The key to victory in Alterac Valley

27th August 2008 – 2.28 pm

After Sapphire took advantage of the Spirit of Competition and ventured in to Arathi Basin a few times, I took my rogue, Knifey, in to the battlegrounds on the last day of the competition. Quite a bit of PvP action was enjoyed, and I even won a gold medal for my efforts. Having indulged in some battlegrounds a couple of years ago, when there was just Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley to be fought over, and seeing that the Alliance still got soundly beaten in almost every battleground instance, I was left wondering why the Alliance performed so well in Alterac Valley.

I have won maybe a handful of Warsong Gulch and perhaps a single Arathi Basin battle, out of many dozens in each, yet the four instances of Alterac Valley I fought recently all ended in victory for the Alliance. And then it struck me. In Alterac Valley, the strategy has been to race down to a mid-point and kill an orc and his wolves, then race down to the bottom of the map, capture a base by killing all the guards, and once the base is captured and the graveyard secure the boss of the battleground is attacked and defeated. The defeat of this boss secures the victory. In the few times I've been in Alterac Valley, the number of PvP encounters could be counted on one hand. Alterac Valley is essentially PvE.

Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and the Eye of the Storm all pit Horde player against Alliance player, and there is no avoiding PvP fights. The flags in Warsong Gulch need to be defended or attacked. Bases in the others are held only for as long as your faction keeps control of them and, in a good battle at least, control can change hands several times in a single encounter. Only players can affect any of these changes; indeed, player characters are the only characters in the battlegrounds! But such a rush is there to defeat the opposing faction's boss in Alterac Valley that any PvP has become incidental.

I suppose it is something of a shame that PvP in such a large instance, where two large raid groups of Horde and Alliance can do battle, is reduced to a PvE experience. I imagine that it draws so many players to it because it offers PvP rewards without having to get involved in any messy PvP, and also because the Alliance can actually win in PvE. There is something to be said for the inevitable doom that awaits players in the other battlegrounds, where player versus player combat cannot be avoided. The cries of 'just let Horde win' may echo too often in those battlegrounds, but at least I know I'm putting up a real fight.

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