Episode 4: Cyn, Lose or Draw

June 8, 2011

We’re back and longer than ever!

After a brief hiatus, in which Ophelie graduated from college and I got promoted at work, we return with the help of the incomparable Cynwise, from Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual.

The three of us start off by talking about recent news and our plans for 4.2 and BlizzCon, then we delve into all things PVP.  We talk about our own experiences, Blizzard’s neverending struggle to balance PVP with PVE, the rivalry that seems to exist between the two types of players and how you too can become a PVP machine.

We top off this special hour and forty-five minute episode by talking about the presence of women in PVP and whether they’re really as underrepresented as they seem.

Don’t forget – you can always listen to and subscribe to the Double O podcast for free on iTunes!  Feel free to leave us a rating or a review, while you’re at it!

So you think you want to be a guest host?

If so, we would love to have you!  Do you have something on your mind that you would like to hear us talk about or that you’re an expert on?  Shoot us an e-mail or send us a Tweet and tell us all about it.  We are certainly open to any and all ideas, so please send them our way.

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13 Responses to “Episode 4: Cyn, Lose or Draw”

  1. […] Cyn, Lose or Draw is available for your listening pleasure over on the Double-O site. I’m going to go have a listen myself now! […]

  2. Psynister said

    Err, whoops sent that reply to the wrong account…delete that one for me? 😛

    I enjoyed the show, O’s. I usually don’t have the time to listen to podcasts or they get off to such a slow start that it feels it’s not worth my time. I enjoyed this one from the beginning though, so I’m going to check out he other shows too.

  3. Voidfield said

    I enjoyed the podcast, very nice format and you guys do an excellent job with the presentation.

    But this struck me a bit odd.

    “The exceptionally skilled players tend to not want to share.”

    – Cynwise

    I think that your guest played on to a narrow view as to why there isn’t a whole lot of information out there. Also, the historical progression of player battles ranging from World PvP, in to arena, the addition of resilience, and the playstyle from 2v2, 3v3, 5v5 is highly missed.

    What I do agree is that PvP is a subjective approach to optimization, and *that* is a difficult, very involved, and often times tiring assessment. But that doesn’t suggest that the information isn’t out there or that people are keeping their secrets. That’s just silly. The information *is* out there, but for most people, “how-to” guides don’t necessarily correlate to success. At best, they simply may end up preaching to the choir, and at worst, their methods may not play to other people’s strength and weaknesses. That’s why the community doesn’t really bother. It’s simply easier and far more efficient and educational to to just go out there and learn it on your own and ask questions later. But that’s rather anti-intuitive to an otherwise PvE game where the norms are all about guides, spreadsheets, numerous blogs that are out there.

    • Cynwise said


      Podcasts are an interesting medium to try to communicate through. They’re basically an extended conversation combined with an interview, and I’m always left wondering if I’ve said enough, or too much. You can’t go back and edit what you said – though you can try to clarify afterwards.

      You make some good points, though I think you picked the wrong quote of mine to highlight. I think where you and I disagree is when I talk about skilled players protecting trade secrets, not that people are unwilling to share.

      I agree that PvP is something that you learn by doing, and that there *is* information out there – but most of it is in video form, not blogs, guides, or even forum posts. Because PvP is more difficult to quantify than PvE, it’s therefore harder to write about, which in turn leads to a culture of sharing by example, not analysis. I can watch a video of Azael play a 2900 Arena match and go… wow, okay, that dude’s got mad skills, how the hell is he *doing* that? And then I have to go figure it out on my own.

      Consider a different sport example: you watch Tiger Woods play the British Open. You know the basics of golf already, maybe you’ve hit the ball a few times. How do you get from your current level of skill to world class? Watching the perfect golf swing doesn’t help you become even a mediocre golfer; you have to get out there and practice.

      But practice, by itself, isn’t really enough. You’re having to reconstruct every nuance yourself. You’d be better off with a golf instructor, someone who could look at your grip and say, no, hold the club this way, not that way. Stand like this. Swing like this. Eyes on the ball as you make contact. Even as you get better, coaching will help you progress faster than practice alone.

      I also agree with you that many PvPers look at the effort of explaining it as counterproductive, that it’s easier to just do it than it is to talk about it. I’m seeing that attitude more and more in PvE, by the way – this is exactly the thinking behind the “Just Sim It” crowd. There are too many variables, so just go figure it out on your own, I’m too busy to summarize it for you.

      No one wants to be a PvP golf instructor. The pay is lousy, the hours are long, and people are hitting balls at you all the time.

      The “Just Sim It” attitude, which is fine on an individual basis, creates a huge information gap between those who can do and those who can’t. Teaching people how to be successful at something doesn’t make them successful – they do. You can show people the door, but you can’t make them open it. That’s true in PvP, its true in PvE, and it’s true in life. No How-To manual can make you good at anything – it can only get you started on it. That doesn’t negate the value of teaching, though! Often it’s essential to getting people to the point where they can succeed.

