In this weeks editorial I want to look at something that annoys many Alliance players and makes Horde players rejoice. As I have been drawn into the Player versus Player (PvP) aspect of World of Warcraft (WoW) lately, I have come to see the differences between the two factions play out. Here I take a look at the differences (as I see them), and how they translate to Horde winning the vast majority of battlegrounds.
In WoW there are several key differences between the factions. The biggest though and what I believe contributes to the difference is the population levels. The second major difference is the age of the players on the factions. Let me explain these two to start with.
On almost any server that you visit the Horde are outnumbered by at least 2-1, with many servers being almost 5-1. This is a result of several factors but mainly due to the Horde not having a "pretty" race on first release. It also has to do with younger players generally wanting to play characters that more resemble themselves or are at least human. While this has been chanced with the release of the Burning Crusade and the Blood Elf race for the Horde it was already 2 years into the game and many initial players were too established to switch factions.
Being a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) and having to work together with other players, a Horde player could feel at a significant disadvantage while looking for groups, due to the lower number of players that possibly needed the same quest. While many players looked at this and hated it, over time they learned to make friends and form guilds and to generally work as a team with those around them. This I believe has overtime created a significant advantage for the Horde where random groups need to work together.
I have also found that in general the Horde have an older player base. This may be wrong, since I have never seen any solid numbers on age of players, but in any guild I have played with on the Horde the players have been far older and more willing to work together. While there are young players that communicate well and work as a team well, there are far more that don't. Just like there are some adults that don't play well in a team situation, but more do, than don't simply due to life experience and having to work with other people all the time.
The last really big factor in battlegrounds is consideration. On the Horde you will almost never see a character ins a battleground below the max level of that bracket, where as on the Alliance team it is fairly common. While everyone should be allowed to play as it is a game and is for fun, everyone should respect everyone else's attempt to win as well. In WoW it really does not take very long to level. Therefore, if you are level 41, wait to get to 49 before fighting in the battleground for that bracket. If your at a lower level, you really place the whole team at a severe disadvantage. Not only are you not likely to win and get points, your going to cause up to 39 other players to not win and get points either. On the Horde, players seem to understand this, on the Alliance, for some reason they don't.
How They Translate to Battleground Loses
In a battleground, winning and losing all comes down to how well you can work together as a team. The two issues listed above come into direct play in a battleground. In a normal battleground (as in not a pre-made) you take 10 - 40 random players and throw them all together with about 2 minutes to plan and work together.
In general, when you join a battleground on the Horde side, someone steps up and declares a plan of action. People ask quick questions, ask for player moves to make sensible groups, and then start the fight. On the alliance faction, occasionally someone will offer a plan, mostly not. When one is suggested normally there are many rude comments about how it will never work and then the battle starts. See a difference? To me it, doesn't even matter if the plan suggested was valid or not, on the Horde players will offer suggestions and the team will generally come to a consensus, while the Alliance will just bicker.
As anyone can tell you, the best laid plans never survive first contact with the enemy. That's what happens in a battleground. Once the battle actually starts, the plan lasts for a little while, then the enemy does what they want and everything goes crazy. The plan then needs to change and players to change with it. This brings in the need for even more communication and teamwork. Again this passes a clear advantage to the Horde.
The age difference generally factors in at this point as well. As soon as a battleground starts going in favor of the Horde, at least one Alliance player will start crying about how Alliance always loses. Then other players will either start typing in to agree, or to blast the person that started the comments. Either way, the Alliance team has now been disrupted and it generally spirals out of control. The faction now starts spending time arguing instead of correcting the situation, adapting tactics and moving on. While it may not always be younger players that start the complaining in the battle grounds, that is the perception, and it fits with the perception of younger players on Alliance. An older player would generally understand that complaining does no good, the correct thing to do is to try and correct the situation.
Players like to blame anyone but themselves. In game, many Alliance players blame Blizzard for favoring Horde and designing battlegrounds to favor the Horde. Having played both sides, I don't see this at all. What I see is that all of the factors above put together severely limit the ability of the alliance to win in the battlegrounds. Not some mysterious outside cause.
How To Change This
So, how does the alliance overcome all this and actually start winning? The first thing that needs to happen is that all alliance players need to take responsibility, which is a pretty big task. Even if you have tried in the past to educate players, you need to step it up again. We lose because of lack of communication skills overall (even though you prop ably have tried) and a need to blame others. I suggest that next time your in a battleground, you start discussing tactics and offer suggestions, instead of negative comments. If negative comments start flying, respond back that they don't help anyone (other than the Horde), and can they please get on with the game. If need be, create a few macros with your favorite tactics for each battleground, and another with the basic comments to calm down and work together to play the game.
It's not an easy thing to change, as success (or failure) is contagious. Once you have started losing, it's a long road back to winning. I don't think it's a fight we can give up on thought.
The Messiah has had his say, what’s yours? Are there other issues with the Alliance or Horde? Do you have other ideas on fixxing the win/loss ratio? Am I over analyzing this? I want to hear your comments.
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