Blizzard Announces Tol Barad: New World PVP Zone

If you love your world PVP and just can’t get enough of it, Blizzard’s latest zone addition to Cataclysm will tickle you – if you’re in the beta, you may already have had an opportunity to take a look! Blizzard announced Tol Barad with an official preview at the new community site today, complete with details about how the new zone will function and some clues into how we’ll see world PVP in the expansion when it lands:

n island off the coast of the Eastern Kingdoms, Tol Barad is a historic land now sought-after by the leaders of the Horde and the Alliance. Its strategic, isolated location makes it an ideal stronghold from which to conduct military strikes. In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, a battle will be waged to seize control of this prized territory. Should you triumph, unique rewards await you.

Okay, I’m intrigued, do go on:

Similar to Wintergrasp, Tol Barad will serve as an open world PvP zone, although there is also a hub on Tol Barad Peninsula for both factions to complete daily quests. Reachable by portals in Stormwind and Orgrimmar, or via a level-85 mage teleport or portal, Tol Barad will accept up to 80 players per faction to engage in brutal combat across the island’s surface. Unlike Wintergrasp, Tol Barad will not have Tenacity buffs. Instead, the queue system will attempt to match each side at a 1-to-1 ratio. Battles will take place every two hours and thirty minutes, giving the offensive faction a chance to claim territory.

Tol Barad will feature capture-point gameplay. There are three keeps and three towers for the defending side to hold. When destroyed by the attackers, each tower will add five minutes to the standard fifteen-minute battle timer. In order to win, though, all three keeps must be captured and controlled by the attackers. If these keeps cannot be taken by the attacking forces, the defending faction will claim victory in Tol Barad. Similar to Eye of the Storm, Tol Barad determines whether a keep has been captured by the number of players from each side in the immediate area. There is, however, a new twist: each time a member of your faction is killed in the immediate vicinity of a keep, a slider bar will move slightly in favor of the opposing faction. So not only does the size of each force in the area determine who controls each keep, but losing allies during the contesting process determines control as well.

In order to destroy the defenders’ towers, attackers will have access to an all-new type of war machine: Abandoned Siege Engines. Six of these Siege Engines will be placed around the map, and these vehicles can be used to bombard the towers. In contrast to the Siege Engines of Wintergrasp, these machines cannot attack players or buildings while the vehicles are being driven. Instead, players must drive them within range of a tower and jump out, allowing the vehicle to transform into an automated cannon that can lay siege to the tower. The Abandoned Siege Engine will continue to damage the closest tower in range until the machine is destroyed by opposing forces.

Sounds pretty good to me: Wintergrasp was such an incredible success in Wrath of the Lich King that it makes sense that we’d see a similar zone in Cataclysm – and I’m not being sarcastic there, for those of you who are all too familiar with living on servers that have a 3:1 faction ratio.

For factions that win Tol Barad, there’ll be access to special quests, rewards, and gear – similar to Wintergrasp again, but I’m definitely interested in the gameplay, and definitely the look of the zone. What do you think, is it just Wintergrasp done over again, or are you looking forward to a whole island at war? Let us know in the comments!

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