Tol Barad Balance
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Now that Cataclysm is out in the wild, more players are getting gearing up and checking out Tol Barad, the new outdoor PvP zone. Today, we wanted to address some of the concerns players have expressed about the zone, including how challenging it can be to win as the attacking team, and provide some insight into our design approach. We also wanted to share some of the lessons we learned from Wintergrasp, discuss the difference between the two zones, and touch upon the recent hotfixes made to Honor Point gains and how we plan to improve Tol Barad going forward. We're confident this zone will provide meaningful and fun PvP for some time to come, but we also recognize additional tuning is required to ensure Tol Barad is everything we intend it to be.

As we mentioned earlier, the attacking faction is having a pretty tough time winning control of Tol Barad -- and we're OK with that, at least in theory. Here's why: When we set out to create Wintergrasp, one of the issues we dealt with was that we were never able to ensure the sides were even -- in fact, they rarely were. Because the smaller team would almost always be assured defeat, we attempted to address team-size imbalance by favoring the attacker. Control of Wintergrasp went back and forth, and the result was that battles lost their impact. On most realms the defenders became complacent, knowing they were likely to lose control of the zone, returning to re-take it when it was their turn to attack. The sides swapped back and forth every few hours, and Wintergrasp wasn’t so much about an epic struggle for a meaningful piece of land as it was a complicated game of leapfrog.

Since then we’ve devised mechanics that help ensure equal team sizes, and we've taken Wintergrasp's lessons to heart when we designed Tol Barad. Tol Barad is intentionally balanced so that it’s a challenge for the attackers, because we want to make sure that control of Tol Barad matters. For the defenders, there’s a sense of urgency that Wintergrasp didn't have -- if you lose it, you’re going to have a hell of a time taking it back. For the attackers, there are a number of rewards at stake -- such as access to the Baradin Hold raid and additional daily quests -- that we hope players feel are worth fighting for. That sort of tension is what we wanted from Wintergrasp, and what we believe Tol Barad can ultimately offer.

With that being said, we want winning Tol Barad to be a challenge for the attacking faction... but we don't want it to be impossible. Taking Tol Barad should be tough -- but right now it’s a little bit too tough, and it’s something we’re actively working to balance. Earlier, we attempted to temporarily address the issue by offering a far better reward to the winning attackers: Honor Points awarded for successfully attacking were increased tenfold, but that was such a great incentive that it ultimately undermined the spirit of competition. Since then, the reward for winning as an attacker has been brought back down to a more reasonable amount.

While we've already made minor adjustments to improve the gameplay and address select exploits, our job in Tol Barad is far from over. We ultimately want to make sure that any changes we make are all steps in the right direction, and we intend to make several updates in the next minor patch to address design and balance issues affecting attackers that we can't address with hotfixes. For example, we plan to alter the battle slightly so that a team with two bases captured can more quickly and easily capture the third, as opposed to a team with one or zero bases. This way, if the defenders turtle up, it'll be a little easier for the attackers to take their last base before the defense can take one of the attackers' other bases.

We've been reading your feedback, watching trends across our global realms, and fighting plenty of battles in Tol Barad ourselves to get a feel for what's working and what isn't, and we're committed to making Tol Barad a fun and engaging zone. We want owning the zone to be meaningful throughout the lifespan of the expansion -- and while the attackers may always face somewhat of an uphill battle, the defenders should feel much more pressure not to lose than they do currently. Just the same, the attacking faction should feel motivated to take Tol Barad back, but they shouldn't feel that the odds are insurmountable. So keep fighting the good fight, and we'll continue watching the battlefield and listening to your feedback.

Cory "Mumper" Stockton is the lead content designer on World of Warcraft and enjoys a good set of LEGOs.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Tol Barad Balance started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 245 Comments
  1. lolcantdothat's Avatar
    they should remove tol barad, all it is is fail and ring around the rosie.
  1. taekvideo's Avatar
    Finally going to fix it... good news.
  1. Kalx's Avatar
    tl;dr, they will make it easier to attack and possesion of the zone will bounce back and forth like wg

    they can't balance this right, it's pratically impossible, there's no way everyone will be happy
  1. wych's Avatar
    Attacking should be easier in a situation imo, when the zone in question has major PvE benefits (at a time like this), it should be easier for a side to win so their side has a chance to do the boss etc, rather than one side dominating.
  1. Kennpai's Avatar
    Interesting, Can't wait to see the changes.
  1. Boubouille's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalx View Post
    there's no way everyone will be happy
    Puppies, my friend.
  1. coldbear's Avatar
    All I see is "keep playing" - and "oh don't worry, we're watching things closely and we'll fix anything that's wrong - just keep playing"

    that said, there's not much else he CAN say right now, so I sympathize a little. he does have a good point about wanting it to matter, but he could've just said "oops we kinda screwed up on this and we're looking at possibly fixing it THIS way"

    but at least he did offer some details, so plenty better than nothing

    also, PUPPIES
  1. sawier's Avatar
    wtf is this wall of text
  1. greyghost's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalx View Post
    tl;dr, they will make it easier to attack and possesion of the zone will bounce back and forth like wg

    they can't balance this right, it's pratically impossible, there's no way everyone will be happy
    If they had to chose between "constantly changing hands" and "never changing hands", the former is absolutely better, and everyone ultimately benefits from it.

