Category Archives: battlegrounds

Mercenary Mode is a Band-Aid (But It’s a Good Band-Aid)

So, the big news!  Remember not so long ago when I was lamenting the faction imbalance in PvP lately?  Well have no fear, Mercenary Mode is here, which lets you queue up for the opposite faction in order to alleviate pesky things like queue times.

Although this doesn’t address whatever the core, underlying problems are– and I suspect racials have to do with a lot of it– I think this will probably do a decent enough job at helping to treat the symptoms, at least.  I don’t really suspect us Hordies will be able to try the faction hop anytime soon, since it’s the Alliance who has most of the queue problems, but hey, maybe with some Alliance on our side we can actually win AV now?  Maybe?  Like, just once a week?

Honestly my biggest question right now has to do with battleground chat.  It’s always been a toxic place; one that I put up with, rather than leave, just because it’s nice to be able to call out “incs” and be able to actually talk tactics on the rare occasions that I’m not making liberal use of the ignore feature.  Presumably now you will be able to communicate with the opposing faction and I foresee a lot of dumb playground fights and namecalling from both sides.

You know who else forsees?  ARCHMAGE TIMEAR!
You know who else forsees? ARCHMAGE TIMEAR!

Ah well.  More people to sacrifice to Ignore for the Ignore God, I suppose.

The REAL question now becomes “Is Ashran fixable?”  (Probably not)

This Is Why I Don’t PvP Anymore

So before I start on this, general disclaimer that I might not be getting the full picture, that this relies on third party graphs and datamining, and so forth.  But I feel like this is fairly accurate, based on my own experiences and what I’ve heard from others.

Basically I’ve discovered a nifty website that tracks battleground statistics and to no one’s great surprise (and especially not mine), us Hordies are getting demolished in basically every way.  Especially in my dear Alterac Valley.


Now I used to do quite a few battlegrounds, but I haven’t done any in a while.  Why?  Well, it’s simple: constantly losing isn’t fun.  Constantly losing isn’t fun for anybody, which is probably why the Alliance is now running into battleground queue problems.  Because I’d guess a lot of players are like me and stopped trying once it became clear that things weren’t improving.

So what can be done to fix this?  Well, I’m no serious PvPer so I’m not going to sit here and theorize on this when I’m sure others can do it better.  But it certainly does need fixing!  Until then I’m just gonna do other stuff and dream of Alterac Valleys in days gone by.


Let me tell you a story, a story of a madcap Alterac Valley…

…which happened just yesterday.

Mr. Pike and I had finished up our Apexis daily and queued up for some random battlegrounds to work on our PvP gear, as we are wont to do.  We did a couple of IoCs, we did some Gilneas thing which was basically a mini-Arathi-Basin, nothing special.

Then, finally, we got into that king of all battlegrounds, Alterac Valley.

Alterac_Valley_loading_screenAlterac Valley is not really ever the Horde’s shining moment, as I have previously discussed.  We always go in expecting a loss, but it’s fine because I’m a huge nostalgia nerd and love AV and always will.

We went into this one and were promptly greeted by an adorable little blood elf mage in quest greens who had decided to take charge of this battleground and told us all to defend Galv.

And for some reason – maybe because we were battle-weary and never win this thing anyway – a ton of us decided to go with his plan.

So the battle started and probably a good 12 or 15 of us, instead of continuing northward with everyone else, ran into Galv’s hut by Tower Point to defend him.

The first Alliance to show up trickled in and promptly got destroyed.

More of them showed up soon after – there were some forty of them, after all – and eventually we all went down but not without a fight and not without thoroughly confusing the Alliance, who were now busy “making strange gestures” at us in response to our unusual tactics.

WoWScrnShot_042115_171222We all respawned at the nearby graveyard but instead of heading up north, we followed the Alliance south.  We bothered them, hounded them like a thorn in their side.  They had no idea what was going on – and frankly, neither did I, upon realizing that the Horde was taking bunkers and we were preventing the Alliance from doing likewise.  Not right away, at least.

