Playing Horde in Alterac Valley
Recently I’ve been focusing on setting up two sets of gear: a decent PvE set and a decent PvP set. As such, my usual WoW days involve doing my garrison stuff, doing my apexis daily, doing a quick LFR, and then doing some battlegrounds.
So. Alterac Valley.
I don’t know how it is on other battlegroups – or if battlegroups are even a thing anymore (probably not) – but here on Shadowburn the Horde is truly abysmal at Alterac Valley. Just utterly awful. My usual Alterac Valley experience, as Horde, involves starting out okay, thinking “hey, we’re not doing too badly this time around,” pulling up the map, and seeing a line of blue towers and graveyards all the way down the length of the entire battleground.
Then we lose soon after.
I refuse to remove AV from my list like everyone else does because I still love AV; something about it is deliciously old-school and I usually enjoy it anyway. But let’s just say I don’t ever go into it expecting a win, because we never get one.
So myself and Mister Pike were in AV yesterday, and it was going about as well as can be expected for us – Alliance had, oh, about 400 reinforcements left and us Horde had like 120. Just another average day on Horde, to be honest.
So there we were, all of us Hordies spawning back at Drek’thar (not spawning in the cave was a plus, at least), and the Alliance was getting ready to rush in and finish the job. Then Mr. Pike said something in chat that struck a nerve. He said “I don’t care if we lose, I’m going to make the Alliance fight for every last inch.”
And for whatever weird reason, everyone in the battleground chat started to agree. Person after person piped up about how “oldschool” that mentality was, how “Horde” it was… and how we should definitely do that.
And so the Alliance never got to Drek’thar. Not once. It was all forty of us at our choke point vs. all forty of them, and it was glorious. An absolute bloodbath. We were under no delusions that we would win this battle of attrition, of course. We were realists. It was already a loss.
But you better believe that we were gonna make it take like twenty minutes.
For those twenty minutes we gave the Alliance hell. We refused to give them the satisfaction of a quick, easy victory, because screw that. It was oldschool AV at its finest, and battleground chat was full of people talking how awesome this was and how it was taking all of us back. There were even GGs going around when it was all over and our reinforcements finally, inevitably, dwindled down to zero.
And that, my friends, is why I still love AV. It’s why I’m gonna keep queuing for it even if we’re terrible at it. I’m looking forward to a few matches later today.
Because win or lose, it’s Alterac Feckin’ Valley, and if there was ever a truly legendary battleground, then this one is it.
Gather round, whippersnappers, Granny Pike’s got a story… see… I bet you all don’t remember the war! Yes, the Frostwolf-Stormpike war. Hey now, none o’ this crying and “But I learned this in schoooool”. Your teachers probably weren’t there in the trenches like I was!
See, I was a part of this war effort quite often, and the brackets always ended in a good even number. 51-60, 61-70, and then in Wrath of the Lich King, 71-80. That’s tradition, it’s always how it’s been done, dadgumit!
So then I retired from the wars and went off to fight dragons and the like instead. Now now, Granny Pike’s not done tellin’ her Alterac Valley story yet.
Today I decided to go back there: I have a couple of level 60s now, see, and I wanted to see how my beloved Nightfall Horde 51-60 bracket was faring. Not good, unfortunately. I can tell you the reason though, it starts with an “E” and ends with an “verybody rerolled Alliance Death Knights”. But now I’m just ramblin’.
I get into this battle and I’m all ready and rarin’ to go and these grasshoppers all start up with some nonsense about how “The end is near! The patch ruined my AV!” because level 60s are in their bracket. Now I may be old, but I know my AV, so I says to ‘em, “What’re you kids flapping your gums about, that’s how it’s always been!” But they didn’t listen to me, or… perhaps they were already halfway to Tower Point because my wheelchair is Not a Very Fast Mount.
Regardless, I decided to leave Alterac Valley for the youngsters and consulted the Internet for an answer. It seems as though at some point between now and when I last played AV in the good ol’ days, they had in fact changed the bracket to a top level of 59, and this latest patch was just now changing it back.
And you know what I say to that? I say GOOD! You don’t go changin’ around a classic with newfangled rules! That’s just wrong!
*at this point Pike is waving her cane around frantically*
Ah, well, I’ll let you young’uns go now. I have a lawn to chase kids off of. Tell ya what, come back tomorrow and I’ll bake cookies. …if I can figure out how, anyway…
*Pike hobbles off, mumbling to herself*
A small sample of my thoughts from yesterday, after trying out the New AV on both Tawyn and Lunapike:
“So lemme get this straight… on my Alliance character’s battlegroup, Alliance has apparently collectively decided that “Zerg Drek” is the new key to victory, leading to games that are a mere ten minutes long which usually end in an Alliance victory…
…and on my Horde character’s battlegroup, Alliance still sucks at AV.
