A Brief History of Alterac Valley, Part II

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Credit where its due. This is an exceptional post with well thought out concessions and solutions to well known problems with what was once the pinnacle of the Warcraft PvP experience.

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.

- EotS
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 :)

- IoC/SotA
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.
As I see it, right now AV has no niche. There is nothing memorable about it. Sure, it might have taken hours or even days to get through it back during vanilla, but we knew what it was then - epic. It was the battleground that really emphasized the 'battle' part. It's the only one with 40 people on each side, yet it always comes down to 'who can zerg harder'.

Hell, the entire point of capturing the bunkers is kinda moot since you can easily kill the enemy boss without them. What we need is a return of what made this grand. We need to either 1.) have more motivation to summon the tide-turning npc's, such as the elementals or the worg/ram riders, such as having a stalemate in the middle; or 2.) it needs to be easier (have players drop far more items than they used to, so they can be summoned faster). Pretty much every time I've seen a change to AV it has filled me with despair. For me, Alterac Valley isn't just a painfully boring/frustrating battleground; it's a reminder of what once was, a fight that I was happy to be a part of, not because of the amount of honor I would receive after we had won/lost, but because it was FUN.

The game as it is right now is too much aimed at people who want cheap, fast rewards, and it seems as though Blizz has completely abandoned AV. Well, here's a thought. If people are demanding more honor from AV to the point they will willingly throw the match just to see it ended, maybe you could try something like providing more honor, or even providing the occasional conquest point. Maybe at certain intervals during the fight you receive an honor bonus that gets greater and greater the longer you have been there (not the raid itself, but on a person-by-person basis). Maybe even let you earn conquest points at the end based on certain requirements (time played, mines/bunkers captured by the end, griffon riders freed). This would certainly provide the motivation for players to go the extra mile to capture those nodes. Even making it so when you turn in items to summon the worg riders or the elemental lords you could get still more honor on top of the rewards for the quest itself (which should provide a small amount of gold per turn in).

Additionally, the captains and bunkers should have more impact on the game itself. As it is now, taking a bunker removes one elite npc from the final boss's room, whereas back in vanilla it also prevented npc's from spawning around that bunker. Nowadays, not only are the npc's unaffected but they are, at worst, a mild nuisance. And the captains go down without a fight, though this is mainly because nobody really seems to care anymore. I can remember old games where we'd crowd outside our captains bunker to stop the horde coming in (i was alliance then, oh how times have changed). Nowadays we just run by in a straight line shouting 'let them take him, it might slow them down a bit". That's just wrong. It misses the spirit of the game, what made it so fun, and turns it into an unnecessary diversion. This should not be.

But hey, this zone might not be for everybody. I can understand that. Some people only have so much time and might not want to leave a game unfinished. So here's a solution: remove it from the random battleground list. You can still sign up, but it wont' be one of the random pop-ups that make me wince with pain. If you up the rewards for playing, then people will start WILLINGLY showing up. Like I said, progressively more honor the longer you stay could be all the incentive you need. Heck, you could put a pvp vendor inside the base so if you spent so long inside you hit the honor cap you could buy the pieces you were looking for. But please, Blizzard, PLEASE! I remember posting about this before Cataclysm just to have you ignore our pleas. But don't keep dragging this through the dirt. If you wont' fix it, scrap it, because it's not fun as it is right now. Don't make us pay because there were some people out there who were not happy with the old zone. Stop cheapening the experience because of a customer base who can never be satisfied (ironically, the people who complained about AV enough to get it changed? They still hate it despite that, but now we hate it too). I used to love it. Now I don't. And the more people I talk to about this, the more I find I'm not alone in my beliefs.

In closing, I leave you this: a story of a recent AV that turned out amazingly epic due to a multi-boxer who was ruining the experience for everybody else... until the Alliance broke out the old-fashioned method of winning the battle.

I'm curious - would Blizzard possibly be able to return the BG to it's former state for a week or two as a test? I don't know how easy that would be for them, or if it's even possible after so many changes... but if they could do it, just as a test, then that might give them an idea of how many people currently playing would handle it. Again, as I am not a programmer (or for that matter particularly computer savvy outside of putting one together), I do not know how easy this would be... but I feel it should be done.

After all, some people will always hate it. This is a given. But right now I can pretty safely tell you that 90% of people hate it (and that's probably still low). So as I see it, if it can be done then it can't hurt to try. Don't abandon this one, Blizzard. Please.
Great, great post. I would love to see this happen once again. Make it a truly tactical PvP experience.
I miss vanilla AV, Not the mongrel child it is today.
That's what a battleground should be about. It also captures the essence of what World of Warcraft is about.
I remember the hair standing up on the back of my neck as 39 other comrades raced out of the cave, filled with pride and excitement.
A fight. A struggle. An epic story of 2 powerful commanders and their troops. Something to fight for. Something to fight over. Great warriors dotted around the map. Ready to assist the brave. Ready to fight for a cause. Fight for a reason.

I remember.
I remember breaking through lines of angry foe, to get to a commander/warmaster in a bunker/tower. Or breaking away from a skirmish to assist comrades in trouble. Fighting hard for a few feet of ground. Collecting the spoils of war to take back to camp to bolster our troops, to release greater, stronger NPC's.

