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?
- First, write Balinda off. She’s literally undefensible, that’s just a fact of the game.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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…