Or, "Why Isn't AV Fun Anymore?"
I ate an artichoke for the first time the other day. It took 45 minutes to boil and nearly as long to eat, and I got stabbed a whole bunch of times. But you know what? It was worth it.
Alterac Valley, as it stands today, is like ordering artichoke and spinach dip with a side of stale corn chips. It's tasty at first, but quickly leaves the eater unsatisfied. Where is the challenge? Where is the fun?
I think that Alterac Valley needs to have the thorns put back on. I think players need to boil it themselves before they can taste the sweet deliciousness lurking within. But I digress.
Outlined below are some of the common complaints about the current iteration of this massive battleground, along with some suggested (and possibly familiar) solutions.
Problem #1: Lack of naturally occurring PvP in a PvP battleground.
Buff up. Mount up. Race to Galv/Bal, completely bypassing the Field of Strife. In the last 4 years, I can count the number of battles I have had in the Field of Strife on one hand. Now, you may find yourself wondering: Who cares? It's just a stupid sub-zone!
Well, the no-longer-aptly-named Field of Strife was once a bloody battlefield, littered with corpses and feeling, in general, very strife-y. So where did the PvP go? Maybe it just moved. After all, there's nothing there worth fighting over. Snowfall? That's an Alliance graveyard, silly! The Horde always steer clear of Snowfall, keeping their distance on the far side of the map, or huddling up by their Captain.
But wait! What if the Alliance couldn't simply waltz past the Field of Strife and down, down, down, unchallenged, to the Relief Hut? What if they were met with a group of enemies right then and there? Intriguing. But you can't just expect the other team to be in the right place at the right time, not when it's so easy just to slip past on the eastern side of the map. So let's put something there to stop them. How about, say, a large group of bloodthirsty Troll NPC's, let by a fearsome boss who must be killed before anyone can capture the graveyard at Snowfall?
Now we're talking! Now, each side must compete for a strategic graveyard, or avoid the trolls' nest and face the opposing force on the eastern side of the map!
"By the Light, Foury," you may say, "that makes so much sense! But what about the rest of the map? What happens when one side gains the upper hand and pushes the battle beyond the Field of Oh-So-Strifey-Goodness?"
Well, they must capture graveyards and burn down bunkers, of course! My friends, this next step is easier done than said. At each tower there are a scant third-of-a-dozen guards (effectively zero at Horde towers), each a mere mosquito in the face of even the most undergeared of 85's. Why, if I didn't know better I'd say that a single player could run right in and rip the enemy banner right off its post, totally unopposed!
"But Foury," you ask, "Couldn't the enemy players simply protect the towers themselves?"
Of course they could! But they don't. Who would play solo defense when the rest of their team is steamrolling their way to the end so they can wait around for "someone" to destroy the enemy towers? That is why I suggest the addition of mini-bosses, patrolling the area between towers and graveyards. Since we already have Generals and Captains, let us call these mini-boss NPC's... Lieutenants. These "Lieutenants" will slow the progress of the enemy enough to create areas in which PvP develops organically, instead of existing solely at the Captains and Generals.
And while we're at it, why don't we buff up those archers a little? Maybe if the graveyard NPC's hit as hard as the ones in Tol Barad, the defending team would have time to get in position to actually defend those bunkers.
Through the magical addition of PvE elements, we can ensure the return of wholesome, nutritious, player-versus-player action to our once-beloved battleground.