The Return of the Good Old Days – Thoughts on Southshore v Tarren Mill

Tarren Mill versus Southshore was the home of my first forays into PvP as first a Warlock in those halycon days* before the Honor system was introduced when the only people you encountered PvPing actually wanted to be doing it (PvE server) and then whilst leveling my Night Elf Priest on a PvP server. I quickly grew to know every inch of that territory, where you could shadowmeld amongst the trees and hide from rampaging Horde and the easiest way to drop Line of Sight. I still remember clearly the feeling of satisfaction when level 45 or so wearing the Mageweave set and Whitemane’s Chapeau I escaped from a level 60 Enhancement Shaman making all the way from the road to the safety of Southshore much to his annoyance expressed loudly on IRC. It was also where I grew to hate engineering when my Gnomish Net-o-Matic backfired and netted both me and the exceedingly large and angry Tauren Warrior trying to kill me side by side. In the aftermath of that little incident I promptly dropped it and leveled Tailoring instead.

It was there I learnt to PvP, learned to deal with res timers and tried to avoid dying as much as possible. The pattern was always the same, one side would gain ground to the point of entering the opposing side’s town and then would promptly be overwhelmed with guards. The trick being to try and avoid dying in downtown Tarren Mill unless you wanted to spend the next 40 minutes ressing, dying to more guards etc over and over again. The guard spawn would give impetus to the currently losing faction and back you’d go again. Some bright spark would always try and kill the Flight Master to stop people escaping and bring down angry animals all over you. Rogues would always sneak into the Inns and try and kill those licking their wounds and eating up. In many ways it’s predictability helped make it even more fun. We had a Mage guildmate whose favourite trick was to lure the Horde up to the cliffs and promptly slowfall off, much to our surprise, he got away with this time after time after time. It became part of the routine as did the comedy runs around the tower and the Warlocks all wandering off mid battle in search of soul shards.

duel01

Unlike Battlegrounds though, there was a lot less of the hate and venom you see being thrown around these days. Perhaps because everyone was participating because they wanted to rather than searching for some carrot on a stick like the legendary cloak. Yes, not everyone liked losing and there was the odd whiny message on IRC but in most cases, everyone took it in good humour. As the picture above shows (the only one I have left from back then), after the PvP there was silly things like cross faction unarmed boxing matches where everyone played by the rules and no one resorted to using spells or swords.

Therefore I’m sure it comes as no great surprise to anyone that I’m super excited by this announcement by Blizzard.

Tarren Mill vs. Southshore: The Rematch

If you engaged in PvP early on in WoW, you might have fond memories of—and perhaps a few scars from—the endless tug-of-war between Horde and Alliance players at Tarren Mill and Southshore. To recapture that feeling, we’ll be opening a Team Deathmatch–style Battleground based on that timeless struggle. However, unlike the old days of Tarren Mill vs. Southshore, there will be a clearly defined victor, so you’ll need to work as a team or face crushing defeat.

I am of course interested in just how they intend to pull it off. Deathmatch suggests that you start with 100 v 100 but that dying means just that which I admit does take away some of the old school feeling because everyone should experience ressing inside a Tauren mounted on a Kodo somewhere near that Tower between the two towns at least once. However I suspect I’ll be happy regardless although I’d prefer it if they didn’t make the Yeti cave, the farms and the mine count for anything just keep it focused on pure slaughter and of course have the guard spawns because it needs the guard spawns for realism.

As for it only being available for a limited period, I suspect that this could be a good thing. Taking 200 people from the Battleground pool all the time for 1 game would I imagine be problematic and with everything nostalgic it’s probably best to throw yourself in deep for a a month or so until you’re so sick of it, the very mention of it’s name has you gagging rather than want to drag it out. As with all PvP endeavors it probably won’t be for everyone however I hope people give it the benefit of the doubt and try it at least once.

I am of course happy at the thought of a Core Hound mount and a corgi on fire but for me, the reason I’ll be logging during the anniversary is 100 percent the chance to recreate old memories and make some new ones somewhere between Southshore and Tarren Mill.

*This is most certainly tongue in cheek.

The Bridge at Dun Baldar

Every time I end up fighting at the Bridge to Dun Baldar, my mind wanders to a certain poem we had to read at school so with apologies to Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay and to brave Horatius, I’d like to present a snippet of my version.

Great Drek’Thar of Alterac, by the ancestors he swore
That the great house of Frostwolf should suffer wrong no more.
By the ancestors he swore it, and named a trysting day,
And bade his messengers ride forth,
East and West and South and North,
To summon his array.

East and West and South and North the messengers ride fast,
And tower and town and cottage have heard the trumpet’s blast.
Shame on the false Frostwolf who prefers to roam,
When Drek’thar of Alterac is on the march for home!

Many many verses later

WoWScrnShot_110213_125950

When the gnome mends his armour, and trims his helmet’s plume,
And the nightelf’s shuttle merrily goes flashing through the loom;
With weeping and with laughter still is the story told,
How well Wildberri kept the bridge in the brave days of old.

(albeit from 30 yards behind any real action but everyone knows healers win the game!)

