Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sitah and Helcsi

With my girlfriend we set up a little research about human behavior. While it was in WoW, the results has nothing to do with spell rotations. It's about the people playing, not the game.

The place is Warsong Gulch, lvl 19. Why? Because twink PvP is free of "farmers". No one goes there to get Hateful Bracer to be full epic, or because he is bored and has nothing else to do (simply because he does not have a twink). There are only two motivations possible:
  • He wants to win a PvP match
  • He wants to gank non-twinks
  • +1 he has no clue what's going on, just see a daily quest and join
The plan was set fast: I started Ghosttob, the healerpriest, she started Helcsi, the flag carrier bear druid (ignore the head item, damn fish doesn't bite). It was a simple plan: we get in, get the flag, walk home, occasionally send a /kiss to the desperate twink rogues who damage less on her 1600 armor furry butt than my renew heal.

We failed badly. If you check Helcsi's statistics, you can see 15/29 victories. That's barely more than 50%! What happened? Usually the following things:
  1. We went for flag, spammed "we go for flag, defend ours"
  2. We got the flag
  3. Someone got our flag (as no one defended it)
  4. We carried the flag to the top of the building
  5. Someone carried our flag to the top of their building
  6. 10 minutes passed
  7. Random players came, couldn't do significant damage on her, I wanded them to death
  8. 10 minutes passed
  9. Random players came, could do moderate damage on her due to the "flag carrier's weakened" debuff, I wanded them to death
  10. 10 minutes passed
  11. Random players came, killed her due to the "flag carrier's weakened strongly" debuff
Optionally the same thing happened with their flag carrier. Practically the outcome depended on which side had an able bodied player who cared to climb to the top of the building after the 100% flag carrier debuff.

OK, we can set the "funplay" theorem: most players don't give a damn about flag or winning, they just want to gank. To disprove them, behold Sitah (and her faithful lynx, Szilvia). The new plan was defending the flag, in our flagroom. The results were stunning:
  • 32/40 victories (80%!!!), in the same battlegroup, same times of day where Helcsi had 50%
  • 500 honorable kills in 30 matches.
  • 100 of them were flag carriers.
  • 3:0 victory on the first match, 21/40 altogether
  • 66 PvP deaths and 750 PvP kills
  • Fun achievements like kill 20 enemies without death, return 5 flags in one match
  • Usually #1 or #2 on damage charts
  • 29/40 #1 on killing blows
So there goes the "funplay" theorem. Defending the flag seems to be the best for killing enemies, as they are alone or with 1-2 buddies, and they run with flag instead of fighting back. You have time to drink between battles, you can LoS them easily, the healer could position out of their sight, reinforcement from the GY comes fast if they are too many. If we assume that "ganking is fun", then there is no better place than our flagroom. The only occasion when it wasn't a gankfest is enemy twink premades coming in 5+ vs 2 of us.

The funny thing was that another stall could happen, as more and more joined us in the flagroom, making it impossible to get and giving everything else to the enemy. They happily defend the flag, while they never-ever do that when they should: when Helcsi was bringing the flag. After that, we were focusing on this behavior: when Helcsi ran flags, we noticed that 1-2 uninvited sidekick joined us, causing nothing else than getting enemy attention. Practically anywhere we went, some came along (even if we purposefully went to pointless, stupid places or running big circles).

Of course it's not us who had some special attraction. Between incoming wannabe flag carriers, I watched the map, where the teammembers are just little dots. It became obvious that they have no other purpose than joining others. If someone was left alone, he went for the nearest friendly, ignoring directions, objectives or even enemies. Like some badly scripted bots they behave.

Surprisingly, the good-geared twinks were those who had some purpose, even if it was just ganking. Some went for the enemy GY. Others for the flag. But most players followed nothing but their dumb script: "join the group".

WSG is pretty simple: take flag or defend flag. Even if someone is completely new to the game, should attempt to do one of the above. But no. They ignore the "game reality" and use their normal social rutine, although in a battleground it's anything but useful: be with others. Note: being in a pack does not increase survival chance as they don't buff, heal or protect each other any way. The enemy just run back to his buddies and then the two zergs clash.

Being like others, being with others are very strong in social people. This explains their sick tendency to follow fashions and do every stupid things what others also do (like camping eggs or bringing orphans to BG while they hate it). So goblins, feel free to abuse this behavior for your advantage any way you can.

Oh, forgot to mention (since it's obvious to anyone who tried it): any kind of group coordination is impossible as they don't respond to tells or /bg. I mean not reject the suggestion, they don't say anything. They don't give the impression of being able to read English in an English-speaking realm. Only a few twinks seems to be able to communicate (even if it's restricted to "I'm here to farm kills").

About WSG, the success of base-defender tactic is not a miracle. As the players have infinite number of respawns, the only resource the teams have is time. If you kill an enemy, you take the respawn time from him. Also he loses the time running from the GY to wherever he wants to be. If you defend the base, the enemy has to run all the way from the GY to the other end of the map. You also don't just kill random idiots, but wannabe flag carriers. The random idiot, who just kill midfield is worthless, so killing him is equally worthless. Unless the flag carrier is dumb enough to try to run in the middle, the random idiots never even encounter anyone else than other random idiots and have no effect on the outcome. Even if they win every battle, all they do is get below the GY and gank, ignoring the game.


