I’ve been slaughtered by Horde in the most deserted parts of Azeroth. I got killed many times while working on Loremaster. I think I rage quit when I ran around one of those giant red hills in the Badlands looking for a certain type of creature only to find… a level 80 Undead Warlock. The Badlands must be the most deserted territory in the game. Deserted, except for me, and some Warlock determined to kill me.
Unfortunately I don’t see one-on-one PVP as some kind of honorable challenge. I see it as a waste of time. Upon being attacked – I’m almost never the aggressor – I can’t help but think “why did you hurt me?!”. My neighbors are strangers to me, but if one of them walked up to me and slapped me on the sidewalk outside my gate I think I’d feel about the same.
My state of mind while I’m playing World of Warcraft is just not suited to PVP. Call me a care-bear, a pacifist or a big fluffy marshmallow.
The strange thing is, if I’m particularly pissed off (I’m thinking back to an incident when I had been desperate to tag mobs for a Sons of Hodir quest early in the expansion) and a member of the Horde gives me a second look (or, in this case, drops a couple totems nearby) … I tend to play aggressively.
And I also tend to win.
On Monday night everything was going wrong. I was feeling frustrated and annoyed and put-upon. I announced over Vent, as we were winding up raid for the night, “I want to go and kill some Horde. And I really don’t care right now if I live or die.”
I was in the right state of mind for PVP. After a six month absence from the battlegrounds, I was ready to return.
I knew that a section of raiders in my guild enjoy the occasional battleground or arena skirmish together but I had never been tempted to join them before. But on Monday night those raiders easily convinced me to stay up past my bed time in order to get in a bit of PVP.
Raiding is fun but raiding with friends is really fun. So I don’t know why I was so surprised to discover that BG-ing alone is fun but BG-ing with friends is really fun too.*
We could only group as a party of 5, which was a shame because there was really a group of about 8 who wanted to participate. Our group of 5 consisted of me (Disc Priest) and another Disc Priest, a Enhance Shaman and a couple Ret Paladins.
The first queue, Warsong Gulch, was a bit of a throw away because I’d inadvertently stuffed up the queue while I ran to the bank to mangle together something resembling a PVP set. I wish I had a pocket mentor to sift through my bank and tell me what’s worth keeping from my PVE treasure chest. I didn’t. So I ended up just putting on my 3.2 Equipment Manager set and dumping everything else except my dagger in the bank.
Once we’d managed to get out of Warsong Gulch before the graveyard camping became intolerable (2/0 in their favor), we ended up in Arathi Basin. Surely, this is a map that we could really contribute to as a group of 5?!
Unfortunately I think we probably caused a bit more harm than good. We lost that Arathi Basin, but at least it was a close call. We also did our best to recruit a Gnome Warlock that we stumbled across at the Lumber Mill – he wasn’t an excellent PVPer, but we’re getting desperate – so we might have been somewhat distracted.
As a group we never really went off 5 vs The Horde, it was really more like 7 vs The Horde because we tended to move as a consolidated group this meant that we had stragglers that followed us. Or perhaps they were following the healers. Or perhaps they were thinking like fish and we appeared to be the quick decision makers. I’m not quite sure.
We took the Blacksmith right off the bat to the war cry of Heroism. Then we fumbled. Five is way too many to defend a node and as a group we wanted to stick together. Even though sticking together I think probably wasn’t helping the Alliance side all that much.
If, as a group of 5, we queue more and more battlegrounds together perhaps we’ll eventually figure out how to play as one entity. But for that night, we either slaughtered our opponents as a giant, undefeated mob, or weakened our team by being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
We went on to play an Isle of Conquest map and then finally an Alterac Valley. We won both. The IoC match was a near thing and the rest of my party were giving me percentage updates on the Horde boss’s health while the Horde were simultaneously driving the last remaining Alliance defenders (me included) back to the graveyard. Horde got into our Keep long before we were able to drive down the Horde Keep doors, but I think they paused to farm some honor kills. I can’t see how else we ended up winning.
Alterac Valley was also very enjoyable. As a group we took and held Tower Point. The match was drawn out and somehow most of the participants, Horde and Alliance, ended up fighting over the southern most flag at Frostwolf Graveyard. It was chaotic, but ultimately we managed to wear down their reinforcements and still quickly kill off Drek’Thar.
I ended the night, half past midnight, much happier than when I had logged in. Battlegrounds as a stress reliever. It totally worked.
On a side note, it worries me that my initial experiences in Battlegrounds was almost always with strangers, queuing via a Battleground Master in a capital city. In other words, I played the PVP side of the game essentially on my own. And I didn’t find it very much fun.
I first ran dungeons like the Deadmines mostly with friends, perhaps with just one stranger in the party. And I’ve always loved PVE and cherished the PVE teamwork mentality. And I found it very fun.
Perhaps the Dungeon Finder is breeding new players whose first experience of PVE content is with strangers and they might not find it very fun at all?