Now it's just some zerg fest to get one achievement done.
The NPC's (that are left) are still set up for 2.1

I remember, this is a war!
Stormpike v Frostwolf.
Alliance v Horde.
hate v hate.

I think, all that time ago, the main thing that upset the masses about the long games was the tokens. now they took our precious tokens away! so...



Absolutely epic. You rarely (almost safe to say never) get the chance to summon either Ivus or Lokholar anymore.
Bump for the greater good.
I would play AV over the rest of WoW as some players play DoTA over any other map in Wacraft III, particularly AV circa 2005.

I have recently tried and failed to solo trigger the AV dynamic auxiliary NPC events with armor and mine supply turn-ins, and with Wing Commanders Slidore and Vipore. I was able to get the Wing Commanders back to base in one game, but I could not get back to base to turn in enough items to trigger the Wing Commanders' fleets before the Horde have entered the base, or - most often - before a General is killed.

AV is played on offense-only now. Players run to the opposing team's base and break from the pack to take small objectives (kill captain, cap GY and towers). It is unusual for anyone to guard a tower or an NPC, as no honor is granted for simply guarding, and little is lost: a General is killed before either team's resources are depleted. The game's dynamic auxiliary NPCs (wolf riders, air guard, etc) are unused as the Generals are killed before there is time to summon them, and newer players are ignorant to their purpose and the purpose of item drops. NPCs such as tower archers and flag defenders are easily and quickly solo-able.

Today I encountered a Horde pre-made that chose to ignore General Vanndar and focus on winning by reinforcements alone. I think the game lasted around 45 minutes. When cornered, the Alliance team was not resourceful, informed, or organized enough to utilize the auxiliary NPCs.

With Mists of Pandaria and Diablo III PvP on the horizon, I expect AV improvements are on the back burner of a stove with many burners.
I'm loving what I'm hearing, we need something to rekindle the actual war in warcraft. Plus it could be a great way to earn honour or reputation while you are fighting in the BG, so that if they get sick of doing the BG after a while they can leave once they have the honour, the majority of the BG is just for plan... FUN
Ah...old AV....the best times I ever had in WoW. Nothing summed up the spirit of "Warcraft" like this epic battle.

It truly is mind boggling to me that Blizzard packs this game full of small scale pvp in a huge number of choices, but won't allow a SINGLE large scale battle with no definite ending. All I ask for is just one option....it is even a good business decision to include a different style of gameplay for players that hate this current pvp model.

Seriously, create a new sub option of battlegrounds called "Campaigns" or something that are large scale, ongoing, don't give deserter, aren't part of the random queue, and are more about pushing for ground then splitting up to capture little objectives like every other BG we have.

I'd subscribe for life with some large scale pvp put in the game like old AV was. Please let's make this happen.....
I agree 250% with the original poster.

I came in around 2.0 and absolutely loved how epic AV was.

It almost always ended up as a turtle, which meant both alliance and horde had to get creative.

The battles lasted easily 1 to 1.5 hours, and I don't regret spending that much time in there at all, well worth it!

Reenforcements were the worst thing to happen to the battleground, remove them and restore the old AV
The closest thing that came to old AV was pre player cap Wintergrasp. Blizz nerf it because of it being laggy (because everyone want to play in it) and it wreck server population ratio.
A multi-server Horde premade (it appears) summoned Lokholar in a resource-only strategy AV this morning. They didn't need him; 30 Alliance resource points remained and no Alliance were even getting to the Field of Strife. Early in the game, they killed the NPCs at our base who collect turn-ins. The Alliance could not get past Tower Point except in stealth, and could not hold any towers or graveyards on the Horde side (or Snowfall GY). The Horde team could have easily won by just running to Vanndar. The NPCs should all have been more difficult to kill, and otherwise, I was jealous to not be on the team revisiting the obsolete NPC turn-in fun of AV.
i support this thread fully and wish that the old AV be brought back considering you can blacklist battlegrounds in MoP.
i support this thread fully and wish that the old AV be brought back considering you can blacklist battlegrounds in MoP.
This almost brings a manly tear to my eye. Almost. Great job OP, bump.
thread necro, but if not for that I would have missed this great Thread.

It really just makes one sad, not of AV

but of the players today

I say they deserve this husk of a BG

comming 5.0 you know which BG would be on everyone's ignore list
I would be one of those players that would spend an inordinate amount of time in a classic AV. I did it before and loved the struggle (and I had crappy gear due to being a casual quester) and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

And thread necro or not this thread is definitely worthy of being on the front page.
This is the best thread I've ever read.

I full support this idea. I never got to experience classic AV, I only played the version(s) available from the end of TBC until present day. I still remember what it was like to constantly run the turn in items, I remember in turtles getting the matts to summon the NPC. It was an awesome experience, even in that form, I can only imagine the epic struggle of classic AV.

I want to see it!
./cry. Blizz We need this! I have played in a single battle that lasted over an hour. as i started playing in late BC I saw the last Epic AV and 2 hour long WG battles (that was a fun 2 hours)

just make it like it was.

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