Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Ashran mercenary

Ashran has received a lot of hate, and I have to admit some of it is warranted. I spent a lot of time in there in 6.1 and it was premade dominated. Getting in one was great, I often acted as leader, and given control of the Ancient Artifact, you didn't lose. But if I entered solo, I'd just encounter instances where alliance were controlling, presumably with a premade group, creating a feedback loop where both sides needed to join one to have any lasting success. Due to the reward structure the dominant side would usually farm events leaving the other to kill the general or farm mobs - two balanced teams rarely clashed.

It's obvious a change was needed. After the 6.2 changes, when both sides are relatively balanced, and teams are coordinating, it actually works really well - events are often competed, with the losing side able to pull out and progress the main road while the winner completes the event, often culminating in a big clash at the base defence. No aspect of Ashran seemed underutilized, and there seemed less downtime as well.

However, more often than not (at least during the week), the sides aren't balanced and therefore it doesn't work well. This seems to be a result of the PvP population imbalance. Looking over the fact that, as a whole, alliance may now have more geared, skilled players, more importantly they also have large queues. This has the tendency to weed out the less dedicated, and once they get in, they stick at it. Horde players on the other hand, enter Ashran, see we are not winning, and leave immediately.

As a result, the typical horde Ashran has high turnover, creating a numbers deficiency, and many just stand around not contributing, rather than trying and inevitably dying. Eventually, a leader may be able to entice players to group up, and the invisible balance buff turns the tides - but mostly it is an uncoordinated mess.

All of these problems seem to come down to population imbalance. That's why I'm looking forward to seeing if mercenary mode has a positive effect. Whilst I don't expect we will be able to use it, as we are on the underpopulated side, I'm not a roleplayer, so I don't have any qualms about playing with undercover alliance players. It depends a lot on at what threshold it becomes available, and whether it only impacts queue times, or whether it has a flow on effect to balance aspects as well. If it turns out that alliance queuing mercenary just enter a losing instance, they won't be likely to do it.

But I think players from both sides would be willing to trade-off queue times for balance and hopefully a better PvP experience all round.

1 comment:

  1. I am hoping that it will work out well, or will we find that Alliance players come over and think "what a bunch of immature idiots are here on horde side". Either way, I would like a better Ashran.