    And Wintergrasp was meaningful to everyone especially with the high turnover rate of possession ... until they made the quests there Weekly-resetting quests instead of Dailies.

    And I guarantee if someone goes and digs up the blue post explanation for when they nerfed the WG Daily quests and compares it to this new blue post they'll get a real good laugh.

    Nevermind the myriad of other reasons why Wintergrasp didn't have as much 'meaning' as Tol Barad would right now... most obvious being that Wintergrasp only offered rewards that pertained to PvP (read: PvP trinkets/resilience gear), whereas Tol Barad's rewards are novelty and PvE rewards, and right now PvE epic gear is scarce and more difficult to come by compared to WotLK.
  1. Vamandrac's Avatar
    We will probably be at the end of this expansion before it even works right....if it ever does.
  1. SanderZammy's Avatar
    I might sound crazy to you guys, but I love the way it is now. On my server, it switches every 3-4 battles, great for doing the dailies and not losing it already is a challenge, despite it being a PvE realm both factions really know what they're doing..
  1. Ya1232's Avatar
    It is impossible to ever have a BG balanced correctly. There will ALWAYS be something that gets exploited, just how it works anymore.
  1. SadWarrior's Avatar
    I just LOVE reading this blue Lawyer stuff.

    I really wonder how much do they pay to their lawyers to make such posts. They make it sound so good, yet its crap as ever.
  1. wildemu's Avatar
    I am surprised that he is satisfied with the 40 cap for the bg.

    Absolute garbage in my eyes, this is just a bunch of lawyer press release garbage.
  1. Pafinator's Avatar
    They need to make the penalty for dying greater. Minimum rez timer duration of 10 seconds, none of this AB can't take Stables cause the rez timer is faster than it takes to click the flag. It's a PVP zone, if you die, it should matter. Also, 33 second rez timers suck, you die, go to GY, the rez pops, but you missed it by .5 seconds so the 30 second timer pops up for you, so in essence you have a 33-34 second rez timer, fail.

    The convenient center rez point for D problem is compounded when you have 10-15 D get a 2 second rez timer. Again Blizz, w/ the RNG. It's 2 seconds or 34 seconds.

    Make everyone have a mandatory FIXED rez timer of 20 seconds.(or some other FIXED duration based on travel time from objective to objective VS the rate of capping a base) This way, it encourages you not to die and to actually get PVP GEAR, (God Forbid)
  1. Calaba's Avatar
    Not sure what was wrong with wintergrasp always changing hands back at the start of Wrath (before the siege engines would blow up before reaching the start of the ramp...). Yeah, sure, fewer defenders, but that was only because the rewards were worse for defense.

    Simple solution: make it easy for attackers to win, but defense gets given a few extra quests (like one for 10 honor kills, one for helping to cap each base, etc). There, fixed.
  1. MagusUnion's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SanderZammy View Post
    I might sound crazy to you guys, but I love the way it is now. On my server, it switches every 3-4 battles, great for doing the dailies and not losing it already is a challenge, despite it being a PvE realm both factions really know what they're doing..
    Then, you sir, have a battlegroup who knows how to fight war...

    Tol Barad is a test to see which faction can tactically use the men and women given in the PvP queue system to collectively come together and complete an objective. It's almost RTS in that nature, without the point-and-click type control over 'units'... and it also rewards the most coordinated, and leader-worthy.

    With that being said, Blizzard is ignoring the fact that many players don't care about the battle, or the concept of honor and faction loyalty. They just want to win... the game is not about the story to them, just winning. It's this sad lack of immersion that I think makes TB a failfest, because people who don't listen (or care enough to listen), and just going to ignore strategy and end up gimping the faction they are on...
  1. wiIdi's Avatar
    "the attacking faction is having a pretty tough time winning control of Tol Barad -- and we're OK with that"

    with this decision you make tol barad imbalanced by default, think about it..
  1. Tygor's Avatar
    At least I'm able to win TB now and then on a server where we're outnumbered 90/10 unlike WG for SOOOO LONG
  1. Alayea's Avatar
    I appreciate Mumper taking the time to explain their position, but I kept hearing in my mind as I read the post something along the line of "it's not so important that it's a must for PvP and PvE". The problem with that thinking is that Blizzard creates a world PvP zone and then attempts to prop it up by telling us it has all these extra goodies to the point of convincing many that it's mandatory -- because the stuff is that good.

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