World PvP Powerless: Some are more equal than others.

This is a rant so if you are of a nervous disposition you might wish to look away now.

The only thing that doesn’t work is PvP Power-fueled healing. At the moment, you only gain the healing benefit when in BGs and Arenas. The reason is because that we don’t want PvP gear to be super effective for PvE content (useful is fine, but super effective is not). 

That design goal is easily met for damage dealers, because they won’t benefit from PvP Power when damaging creatures. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple check for us to determine if a healer is healing damage done by PvP or PvE. In an Arena or BG you can make that assumption, but in the outdoor world you may be engaging in world PvP, or you may just be questing. 

Ghostcrawler.

No no no!

The healing component has to work everywhere out in the world because PvP, especially on PvP servers is often just a heartbeat away. Doing dailies is just an excuse for outright war and as a healer under this system you run the risk of being damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

The world should be consistent, the second you start having to have rules within rules it points to bigger issue, highlighting that the PvP Power system is flawed. This is like trying to use a bandaid to stop the Niagara Falls, futile, frustrating and something which will need fixing in the long run.

Group questing is a joke as it is, on the beta I haven’t really come across a quest that we needed more than 2 people for and I’m sure that on most quests a handful of dpsers with zero healers would have managed. As for World Bosses, long term they’ve never been taxing in themselves, the hard part is usually cross faction guild competition, i.e. World PvP. Neither of these is a good reason to start treating healers like second class citizens. The game isn’t balanced around low levels and it shouldn’t be balanced around group quests or the difficulty of a World Boss where you could technically use four separate raids.

We are considering just letting PvP Power affect healing everywhere but dungeons and raids. That would solve world PvP and only risk unbalancing group questing and world bosses. Even the world bosses probably don’t represent a huge game balance risk, given that the option always exists to get tons of players together to zerg them.

Ghostcrawler

Yes please. The other point to note is that by the time we all have enough PvP Power to make a difference, group quests and dailies are hardly going to be relevant content that the game needs any form of balancing around.

Just like Death and Taxes, World PvP will always be with us but group quests come and go. I just two manned the Crucible of Carnage in PvP gear…… oh noes, what an exploiter I am. Oh wait, it’s hardly relevant content and to be honest even if it was, it still wouldn’t make up for me dying to some random dpser who got 100 percent of the benefit of his gear whilst I only got a fraction of mine. Lets take me and Mr Harpy, we PvP a lot but we both put in the same effort in to get that gear and thus should always get the same benefit from it. Stats shouldn’t just turn on and off because you zone (unless it’s a raid/dungeon).

If Blizzard want content to present a challenge then make it hard, don’t penalise healers.

“Will you come and join the dance?”

The title is borrowed from Lewis Carroll

Real life has hit me pretty hard the last couple of weeks, what with having to relocate for my husband’s job, looking for somewhere to live in a city I’m completely unfamiliar with as well as dealing with job interviews for myself. So when I read this post by Matty from Sugar and Blood I knew I had to respond.

I was thinking it would be cool to do a “road trip” or mount-rally sort of thing. Go from here to there, and do things, and take screenshots, or something, and not fly.

Also, I would like to know your favorite places of ‘former glory’ in the game, or a moment where you did something and it was a pivotal moment for you in game, something your character would tell his/her imaginary grandchildren if it could.

—-

As a child, I would sit crossed legged at the feet of both my Grandmamma and my Great Grandmamma listening to their stories. Sometimes they would re-tell the fairy tales they’d grown up with, Baba Yaga and her chickenfooted hut chasing children through the forests was a personal favourite or they’d recount details of their own lives, stories of a world so far removed from what I knew, it might as well have been fiction. They introduced me to books I’d never heard of, in languages I couldn’t even pronounce the name of, let alone speak. Thanks to them, whenever I use eggs in the kitchen I crush the shell into tiny pieces so no witch can ever use it as a boat. I never leave a white table cloth on over night either. Little reflexes, that once learnt stay with you forever. You might not believe the why but you still do it all the same. They taught me to cook, everything from goulash to crispy apple doughnuts, yorkshire puddings flecked with herbs to delicate macaroons and left me with a life long love of poetry. Without their stories, both true and fantasy I wouldn’t be me. I think that’s partly why this prompt stood out, what we choose to tell and the reasons behind the choosing say so much about us.

