A Look Back: Alterac Valley

I was going through my computer last night trying to free up some hard drive space, when I came across some WoW screenshots that I have saved over the years. It brought back a lot of memories. Old players we used to play with. How different it was at level 60 compared to now at 70. Today we take a look back at the old Alterac Valley.

This is back before there was cross-realm battlegrounds. Back when honor was calculated at the end of the week, and determined your PvP Rank. Back when queues for Alterac Valley were over one hour long, and when you finally get in, the games would last for hours. It was not uncommon to quit in the middle of an Alterac Valley match, go to sleep, wake up, and get queued back into the same match that is still going. Or get queued into a losing AV that is already five hours in, and end up winning it two hours later.

The Old Alterac Valley matches were long tug of war matches, where both factions would keep crashing at each other, trying to push the opposing faction back and back towards their graveyard. It was Offense vs Offense until one faction gets pushed back to their final graveyard, then that side would be forced to make a defensive stand. This defensive stand is usually where most of the matches stall for hours. On Alliance side, it was the bridge heading towards the bunkers, for Horde side, it was the ramp/path towards the towers.

Was it fun? Heck yea! Although the matches dragged on forever, there are things you can only see during long battles, and it is something I think everyone should see at least once. They are calling in the cavalry, calling in an air strike, and summoning the Lords to fight for you.

Cavalry: First you had to tame enough Rams (Alliance) or Wolves (Horde) to fill the stables. Then you must kill the opposing side’s mounts, Wolves (Alliance) or Rams (Horde) in order to make the harness for the riders. Once you done enough quests, you will be able to order the charge. Ten to fifteen riders will come charging forth, attacking anything in their path towards the opposing side’s base. Great for making a push to the next “checkpoint”.

Air Strike: First you must rescue your air commanders, which are located in enemy bunkers, towers, and huts in enemy territory. Whenever you rescue one of the air commanders, and they make it back safely to your base, you can now turn in medals to them which drop off of the opposing players bodies. Once you have turned in enough, you can command them to strike an area. It is fun to watch as they ride around on their Gryphon or Wyvern, knocking players off cliffs, and attacking from the air.

Summoning the Lords: By turning enough items to your Druid NPCs, you will give them enough energy to go out and summon a Lord. The Druids will have to travel from your base, to the center of the map, before they can make an attempt to summon the Lord. So they must be protected, but the Druids also fight back. Once they make it to their destination, you need ten players to click and channel to summon. Once that is completed, Ivus the Forest Lord (Alliance) or Lokholar the Ice Lord (Horde) is summoned and will start killing everything in sight. Summoning your Lord can turn the battle around, or finish the match for you.

Nowadays, Alterac Valley queues have been reduced dramatically with cross-realm battlegrounds. Queues will last no longer than thirty minutes (at least in my battleground group), and matches goes as quick as ten minutes, and never goes as long as an hour anymore due to the new reinforcement changes. Usually when you join, it is a fresh new start, and if you do happen to join an AV that is already fighting, chances are, you will be playing Defense, and the match will be over shortly. Free tokens for you!

Instead of facing head on, now in the beginning of matches, players ride past each other and race to see which side can capture the last two graveyards first, and kill the leader. Now there is an Offense and Defense for each side. Offense try to capture as quick as possible, Defense tries to delay the opposing side’s Offense as much as they can.

You will rarely see any cavalries or air strikes. Summoning Lords are even rarer now. Everyone now wants as much honor as they can get, as quick as possible. To me, it really has taken the “fun” out of the Alterac Valley matches.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the quick and easy honor, but it does get boring really fast. Before you could tame Rams, collect items, rescue NPCs, upgrade armor, attack or defend. Now even though you can still do those things, you are usually just left with two options: Attack or Defend.

Here is an old screenshot that I have found on the Old Alterac Valley. The file properties says it was created on February 2006, but I am not sure how accurate that is. No I wasn’t in the AV the entire time (at least I don’t think), and yes, it really did last that long.

Not everyday you can have 1717 honorable kills in one match of AV.

Now here is a quick screenshot I took last night right before bed. It was a whole lot faster, for just a bit less honor, even though I won the AV in this screenshot, and lost the AV in the previous screenshot.

Seems like it is less PvPing and more PvEing in AV now.

I am liking these “A Look Back” posts. I am going to trying to post more of them in the future. It brings back so many memories, and I still got a lot more pictures to share! Now I have so much writing material, yet so little time…

WTB [Hyperbolic Time Chamber] PST!

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