The Losing AV gives Zero Honour Fallacy

Author’s note: I have quit playing World of Warcraft before patch 3.0.5. Content in this article is unlikely to be relevant anymore and will not be updated.

Every other month or so, there’s another common QQ theme, and the current one is about AV post 2.3 -  the complaint that losing nets you next to no honour, making queuing up pointless.

Now I’m holding the opinion that AV needs fixes, both in its design and more generally through improvements with the AFK mechanism, but what strikes me with this current wave of forum angst is that the current belief prevails so much people don’t even put a honest effort into the game anymore.

Undeniably, the heavy strategic weight the captain has in current AV is what usually decides the battle, and horde do have an unfair advantage on their side, as much as alliance has one with the positioning of Dun Baldar’s NPC and the bridge. Nonetheless, in the first weeks after 2.3, especially at the later hours (past 1am) when you’d find a bit more of the dedicated PvPers in any given game, it wasn’t unusual to have the losing side actually get more bonus honour than the winners.

The key being, of course, to play the new AV instead of the old one.

It has been said by many people in the blogosphere but bears repeating again. Today’s AV requires a combination of offense and defense to score honour. Rushing the enemy general (made harder with patch 2.3.2) actually nets little points, whereas downing the general, capping towers and defending yours is where the money lies.

“But Gwaendar, it’s easy for you to say, you’re horde and you have Galv!”, some will object. And there’s some truth to that.

But let’s think in broader pictures. For horde, defending Galv during the first 10-15 minutes is one of the most important keys to victory, for two reasons. First, it breaks the alliance assault and scatters their forces along a fragmented GY line, making a Drek + 2 marshalls rush more difficult to pull off. Second, it creates traction – Balinda usually goes down within the first 5 minutes, and the difference in reinforcements puts alliance under pressure. Add Stonehearth Tower which caps within roughly the same timeframe, and at that point, the score is usually around 400-580 in favour of horde.

That’s not entirely trivial to turn around, and at that point, often alliance just plain gives up and leave the game in the hands of horde.

But let’s look at the scoring system in a little bit more detail:

  • Capping an enemy tower or killing a general nets you 62.7 bonus honour when it happens
  • Killing the general earns 83.6 bonus honour
  • A wing commander reaching his base nets 20.9 honour

Here’s the other important part, though, what happens when the victory screen goes up:

  • A surviving Captain is worth 41.8 honour
  • Each tower you defended is woth 41.8 honour as well

So how do you capitalize on that?

  1. First, write Balinda off. She’s literally undefensible, that’s just a fact of the game.
  2. Unless there happens to be a well-geared PvE tank available, killing the general with more than one marshalls is now quite challenging. Capitalize on that from the start. The horde offensive will rush Balinda and then move on to SH GY and towards Dun Baldar. The SH Bunker cap, however, rarely gets defended by more than 3-4 horde. Make sure SH doesn’t fall
  3. Don’t charge Galvanger when the game starts, you can’t mirror what horde does. Instead, the objectives during the first 10-12 minutes should include defending SH Bunker, capping SF and IB GY, and burning Tower Point. Mount a defense of the Dun Baldar Bunkers, and if you get a chance to defend IW, do it. Frostwolf GY and putting pressure on FW towers will help
  4. When the game clocks above 10-12 minutes, the Galvanger defense tends to get bored and leave. Half of them will move to offense, the rest will go to FW keep and try to defend the towers. Now is the time to go kill Galvanger, and burning IB tower at the same time. If you have IB GY, FW GY and SF is either yours or disputed, horde will rez either at the Relief Hut (and will stick to FW towers and the GY), or at SH / SP and tend to join the offense.
  5. From there, react to the situation. Your objective should be that when one side runs out of reinforcements, you have burned 3 towers and defended at least 2 bunkers.

Obviously, once AV can be joined as a group again, coordinating all this becomes much easier. Still, taking the lead and announcing a short battle plan before the game starts, then driving one objective after the other will get 10-15 people to follow, because most people are just content to follow directions from anyone pretending to know what he’s doing. If at the end of the game you scroll back to /bg chat and the majority of the communication is insults, you know why you lost. If it’s timers, objectives and situation reports, congratulations, you were in a good AV PUG and you will have gotten substantial bonus honour even in defeat.

And another thing. I don’t know how this plays out on other Battlegroups than EU-Blackout on horde, but if this one is any indication…  Remember that WoW has integrated voice chat nowadays? Yes, nobody uses it, and in any given PUG, 75% won’t even hear it. Still, try out just giving calm commands and objectives to the 10 other people who will listen, and add the other 10 who will read what you type. Horde has 10-15 afkers per game these days, so you suddenly lead a coordinated group of 20 against 25 people split in two barely coordinated groups.

