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Posts with tag AlteracValley

Breakfast Topic: Have rated battlegrounds met your expectations?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

When Blizzard announced the concept of rated battlegrounds, many players, including myself, were ecstatic. Only my old vanilla main has a PvP title, and I'd always wanted to try getting one on my druid. I imagined that we would queue for battlegrounds as usual, but that our ranking on the ending scoreboard would combine with our personal win/loss ratio to create our personal battleground rating. Over time, players would be separated by rating and would wind up in battlegrounds with others of similar skill. The way I imagined it, forming premade groups would be an advantage, but not a necessity for rated play.

Needless to say, that's not how things turned out.

I understand the reason why Blizzard requires full premade groups for rated battlegrounds, and I can see how very good players could wind up with a less than stellar personal rating due to unlucky battleground groups. Still, it's not what I had envisioned, and the fact that my favorite large battlegrounds like Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest are not represented is disappointing. Blizzard recently announced that it's eliminating the 15v15 bracket, making all rated battlegrounds 10v10, which might help groups that are scrambling to find enough players -- but will (at least for the moment) exacerbate the problem of battleground diversity. Blizzard plans to adapt other maps for the 10v10 bracket, but for now, the available rated battleground scenarios are much less numerous than normal, unrated battleground options.

Have you tried rated battlegrounds? Were they everything you'd hoped for? What do you think Blizzard could do to improve the system ... or do you like it just the way it is?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Battleground fallacies


Hi.

I know we're all excited about Season 4. Some of us are stockpiling arena points and trying to get our ratings up, while others are taking the opportunity to gear up some alts in Season 2 gear as soon as it moves to honor. And that's great, there's something for everyone. But it also seems, at least on the servers I play on, to be leading to some frayed tempers in the battlegrounds. So let's chat about what is, and what isn't, appropriate and useful for getting yourself some honor in the BG's.

First off, and I can't say this one enough as a general piece of advice for any battleground, yelling, calling people names, and spamming macros does not actually make you Sun Tzu. It can be very annoying when your WSG turns into a 45 minute turtle with no flag captures, or your AV run becomes mired down because yet again everyone rushed RH instead of taking and holding Iceblood Graveyard, but no matter how creative your insults get, the tide of battle will not turn. The other players in the battleground are not going to say "you know, Matsakillza is right, I really am a total noob" and even if they did, how would that possibly improve how the match is progressing? It won't. It just makes you look like a petulant child throwing a fit because something didn't go your way.

Now that we've gotten that bit of general advice out of the way, let's move on to specific examples from each battleground, linking to our own Zach Yonzon's thoughts on each as we do.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Battlegrounds

We meet again, Alterac

As I've mentioned in a recent warrior column, I'm running the new Alterac Valley on my prot warrior. Mostly it's not intended to accomplish anything, it's just to see how I'll do. I average about four games before I get bored and go do something else. However, in the days leading up to patch 2.3, these four games would probably have been miserable timesinks with no honor gain to show for it and a lot of complaining in /bg.

Nowadays, as you can see to the right, four games is about 1500 honor.

I've found, at least on my Stormstrike BG toons, that the games go a lot faster now. Towers are still being capped, and the Horde still wins more than we do, but it's not so much the intolerable blowouts I'd become accustomed to where they crush us and we can't even take Iceblood GY. In the past two days I've won three and lost five, and almost all of the matches were pretty close. (We tend to do better when the Horde defends, I'm noticing, although I don't know why.) So from my perspective as an Alliance player (look, pro-Alliance bias in a WoW Insider post! Get those flames ready, kids!) and a very casual PvP'er who probably won't bother to run arenas, the changes have been for the good.

How about you all? Thumbs up or thumbs down for the new AV and the immediate honor updating? (I think immediate honor is my favorite thing.)

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, PvP

How to lose in Alterac Valley



It has come to my attention, as the kind of masochist who is trying to get Gladiator's gear for five level 70's before taking them into the Arenas (one team already created and one more incoming) that I run a lot of Battlegrounds now. And of all the BG's I play in, AV is the one that seems to have all that you need for a really exhilarating, awesome good time, full of close matches and hard fought victories.