Our intrepid quest-green-clad leader kept offering support and direction in battleground chat.  Much of it was unconventional, but as many of us replied in rather bewildered fashion – it was working.

Due to the nature of the entire plan and how odd it was, we did eventually run into some snags.  For example, we eventually were all cornered back down at our home base.  But once again, another miracle happened – the people who had headed north snagged Stormpike Aid Station, and suddenly we were all respawning up north.

At this point it was just a race to down the boss.  I honest to god thought we had it but the Alliance beat us to it.  Another loss – and yet it didn’t matter because it was the best AV I’d played in years.  It was tense, it was close, it was weird.

All thanks to you, Mr. Mage in Quest Greens.  May we meet again in the near future!

It’s 2015 and I finally figured out how Isle of Conquest works

Isle of Conquest was one of those weird battlegrounds that they added in Wrath of the Lich King that I never got.  It was kind of like Alterac Valley, but kind of like Wintergrasp?  What?  Like at least when Eye of the Storm was added I understood that one.

40181318Endlessly confused, I removed IoC from my battleground queue for many, many years, until finally adding it back in recently because I realized that during my WoW hiatus Blizzard decided to add several new battlegrounds that I hate more.

So anyways today I wound up in IoC and lo and behold I ACTUALLY GET IT.   I don’t think you guys understand the gravity of that statement.  Like I still don’t understand most of it, but at least I get the part where you parachute into the other guy’s base and kill their big bad NPC.

And you know what?

That’s freaking awesome.

Well, time to go queue for more battlegrounds.  And lose 90% of them.  Such is life in the Horde.

For We Shall Make Them Fight For Every Last Inch

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.

I Shouldn’t Press My Luck

So I was feeling pretty happy about hitting 20k words (exactly!) in my NaNoWriMo today so I decided to dink around in WoW for an hour or two.

The first cool thing that happened was getting WSG for my random battleground, seeing that our ragtag group of team members was up against a pre-made, deciding to stick around anyway… aaaand then notching up a win. Against the pre-made. I giggled.

The second cool thing that happened was that I decided to clear out my quest log before Cataclysm so I was doing this random quest down in Howling Fjord and I happened to stumble upon this huge gigantic elite polar bear as part of the quest. So obviously I tamed him.

So there I was, doing pretty good for a random WoW break, so I hopped onto my Netherdrake and sort of aimlessly started to fly around in a general Northerly direction. I had the music on (which is rare) and it was nice and calm and atmospheric and I was kind of thinking about the good times I’d enjoyed with this expansion and how it was almost over.

And this is when the third cool thing happened. See, I somehow wound up in Zul’drak during this little jaunt, and a little voice popped into my brain. The little voice said, “Hey, isn’t there a spirit beast around here or something?”

And I said, “Hey, I think there is! Let’s turn on Track Beasts for the heck of it.”

So I turned on Track Beasts.

And the second I did, this little yellow dot appeared on my minimap.

I moused over it and it said “Gondria”.


This is, believe it or not, my very first Spirit Beast. I know Gondria is sort of seen as the Poor Man’s Loque, but I’m already in love with my Shiny Ghost Kitty who, because of his heal, has already proven himself to live through things that would have killed any of my other pets. (Read: the last boss in Gundrak who does that thing, I’m not sure what it is, that KILLS PETS DEAD.)

I had to release my newly-tamed polar bear to get Gondria. But don’t worry. I went back and got the same bear again afterwards. :3

All Your Basin Are Belong To Us

So feeling nostalgic after my last post, I decided to give Arathi Basin a whirl on my level 46 hunter. AB is arguably my favorite battleground; WSG is a sentimental favorite but it’s in a masochistic sort of way and I’m sort of afraid to go in there now that it’s changed, AV used to have that epic feel but has turned into a zergfest, and EotS… well, we won’t go there.

Turns out the Intimidation + Bestial Wrath combo on a clothie is just as fun as it was years ago, and turns out pouncing on an unsuspecting hunter and Wing Clip + melee’ing him to death while he stands there stunned is still absolutely hilarious.