Victor Praxedes said...

just played tons of WSG and your post pretty much sums up everything i think about those brainless zergers.

some scrub told me today, "we need mid control to win", when i told them to help me cap the flag or kill their flag carrier.

vlad said...

hopefull blizz will improve BG system in less than a year and maybe, just MAYBE the message will get to the averange joe (aka. the moron)to hold to the objectives

will it cheange the morons ?
will it help the smarter ones ?
probably, as the morons will atleast run around where they are supposed to (flag rooms /carriers) causing attention and just maybe the good one wont be spotted within a secound, so he can cause HAVOC =)

David said...

I'm guessing these folks are just looking for the satisfaction of squishing other players over and over. Its like playing an FPS shooter with one map. Of course, they will join in zergs if it means more squishes for them.

In 3.2 the battleground will have a time limit of 20 minutes. This will in no way change the play style of these zerglings. It will however let regular players get on with their day without having to sit in a stalled BG without a token or much else to show for their time.

Ten said...

Welcome to the real world, Gevlon. The world where certain things are very difficult to do without going to the hassle of cooperating with numbers upon numbers of other people. Can't do this? Cry me a river. Instead of calling other people names how about you try to organize and lead them? Yes, this is difficult and, yes, it takes skill. But, yes, it can be done and I personally have seen it done more times than I can count.

Now, of course, you will probably say that you don't want to carry slackers, that you are not that interested in BGs, bla, bla, bla. The truth is, you just think you would not have much success if you tried to lead people and thus you are reluctant to try, yet alone invest the time into mastering the art of doing it. A true M&S, just in a different category. Which is sad, because this particular aspect of WoW (leadership) is one of the few that actually carry into the real world.

Flame away...

Gevlon said...

@Ten: read before write. I wrote that we spammed /bg, they just ignored it. I've added a section to people like you who never seen a BG.

Ten said...

I wrote that we spammed /bg, they just ignored it.

I read that the first time.

So, what you did was ineffective. Try harder. Start small. Be persistent. Use your imagination. You know, the things that you would recommend to someone who is new at something he wants to master.

Anonymous said...

... anything but useful: be with others.

Actually, "be with others" is very good advice for people joining BGs on their own (that is, not as part of a premade). It is certainly very good advice for people who are new to BGs.

I am with Ten, you should try to lead people if noone else seems up for the challenge. If you don't try, you don't have the right to whine.

vlad said...

excuse me but i dont get it, how am i (or him or anyone else ) supposed to 'lead people' when they either cant read, dont understand the very basic english or simply ignore what they see on /bg chat ?
oh please enlighten me.

chaoskas said...

I hardly play battlegrounds anymore and now only if there are 5+ guildmates present because it is a giant timesink for nearly nothing. And why? Because of the stupid behavior of some "trying to farm hk".

When TBC was about to come raiding stalled because people wanted to farm honor for the epics instead wiping on thaddius due to lag. So we formed raids to enter AV as a whole.

The first AV we fought were the famous 5 minutes battle. Rush hard, tank everything and just burn the boss. Then we changed to "all blue" (=deny the horde everything, most of the time bomb them to oblivion in their starting area). We got plenty of flames even when we got double the honor than in those 5 minutes matches ..

And a nice story about "join the group":
When I was younger I visited Disneyland in Anaheim. While I was strolling around I saw a line of people forming. Curious why there was a line I passed them to take a look. And the first 4 people who stand in this line were looking at a map, discussing what they will see next! There were 20+ people standing behind them, waiting "for the line to move" ....

David said...

I was thinking about this more, usually people 'farm hks' because its the equivalent of grinding elementals to make money. It is the easiest, most mindless thing you can do to earn money. You can be a goblin and earn a lots more by putting in some effort and using your brain.

Same for farming HKs. It's easy and mindless, but no where near as effective as completing BG objectives and earning tokens and bonus honor.

What puzzles me is why people would farm hk's at the twink level when there is so few gears to farm for? It just smacks of complete moronism at that point.

Ten said...

excuse me but i dont get it, how am i (or him or anyone else ) supposed to 'lead people' when they either cant read, dont understand the very basic english or simply ignore what they see on /bg chat ?

See my post above.

Try harder: If yelling does not work, whisper. Ask "who is def / atk" when you are in the prep room before the BG starts. If you are healer, ask who is going for the flag and tell them that you will tag along and help. If you are going for the flag yourself, ask who is going to heal and suggest that you stay together. Report progress on /bg, state goals, commend successes, acknowledge failures without sounding defeatist ("we are going to lose..." is a particularly pointless comment).

Start small: Don't try to get your word out to everyone. If you only have two or three people who listen, be mobile and concentrate on the enemy flag carrier. If you have four or five, try dividing into two groups and send one group for the flag. If you have more than five people, you have everything you need for WSG. Don't try to win games at first. Instead try to get as many people playing in an organized fashion as you can.

Be persistent: Play lots of games. Make yourself a name. Put people who are keen to play as a group or who can lead themselves into your friend list. Eventually you all will get to know each other and BGs will become a lot more fun. Give it time.

Use your imagination: I will leave this to you.

There's lots and lots more. Similarly to how it is easy to get money from the AH, it is easy to be a good leader. As long as you pay attention and work on it, of course. But I suppose some people would rather whine and call others M&S...

