Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WoW Journal - 20-September-2006

After having gotten the Wand of Biting Cold from Alterac Valley, I noticed that the quest you fulfill by winning a battle there has other rewards for other classes. There is the wand, a polearm, a mace, and a crossbow. So I checked what weapons my level 60 warrior has and compared it to the AV quest reward, and found that the Ice Barbed Spear is a better 2-handed weapon than any other weapon I managed to pick up with that character in 40 days of /played time. Okay, that is due to him never having gotten any loot out of raid dungeons, my guilds preferring me to go raiding with the priest. But he has been to the smaller dungeons of Stratholme, Scholomance, Blackrock Spire and Dire Maul many times, without finding anything that good.

Now winning Alterac Valley used to be hard. But as I reported earlier, nowadays it can be done in half an hour, if you are lucky. I ended up spending one evening in AV, winning one out of three battles, but that was still relatively little effort for a relatively nice reward. No wonder people are rushing this place so.

As I said, the Hero of the Frostwolf (or Stormpike if you are Alliance) quest gives different rewards. But all of them seem to be very nice, even for a level 60 character. Now think that you can get them by joining AV at level 51, and the reward level seems nearly unbalanced. Some classes are better served than others (the wand is better for a frost mage than for a priest or warlock, the 1-handed mace better for a paladin or shaman than for a warrior, but then the warrior can take the 2-handed spear), but in general the quality of the item you can get out of AV at level 51 is about equivalent to the better blue loot from Zul'Gurub.

That is probably because winning AV is considered to be a "raid" activity of 40 people. World of Warcraft rewards activities that need more people higher than activities that can be done with smaller groups, or solo, even if the difficulty level for the individual is about the same. To some extent that is justified for raids like Molten Core, where getting a raid group of 40 players together, and leading them, is very hard work. But in the case of Alterac Valley, there is no organization involved. The individual player wanting the Ice Barbed Spear just joins the queue, and is placed in a raid group automatically. Organization and leadership is minimal to non-existing, you can count yourself lucky if somebody shouts "rush" and the other players follow that instruction, because it is the proven way to fast victory. But even if you are just level 51 and don't do much on the battleground, after a couple of battles you are likely to get lucky and join one where your side wins, at which point your quest counts as completed, even if you haven't contributed anything to the success.

After playing my priests a lot, doing PvP with my warrior is fun. So I think I will visit Alterac Valley a bit more often in the future. I don't count on gaining much honor rank, as we are still on a relative scale, and other players do a lot more PvP than I could possibly do. But I'm already very close to honored reputation with the Frostwolf, and getting to revered or even exalted seems to be possible in a reasonable time. And obviously for a warrior for whom the Ice Barbed Spear was an improvement, the Unstoppable Force would be awesome, even if I have to spend 125 gold on it.

I wonder if there is a deliberate policy behind that, with Blizzard wanting more people to do PvP, and luring them there with relatively easy to get epics. The AV reputation rewards seem to be a lot easier to get than lets say the tier 0.5 upgrade quest, or the Silithus reputation rewards. That makes me wonder how good the PvP rewards will be compared to the PvE rewards in the Burning Crusade expansion.

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