Let’s Swap

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.

31 thoughts on “Let’s Swap

  1. First off, a lot of horde paladins rolled specifically to be healers, knowing the usefulness of a holy paladin. Most Alliance paladins have been around for a while, and expected the traditional class, not what it was molded into late in the original era. The functional wisdom of that choice/playstyle aside, you should at the least not be surprised by it.

    As far as AV though, the only real imbalance of any note that I can see is Balinda/Galvanger. One is hard to kill, requires a tank, uses an AOE that can help defenders keep him up and running, and with sufficient support is capable of breaking even a sizable attack group. The other is a spastic, useless frost mage without even that tree’s survivability who is virtually soloable and more of a detriment to defenders than not. Fix that so that the horde don’t get a nearly automatic hundred reinforcement advantage, and the battleground is about done.

    And.. I disagree about the honor. It came relatively swift and easily, but not easily enough. AFK’ers aren’t in there for the kicks, they’re doing it to avoid the relentless grind just to get the gear. Increase honor gains and they’ll be out of there faster, or having built the set they’ll be actually competing. No, it’s not a very idyllic solution, but the people who just want the gear to patch the holes in their pve gear won’t be taking up space and screwing around, and BG’s will be left more to the people who actually enjoy them.

  2. As far as I’ve seen it, this problem is mostly restricted to two battlegroups, Stormstrike and Bloodlust. With the other battlegroups playing AV same as pre2.3 and both garnering honour.

    I play alliance on Stormstrike myself … and I know that once I finish getting the marks I need out of AV (gearing up my most recent alt) I’m done with it. For as long as it remains in it’s current incarnation.

    I’m half expecting Blizzard to ignore the problem and for AV to totally die on Stormstrike. The horde population seem oblivious to the problem, although they sure have started to complain about increased queue times, without acknowledging why or their part in the matter.

    All the “lol L2P the new AV” isn’t helping matters.

    As far as swapping bases, I’d like to see it done. But it isn’t going to work if one side is interested in grinding out their honour efficiently, and the other is just intent on screwing with them.

  3. Being an Alliance side Holy Paladin is often frustrating in AV. Beware of incoming rant.

    Often the other 5-6 Pallies there are ‘LOLDPS’, and there is no tank because there are no feral druids around (happens more often than you would think) and the Warriors there don’t have enough intellectual ability to realize that if they equip a shield (‘wot’s a shield, lol?’) and use what little Prot abilities they have as DPS, they could avoid the pesky thing that is everyone dying and having to resurrect miles away from where they were.

    And when I go to AV with my alt feral druid, and am the only one actually trying to tank the mob, I often die because no one heals. I mean, it’s not that difficult to drop out of shadow form/leave kitty or bear form/stop hitting the mob for loldamage with your über pally mace/whatever and heal the poor guy/girl that’s trying to keep the mobs from spreading havoc among the healers and DPSers surrounding it.

    I often spent most of my time in BGs with my bear druid healing who needs it and am sometimes #1 in healing with her. It’s stupid that people can’t realize they can preform another role other than their spec and make the BG a win.

    Sorry for the rant, but PvPing on Alliance side is very often less fun than nailing your fingers to the table.

  4. Now that the compelling reason to storm Dun Baldar has gone, swapping may just achieve that the side which gets Dun Baldar will all AFK out and refuse to queue up.
    Pre 2.3, to me at least, the bridge wasn’t so much a problem than the fact that you needed to clear the whole damn complement of alliance NPCs before you could start pulling, whereas you could conveniently skip most of them when going after Drek. Which does take time.

    As for healing, either I’m on top of the Healing Done meters on my healadin with at least twice what the next one has no matter the faction, or there’s a corps of healers all sharing the duties and all within a couple of 10ks of each other, and class doesn’t matter much in that case. I’m seeing both on a pretty regular basis.

    What’s ironic though is that when I’m on top, I usually also top the HK meter. The way honour is attributed, I’m getting top kill contribution honour in the BG from that, whereas the loldps-coulda-been-healing are getting only a fraction of that. I understand the appeal face-smashing has, but when I both know that my contribution made a difference to the game’s outcome AND I’m getting most honour off it, I’ll rather be healbotting.

  5. Honors seem to be about even on the Vengeance battlegroup between Horde and Alliance in AV, if not slightly skewed towards Alliance – it’s all the other BGs that Alliance gets slammed in. I can usually count on 250 or so points in a loss, and 400 or so in a win. I’ve been in a couple where we got skunked, and at that point I usually take a 5-10 minute break so I can avoid getting stuck with the same bunch of tards.

