This is a guide to reducing the risk of ganks while levelling in WoW Classic. It assumes you have definitely decided that you want to play on a PvP realm in the first place, and discusses how class abilities, racials, quest rewards, items and general knowledge will all contribute to your chances of escape that could well save you a corpse camp or two.
On a PvP realm ganking and being ganked are as predictable and constant as the rising and setting of the sun. If you have committed to playing on a PvP server for Classic then it’s likely you already enjoy this aspect of World PvP immensely – relishing the ability to turn around and fight or make a smooth getaway depening on the circumstances. This is all part of the fun at the end of the day.
This guide however focuses primarily on arming you with the knowledge to escape. It makes the assumption (which people PvP players from ages gone past will support) that 90% of the times you are jumped you will be out levelled and out of options to fight back. Any smart player under these circumstances will choose instead to run and fight another day, or better still, to avoid these situations in the first place.
If you’ve played on private servers recently, or levelled up on a PvP realm way back in retail Vanilla, then a lot of this advice will be fairly obvious to you. For the rest of the readers today who are keen to level up efficiently and avoid unecessary time losses (through deaths that could have been avoided), I hope you find this information useful.
Before getting to the fine details, there are few things to consider on a more general meta level that will contribute greatly to your ability to avoid and escape from ganks. The following will help you regardless of what race/class you choose or what items you have at your disposal.
Don’t go out there alone
The greatest counter to high level gankers is levelling alongside other players. Whether it’s just two of you, or a group of you, or some guildmates working together; the more of you there the more options you will have for escaping ganks.
Being in a party multiplies the amount of CC abilities and items at your disposal, and being part of a bigger network (ie a Guild) will provide you with vital intel about the zone you are in, and a means of calling for aid and setting up traps/deterring/counter-ganking people who decide to mess with you.
Sure you will take a small loss of XP per party member, but think about the XP that would otherwise be lost as a solo player – by taking ridiculously long routes to skip notorious areas or quests, being killed often by other groups, and in general moving with trepidation and fear from one objective to the next.
That small statistical loss of experience is totally outweighed, in my opinion, by the hidden time gains of levelling as a group and moving confidently through Azeroth without hindrance.
Camera movement is key
People aren’t going to fight honourably for a gank – they’ll come at you from behind or from the sides (or if you’re really unlucky from stealth, but we’ll deal with that later). Make sure your camera is configured properly to make the most use of your 360 degree field of vision:
Remove camera follow from the settings so that you can control panning and pitch separately from your character movement. Set a hotkey for Camera Flip (which turns the camera 180 when pressed) so you can easily and often look over your shoulder at what’s behind you.
Communicate with the enemy
/emotes are the only way you can really communicate with the enemy faction and can be useful for defusing situations. A simple /salute or /wave is enough of a signal to the other player that ‘hey, I’m just here to do this quest, not interested in a fight’.
This is useful throughout all contested zones and helps stop revenge fights or running conflicts from emerging from basic mistakes or misunderstandings between players who initially just wanted to level.
Avoid playing greedily
If you absolutely must play on your own with no support, or want to play safer as a group, you should consider taking it easy on the pulls. Some classes can grind mobs pretty efficiently if they’re left alone – for example hunters fighting two mobs simultaneously (pet pulling one and hunter on the other) or mages running around with frost armour, CoC and blizzard.
These kind of strategies are awesome and efficient but remember that most gankers will wait for the mobs to get you low before pouncing, ensuring they get an easy HK. By playing greedily you’re opening yourself up to not only high level ganks but also ganks from people your level or even lower than you. That’s a lot of risk so only do it when you feel very safe.
Eating and drinking often between pulls is also a good way to reduce your chances of being ganked at low health while levelling. Also be aware however that when sitting you are more likely to be hit by a critical strike, so try and do so with your back against a wall.
