Sunday, March 2, 2008

World of Warcraft: PvP

Welcome to the final segment of my three part series on the epic hit World of Warcraft. Player versus player combat, aka PvP, is the topic of this post, and it is also the reason I continue to play WoW. I simply find the encounters with the opposing faction incessantly changing and challenging.

PvP lives and breathes in Battlegrounds, Arena Matches, and World PvP. Each offer a unique experience, but only Battlegrounds and Arena Matches produce epic gear. Players can play in four different Battlegrounds to earn Honor Points and Battleground Tokens. These are “cashed in” with various vendors that sell a variety of items like potions, mounts, and weapons. The four Battlegrounds offer a host of objective games that reward team work and coordination. Also, each weekend offers the opportunity to earn double honor points for a particular Battleground. In lieu of a more detailed explanation I put together this sexy little video to highlight the four different Battlegrounds.

Looks fun doesn’t it? Out of all the Battlegrounds Alterac Valley (AV) yields the greatest amount of Honor Points. There is simply more objectives to complete, and people to kill in this game type. Players from across the world would tend to agree. There is never a shortage of AV games, and during AV weekends I’ve seen up to thirty games going at once. That’s pretty impressive when you consider that AV games consist of eighty human players each. Unfortunately there is a downside to the Battleground system. There are only four maps to play, and after three years they tend to get old. There have been many posts on this subject on the World of Warcraft official website, and it is unfortunate that Blizzard hasn’t produced new maps.

The other route for epic PvP gear is the Arena. Here players compete in a 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5 death match. In the Arena factions do not matter—Horde can fight Horde and Alliance will fight Alliance. Goblins run this brutal sport, and they never miss an opportunity to earn a profit. Players will have to fork up some gold to form an Arena team before stepping into the ring. Teams are ranked based on there win/loss ratio, and must play a minimum of ten games a week to get points. The more wins a team gets the more points they will earn every Tuesday. Also the bigger teams yield more points so finding a good 5v5 is the fastest way to epics. The gear and weapons that the Arena points can buy is simply phenomenal. Players in Arena gear are something to be feared. The Goblins give you all the tools you need to kick ass. Tons of stamina and resilience keeps you alive, and the damage kills whatever crosses your path. There is also healing gear for those who enjoy that important aspect of the game. This weapon is a great example of the power of the Arena rewards.

The final place to get your PvP fix is…well…anywhere. On any server players can gear up in Battlground and Arena games, and then show off their epic gear by raiding towns, cities, or outposts. Players don’t necessarily have to have good gear to participate in World PvP, but it defiantly helps. One of the more famous places for World PvP is Southshore and Tarren Mill. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of players near these towns continue to slaughter each other for no particular reason. It’s awesome! Some zones encourage PvP with objective games. In Nagrand, for example, factions can control the center island Halaa. To gain control of Halaa, players take off from four different flight points to throw bombs onto the opposing factions elite guards. After all the guards die the attackers must remain near the center of Halaa for a brief time before their own elite guards spawn. During all of this the opposing faction will attempt to kill you and destroy the various flight points. Players who participate in this World PvP action are rewarded with gear, bags, and a unique mount called the Talbuk. Finally, if this whole objective PvP bores the average player, there is the option to invade a capital city. Rumors float around that if a raid successfully kills the leader of a city, they are able to rename the capital as they see fit. The name change supposedly lasts twenty-four hours.

With so much variety WoW’s PvP content could of easily earned a 5 out of 5. This, however, would ignore the lack of new maps for the various Battlegrounds. The resulting repetition from the same old maps warrants a lower score: 4.9 out of 5. Hopefully a patch in the near future will rectify this situation. Until then I’ll just have to settle with killing the Alliance in the same old places.

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