Luckily my fellow players have often stepped in to prevent any enjoyment whatsoever. Out of a sense of gratitude, I thought I would compile some of the ways my fellow Horde or Alliance (depending on who I'm playing) have conspired to help keep me safely mired in a total bog of withering boredom.

Part One - We need more armchair generals, please.

Seriously, don't actually play the game. Don't make the mistake of going out there and capturing graveyards, defending towers until they burn, or even killing enemy faction players. Don't waste your time. You're a strategist. You have to share your time tested battle plans, preferable in all caps, and leave out as many vowels as you can when you do so. "Frgt IBGY, rsh RH, DON STOP FOR TWESR." While no one in the group will know who Don Stop is, much less why he seems to be running for the office of the Twesr of all Alterac Valley, you will have managed to convey your intricate strategems to the whole battlegroup. Money and accolades will no doubt follow. It is especially important to do this as a counterpoint to six or seven other people who are offering opposing battle plans in caps, how else will you convince them of the rightness of your cause?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, PvP

Do BG's need diminishing returns?



As we all know, with the changes to Alterac Valley in patch 2.3 have come changes to the tactical balance of the game. Specifically, if you're not willing to put some real effort into defense, you're not going to win, and you can end up in a turtle game waiting for one side to run out of reinforcements. Which leads me to wonder: if the games are inherently limited by the reinforcement factor... if by killing opposing players you will eventually win the game and as result there's no way the games can last indefinitely... then what do we need diminishing returns on honor for? Battlegrounds are limited in that you have no real choice but to kill the same people over and over again, after all.

There's never going to be a setup where one side agrees to be honor famed by the other in AV now, if that ever happened in the first place. One side is going to lose, the game is going to end, and a new game start up: but if you've played in a lot of AV's lately where one side put up a vigorous defense and the two factions clashed for a significant melee, then you may have noticed as I have that your estimated honor for the day will often be wildly overstated. For instance, yesterday I managed to squeeze about 4k honor out. But when I went to bed, it said I had almost 6k honor estimated. I understand what estimated means, that it's not accurate, but the idea that the system estimated an additional 2k honor over what I had actually earned made me wonder if there was a way to improve this. With Arena 3 coming out tomorrow, people have either acquired the honor they want or will be working to do so, so it seems like a good time to consider if we need what seems to be an outdated means of preventing repeated ganking or honor farming.

Then again, I suppose you could do it in Warsong still. AB and EoTS also have their limiting factors built in, but Warsong keeps going until someone caps 3 flags. Maybe we could just eliminate the honor decay in the other three BG's? That might make Warsong drop in popularity, though.

What do you think? Do we need diminishing returns on honor in battlegrounds?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Factions

The enemy within the Alliance

It used to be that Alliance players thought of Alterac Valley as the only battleground in which they had a fighting chance, an advantage to make up for their apparent inability to win any of the other battlegrounds. With the changes to Alterac Valley in patch 2.3, however, the idea is gradually spreading like an infectious disease among Alliance players that Blizzard loves the Horde most and purposely lets the Horde get speedier access to lots of Honor rewards. Just visit your nearest Alliance battleground match to hear the latest crying and whining about how all the other Alliance players are stupid noobs who can't tell how bad they suck and are going to lose every time.

Alliance: please, get real. The more people there are in either faction, whining and moaning about how hopeless things are, the more likely that faction will lose. The whiners are spending all their time typing out their useless babble, not leading, fighting or healing. To boot, they're also demoralizing the whole group, breaking down all sense of coordination, cooperation, and confidence. If you encounter such a moaner/whiner, do not engage in any long discussion with them -- just put them in their place, "/ignore" them, and encourage others to do the same. They whiners are dead set on depressing themselves and anyone who will listen and no matter how witty your comebacks may be, and the more energy is wasted on them, the less is going into the game.

