A Modest Proposal


I have maintained in the past that all achievements are equal.  My right to pursue my goals in this game is just as valid as your right to pursue yours, and that when they come into conflict, sometimes blood is shed. Someone who is trying to steal the flame of the capital cities of the opposing faction, and the players who fight to prevent this, are both pursuing valid goals.  It’s okay for the goals to be counter to each other.  That is one of the reasons why there is conflict in this world, and when there are no valid means to communicate and compromise, violence ensues.

So, by and large, I am a proponent of a laissez-faire attitude to PvP holiday achievements.  PvE players may not like it, but hey, there are a lot of holiday achievements that suck just as bad.  I bang my head against the RNG boss almost every single time; if something has to drop, it’s likely to not drop for me.

The School of Hard Knocks feels different, though. Perhaps it’s because it’s so reviled, so hated, that it drives otherwise rational players to fits of despair, that bothers me so much.  Perhaps it’s because it makes the part of the game which I most enjoy — battlegrounds — a focus for a tremendous amount of hatred and bile.  I can be unapologetically positive and enthusiastic about battlegrounds all day long, but I’m not blind.  I can read the forums and websites and trade chat.  I know that there are a lot of people who look at battlegrounds as the final, insurmountable obstacle standing between them and a year-long-grind to a 310% mount.  And they hate the thing I love because of it.

As a result, I’m conflicted.

On the one hand, I have a rational policy of strict neutrality: that Stormtrooper, Supreme Defender, and Arathi Basin Assassin are equally worth pursuing as School of Hard Knocks, and that should two players come into conflict in pursuit of those goals, combat will likely decide the victor.

On the other hand, I’m not delusional.  I know that there will be plenty of players out there who use those achievements to justify bullying to other players — players who are not equipped to deal with the conflict, who might be willing to fight back but who lack the gear to do so.  There’s no real justification for this kind of brutality, but I’d be a fool to deny it exists.

And on the third hand, there is the looming specter of the terrible effect the School of Hard Knocks has had on the reputation of battlegrounds and PvP.  Nobody involved likes this achievement; not those trying to get it, not those having to work around it.  I expect it may be a little different in Cataclysm with Rated Battlegrounds giving the die-hard PvPers a refuge from the invasion, but I don’t think it that change will solve the image problem alone.

So I have a modest proposal for you, the battleground veteran.

Be a good host.

For one week, strive to be a good host to the neophyte masses who will swarm the battlegrounds seeking their achievement.  If someone asks for help, help them.  If someone doesn’t ask for help, help them anyways.  If someone from the other faction is obviously trying to finish a SoHK task, help them.

That’s right.  Help them.

I’m not asking you to be altruistic.  I’m asking you because I honestly think it’s in our best interests, both as individuals and a community, to start turning back the negative associations with this event.  Being a leader in /bg chat, of welcoming the new players into the world of PvP, of being a supportive voice in the wilderness to people, real people who are possibly scared, frustrated, or irritated — that’s what being a hero is about.  One person can change the tone of a battleground, and can influence dozens of other people’s perception of battlegrounds.

You can be that person.

As for colluding with the enemy?  Well, let me point out it can be in your interests to do so.  While you help them, they can help you on achievements like:

Helping others with School of Hard Knocks can directly benefit you by letting you work on these tasks.  I know that I am going for both Alterac Valley achievements next week with gusto; this is the perfect time to rack up the tower defenses.  There are mutual benefits to be realized here.

If you have read my writing for any length of time you know that I’m not a starry-eyed idealist.  The best way to succeed in battlegrounds is to treat them like a street fight, where you use every dirty trick you can muster to beat the living shit out of your opponent.  Gang up on people.  Use the terrain to ambush folks.  Be unpredictable with unusual gear and consumables.  Maximize your professions.  Do what it takes to win.

But Children’s Week is not a normal week in the battlegrounds.  I think the battle we’re fighting is much larger than the individual matches in the game.  We are, instead, fighting a war of public opinion brought about through no fault of our own.  This is bigger than a few hundred easy HKs, than a few more victories that don’t really mean much.  Unlike nearly every other week of the year, the battlegrounds of Children’s Week are full of people who do not want to be there.