As an aside, this is how everyone should pvp, less trying to avoid it and allowing people to cap flags rather than dying defending objectives to buy time for your team.

Then out spoke brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods,

It’s not a bad motto for life in general either.

Tycertank’s #WoWScreenshot a day (Day 6)

DAY 6 – “This is important to me!

important2

Winning is important to me but that’s not why I picked this shot. If you follow my beam (I’m the Nightelf stood next to the Jade Serpent Statue), you’ll see a Gnome taking on all comers and that’s why this was the natural choice.

That Gnome when he’s not punching Horde in the face has helped me up pyramids, their stones slippery with rain. He’s carried me down a volcano, struggling for safe footing in the ash. He’s stood between me and not one but several crocodiles and was willing to take on a Grizzly Bear and a bunch of Mexicans armed with machetes with only a swiss army knife (not at the same time obviously although that’s purely because Grizzly bears don’t hang out in Chiapas).

Keeping him alive in a video game might not quite compare with what he’s done for me, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Vengeful Porcupette Hunting: The Swarm is upon us

Carrying on from yesterday’s post, today I want to talk about mini pets and pvp.  This post was inspired by Quintessence over at Perks N Peeves and her blog post about the Vengeful Porcupette.

Should certain pets only be obtainable through pvp? For me this is a topic on which I’m torn. I love pvp and would like to see more items available for me and people like me. I hit 90 last weekend and will have run out of things to spend my honour points by the middle of this week despite having limited game time and managing to do lots of other things as well. I’d love to see Spike and Lady as mini pets for example, perhaps linked to the achievement for winning 100 Arathi Basins. The Temple of Kotmogu could give you those brightly coloured cubes you get over your head as pets and Silvershards Mines could reward you with a tiny mine cart of your own. However, as I said yesterday I do believe a lot of the problems in pvp (think Children’s Week as a prime example) comes from people who are there for the currency/achievements not because they enjoy killing or being killed by their fellow players.

The Timeless Isle will bring us a new currency, the Bloody Coins which will be used to purchase certain things including a new mini pet, the Vengeful Porcupette. Now that all seems simple enough but there is one issue, these coins are obtainable from killing other players (either faction will do) on the Timeless Isle. In order to pick them up you need to buy the Censer of Eternal Agony which on a PvE server will flag you for pvp but also makes you attack-able by your own faction.

From the tool tip, Blizzard could go two ways. If “reduces your maximum health by 90 percent”, doesn’t allow you to heal afterwards you’ll just have 40k (gear dependent) to play with which means that everyone who just happens to be enabled because they’re out to gank will manage to slaughter pet seekers with no issue whatsoever unless you form a raid group of zerglings (as the item makes you friendly to anyone else using the censer as of the current build).

critters2

You might have 400k health but hey, if 40 level 1s can take out Hogger…. imagine what a raid of aggressive, censer waving pet hunters could do! Or they could just reduce your health to 10 percent of your max but allow you to eat/bandage or heal your way back to up full before looking for people to kill. Personally, I’d prefer the former because I think it could be far more fun which probably means Blizzard will go for the latter.

Now I have no issue with this. In fact I’m sort of looking forward to this, especially if we end up with raids of people taking part like Halaa in the Burning Crusade or Tol Barad in the first few months of Cataclysm. In many regards, the same principle which governed vanilla world pvp will apply, pick your battles carefully or bring lots and lots of friends. However I can see quite a few other people not enjoying the road to this pet at all. That said, pet collectors are a diverse bunch of people and perhaps this should be reflected in-game. Raids both current and old hold pets, dailies and achievements reward them too but yet with the exception of the arena tournament ones, pvp is the only area without. It’s going to be interesting!

Mr Harpy isn’t particularly pet orientated however he’s going to get this one, in fact he’s probably the critter in the lead in the above image, little gnomish paws extended for extra momentum and teeth ready to tear chunks out of passers by.

 

Toxic Behaviour and Random Battlegrounds

It’s a reoccurring theme at the moment. Every where I look, twitter, guild chat, forums… there are people talking about the bad language, aggression and general nastiness encountered on a daily basis in battlegrounds. Now I have a theory and perhaps it’s not going to win me any friends but there should be no denying that I’m qualified to talk random battlegrounds, after all I’ve been known to cap my conquest points purely by doing them.

Recently I’ve been on a winning streak and I haven’t see a single swear word thrown out in anger. No one has had their capslock stuck and the whining has been down at a bare minimum. Now that doesn’t come as a surprise, after all, it surely takes a special sort of personality to launch into the hatefest that random battlegrounds are famous for when you’re winning. So obviously, losing is the issue and that’s where this gets thorny. I’ve pvped ever since I first found my way into the Barrens as a teenage Night Elf, I camped between Southshore and Tarren Mill before the honour system was implemented. In short, I do random battleground because I actually like them. Sure I prefer winning to losing but I’m there for the ride not the achievements or the currency and there-in lies the problem. When you pvp for the pure pleasure of smashing other people’s faces in, of learning how to play your class better and setting your own personal goals even when being 5 nil’d because the rest of your team are being corpse camped somewhere then there is little reason to get annoyed. You’re still gaining something from the experience. The problems start when you have people in battlegrounds who hate the whole concept but want something tangible from it. That’s when you get premades and you get temper tantrums because each loss means you have to spend longer doing something you dislike*.

