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World of Warcraft - A Look at the Eye of the Storm Battleground

MMORPG.com World of Warcraft Correspondent Robert Duckworth writes this overview of the Eye of the Storm Battleground in Blizzard's World of Warcraft.

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Eye of the Storm(EotS) is the latest battleground to hit live servers (though the term "latest" is a bit relative, as it came out over a year ago). Heralded as the Outland battleground, the fight does in fact take place on a chunk of floating rock in outer space. If you fall off, you just keep falling. Sadly, EotS leaves the impression that it takes what was kind of fun and turns it into something that isn't very much fun at all. The general atmosphere of the battleground is depressing as well. Lots and lots of purple rock.

Looking at: Eye of the Storm

The best way to describe this battleground is to say it combines the nodes of Arathi Basin with the flag capturing of Warsong Gulch. Each team starts out in a bubble that is on top of a floating rock perched above the rest of the floating battleground. Once the match starts, both teams flood off of their rocks and onto a larger chunk of floating rock. There are effectively two sides to the battleground, two strips of land with three connection points between them. Each side has two towers on it. In the center of the battleground, on the middle connection point, is a capturable flag. The objective of the game is identical to Arathi Basin; you want to be the first team to 2000 points. The methods are very similar as well: Each node grants a certain number of points the longer you control it. The flag also plays a part though, each time your team captures the flag you gain a small amount of additional points based on the number of towers that you currently have control of. The more towers you control, the more the flag is worth.

To capture a flag, somebody has to first channel it for 10 seconds to pick it up, and then carry it to a node that their team controls. On the other hand, in order to gain points from a node you have to control it. Taking control of a node is different in EotS then it is in Arathi Basin(AB). Instead of channeling a flag for 10 seconds, players only need to stand within proximity of it until the "ownership meter" swings in their favor. The more players a team has at a node, the faster they will gain control of it. All that the attackers have to do is outnumber the defenders at a node and they will eventually gain control of it. Just like in AB, the defenders will continually respawn at the node’s associated graveyard so long as they have control of the node.

Again just like in AB and WSG, it is important that the team has communication. Calling out incoming attacks, constantly pressuring the opponent, all of those things benefit the team once again. Running around blindly with no awareness, on the other hand, isn‘t as effective. Because EotS is a mixture of the two previous battlegrounds, it would make sense that the strategies are similar.

Unlike the other battlegrounds, there really isn't that much to say about EotS. There are two basic rules though:

First, controlling three towers is worth more points than controlling one tower and capturing the flag endlessly. Therefore, the flag is the least important part of the battleground. The other rule to EotS is that once you've fallen behind, you are most likely not going to catch up. While it may sound wrong; assuming that both teams are equally competent but one has three nodes and the other only has one, the team currently losing will never recapture their lost node. The exact same rule rings true with Arathi Basin; because it requires 10 seconds of channeled flag time to capture a node, it is a lot easier to defend three nodes than it is to capture one. In EotS the rule is even less forgiving.

Tips 'n Tricks

Pressure is even more important in EotS then it is in AB. A player endlessly throwing themselves to die in the churning blades of a much larger force is actually more valuable. Ultimately, it's what you want the majority of your team doing because if they are, then it means your team is most likely winning. The last thing a team wants to do is defend at a node they control. This is because not only are they tied up defending, unable to apply pressure anywhere, but also because they risk losing control of the node if they are outnumbered. Pressure is everything in EotS. As soon as one team solidly controls three nodes, they have won the game unless their team falls apart at the end.

