4.1 Battleground Changes: Escape from the Graveyard
Patch 4.1 has some interesting changes in store for the PvPers among us. Battlegrounds are being altered in some much needed ways that will balance out some of the cheesy strategies that are plaguing Rated BGs and sometimes normal BGs as well. Without further ado, the changes:
Doing the Graveyard Shuffle
The first thing that jumps out is the graveyard musical chairs routine. You might be thinking "what the hell does this even mean?" Basically, this is a complicated (perhaps overly complicated) fix to the problem of the neverending zerg of players who can jump into fights over objectives in battlegrounds.
Everyone has been in this situation at one time or another: you're owning the enemy team left and right and frantically trying to get control of their flag but a seemingly unending stream of them keep resurrecting at their graveyard and running back to interrupt you on the flag. Eventually you run out of steam as you've killed their team three times over and still aren't able to get a capture. This is a frustrating and frankly stupid phenomenon that encourages a crazy initial rush to capture the majority of bases and then sit on them interrupting flags and chain resurrecting. The changes here will basically push you off of certain nodes when resurrecting on defense so that there are nodes that are actual vulnerable targets. This is a change that has been needed since the inception of Arathi Basin 5 years ago and will be good for the game.
The basic change as applies to Rated BGs will be to make the two "non-natural" bases in Battle for Gilneas difficult to defend. By non-natural I am referring to the bases that aren't immediately adjacent to your teams starting area. For the Horde Waterworks and the Lighthouse will be difficult to defend since they will never be able to spawn nearby to defend them, they will be pushed deeper into their territory to either the Mine or their starting area. Likewise for the Alliance the Waterworks and the Mine will be difficult to defend. This change will encourage some actual trading of bases rather than an initial capture of 2 bases followed by a boring and frustrating turtle. Good change.
One Long Second
You'll note that the capture time for flags has been lowered by one second for a total of 7 down from 8. This change on its own isn't a big deal although it could definitely decide games from time to time. It's much more significant in conjunction with the graveyard changes. These changes together indicate that Blizzard is pretty unhappy with the current dynamic in the Battle for Gilneas BG and wants to see a lot more back and forth in terms of trading bases. The capture time seems like an eternity when players are spamming 1 second GCD aoe spells on top of the flag interrupting your team, one second can be a pretty significant amount however when you've wiped out or crowd controlled the enemy or are looking to sneak in a capture inside a Smoke Bomb. This is another good change.
Warsong Gulch Graveyard Camping
Could it be true, will one of the staples of WoW PvP, the Warsong Gulch Graveyard Camp truly be eliminated? Not so fast say PTR testers. The new graveyard location will allow players to resurrect unmolested by the hordes of enemies waiting but will also funnel them into the arms of the enemy team. The only real benefit that everyone seems to agree upon is that this change will allow the resurrecting team to group up in sufficient numbers to stage a semi-organized attack. But, let's be real here, if your team is being camped at the graveyard then you're probably not having a ton of luck with organized cohesive attacks.
This change won't have a big impact on any meaningful aspect of the Gulch other than giving the losing team a comfortable platform to AFK on while the other team finishes their 3 flag captures. This change isn't completely terrible but don't expect it to change anything!
Flag Changes: Focus that assault!
The debuff applied to flag carriers is being modified somewhat to ostensibly allow the offense in Warsong Gulch and Twin Peaks to actually kill the flag carrier within a reasonable timeframe. If anyone has seen a Blood tank Death Knight with 200,000hp running flags lately then you'll likely be on board with these changes.
The Focused Assault debuff will now apply much more quickly but be less effective. Starting at 3 minutes after both teams possess a flag a 10% damage taken debuff will be slapped on the flag carrier which will increase by an additional 10% each minute. Brutal Assault will kick in after 7 minutes which will apply the move speed debuff and continue to add the incremental 10% damage debuff which will cap out at 100% damage. This change is nice in that it will add more stages to the debuff process rather than the current "oh crap it's at Brutal Assault pop all cooldowns and bloodlust gogogo" mentality that exists currently. Good change here.
None of the changes being implemented are really earthshaking other than the graveyard change. That one is going to really shake up Battle for Gilneas and hopefully make it more strategic and interesting than it currently is. Players will no doubt be happy that Blizzard is showing some love for the Battleground players who often feel unloved and overshadowed by the Arena crowd. 4.1 is looking pretty damn good so far!