Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Terrain Effects on Arena Combat

With patch 2.1 just going live most PvP teams are starting to experience the Ruins of Lordaeron which is the newest arena introduced by Blizzard. Unlike the Blade's Edge arena this one is relatively free of clutter with only a central fountain providing any major cover. A few areas on the peripheral of the arena might provide some cover for the shorter races but in general it will be a fight to the finish in the center. Even the Nagrand arena with its four pillars probably provided more ways to use line of sight to your advantage.

Of course the design of the Ruins of Lordaeron is in response to the many complaints about the Blade's Edge arena which some say offers an unfair advantage to range classes. In particular is the strategy utilized by hunters where they would ground freeze the center part of the map and then jump onto one of the pillars. This prevented most opponents from being able to make the jump onto the pillars which then became the ultimate sniping position. For arena teams heavy on the popular warrior and rogue classes this is devastating.

While utilization of terrain is part of most PvP games it often seems to have a huge impact in World of Warcraft. Blizzard is very cautious about reports of cheating using terrain and can take quite awhile to fix an issue or even send out a response. Notice the long delay in fixing several areas in the WSG map where flag carriers could become invulnerable. And to this day some people blame the dominance of the Alliance at Alterac Valley due to the placement of the graveyards.

World of Warcraft unlike most games which have a PvP component does not offer an equal chance for all players. Its not really Blizzard's fault since range weapons allow for more favorable use of terrain then melee ones. If you look at most competitive PvP centric games everyone uses the same type of weapon which are most often firearms. Mankind sorta replaced the sword a few centuries ago. Still in a fantasy PvP game the developers have to respect that some people want to swing around a sword and might appreciate a chance to win.

This is why warriors have some of the highest burst damage available in the game and rogues have so many stuns. Still both of these traits are useless if they two classes can't reach their opponents. Thus I expect in the future that any new arenas introduced into the game will keep with the less cluttered feel of the Ruins of Lordaeron.


Anonymous said...

Ahh, I haven't checked out the new battleground yet - heck, I haven't even gone to the Eye of the Storm one yet... still putzing around in AV to get 50 tokens to get the epic wolf mount.

And of course, since I'm Horde, that means 50 games of AV... or maybe 45 if I'm lucky.

If they'd just randomize starting position that'd help a lot, but then I'm sure a flood of people would just /afk out and re-enter until they got the side with the advantage. Ah well.

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