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The Queue: Why the Tol Barad change is putting lipstick on a pig


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

We're going to take a moment out of our normal Queue banter and focus on a change to Tol Barad implemented recently in a hotfix. The change is as follow:

Blizzard -- Hotfixes
Tol Barad: Winning as an attacker now rewards players with 1800 Honor Points, up from 180. Winning as a defender still rewards players with 180 Honor Points.

This makes it much more advantageous to gain control of the zone, and indeed will likely act as an effective stimulant for players to return to the zone in hope of capturing it. However, this is not a fix for the zone, nor does it do anything other than create a system of unsustainable inequality. Let me elaborate.

With this change, we'll see one of three possible results. First (and I think the most likely), the controlling side will be encouraged to just let the other team capture the zone, in order to retake the zone themselves the next cycle. This back-and-forth swapping will give the greedy person (which modern economics dictates we are) the most reward (honor points) and thus, the most happiness. Another possibility is that one faction will control the zone without allowing the other team to take it back (which is much too easy) and not reap any rewards ever; I consider this a potential on servers that have a high-end raiding guild that's already bored with the content. The final possibility is that this will actually encourage proper equitable fighting in Tol Barad, which I find to be the most unlikely of possibilities.

Tol Barad is fundamentally broken in that the defense has at least a 3:1 advantage over the attackers, making it near impossible for an attacking force to retake the zone given any sort of coordinated defense (which I'm personally convinced can be achieved with as little as a well-geared 5-man group). The zone can be fixed by providing a combination of rewards for winning and losing the zone, changing the way in which the control of the zone is gained, implementing mechanics to stop the zone from being a back-and-forth hot potato with the towers, or any number of other creative solutions.

When I say this is not a fix for the zone, many people will say, "Duh, it's just a minor change." And they'd be right; it is. But we really don't know what's going on in the developers' minds. We don't know if this is the only fix we'll see for the next month or two, or just the tip of the iceberg, with more to come next week. Unfortunately, there has been no communication from Blizzard on this matter, leaving us to speculate when and if things will really get fixed. As broken as Tol Barard is, so too is the flow of communication from WoW's creators.

For more information on Tol Barad, see Mat McCurley's post on the matter and Zach Yonzon's guide to winning the zone.

Oh, and originally? This Queue was going to talk about Mork and Mindy. But Tol Barad is better. On with our regularly scheduled program ...

Begy asked:

Has anyone worked out chances to get epic archaeology items?

No, but it's really really low. My guess, given past epics from the RNG in other instances and mechanics, would be that you have between a 0.5% and a 1% chance of getting an epic. But that's only my educated guess; there's no hard data that I've seen to support such numbers.

Gamer am I asked:

Do we know what the new gold sinks for Cataclysm are going to be?

The Vial of the Sands is the sink, with a total cost of around 45k to 55k gold. There's also a lot of encouragement in this expansion to level alts and gear them up, so there are a lot of gold sinks involved with them as well.

Level1Paladin asked:

Wowpedia vs. Wowwiki? Which should I go for?

Whichever one you want. We're using Wowpedia.

Na-nu, na-nu.

Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!

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