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The Frostwolf Artichoke
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.
Edited by Foury on 7/1/2011 5:19 PM PDT
Problem #2: Game Length. (Most like it short, some like it long)
Let us assume, simply because we can, that the previously mentioned solutions were implemented. What does this do to the battleground? Well, for one thing, it makes it longer. Much longer!
"But Foury, what happens when both teams become deadlocked? How will we ever manage to kill Vandarr when we just can't get past that darned bridge?"
It's quite simple, really. For these long games, I propose the addition of quests which, if completed enough times, will grant bonuses for your faction. For instance, let us imagine that you could tame frostwolves and lead them back to your village. If enough of these are tamed, a group of elite NPC wolf-riders would spawn and slaughter their way toward the enemy town, breaking through the stalemate like a furry hammer of... well, something that's both furry and destructive.
Perhaps, if the game goes on long enough, there could be some sort of ultimate turn-in, some quest to summon an elite raid boss who could annhilate the opposing team in one crushingly crushy crush! Perhaps some sort of giant elemental creature, who can only be summoned with the help of a team of druid NPC's!
"Why Foury, you're a genius! This will... wait a minute... You sneaky old devil, you! These quests already exist in today's Alterac Valley!"
Alright, alright. You caught me. These quests and turn-ins do exist in AV today. The problem is, though, that nobody ever does them. Now why do you think that is?
Reinforcements. Reinforcements make the battle end after a variable, but still very finite, amount of time, making all of the quests, turn-ins and extra things like the mines utterly wasted. The battle would be more focused, more goal-and-teamwork-oriented, more epic, if reinforcements were removed from Alterac Valley (or at the very least, dramatically increased).
"But Foury, I hate getting stuck in AV as a random battleground! I don't want to spend three hours in that Light-forsaken warzone only to get a paltry [insert arbitrary number here] honor!"
That's a very valid point, Magic Voice. Why do reinforcements exist in the first place? Because many players want to do a quick battle, get their honor, and leave. This is perfectly reasonable, as most people have some kind of job or other responsibility which prevents them from playing Warcraft eleven hours a day.
But let's be honest. Many people who want fast honor are already sick of getting stuck with AV. So why don't we just pull it out of the random battleground queue and inject some much-needed love into this dried-out husk of an experience?
The three-hour AV becomes entirely optional, and still accessible on weekends for those with little spare time. Furthermore, all of the flavourful and exciting quests are once again available for the enjoyment of all who enter Alterac Valley.
These quests would obviously need just a few small tweaks to be user-friendly while still providing a challenge to complete. Items such as the Stormpike/Frostwolf Insignia would need to be updated to be relevant to level 85 characters.
While there have been a number of suggestions by a variety of posters over the years on "how to improve AV" I think its original iteration was closest to the mark. In a game filled with quick dungeon runs, chunkable raids, and half-hour CTF skirmishes, there is a significant portion of the playerbase who would really like the occasional long, legendary battle. Maybe some of the "changes" made to AV over the years were mistakes, and maybe some of them weren't. Regardless, I think we've learned some things from those changes, and one of those things is that newer is not always necessarily better. And besides, at this point, "old" would seem "new" to many players.
A Blizzard representative once asked the players (about four years ago, mind you) whether we would rather they spend time rebuilding this old battleground, or put their efforts toward "new and more robust" holidays and other new content. I believe the question was intended to be rhetorical, but the players cried out "YES" all the same.
Well, now we have our robust holidays, and have just been given a steaming plate of pure PvE lovin'. In keeping with the theme of Cataclysm, I think there are enough players who would agree that now is the time to bring back that Classic Alterac Valley battleground, with just the barest few touch-ups.
There is often a disconnect between the PvE and PvP aspects of this game, but I think Classic AV was a near-perfect melding of the two; A PvPvE instance with something for everyone (even tanks!). This battleground was once rife with flavour and glory, and could be once again. It's just a matter of persistence, and I do believe that if we /roar loudly and eloquently enough, we can once again scoop out a delicious, hard-fought, three-hour victory in Alterac Valley.
And even though it's really stabby, I do suggest that everyone try boiling and peeling their own artichoke at least once.
They're quite tasty.
TLDR: Bring back Classic AV!
Edit: A convenient summary of the discussion so far can be found on page 12:
Don't forget to check out these other discussions:
NEW! Adopt-A-Turtle Campaign:
August 26th, 7:00pm PDT / 8:00pm MDT / 9:00pm CDT / 10:00pm EDT
Defend your Captain and towers, then /dance!
"It's Time for Some PvP Lovin'!"
"A 'Brief' History of AV"
Edited by Foury on 8/14/2011 9:51 PM PDT
Only two replies in over an hour? There was a time when the PvP forum had no fewer than three "Bring back Classic AV" threads on page 1 at any given time.
I'm trying to start a crusade here, dagnabbit. Let's get some outcry! Some righteous indignation! Bring back Classic AV!
45 Human Rogue
Sorry Foury, I'm Canadian.....and it's Canada Day, been busy.
But my schedule has cleared up, and I add a resounding "YES!! RESTORE MY CLASSIC AV!!"
Remove it from the list of randoms, even remove honor from it. I don't care. I want my hours and hours long slice of PvE PvP! The crazy road battles, ending with enough turn ins to romp the other team! NPC's that were to be feared, not laughed at. EPIC battles.
Bring it back, please.
Glad to see some excitement. I knew it was Canada day, but forgot that most people would be out doing things (I stayed home, enjoying this lovely day off).
What I would love would be a little communication from the mothership, as the last Blue to post regarding Classic AV was, I think, four or more years ago. At that time they had no plans to implement such revisions, but it's been long enough that they may have changed their minds (as they sometimes do).
Go Go Gadget Angry Protest Thread!
Edited by Foury on 7/1/2011 10:05 PM PDT
Someone needs to rethink the map balance. I'm pretty sure Alliance have it a lot shorter to towers/Galv and not to mention Bal's bunker is facing away from Horde.
It says something that this is the only BG Horde do not have the (slighty) upperhand in win percentage in. Also mages are atheists.
Like I said, there are a few minor tweaks that are needed, but for the most part the classic setup is good. Plus, if Korrak comes back, it's not a straight race to Galv/Bal anyway.
+4500 for the thread
+4501 for the Faith in the Light
I've never played AV in its "glorious" times. Started playing WoW in the end of TBC, by the time I started pvping it was already WotLK. But, still, I feel like AV right now is just poorly designed. There're quests that nobody cares, mines that aren't worth getting, leutenants (english is not my primary language, did I spell that right?) that are for no use.
It's just a race to Galv -> Towers -> wait for at least 3 towers are down -> start killing Drek -> pray for the Horde team to not kill Van first. You may insert a turtle somewhere, also.
I'd love to see the old AV. That frost Ancient of War, Ivus, seems wicked! :P
Meh, I'll just do as said on my guild name. :P
May Elune grant you strenght. :)
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