Greedy Goblin

Monday, January 3, 2011

Peace in Tol Barad

Update: the free honor is over!

I have a PvP honor-bought item in every single slot where such item is available (weapon and shield is not). I have 3800 resilience, I'm honorcapped and buying various nonsense from honor. Considering that I had 4 pieces before Wednesday, that's pretty fast gearing.

The magic behind these numbers is obviously Tol Barad. Every weekday I could catch 3-4 battles, giving 2500 honor in average. On the weekend I could catch 7, providing 6000 on average. Of course defense couldn't give such results. On Agamaggan-EU I have seen or heard of two defensive victories since Wednesday. That's 96% offensive victory ratio. Before the patch I have no reliable data, but definitely 90%+ defense victories.

The key behind it is obvious: defensive teams don't even try to win, throw the match on purpose. Legal note to lurking GMs: I do not participate in any form of wintrading or suggest anyone to do so. I protect towers on defensive battles, they are legitimate objectives and no tower ever fell on my watch. Surprising amount of horde want to take our towers, it almost cost them a victory some times. But others just stand in the spawnpoint and spam "let them win".

Many people claimed that such Tol Barad flipping will be impossible for several reasons. It is impossible on several servers. Not on ours. Let me analyze the reason for success here and the reasons of failure on other servers. The words "success" and "failure" are objective. Even if your faction owns TB all the time, you get 180 honor/match if there is anyone attacking. Don't forget that if attackers have no chance to win, they don't come, so you can't come either due to the 1:1 ratio. With perfect flipping it's 900 honor/match.

At first let me enumerate who would try to defend Tol Barad:
  • The noob: he has no clue what's going on. He just queue up as he found WG fun in WotLK and tries to figure out what's going on. He does not understand why the /raid is spammed "let's lose fast". He believes they are just losers who gave up too easy.
  • The "theorycrafter" who just can't think: he believes that by holding TB we get 180 points more than them, while we get equal points by flipping. So by holding we slowly outgear the opposing faction and will win in BGs. He simply doesn't understand that most BG opponents are not from our server and they get nothing from out TB. The faster we gear up, the better.
  • The short-sighted: "I can't participate next battle, so rather take 180 now". He doesn't understand that if flipping will be the custom, every second time he randomly plays he gets 1800 pts. If defense is custom, he won't win attack when he can play attack either.
  • "Tit for tat" guy: he participated in a lost attack. He participated in some almost lost attacks. He believes that the other faction won't hold the agreement and next time won't give up Tol Barad. He doesn't care about the points he lose, he simply don't want to feel being tricked/defeated by peers. If he would be rational he would know that if the opposing faction refuses to lose defense 3 times out of 4, he is still better off than with constant defense victories.
  • The moron: "i play 4 lulz i dun car bout points i wanna pwn".
  • The daily-farmer. He doesn't care about honor, he wants to do dailies for PvE rewards (mostly exalted trinkets)
The above ones cannot be converted to the successful strategy. Don't even try. Luckily they are less than 20-25% of the players. Who are the rest? Mostly social sheep. They do what the others do. Of course they don't do a proper opinion survey, they follow the strategy that looks more popular or alternatively followed by more prestigious players. They also has the tendency to do what they did yesterday.

There is one more serious danger to the strategy: if the defenders who want to flip don't show up. This case the players who shown up can be dominated by the players from the list, turning the sheep to their side. Please note that personally the highest honor/hour is attacking and not coming to defense. Coming to defense is a sacrifice to upkeep the system, and has no personal benefit.

So to make things work, all you need is to win the sheep. In our server it was pretty easy as on Alliance side there is our guild in PvP and 2-3 other, mostly PvE guilds have considerable PvP branches. The others are random players from various casual guilds. At horde side there are 2 serious PvP guilds that come to every match they can. When I read patch notes and logged to a horde banker to inform hordies about the "fix", members of these guilds already knew it and supported my idea against the "lulz we own TB u never get it allyboy QQ more" morons. They also figured out that they have to be present if they want it to happen. In our side I do serious effort to make as many players as possible to queue up for defense.

