Player vs Player
layer vs. Player combat is one of the fundamental aspects of World of Warcraft. The element of human intelligence, skill, and unpredictability when facing other players instead of computer-controlled enemies is one of the main draws of participating in PvP. Players of all ability and gear level as well as time commitment can find an outlet in World of Warcraft's PvP system - whether it's in the fierce struggle between the Alliance and Horde in Battlegrounds, the competitive, fast-paced world of Arena combat, or the potentially massive conflicts of World PvP.
In addition to the thrill of battle itself which is its own reward, players can earn powerful material rewards from participating in PvP. An assortment of powerful weapons, armor, and other items, including the epic armor and weapons purchased with Arena points and from the Honor system, are available to the victorious.
This page consolidates content on World of Warcraft's PvP combat in one convenient location. Click on a link below to see more about that topic.
o some, fighting players of the opposing faction is something to engage in from time to time when the mood strikes them. To others, it is a way of life. This page compiles some assorted information about the mechanics of PvP combat. The top of this page has links to other sections with more detail on individual aspects of the PvP system. For a more fundamental explanation of the PvP system, see our Realm Types page. The Honor System, World PvP, and Arena pages have detailed information about the three main PvP systems in the game.
Local Defense Channel
This channel broadcasts messages when a friendly NPC in the zone is attacked. You can turn these "zone under attack" messages on or off by joining or leaving their channels. By default they are both off; to join either type /join LocalDefense for messages in your current zone only and /join WorldDefense to see messages when any zone is attacked.
Players that die in PvP, either versus another player or versus a PvP-flagged NPC, suffer an increasing penalty to their resurrection timer. When you die the first time, there is no time penalty before you can resurrect. Each successive death tacks on 30 seconds of wait time to resurrect. The maximum time penalty is a five minute wait before the option to resurrect appears. This delay does not apply to players that are resurrected by other players or from the use of items such as Goblin Jumper Cables.
Crowd Control Spells and Diminishing Returns
Crowd Control spells such as Charm, Fear, and Stun are subject to diminishing returns in PvP. If a second spell of the same type is used against the same player within 15 seconds of the first spell's effect wearing off, the second spell's duration will be reduced by 50%, the third's duration will be reduced by 75%, and the player will be immune to the fourth casting. Crowd Control effects in PvP will last no longer than 12 seconds instead of the full duration, with a chance of a heartbeat resist. This diminishing returns effect also applies to spells with slowing and/or movement-impairing effects, such as Frost Nova, Entangling Roots, and Frost Shock.
eing aware of your surroundings and your current situation at all times is crucial for surviving in PvP. This includes the actual terrain and setting that you are in, your character's current hit points and mana/energy/rage, the status of your abilities which have cooldowns, and the status and location of any nearby enemies. It's a complex set of assessments that must be constantly reappraised, since PvP combat is a constantly changing battlefield.
Strength in Numbers
In any PvP situation, having allies to watch your back is a good thing. When battling in a group, such as in structured PvP situations such as Arena and Battlegrounds, its crucial that everyone work together as a team. Stay in the same vicinity, use communication, coordinate attacks and ability use, and have a strategy. Good teamwork is probably the most important factor for success in group PvP - it also takes time and practice to develop, but its worth working on.
When in a group, try to remain in the same vicinity. However, don't bunch together too tightly, as that will make your group susceptible to area of effect attacks. Instead of bunching up, try to be close enough together where everyone is in range of beneficial effects such as healing spells, and where you can quickly assist a comrade. Sometimes it will be very tempting to leave your group to chase down that almost-dead enemy. Consider that you may be vulnerable to attacks if you separate from your group, and you can weaken them by leaving them a player short. Some teams actually work on this as a strategy, pulling apart strong groups or baiting them into ambushes. You're only as good as your weakest link.
The way level difference affects the relative power between players and computer-controlled monsters is present but to a lesser degree when comparing players of differing levels. Level difference between players can be overcome by factors such as gear, PvP experience and know-how, the setting, and class matchups. Lower level characters should not be overly afraid of a slightly higher level player, especially if they happen to have the advantage of numbers.
Upgrade your equipment with stats that will assist your survivability in PvP. Every class will be able to take more hits and live longer by increasing their Stamina. Resilience is also a useful statistic as it decreases enemy critical hit percentage, critical hit damage, and damage-over-time effects.