If it is in fact true that the Horde wins battlegrounds more often, then this is itself the reason. The "For the Horde" mentality bolsters the idea that the Horde is good at PvP. If you think your side is more naturally good at something, you're much less likely to think "Blizzard hates us!" when you lose, and much more likely to try and improve on your game for the benefit of your faction. Yes, there are plenty of Horde-side players who moan and whine too, but these don't fit in with the "For the Horde" spirit of the group as a whole -- and everyone knows it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

Alterac Valley is the new Alterac Valley

Today was the first day in my 'Matt runs AV in the morning while his wife's asleep so he can make breakfast for her' scheme since Patch 2.3 changed AV. We all know that I'm a big fan of Alterac Valley, and since my stated goal in running PvP battlegrounds until Arena Season 3 eventually comes out is to collect enough honor to go into full-time arena play alongside my wife wearing as much Season 1 gear as I can get my grubby hands on, the amount of honor I can accumulate in a two hour patch of play is important to me.

So far, it's been very nice.

The removal of the lieutenants and commanders and the emphasis on taking and holding bunkers to remove the marshalls means that there's a lot more actual PvP going on, at least in my battlegroup. (Go, Shadowburn!) I ran several matches this morning, and AV doesn't seem to have bogged down as everyone indicated it would: the honor from capping a bunker or tower is adjusted upwards to 62 so there's a real reason to make sure it gets done, while the other team definitely doesn't want you to do it. I fought more in the Icewing Bunker than I have in quite some time. At one point, I managed to hold a druid/warlock/rogue team just long enough to ensure that the bunker burned. Sure, they killed me, but they killed me too late, and that's a victory in my eyes. I stopped running AV long enough to run the daily PvP quest (today it was EotS) and after a frustrating low-honor match, we got that done on my second run, meaning that I actually made a tidy little sum of gold and honor that helped push me over 2000 for the day.

AV seems revitalized to me, and much less a PvE experience. I learned a lot, including that a warrior with even an enhancement shaman tossing him the occasional heal can rip faces off. Icewing Bunker is mine!

How is AV working out on your battlegroup? Are people still trying the zerging tactics without holding bunkers? Are folks hip to capturing mines for reinforcements? Are your matches more PvP oriented than before or less?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Quests, Making money

More balances coming to AV

After not playing in there for what probably has been months, I found myself back in Alterac Valley this morning-- with the recent AFK changes, things have just gotten so much more active in there, and considering this weekend is an AV honor weekend, there will probably be a lot of blood shed beween the Frostwolves and the Stormpikes. Of course, just because players are active doesn't mean they know what they're doing-- we had twenty people standing around the SP GY flag this morning, and I was the only one actually clicking on it to capture. Oh well.

And now that players are playing in there, it's time to look at the other problems in AV-- map balance and fun factor. That bridge is still an issue when Alliance actually sit down and guard it, but the past few matches I've seen have a completely other problem-- it's just a zerg race. Sure, some folks stay on D at times, but really it's just a matter of which side gets to the other boss first.

And Neth says changes are coming, specifically that Blizz wants to make AV "more fun" and "more balanced." She can't say what that means yet, but I'd be very surprised if the "more balanced" part didn't involve a little map adjusting. As for the "more fun," who knows? Personally I'd like (and I know some of you share this sentiment) to see additions in terms of the PvE stuff, but Blizzard has learned a lot since they first created AV. Instead of the summoning quests and the NPCs entering the action, I'm guessing there'll be things like zone-wide buffs and other Halaa-like happenings.

But as always, we'll see. In the meantime, who wants to go get Balinda with me?

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

I still believe in Alterac Valley



I don't know why, but Alterac Valley is still my favorite battleground. I primarily play Horde in there, although I'll take my Allies in if I'm bored enough with them. I've bought the items I wanted and now, honestly, I don't even care about the honor, I just enjoy AV. I have never understood the lure of AFK honor farming. You're going to be in there as long whether or not you get out of the cave and play, so why not go smash some faces while you're there? I mean, if you want to read a book, turn off the game, man.