Gosh I love PvPing as a hunter. Nothing else compares, really. Healing is funnish and a nice change of pace but it’s nothing compared to huntering. I always wonder what people are on about when they say hunters need a buff in PvP– to be fair, I know they’re talking about arenas, and I’m talking about lowbie bracket battlegrounds, and there is a huge difference– but gosh I feel OP, and I luuuurve it. I basically never die, even when taking on groups of people alone. Really the only downfall is that you run out of mana far too quickly, and then regenning mana takes pretty much twice as long. >.>

So yeah, this AB. I went in and we were getting the whole “Not enough players… this BG will end in five minutes” dealy. I looked at the scorechart; Alliance had a full 15 players and us Hordies had five or six or something. I contemplated leaving, anticipating a five-cap stomp, but then said “ya know what, screw it,” and ran off to Lumber Mill.

We took Farm and took Lumber Mill, and for several minutes I was the lone person defending Lumber Mill as everyone else ran off to Blacksmith. This is where I single-handedly took on groups of two or three Alliance who kept trying to come attack me and who all failed miserably. Did I mention I love being a hunter in battlegrounds?

Anyways, we were getting more and more Hordies by the minute and finally fulled out to a full 15 vs. 15 AB. We were on a roll at this point, Alliance had no chance. Like there were a good six of them defending Mines, so we did a two-pronged attack on them, two or three of us attacking from each side, and just nabbed it out from under their nose. By the time we won we had about double the resources that they had. It was hilarious.


Almost as fun as an instance, a nice break from questing, and you get XP. Yay! I love you Arathi Basin.

Good news everyone!

goodnews At some point between the last time I seriously PvP’d (’bout a year ago) and now, Bloodlust Alliance figured out how to win Alterac Valley!


…okay, so, while that is good news, it’s probably not the good news you came here to read. Fortunately, I have other good news. The latest rumblings on the PTR are the impending change to Animal Handler. This talent has changed much through the years. Initially it gave your pet some extra Hit, which was rendered obsolete with hit scaling. Then it gave your pet expertise, and that, too, is about to be made obsolete. So now what’s it gonna do? Increase your pet’s Attack Power by 5%/10%.

For the record, that is awesome. And though I have no hard numbers, if Blizz delivers that plus expands on pet scaling like they said they wanted to in time for 3.2, combined with the impending weird Kill Command reduction on Catlike Reflexes and the Wild Hunt buff… I’m guessing that Beast Mastery is pretty much “fixed”.

Gotta say I am a bit worried, though. Remember why Blizz nerfed us last time? A lot of it was because pets were doing over 50% of our damage and they said that was too much. To which I actually agree– I love having a pet doing, oh… 35, 40% of my damage, but anything over 50% makes me too uncomfortable. Anyways, Blizz nerfed the pets, while forgetting to, well, really buff the hunter to counterbalance it.

Anyways, with all these new changes I don’t see any way that a Beast Master pet won’t be back up to 50% or more of a Beast Master hunter’s total DPS, and I worry that Blizz will have their nerfbat at the ready again. But who can say, really? It’s one of those things where we’ll just have to wait and see. At least the Blues know we could use some love, and that’s always a good sign.

Once Upon an Alterac Valley

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?

Seeing It From The Other Side

So what’s a hunter do the second she hits level 51?

Head to the 51-60 AV bracket, of course.

Not bad for being the lowest level they letcha in. I think so anyways.

It seems like it was just yesterday when Tawyn hit her early-50s and snagged herself Ice Barbed Spear. Well, today it looks like yet another of my hunters has achieved that rite of passage.


It only took two games to do it, too. Just two! On Tawyn it took like eleven.

It was so weird playing this battleground from the Horde side for the very first time. It sort of felt like Bizarro-AV. To be honest I still can’t figure out Horde’s secret for winning. I was sort of hoping it would all be made clear, but honestly it seems like when I’m playing Horde we do the exact same thing as Alliance (only in reverse) and yet we win heartily rather than lose decidedly. Very odd. Clearly this requires further study.

Gosh I love leveling hunters.