December 31, 2007

I Want This Nightmare to be Over!

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.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to my world. This is every single day on my server. I got into an Arathi Basin last night and one guy asked, "What is the plan?" - The Raid Leader replied with "Hold one flag, kill as many as you can and let's get a badge." WTF???

I used to be one of those people who simply believed that Blizzard made the Horde better, and in a sense they did. If you match racial ability to racial ability, the Alliance got the short end of the stick. I still hate the Nelf racial ability of moving fast when you're dead. It doesn't even help in BGs because you have to wait 2 minutes to body-rez. Boolsheet!

Anyway, now I know the Alliance on my server simply suck. The server is over-populated with Alliance players by a big margin and sadly, the majority of them are kids. No, I'm not saying that kids can't be good players, I am simply saying that the majority of them are not.

This is such a touchy subject with me I could just go on and on, so I'll stop here for now.

Anonymous said...

Ah, we share the same battlegroup. I was likely with you in one of those losing AVs. I eventually just gave up on completing that daily PvP.

To me, AV just keeps getting worse. I long for the old days of many hours spent in a single AV, battling it out, upgrading NPCs, summoning giants... It just a Horde win-fest now.

56K Noob said...

I'm on Bloodlust, and the Alliance get owned in the face by the hard-core PvP guys on Horde. Fortunately for me, I'm on Horde so we win just about every AV - but the disadvantage is that Alliance are boycotting AV meaning 2+ hour queues.

On to your point... I think Tobold's idea has merit, but we need to disembark from typical thinking "Karazhan" to get to where we need to be.

Hellgate: London allows very good group play with absolutely numnbuts without it being a painful experience; in HGL I cruise around with AutoParty always on. The reason, IMO, that it works so well is because HGL doesn't try and be advanced with a WoW-style raiding system and highly scripted bosses; there's just waves of enemies in dungeons with some randomly distributed boss mobs.

I think in order for Tobold's idea to work (which Bliz will never implement, as it will impact their much-touted top-end raiding game) we'd need to depart form the standard scene of raiding as it is now; not Attumen and his cronies, but something more straightforward like AV or HGL.

Cassettes said...

Man 26 straight loses to get a win? That's awful, I can't say I feel your pain since I'm in a a battlegroup where the Horde seem to know what their doing most of the time without much arguing in the /BG chat.

Kayllisti said...

Hey I don't know why it is but I play Alliance on Rexxar and 11-12 losing games before one win. Maybe it's that bad for the horde too, but somehow I doubt it...

Tobold said...

Of course a PUG would wipe on Attumen if you left Karazhan as it is. Making raiding PUGable not only consists of creating some sort of queueing system like in battlegrounds, but also in "nerfing" the PUG-Karazhan to a level where the average (that is really, really bad) PUG has a good chance of killing Attumen. And yes, that encounter would be trivially easy for a "real" raiding group. They would get "heroic" Karazhan, which is like Karazhan is today.

Girl Meets WoW said...

I don't think anyone's arguing over whether a pug should or shouldn't wipe on Kara as it currently exists. My point is that even if you tune down Kara, you'd have to tune it down to an absurd level in order to compensate for the complete lack of coordination, focus, or raid balance that would result with the "click button to auto-join raid" system you're proposing.

I wasn't suggesting it was telling that a level 70 BG-style pug would wipe in Kara. It's telling that they would wipe in BWL.

Relmstein said...

I think Blizzard missed the train on casual raiding already. From the sound of the going ons over at Warhammer they have huge epic PvE raids which people can join through some sort of queue system. The rewards are handed out once the final boss is killed and are based on how much you contributed to the fight.

If it works out well we could easily see Warhammer literally consume every casual player out of World of Warcraft. I'm a huge fan of WoW at the moment but I've burned out on raiding back in the Everquest era and have been disappointed with the huge amount of time spent on zones that I'll never see.

Alevas said...

Basically, I know it's not a "raid" per se... but we DO have a system for pugging like pvp - heroic badges.

Aigarius said...

AV is bad, really bad.

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