Theorycraft, since I’m horde? Sure. But give it a shot. If you pull it all off, you will get 334 bonus honour from the game. Horde would get 314 provided they killed Vann. In about 20 minutes. That’s hardly “zero honour” in my book…

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4 Responses to The Losing AV gives Zero Honour Fallacy

  1. NoName (4 comments) says:

    I played Horde for 2 years and rolled Alliance a few months back, so I feel I have a pretty good perspective on AV. Honestly, as Alliance, I have rarely lost an AV. While I think the changes with 2.3 were intended to put a focus on defense, the prevailing thought (and the one I agree with most) continues to be that quick games net the most honor for everyone.
    If you presume that both sides rush to captain and general (and they usually do) then often both sides end up with similar “position” before the end of the game. In other words, everyone capping each other’s towers and so forth. Very rarely, and only with AV pre-mades, do I see a 0 honor game.
    In a rush game, the Alliance has the edge because of the bridge and NPC positioning. I’ve played both sides and there is no arguing that this is imbalanced. The Horde either needs to a) slow them down, or b) cap faster. The “cap faster” technique requires several people who know the correct path and are persuasive enough in chat to get people to try it. Typically, when I played Horde, I was 50-50 at AV which was statistically much better than I think most Horde experienced and I credit much of that to being able to get the Horde somewhat organized in an attempt to “cap faster.”
    The “slow them down” strategy requires defense. Arguably, defending Galv will work simply because most Alliance PUGs go right after Galv. The best Alliance strat is actually to run right for the Relief Hut and have a couple here and there drop out to take IB and TP towers. While Galv is actually the most defensible spot for the Horde, it has no strategic value.
    An Alliance offense smart enough to recognize that Galv is defended, should simply skip them. By contrast, IB graveyard is actually the most important strategic point for the Horde. It’s the first of only two choke points the Horde have and is the equivalent of Stormpike GY for the Alliance. The Alliance rarely let SP go without a fight, yet Horde consistently give it up in favor of defending Galv. It really only takes a few people skipping Galv to turn the tide here, since popping IB means a longer run back for the Horde defense. Still, if you can fragment the Alliance offense at Galv, it might have been enough to slow them down.
    On the other side of the coin, if you are Alliance and your O gets bottled up at IB or busted up at Galv, then you need to make sure you have 10-15 people at the bridge on defense because the “rush edge” just swung in the Horde’s favor. You don’t need to defend forever, just long enough to cap the FW towers and Relief Hut. FW graveyard while easily taken, has very little strategic value other than to make a longer run for any Horde defense.
    In terms of honor / hour, the two factions are roughly similar. As Horde, my queue time was “at most” 3-5 minutes. As Alliance, the queue time is minimum 12 minutes and typically 15-20. Often, that’s enough time for the Horde to play another match in-between. I also think that’s why Alliances sucks at the other BGs. A lot of people queue up for EoS and AV at the same time, then go into EoS right away – then leave when the AV queue is ready in another 8 to 10 minutes because “oh we wouldn’t win anyway and AV is worth more honor.”

  2. Vort (4 comments) says:

    Horde either turtle Ice Blood (IB) between the tower and the Graveyard and harrass with fears at Galv. If we defend SH all we are doing is sending horde back to IBgy and reinforcing their turtle. Since all the towers are at or behind your choke point alliance can not cap any.

    The alliance choke point is the bridge, behind our two towers, so horde captures them. So so far it two towers to zero. You either break past bridge or win by reinforcements. Either way Alliance gets zero honor and a game that last twice as long as it should.

    Occasionally we’ll get Galv but its still not worth the 67 honor.

    IBgy is to close to the choke point making it far to easy for horde to defend both the towers the choke point and the graveyard flag.

    Note: This does not happen all that often on my battlegroup. We (Horde and Alliance) split the difference often winning or losing 366 ro 345 hornor or 450 to 188, and do it in about 15 to 20 min.

    But when the above happens (IBgy choke) Alliance gets no honor, if the situation were reversed Horde will still get some honor because of tower location.

  3. Gon (1 comments) says:

    I roll Alliance on the Shadowburn battlegroup. I also play BGs to win, not for honor or marks.

    Firstly, thank you for honestly admitting that the Horde have a substantial advantage at the start.

    Regarding your plan, in my battlegroup, it is common to see 10-15 horde defending Galv/IBGY at the start, with the rest on O or thereabouts. Given that, Alliance don’t have sufficient manpower to carry out “defending SH Bunker, capping SF and IB GY, and burning Tower Point” at the same time.

    On the games where we have thrown the Horde back at SHGY, this results in a turtle which ends up a loss by reinforcements for the Alliance (no thanks to Balinda).

    My point is, I feel that the current imbalance is so great that Alliance will lose in AV unless the Horde is either undermanned or very inexperienced. It’s pretty bad when even Alliance premades can lose to horde PUGs (check out the posts in the Stormspire battlegroup on WOW forums.

  4. Paul (1 comments) says:

    When Horde recently in 60 av went balinda -> SH i thought that was innovative because I hadnt seen it in 100′s of games. We wiped them at SH so it didnt work but it was something different.

    Horde on Bloodlust go IB, straight ahead, SH Bunker, often to the right of SH bunker, then SH GY. The point is too only have a small Offence but hit hard by arriving all at once pretty much unseen by main alliance O. Belinda often waits till after SH is capped.

    20 Man Horde defense sits at IB tower, Your not taking IB GY, your not going to do galv when they have a short run to cover and fear bomb. Your not bypassing and going to fw through blizzard and frost traps. Wipe the alliance offense, Hold at SH GY till all alliance past it are dead then start moving forward.

    Alliance get somewhere between 0 and 64 honor if done correctly and its not a difficult strat to do.