World of Warcraft PvP Battlegrounds

Basic Battleground Concepts

The basic battlegrounds concept was actually pioneered by Mythic Entertainment, in their breakthrough game Dark Age of Camelot. DAoC tried, quite successfully, to overcome what no other online RPG had: the problem of implementing PvP into an online RPG. The issue was that many folks liked PvP, while at the same time, they hated to be constantly ganked. PvP had been, up until the time of DAoC, either been completely non-existent (a la Everquest), or totally unrestricted (as it was in early Ultima Online). If you’ve ever played an MMO on an unrestricted PvP server, you understand the problems of unrestricted PvP very well indeed. Unrestricted PvP is as ruthless as a car salesman at a free lunch. The constant threats to your online happiness and well-being are very real. The problem is that unrestricted PvP gets old fast, and sucks a lot of the enjoyment out of the game.

DAoC solved the problem by turning PvP into a mini-game. You could not PvP in the main adventuring areas. You had to enter the battleground to do so. (DAoC had only one battleground, unlike WoW.) There were objectives to be met, obstacles to overcome, and rewards for honor kills; overall, it was a pretty solid execution of the concept. For the first time, online RPG players could have a solid PvE game, and yet engage in some serious PvP at their choosing. Things worked out so well – the PvP was a hugely popular feature – that people kept playing the game, long after its natural life expectancy was over, just for the battlegrounds. It was (and still is) that good.

WoW took the DAoC concept a bit further. Unlike other online RPGs, there are three battlegrounds to choose from when playing WoW. This is a huge improvement over other games in this genre, and contributes significantly to players’ enjoyment of the end game. The three battlegrounds are:

  • Alterac Valley (AV)
  • Arathi Basin (AB)
  • Warsong Gulch (WG)

Each battleground is substantially different from the others in terms of objectives, rewards, and tactics. I’ll explain each in detail later on.

The lore behind the battlegrounds is that certain areas of Azeroth are simply rife with strife (Woot! Another rhyme!). These “choke points” are the locations of frequent outbreaks of violence between the two factions. By entering these areas, players are choosing to enter a zone, but not for the normal purposes of questing, grinding, or other normal activities. In entering one of these “conflict” zones, players are choosing to fight for their side against the enemy. The concept, from Blizzard’s mouth (mouths?) to your ears, reads as follows:

"In the battle for Azeroth, certain territories have become focal points for conflict between the Horde and Alliance. Battlegrounds represent key locations where this struggle has escalated into all-out war. Each battleground presents a different challenge and environment, and victory here must be achieved not through sheer numbers, but through strategy, skill, and grit."

Pre Order Cataclysm

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World of Warcraft