Headology – Not Just for Witches
Headology is a concept from Terry Pratchet’s discworld that is used by witches because “psychology” is a bad word. I don’t like to use battleground psychology because that would be science. I use PVP Headology, because it works.
To be a great headologist takes practice. You must get inside the head of your opponent and know what they are thinking … feel what they are thinking. You have to observe behavior patterns, sometimes you might even want to play their class to get a feel for the flow of it. The more you practice, the better you get, and the more patterns emerge.
One of the simplest things I like to demonstrate for people is race choice. A raider will tell you that your race choice matters because one race has better stats over another. I will tell you that for pvp race choice matters because if you are a dps or healer you want to be as small as possible and if you are a tank you want to be as big as possible. In WoW, your two small races are Gnomes and Goblins, and Females are always smaller than Males. Thus, on the classes where I can be, my pvp chars are female gnomes and female goblins.
I could argue this is because their racial abilities are sweet (Well, they kinda are) but mostly, its because of headology. You see, in the heat of battle, most people will target the biggest thing. Its a built in response, the biggest thing is the biggest threat. Now this doesn’t always apply, especially for seasoned vets who know how to spot healers and high dps classes, they’ll target you regardless, but when you’re in a big mess of people, and you’re a tiny little gnome standing next to some worgen and draenei, many will skip right over you.
That’s the simplest thing you can do for yourself. Make yourself small. Don’t pay any attention to me, I’m just a wee little harmless gnome *stab* *stab*. Headology 101.
People tend to move counter-clockwise. This is true in real life, and this is true on a pvp battlefield. Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the average person will move in a counter-clockwise pattern. A great example is Arathi Basin. A good amount of alliance will move to lumber mill. On horde side, you’ll have several go that way, but the tendancy for them is to move to the mines. If you view AB like a giant clock, Alliance is at 6 o’clock, moving to 3. Horde is at 12 o’clock, moving to 9. This is what I mean by counter clockwise.
Same thing happens in warsong gulch, partly because thats how the doors and ramps are set up, but notice that the masses tend to keep to the right. Every time.
This is true in a smaller sense as well, when you engage in battle with mobile classes, observe that more often than not, when they are running around, they will run in a counterclockwise circle, rather than a clockwise one. Most people will strafe to the right. Most people will circle to the left, while strafing right.
So how do you put this knowledge to your advantage? It depends class to class. But as a rogue knowing how people are going to run is helpful for both avoiding detection and staying behind someone where you do the most damage. As a flag carrier you should know that moving in a clockwise direction might be preferable. The key is, you know how people are going to move, so you put yourself in the best position to take advantage of this.
Taunting and Sacrificing
So taunting people is a double edged sword. It can work for you, it can work against you. I’m not talking about the “taunt” spell or mechanic. I’m talking about /rofl, /spit, /rude, etc. Emotes that piss people off. Emotes that make people want to kick the crap out of you first.
If you play a toon with a lot of defense, this can work for you in that you become a magnet for the ire of the other team. People want to kill you to wipe that smug look off your face, so they do. But while they are patting themselves on the back for demolishing that guy who spat on them, the efc slipped quietly away and capped for the point.
In the same way, sacrificing yourself over and over to a horde of savages sometimes can work to your teams advantage as well. For example, if there are 5 people guarding a node, and you’re by yourself, you could attempt to take the node to keep them from leaving. I’ve done this many times where I’ll keep trying to take the mines for example, in a hopeless attempt, but they will leave 5-6 guards because they -know- some guy is trying to take it, and they know they’ll get that kill. I end up with more deaths than kbs, but the more important stat, the scoreboard, is in my teams favor because those guards didn’t leave the base to go attack something else.
In PVE/Raiding, everything is about stats. In PvP, stats are great, but you can go pretty far just playing with people’s heads. The ultimate goal in the battleground is to win the battleground. Anything you do, no matter how small, can help drive to that goal.
I have many more headology tricks and tips I plan to divulge in the future, but I wanted to lay the groundwork for the term and the concept so I could refer back to it later. Consider yourself warned that a lot of what I do, in PVP and in Life, is wrapped around this concept.