Now my boss at work is very fond of coming out with corny phrases like “bring solutions not problems” and thus, I’d like to propose the following.

Change the deserter debuff completely. Instead of marking people idle, implement a vote kick system like the one which exists in pve. It doesn’t matter whether they’re jumping in the corner, running into walls or spamming chat with the sort of language which would make a squaddie blush, it would be a one size fits all button. Any behaviour at all which goes against the spirit of competition and generally ruins the atmosphere for the majority of players would count, other examples being people who pick up flags for the express purpose of not handing them in, people who ride demolishers into the sea and as far way from objectives as possible etc and should a person be evicted from the battleground, they don’t get a 15 minute debuff which stops them queuing, instead they get a debuff which prevents them getting honour, conquest or being eligible for any pvp achievements for one hour. They can choose to re-queue straight away but should they be chucked out again, the debuff will stack. Therefore if someone decides to be an idiot after being removed the first time, all they will be doing is increasing the time frame before they can tick off that achievement or buy those boots.

Now I would like this to be the case for people who afk mid battle too but then that’s just me. A better or at least more acceptable answer to that issue might be to leave the deserter debuff in place but have it stack so the first time you /afk a game it’s 15 minutes, the second game it’s 30 and so on up until the point where it’s better to hang around actually playing a losing game rather than bail on your teammates half way through.

Obviously there is a chance that people will be unfairly thrown out but given that I’ve hardly ever seen anyone marked as idle when they didn’t deserve it, I’m not sure that would be an issue and it might improve the quality of life for everyone who wishes to dabble in pvp now and then. Now it would ruin my fun in certain situations as I’ve been known to run around capping flags whilst the rest of my team are being camped at the entrance to Arathi Basin to and to pick up flags in Warsong whilst everyone else is in the graveyard because I don’t believe in handing victory to the Horde under any circumstances but if they could remove bots, afkers and general haters, I’d be wiling to sacrifice my simple pleasures.

(I have to admit I’m pretty desensitized to bad language in battlegrounds. I work with people who use swearing as a punctuation because they grew up in environments where it was far too common but I do find it amazing that people can be be bothered to actually type it out whilst playing WoW).

 

*Of course there are some people who just like calling people names but I’d like to think that these are somewhat in the minority.

Endgame: The Monk’s Gambit

So I bit the bullet and leveled. My monk is now 90 and having a surprisingly large amount of fun. Ever contrary it seems that as everyone else is losing that WoW feeling, I’ve got my groove back.

This weekend I found myself uttering the words I never expected to slip past my lips, “Let’s just queue to Strand of the Ancients because it’s the call to arms and it’s amazing”. As it turns out, on monks it is a great place to pvp because of all the utility which comes as a standard regardless of spec. No one else slowing vehicles, fine, I can do it myself at no mana or chi cost to myself. No one else cc’ing chasing opponents, no problem, slow one, paralyze one, silence one, disarm one and rinse and repeat. Finally I have the control my control freak nature appreciates.

I’ve also being doing a lot of Tol Barad as it’s an easy five hundred honor per game. It’s just a shame that the Horde on my server don’t see the point of queuing up. This is one zone that I really wish was cross realm as I miss the massive battles with three raid groups we had the start of Cataclysm when it was new and shiny and gave semi useful rewards.

tol barad
In between PvP, I’ve started leveling archaeology. My goal for this week is to cap it out and also hopefully acquire as many of the interesting items as possible. The pick up, put down nature of it suits being interwoven in between battleground queues and the screenshot opportunities it provides suits me down to the ground.

wetlands

I’m almost completely geared in the current honor set and my conquest point count is climbing nicely so the next thing on the agenda will be to run those scenarios so I can experience the Battlefield which has become the Barrens prior to the patch. Given all those happy days I spent pvping in the Barrens it seems only fitting that my journey should take me there again.

 

Fear of Flying (and being 90)

My Monk is just on the cusp of 89 and endgame is so close I can almost taste it. My honor point stash is close to maxed and I’ve got plenty of justice points to play with too. Yet I almost don’t want to hit 90. I love the class, pvp is so much fun and suddenly battlegrounds that I hated on Sprout, I now adore. Strand of the Ancients being one because if no one else is slowing vehicles well I can bring them to halt plus healing whilst nuking annoying people in the face… always awesome.

So therefore my rough plan is to force myself over the finishing line and then start both pvping with the big boys and at least hanging out in the Isle of Thunder and running scenarios with the intention of getting a look at the Battlefield Barrens carry on before it’s removed. Here’s hoping I still have enough time to get the Hordebreaker title, after all, it’s some what appropriate in oh so many ways.

I also need a proper transmogrification outfit because I can’t always hide like this:

WoWScrnShot_071213_211448

Baby panda + zen mediation = Cuteness

I’m also planning on tackling my left over achievements in a reasonably sensible fashion. Got far too many left to tick off to suit my list focused brain. Besides this might slow down the march to 90.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,321 other followers