Try to learn the opposing faction's racial abilities, as some of them can be used in PvP. Undead, for example, have an ability that counters Fear effects. All Night Elves can use Shadowmeld, which makes them invisible much like a rogue's Stealth. Gnomes have Escape Artist, which lets them escape from immobilizing or movement speed reducing effects.
The epic land mount is much faster than the normal land mount. When chasing down or escaping from other players, those with an epic mount have a huge PvP advantage over those that don't. There are also additional ways to increase mount speed. Mithril Spurs and the riding enchantment for gloves are two gear enhancements that you can use to increase mount speed. The quest reward Carrot on a Stick grants the same benefit. These bonuses stack with each other to a maximum of 10% bonus speed. Having these speed boosts can allow you to catch or get away from a player with the same base mount speed. In Outland, a new speed-boosting item called the riding crop was introduced. This item increases mount speed by 10% and is crafted by leatherworkers.
Pursuing and Escaping
There is a wide range of player spells and abilities that can momentarily prevent or impede players from running: Polymorph, Fear, Charge, Entangling Roots, Concussive Shot, Frost Shock, Curse of Exhaustion, and many more. These spells and abilities can also be used in the reverse: to escape from pursuers. One of these abilities can buy you the time and distance between your enemy to flee. Once enough time elapses since your last combat action, you will go out of combat and be able to mount. Some class abilities assist in both pursuing and escaping, such as a Druid running into water and escaping in aquatic form, a Priest fleeing on water with the Levitate spell, or a Mage jumping off a cliff with Slow Fall. Hunters have tracking abilities which makes them harder to escape.
Using Items in PvP
Many items, particularly consumable items and those made by certain tradeskills, can assist your survivability. Many items created with Engineering are handy to use against other players, such as the Gnomish Net-o-Matic Projector, the Gnomish Death Ray, and the many craftable bombs and grenades. There are a few one-time use items that can also stop players from running, such as Netherweave Nets which are made with Tailoring. In addition, potions are extremely handy for PvP. Healing and mana potions utility is undeniable, as their timely use can literally be the difference between life and death. Other potions provide valuable utility, such as Swiftness Potions which are great for a quick escape, or Free Action potions which keep you from getting stuck. In addition to crafted items, some special items earned through PvP combat are extremely useful to helping you survive in battle - a notable example is the trinket earned from Honor points which removes crowd control effects from your character.
Use Your Surroundings
Use everything in the environment, such as terrain, structures, and objects, to your advantage. Hide behind trees, logs, rocks, mountains, inside buildings, under bridges, or in the water. Hide there, bandage there, eat there, and be safe. While fighting, use obstacles in the terrain to break line of sight from ranged attackers. If you're a ranged attacker like a Mage or Hunter, use high ground to spot your enemies and shoot them from afar. If you're a small race, particularly a Gnome, you can hide in bushes, behind boulders and trees, and even inside other players!
Distances in Combat
Standing right next to that enemy warrior isn't such a good idea. Neither is running away and turning your back to that Hunter that can shoot you in the back from far away. Distance and direction are important in different ways for each class. Learn your ideal distances for combat and when and where to move. Though you might not be able to move while casting some spells or using some abilities, there are many instant spells and abilities that can be performed on the run.
Rogues and Druids are dangerous PvP opponents because of their stealth capabilities. If you hear the distinctive "whoosh" sound that occurs when a character enters stealth mode or is detected in stealth mode, then you should immediately be on your guard for a surprise attack. The higher level you are in relation to the stealthed character, the better your chance of detecting that character. Some skills such as Flare or Perception can detect stealthed characters, and certain items can improve your chance of stealth detection. Faerie Fire, Hunter's Mark, and damage-over-time spells prevent a character from entering stealth mode. If you are sure that there's a stealthed enemy nearby, then the easiest way to avoid them is to simply run away. Even at higher levels, the movement speed when stealthed is slower than normal.
Dueling other players is a good way to test out your skills, equipment, and strategies against other players. It's also a great way to experiment with different talent and/or ability combinations and new strategies. Learn more about dueling.
