Alterac Valley revisited

There has been a lot of snow under the bridge at Dun Baldar since I last wrote about Alterac Valley.  Now that I’m levelling again, I thought I would return and see how things have changed.

Objectives that give experience:

  • Destroying towers/bunkers
  • Killing the opposing faction’s captain (either Balinda or Galvanger)
  • The safe return to your base of your Wing Commanders. More on them later.
  • At the end of the game, you also receive bonus experience for each objective you have standing. For example if you’re Alliance and you manage to defend Balinda and Icewing Bunker, you’ll get experience for that added on at the end.
  • Finally, winning the game gives the biggest experience gain of all.

The amount of experience changes from level to level as its based on a percentage of your current level size. The bigger the level, the more experience you get. Rough figures run from around 5k to 6k per tower/bunker at lv 51-60, to 14k in the 61-69 bracket. The maths can be found here if you want to work out the returns yourself.

Quests

When you hit level 51 an NPC in Ironforge or Orgrimmar sends you to your respective faction’s Alterac base in Alterac Mountains. There you can pick up one time only quests for the following objectives:

  • Capture a mine (the fastest way to capture a mine involves using the bottom entrance not the top).
  • Capture a graveyard
  • Capture a tower/bunker
  • Winning Alterac Valley itself. The rewards for this are good at lv 51ish  if you don’t have a heirloom weapon. The rewards can be seen here (the Alliance versions are exactly the same).

Just being close at hand when someone tags a graveyard/tower, awards you the quest. Also either mine will do as long as your faction doesn’t currently control it. The other quest is slightly different.

  • The Alterac Valley trinket quest.  The Horde version of this is called “Proving Grounds” and sends you into the yeti cave next to the Frostwolf base. The Alliance version, also called “Proving Grounds” sends you into the Harpy Cave. This rewards you with a trinket which can teleport you back to your base. You can’t use it indoors and it has a cast time but its useful for a fast return to defend.

At each reputation level, i.e honoured/revered and exalted you can upgrade your trinket. This upgrade also gives you experience based on your current level. You upgrade it at the same person who gave you the original quest.

Finally, the last quest in Alterac Valley is picked up inside the battleground. Loot enemy players and hand in armour scraps to either Murgot Deepforge/Smith Regzar (alliance/horde). You don’t need a quest to pick up the scraps and the first hand in you do nets you experience. For example you get 8460 at lv 52 although that number does scale as you level so you might want to wait a bit to get the maximum mileage.

Wing-commander locations:

Alliance:

  • Wing-commander Slidore resides at the foot of Tower Point.
  • Wing-commander Ichman can be found at the bottom of the West Frostwolf tower.
  • Wing-commander Vipore lives in the tent directly opposite Jotek in the bottom half of the Frostwolf base. It’s the second tent on the right.

Horde:

  • Wing-commander Guse can be found on the top floor of Icewing Bunker
  • Wing-commander Jetzor hides out at the lumbermill overlooking Icewing Bunker. She’s in a shed with a couple of Alliance flying machines.
  • Wing-commander Mulverick lives in Dun Baldar’s North Bunker.

Strategy: All other 39 people on your side of an AV will have what they think is the definite winning strategy for AV. They may well be right, but in my experience there is no hard and fast way of winning. At the end it comes down to seeing which strategy the opposing team are trying and making sure you counter it. For example at the moment in our lv 71-79 bracket, the Horde are ignoring Balinda and ignoring defending their assets whilst trying to get our bunkers tagged fast. We on the other hand are killing Galvanger, tagging their towers and making sure we get at least one of our bunkers back. This means that the Horde lose a lot, next week however, no doubt they will be doing something entirely different and the balance of power will have swung again.

General thoughts.