Honks said...

You guys are idiots if you think that 'normal bg players' are going to follow orders without someone spamming /rw (which will only server to annoy the raid).

These are the sort of people who have problems focusing on what they should be doing (hence the random wanderings around the battlefield) and there is little chance that they will either read or take heed of what you write in /bg no matter how persuasive you are.

How about you guys try and take your own advice and log on and try and lead a lvl 19 bg as an experiment. When that doesn't work why don't you try to move to an 80 bg.

You will find (as Gevlon has) that people just want to run in groups and don't care about tactics etc. Such is the way that WoW is played :<

Nathan said...

Even at higher levels I've found that non premade BGs work like this. There is only a slight difference.

Virtually every person in an 80 BG has won a BG before. They know that if everyone does EXACTLY what they did that time, it will work this time. While many may have a more obvious objective to start, when things don't go according to plan they have no ability to react and change. The result is usually the leaders in the BG (And I don't mean the ones yelling in chat, but the ones who are leading in damage/healing/kills) are followed around by an amoeba like growth of players who don't know what to do. They won't accept instruction to WIN, they will simply follow the leader.

I'm under the impression that this happens because, like you said, they are there to kill people. They don't care about winning or losing, but rather killing the other faction. When you come out with #1 damage, #1 killing blows, or #1 honor, they assume that if they follow you they will find the action.

I was defending a tower in EoTS today. I was on my holy priest and I had an arms warrior with me. We topped honor for horde in three losses by defending bases that the rest of the team left alone. We would go, D up, fight off 5-6 alliance a few time, and the find we had been joined by 8-10 horde. Never did we call for help, they just follow the leaders.

Ten said...


Listen to yourself. "You guys are idiots...", "people who have problems...", "there is little chance...". This is called whining.

I do lead BGs on a regular basis. I didn't do that at level 19, but I know people who do, successfully. You think this is impossible or super-hard, fine. Some people think it is very hard to raid Ulduar or earn 10K, too.


I hear you and I 100% agree with what you are saying. If you are joining a BG on your own, it seems natural to identify the leader and help him out. There are two things about this that are interesting: (a) many people would welcome help in identifying the leader, and (b) many people would welcome advice from whoever they perceive to be the leader as to how best they could help, following the leader everywhere is just the default action.

And now something for whiners:

Many people see BGs as a team effort (surprise!) and are completely willing to do what is good for the team (surprise again!) as long as there *is* a team. It falls onto the shoulders of a leader to organize an amorphous raid into such a team. If you can do it, great. If you can't, don't blame others that they are doing silly things because you are not any better.

hary wilke said...

before cross realm battlegrounds i had a lvl 39 shadow priest that i decided to park at 39, she wasn't a twink as i didn't know what twinking was. i just really enjoyed WSG at that level, no mounts, gear was essentially the same for people. and the horde kicked our ass so much in WSG at lvl 60, that i wasn't looking forward to it.

alliance joined battleground just for the loosing mark. horde played to dominate us. we waited hours for a single match, they joined the instant they queued.

For a few months the behavior was exactly as you describe. but i was persistent. I was the one going for the flag, I was the one barking orders in /bg. I was the one forming the group (hard to believe that 1/2 the battles would be spent yelling at people to form one raid). After a while the difference was noticeable, we went from loosing almost all, to winning more than 2/3 of our matches. the comments from those in the upper half of our lvl bracket were informed and co-ordinated, they didn't zerg, those in the lower half, just entering in to a winning bracket were defeatist and pessimistic. until they started winning. I gained alot of friends that i still have. alliance side and horde side. there were a few hode pvp'ers that i just hated to see, and they hated seeing me :D

then cross realm battlegrounds came and undid all my work. there were just too many people that you saw too infrequently to have any impact on. i tried for a few weeks, but there was no traction. nothing sank in. i was back to square one. Also there were so many exploiters and cheeters that were in the battlegrounds that it made me miss our horde dearly. the top PvP horde guild had a strict ethics policy, no cheating/exploiting. they kicked our alliance premades asses anyway.

by the time i decided to level up, i had achieved my goal of exalted with WSG/AB, and bg's had become much less fun now that it had reverted to a mindless zerg.
i was rank 10 at lvl 58, was fun zooming around on my epic mount below lvl 60 :D, and hit rank 14 at lvl 60 after months of hard work.

i think in the end. i had two things going for me. persistence and a small audience. at lvl 80 the audience is HUGE. and i just don't have any persistence for leading in bg's anymore. i don't join unless i'm with friends, and even then i don't bother to lead.

one day, we got most of our old lvl 60 premade together and stomped the hell out of the horde for about 20 matches. then got bored.

Sean said...

A post I found fairly interesting. Lots of good arguments all round. Some replies:

The 'scrub' who said 'we need mid control to win' is correct. WSG can be won by mid control (in fact I believe this to be the strongest strat). Obviously, there are other methods as well.

I'm with you all the way. Without any guidance, the average pug will just zerg and follow mindlessly. A successful leader has a chance to organise this rabble.

This can be done by saying and doing constructive things. For instance, in EOTS, the key is to not have too much defence (1 is sufficient, unlike AB due to the proximity mechanics). The team needs to move around quickly and support hotspots.

