Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Glory Days

Standing Guard at Snowfall

It's official: PvP is great again.

For me at least, Arenas kinda sucked all the life and fun out of the entire PvP experience. It became too much about the gear and not enough about enjoying the game. To do PvP you needed to be Pro: top notch gear, imba friends, hours of practice for quick bursts of adrenaline and rewards that, although impressive, did not seem enough for all the work needed to get them. If you did BG's they were slow, frustrating and ultimately depressing if you were Alliance in my Battlegroup. When Blizzard announced the XP gain in Battlegrounds and the changes to each area a bit of me silently /cheered and hoped that finally there'd be some love for the people who play their game in PvE and take PvP as a hobby. As it stands, I've yet to be disappointed.

Losing a game is no longer a loss when everything sub L80 has a benefit. My Shaman's been PvP-ing pretty much constantly for the last three levels between questing, and it's 325 kinds of awesome. I'm getting honor I can save to buy some very useful (and relevant) L213 items once I hit 80 (so what if they have resilience as a stat, it gives me a head start over the items I'm already wearing), which will supplement my existing PvE gears (the pile in the bank of crafted epics and AH-bought items is growing nicely) As I fight my way through the BG's I pick up a pretty steady stream of Achievements as I go, and yes they are working as just that, a way of making me feel I am progressing. My XP gain is frankly immense (so much so I find myself thinking Blizzard may nerf AV, nearly 19,000 XP per tower captured with rested seems too good to be true) However by far my most important gain while doing this my skill in healing. My reaction times are faster, I'm thinking in a more group-orientated way, and PvP is making me better. I can feel it happening, and when I've been healing in 5 mans I know that the skills I've picked up in AV, AB and in WSG especially are helping me to make a better character. I cannot state this fact enough.

There is a downside: PvP doesn't make you money. However, this is SUCH a minor issue for me, as I have plenty of other characters who can do dailies and supplement my needs while levelling, that I find myself thinking that the cash doesn't matter. Anyway, I'm having way too much fun to care anyway!

There's also moments of utter brilliance and comedy, moments which make you just feel GOOD, and I love the fact this game can inspire such emotional responses. There was the Strand of the Ancients game that we won with five seconds to spare with a display of utter teamwork from a group of random players as to make you wonder why it's taken this long for people to work out what to do. Or there was that AB match which we won with no-one in the party higher than 75 with higher-levelled opposition, and by 200 resources, where three people took the time to whisper me and to thank me for my superlative healing. That makes a girl feel good.

The best moments however are in AV. I'm in the same battlegroup as the German servers, who's reputation as battlers is pretty legendary. You get the Germans in your BG and you KNOW you're in for a long fight, in the middle of the map with no ground given. To make matters worse the Horde have started forming insanely organised premades, headed by 5 or 6 L80's who forge ahead and cap everything, leaving lower levels to guard the captures. Yesterday, 30 of us camped out in the Hall of Stormpike as a last ditch attempt to stop one such group. I got half of my Loyal Defender achievement in one hit. It's possibly the most fun I've had in a BG for a LONG time, and I'm not even 80 yet.

The word is spreading: I've seen an increasing number of 80's in my Guild in Battlegrounds or in WG, and it's not simply for the gear or the Achievements. More than ever before PvP his a great way to let off steam, or play your character and improve their skills if you have limited playtime. Wait times are down, enjoyment is up. Blizzard did exactly the right thing when they updated the PvP options, and I for one hope that things continue in this vein.

Long live PvP!

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