Tobold's Blog
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Then end of Alliance and Horde

I'm now playing my Alliance paladin again, just reached level 77 and am looking forward to hitting the level cap and running heroics, as my other level 80's basically don't get anything useful any more from those except frost emblems. But the basic idea of playing the paladin as Alliance was that this way he could play the quests that my Horde characters couldn't do, because the quest givers are Alliance. Well, that half worked. Or rather it worked through half of Wrath of the Lich King, until level 75 and Grizzly Hills / Dragonblight. But in all the higher level zones there are only neutral quest givers!

So now I'm a bit disappointed, as I'm back to the same quests that my Horde characters already did. I can do a "best of" selection for myself, but that still isn't as interesting as doing really new quests. The funny thing is that some of the neutral quest givers look very much as if they were Alliance or Horde, with neutral factions like the Argent Crusade "borrowing" Alliance looks, and the Knights of the Ebon Blade looking more like Horde. Well, if I get too bored I can always level up in dungeons.
I can see what you're saying - most of the quests at that level do seem to come from different factions rather than specific Alliance/Horde NPCs. However, there are quests available aboard the Skybreaker in Icecrown that send you to other Alliance questgivers. I know it's not a lot, but give them a shot for something different! :)

Stormpeaks also has Alliance only area's, well, at least one. There's only one camp for both Horde/Alliance in that zone. It is disappointing that so much of the game is neutral rather than true faction versus faction type quests.
WoW started with the basic idea of a divided world. The Alliance on one side; The Horde on the other. They could not speak to each other and they would appear like enemies to each other (well, if pvp was enabled).

Battlegrounds were introduced all within the Lore Of The division.

But then the Burning crusade came, arenas came, flying mounts and thus the virtual impossibility of open world PvP even on PvP servers.

At the end of WotLK, Blizzard had (unconciously) introduced enough lore to suggest that the conflict between The Alliance and The Horde was nothing more than some silly skirmish.
It seemed like it only was a matter of time until you could do dungens together with that night elf hunter; Just like you could already fight Horde and Alliance in Arena.

But, fortunately, when they started to work on Cataclysm Blizzard realized their mistake. They actually realized several mistakes, perhaps some lead designers have changed or they simply like to 'test' stuff with WoW; something, not inherently bad.

Blizzard realized that Arena wasn't going to be massively popular. They could either force people to do it, like in BC. But then those players who don't like running around a pillar for hours would burn out; happened to me twice. WoW being WoW people, of course, come back :)

Alternative, they could not force players to do arena, in which case only a minority would eventually take part. A system that makes you lose 50% of the matched by definition. Arena was so against the (self-)concept of WoW, it might be no surprise that it wasn't a big success in the end. It was (is) more hardcorde that Darkfall.

Blizzard realized that what most people, who liked casual PvP actually liked, were battlegrounds. But they didn't want to give rewards just for massive participation in BGs. They didn't want to make unemployed High Warlords again; Standing idle some where in the landscape of the BG.

So they worked hard to create a mechanism that could rate players on their performance in BGs. That's a real challenge and I doubt they have a solution that they really like yet. I doubt that such a solution actually exists. With an increasing amount of players in a BG it is much harder to determine the skill of one person. Or in other words: Players need to do an enourmous amount of BGs before such a mechanism would be accurate. The need to do massive amounts of BGs is something they actually wanted to eliminate in the first place.

After pushing the idea back and forth for literally years they are now craefully introducing it into Cataclysm and in my opinion that is a right decision, even if the rating mechanism it's very good.

Because WoW needs BGs.
Arena has incredible balancing problems, because it's 'just deathmatch'. In Warsong a deff tank can be successful - even if he hasn't been buffed by super-vengeance. In Alterac you actually need tanks.
A mechanism like levitating is useful in Arathi (and a lot of fun!).
[continued :]...

Battlegrounds are so much more than arena. They are so much more about tactics. Do you use one guy to steal the flag and deff with 9 against 10? Do readapt depending on what you see the enemy does?

Do you send 5 people to three flags or try to force the enemy to defend all five flags?

How do you communicate? Is TS necessary, or do you rely on some abbreviations in Arathi, like: "sw 3".

The best time I ever had in WoW was classic BGs, me having free time (well - I should have been studying) and going with the same organised group into Arathi 10 hours a day. Grinding for High Warlord. If you met some of the other Alliance groups who tried the same, extremely interesting matched developed. You could write strategy guides, many pages long. Me being me, I did, of course :).