The biggest proof of the importance of leadership in the flipping is the huge difference between main hours and off-hours battles. In off-hours the attackers often must fight really hard to take TB on both sides. In main hours the battle ends usually in 5-6 minutes. The difference is that on main hours it's guaranteed that officers of dominant guilds are present, make their guildies to come and also oversee that none of them sabotate the flip. These players also earned "status" among the socials, so if they say to flip, the sheep has better chance to obey than they would do to a random guy.

So to make this happen on your server, you must convince the officer corps of your guild to cooperate with other guilds on your side and set up a schedule. Optimally there is always an officer in every defensive battle who make the members come and act properly. The presence of an officer make the sheep-minded members act properly too, who would go with the rest without direct orders. Remember, the personal optimal strategy (come attack, don't come defense) can kill the system that everyone benefits from. Typical case tragedy of the commons. It can only be overcome by authority: the leaders make sure that those who benefit from the system also upkeep it.

Blog update: I updated the mail page and added a "The PuG Hall of shame" page.

The morons of the day are the horde morons (and the sheep following them) on Agamaggan-EU. They have the annoying habit of camping Slagworks when we attack, making the fight 5-10 minutes longer than necessary. Since we have to split at the start, they easily kill the few who go there at start and can only be zerged after Ironclad and Warden's are taken. However we figured out a weakness that allows us to win before that, even with 1 vs 2 local ratio. They - like other mindless mobs - can be tanked. Literally. While the tanks are alive, the DD and healers are not hit:


Tazar said...

There can be another point to defend. I don't know if it's bug or not but if you are defending and you do not get into tol barad you can run up the bridge in the last seconds and you get honor for defending anyway it's 180+90 if you defend towers as well so 270.

On my server there are usually 0-5 aliance players atacking and about 50+ horde wanting to participate and only 5 can get in. So if you let them get TB only 5+ will get 1800 honor for win but if you are defending all 50+ can run up the bridge and get those 270 honor. Note that this cann't be done on offence as you do not know exact time when last point will be capped even if aliance will let us to win. In two weeks when I'm trying to join TB I was actually only 2 times in battle. I rather take sure 180-270 points for defence and bridge running than gamble for 1800 once a week. Also note that you can do other stuff and run to bridge only 1-2 minutes before TB ends.

There is also another point to defend as well: TB raid. If you are holding TB constantly you can schedule your TB raid in advance or just went there whenever you like. I prefer to raid TB when I want to and not wait up to 4 hours until TB gets back into our hands.

nightgerbil said...

You missed a reason to defend: I have a guild run on a barradins hold. We got held up with our guild tanks and one of the healers deciding to wipe in Deadmines for three hours solid, while we waited for them. By the time they finished up, the battle was starting, I got in and over the top of the "lol let them win for morez honour ", looking at the map watching the 5 guys fishing in the swamp, I calmly pointed out that a) I have a guild run on the raid set for after the win, b) I dont give a shit about their win trading for honour and c) I was reporting all afkers and saboteurs for win trading. It worked. They got their fingers out. It was a heady knees up scrap as the alliance stormed tol barad with a frenzy and zeal that could only be admired. However the BG is so unbalanced a half hearted horde managed to repell them. I got my weekly raid.

What are you going to do with your honour Gevlon? Now you have all your pvp gear, you will hit the honour cap. There are no gems to buy for profit. Just mounts and tabards for achievments you despise. I will reach that cap soon enough, where honour is useless to me, meantime I dont have to throw matchs. All sophistry aside your throwing yours.

rashnu said...

