Okay, well not always. Alliance wins the majority of Alterac Valley matches. It is generally accepted, however, that Horde there play at a disadvantage. On the other hand, Horde has a considerable advantage in Arathi Basin since it’s easier for them to take and hold the nearly unbeatable combination of Blacksmith, Lumber Mill, and Farm. But disregarding the two more or less “unbalanced” Battlegrounds, Horde probably wins somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-85% of Eye of the Storm and Warsong Gulch matches. These are Battlegrounds that have been designed to present as little advantage to either side as possible. And Horde tromps Alliance all the way to their graveyards, sometimes backing us into our starting areas.
It wasn’t always this way. I remember world PvP at Tarren Mill and Southshore. On most servers, Alliance had superior numbers and skirmished with much success. We would spend hours on the western banks near Tarren Mill, falling back into the river when the near infinite guards threatened to overwhelm us. Many players describe these times as the most fun they’ve had while PvPing.
And then the Battlegrounds were introduced. Along with them came DKs, which made PvP like that which had previously taken place at Tarren Mill essentially PvP career suicide. Instead, players dutifully queued up for their “objective-based” player versus player combat, running flags up and down the field between the two bases of Warsong Gulch. But something was wrong. The advantage that Alliance once had in superior numbers suddenly became the source of teeth-gnashing, 2-hour long Battleground queues. And while Alliance languished trying to fill their time so they wouldn’t go AFK before finally getting the call to a 15-minute match, Horde lined up and cycled in, over and over and for as many games as they wanted. They racked up more experience, more reputation, more HKs (to be fair, the Honor system at the time made this fact irrelevant) and far less frustration.
Many of the Alliance players for whom PvP was a priority did the only sensible thing they could: they rerolled Horde. I was one of those who rerolled, though it was only by virtue of being married to someone for whom PvP was a priority. My husband wanted to play the class that was widely regarded as one of the most powerful in PvP and so leveled a Shaman. And for two months, he played Battlegrounds nonstop and any time he wanted — Horde queues were instantaneous. And many of his new teammates were also former Alliance players who had rerolled.
Battlegrounds killed PvP for Alliance.
Many of the best PvP players on Alliance rerolled to play with Horde, bolstering their faction’s collective expertise on the field of battle. Horde grew more seasoned more quickly because they could play more often. And once the ball was rolling in that direction, there was no stopping it. As most would attest, PvP is most fun when you’re winning. No one enjoys losing all the time. And so as veteran and newly-minted Horde won more and more games, more and more players were encouraged to reroll so that they too could experience the thrill of victory. Even today, players who are just beginning to play the game are told that, if they enjoy PvP, they should roll Horde characters, both for their superior PvP-based racial abilities and their winning records in Battlegrounds.
And now Blizzard is talking about “balancing” Alterac Valley, purportedly to discourage players from going AFK. What will this mean for Alliance players? It will almost certainly mean that Alliance players will no longer have any source of earnable honor comparable to that of Horde players. Our Arena teams will have harder times getting Battlegrounds gear for those slots that cannot be outfitted through Arena-play. And — at least for Alliance players — all token-purchased Battlegrounds gear will be expressed in the number of losses necessary for their purchase, in addition to Honor that takes much longer to farm.
For those wondering why we didn’t stay on Horde side after rerolling, I didn’t enjoy my class (Priest) nearly as much as I had my Druid, and I really missed having elbows. I think one may have had something to do with the other.
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