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Paladin > WoWSep 7, 2015 5:00 pm CT

Lightsworn: A beginner’s guide to Holy Paladin PVP and Ashran

Now that Warlords of Draenor has entered its final months, players have begun searching for new goals to pursue in-game. Many have turned their eyes to their garrison, drawn to its bevy of achievements, mounts, and transmog items. One building can reward a truly impressive 10 achievements, with a slew of cool titles to boot. However, it requires spending some time in Draenor’s world PVP zone, Ashran. That building is, of course, the Gladiator’s Sanctum.

Do you really want “the Death Stalker” title but are nervous about venturing into PVP? Are you willing to kill to become “the Manslayer,” but just don’t know where to start? Well, good news, friends! PVP has become very beginner-friendly, so there’s never been a better time to try it out! Let’s take a look at how you can unleash the bloodthirsty killer (well, healer) within.

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So what do I do?

Trying PVP for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. Battlegrounds have flags, bases, carts, and vehicles, while Ashran can seem like a dizzying rush of strange events and cryptic announcements. Some confusion or anxiety at being utterly lost is perfectly natural, but relax! Remember, our job is to heal our allies. So if you’re ever not sure where you should be or what’s going on, follow your teammates.

Don’t I need PVP gear?

No! For years, having to collect a separate set of PVP gear was a steep entry requirement, which made it extremely frustrating for newcomers. But in Warlords, Blizzard devised the elegant solution of simply having PVE gear scale up in power during PVP combat. In the old days, going into battlegrounds in PVE gear meant you would basically melt the first time anyone looked at you. Today, it just means you’ll be a bit less powerful than those who have already purchased PVP pieces. A bit less, but nothing disastrous!

Fortunately, Warlords all but throws PVP gear at new players. Doing random battlegrounds or Ashran events will earn you strongboxes which often contain PVP pieces, and doing random battlegrounds during the Battleground Bonus Event (which starts again on Wednesday, incidentally) will reward triple the normal amount of Honor. Furthermore, players with a Gladiator’s Sanctum will earn Broken Bones in Ashran, which can be converted at the Sanctum into Honor Points, PVP gear, and even occasionally Conquest Points, used to purchase powerful epic-quality PVP gear.

After a bit of time in Ashran, you’ll have enough Honor to start purchasing actual PVP pieces. I suggest starting with two trinkets for their 2-piece set bonus, which will be a lovely boost to your durability.

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Talents and glyphs

  • Level 15: Whichever you prefer!
  • Level 30: Fist of Justice. Shut down a troublesome Rogue who’s up in your face, or use it offensively to nullify an enemy healer at a crucial moment.
  • Level 45: Sacred Shield wins here, since Eternal Flame has a cast time. This is fine for PVE, but in PVP, there’s few things more annoying than having your spells constantly interrupted.
  • Level 60: Both Unbreakable Spirit and Clemency are good, but I prefer Unbreakable Spirit — smart players will try to kill healers first, which means you’ll be taking a lot of punishment.
  • Level 75: Holy Avenger and Divine Purpose both give you extra Holy Power, which means you have to be casting Word of Glory/Eternal Flame or Light of Dawn to get the full benefit from these talents. Which means you’ll be getting interrupted. Stick with Sanctified Wrath.
  • Level 90: Holy Prism and Execution Sentence are both strong. Prism is always solid, but Execution Sentence’s initial heal is huge, and can rescue a player from the brink of death. It’s almost like a miniature Lay on Hands.
  • Level 100: Saved by the Light. Saving players (and yourself) from death, once a minute? Yes please!
  • Glyph of Divine Protection. Nothing ruins a day quite like a Rogue stunning us repeatedly, or a Warrior bladestorming our face, so this glyph can be a huge help.
  • Glyph of Denounce. Denounce doesn’t do a ton of damage, but shutting down an opponent’s ability to crit for 4 seconds is decidedly nasty.
  • Glyph of Burden of Guilt. Prevent enemy players from fleeing, or just really irritate them. Can be paired with Long Arm of the Law to make us very hard to pin down.

Other abilities

It’s important to utilize our entire toolkit in PVP, including some abilities that don’t commonly see a lot of use. For example, Hand of Freedom rarely gets used in PVE, but it’s wonderful in PVP where slowing and immobilizing effects are commonplace. Many players don’t expect to be interrupted by healers, so if you get the chance, prove them wrong. And speaking of offense, Hammer of Wrath deals very respectable damage, so hurl that hammer and get a few kills!