  • If you tag a tower or bunker, don’t just leave it. Stay for the full 4 minutes and make sure you capture it.
  • If you tag a tower or bunker with a Wing-commander in it, spend two seconds clicking on them and sending them home.
  • At the lower end of the bracket, i.e. lvs 51-54, 61-64 etc, defending can be your best option. Making good use of the bowman in the bunkers/towers and los you can hold off a few attackers even if they are higher level. Elemental shamans, moonkin and any other class with a throw can also have fun here. Mindcontrol also works so Priests shouldn’t feel left out.
  • Feel free to ask for help defending or attacking assets.
  • If you are Alliance, don’t stand on the hill outside Drek’thar’s room if either of the Frostwolf towers haven’t converted yet. Get up a tower or watch the graveyard, do something useful. The same is obviously true for the Horde.
  • Download Deadly Boss Mods for their useful Battleground component which shows you timers for all objectives as well as lets you hand in armour scraps, storm crystals and the like without having to slowly click your way through the quests.
  • Remember the honour cap is still 75k. If you do a lot of AV’s to level, you will hit the cap before you hit 80 so keep an eye on your honour gains and buy an item before you hit the cap. You can buy items for 80 at any level as long as you have the honour.
  • Above all, though, have fun. PvP should be an enjoyable experience, even if you’re just grinding Battlegrounds for experience.

Shared topic – A new beginning

The shared topic on Blog Azeroth this week is:

If you had the chance to start all over again in WoW, but your char is already level 80, or level 1 depending on if you like to level or not :>. What class would you pick? What race? What faction?
Why would you pick that class/race/faction?

And most of all what would you plan to do with it? Raid, PvP or just hang out in Dalaran?

It just fascinates me what people would do if they would be given the option to start all over again on the highest level, would you pick the same class you play now or would you make your secret wish of playing (say) a mage come true?

suggested by Pieces of  Blasting Away.

Whilst it’s not strictly a fresh start, I’ve done something like this recently. Our raiding guild collapsed just before Christmas and my adored priest had started to feel a little stagnant so my boyfriend and I rolled two little druids. We have both played druids before but this is the first time we’ve levelled the same class together.

We decided to level from scratch even though we both have lv 70 plus druids because we both enjoy levelling. The fact that Cataclysm is hovering like a dark cloud somewhere on the horizon also encouraged that decision. We wanted one last run through Azeroth as it currently is before things change. Besides that there is the “learntoplay syndrome”, I think levelling also gives you more time to improve and work on your play style. For example I’m playing Tansy as a Moonkin at the moment but none of my other druids have ever been anything other than feral or resto so its a whole new ball game. Figuring out what’s best for you is far better done at low levels than at 80 when people are 10 times more critical.

For faction we picked Alliance again. We’ve played Horde to lv 70 in the past and whilst we considered making Tauren druids, I’ve hated the Tauren cat form/colours ever since Blizzard introduced the new flavours. Yes, I know the old Tauren kittie model looked like the bastard child of a windrider and a plagued lion, but at least your fur colour didn’t play any part in the mix. Besides the cat/bear models look too male and aggressive for my tastes. It looks so wrong when that evil looking white cat with blue facepaint shifts unto a cute little female. So Nightelf it was, better colour flight form, acceptable hair/fur combinations for both cat and bear and of course access to our main’s gold without having to buy apples through the neutral AH for crazy amounts of money. Oh and mustn’t forget shadowmeld, which when combined with instant flightform makes levelling from 60 to 80 on a PvP server considerably more fun.

Why druids? We both love the flexible nature of the beast. One minute you can be shredding people to ribbons the next tanking an elite or a raid group. Flip out of chicken form and you can provide fairly decent healing in a variety of situations if you need to. One class offers four different rolls, if you bore of one, try something new without having to switch class.

Our future aims for them? Not 100 percent sure, get 80 for definite and then probably PvP. This late into an expansion I’ve no interest in doing any PvE other than the odd heroic so most likely they will make their home in battlegrounds.

Picture Perfect – Darkshore

This week the screenshots come from Darkshore. I’ve always had a bit of a love hate relationship with this zone. My first impression when our very first little Nightelf got off the boat was one of dislike, too dark, too depressing. Compared to the tranquil Darnassus with its deep purples and almost golden haze, Darkshore had nothing to recommend it to me. That was five years ago, now when I wander through the trees, I see a completely different Darkshore.

