The New AV Makes Me Sad…

The “new” Alterac Valley sucks. It sucks Giant Eggs. It doesn’t suck because the Horde win or lose or because the Alliance have that spiffy bridge – or because of any of the myriad of exploits that pop up on one side of the other. No, in this long time players opinion it sucks because it just doesn’t matter any more.

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I hit exalted with Frostwolf on my first character a good long time ago. Back when games could literally take hours to play and where you *had* to pull out all the stops, gathering the meat and blood of your enemies, killing rams, upgrading your forces and summoning Lok’ to have any chance of breaking the Alliance turtle around Dun Baldar. There was an epic flavor to AV back in those days – the rush from graveyard to graveyard, the exultation at seeing Balinda go down and the Alliance towers in flames. There was the urgency to gather your shaman and summon the elemental, the need for fleet cheetah form druids that knew how to kite the Alliance druids when they tried to summon their tree. It was a dirty, cold, blood filled battleground where everyone had a place. Even protection warriors had part to play, stepping forward with honor as we began to pull Marshalls and eventually big Van’ himself.

AV back then was HUGE, intense, vital and marvelously flawed, and I loved it.

Strangely enough, it was the the PvE element and its intermixing with the PvP that I enjoyed the most. It was like world PvP almost – a small raid wheeling in around Stonehearth, fighting the Lieutenants and warding off assaults by Alliance players. I always felt that of all the battlegrounds, AV was the one that truly had the most to offer players looking for challenge on multiple levels. Sure it wasn’t as quick or as accessible as WSG or AB, but it wasn’t supposed to be. This was where the *real* war was. You had to be at the pinnacle of your characters leveling career to even gain entry and the reputation rewards were some of the most sought after.

Yes – games took too long. Yes AFK’ers and fisher-folk were rampant. But I loved it still.

I’ve lived through and appreciated most of the changes that have occurred since the death of the old PvP honor grind. After the great NPC nerf, AV became more of a race and the game seemed to benefit from a more rapid pace vs. the protracted battles of old. Sure you could still get into some stinkers from time to time, but at its heart, there were still Marshalls and Warmasters to worry about. Wandering Lieutenants to kill and the Captains of each faction, waiting in their respective halls. From time to time as the Alliance started getting better at AV (or their turtles more determined) – we actually had to pull out frosty Lok’ to finish games – or worse – we had to worry for our own general as Alliance zergs were making it into our village, burning our towers and capping our relief hut.

Win or lose though – the game retained much of its epic heart if not so much its epic length.

Then 2.3 came along and Blizzard claims that the battleground is now better than ever. Better at what? It’s fast – or at least the few games I’ve seen since the change have been. Strategy is slightly different as defense is more important and you can no longer simply throw bodies at a problem until one side cracks. The reinforcement aspect of the game is a good one I’ll grant and it makes players think differently about what they attack, who they attack with – and who’s healing. But that’s all. The battlespace seems a vast empty place now. Not only are the mobs that guard the towers and graveyards nerfed beyond all belief, but the Lieutenants are gone and the once hazard filled expanse between Dun Baldar and Frostwolf now a small empty place.

Sure you might say – you play Horde, it’s easy for you to miss the old AV – seeing as how you never used to *lose* back then. Maybe that’s true – but I’ve spent more than my fair share of time in the valley on Alliance toons as well. I’ve hit exalted on a night elf druid and won only a single game through the entire ordeal. I know about the valley – I know from both sides.

And still – I miss the old AV.

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With my latest character, Skychaser now in the 50’s – I know that there is a fair amount of AV left for me to do before I enter Outlands. But unlike before, where the valley represented a true destination and a valid place to camp and grind honor and reputation, I don’t think Sky’ will last any longer than the time required to gather enough tokens for his Frostwolf Howler.

Sad.

Time will tell and perhaps the new AV will grow on me more as I spend more time there. But at the heart of it all, I miss my old PvE opponents the most. There was nothing quite like tanking Captain Galvanger from start to finish for the first time when my old Alliance guild took control of the raid and actually nearly won the game. Nor will I forget the mishappen shapes of the Horde constructs at Iceblood, the massive furball of each force meeting at that forward chokepoint and the desperate fight on both sides to win through. Some say that after 2.3, PvP has finally come to the valley – but in my opinion, it was always right there. Mixed and spiced with an epic (if perhaps sometimes too epic) PvE element that gave the battleground character.

Time will tell of course and the truth will be told in future patches.

Comments

  1. Doug says

    The new AV is more appealing to more players because it has a finite time limit. Previously, the epic battle for AV could theoretically last forever, which was a large part of what made it seem epic. Rushes to the opposing team’s general still happen, and still work, but only enough of the team buy into it.

    Defence is a huge part of AV again. There are people who debate that towers and mines are the most important thing now, but that simply isn’t the case. Bal and Galv are the #1 priority now (being worth 100 reenforcements). The #2 priority is graveyard control. By controlling the graveyards (especially Snowfall) you are able decrease the time that the oppsing faction has to do anything useful because they have to run 1/2 way across the map to do so, and usually become spread out, and easier to pick off, further reducong their reenforcements.

    Deadly Boss Mods (battleground mod) is an excellent tool that lets you see the amount of time remaining for nodes to cap, and a critical tool for defending GYs and towers.

    The turtle used to be a bad thing, wasting time, and frustrating players. Now, the team that turtles is the team that loses. By turtling, you have a much smaller place to pack a much larger group of players, becomming VERY succeptable to warlocks spamming Seed of Corruption, and suicide AOE mages. Both of these tactics very quickly decimate the turtling team’s reenforcements, winning you the game in about 10-15 minutes more than a complete zerg.

  2. Growl says

    ::shakes cane at Doug::

    Talk to me about your finite time limit will you!!!

    Okay – sorry – enough of that. No you’re right about the finite time limit thing. I blame mark farming for the devolution of AV. In the old days it was about gaining rep (honor was secondary.) Now – with the battleground tokens being the cash that buys PvP goodies – it’s important for players to see the end of an AV the same night it starts.

    Those things are good things I suppose. But I still kinda miss the old days. Gimme another week and we’ll see how I feel 😉

  3. Doug says

    If you want it to be more like the epic battles of old, force a turtle then win the ensuing war of attrition

  4. says

    I loved the old AV, and the new one holds very little appeal to me.

    I too was a big fan of the pvp/pve element that AV brought to the game, giving you a goal that had to be reached by tactics and skill. I dont know about horde always winning AV, I am alliance and I was on the winning team 90% of the time!

    The new Reinforcements part of AV seem to make it like every other resource based battleground, and while the new one is much quicker if you are honour farming the change has in my mind decimated what was once a unique and impressive battle ground, bring it back I say and make a new PvE like lvl 70 one!

  5. Slamdance says

    Tho i don’t hate the new AV i’m not liking it either. Hasn’t got that ‘battle’ feel to it anymore. Its more like a race and may as well be if recent experience is anything to go by. On my old Main (Paladin) i’d participated in some truly epic AV battles. One i recall having gone for near on 12 hours with both sides fighting an epic battle in the middle of the battleground for 10 of those hours…Ah those where the days 🙂

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