Lake Wintergrasp seems to embody every video game feature that looked good on paper, but never quite lived up to it's potential on implementation. It's not that it's Blizzard fault since they have been trying to address the problems with the zone since day one. If they had just ignored the problems then I could justify nerdrage and blaming them for a horrible gaming experience. Instead, I have to give them kudos for the large number of mostly beneficial changes they've made to the zone over the last year. This includes reworking the daily quests, introducing Tenacity, adding a queue system, and making it slightly easier to defend the fortress.
Of course none of these have any effect in most games since the number of people inside a normal Wintergrasp quickly stressed out the servers and cause horrible amounts of lag. Thus most prime-time Wintergrasp games involve the attackers simply steamrolling through fortress walls as the defenders get to attack every 10 seconds. It doesn't matter if you have five stacks of Tenacity if you can never hit anyone because of the massive amounts of lag. Previous attempts at world PvP areas were never popular because the rewards were uninspired and there really wasn't any reason to do it. However, with the Vault of Archavon providing a chance at the newest tier pieces the Wintergrasp battles are always popular.
This popularity does make Lake Wintergrasp a target for exploits since there are multiple benefits to winning a game. Fortunately, it didn't seem like the open world zone concept was as vulnerable to this issue as battlegrounds and arenas. In fact, this weekend I ran across the first major exploit I've ever seen in Lake Wintergrasp. Players on one faction were joining the Wintergrasp queue with their alts in small raid groups. This allowed them to maintain raid leadership when the game started and they could kick people from the raid groups as soon as they zoned into an active Wintergrasp. As a result my faction had to manually form raid groups using general chat and the time it took to access siege engines was greatly increased for us.
The people doing this were using multiple alts and I know a majority of them were reported. Still it doesn't look like any action has been taken against them yet. I'm not sure how hard the code change would be required to fix the issue. Lately, Blizzard has been focusing on the next expansion and I've noticed they've stopped tinkering with Lake Wintergrasp. Which is unfortunate, since the queue system for Wintergrasp really needs to be changed to prevent joining as a raid or else have the raid kick feature disabled. Either way I don't think this exploit will become too popular since it's highly visible to players and sure to be reported quickly. I just hope the Cataclysm PvP zones are better set up to deal with players have characters of both factions on the same server.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010