…this is the happiest day of my life *tears of joy*”
Momentary euphoria aside, the lag is horrendous on Bloodlust right now. I have never seen battleground lag that bad. In one game I was kicked off the server right as the “All in” call was given for Drek, I couldn’t connect for about ten or fifteen minutes, and when I finally managed to get in… I was in the same spot I’d been when I disconnected and Alliance won about ten seconds later. Took 15 minutes to kill Drek even with the Relief Hut. DoTs became the key to victory for most people, because they would at least keep ticking when you couldn’t move or cast spells or attack anything. People were joking that Horde had decided to revolt and use an “Alliance lag mod”, though I think things were just as bad for the poor Hordies.
The face of AV really has changed though, it seems, in Tawyn’s battlegroup anyway. Ever since the last time they changed AV, Horde has completely and thoroughly dominated AV in our battlegroup. But now… well, I played probably eight games or so yesterday, and six were wins (and I sort of think the other two would have been wins if it weren’t for the lag– in both cases, we had Drek down to about 30% health, or less). No more people spending the entire battleground arguing about what “surefire strategy” was the one that worked. No more 45-minute long painful battles of being killed over and over as you watched the Alliance reinforcements dwindle to zero while Horde still had 497 or something. Nope. Completely different.
Now the second I get into a AV, battleground chat has typically been taken over by one or two people saying “Rush to Relief Hut, take towers as you go, capture the Relief Hut, and kill Drek. Do not stop to fight Horde.” over and over. And there are no questions. No arguments (other than from the occasional person who is perhaps playing AV for the first time since the new patch). Everybody sticks to the plan. Nobody takes Iceblood Graveyard (which is still a surreal concept to me. No… Iceblood…?) Nobody even thinks about Galv. A couple people take towers along the way but for the most part you get some 35 people at Frostwolf Relief Hut and then four minutes later you’ve got 35 people in Drek’s fort. It seems as though the Horde has a similar strategy going on; there were many games where I never saw even a single Horde player and the BG announcements made it clear that they were busy doing the exact same thing we were: rushing to the end to see who could kill the boss first. And it most cases, it was Alliance who managed to pull it off.
In some ways, this is all really very ridiculous. I remember saying rather incredulously on Vent after a couple games: “I only have 3 honorable kills but over 1000 honor” and then the similarly incredulous replies from my guildies (which resulted in everybody going to try AV themselves, and getting the same result as I had). To me, it seems as though the new “Horse Race AV” (as I’ve heard a few people call it now) has sort of defeated the entire purpose of PvP. I can’t help but wonder how long this is going to last.
So it’s a bittersweet victory; yes, we win now, yes, I’m getting tons of marks and honor, but the victory is meaningless and hollow.
At least there are still epic battles on my hordie’s battlegroup. The Horse Race mentality has not spread there (yet, anyway) and Horde still wins by 400 reinforcements after super long matches. Victories take longer but it’s much more fun. (Oh, and no lag.)
How has everybody else’s AV changed? Or has it for you?
I apologize for the lack of updates these past few days. I have a semi-valid reason, I promise:
It all started a week or two back. I think I’ve mentioned before that our guild is interesting in that it is a newer guild with quite a few people who are all in the same level range– currently mostly mid-60s (and now 70).
We have also discovered that we like instancing together, a lot. We make a very good little team.
Anyways. A week or two back somebody mentioned something about Serpentshrine Cavern. Someone else said “Yeah, it’ll be a loooong time before we get to that.” “Wait, isn’t that like… a 25-main raid?” “Yep.”
And then somebody said it. “You know… we should become a raiding/roleplaying combo guild.”
And everybody liked that idea.
So here we are, Entelechy, a guild full of roleplayers who have never done end-game before (or even hit 70 before), slowly keying up for Karazhan a year behind everybody else, and thinking we should do raids.
Crazy? Maybe. Awesome? Yes. We’re gonna try it.
Now to why I haven’t made any posts for a few days. Basically it was decided that if we’re going to be a raiding guild, we need a Ventrilo server. (We have also wanted one for a while just to mess around and have fun with each other.) So we got one set up a few days ago. Problem: Pike runs Linux. Ventrilo does not play well with Linux.
Cue a few-day-long geekathon where Pike desperately tries to get Ventrilo and Linux playing nicely. Hardly any WoW. Just a lot of Dr. Pepper and keyboard pounding inbetween work shifts.
