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Posts with tag ab

The anachronistic illogic of battlegrounds

Is there a logic to Azeroth's battlegrounds? I understand that places like Arathi Basin, the Battle for Gilneas, or Twin Peaks have victory conditions that may or may not really have all that much to do with how real wars are waged -- much less Warsong Gulch or Eye of the Storm. (I mean, if you want to contemplate how grabbing a flag and taking it somewhere equates to an epic military triumph, go ahead.) But I'm not specifically talking about the rules of the individual battlegrounds, mind you.

Why has there never been a battleground that has been about killing the other side? Just wanton, brutal mass combat between opposing forces? (The answer is probably because it would be terrible.) But when you start to think about what the fighting is even about, it gets even weirder. Yes, that post is really a clever jab at LoS and how it often doesn't work like you'd expect it to (and that's worth considering as well), but really think about some of the battlegrounds we're going to right now in a post-Cataclysm world.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Cataclysm

Tips for the Wrecking Ball achievement

This forum thread is full of great advice and tips for the Wrecking Ball achievement, in which you've got to get 20 killing blows without dying in a battleground. The key here seems to be to find a place with lots and lots of folks to kill (a spawn point, like the graveyard in WSG, works great, or you can hide behind the big groups in AV), and then just hanging out there as far out of the way as you can get. Having a pocket healer won't hurt either, and playing fair isn't really part of this one -- you want to duck in when you're sure to win the fight, and run like crazy when things even threaten to go against you.

Some people say that doing it at a lower bracket can help, too, because unless you're uber geared, it'll be better to go after lower levels than have everybody in the BG be 80. It actually sounds like it's easier than it seems -- as long as you set yourself up in the right place and be really careful about getting stuck in a fight you can't win, you should be able to walk away with the points. Good luck!

Filed under: Tips, Tricks, PvP, Battlegrounds, Achievements

The OverAchiever: Guide to Children's Week achievements

All right, folks, we've got another sub-achievement needed for What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been (and thus the 310% speed Violet Proto-Drake) on our hands here. I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that most of the achievements for Children's Week are fairly straightforward, and should be easy (and even fun) to complete. Appropriately enough for a mini-holiday, most of the achievements are simple, amusing, and not too time-consuming. The bad news is that one of the achievements may be a huge headache to get done, and unlike Noblegarden, your character has to be at least 75 in order to get all of the achievements needed for the year-long meta.

Children's Week runs from Friday, May 1st at midnight through Thursday, May 7th at 11:59 PM. Got your kiddo? Let's get cracking.

EDIT: This article's been revised and updated to reflect new information and the hotfixes that have gone live since initial publication. All information herein should be accurate as of 11:30 AM EST Saturday May 2nd.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Events, Instances, Features, Guides, Battlegrounds, Achievements, The Overachiever

A plea on behalf of frustrated tanks everywhere

Several classes and specs have gotten "knockback" abilities as part of patch 3.02 and the game's transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and I've had fun watching these skills be deployed in battlegrounds to extensive and quite possibly evil use. It's pretty funny watching an elemental Shaman defend AB's lumber mill now, and the AV bridge? Even funnier.

And I laughed, I started to cry inside, because I knew that these skills would also be deployed in 5-man groups and raids to much less amusing effect. And man, it's a real burden being right so often.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Instances, Humor, Classes, Battlegrounds

The inevitable loss

Around every 4th of July I reread Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels, which is a book about the battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. There's an early passage about the Southern general James Longstreet's unease over the Confederate push north to Pennsylvania: He had never believed in this invasion...He did not believe in offensive warfare when the enemy outnumbered you and outgunned you and would come looking for you anyway if you waited somewhere on your own ground. Longstreet, one of the finest military minds of the age, spends much of the subsequent bloody fight knowing that Union forces had a terrain advantage impossible to overcome.

There's been a lot written about battleground strategy (particularly Alterac Valley) but I think all of us have known the sinking feeling you get when you realize that your side isn't going to win. Some causes of failure are relatively easy to pinpoint; starting a battleground with a heavy numbers or healing disadvantage often seals the fate of a match. And of course the collective quality of a team's gear will always play a role; people in Season 4 are unlikely to lose to those in Season 1.