So we, as collective individuals, have a choice.

We can get angry at them for intruding upon our playground, abuse them in /bg, tell them how stupid they are, and reinforce all the negative images they have about battlegrounds and PvP.

Or we can accept that they’re here, try to teach them, guide them, and maybe, just maybe, infect them with the PvP bug.

I’m a realist.  I don’t imagine that any battleground next week is going to consist of the Horde and the Alliance sitting around a Basic Campfire singing kumbayas.  There is going to be bloody, terrible fighting. There are going to be people who are totally unprepared for the realities of PvP getting slaughtered by the thousands.  What I say on this website is not going to change the base desires of humanity.  I wrote my guide with the full expectation that these battlegrounds are going to be littered with corpses.

But I also think that WoW players are some of the nicest, most open people I’ve met.  And that little, small personal interactions matter.  A few people starting off the battle welcoming the orphans and asking that people who are not working on the achievement not aggressively cap towers until the enemy is confirmed hostile will make a difference.  A few folks walking into the WSG flagroom, picking up the flag, and dropping it over and over again can completely make 10 people’s evenings.

This achievement ruins the part of the game that I love the most for an entire week.  But I don’t have to let it ruin my enjoyment of it.

I hope you will join me in welcoming our guests to the battlegrounds.

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31 Comments

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31 responses to “A Modest Proposal

  1. Pingback: A Vicious Proposal « Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

    • chckenmcbndy

      Reference trade chat last night: ” WTS Lich King kill 20K” or any pve achievement in general. So umm yeah, not gonna happen from me. Pay up or earn it the hard way.

      Before I get steamrolled by comments I’ve been on both sides. I quit raiding a month ago but have my 25 LK kill and a 6146 pve gearscore. I also can’t stand the the arrogance of most (not all) hardcore raiders.

      I never grief the average person in pvp. You come in if full T10 pve gear then we’re gonna do some dancing :) DBW animation procs just screams “cyclone me for the duration!”.

      Also, make it easy on em so they go away won’t work. They’ll log every alt they have and keep coming back. I know last year (was only doing pve at the time) the horde made this miserable for me. Needless to say I only did this achievement on this toon.

      On a side note, I’m a little bitter from my 4 wins/ 24 losses in random bg’s over the last 4 days.

  2. I’m all for helping people get their achievements for this. I love PvP, but my wife hates it. But she’s also real big on getting achievements, pets, and mounts. I’ll be doing the achievement for her because I don’t expect many people to play nice.

    If by picking up and dropping the flag 40 times I make even only 4 people on each of their 10 toons have a good night and I leave with a whopping 10 honor kills for 4 hours of work, then so be it because it’s going to be worth it to me.

    I’m going out there to get my achievements for me and for my wife, and then I’m going right back in there to help as many other people as I can. At least, that’s the plan when I’m not busy slaughtering Tarren Mill.

  3. Pingback: Embrace your inner orphan! « Armaggedon's coming!

  4. I have a couple guildies who are totally dreading this achievement (I already did it last year) and I told them my tips and tricks for getting through it, as well as offering to help them out as an escort. I don’t PvP as much as I used to, but I’ve spent more than enough time in BGs to be comfortable with the whole dying, respawning, and being sneaky.

    I might be a bit nice to the Alliance who need the achievement though, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of my guildies doing the same. >;)

  5. !

    No. I will be polite to them and not yell at their inexperience. Like you I believe in setting a good tone…but I will not collude with Horde trying to get their achievements, that’s over the line for me. You come to a PvP area then you’re going to get PvPed, and you’re not going to “maybe, just maybe, infect them with the PVP bug” by showing them the wrong picture of what PvP is.

    • I thought a lot about that point – collusion – in particular before making it.

      I’m not asking people to stop PvPing. That would be utterly foolish in a place where at least some of the opposing team is trying to kill you.

