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The Art of War(craft): Wintergrasp in Patch 3.1 and beyond II

Zach Yonzon

For a military encampment -- no, a full-on military base -- it's conspicuously lacking an NPC who can repair. Actually, it's lacking in NPCs, period. Wintergrasp Fortress needs a whole bunch of NPCs who can repair, sell reagents, and provide food. Take Alterac Valley, for example. As imperfect as that map is, it often felt like there was a war effort going on because you had relevant NPCs. I mean, Wintergrasp NPCs spookily despawn like ghosts when a battle starts! What's up with that? Give us an NPC who can repair. It's a military facility! Where are our training dummies? While they're at it, Blizzard can give Wintergrasp NPCs that sell flavor items, too. Give it the Dalaran treatment, why not?

Alright, since we're talking about flavor items, why not a whole bunch of NPCs and vendors who are accessible only when you control the Fortress? Apart from that guy on the mammoth, I mean. It should feel like a real town, not an empty warehouse. There are no Level 80 equivalents of the Combat Mana/Health Potions (no idea why), and Wintergrasp seems like a logical place to reintroduce them. Players need more sinks for Stone Keeper's Shards and Wintergrasp Marks of Honor, anyway. How about recipes for food that give Resilience, just like all the PvP-relevant Jewelcrafting recipes? Maybe even Titan-themed foods that give +Hit?

Speaking of +Hit, some players might be wondering why the Wintergrasp items are loaded with it. Hit has traditionally been known to be a PvE stat, with the normal requisite to hit enemy players of equal level an easily obtainable 5%. However, it should be noted that Wrath of the Lich King introduced a lot of talents that make players harder to hit. Often by as much as 3%. In essence, PvP-specced opponents require as much +Hit as a raid boss. This is why the Titan-forged gear are just awesome. They're not that hard to get, either. Blizzard has definitely taken the right direction there.

My point is that there's a whole lot of potential for Wintergrasp. We're still looking at the possibility of aerial combat, but I'm not too fussed about it at this point. As fun as vehicles are, I really enjoy my PvP up close and personal. The good news is that Blizzard has pretty much gotten this one right. The games are fun, they're quick, they're rewarding, and the mechanics are pretty balanced -- it's even improving with Patch 3.1. Wintergrasp is what Alterac Valley should have been, and it's only fitting to see Lieutenant Murp back on active duty.

I'm just afraid of it growing old. With the weekly loot piñata trick working perfectly, it's almost certain that Blizzard will just add another boss to the Archavon family in Season 7 or Icecrown. They'll probably just add a new wing, toss in another '-on' suffixed giant and give him a whole bag of loot to give away to visitors. It'll work, too. Players will keep on fighting over the zone to have a crack at the new boss. Blizzard has tuned the Wintergrasp formula really well, from mechanics to rewards, which makes me extremely excited to see their new Battleground.

I think I just love Wintergrasp so much that I don't like seeing it transform into a ghost town as soon as the battle is over. I suppose that's just how it is after a war, though. There's always a calm before the storm. The biggest problem with the zone right now, really, is the massive lag due to the sheer number of things going on, specially when you're smack in the middle of all the fighting. It's probably a testament to how popular Wintergrasp is. I'm excited for the changes in Patch 3.1, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they've got more things planned for what is arguably one of the coolest zones in the game.

Although he hasn't written about it in a while, Zach would like to spread the love for PvP around. He writes about Arenas, Battlegrounds, and world PvP in one column. Check out his guide to the Battleground that's a lot like Wintergrasp, the Strand of the Ancients.

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