Posted by: Sean | September 16, 2008

Theme Week: Pirates: How to Buckle Like a Swasher

Yes, yes, I know. The romance of the pirate, the ephemeral nature, so on and so forth. We guys know why pirates are awesome. Both reasons:

  1. Swinging a sword around like a maniac; and,
  2. Yarr.

Together, we call this swashbuckling. Look, kid. Any fool can swing a sharp bit of metal around and hope to hit something. But sword-fighting is a lot like making love: It’s not necessarily what you do, but what you say that matters. A true pirate knows just when to cut his opponent with a well honed insult.

So the first thing we need to observe is that this is mostly a PVE concern. Sure, you can do it in PVP as well, but it’s not like those weird bastards on the other side will understand you, anyway. No, this is for when you’re fightin’ the Bloodsail Buccaneers, or the Blackwater Raiders if you go that way, you parrot loving freak. Second, swashbuckling is for melee fighters. That means rogues, warriors and pal… OK, so rogues and warriors. Sorry, but you can be a pirate as a mage or a hunter, but you can’t buckle swashes. This is for people who swing around swords!

Before you even begin fighting, you’ll need to do is ready your tongue. Get together some good, cutting insults. “I guess those wars killed all your good fighters, then!”, “I hope you bought your mount, cause you’ll want to run away now,” or “How appropriate. You fight like a Tauren. Wait a moment.”

Put a few long ones in (probably no more than three) and then also make a bundle of short ones, like, “Coward!” or “Landlubber!” and so forth. Keep ’em in lists.

Then, using this handy guide from the absolutely fantastic RP Made Simple (which may just be the best damn World of Warcraft RP ‘blog on the net), you put all the long ones into a single randomising macro, and all the short one. Then, whenever you need a quick cutting insult, you just need to hit either of those buttons. Couldn’t be simpler. I like using the long and short ones because that way you can lob out a wide variety of quick insults for most fights, but bring out one of a couple long ones for (say) instance bosses, who deserve a bit better.

But as we all know, it’s not just saying an insult that counts. It’s saying the right ones. That means thinking about your environment and your opponents. For example, let’s say you’re facing down a tribe of cannibalistic forrest trolls in the Hinterlands. You want to say, “Yesterday, they called you a great warrior. But when I’m done with you, they’ll call you dinner.” See, now that’s how you fire off an insult. But you can’t take time out to type that long sentence out in the middle of a battle. You’ll get a sword in your mouth before you can finish it.

So instead, start thinking like Errol Flynn. Look for high ground! Maybe while you’re fighting on that temple you spot a nice high ledge. Jump on that sucker! If interrupts the pathing of the enemy, you can take a swift breather to slam out that perfect insult before rejoining the battle. Just don’t take too long, or he’ll regain his health. But do it right, and it can even be a good way to give your cool-downs a crucial second or two to regenerate, too.

Now, that covers the “Yarr” part of swashbuckling. But what about the “swinging a sword around like a maniac” part? Well, this is all about movement. It’s about a sense of style and flair. For example, let’s say you’re in a fight with a bundle of Bloodsail bastards, and one of them gets cowardly on you, and runs. You could chase after him, but that’s not got a lot of style, does it? Instead, use those throwing daggers to pick him off as he runs. Make sure you always have the daggers with the most damage at any available moment to improve your odds. Or if you’re a warrior, don’t forget your intercept. It’s more stylish than just wading away from a fight. For extra effect, taunt your enemies as they run toward you.

Or when you’re on that ledge, don’t just drop back down into the combat. Jump! Ideally over your opponent. And don’t stop moving. Dodge and weave, move the combat around. Find high ground to fight on and then, after dispatching your opponent, leap over the balcony railing into the mobs of enemies below! (Assuming, of course, you think you can handle them all.)

It takes a bit of practice and a sense of style. But if you keep at it, soon you’ll be the most stylish fighter in your guild. People will call you piratey names like, “Katafray the Blade”. And really, that’s reward in and of itself.


  1. wait, posted under wrong author ^_^

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