Tales of a BG player…

This is a repost of something I wrote on the Blizzard PvP Forums. I wrote it to maybe, elicit some kind of reaction, but … alas … “hord r ghey” is a more popular topic, lolz.

It’s my story…

The evening was young. We’d just come back from the movies, don’t ask me which of the many bad “blockbusters” it was, and I’d just hit 58 on my first character, a Priest. I kissed the SO good night, lit one last cigarette outside, opened a fresh can of Diet Coke, and logged into the game. Alterac Valley, I was told, was the ultimate in Battlegrounds. PvP, PvE, multiple objectives, vendors, cities and towers that needed razing, graveyards and graveyard objectives. In short, an epic battle.

I came prepared. With potions, bandages, a bag full of reagents, another bag full of assorted things I’d found useful in World PvP. All greens, not a blue or purple to my name, I zoned in. What followed would change a lot about me, my perception of the game, and whom I am today.

The game had already begun. Running around aimlessly I finally found the Frostwolves to the south and the Wildpaw Cavern I was supposed to get some banner from. And I found a gaggle of epic Alliance who sent me right back to where I’d zoned in. Rezzing I swore revenge, found the Paladin who’d killed me, and manaburned his behind into the next grave yard. I was hooked. That night I didn’t come to bed as I’d promised. The game, already going for more than tree hours, wound up running for nineteen hours straight, and I am proud to say, I was there when Van died, that Sunday early afternoon. When I went to bed I was exhausted, happy, and had a cramp in my left hand. But, man, that AV sure was a cool place to be.

In the weeks following this day, I ranked up. I spent time in WSG and AB, but ultimately always came back to Alterac Valley. I fought Korrak the Bloodrager, even looted a Staff of Hale Magefire from him. I built my portable shredder unit, gained reputation with Frostwolves and the Horde, assaulted and took back mines and towers, and I fought. A lot. As my gear improved so did my survivability. Soon I didn’t bring much potion love into the Valley, anymore. Equally soon I found a group of like thinking people, many of which had seen their share of skirmishes, whom I’d grouped up with. I healed my little heart out, I feared people in circles, and I went and respecced for optimal PvP usefulness.

Time went by and I hit ranks I’d never imagined I’d hit. Soon I was in the grind, finding a group of people who thought, acted, and fought like me. The grind was hard, really hard. I became irritable, my SO told me many a day she’d leave me if I didn’t change back to the casual player and man I’d been before AV, friends stopped calling, and my health went down the drain. But there I was, in Alterac Valley, fighting Gnomes, and Elves, and all the other Alliance adversaries, competing with my own faction for Honor and standing. In due time I hit Rank 13. A decision had to be made. 14? That evening I sat down with my SO. Explained how the past weeks would have been for naught if I didn’t try. Try, at least, I said. And we agreed. 14, then I’d go back to being a casual. Until then, she’d live with my irritability, the lack of face time, the fact that she sometimes had to log into the game and Ventrilo to hear my voice or see me before she went to bed.

HWCWhen I hit Rank 14, physically leeched dry but happy, I felt something I’d only felt a few times before. The day the love of my life said “Yes”, the day my final PhD thesis paper was accepted, or the day I bought my first car with money saved from working as a printer, coroner’s assistant, and short order cook in a seedy kitchen. Accomplishment doesn’t begin to describe it. Elation, joy, happiness at being … well, I guess, done.

I left Battlegrounds PvP shortly thereafter. Tried to repair some of my relationships, reconciled with the SO and family, and began to work out. AV changed. Korrak the Bloodrager disappeared. Shredder units were removed from the game. The players changed, too.