Late evening in Auberdine

It’s as if a veil has lifted from my eyes, no longer does the zone look forbidding and dangerous. Instead I see a haunting beautiful landscape full of flowers.

The longest dock in Azeroth silhouetted against the moon. Having it destroyed by freak weather is a crime against Kalimdor beauty spots.

Finally and completely off topic, what is it with names these days.

and

Being just two of the charming named individuals we’ve encountered recently. Got to love PvP servers.

Talking of charming, the cutest thing in Azeroth has to be a cycloned bunny.

Dps wins the fame, Healers win the game?

I wish Blizzard would introduce a balancing system for Battlegrounds.

Not based on gear. Although I admit to growling when I see people running around with sub 16k health at this point in the game, especially when they are melee. My Priest has close to 30k and she’s a squishy priest wearing half PvE gear (actually she’s about as squishy as a rock but hey). Death Knights, warriors and the like should have more stamina. It goes with the territory just like waving a big sword does.

Now that Alterac Valley hands out honour and experience like candy at Carnival time, there is no excuse for brand new 80s to be wearing someone’s second hand dress they got from a quest a lv 72. My baby druid is already well on the way to being kitted out in the best shiny gear that honour can buy and she’s still 14 levels away from 80. By the time she dings for the final time, I expect to have a couple of pieces of il264 stuff sat in the bank. That’s before I even look at craftables for her. Which also raises the question, if you don’t like PvP enough to level through it, why are you inflicting your undergeared, non-gemmed and enchant lacking squishy presence on the rest of us? This is doubly true if you complain about the healing or lack of it when you wander into a zerg of 6 enemies. Keeping 16k alive against a group of lv 80s requires them to be geared as badly as you are (Yes, I’m feeling snarky – PvPing at teatime is impossible in my battlegroup) which is unlikely. This doesn’t mean I’m a bad healer, it means you are a waste of space.

Not based on skill. After all skill in battlegrounds is hard to quantify. Besides that PvP is one area of the game where practice makes perfect. That’s why my druid is attacking everything that moves whilst levelling. The more fights I pick, the more confident I am when someone goes for me. Plus PvP at lv 66 on a Moonkin with 425 engineering is just hilarious.  As long as people try to win and ideally have more than 16k health, I’m happy enough to play alongside them.

Not based on gear or skill or even experience, so what’s left?

I want Blizzard to introduce a balancing system based on spec/roll. Just as with the LFD tool, I want to be able to queue up as a healer or dps depending on my available specs. Why? Because having just done a plethora of battlegrounds in which we had more healers than dps, I’m sick and tired of trying to kill everything myself. Whilst on paper it might sound awesome, if the handful of dpsers you have can’t kill anything… you will lose. Battlegrounds with 8 holy priests, 2 holy paladins, 1 resto druid and 1 resto shaman are a disaster waiting to happen. That’s 12 healers out of possible 15 since we were in EoTS at the time. There are too many forms of crowd control and anti healing debuffs/interrupts plus manadrain/manaburn to allow a pure healing team to win. One or two healers on the opposing side can usually outheal healer dps plus most dpsers have a way of recovering their own health or escaping to eat. Then if you do manage to kill one or two, it took so long they are already ressed and heading back dreaming of revenge (after all no one likes being killed by a smite/shadowfiend combo).

Don’t get me wrong, I adore healing especially in the hectic world of PvP. I just would prefer teams that were balanced around a set number of healers and dpsers. Say for example in EoTS, you can have a maximum of 5 healers per team to 10 dpsers. Sure maybe one team ends up with 4 healers and the other with 2 but that’s better than one side having 12. Trust me on this. In a sense it’s just like PvE. You don’t take 15 healers to a 25 man raid because of enrage timers. Now the same logic applies to PvP. You need to kill people fast because burst is king. The side without the burst will lose more often than not. I think this is partly why every Strand of the Ancients I’ve done recently has been a draw, too many healers on both sides. So we all end up stalemated in a healing fest where no one dies and if there wasn’t a timer we would all still be there, trapped for eternity.

