A Brief History of Alterac Valley

Foury @ Spinebreaker’s “A Brief History of Alterac Valley” is a gem of a post on the official forums.

Over the years, you have made a significant number of changes to Alterac Valley. Some changes appear to have been made in isolation. For example, maybe you felt that there were too many NPC’s before patch 1.8, so you conjured up a mighty avalance and buried the treacherous Syndicate stronghold. Other changes, such as the introduction of reinforcements, were in response to problems caused by other additions like the Mark of Honor system.

Unfortunately, each individual change has brought about such a drastic reshaping of this battleground that its purpose is now virtually unrecognizable when compared to what the initial vision seems to have been. Even the isolated changes became catalysts for a chain reaction that has, in the opinion of a significant number of players, gutted Alterac Valley and made it totally un-fun to play in.

We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion for some time now, but I have decided to provide some additional background for players who might not know exactly what they were missing when AV was truly a legendary experience.

He then goes through a detailed history of Alterac Valley, one that lives up to its promise of giving the reader a thorough understanding of how the somewhat fragmented battleground that exists today came to be. It is a long read, but it is exceptionally good, and I suggest you read all of it. Even the poem.

Starting with post #8, Foury then goes into a detailed proposal for how to change Alterac Valley to restore it to its former glory. Remove it from the random battleground rotation, lower the honor per minute, make significant restorations to the environment, make quality of life changes – make it cohesive and relevant PvPvE again. There’s a lot of attention to the little details of AV, things that have always bugged me (the location of the trinket teleport, the lack of owls in Van’s chamber) that shows that this is the work of a careful though.

Seriously. This is a good post; go read it. You can agree with it, or disagree with it, but you will learn something about Alterac Valley.



Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual, Links

8 responses to “A Brief History of Alterac Valley

  1. Syl

    Oh wow, that is some read! I’m not through yet, but cheers for the link! Of all the BGs in WoW, AV used to be my most beloved. I think none of us who played AV 1.0 will forget the 10+hour epic battles in there. one of the things I always enjoyed about it was the epic scale, not just in terms of group but terrain (and making use of it), the back and forth, the mighty summoned allies.
    What ups-and-downs this BG has gone through… I don’t think any of the rest compare. AV has come a long, long way from its old grandeur to the “blitzing” in Cataclysm. I haven’t been there since early Cata, so my final impression might be dated – but I was absolutely appalled by how this battleground has become nothing but an empty shell for rushing and cheap honor, figuring out what team rides faster / wastes less time on anything else and has the better tank and two healers. I remember arriving at Galv and thinking “why is nobody else coming?” until I was told I should get my ass to Drek already. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  2. I haven’t had a chance to read the post, but I’d just like to say:

    I cap Snowfall. FOR THE HORDE!

  3. The current AV “blitz” has its charm if you want to get in and do some PvE disguised as PvP. Unfortunately, the most common tactic I see in there is “ignore the unless they’re on a flag”. The only PvP I’ve seen is the occasional warlock/priest/DK that hides in the general’s room and fears/deathgrips anyone who comes around a corner. (I remember when turtling a warlock or two in the general’s room was vogue near the end of Vanilla, btw.) But no one is prepared for it and it just throws off the rhythm of the battle for the attackers. Generally there aren’t many DKs attacking (at least that I’ve seen) so there’s no easy way to get that person out – which means a single player has now disrupted the entire flow of the battle until the towers burn, etc – and in the meantime they’re picking away at your reinforcements. Ugh.. how I hate reinforcements – it hasn’t caused players to strategize more, it’s just cause them to avoid any possible PvP because they might die in anything resembling a fair fight.

    I didn’t do the original AV – I wasn’t high enough level. (I hit 52 or 53 around the time of the 1.10 scourge invasion.) But I prefer the older AV where you had your trinket and you popped back to your defense area to turn in tons and tons of items. Even if they don’t re-expand the map, they need to lengthen the battles so there’s another option than just to zerg. I fear they won’t, though, since that would make the 6-minute AV win achievement much much harder for anyone who doesn’t have it. I say make it FoS and just let it go. They could even leave the zerg-AV in the random rotation and make the old-school AV a separate BG that you have to choose to go to.

  4. Thanks for linking this, I want to give this guy a hug. 🙂 After reading his post I actually ended up playing an AV on an alt just to do quests there, for the sake of nostalgia. 😛

    I only ever did pre-BC AV once or twice, but I still remember it being quite overwhelming, the summoning of the elementals etc. I didn’t really know what was going on a lot of the time and it took a lot more matches until I even saw the enemy general for the first time instead of just diddling around somewhere random on the map. Still, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    I think those proposed changes make a lot of sense. There is definitely room for a longer AV in the game, and it could basically provide players with a more “worldly” form of PvP, while avoiding many pitfalls of true world PvP, such as eager players being too spread out in the world and unwilling players getting pulled in when they don’t want to.

  5. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, I have bookmarked it to view it at length at a later point in time.

  6. Remember the good ole days when you would play AV for 6 hours, leave for work, come back home and hop into the SAME AV Battle still raging on?

  7. scotth

    It is interesting playing AV in lower brackets, where people do not out gear the pve content enough to just zerg and ignore the towers. A lot of people used to playing at 85 really have no idea what to do.

    I think the most fun I had in AV was playing the 51-60 bracket in BC to save enough honor to get a marshal’s longsword for my rogue. It took more strategy and thought; the towers mattered, even the mines might make the difference between winning and losing. There were a lot of good players who understood the battleground, and some really good twinks.

    The pre-reinforcement AV I only played a couple of times, and what I remember most is how long it took. I still remember my hunter turning in the quest to get his bow after staying up late to finish a game that was going well. There was a paladin there turning in his quest as well, and he asked me if we had been in the same game, many cheers followed.

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