On the other hand, the best thing that a team can do is attack an enemy node. It's the opposite of defending a node, making it the best possible option. Of course by attacking the right way, players are not fighting outside of the node, but fighting close enough to it that they are affecting the ownership meter. The reasons that attacking a node is better than defending one are the same as they were in AB. The attacking team is applying pressure, forcing the enemy to stay where they are. This is what creates the huge zerg problem that the battleground has become. The defenders can no longer hold off a much larger force as they would in AB, eventually hurting their attackers by reversing the role of who is occupying and wasting whose time. Instead, in the face of a zerg, the defenders either need to match the same number of attackers, or they will lose just because the ownership meter will swing to the other team. It can easily happen that not a single defender of a node dies, but the attacking force still takes control of it just because they outnumber them.

The other major benefit of attacking a node is dying. When a player dies, they respawn with full health and mana. Often faster than it would have taken them to sit down and eat/drink back to full. So while the defenders who survived are licking their wounds, the attackers are at full battle strength and are already attacking again. Ultimately, this leads to a situation where it is impossible for a team to come back from only controlling one node. The entire losing team respawns in the same place, no need for the winning team to have to search them out. The entire losing team has to stay in that one place or else they will lose their last base to the never ending onslaught of attackers. As long as the winning team keeps attacking, the losing team will have no choice but to lose.

The benefits of zerging a base have been mentioned above, but not the necessity.

When player don't zerg a base when trying to capture it, they are not going to have the man power to shift the ownership meter fast enough before the defenders can call in reinforcements. It just won't happen. Take, for example, two players assaulting a node against one lone defender. The two attackers kill the defender, sit around for awhile, the defender then respawns. They kill the defender again. Sit around for a little while. The defender respawns again, finally killing them both since they weren't able to get their health back fast enough because the defender was a warlock and had covered them in DoT's. The ownership meter will not change fast enough and really any attempt at taking control of a node with a small force is doomed from the start. In Arathi Basin, a single player can completely turn the tide of battle, stealing a node out from under a defender or two. This is almost impossible in EotS.

There's a few of things a team can do to prevent getting stuck in the losing position of an EotS match. The foremost is that they can win. Attacking, zerging, the opponent’s nodes until they control three and forcing the enemy team into the losing position. Good communication and fast movement are others. Once a node has been defended, once a node has been controlled, there is no reason that more than two or three players need to stick around. There could still be two enemy players running around a node, but that does not mean it takes eight players to kill them. Some should get up and move, start applying pressure back to the enemy, because if you only defend in EotS then eventually you're going to lose.

The flag hasn't really been mentioned much. That's because unless the game is evenly matched, or both teams don't have the knowledge that attacking is the way this battleground is won, the flag doesn't matter at all. If for some reason the flag has become important to both teams, then what usually happens is that one team zergs the center of the map, managing to pick up the flag while at the same time losing one of their nodes to an enemy zerg. Otherwise, running the flag is identical to WSG. The distance is shorter so druids don't monopolize the event, making plenty of room for shamans, hunters, and rogues to use their various speed increasing abilities as well. Even paladins with their talented movement speed increase. Of course the distance is also so short that it really doesn't matter who runs it. Some important strategies with the flag are that a player should never capture it until their team controls the center of the map again, where the flag spawns. If the enemy wants to camp half of their forces in the center of the map then a player should just sit at one of their nodes with the flag and let the enemy waste their time there. If on the other hand your team really, really, wants that flag that the other team is not capturing, then sitting in the center does not help and the best course of action is to attack the node that the flag carrier is at, forcing them to capture it or lose the flag.

So...

If both teams understand how EotS work and there is a constant turnover of nodes and sporadic flag fights, then this can be a very fun battleground. Fast fighting, the constant drive to not stop and just keep moving, every battle making the difference between losing and staying in the game. These games appear few and far between though, with the majority of games becoming completely one sided shortly after they start. On paper, EotS probably looked really fun and exciting. In reality it's probably the most boring battleground Blizzard has ever released.

Some important acronyms for this BG:

  • BE or BET - Blood Elf Tower
  • FR - Fel Reaver Ruins
  • DR - Draenei Ruins
  • MT - Mage Tower
Robert Duckworth / http://averice.blogspot.com/

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