Don’t move into new zones at the minimum level
For example, if you’re level 30 don’t rush straight to Strangelthorn Vale – take your time finishing off extra quests or grinding high level mobs in your current zone. Enter STV a few levels higher – you will receive slightly less XP but will have an immediate advantage over same-level gankers and any opposing faction competition.
Monitor local and world defense channels
Use these channels frequently for purposes of both receiving information about gankers and reporting gankers. They are literally there for that purpose! You may well get a lot of interest from your own faction’s high level players who will come out for the fights and deter gankers for a while. Before entering a zone just have a quick scroll and you will be better prepared.
Use the terrain to your advantage
Fighting with your back to a wall can prevent crits from behind. Sitting or /sleeping under a bush can hide both your character model and your name tag too. Stay off of busy roads and remember that staying in a town doesn’t mean you are safe – low level guards especially are not difficult for a high level player to deal with.
Don’t leave a trail that points to you like an arrow. Many quests begin with mobs right alongside the road. As you kill them and move further away from the road, you are leaving a corpse trail that any half brained enemy can follow. Also don’t follow roads if you can afford not to.
Stfuppercut wrote: ↑
As someone who ganks players constantly, one of the key things you need to consider is your body language. What is your body language telling the other player? Are you targeting me? When I target you are you moving and aware… Are you killing mobs towards me, away from me… Are you a nuisance? If I am a high level player do you run and hide from me? If you do I want you more… You belong to me now. If I do gank you, how do you respond? Do you fight back or continue to attack your mobs? A great strategy for dealing with a continuous ganker that you cant beat, is to act methodically and play like you are a bot. If the player things youre a bot and is getting no reaction, they could potentially leave you alone. Logging out and taking a break off your main can also act as a great deterrent. Consider your body language. Consider if you are sending a message that you are aware and capable or weak and clueless. If you are dealing with a high level player consider if you are fun to gank. Are you a runner? Are you a slippery lil fella that he gets to chase around? You’re going to get it worse than if you just stood still. Just my 2 cents.
Body language is usually the key determinant in my choices to gank. If you seem competent, are moving lots and thrashing NPC’s, with little to no downtime, I likely wont take the chance that I can lose. If you’re a tasty lil treat, im gonna have a snack.
For players at launch
If you are lucky enough to be able to play Classic consistently right after launch you may be less liable to high level ganks on your very first character. That level 60 Orc Rogue stalking Redridge Mountains won’t be there on launch day, or launch week, or maybe even launch month. He or she is also just as keen to level up as you are.
If you can catch the wave, that is to say, make progress quicker than the average players on your realm, you may find yourself higher level than the majority of your peers and even reach very sparsely populated zones where if any competition exists it may be the case that they aren’t bothered about you and will leave you alone, as you will them… perhaps >:)
Regardless of what race or class combination you decide to roll, there are some great items and consumables everyone can use to help escape ganks. The following is a list of those can be gained through quest rewards, professions and drops. Get your hands on as many as possible and use different types of escape in combination for maximum cowardice
Run speed escape items
Swiftness Potion can be crafted by Alchemists or dropped by world mobs and elites. They’re cheap, plentiful and easy to find so a really popular potion to keep in your kit for a getaway. Since this is the first potion I have mentioned remember that all potions share a cooldown so you can only choose one.
Nifty Stopwatch is a 10% smaller run-speed Swiftness Potion in trinket form with no charges and a longer cooldown of 30 minutes. A useful pick up from quest This Is Going to Be Hard in Badlands where your second trinket at this point probably isn’t great anyway.
Goblin Rocket Boots or Gnomish Rocket Boots are also great alternatives for a run-speed boost when you need it if you are an Engineer.
Snaring and stunning escape items
Engineering items like Large Rope Net, Portable Bronze Mortar, Big Iron Bomb, Discombobulator Ray etc. all share a cooldown but can be a great go-to stun. Net is especially nice with a single-target 10 second snare (on a 1 minute cooldown!) while the bombs/mortars max out at 3 second stun but are also AOE.
