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Posts with tag alterac valley

Battleground fallacies


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

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

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

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

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

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

WoW Moviewatch: Under Five Minute Alterac Valley

Though the video is titled "Under Five Minute Alterac Valley," the total time from entering the battleground to completing it is three minutes, forty seconds. I don't think Alterac Valley was built to be steamrolled this quickly -- but with a coordinated team of 40 non-afk players, this sort of thing is possible. Sadly, none of the AV's I've participated in have gone nearly this quickly or easily.

Previously on Moviewatch...

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

Welcome to Alterac Valley, you can go AFK now.

If you don't often visit the PvP battleground Alterac Valley, then you may not know what I'm talking about. But AV seems to be the best place for people to go and collect honor points while safely sitting AFK in at the battleground's starting point. Why Alterac? Well, Alterac offers great honor returns for anyone -- and most of the honor is given out zone-wide, regardless of whether you're near the rest of a group when an objective is captured or a boss is killed. It's just too easy to collect large amounts of honor by just sitting around without doing anything -- much to the chagrin of players who are out there fighting and trying to win the battleground.

And while Blizzard has shown themselves quite eager to rid people who are botting or hacking to prevent their AFK flag from coming up when they're not at their keyboard, there's not much they've been able to do about the people who sit in front of their computers watching television and occasionally hitting the space bar. So what's Blizzard to do? There are plenty of suggestions on the PvP forums, though I can't say many of them seem practical. They could remove honor gain from the starting point -- but then players would just learn to idle elsewhere. They could alter the battleground's honor mechanics to give out honor based on a player's range to the objective giving honor -- but this would likely gimp players playing defense by limiting their honor gain (despite the fact that defense makes an important contribution to a match). They could somehow tie honor gains to overall damage or healing done -- though such a change probably isn't a quick fix.

What's your solution to the AV AFK problem?

Filed under: Blizzard, PvP

More battlegrounds in our future?

Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley have been part of World of Warcraft since way back in June 2005 (patch 1.5). That's given us all plenty of time to play both of those battlegrounds until we know every inch of the map by heart and could capture the flag (or, in the case of AV, the bunkers/graveyards/etc) with our eyes closed. Arathi Basin is a bit newer than that, released with patch 1.7 in September 2005, but by now, even its most dedicated fans have had a chance to play it to death. And even the most recent battleground, Eye of the Storm, has been in the game for nearly seven months. Doesn't running the same maps endlessly get old at some point? And doesn't the battleground system deserve a little love?

Well, Nethaera lets us know that there are more battlegrounds in our future (though she can't tell us precisely when), but that Blizzard is concerned about longer queue times that could result from giving players wanting to participate in the battlegrounds a fifth choice. For my part, I think even some new maps for the existing battlegrounds could liven them up some.

Filed under: Patches, PvP

Breakfast Topic: This is all your fault and all of you suck

Every single time you're in Alterac Valley and your faction starts losing, someone starts whipping out the blame. Unless you ignore the battleground channel, you will be forced to read all about how you suck, how everyone else in this battleground sucks, how you should have done what they told you to do, and so on. Then, the other guy will pipe up with something like "would you shut up, dude? It's just a game," which sends the first one even deeper into his rage. Eventually he may just leave the match, or else quiet down while someone starts a chorus of "Guys, just let them win! I want to get my mark and go home."

Personally, I'm a proud believer in the power of reason. Every time this happens, I find myself giving helpful suggestions, calming tempers, offering insights on how we could improve next time, and generally trying to play the peacemaker. Sometimes I can even find a strategy I think will turn the tide in our favor (and sometimes it works!), but usually I count myself a victor if people just see reason and behave civilly.

What's your experience of people in battlegrounds who just can't handle losing? Have you been able to contain their blame explosions?

Filed under: PvP, Breakfast Topics

Battleground rewards meant to be "a tier behind" arena, PvE gear

Hellaciouss asks why there is no epic set for level 70 Battleground honor rewards, and Drysc, in answering, reveals quite a bit about how Blizzard views the arena PvP, raid, and battleground experiences.

Drysc says the high-end arena gear is "intended to always be about on-par with the current tier players are progressing on." That means that if you play well in Arenas, you can earn gear that's just as good as what the hardcore raiders are earning in PvE. But Battleground gear, says Drysc is actually intended to be not as good. Because Arena and raiding take "quite a bit of effort, interaction, etc" (and BGs apparently do not), the gear for regular honor just isn't as good.

I'll let you decide whether that suggestion is true or not, but I've been playing in the BGs, and there are large numbers of players sitting there AFK just to earn honor-- I reported a few of them. That definitely doesn't match up even close to the effort the best teams put into the arenas. But then again, it takes a lot of coordination and effort to lead a winning Horde team through AV, and if I'm able to do that, shouldn't I get rewarded for it? Just because it's easy for some people to exploit the BGs and earn lots of honor doesn't mean Blizzard has to treat all of the people playing in the Battlegrounds like second class citizens. Instead of gimping the gear, how about upping the effort required, and ditching the AFKers?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Raiding

Why does the Horde always lose Alterac Valley?

Alterac Valley seems to be the hot topic on the General Forums this week, as "Horde ... you just don't get it", "BLIZZARD is FLIPPING THE MAP" and "How does flipping the AV map make it fair" have risen to the top of the forums. Basically, the Horde says that the Alterac Valley map favors Alliance, since Horde have to make it past the bridge chokepoint and the Stormpike graveyard is more secluded and defended than Frostwolf. The Alliance, on the other hand, blame the Horde's perennial losses on AFK people, a defeatist attitude, and a lack of defense, and note that Horde seemingly has no problems steamrolling Alliance in WSG and AB. In response, the Horde has issued a challenge for Blizzard to flip the AV map and see if the Horde's win-loss ratio doesn't turn around.

Now, it's hard to generalize about who wins AV more, but judging from the forums and my own experience in AV (dozens of losses and, like, two wins), it seems that the Alliance win more overall. Is this the fault of the map? Could be. The bridge and the graveyard are always giant roadblocks, and the Horde graveyard is woefully open. But if the Horde wanted to, they could make a similar roadblock in the one building that Alliance have to go through to get the last graveyard. Fight for that like the bridge and Alliance won't win so easily. At least back in the day, Horde lost AV because of all the AFK cavejumpers, the fishers, the level 52 warriors screaming orders, all the people who would leave when Balinda was dead, and the magic summoning stick Alliance used whenever they were losing to get everyone in Tier 2.5 or greater to queue for AV at the same time.

Alliance, how do the battleground terrain maps look from your side? Does flipping all the BG maps for a month or so sound like a good idea?

Filed under: PvP

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