Common misconceptions are towers > flag (it's actually towers = flag).

A good leader will communicate ideas well. i.e. 'We only need 1 at D, call incs early'. Good ideas will quickly be identified and people will follow suit. Whining or complaining frequently gets nowhere and can degenerate the group.

I'm doing this for Wintergrasp at the moment. As many knows, defence is at a disadvantage. Before the match, I'll always spam, 'don't forget your rpggs' a few times. During the battle, I'll do the task that everyone doesn't do (monitor the west side). When tanks come, I'll yell, 'WEST WEST WEST, INC MANY TANKS' a few times (should macro it!). Ever since this, I've been on a few winning WG battles and some closely fought defences as well (instead of getting steamrolled).

To address gevlon's experiment, it's true that a random PUG is very likely going to be mindless without leadership. You've proved this correctly.

However, good leadership may organise this group for success. You've sort of proved it; you took a leadership role in identifying the problem area and acting on it.

Wooraah said...

I'm with Ten on this one in general terms to be honest. The one thing I find thorougly frustrating about WSG in general though is that, in the event of a win, it's the GY campers who end up with more honor than those who busted a gut returning a flag against the odds, and attempting to support flag carriers etc, just becuase they generally have more HKs, but the score is the same.

Honks said...


As with all endeavours in WoW, 90% of people are M&S and the other 10% actually know / care about what they are doing.

Whilst you may fall into the 10% you will still get nine others who don't. WoW is being dumbed down for the masses and it shows more and more.

With this in mind I think that rather than terming my opening phrases as 'whining' you may see them as more 'realistic' views on how the general standard of play is decreasing across the board (PvP and PvE) as Blizzard attract more and more 'casual gamers' who dip in and out.

I mean, language issues aside, judging from most in-game chat many of these people have problem typing let alone reading or following instructions given to them by someone hidden behind the keyboard 1000 miles away and they end up (as Gevlon states) randomly facerolling across their keyboards in the middle of the BG, raid or instance whilst trying to glide their mouse through the pool of drool that has accumulated over the past few hours.

Carra said...

Following the group is useful even if they don't heal/help you. If the enemy is shooting at someone else, they aren't shooting at you. And you have a chance to fire back.

And of course, those WSG where things do go right people move in one big group to the flag, cap it and return while killing the other sides flagcarrier on passing.

Wooly said...

Wait a minute, there's something wrong here. This is indeed the typical behavior of people in WSG.. But from alliance side.. Whenever I play a WSG, and that's rarely btw, it's 80% horde that wins, usually even with 3/0.. And they do defend, protect flag carrier, etc. Most of our alliance players are running around aimlessly while someone is trying to explain tactics in /bg, and two others responding "lolz, u suc, wut".

Oh and like the first Anonymous guy said, in a BG (well everywhere in wow) it's helpful to be in a group. Even if you're very skilled and have great gear, if you run into 2 guys and a healer, you're toast. I don't like a lot of the aspects of human social behavior too, but you can't deny that even in real life we wouldn't be on top of the food chain if it wasn't for that.

Talking about healers, they are always lacking in BG's on alliance. I usually heal there if I go, and I've been the only one healing in some cases. Horde however seems to have a whole herd of healcows available, and they're very annoying.

Anonymous said...

Nice description about the 10-19 bracket. Those are just players who fail at lvl 80 battlegrounds imo. But also research the lvl 80 bracket, i have noticed something wich happens in every single BG, PvE players who think they can pvp -.-' They move sooo slow, (probably clickers /sig)... And dont have any skill caus they are used to, (for example) spam fireball at the boss :S. Anyway i'd say research the 80 bracket.

Ten said...


As with all endeavours in WoW, 90% of people are M&S and the other 10% actually know / care about what they are doing.

I disagree with this. Words have meanings. I disagree that 90% of the people are M&S, that is, morons and slackers, as regards BGs or anything else this game has to offer. It looks like the entire point of coming with the above mantra is to say to yourself that you are better than most and to create an excuse for being bad at working with other people.

BTW, I don't know if you meant to try and extend the above logic to more than just WoW, and just kept your hand. If you think the "90% are M&S, 10% aren't" is a general principle that applies to everything in life, or even to the majority of it, I strongly disagree as well. You could say that "90% are not very good at something compared to the remaining 10%" and that would be true, but that would also be trivial. Stating that "90% are not very good at something because they are morons and slackers" is a different thing and is, I think, false much more often than not. I believe that people, on average, are reasonable, are open to trying new things, can learn, etc. Yes, I am a big believer.

Honks said...


If I had meant that I would have said so - please feel free to agree / disagree as appropriate with what is written and don't try to second guess what is not.

Please bear in mind that my comment is made from my experience of WoW as yours is from your experience.

What I stated is true in my experience and in yours presumably your statement is equally valid!

I realise it is quite hard to infer the tone in which text is written and would like to stress that I am not arguing or trolling. I can see your side of the discussion however in my experience the ratio I discussed is generally true. Do remember that I am (presumably) on a different server and therefore different ratios / rules apply.

There is no argument from my side, just discussing a different point of view and not trolling your comments :)

Anonymous said...

lol. no one plays in the 19 bracket because they want a challenge. they want to gank non-twinks.