First Aid is a must, and since you can take all secondary professions, you should learn and develop it as soon as possible. Bandages are extremely useful in PvP combat, especially those created with high levels of First Aid skill. You can use bandages in combination with crowd control abilities, giving yourself a quick window of opportunity to bandage up. Sometimes in the heat of battle you may not get the chance to complete a bandage's full "casting time," so having better bandages will give more value from that time, as each tick of bandaging will heal more damage.
Watching Enemy Casting Animations
Each spell school such as shadow, fire, and holy has a distinctive spell graphic that is easily recognizable. By watching what animation displays when the enemy is casting, you will then know how to counter it. On the other hand, the counter to that is to cast a spell from a different school of magic to fake your opponent out, then switch to the real spell you want to cast.
PvP Survival Tips
n PvP realms, a given zone can be either friendly, contested, or enemy territory. Each zone type has its own rules governing PvP eligibility. If you're in a contested zone, you can be freely attacked by the enemy, and vice versa. If you're in a red (enemy) zone, they can attack you but you can't attack them unless and until they strike first. If you're in a green (friendly) zone, they can't attack you unless you attack them first or you are flagged for PvP. Learn more about PvP zone rules.
Surviving on a PvP realm requires constant vigilance. Look over your shoulder any time you're in a contested area. Know that your quest plans could change any moment because at any point, a battle with the enemy faction could occur. If you're not seeking this kind of tension, consider a normal (PvE) realm instead of PvP. It's not for everyone, but you'll find that most people that enjoy playing on a PvP realm love the exhilaration of never being safe. It takes patience, skill, and the willingness to keep up with PvP strategies. It might mean more reading and studying than playing on other realm types, but if you're reading this, chances are you're up for it.
"Ganking" is the term used to describe getting killed by another player without having much of a chance to fight back or escape. This usually occurs in the context of being overpowered by several enemy players, by a player of a significantly higher level, or while in a vulnerable state such as being low on health or while fighting a monster. On your career in a PvP realm, ganking will be a common occurrence, particularly while leveling.
Adventure in Groups
It's a lot safer to adventure with a group when in contested areas. That way, if enemy players attack while your group is doing a quest, you'll have a better chance of surviving. The mere presence of other friendly players is often enough to dissuade attacks, particularly from solo players. If you're adventuring alone, you should be prepared to die much more often depending on class, skill level, and items.
Frequency of World PvP
The frequency with which world PvP (PvP combat outside of Battlegrounds and Arenas) occurs depends on several factors. In low-level contested zones (level 20 to 30ish zones), players are usually new to PvPing and will want to attack any enemy they see just to experience PvP and without any apparent reason. In higher-level zones, players may tend not to pick fights quite as often, partly because PvP fights will usually take longer since players have access to mounts and higher-level abilities. As a result, enemy players in these areas will often mind their own business and leave you alone. However, high-level contested areas can quickly erupt into hotbeds of PvP activity, particularly in zones with World PvP objectives such as Silithus, Eastern Plaguelands, and many of the zones in Outland. So don't get scared if you're getting killed too much in your first contested areas; it gets easier as you level up.
Stay at Full Health
In heavily contested territories, you should be much more careful about your hit points and mana. There is no telling when an enemy might surprise you, so it's much better to always stay high on hit points and mana. Eat, drink, or bandage after every kill. Just having low health in and of itself makes you a bigger target, as an enemy player that might ordinarily not attack you may try to see you as an easy mark.
If you have to quest in enemy or heavily contested territory, try to do it during non-peak hours, such as late at night or early in the morning. You'll find it much easier than during primetime. In addition, pick quests that take place in the most out-of-the-way locations. Typically, these are the ones that are remote and longer to travel to. An example of a quest type that is very different in a PvP environment is an escort quest in a contested zone. These quests can be very difficult to complete because of enemy player interference. Do these escort quests in a group whenever possible. Questing in a group is generally a good idea overall.
Sometimes the Horde and the Alliance can both quest in the same areas without conflict. This happens when players from both sides would rather complete their quests and attack monsters than each other. If you attack the enemy player, it might start a prolonged war, which can slow down your experience or quest progress. There are other types of players that will always attack enemy players on sight. If you want to just quest in peace, you can try /wave or /hug on the enemy to show you won't attack them.