    Someone on the forums summed it up pretty well – Alliance wins when they communicate, and lose when they don’t.

  6. I grinded a bit of AV over the latest few weeks mainly to get an arena hand-me-down item from Season 1. My favorite part of AV is the Alliance massing for Drek, then the blank stares of warriors with 2handers as they look around for someone to tank him. That’s when I click ItemRack, put on my Earthwarden, and introduce Drek to my smelly bear butt. Then, it’s the mashing of trinkets, gizmos, taunts with the hope that I get a heal.

    Oh, and my guild affectionately refers to the ret pally as the “lolerdin”.

    Glad to see you back postin’ again foton. Was starting to think you rolled a gnome or something.

  7. I’m not sure if I’m just lucky or what, but my W-L ratio in AV does not seem that different. As opposed to winning every AV, the Alliance will win 2-3 if the AFKers aren’t killing us. Our battlegroup seems to be fairly evenly matched. Then again, I only AV after raid times. I’ve heard some horror stories about 10 losses in a row during non prime playing hours.

  8. I figure we could add in the debate over racial abilities to this pile.o

    Stoneform vs. Will of the Forsaken

    Human Stealth Detection (is it easy to tell I’m a horde player?) vs. warstomp?

    I’m going with Horde with the edge here, but feel free to disagree

  9. In several years of doing AV as Horde (I’ve seen all incarnations of AV at this point) I never once saw a Vann single pull. πŸ™

  10. I love the idea of flipping the BGs. It’s been a thought of mine for ages, and it might explain if some of the problems are map related, or idiot related. Maybe do it on April Fools Day Weekend?

    All I know, is that pre 2.3, AVs in my battlegroup were mostly Alliance won, but, as Horde, we could grind more honor, given that we could get in faster.

    Now, post 2.3, wins are more or less 50/50 in my Battlegroup, but ut seems not as many people are playing, and queues are longer.

    And, there still are a ton a AFKavers…

  11. My experiences in AV since 2.3 started with Horde (my faction) mounting a large defense the opening week or so. A group at Galv and a Group at the IB choke point. Well that’s all gone now.

    Now, there is maybe 5 on D, and the rest make straight for SP and the DB Towers. The problem with that is that all the NPC’s are dead really fast, and we’re all standing in front of Vann with 5 Marshalls still up, tapping our feet waiting for stuff to cap so they will despawn and we can pull, and hoping to all hell that the Alliance is 10 seconds behind us.

    I was getting great honor the first week when there was lots of D and every bunker was getting capped and we were all fighting until one side’s resources dwindled down. But now they are ending with quite a bit of honor still left on the field uncapped. I’m still trying to figure out what I think will improve it, but AV has proven difficult to balanec for some time now.

  12. Good points. Though I’m amused though by the “Vann bullshit gone” comment. Being able to jump over the fence into the Horde base and bypassing the Horde NPCs isn’t bullshit?

    AV has proven difficult to balance and I dunno what the answer is short of making the sides randomly swap starting points.

  13. With 2.3, Blizzard clearly tried to promote gameplay and remove the incentive for losing. They succeeded, but a little too well and I think they need to wind it back a bit to the point where you aren’t actually penalised for your time, relative to having joined a different BG. Reporting had already been very effective in discouraging AFK honor leaching.

    Swapping sides periodically would certainly freshen the place up as well as resolving the contention over map bias. But…

    The problem on Bloodlust battlegroup is that Alliance don’t defend, they don’t heal and they rarely attempt to backcap behind the front line. Hence they get no honor. Not that surprising really. Essentially, Horde changed their tactics and the Alliance failed to adapt.

    For a long time Alliance dominated AV on my battlegroup. All they had to do was ride from one end of the map to the other and down a trivial mini-boss, game over. They weren’t likely to come across any Horde unless they happened to accidently wander into the cave where there were 10-20 of us jumping up and down on the spawn point. The weak Horde offence could be easily held up at a lightly defended Stormpike GY. We didn’t expect to win and we didn’t try. Anybody hungry for a little extra honor could go chasing HKs up at SPGY, but it was frowned upon to do anything that might seriously obstruct the Alliance advance and interfere with our “lose fast” strategy.

    With the introduction of AFK reporting, a lot of hordies saw Alterac daylight for the first time in long while and we joined the Alliance in the race to the end of the map. Participation-wise, this was a sweet spot. Not a lot of actual pvp went on, it was more like a time trial, but Horde began to win a few and AV was fun again.