Goblin Rocket Helmet For engineers – the proc is amazing (30-second stun) providing the ganker has used trinkets and CC-breakers already. This will give you enough time to make a break for it. Must be equipped in anticipation of course.
Horned Viking Helmet Horde only. For non-engineering plate-wearers: same proc as the goblin rocket helmet but with a 10min longer cooldown. Also dropped by Eric the Swift in Uldaman.
Floating escape items
Parachute Cloak can be made by engineers and is equipped in back slot. Useful on high terrain where you can jump off a ridge or cliff and then float away.
Olaf’s All Purpose Shield Horde only. Drops from Eric “The Swift” in Uldaman.
Gnomish Mind Control Cap also deserves a mention here and can be a hell of a lot of fun if it works. If you’re on high terrain just walk them off of a cliff as if you were a priest and even high level gankers will die from a significant enough fall.
Water escape items
Swim Speed Potion or Elixir of Water Breathing can be useful if you’re next to a very large body of water with which you can escape. Most people really won’t be bothered to go for a swim unless they’re a druid or also buffed up like you.
Invisibility escape items
Gnomish Cloaking Device is fantastic item that will provide you just enough invisibility to get out of line of sight and make a dash for it. Pretty steep cooldown.
Invisibility Potion is also great, offering longer invisibility (18 seconds) but, unlike the cloaking device, cannot be used in combat and has charges so will eventually run out.
Mob taunting items for standing ground
Target Dummy can be made by Engineers quite early on and is a useful AoE taunt in case you are ganked with multiple mobs also attacking you when you want to stay and fight. Later on you can craft improved versions Advanced Target Dummy and Masterwork Target Dummy.
Early spotting and avoidance
Ornate Spyglass, crafted by Engineers but usable by all, can help scouting across open plain type zones to see trouble early.
World Enlarger can be useful for long distance travelling where you don’t want to be seen and don’t have to attack any mobs.
Free Action Potion that’s 30 second stun and slowing immunity . Useful if you know you’re in for some long race slowing CC.
Living Action Potion is a similar rendition which has a lower preventative period but also frees you from current CC on you if you have no trinket up.
Other useful bits and bobs
Elixir of Detect Lesser Invisibility, Catseye Elixir, Catseye Ultra Goggles and Gnomish Alarm-O-Bot are all profession-craftable items that can help with stealth detection if you are having a particularly hard time against persistent rogue or druid gankers in the area.
Mithril Spurs make blacksmiths a lot of money due to their popularity and for good reason providing faster mounted travel.
Noggenfogger Elixir can provide either a size-reduction, underwater breathing, or reduced fall speed so I guess it’s alright but you won’t know what effect it has had until after you pop the elixir.
This section is not intended to be mini PvP guide for each class in PvP engagements – I just want to highlight some cool escape mechanics that arise from certain spells and abilities. This section does not take into account talents either which also provide some nice getaway bonuses, you can assess these for yourself.
Hunters, when played well, have a great kit that affords them every possible prevention and early warning of ganking. A careful hunter will stand on top of a Freezing Trap and a nearby Flare, as well as have Track Hidden tracking activated which all help immensely in providing early warning of incoming cloaked Druids and Rogues.
Other selectable tracking abilities like Track Beasts, Track Humanoids, Track Undead etc. and Eagle Eye all give extra situational awareness to a Hunter paying attention to his minimap.
Kiting abilities like Concussive Shot, Wing Clip, Aspect of the Cheetah and Freezing Trap all work well with run-speed items to quickly increase range and get out of sight.
Finally, a neat little trick that is hilarious – you can Feign Death and then pop an invisibility potion or gnomish stealthing device and it looks like you have died and released spirit! Whilethey are wondering why they didn’t receive an HK you can get out of there
Charge away to another mob/critter after a Hamstring or Intimidating Shout to get a headstart runnin. Other than that Warriors don’t have much of a native escape kit – you’ll also take a lot of damage early on in melee mob fights making you an easy target for poachers.