In BGs you do not need to give 110% all the time. You can spend some time defending a flag, You can spend some time thinking about what the other party is planing. Actually a BG is like a hundred arena matches at once, but you can determine how many people to send where. Can a sneak attack of two ice mages raining Blizzard from a hill be scucessfull in buying you enough time to capture on flag with having two defenseless?

Do you have guys in your team that work together so well that you can send them against a superiority. Can you risk it? Do you need to risk it?

Battlegrounds give WoW some of it's soul back. The feeling that the these night elve hunters are indeed bad people that need to be killed :). Yes, it's just a game. But a game that always feels like a game is a bad game.

The only thing I still weep for is resilence now. I just rerolled many charcters and love leveling them to 60, because I can go into Bgs, get some equipment for dungeon and got to dungeons to get some equip for BGs.

The schizophrenia of characters since Burning Crusade is flaw I cannot overlook.

What is so hard about giving all characters enough life and giving equal rewards for PvP and PvE ?

Why should a high end BG group be unable to raid in their high end BG equip? Why should a high end PvE raid be unable to do high end PvP ?

Because this way we need to grind for two items per slot?
Echoing Dick here, I think you have some good alliance quests coming in Storm Peaks (the horde exclusives there are the ones with tanu'ka/Stormhoof). The alliance ones start after a few of the Goblin quests, you get sent by rocket up to a frostborn dwarf camp. I haven't done all horde quests here, and from a Grizzly Hills Horde quest I suspect Horde is also looking for Brann Bronzebeard - still, some of the lore of these alliance quests can't really be told in Horde quests I would think?
Horde/Alliance pretty much became pointless past vanilla WoW. TBC was the worst of course, pretty much everything in the Outlands was mirrored. And WOTLK continued on with the faction's pointlessness.

@ Nils

Arena was horribly designed and implemented for sure. While I personally still had fun with it during TBC.

Either way, Arena worked better then BGs did because Battlegrounds have become soulless after they made them cross-server. At least Arenas had that competitive edge in the higher brackets, where you could even make rivals on other servers... While BGs where just a massive mess of unknowns facing each other, there are so many people that you don't take note nor care who you are facing.

BGs are still dead. And as long as they are cross-server they will continue to be dead much like the WoW community as a whole. MEH, so what if I have to wait ten minutes (or two minutes during prime-time) for a spot or for there to be enough players... BGs used to actually mean something now they are just a grind like the whole game in general.
BGs are still dead. And as long as they are cross-server they will continue to be dead much like the WoW community as a whole.

Yes. Cross-Server. :(
That is a hard problem. For me as horde in vanilla it wasn't much of a problem. BGs openend almost instantly. But for Alliance.. they had to wait for hours sometimes.

During vanilla I knew that this guy was bad-ass, this guy as funny, this mage liked to rain Blizzards. .. it added some soul to the game for sure.

But what also added some soul was the fact that item progression wasn't that fast. If you get a new item today .. yeah .. so what? It's just another one. Same stats, just more.

During Vanilla you had all kinds of funny proccs, like the whirlwind axe from the monastary. But today? Today they don't add such proccs for balance reasons.

Arena was a good idea in the beginning, but it should have been a fun addition to the game, not a center of developer attention. Balance can be reached in BGs while retaining much more fun of gameplay.

Arena gameplay itself is like those RTS games nowadays: What's more important than that you make the right decision is that you make it fast. Only when you are as fast as the world's top the kind of desision becomes more important than the speed of it.

And resilence makes you play two different games nowadays. Not everything was better during vanilla, but some bad decisions have been made during the years.
A bad outlook for BG is, by the way, the duration of a BG.

Since the rating machanism is more accurate the more BGs you do and since Blizzard wants to cater to the working casuals (hell, I'm one of them!) they make BGs be very short. Like 15 minutes.

In Vanilla you may have waited for 1 hour for Alterac, but once you where in there it could last for hours. Warsong also could take hours if nobody wanted to risk to lose and Arathi at least counted to 2000, not 1600.

Nowdays all BGs are over real fast. If you had to wait for 1 hours to do a 15min Alterac rush .. mmh.. I'd like that less than waiting 1min to do that rush .. But I certainly loved to wait for an hour to do a four-hours AV. Even if I had to drop early; it's just a game.

Blizzard thinks that WoW is successfull, because of their relentless focus on character progression. Maybe that's a part of the story. But they ignore that fact that the game is simply fun to play.

That's why people make alts: Because it's fun to play, not because this way the main gets better items faster.
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