My opinion about honor change:
1) Great idea - we needed a way to obtain honor without weeks of mindless grind. This is especially valid for the Horde players who have 15+ minutes queues to the BG's. If we consider Honor Gear as "entry PvP" then it can't require weeks of BG's grind since when you finally get the gear it's 2 seasons old.
2) Adding this bonus honor to TB is very controvesial. I think they should make daily BG quest award 2k Honor and fix TB as it's completly unbalanced at the moment.

@Tazar - I'd rather have easy way to get honor and be able to raid every 5 hours instead of mindless BG grind and being completly unable to schedule raiding for Tb instance at all.
You have to take into consideration that with organized defense it's impossible to win TB outside of the 02.00 - 05.00 AM window, when you count on some moroans joining on the other side when you go with the premade.

Ðesolate said...

Well my personal PvP-Gear summary is that I only collect honor for my healing equip.
Gut 2 epic pvp-setitems (shoulders and hands) TB-weapon and honor-equipment in all other slots.

If you´d ask me why I didn´t buy the epic pvp-weapon I´d be a bit baffled since the weapons are quite weak if you compare the upgrade-differences between epic setitem and weaponslot comopared to blue-quality pvp.

Ah and yes on Durotan we have 80% success on TB-flipping. I´m still at the job to discuss this with the last resistance. It just kept me a bit paralized, that I´ve been banned the last three days, but today I can continue on official forum.

Oh and the Tanktactic is quite disappointing, but just because it works.

There are only 2 in the hall of shame? I´m suprised, honestly.

Grim said...

I don't see how it is easier to know the exact moment to run in on defense than in offence.
And it is entirely possible to know when to run on offence if you have someone on the inside reporting. Usually around 10-20 of my guildies queue up and at least a couple always get in and report on the last base in gchat. Works like a charm.

Btw, by now there is another reason to defend Tol Barad - people who don't need any more honor and are just there for the fight.

I personally am just holding my breath for Blizz to fix it (wtf, isn't this hotfixable?) and hopefully figure out how to balance TB properly so that it can be a fun PvP experience.

Anonymous said...

You missed a very important reason to defend TB: the PvPers. In this game there are many PvP players who actually do PvP because they like it, and not to get shiny gear or shiny honor points.
That's why i personally think this patch ruins a big part of PvP. I defend TB because i like PvP, and therefor i will try to win battles. If you're already honor capped, i don't see any reason not to fight back.
But unfortunately i seem to be one of the few people who still like to fight back. Lately more and more people in BGs prefer to give up whenever the horde has 3 bases in AB, and "let's lose fast" seems to be a better option then "let's win".
I mght get the wrong impression here but to me it seems like you are just farming those shiny honor points and don't really care about the way PvP was intended itself.

Ðesolate said...

I´ll be honest, if you have time to let your raidmembers wipe 3 hours in a 5 man heroic while not claiming them to stop their shit you´ll also have 3 hours to wait for the next TB-battle.

If you set up a guild raid and cannot provide any discipline from your raidmembers its clearly a guildinternal problem.

TB is a cheap joke. TB is wintrading if defense looses a single time. You can hold it with a 2:1 ratio easily.
So we could also call the usual afkers and M&S wintraders? I´ll go for that.

Oh yes and I´d personally would only call a BG wintradet if it has the posibilities to be balanced, but TB is worse than WG in naxx times. So wintading is required to give the other faction the chance to do the daylies.

nightgerbil said...

@Desolate you cant imagine my frustration as I watched that counter, I fought 2 defenses of tol barad waiting for those guys. Guild internal discpline? what are you going to do? kick them? Not on Saurfang EU your not, anyone who knows there arm from their elbow here is a good raider, we are one of the worst progressed servers, so much so we had several guilds transfer in to pick up our realm firsts including frozen throne 25 player (yes it was still up for grabs when cata hit). Those guilds of course arent interested in native scrubs so far, bearing in mind the fact the best guilds transfered out because they were starved of recruits: quite simply there are not enough players coming thorough on suarfang to sustain a progression raid guild.

Malthan said...