      I would absolutely love it if there were more people out there teaching others to PvP. The game needs more golf instructors, not less.

      And as far as thinking that high ranked PvPers keep trade secrets is silly… if you can show me an elite arena or rated battleground team that posts their strats publicly, I’ll agree I’m being silly. Top raiding guilds show what they do only after they’ve gotten the boss kill. In PvP, the bosses always come back.

      Could I have talked more about some of the other reasons? Yep. But the great thing is that we can continue the conversation outside the confines of the podcast here.

      Thank you for listening, and for the comment.

  4. Voidfield said


    Thank you for replying.

    I definitely agree with the points you are making, however, I think we may be talking past each other. While it is true that there isn’t an overwhelming PvP info like that of the PvE community, I think the point I’m driving home isn’t that people aren’t willing to write about it, but rather that it’s an unrealistic expectation for a player to see others address all the fine points of PvP.

    In PvP, you know as well as I do, that a *major* part (not all) of PvP improvement *is* about, as you nicely put it, a “just Sim-it” attitude. General information is indeed out there and can indeed help newbies to form templates to follow, but I can’t agree that the gap of information has increased. Not from a historical perspective of Warcraft PvP at least. You really think the general gist of Warsong Gulch, 3v3 comps, RMP, counter-comps and strats have really changed from one expansion to another? Here’s the short answer: Not really.

    Are you suggesting that there isn’t a lot of up-to-date PvP information from a Cataclysm expansion point of view? I would probably agree with that. But again, the nitty gritty of PvP is inherently embedded in that “Sim-it” attitude. It has to be. It requires a certain type of personality for a player to go out there, get their asses kicked in BG’s and arena so that they learn where their faults are and how to improve them. I believe one of the hostess mentioned that it’s something they couldn’t take. A lot of players feel that way and understandably so. Therefore, it’s not that the players aren’t “holding on to their trade secrets” or that they don’t want to do it because there’s lousy reciprocation, but rather that it would take a tremendous amount of effort to realistically address every little factor that involves PvP.

    In addition to that, while I understand your Golf analogy, I am not so sure if it it holds. I get what you’re saying from a teacher-to-student point of view. But again, a golf instructor being there next to a golfer implies immediate and instantaneous feedback. While that certainly helps a golfer, immediate feedback isn’t realistic or even viable in Warcraft PvP outside the confines of taking to your teammates after a loss or a win. Most of the self optimization is done on your own and then tested later in a match. That’s the essence of PvP and probably why it’s so attractive in the first place. That and of course killing overpowered DK’s and Warriors. 😀

    Again, thank you for the dialogue. It’s been fun and looking forward to the next podcasts. 🙂

  5. V said

    On the balancing issue, I’m oh-so-glad to see things like, “This spell has a PvP duration of _____” – hopefully we’ll see other applications of that in the future.

  6. Syl said

    I really enjoyed this, I am shocked to admit. I never listen to podcasts, they usually wind me up, so this means something.

    Cyn: I was nodding my head throughout the entire chat, that’s the reason why you’ve been on my blogroll for so long. it’s obvious how great your PvP experiences in WoW are, your insights reach deep and I thoroughly enjoyed your level-headed and critical take on things. PvP is a game of endless nuances which is all too often lost in discussions and articles on the topic.

    If I may add – I haven’t written nearly as many PvP-centric articles on my own blog than I would like, but I have been very deeply invested in both the PvP and PVE/raiding side of WoW for years, as a woman – just to address that particular part of the podcast. I always loved to pvp and have tried to encourage a lot of players and guildies, particularly healers, to join in and benefit from the endless opportunities it provides (which also inspired me to call for more healing enthusiasts for BGs over @Matticus sometime; http://www.worldofmatticus.com/2010/09/03/why-healing-is-fun-in-pvp/ ). I gotta say, listening to this show was badbadbad, now I really feel like wanting to play BGs so much and my head’s full of nostalgic memories…hehe. ^^

    Anywho, thanks for sharing!

    • Oestrus said

      Hey Syl!

      I think I speak for both Ophelie and I when I say that we love hearing that people who wouldn’t normally listen to podcasts will listen to ours. That’s a great compliment and thank you for saying that!

      In terms of nostalgia, it sounds like now is a great time to get back in the scene, if you have been gone for a while. I would give in to the urge and go kill some things!

      Thanks again for stopping by and for the great compliments, Syl!

    • Cynwise said


      Thanks for listening, I’m glad you enjoyed it so much! I also don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, so I’m honored that you gave this one a listen. 🙂

      I remember that post you did on BG healing at Matticus’s site, it’s great and touches on a lot of the things I enjoy about playing BGs. (I don’t like standing still, for one thing.) You should definitely give in to your BG urges.

      Wait, I should probably phrase that more subtly. “It’s never been a better time to PvP!”

      Hm. Still a little too direct.

      “You should write more PvP articles!”

      There we go. You’ll have to BG to “research,” and all will be well. 🙂

      Thanks again!


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