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The Art of War(craft): Examing the Isle of Conquest, con't.

Clearly, teams will have difficulty controlling all points of interest at once. This isn't like Arathi Basin where grabbing all five resources lead to a swift victory. Which objectives to pursue are critical strategic decisions. Aside from the Oil Derrick and Cobalt Mines, which are near the bases from where teams enter the battle, other objectives will be hotly contested.

What makes it even more interesting is that the objectives aren't strictly symmetrical. The Hangar grants access to an airship, but it's on a rail. The Dock grants access to Glaive Throwers which can toss players, but they'll be vulnerable to ground assaults. We can only assume that the Siege Workshop grants access to vehicles we're already familiar with, such as Catapults, Demolishers, and Siege Tanks. It's war. I mean, it's an industrial battleground with factories and hangars, tanks and airships, keeps with manned turrets... it's exciting and looks like it'll be insanely fun.

Factions


This new Battleground looks like a good opportunity for Blizzard to reintroduce a concept that I really enjoyed but they had deemed worthless somewhere along the way: Battleground factions. As fun as Eye of the Storm or Strand of the Ancients are, there's something cool about fighting for the Warsong or Frostwolf Clans or the Defilers (or, if you're Alliance, the Silverwing Sentinels, the Stormpike Guard, and the League of Arathos). Faction reputation is still very much a part of PvE, so why can't it be part of PvP just like the old days? It might have been too tedious for Blizzard to create different versions of gear per level, but this is a great opportunity for Blizzard to extend the story of the World of Warcraft.

The best indicator that there might be factions involved is that each side will have its Generals, an end boss that will take an entire raid or so to bring down. Hopefully these bosses will be as fun as Drek'thar or Vanndar Stormpike, maybe even more so. While Blizzard hasn't mentioned NPCs, it wouldn't be unlikely to have guards around the keep similar to those in Wintergrasp.

Ramifications

What will a new Battleground do to the current PvP environment? For the first weeks or so, expect a drop in participation for other Battlegrounds as players try out the Isle of Conquest. One thing that could happen is that players might abandon Alterac Valley en masse as their desire for large scale combat is fulfilled by the new Battleground and Wintergrasp. For one thing, I know a lot of players who play Alterac Valley purely for the quick Honor gain and because it's needed for completing Concerted Efforts or For Great Honor. Speaking of those quests, will they be revised to reflect the additional Marks of Honor from the Isle of Conquest? If so, that means they'll be more tedious to complete, although they'll help ensure participation in other Battlegrounds.

What about Achievements? Certainly, the Isle of Conquest will come with its own Master of the Isle of Conquest meta-Achievement similar to other Battleground masteries. Fortunately for those pursuing the Battlemaster meta-Achievement, it probably won't be retroactively made a requirement. It'll likely be a stand-alone meta similar to the Master of Wintergrasp. It'll be something to keep PvP enthusiasts and Achievement junkies occupied for some time.

Expect a few cosmetic changes all around Azeroth as Battlemasters for the Isle of Conquest will pop up all over major cities and some new Battleground portals will appear in Dalaran and Wintergrasp Keep. There'll also be a new Battleground Holiday to mix things up. As a Battleground addict, news of the Isle of Conquest is one of the most exciting things I've heard about the game in a long while. As fun as Wintergrasp is, the new weekly quest system has neutered participation greatly. This new epic Battleground should be a whole lot of fun. See you all on the PTR.
Zach attempts weekly to write about Arenas, Battlegrounds, and world PvP in one column. He asked if Wintergrasp was doomed by its own success and talked about how Season 6 is the best season for casual PvP and discussed the future of the Battlegrounds.


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