    Then 2.3 came. Right away, 10+ horde go on D at IB. No one even swears at them! And while the Horde offence is capping SH and killing Balinda, the Alliance are riding right past on their one-trick ponies, hugging the far wall of the valley to avoid combat, racing toward our base and right into our waiting defence. Once our defence breaks up the initial wave the Alliance never seem to regroup. All we have to do is mop them up as they ride back to FW in ones and twos and of course it’s not long before they have no GY ahead of the front-line and are obliged to go on D at SP, very half-heartedly, i might add. From then on, the Alliance “assault” consists of two stealthed druids.

    Right after 2.3, AV was very hard-fought and consequently a lot of fun. But the Alliance got the worst of it and started to play a defensive game based around Stormpike GY. They just turtle up there and wait for us to come and farm them while we stealth cap Irondeep and the bunkers behind. You guys realise you’re getting trapped in there, right? But i guess it’s hard to defend Stonehearth when apparently the most powerful healing spells on Alliance-side are Drain Life and the Frozen Shadowweave set bonus.

    Within a week of the patch i saw my first game in which the A got 0 bonus honor. This major imbalance quickly became the norm and unsurprisingly Alliance stopped queuing. (Well, i assume it wasn’t Horde who stopped lining up. I for one was joining the 5 min queues for my 600+ bonus honor as often as i could. Good times!)

    Now the wait is 40-50 mins and my guess is that the demoralised Alliance no longer even try to win, much as it was for Horde until 2.2. But it doesn’t change the fact that Alliance are playing the game as if it was six months ago. As someone who has been /spit on by my own teammates for “delaying the lose”, i know how hard it is to change the group mentality in a BG. Maybe turning the map around would force the Alliance to notice that things have changed in Alterac Valley. At the very least you all might race up and huddle ’round SP GY which would get you a lot more points than it does right now πŸ™‚

  14. Welcome back. For a week or so there I thought I was actually going to have to start playing WoW again to sate my appetite for comedy.

    Thank goodness you’ve returned.

  15. I would actually love to do this. (While still realizing it would never happen.)

    I suspect that a lot of the complaining is just “grass is greener” type talk. Personally, I could name a dozen significant advantages that the Alliance has, while I never would have thought of “Fast starts due to cave location”.

    It would be great to switch for a week and find out all the things that annoy the alliance. So I know exactly what to do in there to piss them off, once we switch back. πŸ˜‰

    Sadly though, the issue that decides most battles is still “Who has more people afk this time?” (Usually Horde on my battlegroup. Bastards.)

  16. Aleph has it spot on as far as the bloodlust battlegroup goes.

    Pre-2.3 it was the exact opposite situation of what we have now. Long queue times for alliance who always won.

    The majority of the horde’s honor came from balinda and killing LTs.

    Perhaps they need to put the LTs back in to give the now losing alliance something to farm.

    Frankly all the tears and boohooing is music to my heart as its been the other way around for more than a year.

  17. I played alliance for three years. Just face it, the moron per capita ration is about 10-20 times higher on alliance, people simply do not understand the game in the vast majority.

    Fast forward a month of playing horde side as a *shocker* holy paladin, and its amazing the difference. Horde appreciate their healers, respect each other, work as a team, and call dps targets EVEN IN PUGS.

    I was shocked. Seriously the difference is staggering. I am running a record of my win loss since rerolling and I’m at 49-3. Ya.. Alliance is just terrible.

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  19. Healing in AV (Horde):

    The biggest issue I have as a healer in AV is when the bulk of the Horde force rushes to Vann and we find ourselves staring at him and his marshals (i.e. “Any tank?” and “GO GO GO”). Either a non-tank will run in and get owned or a tank will run in before announcing he’s tanking or letting healers mana up and the healing crew (usually 1 or 2 people) get blamed. The best runs I’ve had in AV were the ones where people made an effort to communicate the most basic things.

  20. Having played from a purely Alliance perspective:

    The Alliance seem unwilling to defend Stonehearth Bunker/Icewing Bunker/Stonehearth Graveyard. The whole mass rolls away towards Snowfall Graveyard, then down to Galv/Iceblood Tower/Iceblood Graveyard.

    By this time the horde have already tagged both towers and the graveyard, and Balinda falls soon after. Once Horde are respawning at Stonehearth, there is no way for the Alliance offence to break through. Alliance does not understand the importance of defending this critical chokepoint.

    If Snowfall was accessible via another route except Stonehearth, things would not change. The Alliance simply does not want to defend. They can’t do it.

