Friday, January 22, 2010

Revisiting the High Ground

Ihra can make mistakes. Despite the fact that he is not human, that night elves have a long history of being perfect (forget about the well of eternity. forget about the naga. forget about vordrassil's corruption. forget hell, just forget everything), Ihra can and does make mistakes.

I would like to retract an opinion I issued earlier, standing shoulder to shoulder with Cynwise, about the worthlessness of the hangar in IOC. I stand by parts of the original thesis, namely that

  • "EVERYONE ZERG HANGER PLX" is generally a stupid idea, and

  • the key to winning should be, on paper, to control more of the three middle nodes that give you keep-assault options than the opponent.

I have been forced to revise this plan on the basis of

  • Horde zergs docks all the time, resulting in a lot of wasted time corpse running if you even make a try for it.

  • Because zerging docks is such a successful strategy for horde, and they win a lot more than we do, Alliance at least on my battlegroup has basically abandoned the battleground.

I log into IOC and run into 38-19ish numbers disadvantages ALL THE TIME. And judging by the way other people complain about it, I'm not the only one. Of course, that's skewed by the fact that all of the people I hear complaining about it are from my battlegroup, so it's not really getting a wider representation, and also by the fact that we all know people are more vocal about complaining than when things are going well. That aside, however, it is obvious to me that with 19 people it is impossible to make a serious play for two of the middle nodes, and so we're left with trying one. I venture to propose that that one might, in point of fact, be best served if it were the hangar. Why?

1) Horde does not go there, because it is an inferior node. This minimizes deaths Alliance-side which, if you're at a serious numbers disadvantage, you can ill afford to do. You need every man, woman, and child to be alive the maximum amount of time.

2) Since IOC, to an even larger extent than AV, reduces to an exercise in herding cats, it is inevitable that you will fail to rally enough people around you to take something like docks, at least at the forefront. Horde simply puts too much pressure on it.

3) It's higher. This is, I think, an overlooked value to the Hangar, and has much the same benefits as the lumber mill in Arathi Basin. By a careful series of jumps, you can hop down from the Hangar to the Workshop, if you wait for the horde fellas to clear out. You can take advantage here of the fact that they may be horde, but they are subject to the same recklessly offensive spirit that wrecks us up. Nobody likes to defend something when they could be killing shiny objects somewhere else. Imagine the setback, the big siege engine takes four minutes to bring online, if you hopped down and tagged the workshop flag right at the end of that timer? It's like recapping a bunker in AV, big points for you.

With the current state of IOC, you cannot control all of the space you need to, Alliance-side. And fragmenting our numbers trying to do something beyond our means (ie, to carry out a 40-man strategy with 20 people) merely accelerates the losses.

I don't have a particularly good strategy envisioned here -- the best I've been able to come up with is to suggest a 10-10 split with people on defence and people going to hangar, in the hopes that we can turtle up long enough to get the numbers on a more even footing. But I won't pretend to any experience with that working, b/c nobody listens as soon as the word "hangar" or "turtle" comes out of your mouth.

Is going for the hangar still an inferior option? In the words of Spock, "All things being equal Mr. Scott, I would agree...however, things are not equal." If you have enough people to play IOC as it was meant to be played, then by all means do so. But I think there is a serious problem Alliance-side with over-reaching ourselves and trying to do too much with too little, the way that battleground tends to set itself up.


cynwise said...

I'm a little at a loss to formulate a winning PuG strategy when you are down 20-40. While IRL you can find ways to counter that, within Warcraft there are both limits enforced by class balance, and limits of coordination within a PuG. Could a team of 20 experienced, skilled players working together take out 40 puggers? Maybe. But they'd have to be nearly twink levels to do so.

Perhaps if everyone had Engineering, you could chain bomb the opposition into submission. Or blow your own way into the keep from the Hangar.

But other than that, I think the only solution is to get more bodies into the BG. And aside from increasing the rewards or randomizing the placement, you've got a major psychological barrier to overcome in your Battlegroup.

Ihrayeep said...

I tried to make a linkback but I couldn't find the post you had made a while ago about a similar problem on your BG with Horde abandoning Alterac Valley.

The problem is its a downward spiral -- we lose, so people stop playing it, so we're out the numbers, so we lose, etc. I'm sure I have no idea how to counter it nice if there was a good way though. *sigh*