The Rage Over Alterac Valley

24 Sep

There’s a blistering – *blistering* thread over in the customer support forums where players are venting 10 kinds of angst and rage over the unexpected changes to Alterac Valley in patch 3.2.2.

First off – Blizzard shifted the AV brackets so that they look like any other battleground’s bracket.  80’s finally got their own private AV and everyone else is back to traditional 60-69, 70-79, etc.  Second – due to the bracket shifting they also slammed a nerf hammer on the experience gain that 70’s were enjoying in the old 71-80 bracket – effectively halving the previous awards.

While there are all kinds of folks angry about AV losing its traditional level bracketing, the real rage is coming from the experience nerf.  Leveling players were enjoying around 18,000 experience for each objective taken or Captain slain.  At that rate and with the experience netted for wins and random NPC kills added in, people were literally grinding AV from 71 to 80 in about a weeks worth of play time.  Post patch those numbers are but ghosts of themselves and players are responding.  Almost overnight queues for level 70+ AV grinders went from instantaneous with multiple games running to a queue so empty that it echoes.

So what gives?  According to an apologetic post from Blizzard – at least some of the changes weren’t due until 3.3 (and Icecrown) releases.  Here is as best a list of the current conspiracy theories being put forth:

  1. Blizzard Hates Battleground Players
  2. They tried to fix the AFK problem and did it wrong
  3. Devs are pissed because no one plays Isle of Conquest
  4. Devs don’t really play the game

According to Blizzard’s short post on the topic, they felt that experience was simply too high compared to other battlegrounds.  At first glance that seems reasonable – particularly compared to how poor the xp gain is in the other BG’s.  The problem of course is that once players get used to something – it’s damn hard to take it back.  Particularly when it’s arguably been providing some of the best gaming I can remember for leveling alts.

Blizzard is obviously going to be reviewing the change and taking into account over 32 pages of heavily negative feedback.  I don’t know that the experience and level brackets need to be changed significantly – but I do think all BG’s could use a bump in their actual experience gained.  There’s a part of me that feels like Blizzard knew the experience gain in battlegrounds would effectively kill the most aggressive twinkers (which it has) – and they couldn’t quite bring themselves to do that.  With experience blocked battleground queues virtually empty and the wait times in most battlegroups for AV now fairly long it might do the customer service folks to relook the patch and rethink the problem they were trying to solve.

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