Feathery thoughts on ganking, flying and Outlands

Random thoughts on Outlands and Druids.

Our druids hit lv 58.

For a brief happy moment, I really thought that BoA gear would solve my “I don’t want to look awful all the way to lv 68 and Northrend” issue. The first pair of pants I got was a pretty embroidered kilt which contrasted nicely with the shoulders/top. All forest greens and feathers. Next I got my bracers with their lush grasslike strands reaching up my wrists. I looked like a druid. A proper one.

Then my adored levelling partner bought me a present. New pants……

So this time I don’t look like the type of tramp who sleeps on the streets, now I look like the other type of tramp. Not sure that’s really progress.

In between questing, we’ve been doing a fair amount of Alterac Valley. What’s with the Moonkin hate? I’ve had people chasing my cute feathery butt right across the Field of Strife. Ignoring people on half health and low levels all ripe for the ganking just because they MUST kill the chicken. One charming Deathknight chased me from Tower Point all the way to Icewing Bunker at which point he ran into an thirty person Alliance raid and died, but even so (I’m not naturally cowardly, he just happened to be 8 levels higher than me) his loathing was palpable. Is it the size? I mean we do make temptingly large targets that even the most myopic Hordling can spot but to keep chasing to your doom…? What I need is something that shrinks me into a tiny ball of feathery doom. Wish you could attack whilst under the effects of the World Enlarger.

The other issue praying on my mind at the moment is flying mounts whilst leveling in Outlands. As a druid its awesome, pick-up quests, no problem just hover like a Harrier whilst you loot. You aren’t on the ground so the mobs don’t bother you as you steal parts from under their noses but it feels wrong. Need to kill a particular mob for a quest and oh look, he’s surrounded by twenty minions. Just land on his head, no need to kill anything else. It just seems to trivialise the game a bit. Sure, this is my 8th character to level through Outlands, so yes, I’ve seen it all before, read the quest text, bought the tabard but at the back of my mind it  smacks of cheating.

I could just ride everywhere on my mount, but since we’ve done more than our fair share of World PvP recently… that could be dangerous. The number of people who bring their mains after one death in a fair fight really surprise me. I suppose because even when a lv 80 kills my alts, I’m rarely mad enough to bring my main. After all, I picked to play on a PvP server and besides riding around on an 80 trying to find whoever killed you is mostly a complete waste of time. Then of course as the video link illustrates, just because you bring your main doesn’t mean you’ll be able to avenge your alt. Especially now everyone lv 60 and above is flying high on their mounts. Which leads me back to flightform, yes I feel slightly dirty everytime I hibernate/root whatever is guarding my mine, take the ore and then shadowmeld and fly off. I feel bad swooping down on top of mobs or some little Troll and starfiring them before they even realise I’m there.. but it could become addictive very fast. It’s like eating sweets before dinner, you know it’s wrong but at the time as the sugar dissolves in your mouth it feels so right.

101 things to do – Jump on Medivh’s bed

Despite having run Karazhan countless times on multiple characters, I only recently discovered Medivh’s rather nice bed. Situated at the top of the tower of Karazhan its spacious, bouncy and surprisingly comfortable.

The biggest bed in WoW?

Who wouldn’t want a bed so big, you need a ramp to get into it. Although if you fell out in the night… those floors look pretty hard.

Come to think of it, Karazhan itself would make a comfortable dwelling. Lots of stained glass, big dining room, plenty of guest bedrooms and stables for all your mounts. Sure you might get the odd unwelcome guest and the ghosts might complain about new ownership, but for that library, I think its worth it.

Heaven

As long as they aren’t all copies of Middlemarch in different languages. That would be hell. Sorry.