Don’t forget your racial abilities! Every Man For Himself is the best PVP racial in the game, while Arcane Torrent and War Stomp can really mess up a group of opponents. Gift of the Naaru and Stoneform may seem less flashy than the other racials, but they’re still useful — a free instant heal is nothing to scoff at, and as healers, we will often be the recipient of many of the debuffs Stoneform can clear.

Familiarity with these racials is especially valuable if you’re using Mercenary Mode and playing as an opposite-faction race!

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Ashran

Despite some difficult growing pains, Ashran has become a relaxed source of low-pressure PVP play that encourages casual participation since the battle never truly ends. Got some time to kill before raid? Trying to wind down before bed? Pop into Ashran for a while!

Ashran basically boils down to two main objectives: winning events, and killing the enemy commander.

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Ashran events

  • Amphitheatre of Annihilation (AOA): A race between two mounted NPCs, one Horde, one Alliance. The first to complete 5 laps wins. Standing near your faction’s racer makes it go faster, so stick to your racer like glue!
  • Brute’s Rise (BR): Capture bonfires by standing next to them. Captured fires give your team points, and the first team to 1500 points wins. The stairs to the first rise often become an intense fighting chokepoint.
  • Ashran Excavation (AE): Takes place in underground mine tunnels. (The two points marked on the diagram are the entrances.) Kill Arrakoa ghosts to receive Apexis Marks of Redemption, which stack up to 10. The first team to bring 30 Marks to a large vault off the central platform wins. While we can kill the ghosts (they’re not very strong), we’re more useful helping control the center and healing DPS players fighting nearby and returning with marks.
  • Ashmaul Burial Grounds (ABG): Use your Extra Action Button to capture neutral Risen Spirits. The first team to 20 spirits wins, but beware — dying causes you to lose all the spirits you’ve captured so far!
  • Molten Quarry (MQ): Carry empowered ore to your faction’s mine cart. First team to 20 wins! Don’t get distracted — the objective is to get ore, not clash with the other faction.

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Killing the enemy commander

To accomplish this, your faction must conquer the central road (the Road of Glory), eventually ending up outside the enemy base. Capturing each area isn’t complicated — your team simply stands around a flagpole — but this is typically where the most furious PVP fighting takes place. Stick close to your allies so you can heal them, and so they can help keep you alive!

When it’s time to invade the enemy base, the battle will usually be brief but intense. Blow everything you’ve got and pour heals and cooldowns into whichever player is tanking High Warlord Volrath or Grand Marshal Tremblade — these commanders mean business!

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Other Ashran features

  • Fangraal/Kronus: These massive elementals can be summoned if players turn in enough Artifact Fragments (gathered from dead Ashran NPC mobs and players) to an NPC in their base. (Anenga for Alliance, Atomik for Horde.) Fangraal and Kronus are real powerhouses, and can be instrumental in dominating the Road of Glory. They can also be buffed and healed, so keep those big brutes alive!
  • Ancient Artifact: This powerful buff (commonly abbreviated as “AA“) is a real game-changer. A well-geared ranged DPS with the Artifact can decimate the opposing team, so if your side has the Artifact, your new number one priority is keeping that player alive at all costs!
  • The Jailer’s Libram: This Paladin-only item teaches Jailer’s Judgment for an hour. An extra stun is certainly handy, and it’s hilarious to actually send an enemy player to jail.
  • Kor’lok: Occasionally, Kor’lok the Ogre King will spawn at the Seat of Kor’lok and shout that he has returned. With him are two ogres, one hostile to Alliance, the other hostile to Horde. The ogres don’t do much damage, with the exception for their jumping ground slam attack, which severely hurts. Whichever faction kills their ogre first wins Kor’lok’s support.

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There’s more nuances to PVP and Ashran, but this should be enough to get started! Completing the various Nemesis achievements is a long grind, but since you can enter and leave Ashran whenever you want, you’re free to pursue them at your own pace. And who knows? Maybe you’ll end up discovering that you really love the excitement and unpredictability of PVP! And don’t forget all those cool-looking PVP pieces for transmog!

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Filed Under: Ashran, Holy Paladin, Paladin, Pvp
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