When I returned to the game, rolling a new priest, AV had become a honor farming ground at the Field of Strife for my server. Alliance and Horde would meet and beat the living noodles out of each other. Then, when honor was diminished enough, they’d race to Van and Drek and end it. Shortly thereafter I switched servers. In the mean time I’d leveled a Warlock and a Shaman to 60, moving my three “big guys” to Kul Tiras. KT didn’t have epic battles, Horde always won (on my previous servers Alliance rarely lost), and the server climate was weird, to say the least. Horde not only tolerated but welcomed Alliance players in Orgrimmar, chatting on Vent and IRC while /spitting on any Horde daring to kill the flagged Alliance. Alliance relied on gear and numbers much more than on skill and class knowledge, a welcome feast in Alterac Valley for me and my, dare I say it, “battle hardened”, friends who’d transferred. Then the NPCs disappeared. The race to Van and Drek got faster. No more six hour stalemates, no more epic battles, no more /afk-ing out for dinner to return to the same AV three hours later.

Cross Server BGs entered the picture not much later. By then my fourth and fifth 60 had entered the game, a Druid and a Hunter. Declaring the Druid my main I decided to aim for Rank 10 once more, trying to get my blue PvP gear. My, how the battlegrounds had changed. Cross server battles removed what little sense of reason, community, responsibility and repercussions had been prevalent. Farmers, unafraid of whatever non-repercussions Blizzard would not dole out, stood in the Cave, laughing at anyone suggesting they move and help win. “Ur ghey, nub” might very well be the number one sentence uttered in those days.

The Big Two Oh hit, and things got worse. Where previously three, maybe four, people AFKed in the Cave, ten now stand. “Let’s just lose fast,” defeatists open the game with. 120 honor, they say, in thirteen minutes, is still a good cut. It’s all about the epics, all about that HWL weapon, all about those glowy shoulders. A little cringe of agony hits my lower intestines every time I see someone in all greens with Rank 13 shoulders. The one piece, arguably, with the worst stats for an epic PvP item, it glows. Reason enough to spend 12,000 honor and a few tokens on it?

Where in the days of server BG we had an agreed upon signal, two waves and a nod, which ceased all conflict and led the Alliance and Horde to some AFK botter for easy killing (me and an Alliance priest had this down to a science, including MCing the other side past hostiles, then watching him or her kill the botter, watch him recall and happily kill his hiney next time we saw them on the battlefield), we now tolerate AFKers, we even welcome them – after all it goes faster if we lose faster…

From this here PvPer, someone who loves World PvP over BG PvP, someone who’s been in AV for a loooong time, now, if you are new to this, I feel sadness for you. You’ll likely never feel that twinge of accomplishment as you buy that epic head and shoulder piece. You’ll likely never become friends with someone you met in AV as much as I have with Gricend, one of the coolest Mages out there. You’ll likely have to listen to people calling you gay, a fag, a nub, or more, for simply suggesting to win this time. You’ll never see Korrak, never send a Shredder into the fray and watch it waste clothies, and you’ll never survive that Gnome rogue just to be slaughtered by a bunch of wandering NPCs in the Field of Strife.

If you never upgraded all your units all the way, had wolf riders out, got a full air assault going while bringing Lok to Dun Baldar and simultaneously kiting Ivus to your cave, you’ll likely never understand what made us tick. If you never sat there at 2am in the morning, chatting with others on Defense about their respective life plans, why they played, knew the names of that Troll Rogue’s children, her husband’s hobbies, and zoned in the next morning to find out how the Orc Warlock’s father’s bypass surgery went, you lost out on something. If you never zoned in to find you knew everyone and knew that every action you took had a direct repercussion, good or bad, outside the Battleground, you missed out.

Yes, it was a mindless grind. Yes, at 4am, nine days into the grind to 14, I found myself mechanically pressing the same buttons, almost like the BWL runs I fled into the battlegrounds from, asleep at the keyboard, but I also knew I would be “done”, one day. When I bought my HWL weapon I did so while reading the “gratz” messages on our forums, I did so through phone calls from guildies wishing me the best during my hiatus. Today, it’s a non-ceremonial act. Get a mace, get it enchanted, get back into BGs to get the next piece.