Although I’m biased. Karazhan is probably my favourite Burning Crusade instance. Its creepy, gothic and full of ladies of the night.

Wonder if Middlemarch would be more bearable if a Night Mistress read it to me? Hmm, think my Priest is going to have to relocate to the Deadwind Pass.

Felwood – Screenshot Saturday

Today’s screenshots are of Felwood, one of my long term favourite hang out zones.

In Vanilla, I spent probably the vast majority of my non-raiding time riding up and down herbing here. I also managed to make a shaman feel so bad that he gave me the Night Dragon’s Breath he had just cleansed right at the bottom of the tower. To be fair, he attacked me first at another spawn point and much to both our surprise I killed him. Afterwards shaking, I shadowmelded and he ankhed so I killed him again because being attacked upsets me. Then a little later we met a third time and with plenty of emotes, he cleansed the flower and stood back.

I’m a little nervous about just what Cataclysm will do to my dangerous, dark and somewhat lurid green Felwood. It’s already green in a good way

Dark Iron Pillow fight

So there we were, semi bored of leveling. Level 49 with no where to go. Every zone we tried just had silver exclamation marks teasing us. Finally, tired of being turned away, we had to face facts. Whether we wanted to or not we were going to have to quest in the Searing Gorge. Even on the flight south, we could taste the dust in our mouths and with each beat of the wing which took us closer to Thorium Point our hearts sank lower.

Then running around picking up the quests we noticed something different. A female dwarf offering a quest! Something new in this depressing dump. You start out by stealing pillows, lots of pillows (which luckily spawn really fast) which of course the Dark Iron Dwarves take exception to.

The pillows are the white pillowlike objects perched on the really cute little dwarfen bunk beds.

Best cast bar description

Whilst you are stealing a bunch of sleepy dwarves will spawn, these can be ignored or aoed down. A few minutes later, another group will appear.  Then finally, the Chambermaid appears in all her glory. If the area is fairly empty of other questers you could go off and do the other quests in the Slag Pit because both the dwarf groups and the Chambermaid announce their presence with yells which can be heard even deep at the other side of the Pit.

She's got a lovely turn of phrase all things considered

Now one of the things we had been complaining about recently was the ease of questing. As two druids one could go bear and tank whilst the other just hurricaned as many mobs as we could gather. Our main issue was finding enough enemies to kill at once. So imagine our surprise when we were confronted by an elite 20k health female dwarf, eyes glowing madly. It’s a fairly easy fight for two people in heirlooms, but she has an annoying knock back so watch where you put your back. Once she’s down, a massive pillow will appear. Loot it and get a quest which sends you back to Thorium Point carrying a giant pillow and rewards a slow fall trinket with a 30 minute cooldown (useful for most classes in one way or another). The reward would be even better if it spawned a giant pillow for you to fall into, but alas it doesn’t.

Both quests count for the Loremaster achievement so if you did the Searing Gorge whilst levelling and now are looking for quests you missed in the Eastern Kingdoms.. there is a dwarf or two waiting for a pillow fight.

I’ve been trolled…

Something I read on MMO Champion last night upset me:

Vol’jin’s Darkspears settled in nearby Sen’jin Village, which they have since used as a staging point to attack Zalazane. Over the years, members of the Horde looking to test their worth have braved the Echo Isles to confront Zalazane, and many of them even returned victorious with his severed head. These victories, however, proved to be nothing more than an illusion created by the twisted witch doctor’s dark magic. Days after these trophies were taken to Sen’jin Village, they reverted to their true forms: painted rocks and coconuts adorned with wooden tusks, or even the heads of Zalazane’s enslaved trolls.

I feel rather stupid now. Couldn’t they have at least told me I was bringing home decorated coconuts? That way I could have gone and had another go. I mean I like the Echo Isles, any excuse to go and do a spot of paid sunbathing is good. Not to mention the little matter of honour and the like. Zalazane must have been laughing his real head off every time a bunch of so called heroes wandered off with a couple of bewitched rocks and a fancy coconut. I suppose it explains how one corpse can yield five fake heads though.

