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Do Battlegrounds need tutorials?

Anne Stickney
When I first starting doing Battlegrounds way back in vanilla, it was pretty easy to learn exactly what the rules were. Not because I went and researched the individual Battlegrounds, but because I had a team of guildmates that were happily running the new feature over and over for a fun break from raiding. In later years, I joined a guild that was by and large devoted to PvP content over PvE. With the original honor grind being as ruthlessly difficult as it was, I was happy to help heal those in the guild working on that arduous trek to High Warlord -- and I never had to ask what to do in a Battleground. I was well informed from the get-go.

But at some point after Burning Crusade, I simply lost interest in PvP. I think it was after the introduction of arenas. Most of my PvP-oriented friends became absolutely enthralled with the idea of doing arenas, gaining ranks, and more importantly earning those hard-won season's end mount rewards. It wasn't that I didn't have an interest in the mounts, or that I didn't like PvP anymore. It was more that I knew, logistically speaking, that I wasn't particularly good at PvP. It didn't matter so much when the games were just a matter of win or lose, but when it came to arenas, I really didn't want to ruin the carefully-earned rankings my friends had obtained. I came from an era of the original honor grind. Rankings were sacred back then.

Consequentially, I don't really do PvP anymore. Not because I don't enjoy a good Battleground, but because at this stage in the game, I haven't the faintest idea what to do in any of them.

A post on Reddit the other day caught my eye because it addressed just this situation, and asked an intriguing question to boot -- can Blizzard implement quests that "teach" Battlegrounds to players? And you know what? The more I think about it, the more I think the idea is actually a pretty good one. PvE and PvP content have been notorious separate ever since Battlegrounds were introduced back in the day -- and since my focus is mainly on raiding, I really haven't bothered to pick up any of the new Battleground strategies. To be perfectly honest, I don't even know what the objective is for well over half of them. Doing the section of the legendary chain that required me to win not one, but two Battlegrounds was an exercise in frustration, not because the Battlegrounds were particularly difficult, but because I didn't understand what those mine carts were for, why we were collecting balls, and why where we were standing with said balls was really important.

One can argue that we have Proving Grounds to teach players how to play, which is fine -- but it does nothing to teach players how to PvP. Playing against another player is a very different experience than playing against an NPC. There is no such thing as a standard rotation, and more often than not you really have to think on the fly. That being said, PvP is ridiculously fun, but when thrown in the context of a Battleground you know absolutely nothing about, it becomes considerably less fun. And all that time you're spending standing around trying to figure out who goes where and what you do in order to win is likely time that the other team is spending winning, or killing you. It's hard to think on the fly and defend yourself while trying to learn what objectives you need to complete -- harder still when there's no real clear indication of those objectives in the Battleground itself.

While the idea of completing a set of introductory quests to a Battleground sounds like an interesting way to get that information across, there are still those might consider that crossing the line just a little too far when it comes to putting PvE content in PvP. I think what might be more interesting is if you could queue for either the Battlegrounds themselves, as usual, or a tutorial version of any particular Battleground -- one that led you through the field, showed you the different items you needed to watch out for, and more importantly showed you the objectives needed in order to win. It wouldn't have to be a very long tutorial, just long enough to give players an idea of the basics.

This might help not only new players and players that haven't indulged in PvP in an eternity, but also those that are currently running Battlegrounds. Players that come in after going through the tutorial should have at least a basic understanding of what to do, resulting in less clueless people who aren't exactly sure what they're supposed to be doing.

I still enjoy PvP. But the last thing I really want to do when playing this game is ruin the fun of others, whether that be by dragging down someone's ranking, or by simply not understanding what tower I should probably go stand next to, or where to take a flag. While there are plenty of guides outside the game that address the basics of Battlegrounds, wouldn't it be nice to see something like that in game, something that players don't have to alt-tab for? What do you guys think -- should Battlegrounds have introductory quests? Tutorials? What would you like to see introduced to help those new players that want to get in on the PvP?

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