We've been talking between the factions since the beginning of World of Warcraft. Actually, we've been talking between the factions well before the release of WoW, as shown in Mike Sacco's favorite screenshot ever (which I still cannot find) -- the undead lying in wait for his human victim, tricked into investigating a bridge where there is little to be found other than murder. Players have engaged in ridiculous amounts of trial and error to break the language barriers in World of Warcraft since the beginning, and customs sprang up around emotes and conduct that signaled player behavior and intent.
WoW isn't the first MMO to display this type of behavior. Back in Dark Age of Camelot, realm versus realm was the name of the game, and there was a code of conduct to initiate one on one duels with a member of the other factions without using words. Did you ever play multiplayer Jedi Academy and bow to people before duels because you couldn't communicate with them? If so, you know what it's like to deal with different types of custom.
Back when World of Warcraft was in beta, the undead Forsaken could speak common as their second language -- the same common that the humans of Stormwind spoke. After the griefing and insulting via undead characters got too hectic for Blizzard to deal with, gutterspeak was born.
What does B(viii) prevent?
It almost seems like a no-brainer in a game like World of Warcraft, doesn't it? Communicating with the other faction can potentially ruin game balance, disrupt player on player objectives, and give unfair advantages to the sides the communicate cross-faction the most successfully. You've been in a For the Horde! or For the Alliance! raid before that's been ruined by characters alerting the other faction. Even if you didn't know, someone probably spilled the beans on you before.
Breaking down the barriers
Arena season 3 will go down in WoW history as a crazy time for PvPers. During the season, which lasted between November 28, 2007 and June 23, 2008, players would buy their way onto top ranked arena teams and, through a complex system of win trading with other similarly minded teams on the opposite faction, would get those buyers their arena gear and weapons. Eventually this practice was dealt with, and people even had their accounts suspended, arena points deleted, and gear and rating obliterated.
Arena season 8, right before the end of Wrath of the Lich King, was marred with scandal, win-trading accusations, and cheating just like season 3. There was, however, much less of a response about the season from the men and women in charge of the arenas. At this point in the arena system's history, teams are sponsored and notoriety is real. A system in which cheating and win-trading is so easy and, dare we say, accepted is a problem of fairness.
Finally, Tol Barad has recently been hot-fixed because the defense of the island PvP objective was too easy compared to the attacking faction's win scenario. While the attackers need to capture all three objectives to win back the island, the defenders only need to stop this from happening. There's a lot more in the balancing of Tol Barad that needs to be changed, but that's not the issue we are discussing here today. Recently, Blizzard hot-fixed a change that grants the attacking team a huge 1,800 honor point prize if they manage to steal away Tol Barad from the defenders, in order to encourage attackers to fight the good fight for an amazing reward. However, this change has turned into an almost sanctioned win-trading epidemic that has killed the contested nature of Tol Barad.
Tol Barad win-trading has become rampant across all servers, and with good reason -- win-trading Tol Barad is the single greatest honor gain per hour in the game, well above any battleground or rated honor farming session. The interesting part of it all really is that the change seems like a temporary fix that is there to encourage the behavior that is going on -- Blizzard instituted win-trading.
Wrap it up
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