—-

It’s the little things that stand out the most. The heat, oh the heat. Emerging from the last fringe of trees that shelter the border between Ashenvale and the Barrens only to be scorched by the afternoon sun. Barely out of the shade and yet already, I could feel the sweat pooling at the back of my neck, trapped by the heavy weight of my hair. There were whispers that just like the gentle Lady Moon favoured our Night Elf friends, the angry Sun sided with the hot blooded Orcs and Taurens who made these barren plains their home. Already our party was nervous, tensions rising like the temperature as we headed deeper into enemy territory.

My own father told me when I was your age that war and courtship have much in common. You and the enemy dance, one move after another. After a while, you come to know each other, to fall into a familiar pattern like lovers. Step after step, you waltz together whilst all around you, buildings fall, broken down by shot and shell. You pirouette over rotting corpses, spin over wailing women and keening children but all the while your eyes never leave your partner’s.

As a child, I thought it nothing more than the drunken musing of a man who went to war and never quite came back, not whole at any rate. There though in the Barrens, with our tents and our tensions and the heat, I found myself wondering if there was some truth in it all.

I couldn’t sleep, too hot for that. Even stripped down to my shirt I felt as if my skin was boiling. That at any moment, I’d erupt like a volcano, steam and blood spurting from the wound. Looking for some shade, I wandered a way from camp and that’s when I heard the music strike up. The first dance was beginning, it’s beat that of war drums, of callused hands smacking against stretched hides. As I listened, staring up at the full moon, the tempo changed, the beat building up and up until it just ….. stopped. Ending abruptly, it’s challenge offered, “Dare you come and join the dance?”. As I made my way back to our encampment, I knew they’d heard the music too. Our move came to the sound of armoured men, boots beating time in the dust, in the shrill shriek of swords being pulled from scabbards and in the orders being yelled.

The overture was almost at an end, soon all we were left with was screaming and then silence drifted through the Barrens like tumbleweed.

—-

When I first started playing WoW, battlegrounds and the honour system had yet to be added. The only PvP available was rough and ready and random. At the time I played on a PvE server, partly because I wasn’t sure what to expect from a PvP server, with hindsight I think I imagined some massive orgy of frenzied players drunk on blood all slaughtering each other all day long (as it turns out the reality was rather disappointing). They say that the first time is always the sweetest and as with my first kiss and first flight, my first tentative steps into player versus player combat stand out like they happened only yesterday (even though the screenshot below will be seven years old in nine days time).

At the time, Crossroads was pretty much a home from home. There was something exotic about the Barrens, a thrill of danger about it. If you got caught out, there was no where safe to run, no guards to protect you, no sanctuaries to hide behind. Sometimes we were the pursuers, swamping the town like rising flood waters, impossible to stop because of sheer numbers. Then the music changed, perhaps someone hit the flight master or maybe the guards swarmed us, either way then we’d be running for our lives. Spreading out like fragmented bones rolled from the bag. Hiding in the shadows beneath trees, running to earth like frightened rabbits as we sought safety in the tunnels. There was something fluid about the whole affair, battles were lost and won in a heartbeat. One minute we were triumphant, kings of all we surveyed, next we were desperate and hunted, resorting to ressing inside Taurens.

From Ashenvale to Orgrimmar, we weren’t constrained by anything as small or insignificant as a map, we fought, we played and then we, winners and losers danced on.

That was what drew me into WoW. I honestly think that if the only PvP I’d ever been exposed to was just that of Battlegrounds and Arenas, I wouldn’t be writing this now. Of course as with all things, those halcyon days came to end, destroyed by the introduction of battlegrounds. Our server had a much higher Alliance population and so whilst the Horde got instant queues and could premade, we had hours of sitting around outside Warsong Gulch hoping we’d get lucky. In the end, we decided to try out a PvP server and quickly discovered that this time around, we had the instant queues and the premades but still my heart belongs in the Barrens. When I finally decide that this is the end, that’s where I’ll be, sitting in my old vantage point, looking down over Crossroads remembering the good times.

Dead as a Doornail: On World PvP

Looking back at my time in Azeroth, many of my stand-out memories involve World PvP. The ebb and flow of old school Southshore / Tarren Mill battles. Advancing one minute, running for my life pursued by a pack of deathguards, three blinking mages, two shamans and an angry warrior the next. Aoeing the deathguards and then sitting down to drink and being ambushed by the obligatory rogue skulking behind enemy lines. Attacking Crossroads and being flattened by the always awesome Sergra Darkthorn (who should definitely be the next War Chief). Retreating back to Ratchet or hiding, shadowmelded and praying that the aoeing mage won’t come any closer.