I'll be glad when they have to get experience or never play against a non twink.

*vlad* said...

The first BG I went to, I didn't have a clue what was going on, where I was, where the enemy was, what we were supposed to be doing; nothing. All I knew was that I had to kill the enemy players before they killed me.
Lets face it, at lv 19 you are going to come across plenty of people the same.

Players who don't know what to do are obviously going to look for other players to team up with, in the hope that they know what they are doing, and therefore they can copy them.

Plenty of wars have been won by the zerg; an inferior force defeating a superior one simply by overwhelming them with numbers - ants, for example.
So getting together with other players is not such a stupid idea when you are inexperienced, and while it may be one of your despised 'ape sub-routines', it is obviously one that has worked throughout history.

Ten said...


I agree about there being different experiences. I respect your point of view even though I don't subscribe to it. Sorry for the second guess. Won't happen again. :-)

Ten said...

@hary wilke:

A great story, similar to several other stories I know. Cross-realm battlegrounds did indeed shake things dramatically. Before these you could have known literally every one of your teammates and opponents. Now, not so much.

I know of a guy on our realm who was living and breathing BGs before they were cross-realm. He was a real legend. He would log in almost every evening and head for BGs. Back then, our faction (I was playing alliance) was losing almost every match and nobody was willing to step up and try to coordinate our play so that instead of doing some random killing we would actually capture bases, defend flags and towers, etc. This guy did try. He would ask who's doing what, then upon hearing nothing he'd quickly assign people to various roles and groups. He would whisper to people both inside and outside a BG. He would constantly update the raid on what is going on and what we should do. He would rotate people between groups and he would rotate groups between assignments.

Boy, did that make a difference. Slowly but steadily our BGs were becoming more and more coordinated. People started walking in groups and started ressing and rebuffing each other mid-fight. People started working towards common objectives. We would take care of guys who were new to BG and assign them a role which would allow them to work as part of a team. Frequently, every guy in the raid would know what he should do before the BG would start.

The results soon followed. We started winning matches and soon it looked like we were winning much more than we were losing, a complete reverse from what it was before. Alterac Valley did an U-turn and switched from being horde-only territory to alliance-only. Arathi Basin was nearly abandoned by horde for the same reason. We knew who to thank for these changes and we learned our lesson. Soon, people would organize themselves even if our beloved leader was not around. Those of us who were in an organized BG before couldn't stand running on our own anymore, it just felt so dumb. Things started taking care of themselves.

With the advent of cross-realm battlegrounds that particular guy left BGs. He put a lot of effort into making our BGs what they were and was feeling a bit burned out to start it all over. Meanwhile, many others persevered, and while I have a soft spot for epic battles we used to have pre-WOTLK and even pre-TBC, I would say that our current BGs are often as organized and as fun as they were back then.

Twan said...

Praxedes cracked me up with the "we need mid control to win" comment. I have seen wayyyy too many 19 wsg's go that way.

Mike said...


"I'll be glad when they have to get experience or never play against a non twink."

When's that going to be? From what I've read in the patchnotes & blue posts you're going to be given an option to turn off ALL experience gains - meaning you'll be able to get boosted through quests and instances over and over again until you get the reward or drop you've been after.


It is certainly interesting to see the differences between the two types of group. I hardly PvP at the moment, as locks seem to be getting a bashing at the moment. When I did though, I experienced bg leaders yelling for defence until they were beating their heads in despair.

You have to also account for the people who aren't familiar with pvp or the tactics involved. Cap this, zerg that, inc whatever - all very confusing. If someone had took the time to say "go stand by that tower and kill any enemies you see" I'd have probably done a little better.

Anonymous said...

I've not played 19bgs, but I play lvl 39 and 80 ones. The problem with going anywhare on your own, is the first group of enemy you see will kill you effortlessly. In 39s the first hunter/rogue twink you see will most likely kill you (unless you're a priest or warlock maybe, but then you should be with a group of ppl to maximise your effectiveness). I quite often go solo on my FC lvl 39 druid, but i do it knowing full well that I'm relying on speed and cunning to escape. Twink vs twink the damage is very high compared to hp.
I do agree that a lot of ppl wander aimlessly - my usual one is grab enemy flag, runrun, get killed by 3 hunters. /bg amg guys, i ran all the way across, no one helped me :(, /bg cant let them own mid, i'll go again, meet me in middle of map :)
Just doing it like that my win average is 71% (note I only usually cap one flag, I spend the rest of the time hunting flag carriers)

csdx said...

1: everyone wants to be the flag carrier. It's the glory job, your name is spammed to everyone and you win the game. It's like being the key striker rather than the goalie. Thus having a solid defense team is the less likely event, so when you stepped up to fill that position your games improved considerably since it's an often vacant role.

2: grouping is a valid (if elementry) strategy. Think, who's going to win a group of 5 people (even if they don't coordinate at all?) or 5 lone individuals. Just in terms of sheer burst and dps, I'm going for the group of player than the individuals. So at least they weren't just going off on their own being true morons.