Wonder what the locals of Sen’jin village did with all those coconuts and fancy rocks. No doubt they are selling them to the Orcs and Taurens as a “Souvenir of Sunny Sen’jin”. After all I don’t see any mountains of tusky coconuts or decorated rocks lying around. Although the Gnomeling suspects that Zalazane sends his minions over undercover of darkness to steal them all back, a form of recycling if you will. Now that surely means a degree of complicity between the Echo Isles and Sen’jin Village. After the first head mysteriously turned into a fruit, the questgivers must have been a bit curious, by the hundred mark they must have known something dodgy was going on, but they keep sending people out collecting them.

Which finally raises the most disturbing question of all. We are going to invade an Island full of artisan trolls just trying to make a living painting stones and gluing pointy tusks to shells. Shame on you Vol’jin, shame on you.

A is for Armoury and B is for Blogging

Reading Blog Azeroth because its far more fun than working, I noticed that this week’s shared topic was:

If you were given the option, would you post a link to your blog on your main’s armory profile?

Now given that I loathe the Armoury with a passion, I couldn’t resist answering. The only possible plus point would be to increase the number of people who are exposed to your blog, which could be a good thing.  However, what kind of people armoury you? Are they really the type of people you want discovering your blog?  I can think of four possible types of people who might be checking your armoury out.

  • If you apply to a guild, their officers and members will probably check it out  to  get a feel for the type of player you are. The majority of them would probably click on the link and that would probably be a positive outcome although you might not be able to post anything negative about the guild without waves of drama engulfing you.
  • People raidleading PuG groups wanting to make sure your gear/experience matches up. Would they have the time to read your blog? Probably not if they have a list of other people to check out.
  • Other players of the same class who maybe did a PuG with you and want to see what difference there is between your spec (gear/gemming/etc) and theirs.
  • People wanting to pick a fight with you. I suspect most of the people who have ever armouried me fall into this category. Whether its on the forums or in trade chat or after a particular fun PvP experience, they seem to go looking for something to criticise. Yes, calling me a girl because I have lots of mini pets must have made your defeat in WSG seem so much easier to take.

All four come with negatives but the last one on the list sums up why I really wouldn’t ever want my blog linked on my  armoury profile. From personal experience, the only people who seem to armoury me are those looking for a fight about something or other. So I really don’t wish to give them another source of ammunition, my big mouth seems to provide plenty of that in-game.

Why do I hate the armoury? I’m a fairly private person and I dislike the idea that people can go to a web page and discover so much about my characters. I realise that goes against the spirit of this blog, but everything on this site I’ve chosen to display/make public. I have the final say over it and anything I choose to say I put in context first (the latter being the most important part in my mind). Add in the fact that the achievement system isn’t infallible (for example the Spirit of Redemption bug which still hasn’t been fixed which stopped me getting credit for my Saurfang kill) and you end up with people making incorrect judgements about you. For example I got accused of ebaying because I was sporting a Val’anyr alongside a mediocre PvP set and had no real kills in Icecrown. So because I stopped raiding because my guild imploded, took a break from the game and then started to PvP… I get accused of buying a character. Yes the ensuing argument was quite something but it firmly cemented my loathing of the armoury.

I really don’t see why some random whose face  I just melted in Strand of the Ancients should be able to see exactly what I’m wearing, how many HKs I have and what loot I’ve grabbed recently. The fact that they are at all interested is another disturbing point that probably deserves its own topic. I realise that all that information is linked on my blog, but people who read this aren’t usually looking for an excuse to pick a fight over talent points.

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but I think WoW is one instance where armouries and writing should stay firmly separate.

After writing this, I now have an annoying song stuck firmly in my head. I was an Airforce brat and it went something like “A is for Armourer, B is for Armourer” and so on, implying that the Armourers weren’t the smartest human beings around. I suspect the moral of that story is never let your men babysit for your baby daughter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,301 other followers