Monitor the Channels
Pay attention to the General> and LocalDefense chat channels. These channels can give you a heads up to enemy locations. If you want to help out, let people know in general or local defense if you spot the enemy. Whenever you're going to another area, check that chat window to see if it is under attack - that's a sure indication that there's enemy players in the area. If there is a high-level enemy killing many people in your region, rally defenders by using the LocalDefense channel and by using the /who command to check for other players in the zone. Get together with other players who are getting killed by the same enemy you are, group up with them, get yourselves organized, and hunt him down.
Stay off the Roads
If you want to avoid the enemy, stay off well-traveled roads. Take paths that players wouldn't normally take, or travel parallel to the road but out of view of it. This is especially important in enemy territory, where the roads are crawling with enemy players.
Recovering Your Body
After being killed by a monster or particularly by an enemy player, you should prepare for the possibility that an enemy player will be waiting for you to revive at your corpse. After returning to your body as a ghost, don't immediately accept the resurrection. Scout the immediate area first and look for enemy players, who you will be able to see while in ghost form if you are close enough - with the exception of players in stealth. If you see the enemy, move as far away from them as possible, while the resurrect button remains active. If there are any buildings, trees, or other objects you can hide behind when resurrecting, you should take advantage of them. Buildings in particular are handy cover, as a wall will completely obscure you from sight.
If you have a mount, hit the resurrect button, then jam the mount summon button as soon as possible (it's recommended that you place it as a hotkey on your action bar). If you're quick enough, you can be mounted and running before the enemy has spotted you.
The enemy cannot attack you while you are inside instances. However, they can attack you when you are outside the instance portal, and many players gravitate towards these high-traffic areas for what they perceive as easy kills. As a result, instances can be safe havens for leveling - but the area around the portals can be quite the opposite.
This Means War!
In the heated battles of PvP realms, it's easy to get fired up and take things a bit too personally at times. Always keep in mind that "it's just a game", and people should have fun on both sides. As long as you stay within the rules, you're OK. Be warned that constantly harassing and killing players over and over, attacking them when they are fighting monsters, and camping their corpses may hurt your reputation among the players on the realm. Opposing faction players may band together and hunt you down with extreme prejudice.
If you have to leave your keyboard, try to place your character in a hidden spot where players won't find you. Rogues and Druids can use Stealth and Night Elves can use Shadowmeld to hide.
Who are the Horde and the Alliance?
he Horde and Alliance are the two sides battling for control of the world. In years past, they fought brutal wars against each other, but today, they have settled into a tenuous stalemate. Occasional skirmishes still erupt between the two sides, but open warfare is no longer raging across the continents. Still, the Horde and Alliance are hostile to each other, and members of one faction are never welcome in the cities of the other.
The ten races you can play are split equally between these two sides.
Can I switch my character's faction from Horde to Alliance or vice versa?
No. You can create both Horde and Alliance Characters. On PvP servers, you can only create characters on one side for that server.
Can I have both a Horde and Alliance character on the same Realm on a single account?
On normal servers this is possible, but on player-vs.-player servers it is not.
Can players trade with members of the opposite faction?
No. In general, you cannot trade with players of the opposing faction. However, you can place items up for auction at the neutral auction houses at Everlook, Gadgetzan, and Booty Bay. Players from either faction can bid on these items, meaning you can buy and sell with opposing players at this neutral auction house.
Can I group or communicate with members of the opposite faction?
You cannot form groups with members of the opposite faction, nor can you understand their language - making interpersonal communication with the other faction difficult. Default emotes such as /laugh, /nod, /salute, and /taunt will be your only means of direct communication.
Well, can I fight the opposite faction?
Yes! Faction vs. faction combat is encouraged, particularly on PvP servers. You will have opportunities to fight the other faction in Battlegrounds, world PvP, Arenas, and even duels. On Normal servers, world PvP is consensual - players have to toggle their /pvp flag or attack a flagged target to participate.
Visit the detailed page about Battlegrounds.
The raging conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. Old hatreds die hard, as they say, and the hate shared between these two ancient foes is deep and primal. That's why the player-versus-player gameplay has always been a staple of the design for World of Warcraft; the war between the Horde and the Alliance simply isn't over.
Learn more about all the battlegrounds and play around with interactive maps.