3: You need authority to lead. Ostensibly the battlegroup leader has that, but everyone knows it's random and they're no more special than any other player. Basically if some battlegroup random started yelling out orders, I'd likely ignore them thinking they were some 12 year old scrub who wants to try and throw their virtual weight around. If you actually tried to make reasonable suggestions, or attempt to talk strategy then you'd get my ear. Furthermore, did you attempt to reinforce any behavior

4: Defending the flag carrier is often a useful role. Extra people don't really increase your visibility any more than that giant flag trail already does. If they're competent then they help peel off attackers from you as you run to base, making your job easier.

Rob Dejournett said...

Maybe the dynamics are different, but I played AV alot back in the day. Went from a all-alliance BG to an all-horde zone. I would try to step up and provide leadership, but it was like smashing my head in the wall over and over. No, you can't win turtles usually. No, you really do need to protect your GYs. Yes, IBGY is crucial. Yes, you really need to burn down the towers, and then defend them until they go. So often it would be me and 1-2 other guys pushing the front while everyone was turtling. I'm not a pro at PVP, but man those were frustrating days when we just lost 100% of the time. Anyway i agree with Gev that it can be difficult to lead people who are both young and stupid.

Kristine said...

Interesting "research". The inverted brackets is cause your findings is about what strategies you experienced as fruitful, and little about the players or any insights on human behaviour.

Why these players chose to not defend flag or not attack, you have actually no knowledge of whatsoever. Your presumtions might be correct, but you dont have any way of knowing cause you didnt ask. You only saw what they did, and even then many of your conclusions about why they acted like that are debatable.

You talk much about how unknowing and stupid people are. However, I think your recount of how 10-19 brackets work is quite lacking. With the danger out sounding daft, it is more then meets the eye.

Would you listen to a unknown person i a BG spamming chat with "We get flag, you defend!!!" ? I doubt it. Its not that hard to make a name for yourself in the 10-19 bracket if you play well, is helpful and polite to other players. Beeing able to identify skill and get those on board with your plan is just as important in BGs as anywhere else where team effort is important to success.

Your venture into twink-realm 10-19 is interesting, but I do get the sense that you are missing some of its distinct features (like how twinks tend to recognize eachother and help those they think are good).
Your rants against players killing things at midfield is one such misconception. Without mounts (or travelform) midfield is key to winning the 10-19 BG.
Flagroom is hard to defend, it has many entrances and is quite small. An effective defense relies on there only beeing those 2-3 that attack and is easy to repel. Good midfield will ensure this.
If midfield is done right, the opposing team will still try to go on the attack, and ensures that the enemies are not all bunched up around their own GY or on defense.
Two teams both just going for the flag tends to result in what you were describing: both flags beeing picked up and noone able to get them back, a large turtle. Its not fun and it slows down the game too much.
Still think the guy in midfield is a waste of space?
Still think that you really understood how this bracket works and what people were reasoning when playing it?

If you actually are interested in finding out about the 10-19 bracket and the human behaviour showed in those, I suggest asking those who do play in them. I am quite interested in finding out myself, as my conclusions are not based on interviews either - just a more extensive observation and interaction with the people involved.

So, its an open invitation to team up and find out what WG at 10-19 is actually about. Then maybe we can remove the inverted brackets about "research" afterwards.

Krytus said...

Gevlon, as usual you tend to generalize too much. There are more than 2 (+1) possible motivations. I used to have a semi-twink little shaman on the 29 bracket. I joined a BG when I needed a break from my main (bad raiding night or losing too many BGs or whatever). I played it as a FPS, I didn’t care about winning the BG or maximizing my HK or leading/following people (I can care for that with my main) It was just a smash-button-careless-givemeadamn fight to relieve the stress… and it works ;)
Cost-effective? Far from it… Fun? Yup, as hell
As far as I can tell, I was not the only one with that behavior.

Anonymous said...

Coordinating idiots is a difficult task. I wouldn't wish it upon anybody.

Russ said...

Have to say i usually love the blog, but i'm a little disappointed by this post. Definitely lacking in Goblin Thinking.

The art of BGs is the fine art of herding cats. Really. Sometimes if you shout "OMG only 2 alliance at the stables" in AB, then you'll get 10 morons going for the cheap kill. Sometimes, 10 alliance will turn up to defend. Predict this behavior, and use that as a tactical advantage, and hit something else at the same time.

Winning BGs isnt about kills, or caps, its about working with what you have. Learn how people think and abuse that to your advantage. Learn what your current PUG is likely to do, and guide them (through lies or persuasion, either are valid). Use ALL the information you have, and twist the game in your favor. Many of the same things a good AH goblin does :)

Hell, i helped win AB a few times purely by sitting at the LM with my priest, watching the map, watching health bars, assisting people (to see how many enemies were around them) and using mind vision. I never left the LM, but i had a profound effect on the game.

I never farmed a single thing, just sat back, manipulated the market and watched the win come in ;)

Ten said...


Coordinating idiots is a difficult task.

Doing a half-assed attempt at coordinating others, then claiming that they are idiots is, on the other hand, easy.

Yaggle said...

