Why Tol Barad Doesn’t Suck
Tol Barad has been a hot topic since Cataclysm released in early December. Since the start we’ve seen countless articles written over it’s imbalance and players sharing their discontent for the new zone. I’d like to tell you why Tol Barad doesn’t suck, and quite frankly, why I think it’s a fantastic zone for exciting PvP.
I spend a lot of my time in the game participating in PvP, whether through battlegrounds, arenas, Tol Barad, or dueling outside of Orgrimmar. PvP is a passion of mine and the challenge of facing a real-life opponent is exciting. Some of the best memories I have from my time playing PvP come from exciting and tense moments. I’ve been in Arathi Basin and won 1600-1590. I’ve encountered world PvP situations where I started a fight with 20% of my health, had a wimpy dagger equipped (remember when we had to level individual weapon skills?), my pet on passive, and won. I just recently won an arena match where my partner died, I finished off one enemy from 5% of his life, then finished off the other from 90% of his life, where I was at 10% when my partner died.
It’s those kinds of tense situations that make PvP in general so exciting. Tol Barad has taken some of that tenseness and brought it into organized world PvP.
Most recently, we’ve thought of world PvP, especially on PvE servers, as Wintergrasp. It’s the majority of players exposure to world PvP and so I’ll refer to it as such here. Wintergrasp was a fun experience in my mind, but it lacked the best quality of PvP; excitement. Essentially the strategy was the same each time and the fight played out the same way every time. The difference between battles was likely which side the attackers were coming through. The excitement only started when the interior of the fortress had been breached and by then it was too late for the defenders. Wintergrasp was effectively Strand of the Ancients on steroids.
Tol Barad starts off with tense situations and keeps them going throughout the battle. You may be defending Slagworks and wondering what the situation looks like over at Ironclad Garrison. Should you leave 20 at Slagworks and attack Warden’s Vigil, or are they going to come back to Slagworks right away? Which point is going to get hit next, and by how many? With three main points of interest, something is always going on at one of them, or is imminent. Strategy is a key factor for both attackers and defenders and is simply more important and fluid than it was with Wintergrasp. Understanding the pattern the attackers are following from flag to flag and how you can take advantage of that as a defending unit is the difference between a win and a loss.
The structure of Tol Barad creates impromptu battles on an epic scale many times throughout the battle. That’s what we want from world PvP after all, isn’t it? We’re not primarily focused on taking out vehicles as we were in Wintergrasp. We’re finding ourselves in huge battles, using our CC abilities, and fighting players in true world PvP fashion.
While Tol Barad isn’t the most balanced experience right now, I can appreciate the recent blue post explaining the design ideas behind Tol Barad and the importance put on holding the zone. I was encouraged to hear that response as opposed to hearing how the idea is for us to bounce it back and forth as Wintergrasp turned out to be at the end of Wrath with the many attacking team buffs. I do believe there can be some minor tweaks made to make it slightly easier to capture Tol Barad as an attacker, but don’t want to see it turn into something where the excitement from the battle is gone.
I think we should all be enjoying the epic world PvP experience we have available to us right now. It’s rare and something I’ve never been able to experience before. It’s certainly head and shoulders above what Wintergrasp provided and I would be sad to see the experience go away in any form.
Tell me what you think about Tol Barad in the comments!