All other things being equal, what I find most fascinating are the matches -- PuG versus PuG, or premade versus premade -- where the battle can swing either way depending entirely on each team's degree of foresight and strategy. Rarely, single players can sometimes decide the outcome; I once saw a protection paladin in a 2-cap versus 2-cap Eye of the Storm prevent the opposing side from taking any flags by parking himself in the middle and simply taking forever to die, and one of my own favorite techniques is to suicide/harass heavily-defended nodes in Arathi Basin and EOTS while Horde quietly caps elsewhere (you'd be amazed at the number of players who prefer an easy kill over responding to "Inc!" calls elsewhere). But failure and success are usually collective and hard to pin down. How do you convince people to do the less-glamorous jobs -- defense, distraction, crowd-control -- more likely to result in a victory? How do you know when the battleground is lost for sure?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Battlegrounds

Things that annoy me

Or, how to celebrate the birth of a nation via an ugly series of Horde losses in Arathi Basin:

1. Every single Alliance character in the game has a Black War Tiger.

2. Every single Horde character in the game has a Black War Raptor (yes, myself included).

3. I could be wrong, but I don't think "Lich King" is pronounced "Lick King," as I keep hearing it pronounced on my server.

4. However, it might be because the word looks somewhat Germanic, and I will be unable to keep a straight face for the duration of the next expansion.

5. To the point of losing it completely if I hear "World of Warcraft: WRAAAAAAATH OF THE LICK KING" intoned by the Deep-Voiced Serious Trailer Guy.

6. How male human characters run. There's a lot of great animation in the game. This is not one of them.

7. Practically every main-tank of every Hordeside raiding guild is a male Tauren.

8. An egotistical male Tauren. Look, Spanky, just because Bulwark of Azzinoth is bigger on you than anybody else does not mean that the same is true of appendages elsewhere.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Humor, Raiding, Bosses, Battlegrounds

"We're going to need a montage."

I hate arena.

I'm pretty sure I realized I wasn't going to like it right around the time in Season 2 when I hit a nasty Priest/Warlock combo. They outgeared my own little team massively and knew it. Six of our ten games that week were versus this charming pair, and they reached a point somewhere around the fourth game where they'd kill my partner, Mind Control me, heal me to full, and then Fear me around endlessly while reducing my health inch by agonizing inch. A lot of PvP has the potential be extremely frustrating (she said, eyeing another Arathi Basin match with 4 Horde versus 15 Alliance), but that night was one of the few that has left me wondering whether bursting into tears or just going AFK for a sandwich while they amused themselves were the better option.

So you might say that arena and I have had an uneasy relationship. I need arena for some PvE gear and to get people off my back about doing arena (it's a vicious cycle). Arena quite patently does not need me. And yet -- it remains the last great challenge before Wrath hits. It is the part of the game that I have yet to conquer, or even do anything other than suck horribly at. I'm a Druid, right right? Isn't there some sort of vague, hazy strategy involving HoT's and Travel Form and possibly Cyclone that makes us never, ever die? Some crap like that. And I owe it to the rest of my class to put a badly-played Druid back in arena to see if we can convince people to stop screaming for nerfs.

So. I'm going to commission someone to write some compelling montage music for me, I'm going to BG every day for Season 2 gear, and I'm going to find me a partner with a (um) generous approach to what constitutes "advancement." There's a lot of talk around the forums about the gear gap being too horrible to overcome and the ratings requirements being a barrier to newbie entry. I'll play your game, you rogues. Let's see whether a total scrub still stands a chance.

Ratings Watch: 1500

Filed under: Druid, Priest, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Humor, Classes, Battlegrounds, Arena

Shifting Perspectives: PvP as a moving target

Every week, John Patricelli of Big Bear Butt presents a well-researched, educational, and entertaining look at the state of the Druid class in WoW today. This week we said, "Screw that," and got someone off the street.

Veronica: Look at you, all helpful.
Logan: Your peskiness being unleashed on Connor brings me joy. Annoy, tiny blonde one! Annoy like the wind!
-- Veronica Mars, "An Echolls Family Christmas"

With apologies to Diane Ruggiero, the writer of the episode quoted above, but I find Logan's snarky comment (did he even have another kind?) to be a perfect, albeit general, means of describing successful Druid PvP.

Let us be frank; I am not, nor am ever likely to be, a hardcore PvPer, and to a great extent this post is directed mostly at people like myself. If you're one of those Druids carrying a 2K+ rating in full Vengeful, then I invite (nay, implore) you to leave comments and corrections based on your own experience, but the article's mostly for regular folks like me, who may not even particularly like PvP but recognize that it is desirable or perhaps necessary, given our ingame goals. As such, most of this applies to battlegrounds, and on a later date we're going to get into arena. Today, we are simply going to talk about how to avoid letting your PvP experience turn you into a miserably unhappy player who would rather undergo an appendectomy via Roto-Rooter than set foot in another EOTS.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, PvP, Guides, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Battlegrounds, Arena

Gamers on the Street: Who's winning AV and WSG now?