@nightgerbil - I'm also on Saurfang EU (horde side) and there's enough guilds here that you don't need to tolerate tanks and healers wiping 3 hours in a heroic. Unless you're really hardcore raider and want realm firsts etc. but then those people you talked about aren't probably skilled enough to achieve them. I think it's better to recruit some new tanks and healers and help them learn, than tolerate those who make other raid members wait for hours because they can't deal with deadmines.

Ðesolate said...

Oh yes I can imagine your frustration. DMhc 3 hours. Thats hard. We did that one for guildachievement on saturday in 1hour 43 minutes. And we had 2 warrior-dps (happy time at cookie) and only one of us knew the instance from dps-pov.

I am sorry that you have to go with that kind of "raiders". If i take up a raidspot I usually see it as normal to be available. No matter if I am at active or reserve status. A heroic and exspecially DM can be taken up after the raid (I just mention the teleporters). I seriously "dislike" people giving a shit about their fellow guild- raidmembers.

And yes I´d kick them (at least give them nonraider status) if they signed up for the raid but reject to stop wiping in a simple heroic.

Maybe you should think of a way to pay them back. They seem to have mouch more power over you than is healthy. And they seem to use it.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see this article after the enormous argument I got into with guild members on Steamwheedle Cartel. Functionally, the only reasoning they had for opposing the trade (and in this case they were celebrating the Alliance breaking the deal and defending successfully after a full day of trading) was that "Horde were mean to us in Wintergrasp and they don't deserve TB."

I am normally pretty chillax about these things, but to see guild members actively cheering on screwing over the entire Alliance PvP community was maddening. All they could see was their own anger at the Horde of this one server, and not the reprocussions this would have in the larger PvP picture.

Thankfully, for whatever reason, sanity won out and the trading did start happening again.

I don't understand why so many people act as though TB is the ONLY SOURCE OF PVP in the game. That if trading is happening there, then that is it, all PvP is over and ruined. That view is ignorant.

Tazar said...

"@Grim on defence you win when time run out. You know exact moment so when TB starts and you cann't participate you just do daily quests or AH or whatever for 13 minutes and come 2 minutes before time runs out. On offence your side wins when you get all 3 bases BEFORE time runs out so you have to check constantly and stay prepared on the bridge and can still not get the win just because of some lag for example.

Anonymous said...

I hope people are doing the wintrading in order to force blizzard to implement a more competition friendly environment in tb. If they instead do it to get better gear, that would just be sad.

After all, gear will come sooner or later - you just change the amount of time it takes by wintrading. But the fun of a fair competition, nearly won battles and honest self improvement may never come if the designers dont balance properly.

Squishalot said...

TB honour being hotfixed:

Anonymous said...

This is an obvious temporary solution so that people can reliably raid BH until they come up with a full solution for balancing TB. Until then it is to be used as the honor cow that it is, you come once for 1890 honor, then in 2 hours for 270 honor (even defense honor is faster honor/hour then BGs). You buy all the blue honor gear (if you're done with your main you can always gear up alts, get weapons from 3 weeks of faceroll arena and rest from TB) and then go have fun in a balanced setting such as a battleground. If you think about it, having this "free" honor/hour is good as it levels the playing field in the random BGs, where everyone will have conquest weapons and rest honor gear, with the exception of highly rated people who have no business in randoms (they can play arena or rated BGs).

Anonymous said...

"What you probably haven't heard is the extra 400 resilience bug."

Not a bug. This has been in the game for years - *way* before Cataclysm. My priest picked up both bonuses back in BC. Definitely by design.

Tk said...

"The moron: "i play 4 lulz i dun car bout points i wanna pwn"."

Could also be viewed as "The Legal Good PvPer"

"I am here to enjoy the game Blizzard designed, and to achieve the objectives they set out for us. I derive my reward from the pleasure of the game, however imbalanced, and not from the incentives Blizzard offers me in terms of honor points or gear. I have fun knowing I played the game to the best of my ability."