    Something needs to be done to break up the natural pathing tendency of the Alliance. At the moment, the main offence of Horde and Alliance miss each other by mere seconds at Stonehearth Bunker. What would happen if the terrain was changed ever so slighty to force these two trains to collide?

  21. I hate AV now with a passion. Let’s end the whole map argument and mirror them but skinned appropriately. No reason not to do it, it would ensure equality just like WSG which is for the most part, mirrored. Put the same NPCS and bosses – exactly the same in the same positions – again reskin appropriately for each faction.

    In my very generalized opinion, I think Alliance are: PVE oriented, wanna be heroes and probably younger in age so selected the pretty characters. My kids and nephews are all alliance. Anytime I see my nephews’ names show up in a BG i just shake my head. I know they are busy having fun while ruining someone’s BG. LOL

    I hated EotS but now I play that almost exclusively. AV is pretty much dead to me.

  22. Personally, I think they’ve balanced it now such that the Alliance is only winning half the time compared to the past. So of course people are going to bitch about it.

  23. I’m really not in favor of a map swap at this point. Once Alliance realizes that the Horde base is no impediment to the General at all, they’ll just AFK out of any match that comes up that way.

    Seriously, if Alliance can’t leave a few behind to guard the Bridge of Death, they sure as heck won’t backup the blind NPCs that wander around the Horde base.

  24. What people do not realize about current AV is that it can still offer the best honor/time ratio across all BGs, regardless if you win or lose.

    If both sides destroy the four towers and kill galv/belinda, thats 5×62 +2×20, which is almost 350HP, guaranteed, regardless if u “win” or “lose”.

    The above scenario, if noone defends, can finish in 10minutes.
    Thats 35honor/minute.

    I have been in BGs where horde defended, stopped the initial alliance rush, had the alliance rez back to SH, or even worse stormike keep. Of course they “won” the match, taking 600points, but the game lasted 30 to 40minutes.
    Was that strategy better for them than the one I described above? No, since their honor gained/time ratio was less than 20honor/minute.

    Even if alliance paladins suck, defending horde most frequently causes 35 alliance packed in stormpike base, and passing the bridge alone takes 15minutes.

    I’d love to see the day, when everyone realizes that, and both sides wait for all towers to be destroyed, and walk away with 350points in 10minutes, regardless who kills the enemy boss.

    PS: I assume that people play AV to get honor-> free epics.

  25. I’ve been playing a lot of AV recently on my rogue. People can cry about map imbalances all they want, but the way I’ve been seeing it is much simpler. Alliance seem to have no organization. They just give us Stonehearth/Icewing while they zerg toward our D. But even when they get to our defense there is no concentrated effort. A few go to the tower, a few to the captain, and a few to the GY. We held off the whole ally zerg with 6 guys in one AV 2 days ago. We killed the guys going for the IB flag. (tip alliance, there’s probably a rogue hidden among the defender NPCs at IB gy, if you ride through to pull off the guards, he will stunlock you and laugh at you as you die to the NPCs.) All we did was use logical CC, healing, and used one guy as DPS assist on D. We took out the 10 or so headed to flag. Went over and cleaned out galv, then up the tower to clean out the guys that had went there.

    TLDR version: Stop trickling in to different attack points, mount a concentrated effort. Stop letting us have a free cap on the first 2 bunkers, stonehearth, and belinda. You just might win a few!

    This is all coming from the Shadowburn BG group.

  26. wow if you wan to pvp on garona dont go to av unfortuantely i need the marks for av and it is definitly a grind getting 160 honor mostly only 20 and alot of times no bonus so i play for the marks and kill as many horde as i can to get my own honor up

  27. AV at Level 70

    Hmm, Ive made a Ton of Honor in AV, and its normally done
    this way.

    If theres minimal horde def at galv, Ally take
    galv, IB GY, IB & TP Towers, Hut, FW Towers & FW GY
    and finally massive zerg on Drek.

    The reason Ally can do this faster then the horde?

    The Ally Bridge, is a massive advantage the horde dont
    have, The horde advance stalls at the bridge just long
    enough for Ally to be able to reach thier objective
    of zerging Drek first

    Ally win 9 out of 10 fights that way.

    Ive always got a 100 AV tokens, the extra sits in my mailbox,
    which I spend on health pots, the rest I lose.

    I make honour way faster in AV then any other BG.

    In fact, id go as far as to say, Ally have it to easy in AV
    as they win 9 out 10 fights

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