      I am asking that you consider, for both altruistic and selfish reasons, to give opposing players a chance to complete their achievement before killing them. Let them assault that tower so you can take it back. Let them assault that node so you can defend it.

      This is highly situational, and I don’t expect it to apply in a lot of situations. I also don’t expect anyone to put the needs of the opponent over the needs of one’s own team.

      But if you have a situation where it really doesn’t matter – you can take the flag back easily – there are benefits to waiting.

      (The PvP bug comment was aimed at members of one’s own team. That wasn’t clear and I apologize. Obviously dancing flagrooms don’t inspire anyone to try mire pvp.)

  6. I’m all for helping my teammates getting the achievement. I honestly could not care less, I got only the orphan for the pet but as for Alliance… well I’m playing BG’s as if I always play them. I love PvP, and it’s where I spend most of my time too, however, when I do venture into PvE I play by their rules. I study strats, gem, spec appropriately before stepping into the PvE scene. I guess you could say, I expect the same from those that come into the PvP setting. Not having the gear, I can live with that, at least make an effort to help out our group. :) I’ve been fortunate I guess, where I’ve met some Horde folks in randoms that were obviously there for the achievement, but they knew the strats or were willing to listen to what needed to be accomplished.

    Personally, I don’t think achievements are supposed to be ‘easy’. At the moment I’m trying to decide which toon will get Battlemaster; Priest, Druid, or Warlock. Although I don’t do achievements, I’m thinking I might do that since I spend a lot of time in PvP anyway. I’ve already done quite a few of them already.

    I’ve met some great folks in battlegrounds both on my side and Alliance side too. Those that impress me, well.. I do go out of my way to pop by their realm and tell them that. I’ve met some really cool Alliance folks that way, and made a few toons on servers just to chat with them now and again.

  7. Bob

    I completed all four BGs in the last 24 hours and can tell you that it was a totally miserable experience. No matter what I would do — bowing, waving, or simply refusing to do more than heal myself, not a single person cut me any slack on the “other” side. In fact most of the time, people without orphans out on my own team would snag the achievements before me — a behavior that doesn’t exist in the PvE world.

    I only succeeded because I outwitted, outlasted and outplayed everyone else including the usual gang of PvP enthusiasts on both sides, not because of any sense of shared goal or teamwork.

    I agree with the author that a little help and compassion would make things go better and quicker for everybody. Who know’s where you most important PvP buddy might eventually come from? Sadly not from the vast majority of PvE players who have learned through bitter experience to despise Children’s week.

    Now am I going to run my alt through as another poster suggested just to waste PvP players time? No way in hell. I have better things to do with my time. The nastiness I experienced in the last 24 hours will leave a lasting bad taste in my mouth.

    But my hat’s off to Cynwise for an excellent posting and proposal. Maybe someday in a world a bit more like Pandora, that might happen.

  8. Graakan

    Cynwise, I applaud you for your effort. But as you can see from the comments in your own blog, your fellows aren’t budging. I can assure you, it isn’t happening in the BGs, either. I’ve just come from 4 hours in EotS and WSG. I had three runs through AV, 1 in AB in that time, just to change it up. I managed to get the AV portion done. I was spit on once, cussed at innumerable times. In WSG and EotS, I had members of my own faction doing everything they could to stop me from completing the achievement. In short, they couldn’t care less, and I learned that all I can count on the PVP folks for, is grief.

    I raid, mostly. That’s my thing in this game. And I can assure you that I will remember how I was treated during this holiday, and it will affect how I respond, if I’m ever in the position where *my* help is needed.

    • Graakan,

      I’m sorry you ended up with a horrible experience. I did the majority of SoHK on three different toons, all of which has WSG matches where opposing players came into the flag room and did grab/drops over and over until 10 achievements popped. After that it was all out war.

      The same happened in AB on all three, primarily at ST/LM and the Farm in one of them where we simply traded off node caps while the rest of the field was actually a battle.

      Likewise AV was a cap/recap session with easily 20 people packed into a single tower.

