ignore snares - that is, if you survive through their ranged, instant stun or their FULL IMMUNITY BUBBLE, which you won't, because they have the most on-demand burst in the game: just hit 3-4 buttons in a row, each for a big chunk of direct damage, some of which cuts through armor. No setups from stealth. No combo points. No need to generate rage. No need to wait for DoT tickes or cast times. No need to waste two globals stacking diseases. Just walk up and BAM BAM BAM. They may have been nerfed, but they are broken. Without even getting into the fact that they wear plate and have instant self-heals.
Rogues have a wide array of excellent defensive cooldowns and tend to spec for Preparation for PvP, which doubles their ability to use them. Combine this with the fact that they have the ability to become invisible and untargetable and you have quite a recipe for survivability. They can also kill you during a stunlock, though this takes a lot more setup than a paladin stun. It requires melee range, an opener from stealth, and has the opportunity cost of preventing you from using Ambush, then requires 5 combo points for the Kidney Shot, along with energy that keeps you from using other moves. Paladins can just stun you at will, with zero prep. Doesn't seem right when rogues are supposed to be built around stuns, while the stun seems more like an afterthought on the paladin, who's built around bubbles and heals that the rogue doesn't have. And their stuns may use mana, but unless the paladin is running on empty, that won't prevent him from immediately unleashing any other chain of attacks of his choosing.
Oh, sorry, did I start talking about how broken paladins are again? Oops.
As for Death Knights, their stun is more limited (it's on the ghoul, and not all specs even have it on-demand), but they make up for it with excellent survivability: about 3 mini-bubbles (with a full selection of CC immunities built-in) with almost no opportunity cost (a warrior would give his left axe for just one of these), plate, and instant self-healing rivaled only by paladins and shaman. Though they actually require set-up time to put up diseases (and pay a high opportunity cost for their snare) DKs match paladins in burst damage potential because they can cut their global cooldown from 1.5 to 1 second, getting off more strikes in less time, with some of the damage cutting through armor. They can also use hax to remove HoTs.
Warriors have instant attacks and burst damage, but have zero defenses aside from a weak self-heal. The most skilled will whip out their shield in the right circumstances, but there goes the burst damage. Paladins give up little for their survivability and in return have far and away the best, while rogues give up nearly nothing (slowed run speed) and death knights sacrifice nothing for their surivability.
The other classes are just too vulnerable. With the amount of burst damage available to every single class, you can't afford to be out in the open alone without an immunity bubble or the full array of the DK cooldowns and self-heals.
Going into a BG if you aren't one of these 3 classes is just begging for frustration and misery as you die while stunned over and over or see your health cut in half before you even realize you've been Death Gripped. I would say don't bother, except I really need you clothies to keep qeueing up so I have some easy targets to get giant Mutilate crits on. So on second thought, only qeue up if you are NOT a rogue, paladin, or DK. Thanks!