There are of course problems with Alterac. Some folks think the map is imbalanced or that the NPC's don't work out the way they should. There's the AFK issue which can really make the game less fun. But for me, whether I win or I lose (I'd say Horde loses about 60% of the time when I do AV, maybe more) is less important than the simple fact that in AV, I'm free to do whatever I want. If I feel like tanking some of the NPC's I can, or I can just go in with a fury or arms spec and DPS. I often take my resto shaman in just to throw chain heal around, I don't even care who I'm healing. That dude over there is taking damage? Chain Heal to the rescue. But if I don't feel like healing I won't, I'll slap an Earth Shield on myself and just flail around ineffectually with my Crow Wing Reaper like a total dumbass and have fun doing it.

Most people will tell you that they're excellent in all aspects of the game. I'm going to admit now that I am awful at PvP. I have reflexes perfectly tuned to PvE content and reaction time that means I'm rarely surprised by what any group of mobs will do, but I cannot wrap my head around PvP. Arenas? I am the first to die. Warsong Gulch? Well, I can slap on full tank gear and run with the flag, but wouldn't you rather have a druid do it? Eye of the Storm and AB are just variations on these themes. But Alterac Valley can contain mobs of Horde and Alliance trying to slaughter each other, it can have races to the end, it can even allow you the magnificent joy of being a spoiler. I've wiped Alliance groups on Drek who were at 1% by killing their last remaining healer and then using Intimidating Shout and War Stomp to break up their rhythm, and even as I died I laughed. Some of my best times in game are in taking petty revenge on Ally turtles by making them have to take even longer to kill Drek.

I admit it, I'm not a very forgiving person.

I look forward to the changes in AV, because I hope to see it restored to a battleground everyone enjoys instead of one everyone but me endures.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

More AFK concerns in Alterac Valley

Here's more about the upcoming AFK debuff in Alterac Valley. Last week, we talked about what the voting requirements might be to give out the debuff, and there were some really great comments on that post, specifically about an idea to give the debuff out right when players start the battleground. I think that's a great idea, and it would give everyone in the BG an impetus to get right into battle and do what the BGs are meant for: PvP fighting.

But here's another concern, voiced by Fantastiko of Alleria: Currently, as we know it, the debuff won't actually disconnect AFKers from the battleground. If players vote to give them the debuff, and if they don't enter battle within the set time period, all it would do is keep them from gaining honor while AFK. Which means that even if the debuff works as planned, and the 10 people in the Peace Cave get the debuff and gain no honor, your team is still down 10 people. Not good.

So as planned, what exactly will this debuff stop? AFK players can still go AFK, and just hope that no one thinks to report them (when this first starts up, tons of reporting will probably go down, but eventually, people will likely be able to get away with more and more). It seems like the best solution would be to give everyone this debuff when they enter the BG, and have it cancel on combat. And if combat isn't entered, or they are reported, AFKers should be disconnected from the BG completely-- even better, with the "deserter" debuff-- allowing other players to take their place.

Of course, this reporting system is still in the planning stages, so it could be that Blizzard has already reached these conclusions and it is going to be implemented this way. And I'm sure there'll be plenty of testing as well-- we likely won't see the system until 2.3 or even beyond anyway. But the problem with this is that AFKers are crafty-- if there's any way at all that they can gain honor while they go AFK, they'll do it.

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

Why can't the Alliance win in Battlegrounds?


Recently, Phaelia over at Resto4Life wrote an article about a specific aspect of battlegrounds: the Horde (almost) always win.

She's backed up this fairly common viewpoint with some compelling reasons, and I have to admit they make sense to me.

I've played Alliance almost exclusively for 2+ years, and I remember wanting to try and get into some serious PvP, but I also remember getting my spirits crushed, along with any desire to continue running BGs due to the constant losses. I realize that you can't win all the time, but it's hard to continue playing if you don't win one at least once in a while.

Even Alterac Valley, the battleground that Alliance supposedly wins most of the time, is only won in my battlegroup if both sides race. If the Horde plays even a little defense, Alliance loses 9 times out of 10. And with the changes Drysc mentioned recently coming to AV, I wonder if Alliance will have any way to gain honor.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Factions

Voting requirements for the AFK debuff

One of the choruses we heard at BlizzCon was that Blizzard knows about the AFKers in Alterac, and justice will be handed out. The plan, we've been told, is that it will be handed out in the form of a no-honor debuff, that breaks on combat. In other words, if enough people report you for sitting in the Peace Cave, you don't gain any honor until you get moving and start fighting.