      EotS on the other hand…yeah, I wanted to do some real life PvP after that crapfest. Only one toon got that flag and even then only because another player that already had the achievement offered it to me. Then the resto druids started capping the flag and then running to the southernmost point on the map and sitting there swearing at everyone.

  9. Awesome post. Great Points. Much appreciated from one who has (still) not got a single WSG win :)

  10. AngularRat

    Just a quick thought on my experiences…I have no idea how many people read this, but I was dreading this achievement, and ended up doing it in about an hour tonight. There was definitely some pointless bitching in some of the bgs, but for the most part, both horde and alliance were pretty helpful.

    The thing that ended up annoying me the most were the people that afk’d out of the bg as soon as they had THEIR achievement done. That was just plain rude. Especially the ones that urgently typed, “Let me cap! let me cap!” then afk’d the second they got credit. I was lucky enough to get what i needed pretty fast, but I still made sure to continue on to finish the bg too, and to help a few others complete what they were trying for too.

    Oh, and here’s the real surprise…I actually one three of the four bg’s I needed, as Alliance. That almost NEVER happens on my battlegroup. The only one we lost was AV, where Iceblood tower and one of the bunkers must have changed hands fourty times and noone even did anything else, so we just list by attrition by about 3 kills. ;-)

  11. Nathanyel

    Also, if you just help them, they will be done sooner, leaving you alone :)

  12. As some have said… I’m sad to say that you’re one of the rare ones, Cynwise. I rarely PvP these days, and if I could point out a reason why, it’s the exact attitude that I’ve experienced in the past couple days.

    I’m sure there are plenty of bad guests out there, but I do what I can to get the achievement legitimately, and I promise to stick around and help once I’ve gotten it. For the most part, I don’t see how it could really hurt PvPers to let folks get these achievements or even help, since in the long run it could help them. I even got a couple of PvP achievements, myself.

    The thing that absolutely has been the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, though, was that in every single battleground I joined, there was someone on both sides who was intentionally trying to prevent folks from getting the achievements.

    Don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t normal PvP. This was actively seeking out a bunker that you know wasn’t in danger when all other bunkers were down or in need of capping specifically so that they could kill any person of the opposing faction who might dare to help a few people get their achievement before letting them kill him and finally destroy it. (Thankfully, I got them in spite of this.) This was actively attempting to kill that guy on the farm node when we had a 4/5 cap in AB because he dared to stay there for a few extra seconds and let a second or third person click on it. This was running with someone who had an orphan out and with no real threat to a node would cap it right in front of the person who had the orphan out and then laugh.

    Trust me when I say that I genuinely hope these people never find themselves in a PvE situation where they might require my assistance, because every single one of them is now on my ignore list in the rare case that I might be grouped with them in the future.

    • One important thing to keep in mind in relation to this though, is that the attitude of the punks you’re talking about isn’t related just to PvP, it’s the person. Ever had someone ninja your mining node? Kill your quest mobs? Kill your quest givers?

      It’s an unhealthy power trip, but it’s not the fault of PvP. A lot of people who have that attitude like to PvP because it makes them feel better than those they kill, but you’ll find it in PvE as well. The only difference is you can’t just go on about your business and ignore them like you can out in PvE land.

  13. Larisse

    I applaud you for this post and encourage it. Im a real pvp schmuck, mainly im a hardcore pve healer, im comfortable in that role. And i started hating bg’s ever since i made a priest and was killed 100x over and over in less than 5 secs by a rougue. So trying to do the achieve today and in the middle of wg realising that allies were coming to our base, taking the flag and dropping it over and over for us , that really made my day. I was dreading the achiev since last year, but finding such people, willing to help out, even from the other side…hats off, i love em for that. So to all you pvpers, achieve seekers that help out others, thank you!

  14. bluerain

    My School of hard knocks experience-
    Since my achievement toon is a mage with tailoring, I made a set of PvP blues as part of the skill up process. I added a ring from WG marks and 1 or 2 pvp drops from VoA. I gemmed and enchanted it and went out to get my Achievement.
    I hate PvP with a passion but I still went out and did the job I was supposed to do: Protect flag carriers, etc. I never quit early and at WSG I even went to the horde flag room and became their easy target.
    Since I did it early Sunday, most of the ppl in BG were achievement people. The way some hardcore PvP acted, I dread to think about the experience the late comers will get.

