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Open fire! PTR 2.4 battleground changes

We've recently featured several posts about player discontent with Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley battle grounds. It looks like Blizzard has been hard at work changing, if not fixing, some of the issues that players have been having in battlegrounds.

Alterac Valley

It sounds like Blizzard has been listening to the back and forth debate about which faction is favored most in Valley. In the test 2.4 they attempt to balance the distance and challenge of the faction captains. Hortus indicated that they want to focus on WSG first, so it will be a while before we can test out these changes.

First, the Horde starting base has been moved so that the run to the each opposing captain is approximately the same distance. In the past the Horde has been able to begin killing Captain Balinda Stonehearth before the Alliance can get near enough to defend her. However since her health, as well as Vanndar Stormpike's, has been reduced, so she will need more brave heroes to defend her. Her spells have been change, and although they can be interrupted Bal will not be locked out of schools of spells.

Since 2.3 it seems the most common strategy for winning AV has been dashing for the generals and killing them as quickly as possible. The warmasters and marshals in 2.4 give each other buffs to damage and health. Since this buff stacks, the more generals standing, the harder they are to kill. To have a good shot at taking down the general, the team must wait for all or at least most of the towers to capture. This will definitely slow down the game, but may force some alternative strategies.

Warsong Gulch

I make it no secret that Warsong Gulch is my least favorite battleground. Matches can go on for extended periods of time with little honor reward. In an effort to stop these stalemate conditions, Blizzard has added debuff for flag carriers that increases the damage taken after the flag has been held for long periods of time. After ten minutes, the carrier will take an additional fifty percent damage and after fifteen minutes the penalty will be double.

I wish they would have been more clear on a few points. The way I read the notes suggest that the timer does not reset when the flag is passed among players. If the timer were to reset every time the flag is handed off, this change would have absolutely no effect. The notes are also unclear on what happens when one flag is returned to the base. Does the other carrier still have the debuff or do they get reset simultaneously? I may be wrong, but this change seems like it would have little effect on shortening matches or balancing honor rewards with the other battlegrounds. I hope that through testing Blizzard decides that the time for the debuff to kick in should be much shorter.

I am more excited about the ability to track the carrier 45 seconds after they have picked up the flag. I don't know how many times I've tried looking at the map to figure out where to retrieve the flag. In 2.4 it will actually work! This will be particularly helpful in the cross-field dash. No more "which way did he go?" After 45 seconds we will know if the carrier is in the tunnel, ramp, or graveyard. This will be less useful once the carrier makes it to the base. It most likely won't indicate where in the base the flag is, so you'll still have to start on top and work your way down.

I have had no luck so far getting into the PTR. I would love to give WSG a try. I'm afraid that the changes will have little effect on the game. I would have liked to see incremental honor or other battleground objectives added. From what I can tell it looks like WSG weekend will still be the best time for parties, road trips, and home-improvement project.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Battlegrounds

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