Tuesday, June 21, 2005

WoW Battlegrounds

I've played a helluva lot of Battlegrounds since the patch, and I have to say, my interest in WoW has now reached a fever pitch. I cannot get enough of Warsong Gulch, and my few experiences in Alterac Valley are really interesting. I think that the Alterac Valley map has some...well not FLAWS, necessarily, but liabilities, and here they are:

- Pretty much, if you're not on voice chat with the entire raid group, you're at a major disadvantage. The raid I was in just was not talking to anyone in text chat. The only people text chatting were noobs saying "what is going on?" over and over again.

- After having played Battlefield 2 for a few days, I think AV needs some serious command and control infrastructure. BF2 lets you appoint a general, who takes a birds-eye view of the field, can scan for enemies, drop artillery, supplies, etc. In WoW, that would be cool, but perhaps unrealistic (unless you had goblin zeps and gnomish flying machines dropping bombs and such, that's apparently in the works)...but having one person be the commander who can give orders to squads of players...that NEEDS to be there.

- The learning curve for AV is insane. I got in, had no idea where to go, what to do, what was going on, how I could contribute, whether quests were important or not...it was nuts. I eventually ended up finding the front lines (there were multiple battle fronts, which was cool) and just fighting and fighting and fighting. We had the big rock golem dude on our side kicking a lot of ass, which was nice. But we kept trying to take a graveyard and we always got zerged not by players but by these goddamn NPCS. I couldn't figure out where they were coming from. I think it had to do with gathering supplies from the mines or something, but again, no one would explain it, and no one was taking charge and saying "we need a group to go to the mines so we can get some NPC support."

I got bored (after 250 or so kills in about an hour) and wandered, looking for quests. Found a lot of them. Did a few of them once just to get the quest rewards (usually cash) but that got boring too, and I didn't know, you know, how many stupid wolves I had to muzzle in order to make a difference in the battle.

- There are thorium and truesilver veins all over AV, as well as herb nodes. If someone were a bit unscrupulous, they could just farm for hours while battle raged elsewhere, with little problem, since there are no hostile mobs guarding the nodes. I saw a guy farming ore the entire time I was there. Which I think is exceedingly lame.

Conclusions so far:
Alterac Valley is useful if you want to get a ton of kills in a short amount of time. If you pick your targets well, you can get some serious contribution points. But Warsong Gulch is a lot more fun (right now) because it's simple, short, and fun. Blizz recently posted an update and talked about all these happy improvements they're going to make to Alterac Valley. I can't wait.

But I am left with a question: Who wants to join up for an epic battle and not be at the front lines swinging an axe into people's faces? Who wants to run bone chips and armor parts back to town, or run around in a stupid mine clicking on boxes for supplies? How is the player rewarded for the behind-the-lines support roles, other than with faction rewards from quests?

Why wouldn't I just want to ride to the killing fields and hack night elf hunters to pieces all night long, or experience the thrill of pushing the alliance back, sending them fleeing behind their stupid NPCs Champions and Sentinels while we rape their horses and ride off on their women?

...and as soon as I asked that, a guildie mentioned in a similar conversation that the reason to do all those stupid quests is faction. Getting more faction with the Frostwolf Clan means they give you cool shit.

So, I'm gonna keep playing. I don't play WoW nearly enough to have any hope of reaching the officer ranks. I was a scout two weeks ago, and now I'm a grunt. If I hit First Sergeant at some point, I'll be happy. Anything above that just seems impossible, given my 2-4 hours of gaming every other night. But I don't like how you have to keep fighting to maintain your rank...of all the things to do to the game, making the PVP system overwhelmingly favor the power gamer is not the best move. But I digress...

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