I'm posting on the only character that ever got a taste for it, being fairly PvE orientated most of Vanilla and not having any other 60 alts pre-BC
What this post has evoked in me are emotions that are tied to cherished experiences that rate as some of the highlights of my gaming memories. I support pretty much every proposed addition/change to bring the glory back to this truly inspired and unique PvP setting.
The 2 major potential challenges I see (apologies if they were mentioned in any of the mega-threads):
1) Honour allocation: If the honour is too high the AVs will merely become a botting safehaven. If the honour is too low, then certain players may be discouraged from the time investment resulting in potential increased Q's. The idea regarding AV-specific rewards is a valid solution, just make it like a MoP 'PvP-power' type setup - when in AV certain perks/gear earned via reputation or participation allow for increased battle-prowess ONLY in the AV battleground. The perks cannot be too extreme or game changing, but would act to empower the player to perform beyond the gear level capabilities of other BGs. The trinket ideas are a great idea, maybe have a passive paladin-type aura contained within an exalted-only tabard that is only active in AV?
2) Motivation: I know us vanilla children have fond memories of AV. I admit to the rose-tinted goggles proudly. Having said that I am pragmatic and realise the tendency for nostalgia to kindly overlook fault and focus on emotion. The game cannot possibly illicit that same level of emotion after 7 years, and to expect Blizzard to be able to do this is both unreasonable and unachievable. So what is it that motivates today's player base? Does the fact it was limited to a single server perhaps play some part? I honestly can't put my finger on it.
Lets face it the zerg that happens today is uninspiring and rarely when grouping with friends for random BGs do i get an ooverwhelming 'YES!!! AV just popped!' - whereas in the past that was the exact reaction.
I recently introduced a friend to the game and he was attracted instantly to the PvP side of the game. With no influence from myself he has named flag capture/capping BGs as his favourites, with EotS (combining the 2) his most enjoyable. He also nominates the vehicle-based BGs as his least favourite.
Sadly, he effectively puts himself on follow in AV because of the state of this BG. This is such a pity as the opinions we have of ONLY this BG are amiss from each other. I have the vanilla experience to cherish, he judges the BG on its merits today.
Yes, this may be the opinion of a single person but it was from someone who came from Command-and-Conquer and Playstation style gaming (driving games mainly) and had never played an RPG before, let alone an MMORPG. His reaction was as valid as mine was the first times I played Warcraft - and my reaction to AV was that it was Epic, the pinnacle of PvP challenge in a setting that you could lose yourself in. His reaction though was to disown the BG as a boring formulaic drive to the other person's base. Even after enticing him to the towers to defend (I'll be at TP if i'm alliance and IW if i'm horde :D), I guess 1 in every 5 AVs we may get competent horde trying to back-cap. Standing there in TP on my alliance pally waiting for it to cap is my current AV experience 9/10 times. Shortly thereafter the game ends as the other towers cap before I can reach the horde base, and the zerg has taken care of business.
Is this how the original designers envisaged their pride and joy in future expansions of the game?
What might be a different tact to take here is to try and pinpoint the strengths of the other BGs:
- WSG / TP:
The capture the flag (or 'kill the dill with the pill' as I like to call it) dynamic almost intrinsically depends upon the teamwork of the entire team. The progressive debuff on the FC is a clever and well-timed mechanism even though it may not be perfect, and the time limit is adequate.
In AV, half the team can be auto-jumping in a cave whilst a minority win the battle. this victory can be in 10-15mins or slightly longer if strategy advantages are used rather than zerg tactics. This lack of necessity of participation that still results in a win is rarer in a smaller BG setting (more prolific on Alliance side to be sure, but as other posts have alluded to, AV is completely winnable by the horde)
- AB / BfG
The flag-capturing / resource accumulating combination is a winner. Again team participation is a pre-requisite of most victories, and the layout of AB in particular is really a wonderful design.
The capping of towers in AV are simply a means to an end. GYs are largely irrelevant other than strategic convenience, and the bottlenecks on either side rarely offer the PvP opportunities that they used to.
Kept this one separate but it is essentially a hybridised version of WSG/AB. Good idea in theory, and executed quite well. I enjoy this BG immensely and my only gripe is the positioning of the start spawn point (well the positioning of the ledge anyway that you drop to first so as to not begin the BG on <50% HP). Make the drop-down ledge slightly bigger and I will hold my peace :)
I lumped these together as vehicular-based combat BGs. Basically the vehicles are the necessity for victory. I am indifferent to these BGs most of the time, and feel they have both strengths and weaknesses. If I were to be asked what direction future PvP was to go however, I admit it would not be to create more vehicle-based BGs (or player-vs-wall type BGs lol)
The Cata BGs seemed to revert back to the vanilla style of BGs - TP is effectively a WSG clone. BfG is a mini-AB. With the design reversion, why not use that same mindset for AV?
Obviously Blizzard developers listened somewhat to their player base Pre-Cataclysm launch, as the vehicle-based combat was marginalised for new battlegrounds (exception being TB, where vehicles can turn the tide, but are not the fulcrum to a victory like they were in Wintergrasp) - If I were to go on public opinion I would say that vehicular combat was not the PvP smash hit Blizzard were hoping for, which is exemplified in the current expansion and the role vehicles play in not only PvP but in PvE as well (and no spine of deathwing is not a vehicle fight lol....even though he is like a big 747)
I kinda drifted a bit here, but the TLDR summary is below so fret not:
- AV would be a great project for an inspired and nostalgic developer to revamp and return to its glory. The points in this and other threads are well constructed and creative and offer potential solutions to the current shortcomings of AV\
- AV in its heyday was a love/hate relationship sure, but who could deny the scope and emotive response from the original BG design? I get goosebumps remembering the ram raiders and elementals, the mini-boss style commanders, the turn-ins, the teamwork...it was a unique experience.
- AV could be returned to the glory days of old, incorporating the many valid and clever suggestions of the posters. Having an opt-out selection as in Starcraft 2 would be a viable solution to the zerg-preferenced players and casual gamers looking to cap their honour without firing a single shot or swinging their axe at anything other than NPCs. If they don't want AV let them have out of it, just give those of us that truly appreciated this gaming 'legend' a chance to wow a new audience the way it did us Vanilla-babies. New players to the game don't even know what they are missing because they never get the chance to experience anything bordering on this level of insanity in PvP nowadays - and that is a saddening thought.
AV is an experience everyone deserves to have. If they don't like it so be it. People in Vanilla also didn't like AV - but a hell of a lot of us did and the BG that is AV today is a wasted zone-sized area of the game that is a depleted husk, and a shadow of its former glory.