  15. chckenmcbndy

    Oh the laughs I’ve got in EOTS this past weekend…

    So, I decided to play nice and help people get the flag cap achieve while pursuing [Stormtrooper]- kill 5 flag carriers in a single batte of EOTS.

    Out of all the FC’s I killed and snagged the flag from I was able to help 1…thats right only 1 get this achievement. Wanna know why? Cause the other 13 knuckleheads are all midfield and we didn’t control a single tower?! This wasn’t a single occurence more like consistent.

    Every EOTS I was in I linked my completed achievement and explained: “get 3 towers 1st which will get them out of midfield. I will run the flag (I’m feral druid in full pvp gear) to the middle (safest) tower and drop it next to the cap.”

    No one listened and when the game started 11-14 people ran straight to the flag. So boo-hoo cry more. I also didn’t complete my PVP achievement [Stormtrooper]. Several times I was at 4/5 only to look up and see the horde had just grabbed the 4th tower and the game quickly ended shortly after.

    • This is the same thing that happened to us in EOTS.

      This past weekend, I helped a few of my buddies get the achievement. I grabbed a few of my other PvP buddies to join the party and they knocked out the achievement quickly.

      However the majority ran straight to mid-field. Even though we told them repeatedly what needed to be done. I’m all for helping players on my team. I do that often, I’ve always have. I’m one of those people that will call out incomings, suggest strats too. I realize not everyone knows how to play a particular BG, it’s always nice when some actually listen to the suggestions made by myself or others.

      I haven’t gotten the achievement, since I really don’t get into them but yeah I will got out of my way to help my teammates. I don’t grief Alliance players. If they come in my territory I will stop them. I’m an easy target (or seemingly) easy since I’m a big ole tree. They always come at me first before trying to attempt the achievement, doesn’t work out too well, heh.

      What some people need to realize is that just because some PvP folks are playing Battlegrounds the same way they’ve always played, that doesn’t make them mean players. :) I’m very nice and will go out to help my teammates and I won’t grief you simply because you’re the opposition either.

      You know something? I can relate to doing something you dislike. I hate PvE, but I did it when I got BOA gear for three of my toons, and to upgrade pieces for my PvP toons too.

      I have a few PvP buddies that raid weekly just to get the better PvP gear. No thanks, that’s way too much time doing something I don’t enjoy. I refuse to go that far, lol. I’ll just wait until rated BG’s come out in the next expansion to get the gear and weapons!

  16. I want to thank you for this post. I think some people in my battlegroup may have read it, because when I went into the BGs yesterday to work on my achievement, for the most part, everyone was helping each other get it done. I had a wonderful time, and now I want to learn about the actual strategies and try the rest of the BGs too.

  17. Malleusirum

    Holy shit, what color is the sky in your world?
    You claim not to be a “starry eyed idealist”, but listen to what you’re saying…. Asking a bunch of 12 year old PvPer’s to think about the “big picture”???? The vast majority won’t give a tinker’s damn. The very nature of BG’s and PvP in general is the immediate gratification of screwing people over RIGHT NOW. Just because people are trying for an achievement makes the active frustration of this all the more enjoyable for the vast majority of BG participants. Had I known what I know now about “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been”, I would not have bothered to dump 8 months of time into fulfilling earlier achievements. This achievement is the epitome of retarded.

  18. Tera

    I just wanted to say thanks for putting these thoughts out there. My experience this past weekend shows you are not alone.

    I’m normally a PvE player that only does PvP for achievements, and indeed, I had been dreading this week. I’d had a terrible time last year and only lacked the WSG flag to get my What a Long, Strange Trip achievement on my main.

