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…
If your hearthstone is not up yet, use the auto-unstuck option in the help menu to get a free hearth.