Gamers on the Street logs onto U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.

I'll admit it: I haven't hit the Sunwell yet. My new main is a fresh 70 ("virgin" might be an appropriate word to describe her, except that – well, I PvP), and my guildies and I are simply overwhelmed with the number of things on our to-do lists right now. None of us is much interested in braving the crowds to see the new content; we'll get there once the furor has died down.

But 2.4 introduced more than just the Sunwell – we've got AV and WSG "fixes" in action! Did the fixes really fix these BGs? I have my own thoughts about AV (fine before, fine now; lots of imbalances still, but they don't prevent me from winning most instances when my team is with me), but I haven't had the time yet to get into WSG. Ever curious, I popped in on Wildhammer realm to chat with some of the folks gathered 'round the battlemasters and get their impressions.

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Filed under: PvP, Features, Gamers on the Street, Battlegrounds

PvP for the beginning HK: 11 rules for the starter weasel

It is not unusual for younger or less experienced players to approach me with questions on my PvP experience.

"Allie," they ask. "How can we avoid sucking like you?"

"Well, first it helps to have a functional mouse," I always say, favoring them with a benevolent smile whilst swirling a fine glass of port. "Click-to-move is usually impossible when neither your right mouse button nor scroll wheel actually work. You'd be amazed at the number of problems you can pin on your refusal to replace a relatively cheap piece of equipment. Never, ever, get rid of Mr. Gimpy if you want a ready excuse for being a keyboard turner."

They scribble this and then look at me reverently, hopeful for any additional pearls of wisdom I might drop. However, after receiving so many queries and accidentally mistelling most of them with, "I can tank, but gimme a sec to get rid of this punk who's bugging me," I have decided, in the spirit of all gifted Machiavellians, to preserve my bad advice in a medium more lasting than /w.

For beyond faulty mice, children, we get into more advanced and underhanded PvP tactics...

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Filed under: How-tos, PvP, Humor, Guides, Battlegrounds, Arena

Nethaera explains Honor calculations

Ever since Patch 2.3 was released, there have been some honor controversies -- particularly with Alterac Valley. The way AV honor was calculated was changed and, for a while, not working. Though honor is working as intended now, people are still confused. This is understandable because it took quite a long forum post for Nethaera to explain how the whole thing works. Here are the main points:
  • Diminishing Returns: In all PvP in WoW, every time you kill the same player, you get 10% less honor. After you kill the same person 10 times, you stop getting honor for the kill.
  • Estimated Honor: This number does not take into account Diminishing Returns. Also, all fractions of honor are rounded up to 1, causing the Estimated Honor to be inflated. And the time of day that you view your Estimated Honor could affect the accuracy because the honor just earned may actually not be added until the next day's honor.
  • Battleground Bonus Honor on Call to Arms or Holiday weekends: Bonus Honor is not a percentage of honor earned in a Battleground on a holiday weekend, but it is instead awarded for accomplishing certain specific Battleground objectives.
Nethaera posted a long chart detailing all of the objectives for the Battlegrounds for Normal days and Holiday weekends. I've broken out the specific Holiday objectives and the Bonus Honor each awards as well as included the entire chart after the jump.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums, Battlegrounds

Forum Post of the Day: A casual's guide to winning BGs

Our own Zach Yonzon is putting together some great guides to the battlegrounds (WSG is the last one, and Arathi Basin is being worked on as we speak), but just in case that's not enough for you, Digo of Hyjal has written up a great (and succinct) guide to how the premades win battlegrounds. From WSG to AB to EotS to AV, he's got a terrific writeup of what needs to be done and how to do it to walk away from the BG with more marks than the other team.

He markets the guide as one for casuals, but it's got great tips for everybody: fight on the flags, not on the road. Make sure you've got something held before moving on. Send a druid after the flag and control WSG's midfield. Stick together and assist and heal. This is all stuff every single person who queues up for a BG should know (and unfortunately, it's also the same stuff that's yelled in every /bg channel because lots of players don't listen).

Great post, and a must read for anyone routinely going into the battlegrounds. If you aren't doing this stuff already, take the lesson, and do it from now on.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Forums, Battlegrounds

Does the Horde really win every battleground?

I hear it constantly from my Alliance friends... Horde always win in battlegrounds! The Alliance is seriously gimped and never manages any success. The conversation then goes on to blame specific racial abilities or terrain issues that cause the battleground to favor the Horde. And then I go chat with my Horde friends, and those of them who PvP can't get over how unbalanced the battlegrounds are. The Alliance always win! How will they ever collect enough tokens to buy that trinket when all the Alliance has to do is...