    Fortunately this year a group of guildies decided to get together and tough it out till we all had the achievement. Only one of them is a regular PvPer. She guided the rest of us through the BGs and let us know where we were most likely to succeed. We did WSG first, and to my surprise I had no difficulty getting the achievement. There was a very nice troll rogue who picked up and dropped the flag at least half a dozen times despite being killed at least twice.

    After that I brought out my disc priest to help my guildies with the other BGs (figuring bubbles would be more helpful than my lock’s fear). All 5 of us got School of Hard Knocks with no more than 3 or 4 trips to any particular BG.

    In particular I remember EotS. There I was standing at the Dranei Ruins, with my orphan out, healing and bubbling anyone nearby who needed it when a dwarf rogue came up with the flag. He stopped a few paces away and asked if I needed to complete the achievement. I said yes, and he dropped the flag at my feet so that I could pick it up. That really made my day. We went on to win the BG, which was a nice bonus.

    I will definitely say that my experiences this week have made me reconsider PvP. I’m seriously thinking of going as a healer. It seemed much more fun than my past experiences of dpsing and dying over and over.

  19. The first day of the event was horrid. I only did EotS on my main to finish out the violet proto for her.

    But because of positive experiences on Monday morning – of PVEers and PVPers working together to accomplish both goals [achievements and wins], I’m considering finishing the pvp set on my disc priest and giving some BGs a whirl after the event.

  20. In four hours, I completed this achievement with a group of guildies on my main (druid). Had I not done so, I would have seen what I saw on my priest, which took two DAYS to get it done. I’m an avid PVPer. I PVP a lot. I would go so far as to say that my priest’s guild is a PVP guild. We LOVE to BG and dabble in arena. And it is with this in mind, having completed the achievement, that the achievement itself is without merit (and that’s putting it nicely).

    I agree wholeheartedly with those who yearn for the abolishment of the achievement (despite having already done it twice). Even AFTER I did the achievement, I still continued to BG figuring that after the first two days, the achievement runs would have subsided and the stragglers would be easily identifiable and easier to help. What I witnessed was pretty much the most diabolical, underhanded and outright despicable show of “teamwork” this side of Benedict Arnold. What’s funny, is that as a hordie, there were plenty of willing alliance players looking to help the few people left by day four who still needed to finish the achievement. It was griefing by people from OUR OWN SIDE that had me boggled. Rogues sapping people who are trying to recap the flag (and thus preventing their teammate from capping it), and subsequently ganking them; pally’s bubbling their teammates forcing them to drop the flag so they themselves could pick it up…it was nuts!! All of the griefers just RELISHING the screams and cries flooding the /bg chat. And that was just OUR SIDE. With me trying to help Alliance, their own players were doing some griefing. I’d be emoting that I was helping them and then their teammate would gank me despite my emotes.

    I don’t see how this was suppose to enhance the spirit of PVP much in the way that other holiday pvp achievements do (except for BB King…which if you’re NOT a pally or a rogue is just four different ways to do a corpse run). All this does is create hate and discontent for a whole week.

    What’s more, is that I’m sure there’s plenty of people who DO have this achievement now that Blizzard will probably NEVER get rid of it. Well, I hate to be crude but this is the one time I’ll outright disagree with the Blues when I say three things: 1) Fukk 2) That 3) Sh!t.

    /end rant

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  22. Ermoonia

    I actually got into PVP this time last year (I’ve only been playing a little over a year) from looking at School of Hard Knocks and reading Cynwise’s guide to it. I was too low level to do most of it last year, but this year when I set out to do it I was an experienced PVP’er, and let me say, it wasn’t too hard to step out and help others while I was working on this.

    I’ve helped guildies, and I’ve even helped the opposing faction. I think it’s fun to mix it up a little once a year and play with slightly different attitudes and goals. I’m a little silly in real life, so I’m easily amused by the unpredictable nature of all these orphans roaming around the battlefield. I understand all of you who don’t like it, but I personally enjoy it. I’ve been running bgs even after finishing the achievement just to be helpful and have fun. Hey, it’s just a week. We can all get back to being cold blooded killers in a few days.

  23. Pingback: Spare them no quarter! « Armaggedon's coming!

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