Geographical bias in Wintergrasp

5th June 2009 – 5.36 pm

The Horde have almost complete control of Wintergrasp on my server at the moment. Even with an small advantage of numbers the Alliance assault falters before we get too far in to the fortress and the Horde manage to repel the invaders successfully. It is becoming a little demoralising for a battle that should favour the attacker.

Part of the problem is the unbalanced initial conditions, most likely caused by a bug, whereby the Horde are in control of the Sunken Ring and Broken Temple workshops at the start of the battle, regardless of who is defending. This saves them some initial time by not having to capture the workshops before striking against opponents to gain ranks in order to get in to vehicles. Another problem is the physical layout of Wintergrasp Fortress, which appears to favour the Horde whether in attack or defence.

Entering the battle for Wintergrasp when not in control of the region the Alliance teleport in to the east, the Horde to the west. This gives best access to the Sunken Ring workshop for the Alliance and Broken Temple workshop for the Horde, because the only graveyard that cannot be controlled by the opposition remains close to that location for the duration of the battle. The faction that controls the region defaults to teleporting in to the fortress itself, with the fortress graveyard inside the walls but in the face of the mountain being the final stand.

The position of the two entrances means that Alliance will naturally attack the east of the fortress and the Horde the west. The slow speed of the vehicles, necessary to breach the walls for victory, makes attacking an alternative wall sub-optimal. However, this is what gives the Horde a significant advantage both when attacking and defending, because the path from the fortress graveyard funnels players through the eastern courtyard.

When attacking, the Horde pile through the western wall of the fortress, often destroying the western courtyard workshop in the process, which permanently denies the Alliance access to vehicles as the workshop cannot be recaptured for repair. To defend the western wall Alliance troops have to descend the fortress graveyard path, exit the eastern courtyard and run or ride across the central courtyard. This travelling, whilst not terribly far, takes time, with the extra time put to good use by the Horde's siege engines in demolishing the fortress walls.

In contrast, when defending, Horde reinforcements come from the same fortress graveyard to almost directly on top of the Alliance assault on the eastern walls of the fortress, with almost no travelling required. Even if we are efficient in mowing them down they soon reappear. Essentially, the Horde have a considerable advantage, both in having the shorter distance to travel to defend and the clearer path to the fortress doors when attacking, and that's ignoring the relative safety of the two internal workshops when they are defending.

A possible solution would be to flip the layout of Wintergrasp fortress horizontally, depending on who controls it, to present the same defensive position to either assaulting faction, but as the region is not instanced it would doubtless be awkward to implement as well as likely to cause confusion. However, a simple solution would simply be to have only a single portal and flight master outside of the fortress. Rather than have a separate starting and default zone for both Alliance and Horde have a single point that switches control as does the fortress. This should cause no problems for implementation and player orientation, and also fits with the theme, as the zone of Wintergrasp's controlling faction is currently deserted of NPCs anyway.

If a single PC spawn point were implemented it would remove the obvious geographical bias and, particularly if the western point were chosen as the default, revert the battle for Lake Wintergrasp back to favouring the attacker.

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