So it will come as no surprise to learn that one of the things which stood out the most to me in the avalanche of MoP data we’ve just been handed was this:

With some of the changes it’s pretty enticing to get out into the world and mix it up. By accomplishing some of the outdoor PvP quests and objectives I can actually raise my weekly Conquest cap, which means I can build my PvP set that much faster. I’ve flown over some pretty intense looking outdoor battles, and I can’t help myself as I jump in and work toward increasing my cap for the week.

(taken from here).

and this:

With world PvP, what we’re trying to accomplish is identifying what will naturally emerge with world PvP and then have the game support that better. In the past, I feel our attempts to create an area for world PvP haven’t been particularly successful, at least from the standpoint of them actually feeling like world PvP. Wintergrasp was a neat zone, and it was cool for the first time to go knock down a fortress with a tank, and Tol Barad was…alright, in that it gave players things to do as far as going out there in huge numbers and taking over these bases, but it didn’t really feel like world PvP. Really, what it felt like was a big battleground, and as you saw, kind of over time, it became more and more like an instanced battleground, because that’s the direction things take when you have a natural push for objectives. 

World PvP is kind of best when it happens on its own, when the conditions of the game naturally encourage the PvP to happen. What we’re hoping to do is identify places where that naturally happens, and then give players a bonus for winning those areas–the conquest point cap will be raised. An example is, back in the day with vanilla wow, we would have done something along the lines of ‘oh hey, if you take over Southshore or Tarren Mill, we’ll give you an increase to your conquest point cap for the week.’ It gives you a reason to engage in world PvP without being really heavy-handed. Instead of ‘ok this is the only way to get your awesome armor,’ it’s ‘hey, taking over Southshore is fun.’

(taken from here).

Ignoring the fact that I am one of those few people who does like Tol Barad, I got really hopefully and excited when I first read these two posts. Thinking it over in my head, however I hit a bit of snag which brought me back to earth with a bang.

Every single server I have characters on is heavily skewed in favour of one or the other faction. Take the server I currently call home, the Horde are an endangered species. We’re lucky if peak time provides 15 of them in Tol Barad. Without some sort of artificial system in place, they will always be on the losing end of spontaneous world PvP, which makes it less attractive for them to get off their flying mounts and participate. It also makes transferring to a realm which either has a more balanced population or one in which your faction of choice has the higher numbers more attractive, especially if you take PvP seriously. This has a knock on effect, as more of the weaker faction transfer out, the issue then gets worse and worse for those left behind (on both sides).

World PvP in which you hugely outnumber your opponents or are vastly outnumbered is not particularly interesting or exciting for either side, especially if you’re on the smaller team. Attempting to balance the teams is of course one way around this issue but that comes with it’s own set of problems. Artificial constraints, whether in the shape of balanced numbers, instancing in the zone and so on is also a direct contradiction of this statement “World PvP is kind of best when it happens on its own” and neither does it contribute to the “fun” element. I find the most frustrating factor about Tol Barad right now is that I rarely get to play with the people I want to play with because we can’t ever get in together. So if Blizzard wants pure World PvP, the opposing factions congregating  somewhere and slaughtering each other for kicks, then they can’t have artificial limits but somehow they need to balance populations better. Otherwise on servers like mine (in fact all of the three servers I play on), then this is never going to work.

I remember Wintergrasp on Kazzak EU as Alliance before balancing was introduced. Our half a raid group going up against a veritable horde of Horde. If you could get a demolisher within spitting distance of the Keep it was a good day (to die repeatedly), not to mention my fond memories of being graveyard camped by two full raids. Managing to kill the cocky mage who strayed too far from his healers was considered a success in the face of such overwhelming odds. I have to admit the masochist in me actually had fun but the vast majority of people, well they just stopped participating. The rewards just weren’t good enough to inspire people to try. Which is another aspect of the issue, the second you add a reward, however insignificant, it changes the game. Back when I was first introduced to the joys of World PvP, the honour system hadn’t been introduced. We killed each other because we could and because it was fun. Like-minded people were drawn both to certain locations and to each other. Then the honour system and it’s rewards were added and suddenly people who had no interest in pre-patch World PvP were all clambering over each other to join in. Fast forward to now and rewards (whether it’s in the shape of an increased conquest cap or anything else) means that people who aren’t necessarily into World PvP without rewards will participate, further screwing the smaller faction.

Is it time to start merging servers so we can all have a balanced and happy MoP, full of boisterous and spontaneous world pvp? I don’t know but if Blizzard intend making good on this, on servers like mine something needs to change. Otherwise it’s going to be as much fun as taking the towers in the Bone Wastes is at the moment. If you actually see a Horde, you have to blink to make sure you’re not hallucinating and then, once you’ve proved they’re real, you end up letting them go because endangered species need nurturing not pounding to a messy pulp.