In which Blizzard continues to flog the dead horse of Tol Barad

After regaling us with a dev blog assuring all and sundry that Tol Barad was working exactly as expected (did anyone believe this? thought not) we’re seeing the next round of tweaks coming through with the next patch.

Mumper explained (in the link above) that the design goal was to make it more difficult for the attackers, as an extra incentive for defenders to hang onto it. In practice, there are three keeps in the zone which can be captured. Attackers need to capture all three of them to win. Defenders just have to stop them doing so.

The best defensive strategy is just to follow the attackers around, so after any point is won and the main attack force has moved to the next point, you send your defenders in to retake it. That way instead of the defenders being forced to defend more than one spot, it’s the attackers who struggle to hold existing captures while trying to take the next one.

Anyhow, here are the changes proposed for the next patch

PvP
Tol Barad

  • Attacking forces will receive a 200% capture speed bonus when they control 2 keeps.
  • Defending forces will receive a 200% capture speed bonus when they control all 3 keeps.
  • Daily quest creatures, herbs, minerals, etc. will only spawn when Tol Barad is in the quest phase between battles. There will be 5-minute and 1-minute warnings before the quest phase ends. The quest phase ends 15 minutes before the battle for Tol Barad begins and queuing is made available. At that time any players in the daily micro dungeons will be ported just outside. This does not apply to Tol Barad Peninsula or the daily quests there.

I have no idea where they are going with this.

The first change will not stop the tactic of following the attackers around, if defenders do this, it’s not going to make it any easier for the attackers to hold two keeps and still have a force on the third.  And what does it even mean that defenders get a capture bonus if they already control all three keeps? (hint: if they control all 3 keeps there’s nothing left to capture.)

But it is amusing that you can’t do dailies while the battle is on :)

Funny thing is, I don’t even hate Tol Barad. I like the general ‘capture three points’ mechanic. I liked it in Warhammer (Nordenwatch) and I like it in Arathi – and both of those battlegrounds play out better than Tol Barad.

Speaking of Warhammer – possibility of F2P

I have heard rumours lately that Mythic is (finally) considering converting WAR to F2P. If they do this, I heartily recommend it to PvP fans as the lower level (tier 1-3) PvP was always very good fun, and I’d certainly be tempted to go back for a while.

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9 thoughts on “In which Blizzard continues to flog the dead horse of Tol Barad

  1. Gosh, that’s a bit harsh. :) I didn’t reckon they thought it was working exactly as intended. They reckon that Tol B should be hard to capture, but not *that* hard. These changes are pretty consistent with that.

    The capture bonus for defenders means that you only need half as many people as the opposing side in a zone to keep the bar still. So it looks to me like it’ll reward coordination on either side. Defenders can make it very tough to capture the first keep, but only if they coordinate rather than randomly splitting their forces; attackers can overcome the zerg to win, but only if they solidly grab two keeps and then overwhelm the third.

  2. I think it’ll work out better then people realise now. On my realm, even at prime time, there are numerous “close calls”, where the offense is controlling two keeps, capturing the third, but loses one of the already captured just seconds before gaining control over the third.

    In the new system, these would now be wins for the attacker.

    The following around strategy is nice, but if you maintain a certain pattern, the other forces are going to catch up to it sometime and change their strategy in anticipation. I’ve seen it a few times, suddenly they have their zerg guarding their recently captured keep, while they have a pvp team going for the last keep they need to get.

    In my opinion this change will be a good one, allowing for more strategic play then just zerg whatever keep is least defended to win.

    Also, Warhammer F2P? That would instantly bring me back to that game :) I agree the tier 1-3 pvp is very nice.

    • If that’s what it takes them to do to keep the game fun for the players, I agree. They’ll catch a LOT of flack after being so adamently assuring that they were not “thinking of it at the time”. Which even though it may have been true then, players won’t see it that way.

  3. “The best defensive strategy is just to follow the attackers around, so after any point is won and the main attack force has moved to the next point, you send your defenders in to retake it.”

    If the attackers are just sending a giant zerg after one point, then another, sequentially, which is an idiotic strategy, then the best strategy is to always easily take the 2 keeps which their zerg is currently not at.

    I do not believe this is the type of game where one may discover a uniformly best strategy, regardless of what the opponent does. One always has to respond to the opponent. The alliance on your server appears to play like a bunch of 5 year olds, they do on my server as well (i’ve never played in a losing tb battle, only wins). This means that both our actual experience in TB is rather useless in talking about TB strategy in any situation where you’re not playing against fails.

  4. It means that if the defense holds on to three points, it’s going to need double the attackers to capture that first point. So the first capture of the battle will be slower and it won’t always logically be that point to the north just by the bridge.

  5. Thank you, I was thinking many of the same things. I couldn’t really wrap my head around the whole “capture bonus when there’s nothing available to capture” concept either. I know that, as several commenters point out, it really means that defending is even easier when you have all three keeps (i.e. you need less people to keep the flag on your side of the sliding scale), but did we really need that mechanic? Isn’t the whole problem with Tol Barad the fact that the defenders already have too easy a time of it?

    What bugged me about that original post was the underlying philosophy behind the design for TB. Mumper noted that control of Wintergrasp frequently changed, and the devs didn’t like that. My question is: WHY NOT? If a battle is fair, both sides have a fair chance at control, and control changes often enough that both factions have a chance to do the exclusive raid content, well…isn’t that a GOOD thing? I think it is. I don’t like the idea of designing a battleground specifically to make it harder to take control, which simply punishes the faction that has fewer players on that realm. Seems doomed to piss people off, doesn’t it?

    Which just reminded me again: although I like a lot of things about WoW, the thought process of their designers and developers mostly eludes me.

  6. Yeah the Warhammer one plays out better because no one side owns it. If Blizzard made ownership reset and you have to capture and hold two of the three to win they’d force people to fight and not just win by default of defending one of three towers.

    Blizzard should have implemented something sort of like what DAoC had – maybe that’s coming? Where you had PVP areas that could be fought over constantly in order to capture and hold something that might give your faction a benefit.

    And I don’t mean just some zone-wide thing like they did in TBC.

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