I had a 29 hunter twink for awhile and all I played was WSG. First day I thought I would defend the flag since I could lay traps as well as wing clip or concussive shot people trying to get away with the flag. But I found there were already lots of people who wanted to defend it. Hunter did not seem like a good class to run with the flag so I decided to hang out in the middle and use my tracking to get a jump on people. I would look for either my player with the flag and try to kill people trying to kill them, or enemies with the flag and try to hunt them down. My thought was that I would try to do what my character would be best at. Also I found after awhile of me doing this, I would attract a lot of enemy players who were sick of me ganking them, so then I found myself running around a lot and laying frost traps. I will be honest though, a lot of the time I had no idea what was going on and probably my team lost a lot because not enough players(including me) would try to get the enemy flag. In fact, I never picked up a flag that I can remember. A druid bear flag-stealer with a priest healing them probably would have gone along great with what I was doing. (I loved enemy druids the best because I would keep using scare beast on them and a lot of 29 players don't even know about this). I would have learned more about it, but when they took away some of my twink stuff such as my cobrahide leg armor stats and my head enchant, I got mad and deleted little Snuffmuffin. I don't feel bad that I was so twinked because a lot of ally players I went up against were twinked also. I don't know if I was any good but I admit I had a blast. Sometimes even dying was fun especially if it took 3 or 4 to get me dead and I got off one last frost trap before I dropped.

Russ said...

Doing a half-assed attempt at coordinating others, then claiming that they are idiots is, on the other hand, easy.

Coordinating idiots without them even knowing it is the real trick ;)

Victor Praxedes said...

@Azzur, sure we need mid to win, but don't we need flag caps first?

Ten said...


Coordinating idiots without them even knowing it is the real trick ;)

And that would do, unless you are up to coordinating people who can think.

Ten said...

Damn. Change "unless" to "until".

MyName said...

What I think you leave out is that there are a number of people who just don't have a clue about pvp because it is so different from how pve works. In my battlegroup, alliance loses a fair amount in the lower brackets, not because of bad strategy, but because people think they can just walk in whatever gear they go pve with and not get ganked. When you're in the 70-79 bracket and you see a lvl 70 shammy with 8k health trying to do anything, you know that person is deadmeat.

These same people are probably too busy getting pwned to care much about strategy eitherway. On the other hand, there are a number of players from pvp servers that know exactly what they're doing. The first thing I do when I get into a fresh BG is to see how many of the hordies and people on my team are from Skullcrusher. If there's more than 5 hordies, I just write it off because, even if they didn't come in as a group, they pretty much always know WTH they are doing.

Just food for thought I guess.

Gevlon said...

@Ten and others with herding: I'm just another player. My only responsibility is doing my job. I'm not responsible to herd them. It's not my faliure if they wander aimlessly, even if I could teach them not to.

@Kristine: They didn't say anything. They did not offered another strategy. They did not try to somehow control the midfield, setting up strongpoints with more players. They just wandered there like sheep.

Anonymous said...

What battlegroup do you play on Ten? Gevlon's description sounds similar to my experience from 70 bracket and 80 bracket.

And yes I have made honest efforts to coordinate the team: Macro'd strats. Anyone who argues gets whispers (which got old quick see below). Raid warnings to reinforce the strategy. Replies to any strat questions.

My problem is half the raid shouts me down, insults me, insults my gear, insults my (lack of, I hate it) arena rating or has their own idea of what constitutes a proper strategy. The other half is a mix of people who listen to the strat until they die, follow the strat well enough or weren't paying attention to anything in /bg at all. In short, it's a mess that usually devolves into zergs moving from node to node in EOTS or AB.

Coordinating Battlegrounds has had little, if any, noticeable effect on my BG success mostly because of the arguing, people ignoring me or stupidity. I turned to premades until Blizzard 'nerfed' them in TBC and had a much better time. Then I turned to partial premades, which help in the smaller maps like EOTS, AB and WSG.

mark said...

"Practically anywhere we went, some came along ..."

That's no surprise; it's what most Warsong Gulch guides suggest. If you see a Flag Carrier, you escort them and protect them as needed. They didn't know you were doing some social experiment -- they probably thought you were trying to win the match.

Ditto with the midfield, strategies, btw -- most guides at least include that as a viable tactic.

And is it surprising to see a low-level character make a beeline for the nearest friendly? Not at all: Unless you're a Twink (or a Rich Goblin), in most cases your only chance at surviving is to stick together.

Finally, people DO go to 19 Warsong Gulch for reasons besides the ones you state. They seek to learn how to play a new class, or measure themselves against better players, or even farm (there aren't many trinkets available at low level).

I do agree, though, that defending a Flag Room is a paradise for honorable kills and achievements.

Dan said...

It has been a very long time, and will likely be a very long time, since I have done any type of battlegrounds. The last time I did any was April of last year for my paladin's S2 caster mace for tanking. It has not interested me since because of the mindless zerg and (then) the steep gearing required for competition (the blue PvP gear you could get via PvE was lackluster at best, but it did give you some resilience; grinding any epic PvP gear required large quantities of AV for the honor amounts necessary for a single piece). Because of that combination, I have yet to do ANYTHING that involves PvP since April 2008. Yes Wintergrasp makes the honor grind far better and yes Arenas don't take 20-30 minutes a match anymore, but the sour taste is still in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

It seems your disdain of mindless socializing sometimes carries over to situations where socializing/grouping can improve things.

although in a battleground it's anything but useful: be with others

As opposed to running around solo?

