Or, "How It All Went Wrong."
TLDR (Too Long; Didn't Read): See post #6. That's as short as it gets, sorry.
TSWM (Too Short; Wanted More): See these discussion threads:
"Save Alterac Valley Letter Writing Campaign"
"A 'Brief' History of AV, Part II"
Dear Omnipotent Cobalt Masters,
Over the years, you have made a significant number of changes to Alterac Valley. Some changes appear to have been made in isolation. For example, maybe you felt that there were too many NPC's before patch 1.8, so you conjured up a mighty avalance and buried the treacherous Syndicate stronghold. Other changes, such as the introduction of reinforcements, were in response to problems caused by other additions like the Mark of Honor system.
Unfortunately, each individual change has brought about such a drastic reshaping of this battleground that its purpose is now virtually unrecognizable when compared to what the initial vision seems to have been. Even the isolated changes became catalysts for a chain reaction that has, in the opinion of a significant number of players, gutted Alterac Valley and made it totally un-fun to play in.
We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion for some time now, but I have decided to provide some additional background for players who might not know exactly what they were missing when AV was truly a legendary experience.
And thus I find myself launching into yet another tirade advocating the re-awesomification of Alterac Valley:
A Brief History of Alterac Valley
Part One: Vanilla
Way back in the time of unlinked flight paths and dishonorable kills, there came a great Patch. This Patch was known as 1.5.0, and it brought about a number of significant changes to this game we so dearly adore. Some changes, though still important, were minor:
Sitting characters will now stand up immediately after an attack, even if stunned.
Other patch notes, however, shook and shattered the very foundations of Warcraft as we knew it:
Mage Armor - Now has a new, unique icon.
Yes, it was a time of great change, and though mages everywhere wait with bated breath in the hopes that Mirror Image will one day receive such an honor as this, the—
Wait a minute. I've forgotten something.
The Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley battlegrounds are now available.
A gigantic, snowy warzone with all the ingredients for a truly legendary experience. Upon entry to this wondrous new battleground, players were faced with a number of avenues by which to achieve victory over their mortal enemies.
How would you contribute to the battle? Would you ride out to Winterax Hold, attempting to slay the mighty Korrak the Bloodrager? What about going toe-to-toe with an enemy Captain, in the hopes of depriving your opponent of their precious perodic Warcry buff?
In a group, you might capture an enemy bunker or even hold the line as they try to do the same to one of yours. Alone, you could gather supplies for an infantry assault that would rip the enemy defenses to pieces.
The battle might last an hour. It might last two hours, five hours, a day, or even longer! In the event of such a stalemate, players could outfit elite cavalry riders, call in powerful air strikes, enlist the aid of dangerous infantry units, or even summon a powerful Elemental Lord to aid in their struggle.
There was PvP, PvE, and even a little PvPvE: Something for everyone to do, even tanks. This was the beginning of the golden age of Classic Alterac Valley...
At this time, a number of balancing changes occurred, about which I will not go into detail here. While some people might remember this time in a less than positive light, please bear in mind that classes were not nearly as well balanced for PvP back then as they are now. Many other players remember having an enormous amount of wholesome, nutritous fun in Old AV, and with no need for a daily win, most people who didn't want to play AV didn't have to.
Alas, the days of being blown apart by landmines in the Field of Strife and calling upon your allies to heal the shredder did not last forever.