Carry some Light Feather with you at all times to make use of Levitate for a floating escape. Conversely Mind Control is great for walking people into holes and off cliffs.
Keep Power Word: Shield and HP up with healing spells as you grind mobs down. Psychic Scream any sudden approaches that you can decloak using Holy Nova.
Rogues have it pretty easy being able to (albeit slowly) travel undetected with Stealth and Vanish whenever they are threatened, making levelling pretty safe.
They also have Sprint which can be combined with a Gouge/Kidney Shot/Cheap Shot for a running escape.
Fear is your go-to CC for any unexpected attacks followed up with an escape item. Howl of Terror if you have mobs attacking you as well.
Unending Breath allows for a good water escape combined with a speed swimming item. Ritual of Summoning can be used for revenge ganks if an enemy group sticks around for too long 🙂
Eye of Kilrogg will allow you to scout out chokepoints and cave entrances. Create Soulstone (Minor) can allow you to resurrect out of line of sight sometimes at which point you can use another item to get away completely.
Frost Nova or Blizzard any nearby stealthies and keep Light Feather to be able to Slow Fall off high terrain.
Polymorph can waste a trinket if you have time to cast it and then Blink.
Entangling Roots + Travel Form or Cat Form with Dash is a good combination for bolting out of danger.
Track Humanoids can be used to track enemy player movements on the minimap.
You can keep your HP topped up with HoTs or other healing spells inbetween pulls.
Lastly, you can Prowl while traveling and moving between mobs/quests. The high movement speed abilities, healing, tracking, and Prowl make Druids a really tough target to gank.
If you don’t want to die as Paladin, you won’t have to (unless you have been one-shot) as you can rely on bubble hearth (Divine Shield + Hearthstone) to get out in vanilla wow!
Hammer of Justice is also an okay option when paired with an escape item of some sort.
Keep your HP topped up with healing spells in between pulls.
Keep an Earthbind Totem, Fire Nova Totem or Tremor Totem totem up when levelling as a precaution against stealths or unexpected CC. Sentry Totem also worth a mention for keeping tabs on chokepoints and cave entrances etc.
Ghost Wolf also allows for an instant run-speed bonus that can be paired with other speed increasing items.
Free Water Breathing + Water Walking for water escapes, Far Sight for scouting.
Keep your HP topped up with HoTs or other healing spells inbetween pulls.
Not every race has a racial ability suitable for avoiding and escaping ganks so this will be relatively short. Think of these as your first line of defense (if they apply to your race and class combination) where class abilities or items will not reach. Save your trinket until the very last if you want to be as efficient as possible.
Escape Artist Gnomes have a slow/immob escape on an incredible 1min cooldown.
Hardiness Orcs will passively have an additional quarter chance not to be stunned.
Will of the Forsaken Undead can escape from sleep charm and fear every 2 minutes, or cast it before for 5 seconds of immunity.
Underwater Breathing free water breathing for Undead water escapes.
Perception Humans can cast Perception for 20 seconds, every 3 minutes, providing great stealth detection against Rogues and Druids.
Shadowmeld Can be used out of combat to disappear (but not move) and passively makes your Stealth or Prowl even harder to detect, making for safer Rogue and Druid stealth levelling.
Lastly just remember that the world is big – if you can’t do whatever it is that you’re trying to do because you keep getting ganked, just take a moment to breathe. Go to a different zone with similar level quests, go level up your professions somewhere, take a trip to a capital city and learn some new abilities, or just log off for 10-15 mins and make yourself a snack and a nice cup of tea. People won’t camp you forever and don’t ever let ganks frustrate you.
Do you have any favorite tactics, items, spells or combinations of all three that you have used in the past for avoiding ganks? Leave your ideas below!