Some of these people simply do not know what they're doing. But at least they have the small sense to follow someone who might know what they're doing.

being in a pack does not increase survival chance as they don't buff, heal or protect each other any way

This is silly. Even if the pack doesn't coordinate in any meaningful sense, an individual is more likely to survive as:

1. One is less likely to be targeted in combat.

2. A larger pack will put out more damage than a smaller group, increasing the likelihood of eliminating enemies first.

Let's even say the only result is forcing a smaller group to retreat and reinforce (as you put it, zerg vs zerg). The larger group has temporarily asserted control of a position on the field.

The ramifications of this are obvious, especially on AB or EoTS, where holding a given position over time directly influences the score.

Mark said...

I think you should try again at 3.2 -- I think the dynamics will change quite a bit, though I'm not sure how, exactly. The opportunity to gain XP through battlegrounds and potential to shift Twinks to what are effectively Twink-only BGs offer a couple of scenarios:

1. Fewer twinks in regular BGs, leading to more survivability for the rest of us.
2. A higher percentage of morons in regular BGs, because though Twinks can be irritating at least they often understand what's going on. This could be offset somewhat by
3. A gradual increase in expertise among non-twinks, sick of questing, who wish to level through PVP. (Eventually, they may become actual twinks and opt out through Scenario 1, leaving us with the morons again. Not sure on this).

Regardless, the new timers on WG and lower Win Condition threshold for AB should speed both games up, a good thing.

Also, on the herding-cats thing: I've always seen more success in Arathi Basin in this regard (Horde-Ghostlands, for what it's worth). Lots of decent communication and enough people listening that the communication helps. Warsong Gulch, Alterac Valley and EOTS -- not so much. Not sure why.

Kristine said...

@ Gevlon
I am not saying that any move made in a BG is made with divine purpose, nor with any meaningful goal or skill. Most of I am sure is based on not knowing wth is going on. Some of it is still likely to be with a plan, just perhaps a plan that wasnt obvious to you. There is after all many ways for a team to communicate without actually typing to eachother, more subtle strategies that might not be obvious when first (or early) encountering this particular bracket.
Anyways, I was just pointing out that what you found in your "research" was nothing about human nature or why players do what they do, you simply were able to test some strategies. Your point is valid enough, that a good defense is useful - but that doesnt mean that everyone not in defense is a idiot :)

Ten said...


I'm just another player. My only responsibility is doing my job. I'm not responsible to herd them.

Yes, you are. Yes, it is. No, you aren't.

Now, what do you say to people who send you letters and claim that you are ruining "their markets" and are making it more difficult for them to make money on the AH? Your sentences above look just as pathetic as these letters. You can create mountains of arguments that these situations are different, but in the end, both these situations pose some kind of a challenge and in both cases the challenge can be solved by expending some effort. It is OK to not want to expend the effort. It is not OK to do that and then blame lack of results on something other than yourself.

Gevlon said...

@Ten: reaching 80% win is a nice result. We succeeded to find a winning strat, so I don't see what effort you are missing.

The result is exactly that WSG can be won simply by standing to one spot, therefore everyone who are wandering aimlessly instead are dumb like a piece of rock.

I'm not saying that this is the best strat (a premade with a 10 man zerg going for the flag together, killing the FC in the way back would be better). But it is SOME strat and makes some sense.

Most people are idiots, having NO strat at all, wandering aimlessly, trying to follow someone else, who is just as clueless as them, setting up zerg-packs attacking the enemy graveyard.

Ten said...


reaching 80% win is a nice result.

Oh, if you want to play that game, you didn't even join the BGs to win. You were trying to convey a little research about human behavior, remember?

You are free to restate what you tried to do and how it went however you like, until you can feel good about it. Call people morons and slackers all you want. Some would say that by that same logic you are a moron or slacker yourself, but what do you care.

tDv said...

I remember the old days of honor ranking and server bg.
I remember that I rolled an horde druid (i was alliance) only to be able to do some pvp without waiting 1 hour.
I had a lot of fun with my little druid (i started doing pvp at low levels, usually stopped a couple of days at x8-x9).
What I noticed was that people on horde side were more mature (on Alliance side you had a lot of nelf children wannabelegolas, legolasdk, etc)
My best moment was one night at 29 (or maybe was at 39) where we managed to win 3-0 in 5 vs 10!
When we realized that we were only 5 ppl started asking what we could do and I said I was going to try to solo flag while the other 4 were trying to defend our flag as much as they can.
They indeed did a great job defeding our flag while I was taking alliance flag (1st time was easy: nobody defending it and I waited when alliance were attacking to take it without meeting any resistance, but the other 2 were a bit harder with 2 hunters guarding it)

Russ said...


I'm just another player. My only responsibility is doing my job. I'm not responsible to herd them. It's not my faliure if they wander aimlessly, even if I could teach them not to.

True, but you're a player that wants to do well. You seem willing to think about how other people think - that's the essence of "herding". Its not your JOB to do it, but, with a little creative thinking and observation, you CAN do it.

Battlegrounds arent a solo, or duo activity. Generally it involves 8/9 other puggers who are all also out for themselves. Most of them arent trying to win, they're trying to have fun (a good attitude). If you want to push for wins though (and talk about it), you've got to play the game to win! That means separating yourself from the herd, and taking control of the "assets" in your "market". (Replace assets with asshats and market with BG).

This is just another area of the game that needs to be investigated - trust me, AH sharking is much easier than juggling PUG cats :P