My name is Hoern. I am a PvPer. And I, for one, miss those days.

There’s an addendum to this. A wishlist of sorts for 2007. A plea for more civility, too.

Blizzard, please. If you read this, give us a way to report botters more intuitively. It shouldn’t be that had to extent over the “Harassment” tab (it is not harassment) and add a “botter, automatic game play” section to the list. Regardless if it’s the bot in Feralas or Winterspring or the guy sitting in the cave to the tune of 0 damage, 0 healing and full bonus honor, if a friend of mine gets a three day suspension for calling someone a douche, why does someone who sours the game for me this way get to be back for the next game?

Play to have fun, to win, not for gear alone. I know this is a hard proposition to make. After all, from end-game guild to PvP grinder, it’s more about the loot than anything else for a lot of people. All I ask of you is to try it, once. Play to have fun. Try new strats, try something new. Your glowy shoulders may have to wait one more day, but come back and tell me you didn’t have fun.

Be civil. I am a prime offender in this one. I use swearwords, I call people names, and no matter how often I resolve to stand back and just play, I aggravate easily. I promise, for 2007, to be more civil in my dealings. Don’t call people names, don’t be a homophobe, don’t be a racist, don’t be a douche. Argue, reason, learn the strategies and evangelize them. I know, in my heart of hearts, that if only a handful of us become advocates of a better BG we can get one.

With that, I bid thee farewell. And that’s about as RP as you’ll ever get me :)

Yours truly, Hoern. Known as Cemetor, Thodt, Cattivo, Srsly, Salvator, and more in BGs and wherever a World Defense message pops up.

4 Comments so far

  1. Xoruka (unregistered) on December 28th, 2006 @ 6:00 am

    I am sorry your gamble was all for naught.

    For the record, if I step into any BG, I play to win. Since I want to level via instancing, my 58 Shaman is Earth Shield spec with 5600 mana. In combination with Clique and Grid addons, I step into AV and I am healing machine (it is the only thing I do well). If I get attacked, I throw out Frost Shock, Earthbind and start stepping away to let a meleer engage while I heal him. I usually heal twice as much as anybody else in any BG I play in.

    So I don’t get a lot of HPs. So it will take me forever to get leet gear. So we don’t get XPs from turning in tokens. You know what? I don’t care. I just like PvPing.

    Which reminds me… I need to permaflag.

  2. Madjack (unregistered) on December 28th, 2006 @ 11:23 am

    I agree with your sentiments. I’ve never been much of a PvPer, my sentiment lies more with raiding. They’re different tastes. Before the patch, I hit AV maybe less than a dozen times, and usually, for no more than an hour.

    Since the patch, I’ve hit it a lot more, and yes, I got the glowy Warlord’s shoulders, although for myself, it was because it was the best upgrade for the piece of equipment it was replacing (this is a sad fact for feral druids, our raiding gear isn’t designed for melee fighting, so our fighting gear tends to be blue). It struck me right away that the fact that I got those shoulders so easily (and the black war kodo) when before they were so difficult to get, really says something. Essentially, Blizzard put them on sale. They don’t fit in with the new PvP system, and with the expansion, they would become obsolete very fast. Personally, I think they should have come up with new gear for the honor grind, removing the Warlord’s title in them. As another bonus, if you have the old PvP sets, you should be able to buy upgraded stats as you continue. So, if you earned the Warlord’s gear in the past, it stays with you, and relevant. A sign that an accomplishment was made.

  3. Xoruka (unregistered) on January 2nd, 2007 @ 6:39 am

    Wait for it…

    The prices are going to drop come TBC.

  4. spek (unregistered) on January 11th, 2007 @ 8:21 am

    I do agree that new system is hollow and greedy, but i do think a time consuming and live ruiner system wasn’t the best, some good stuff were lost and some bad stuff were raised, blizz is learning with us, we are their guinea-pigs…

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