Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Alliance in battlegrounds

As I continue to rack up the honorable kills in battlegrounds, it has occurred to me the terrible state of Alliance PvP. While I still played at Spermik, I had already noticed that the Alliance faction lost much more often than the Horde. This is something that has carried over at Molten. However, up until recently, I never really gave it any particular attention - at the back of my mind, I simply attributed the losses to poor luck, bad team composition, 1-2 very bad players, etc, and assumed that I probably wasn't losing as often as it appeared.

But although those factors may be included, there is something larger at hand here. Just type "Hordes terrible at PvP" in Google - the first search result is a link to a thread titled "Alliance so terrible in pvp." In fact, there are countless threads complaining about the terrible performance of the Alliance in battlegrounds, but only few about that of the Horde's.

So I looked at my in-game statistics and found that the numbers were absolutely dreadful. Here they are:

Alterac Valley:
34 out of 155 (22%) games won.

Arathi Basin:
25 out of 76 (33%) games won.

Eye of the Storm:
26 out of 79 (33%) games won.

Strand of the Ancients:
9 out of 22 (41%) games won.

Warsong Gulch:
30 out of 60 (50%) games won.

124 out of 392 (32%) games won.

That is pretty damn terrible.

I've done some online browsing in order to find out what could be the cause behind the Alliance's poor performance in battlegrounds, which, at this point, I believe is not just a product of chance.

There are many suggestions out there, but none of which are very convincing:
  • Children / females are more likely to choose an Alliance race. This argument makes the assumption that children / females perform less than male players, which I just can't agree with. There are many outstanding female players out there. In fact, I believe females are more inclined to favor cooperative play. Perhaps children, depending on their age, would cause a team to underperform, but there is nothing indicating that there are more children on the Alliance side than on the Horde side. Amusingly, however, demographics show that females are more likely to roll an Alliance character (Night Elves, Draeneis, and Gnomes are among their favorite races).
  • Hordes are better-geared. Although at this point, I can only agree with that, it has to be considered that the only reason Hordes are better-geared is because they started winning in the first place. These days, Hordes easily make 2-3x as much honor in a day as Alliance players - the better gear from all this honor most likely helps, but what started it?
  • Horde races have more PvP-oriented racials. This is an interesting one. The way I see it, Alliance racials are more focused on defense or escape, while Horde racials generally focus on control and damage. However, as it is, all of these attributes are important for PvP, and I don't assume racials are really what make the game.
  • Mature players are more likely to roll Horde. I have seen the argument that Horde races are less appealing (i.e. they are ugly) than Alliance races. "Mature" players are apparently more inclined to choosing the rougher-looking Hordes. But why? For the racials? There's really no reason. Besides, children (the "less mature") are just as likely to choose Blood Elves for their looks or Trolls for their coolness as they are to roll Night Elves or Dwarves for the same reasons.

To be totally honest, I have no real idea why Hordes dominate Alliance in battlegrounds so much. There are a few more possibilities to which I have given more thought.

What personality-type would be more inclined to roll Horde? In my experience, I have found that Alliance players are more interested in the social aspect of World of Warcraft, whereas Hordes are more goal-oriented. In other words, Hordes get down to business. Of course, this is a gross generalization and probably not very accurate - that said, it does seem to be slightly balanced that way, nonetheless.

Another thing I have noticed (ironically, when compared to my above paragraph), is the high level of hostility present in Alliance battlegroups. Players never listen to each other. Everyone is always playing on his own, doing whatever he wants, either insulting the person giving directions or ignoring him. There are always arguments about tactics or players' individual performances. From what I've seen, however, Hordes are less inclined to start internal feuds and they just get it over with. Like I said - they get down to business.

That is not to say that Hordes always know what to do. I have seen them, countless times and just as Allies, assault the Lumber Mill and leave it undefended before it has been captured, allowing me to just sneak in and defend it without trouble. Ah, how I love the Lumber Mill, my fellow Moonkins.

Anyways - there is very poor leadership in Alliance battlegroups. In fact, when a good leader comes along, we either win or come close.  I have a joke with a Rogue named Arcea - each time he joins Alterac Valley with me, I cheer and say that we have an increased 10% chance of victory. What he does is simple: he knows what to do, and encourages others to do the same. He gives simple directions, and shares Deadly Boss Mod updates for those who don't use the addon. Many people don't realize that destroying towers is a 75-point loss for Hordes - hell, I didn't know when I started playing in AV. So he explains it, and our chances to win significantly improve.

Looking at the numbers
Looking at the statistics I wrote above, I see a pattern. The Alliance loses the most when lots of players are involved, and the least when only a small amount of players participate. I've only won AV a mere 22% of the time - that is a horrible number. On the other hand, I've won WSG a solid 50% of the time, and the remaining 15-player battlegrounds are in the middle.

Why is that? Do the greater numbers cause less cooperation?

Before I wrap up this post, there is one final thing I want to bring attention to. Each time I join a Random Battleground, the Hordes always outnumber the Allies. Sometimes it's as bad as 15 vs. 40 Alterac Valley games. This is caused by Alliance players queuing and not entering when they are invited. Why would so many of them do that? By the time the numbers equalize, the Hordes will already have the upper ground.

There is also the issue of AFKers, though I don't know if they are more prevalent on either faction. Regardless, I think I might make a post about them in the future.

In the meantime, take care.

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