So I guess the World of Warcraft servers are down for 8 hours maintenance today, but hell if I can find a post about it — oh wait, there it is, at the login screen. Maintenance until 11 am PST for … something.
While they were doing that, I wanted to talk about the post-2.3 patch Alterac Valley. What a shithole that has become.
I’ve read some of the threads calling for boycotts and such of AV by the Alliance, here’s what I say: organized protests will not be necessary. Players will go where the honor is, and it ain’t in AV anymore.
I gave it a good try. I had an open mind. No one can doubt that Alterac Valley used to be my dirty lover. But, the one post-2.3 AV loss where I earned 20 bonus honor for my troubles versus the 600+ to the winning Horde was the last straw. F THAT.
And let’s be frank here (you can be susie), the AV honor system before the Great Nerf of 2007 was a little ridiculous. Tap a few things on the way to Drek, ka-ching, big honor! Even on non-AV holiday weekends, Alterac Valley was still king. Clearly, that needed tuning — I knew it, you knew it, they knew it.
So as I played through a couple weeks’ worth of post-2.3 AVs, I watched and studied the various stats of each round to figure out what in the hell was the problem with the Alliance.
Healing: no material difference between Horde and Alliance either in # of healers or in overall healing done. EXCEPT, paladins. Horde paladins are rocking the house and Alliance paladins, almost without exception, should delete their characters. Of course, in a smaller battleground (your Warsong Gulches, your Arathi Basins and Eye of the Storms) even a minor healing advantage can pull the win, but we’re discussing the 40-man AV here.
Killing the healers first: looked to be about even to me. I even benched my rogue and called up my priest for dozens of rounds so I could watch how regularly I was targeted first, and/or early, by Horde. Both sides equally sloppy with effective class targeting.
Fighting at capture points rather than pointless mini-battles in the middle of nowhere: Both sides guilty. And let me say, I LOVE when Horde does this. Some Alliance get angry when a group of Horde chase them to a corner of the map and gang … up … on him/her. Not me, I love it. That’s three or four or five less Horde messing with my flags and towers. Of course, if it’s five Horde on me at a crossroads, they won’t be distracted by my smoke and mirrors for very long, but still … it’s a distraction.
Organization and rapid deployment: My observation has been that Horde is clearly superior, however, in AV, if you’re pinned up at Stormpike, you’re pinned up at Stormpike and no amount of shouting about Frostwolf or the Relief Hut can help you mobilize … unless you can stealth, of course.
Gear and skeelz: Other than an obvious differential between PVP servers and PVE servers, both gear and skill are equivalent for a large sample of AV battlegrounds. (By the way, I prefer the term “PVP experience” to the myth of “PVP skill”, because c’mon, there really isn’t that much skill in PVP. We are just hitting buttons here, we’re not artists or licensed trades people. Some people pick up the nuisances of PVP faster than others, sure, but it’s still just buttons.)
Number of AFK players in AV: same.
Maturity level: another myth, it’s the same between factions.
Vann pull bullshit: gone.
Towers and defense of same: Each have their pros and cons. I prefer Alliance towers with the more spacious accommodations — when I’m stalking, I like to have some room. Others probably prefer the tighter quarters of the Horde towers — easier to flush out the stealthers lying in wait. Sounds like personal preference to me, rather than a clear advantage for one side or the other.
Which leaves us with the map. And I don’t know the answer of whether the map is a sizeable advantage for Horde (or Alliance). I know the Horde’s starting point is ahead of their base and Alliance is not. I know the Stormpike/Dun Baldur bridge is one helluva choke point and the ride into Frostwolf Keep … not so much. And probably dozens of other pro vs con comparisons we could discuss.
So here’s what I’d like to try: let’s swap bases each week. Sure, it’d be a pain to code, but it would settle the arguments and dispell the myths — from both sides. I’ll assault Dun Baldur with my merry band of crappy paladins, and you Horde can assault Frostwolf Keep with your stomping cows and after a few weeks, we can see who’s crying then … or still.
Mostly this would be to satisfy my own curiousity, because whether the map is or isn’t at fault in Alterac Valley, it will be the same result: players will not queue for a battleground that won’t put out. Losers need more for their time than, umm, ZERO, unless there’s absolutely no other alternate activity.
Fortunately, there is such an alternative. Salvation, thy name is Eye of the Storm.