The problem, however, is that we don't know exactly how many people it takes to hand out that debuff. Thunderbein tells the story of an AV where only 20 out of 40 players were actually playing, and so if the number of players that have to "vote" for the debuff is anywhere over 20, no one's getting the debuff in that BG. Hortus replies and says that it's not as high as 30, but how high is it? Can you give someone the with two people? With ten?

And then there's the question of whether we should know at all. What if we learned it was 10 people (in the interest of clarity, I should stress that we don't actually know what it is yet), and a group of 31 AFKers joined up to the BG? Then, nothing is solved at all-- those guys could sit in the Peace Cave all they wanted and gain honor the whole time.

The AFK debuff sounded like the best solution at BlizzCon, but every system can be gamed. Blizzard is going to have to be really careful about setting up the numbers on how the reporting works. And because we'll likely find out whether they tell us or not what the number is, they'll have to watch out for other ways AFK players can get around the punishment.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, BlizzCon

Changes coming to Alterac Valley

It looks like Blizzard is finally starting to take this issue of AFKing in Alterac Valley seriously, and not just with the AFK-reporting feature that you've likely already heard about.

In response to one poster who begged Blizzard not to implement this reporting feature because he says the map is imbalanced and the Horde always loses anyways, Drysc gave us a relatively long list of changes that Blizzard is making in order to help solve the problem -- not just reporting AFKers, but also finding other ways to encourage them to get in the game as well, such as fixing exploits, changing or removing NPCs, and yes even modifying the map a little bit.

Here's what he said:
There are quite a few changes coming, all of which we hope will culminate into making players want to participate, and ultimately win the battleground.

Obviously as most people know we have the anti-afk reporting measure, by which you can right click on someone in the battleground and mark them as AFK. With enough reports they receive a debuff that keeps them from earning honor in that battleground, and only by entering combat can they remove that debuff. It's going to help, but it's certainly not enough on its own.

Other things we're doing are changing or pulling out NPCs in key locations to help even out the balance of time and effort each side has to take to push through. As well as some minor changes to locations that people find are easily exploited to advance faster.

We're shifting some of the honor from the earlier NPCs, that help make AFKing so lucrative, to the end of the battleground and more for actually winning.

The graveyard spawning is being changed so that players aren't sent back to the cave unless there is nowhere else to spawn, which should help encourage horde to play a bit more defense if they're being beaten back.

And we're also correcting the ... I think Jeff referred to them as "creative pulling mechanics" with the general's.

Everything together, we feel, should help encourage players to participate, while also improving overall balance.

Filed under: PvP

AFKers ask Blizz to "save the Peace Cave"

I really have no pity for people who AFK in Alterac Valley, but I will laugh at their last ditch attempts to get honor for free, especially when they're as witty as this.

Thayne from Hyjal is fighting for his right to not fight-- he describes himself as a conscientious objector, and wants Blizzard to recognize that while others are fighting each other, he is fighting, in his own AFK, non-combat way, to end the war once and for all. He calls the Alterac cave the "Peace Cave," and pleads with Blizzard to please, please save the Peace Cave, and let Thayne and his fellow peaceniks remain to observe the battle (and gain honor) without actually getting involved in it.

Of course to that we say: No chance. We're still kicking you out. But nice try.

Thanks, Robert!

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, PvP, Humor

Breakfast Topic: Favorite battleground


There are four battlegrounds in the game right now, but you can still only play one at a time -- which means you've got to have a favorite. You know, the battleground you hope will come up even while you're in another. I have to say, I think my favorite is still Alterac Valley. I've always loved the massive battle that plays out there, and how it integrates PvE elements in a PvP framework -- however, I can't say I'm fond of the AFKers these days... But this isn't about my favorite battleground -- today we're asking which of the four you favor, and why. So tell us, do you have a favorite battleground?

Filed under: PvP, Breakfast Topics

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