image by Jeff Kubina
I was feeling some empathy for my old friend Aran today while trying to complete today's daily battleground quest. Alterac Valley was the name of the game today, and for some reason the Alliance just could not get their act together in the Shadowburn battlegroup.
It was like the first day of 2.3 all over again: no one knew how to play the new AV. I started the morning out with turtles.
"WTF u nubs take SH!" Stonehearth Graveyard, it seemed to my fellow puggers, was the lynchpin by which we would halt the onslaught of horde and win the day. This lasted for about four games.... then I gave up and made some oatmeal. Seriously people, your pug AV strategy is "hold SH"? What are you, nuts?
This afternoon brought me back for more pain, in the form of spreading ourselves too thin, favoring Galv over anything with, say, a timer on it, and leaving no defenders on our only graveyard. Now, I'm no AV wizard (oh wait -- yes I am! *pew pew*), but the lack of basic competence was enough to make me question my resolve ten times over.
See, I've been trying to complete the BG daily every day, rain or shine, and then quit after that unless I find an org group to play with. It's a nice strategy that lets me net at least 500 honor a day; often a lot more, since pugs are rarely successful on the first try. Up until now, this has meant I play a moderate number of BGs every evening on my priest and mage -- maybe six a day, on average.
Today took me 23 games to get one win on my priest. I don't think I can bear swapping over to my mage to do it all again.
On a related note, in between BGs I've been reading through my blog roll and trying to catch up on all the stuff I missed while at my parents' house for a week. Sometime around AV #19 I hit Tobold's proposal to make raiding more like PvP. Like so many of the posts Tobold writes, it's carefully argued and thought provoking (seriously, head over there -- even if you disagree wholeheartedly with him, there's food for thought), but when I consider the proposed outcome, I can't help but find it ludicrous.
As a voice for the casual WoW player, he's musing on the possibility of creating a new level of randomly-puggable PvE raiding with the same sort of guaranteed return on your time invested that you get with the PvP rewards system. That is, easy versions dungeons where killing anything would get you points or tokens that you could grind to turn in for PvE loot.
Now, maybe I'm just too far removed from the so-called casual masses of WoW, but a pure battleground-like pugging of even an incredibly nerfed Karazhan sounds horribly painful. I mean, let's face it. You can debate the merits of resilience and AFK mechanics all you want, but at the most basic level, battlegrounds do not require rebalancing. That is, even if you throw two horribly unbalanced, incompetent and disorganized teams together, someone is still going to win.
The same can't be said for raiding, even in a nerfed form. A pure pug of level 70s, even a balanced one, could easily fail at BWL from lack of coordination alone. Making raiding more accessible isn't a bad thing, but if there's one thing running battlegrounds daily has taught me, it's that the true lowest common denominator in WoW can be staggeringly low.
With this in mind, battleground-style pugging just isn't a good solution. Unless of course you'd like to go through 23 different raid groups just to get Attumen down on a bad day. But if you ask me, that doesn't sound like fun for anyone.
December 31, 2007
image by Jeff Kubina