Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Battlegrounds Rock!

I seem to be somewhat in a minority when it comes to my enjoyment of battlegrounds. Mention the word "battleground" to a lot of WoW players, and you will hear various moans, groans, and complaints. But I think that battlegrounds can be far superior to other types of gameplay in WoW, and I'm here to tell you why this is the case.

Most people who hate battlegrounds dislike it because it is the worst type of PUG (pickup group). When you enter a battleground as an individual, you are randomly assigned to a team with a bunch of strangers, many of whom are undergeared and/or have no idea what is going on or how to play. There is little to no communication or coordination among team members. There is no real sense of "team". Strategy is right out the window.

BUT, that can all change when you put a coordinated team together, and you enable voice communication either through in-game chat or a tool like vent. Just like dungeons and bosses, you can discuss raid strategies beforehand. (In fact, this is the purpose of my battleground guides.)

Battleground raids can potentially be much more entertaining and rewarding than dungeon raids for the following reasons:

  • Battlegrounds are more challenging. In a raid, the monsters you fight do the same thing over and over. No matter how many times you beat them, they will never change their tactics.
  • Battlegrounds require you to think and remain alert at all times. Not only do you have to continually adapt to your opponents' tactics, they will adapt to yours.
  • You can't cheat. There is no "deadly boss mods" for battlegrounds, and no videos you can watch to tell you how to defeat the team you're facing. Yes there are general strategic guidelines, but no add-on that is going to yell out "Fear being cast in 10 seconds!" You have to actually think for yourself, learn to anticipate, and be ready for the unexpected.
  • Everyone gets to share in the rewards for battlegrounds, through honor points and battleground marks. You can buy some really cool stuff with honor points. In a dungeon raid, you have to clear it again and again, hoping that the item you want drops, and hoping that when it does drop, someone doesn't out-roll you for it. But in a battleground, you ARE going to gain honor (more if you win), and you can see exactly how close you are to earning that iLvl 213 chest piece or helm.
  • In a battleground, you can lose. Some might think this is a disadvantage. But I've only been playing for a little over a month and I'm already getting bored of clearing Naxx over and over. There no longer seems to be any question of IF we will succeed, only how long it is going to take us. Having no real chance of losing makes winning much less exciting.
  • A successful battleground requires excellent coordination and communication, even more-so than a raid. In a raid, it's basically everyone beating on the same mobs over and over. In a battleground, different people will be assigned to different areas and roles, and will have to adapt as the game progresses. It isn't nearly as predictable as a dungeon raid.
  • The best part: battlegrounds don't cause durability damage on your gear! So no matter how often you die, you won't have a giant repair bill at the end of the night.

If you are in a guild, doing battlegrounds is a perfect way to break up the monotony of doing the same raid over and over. It is also a good way to participate when you have either too many or too few people show up for a raid. For example, if only 8 people show up, Warsong Gulch is a good option since it is limited to ten-person teams. Having a coordinated 8-person team would be a distinct advantage. (The system will automatically assign you two players if you don't care to search for yourself.)

Battlegrounds do require a bit of a shift in your expectations for gameplay. First, you will die and die often, especially when you are getting started. This is simply part of the game. Second, you won't be able to kill level-80 players with the same ease and speed that you dispel level-80 mobs. It just doesn't work that way; that's part of the challenge.

All you need to do is learn the proper strategies and tactics, and enjoy the game!

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