Daily Archives: February 26, 2007

Weekend of Warcraft 2 – This Time, the World!

Apart from battlegrounds, I finished off a few quests in Terokkar, and moved on to Nagrand. While out and about, I like to keep an eye on any world PvP going on; after a promising start in Hellfire Peninsula, Zangramarsh was a bit of a let-down, and Terokkar managed to be less exciting still. The idea in Terokkar is to capture five towers in the Bone Wastes, and if your faction take control of all of them, for the next six hours they gain a 5% damage and XP buff and the ability to to get spirit shards in Auchindoun. In all my adventuring in Terokkar, I saw the towers go neutral precisely once. It was around 1am one morning; I toddled over to see what was happening as a troop of Horde level 70s on flying mounts swooped past, so I gave a quick shout to see if anyone else in the zone was interested in trying to take the towers (they weren’t), and decided against planting myself on the last neutral tower and bellowing “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” (I’m not sure that scene would’ve been so effective if the Balrog has smirked and flicked Gandalf aside with one finger…) Terokkar suffers from giving no great individual incentive to take part in the fighting, unless you’re intending to venture into Auchindoun; the buff is nice, but everyone in the zone receives that, so the temptation is to let other people do the fighting, you’ll still get the benefit.

Nagrand, on the other hand, has been rather fun. At the centre of Nagrand is the town of Halaa, which can be captured in the same way as other world PvP objectives, by having more of your faction than the enemy faction standing on top of it. To make life slightly more interesting, the faction controlling Halaa also gets the services of 15 rather beefy guards, which make a direct assault almost impossible. To counteract them, the other faction can take control of up to four Wyvern posts near the town, and take part in aerial bombing runs much like those done in Hellfire Peninsula, lofting fire bombs for heavy damage to enemy players and guards. Meanwhile the defenders can sally forth to temporarily knock out the Wyvern posts. All in all, it can get pretty chaotic when there’s a fight in Halaa!

There’s the usual 5% damage buff from being in control of Halaa, and, more importantly, killing enemy players in the area nets you tokens for that all important shiny loot, so there’s a real incentive to form up a raid and do battle. The main obstacle, as with all world PvP, is that it can be difficult for the less populous faction to amass enough players to mount an assault and take control. Halaa potentially offers a way to counteract this, by adjusting either the number of guards or their respawn time depending on the number of attackers and defenders, but I don’t believe this happens. On my server, although the Alliance have a numerical advantage and tend to hold Halla, especially during quiet times, the Horde amassed enough of a force to take Halaa several times over the weekend. One battle royale saw the Horde hold out in the face of a major Alliance raid for a couple of hours; despite weight of numbers, and with the dumb guards thinned out fairly quickly by heavy bombing runs, the Alliance didn’t have the organisation to launch a co-ordinated attack (quelle surprise, in a pick-up raid… to be honest, about the best you can hope for is that everyone’s in the same zone), so the Horde were more than up to the piecemeal incursions until sheer attrition finally got the better of them. Such fights are good for everyone; plenty of kill tokens all round, and with the town changing hands, both sides get to use the NPCs there to cash in the PvP and PvE tokens obtained in the area at some point. With a bit of luck, there’ll be another rumble next weekend.

Weekend of Warcraft 1 – Battlegrounds

This weekend’s Warcraft adventures started out on Friday night as I noticed it was bonus honour weekend for Warsong Gulch, and I thought “I haven’t been comprehensively humiliated for a while, or driven to despair by the idiocy of my fellow man… I know, I’ll join the Warsong Gulch queue for a pickup battle!” The queue was only a couple of minutes, but predictably enough our heroic band employed standard Alliance pick-up tactics, which as far as I can discern involve opening the map and attempting to draw spirograph patterns with the dots representing your team. I must be missing the plugin that leaves a trail as they move… 0-3 loss to the Horde, and I was back in Shattrath. Back in Shattrath… that gave me an idea! I imagine many people, like me, have their hearthstone point in Shattrath, with the relatively short flight times to the other Outland zones, plus portals back to the old world cities; the trouble is, if you use your hearthstone to get back to Shattrath, then take a portal to Stormwind, you either have to wait an hour before you can hearthstone back to the outlands, or have to trek down to the Dark Portal to return. However, by joining a battleground queue at the battlemaster in Shattrath, you can wander over to one of the old world capitals, check the auction house or whatever for five or ten minutes, hop into the battleground when it’s ready, and when you’re finished you’re back in Shattrath again. I found it quite useful for nipping back to Ironforge to open some lockboxes for a guildmate (there seems to be a bug in the postal system, where unlocked boxes get locked again when you send them back) and get class training without ‘wasting’ the hearthstone.

There didn’t seem to be many people PvPing in the 60-69 range; four or five instances of Warsong Gulch at most, as I recall, and no pre-made Horde opposition. I guess many players are busy levelling up; also, the Grand Marshal’s rewards at level 70 seem to have been toned down rather compared to the level 60 versions (comparative to other available gear), so I imagine there are fewer people just grinding for those. Even so, the queues were nice and short (ten minutes at most, usually five minutes or less) which alleviates the worst frustrations, though ironically when using a battleground as a way of getting back to Shattrath, I joined every battle at the very start when I wouldn’t have minded a 30 second loss.

I tried Alterac Valley once, as I thought a bit of XP might be a nice bonus on top of the honour, but of course you’re part of a raid, so the net XP gain for an entire battle is about as much as wandering out into Terokkar and killing a couple of mobs while queuing. Still, not a bad honour gain, though from a long queue.

I also popped into Eye of the Storm a few of times. I have high hopes for this battleground, but didn’t really get to see the best of it, as in every fight the Horde ended up outnumbered somewhere around 14 – 9. This meant they inevitably got pushed back to their starting location, and after about five minutes were limited to either not bothering to come down at all, or leaping to certain death at the hands of the slavering pack of Alliance below. On the plus side, this was about the easiest honour I’d ever “earned”, but it felt pretty cheap. Not that I was honourable enough to back off, or leave the battle…