My friend ConfigSys.boy (from the Starsiege: 2845 project) dropped me a line about his own time in the Battlegrounds, which couldn’t have been more different from what we experienced. Or couldn’t experience, because of electronic lines which recalled The Happiest Place On Earth.
Hey, just wanted to chime in briefly on your BG experience (or lack thereof as it were.)
As has been suggested, yes your wait time is a direct result of the faction imbalance prevelant on all but one of the US servers. It isn’t your fault that you rolled up your main on a faction that very quickly achieved a 2:1 or 3:1 population advantage. To be sure, when you and Mike created your characters no one had any clue how the population was going to pan out, but given the generally higher level of polish on the Alliance side quests, cities, and areas it makes perfect sense in retrospect. The crux of the problem however is that you are stuck in the herd, and will remain so until and unless a signifigant portion of the Alliance population re-rolls Horde.
Opening up the BGs to allow inter-server competition wouldn’t solve the problem either, since the disparity is so widespread across all the realms. And Im sure you know just as well as I do that Alliance v Alliance BGs are never going to happen. That suggestion falls completely outside of the realm of things that Blizzard will be willing to do, and anyone familiar with the franchise can immediately discern their logic on that score, wether one agrees with it or not.
I can assure you though, that on the other side of the fence, the experience is much, much different. Horde players do not wait for long, if at all, to get in. In fact, the biggest problem Horde side in terms of wait is usually for that last instance that fills up the threshold of actual willing Horde players. If there are four full BG instances for Alterac per se, its always that Fifth one that gets the shaft because you have to wait and wait to meet the minimum threshold, and then you’re thrown in against a full-sized Alliance force and have to hope you just happen to have a better team, because you are always going to be fighting uphill. For Warsong Gulch of course, the short match time mitigates this problem and a Horde player wanting to get into a WG match usually doesn’t wait more than a few minutes solo, and usually not very long for a full group either. Its the in-between (Groups of 5 or 6) sized groups that usually have the largest problems getting seated in Warsong matches on Horde side.
As to the content of the BGs themselves, I enjoy the CTF of Warsong just for its familiarity. Its a good CTF map for anyone who comes from a FPS background like we do. There’s some adjustment required in thought process simply because different players have WILDLY different abilities. Its not like the minor variances of America’s Army or RTCW. But other than that, its good clean CTF fun.
Alterac Valley on the other hand is a dream. The learning curve feels steep at first, because the geography, while simple from a top down perspective, is very complex in three dimensions. There are a lot of terrain options, and lots of turning and winding paths between hills and inside bases. There are literally DOZENS of objectives inside to advance your team’s cause, and getting your head wrapped around which ones are useful for what stage of the battle, remembering where they all turn in at, and what does what, can be daunting at first. After the initial exposure though, once you’ve learned what quests do what, and why you should care, and are familiar with the map layout, it is exactly the sort of team-oriented strategic PvP experience WoW was built to deliver. Im looking forward to more fun in Alterac Valley, and more similar BGs in future patches.
The question then, once there are three or four lvl60 BGs to choose from, is will there be enough players to fill several instances of each one? And the answer is no, not unless the faction imbalance gets reigned in somehow. The more BG choices you offer the players, the more difficulties the imbalance will introduce for the players on the larger faction.