“All armies prefer high ground to low.” ~Sun Tzu’s The Art of War
In all the talk that flies around about abilities, gearing, enchanting, and specs for WoW PvP, one thing oft goes overlooked is positioning your character and/or team to maximize your advantage against your opponent. I have heard more than once from top level Arena players that the abilities and gear is just incidental, the way you can tell the difference between a good player and a bad player is immediately apparent out of the gates before the two teams even engage.
Positioning is definitely the weakest part of my game and something I am still striving to develop. While I may be no Gladiator, I can give you some basic tips on how to improve.
The very first question you should ask yourself is “What is an effective range for my class?” As a healer, especially in large scale PvP such as battlegrounds or World PvP, you should have the largest range advantage out of any other class. This is because if you stay 30-40 yards behind your teammate, then your opponents should be at least as far as that, with odds being they are even farther. There is almost no reason for you run into a group of enemies and start healing. I have seen my fair share of healers do this and it always makes me scratch my head. Let your melee charge in.
If your opponents notice you in the back raining down heals and try to make their way over to you, your teammates should make this difficult for them to do, plus you can continue to frustrate them by moving away yourself.
It may seem weird to think that in a fantasy-based MMO that high ground actually matters, but it does. The first thing it does is provide you with a better vantage point to view the field of battle. This fact is easily noticeable in Arathi Basin. The lumber mill provides sight of 4 of the 5 nodes in the battleground, allowing a savvy player to gauge the status of blacksmith, stables, farm, and lumber mill without having to move around the map or receive communication from other players.
This is still true even with something as simple as standing on the bridge in Blade’s Edge Arena while your opponents remain below and give you full vision of combat. The other advantage to height is that it gives you extra options for movement. If you are on a bridge in Blade’s Edge, you have the option to drop down at any point, giving you an extra route, while someone below must use one of the side ramps to climb onto the bridge.
Use these to your advantage. One trick I like to use versus Warriors in particular is to pop Hand of Freedom and Holy Radiance on myself and then curve around a pillar or box to prevent a charge, and then zig when they zag, and zag when they zig, allowing me to keep the object between me and the other player. One trap players will fall into with using obstacles is that they will tunnel just looping around in one direction. I have fallen into this trap as well, but it is important to avoid it.
While Drotara and I were trying some 2v2 War Games for fun with some guildmates, I called that the opposing priest was going to run all the way around the pillar that he had ran to and I would be waiting with a Hammer of Justice on the other side. Sure enough, he ran straight into me, and then died only a few seconds later. Obstacles when used correctly can also really stymie any ranged DPS (Drotara’s Note: Friggin’ tell me about it!).