By this point, my eyes will have glazed over and I'll be trying to remember which of my alts are unguilded and unknown so I can play in blessed peace and quiet. But sometimes it makes me wonder... why do both sides feel that the other is dominating in battlegrounds? Does either side dominate in battlegrounds? And this afternoon, Kalgan has hopped on the forums to provide an answer to my question:

...generally speaking the win/loss percentages for WSG, AB, EotS generally fall somewhere around 55% to 45% on any given day (with Alliance also represented on the higher side).... AV has gone through greater swings, with alliance winning as much as 75 to 80% of battles (NA servers again as an example) before patch 2.2 and horde winning about 60% so far after 2.2.

When asked about trends over the past month or year, Kalgan replied that they were about the same. Much as I suspected -- a lot of winning and losing is a perception issue.

Filed under: Blizzard, PvP

Details on the BG matching system

Long talked about, mostly anticipated, and currently in testing for patch 2.1, the Battleground matching system aims to make the BGs more fair and fun for all. Twinks will be matched up against twinks, regular players against regular players, and at the higher level brackets, people in full T5 (or Gladiator, or what have you) should mostly fight similarly-geared people. It should also attempt to keep preformeds from fighting against PuGs. That's the idea, anyway. But how is it going to work? A few blue posts over the past couple days have given some interesting information:
  • The matching system is pretty "lax" right now, since there aren't as many people playing the BGs as there have been at times in the past (due to the Arenas, is my guess). This means, in the interest of keeping queues short, people of fairly disparate gear will still get matched up against each other from time to time.
  • Matching will be based on two factors: the size of your group and the quality of your gear. To prevent the obvious workaround of equipping bad gear and then swapping into epics as soon as you zone in, the system will look at all the gear you own and take the average quality.
  • When you're in a group, the gear value used is the average quality of all the gear of everyone in your group.
In short, according to Drysc, When it's trying to find others to match you against it's going to take your gear number, and party size, and try to find other people/teams that fall within your same gear and organization level. If you're in greens and playing by yourself it's going to try to match you up with others that are in greens and playing alone. However, as the CMs continue to point out, the system would rather have you play sooner than sit out waiting for the perfect match-up, so you're not going to get a "fair" playing field all the time, or necessarily even most of the time.

One problem that occurs to me with the gear rating system: what's to stop you from "watering down" your gear quality rating by filling bank and inventory by filling them with trashy greens? That would bring your average gear rating way down, even if you had full epics equipped, and would seem to enable a determined twink to still stomp all over "regular" players. But maybe this is a fringe case, and it's more important to get the system to work for the majority of players who want to work within a system. At any rate, follow the cut for all the official info.

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Filed under: Patches, PvP

Suggestions on implementing faction-neutral battlegrounds

Now that players are starting to grind up some real rep in Outland, we're definitely seeing more and more Aldor vs. Scryer sentiments-- Death to Scryers, by the way, because I'm Aldor to the Core(TM). And at least a few players have already suggested that the Aldor/Scryer rivalry might eventually lead to something new in PvP: an Aldor vs. Scryer battleground that finally mixes up the factions on either side, and lets Alliance play alongside Horde and vice versa.

Paladinsucks, in fact, says why wait? Aldor and Scryer battlegrounds would be cool, but there's a lot of benefit in making the old battlegrounds "faction-neutral" as well. All you'd have to do, PS postulates, is employ the Old Hillsbrad trick of costuming (when you enter Old Hillsbrad in the Caverns of Time, your character temporarily becomes Human), and boom, you've got a whole new world of PvP. If you were Horde, you'd sometimes be defending Warsong, and sometimes Silverwing. In AB, some Alliance players, playing as Horde, would guard the Farm. Strategies would be more complex, and, in perhaps the most intriguing benefit, queue times would cut in half.

There are drawbacks, though, too-- the fun of playing Horde is hating the Alliance, and vice versa, and if you had the enemy on your side, things just wouldn't be the same. PS doesn't offer any suggestions as to how you decide who plays what side, too-- is it random, or do people get to choose their "faction"? (Because if they chose, who would choose to play as Alliance in AV?) I would love to see some faction-neutral PvP in the game (besides the Arenas, which are every man for himself), but getting a new Aldor/Scryer battleground, in which I can play for my faction on my own character, seems a much better solution than completely revamping the old ones.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Factions

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