Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Alliance in battlegrounds, pt. 2

Part 1 is here.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the terrible state of Alliance PvP. I described it purely from the point of view of Random Battlegrounds - no premades included. The conclusion was that the Alliance performed dreadfully in RBGs. I explored some reasons as to why that might be, but arrived to no certain explanation.

But, as it turns out, there's a very simple reason.

Population outside the battleground
There are more Hordes on my server than Allies. In fact, it seems this may be true of most existing servers. This causes Hordes to have longer (sometimes much longer) queue times for RBGs. Getting into a battleground on the Alliance side is a matter of clicking the queue button - the invitation is almost always instant. My guildmate, on the other hand, tells me that he must sometimes wait 30 minutes to get into a battleground on his Horde alt.

This difference causes Hordes to perform better than Allies. If an Ally loses, he knows he can just re-queue and immediately try again. A Horde, on the other hand, has to make it count. They will try harder - simply because they don't get as many attempts. They've already waited 30 minutes to get into the damn battleground, so they're not about to let Allies win so easily.

Population inside the battleground
The population outside the battleground also affects the population inside it. More Hordes outside means more Hordes inside - there's always a full queue of Hordes ready to go, but not necessarily so for Allies. Furthermore, Allies are more prone to ignoring the battleground invite, seeing as they might have started something new and figure they'll just queue again in a few minutes. Hordes won't do this as much, because they are subject to the whims of the queue.

Population inside the battleground can mean different things, the first of which is total imbalance. Too bad I deleted my screenshot of an Alterac Valley with only 6 Alliance players versus 40 Hordes, because it would have been perfect here. Though that particular example might be a little extreme, other numbers such as 20 v. 40 are actually quite common on my realm. This sort of imbalance obviously impairs the Alliance side - by the time more players stream in, Hordes are already defending all our towers and camping us at our base.

On the other hand, this phenomenon only happens in high-population battlegrounds - namely, Alterac Valley. Although 10 v. 15 Arathi Basins or Eyes of the Storm might also occur from time to time, smaller battlegrounds are usually full, which puts Allies back on a more level ground.

Population inside the battleground implies something else, as well. This time, however, I am not talking about the total amount of players that happen to be in the group, but the maximum amount. More players mean that it is easy for the small amount of good players to get lost in the cacophony of the poorer players. In small BGs, however, it takes just 1 or 2 good players to turn the tide of the entire game. I consider myself a good player, and because lately I've taken the habit of queuing with a few other players (usually 1-3), we've ended up winning about 80% of every battleground that is not Alterac Valley.

Call to Arms: Warsong Gulch
For three days, the Call to Arms battleground was WSG. During that period of time, I earned an insane amount of honor - everyone queued for WSG, including myself and friends, and we only lost maybe 1 match out of every 10 we played.

It didn't really matter whether the rest of our team was good - of course, it helped, but it wasn't as necessary as in bigger battlegrounds. I usually ran the flag - for all my talk about how Moonkin survivability is sh*t, I still like to carry the flag. I have 30.8k health unbuffed, 1300 resilience, and unless you put me against a Death Knight or a Frost Mage, I am very good at kiting/escaping (aren't all Druids?), so it works out alright - especially when I have a Disci Priest friend on my back and a MM Hunter keeping everyone off my back.

The only times we would lose was when a low-geared player would try to carry the Horde flag while the rest of our group would ignore our own flag being easily carried to the enemy base. (By the way, I have nothing against players with low-level gear, but if you're one of those players you should be playing support).

Anyways, all this to say that the main problem of Alliance battlegrounds is population. The players themselves aren't really that bad - not worse than Horde players, anyway. They just have the disadvantage of less people (or the advantage, whichever way you want to see it (faster queues)).

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