The sad news is that the whole attempt was pretty futile; it turns out there is some weird problem going on in my computer where microphones are not registered. I was able to get Ventrilo up and running, simultaneously with WoW with no slowdown, even… but it was pretty pointless if nobody could hear me talk, even if I could hear them. And the problem was complicated enough that I think it’s beyond my meager abilities, at least for now. In the meantime, I still wanted a way to get on Vent so we could start practicing instancing while voice-chatting.
…so, I took a deep breath, sucked it up, and stuck a little Windows XP partition on my hard drive. I copied the WoW folder over, installed Vent, and… there ya go. I now have two different WoW installations, one on Linux and one on Windows. As much as it pains me to say it… I logged into Tawyn on Windows today. My initial impression was that it was pretty much exactly the same as on Linux with Wine. My second impression was that something was off somehow, which I couldn’t quite put my foot on… the mouse was moving differently, or something. But, I’m dealing with it.
I’m on Linux now and it will remain my main operating system. I’ll hop over to Windows when I’m instancing or get bored and want to dork around with the guildies for a little bit. But the rest of my WoW’ing and computer’ing in general will remain on Linux. And hopefully I can figure out the microphone problem at some point, and come back to “pure” Linux.
So that is why I haven’t been around much.
I have one more story to tell. There is a level 70 hunter in my guild who is… maybe just a little less geared than I am, and his spec is similar to mine (though not the same– there are a few notable and interesting differences). We both have the same ranged and melee weapons, except I’ve got Savagery on my axe and he doesn’t. He’s got a windserpent and I’ve got a cat.
We dueled today about… six times. And he won four of them. Rather resoundingly, too, a few times.
We had a good chat afterwards about the results and how we thought they may have come about. Because the duels really seemed to be going either way. To be completely honest he is a very good hunter and it caught me off guard. I’d never really seen him play his hunter before, usually he’s tanking for us on his warrior. So I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Anyways we compared specs and gear and strategies and had a chat. Here are my thoughts:
-Windserpents seriously do this thing where they pop up next to you and take you by surprise and throw you off, that’s what they seemed to do to me anyway. His strategy is to dump as much focus onto his Windserpent as he can so it can spam Lightning Breath, so I was on the receiving end of that, too. Oh, and the thing about the big wings… yeah. So hard to target the other guy when something’s flapping in your face. Definitely time to bring Tux to 70 (he’s halfway through 67, currently) and make him the Official PvP Pet.
- He’s a draenei and would use Gift of the Naaru on himself right when the duel began. He also has Spirit Bond. So he was regen’ing health the whole time.
- I kept trying to use my attack-power-boosting trinket without realizing I’d forgotten to equip it. Whoopsie… *shifty eyes*
- Also, he somehow has a different strategy than most hunters I go up against in PvP, but I’ve still got to figure out exactly what it is (clearly more research is required!)
Anywho, why am I telling you all this? Because if you play a draenei hunter and/or you have a windserpent these are awesome new PvP tips for you! I’m sort of jealous of the Gift of the Naaru thing. Granted, he told me a new tip about Shadowmelding at the beginning of the duel to annoy people while your pet eats them (haha) so it’s a fair tradeoff.
After the duels though, I was feeling the urge to hone my skills because he’d won more times than I’d won and it was inspiring me to PvP and get better. So I went to AV.
Hey look, Alliance on Bloodlust actually won a “New AV” game and it was the daily too… yes I know, don’t go into shock… but aside from that, I’ve got 239 honorable kills. And that’s with the omnipresent Valanos’s Longbow. I can’t wait for an upgrade. That’s what I’m saving up Honor for next, that ridiculous Crossbow. I can’t help myself. I’m in love.
Hmm. Sorry that this post sort of rambled on and on and covered at least three different subjects. That’s what happens when I put off making a post for too long. In summary: I like my guild, I like my Linux (honest!) and, when it’s not frustrating the heck out of me, I like PvP.
And two more quick things: Armory is working again! My unbuffed crit is so very very close to 20%.
And a HUGE SHOUTOUT to Moonglo for coming to visit me on Silver Hand. You guys are all great.
…you’re fourth in the healing charts at the end of an AV match:
This particular AV match was a very good one, too. Highlights included a rogue and I taking on and successfully capturing Frostwolf Graveyard by ourselves (thanks to sap, some cleverly placed traps, and Tux amazingly managing to tank the 61 elite for a very long time), a very close race from both factions to killing the final boss, and my personal favorite part, ding’ing 61 mid-game in the 51-60 bracket (you’ll notice my level in the screenshot, heehee).
It’s moments like those when I really love battlegrounds.
I was asked a couple questions regarding Linux (and my desktop wallpaper too, haha) and I will be addressing those in my next post. Thank you giving me the questions and the opportunity to answer them, and do feel free to keep asking them!