Tall, dark, and handsome. Short, bright, and perky. Yin and Yang. Arcarius and Winkydink. Alterac Valley goodness. Arathi Basin badness.
She thinks he's handsome. At least that's what little Winkydink, my wife's Gnome Warrior, thinks of Arcarius, my Night Elf Hunter. In the Stormpike tabard, with an Ice Barbed Spear, I'll let the little Gnome think what she will. (Gnomes have a bonus to their intellect stat, so who am I to argue?)
Msaker and Droonda were taking a break. Dreaming Orc dreams of Draenor, recovering from the battles of the week. So last night it was time for a little Alliance action. And when I say little I'm talking 3' tall with green pony tails. Winkydink, my wife's Gnome Warrior. Isn't she the coolest little thing? (No, wait, that's just a speck of dust in my eye. ... Ah, got it.)
Tauren health bonus not included, all races produce pretty much identically capable Warriors. She's reached level 20 all on her own because Warriors rock. Time for the Deadmines.
However, neither of us wanted another pick-up-group from hell experience with some guy "needing" loot for another character of his. Nuh, uh. Not us. So Arcarius decided to accompany young Ms. Winkydink to the Deadmines, and we'd go on our own.
If my level 45 Rogue can handle it solo, then a 51 Hunter should do fine. And we did. So much more effeciently than with a Rogue too. No wonder Hunters are the farmers choice for class.
Jaguarete came with us. She's my Cat, a tamed jaguar from the Swamp of Sorrows. She's level 50 and is trained to dash in and rip and bite the bad guys. She's trained pretty good. And Arcarius is fully invested in the Beast Mastery talent tree so Jaguarete is a very capable partner in crime.
I do have a boar in the stables as well. A recently tamed armored pig from Razorfen Kraul. Only level 28 though and I'll have to work on him. But his purpose will be to tank more than Jaguarete since boars have better armor and health than cats, just not the DPS. A real tank. The boar I named Parma. Which carries several meanings. If you are thinking "Parma Ham" very good. That's one reading of it. But if you're thinking "Small shield carried by Roman army skirmishers" you're actually more right. Since the boar will become my shield, and tank, and charge in to engage my enemies first, he is literally my skirmisher with armor.
Anyway, this is not my first time in the Deadmines. I know when *I* open a door, there's no back patrol heading our way. I know when *events* open a door then I know we'll have a patrol behind us that we need to take care of before proceeding further.
Where my Rogue used vanish a few times, and lots of bandaids, Arcarius and Winkydink basically watched Jaguarete do all the work. I of course I had to off a few shots to claim the kills, and I worked a little on my Polearms skill. Winkydink charged in now and then so her armor didn't rust up on her. Especially the big bosses. Mr. Smite: Here's Gnome in your eye.
None of the bosses were tricky in the least. Smite was pulled clear back on the dock, so by the time he'd gotten off his stun and run back for better weapons, and returned, we were waiting for him again. Up the docks, Winkydink staying a little to the back and on the outboard side, we just cleared the place like janitors after hours. Van Cleef? Do you need to ask?
Well, he dropped his Chest Armor. What Rogues and Hunters might enjoy, Winkydink merely sighed. We did get two pieces of the Defias armor set to pass on to Ombria, her Night Elf Rogue character.
At the exit Winkydink and Arcarius bade their farewells to one another, and Arcarius hearthed to Ironforge and prepared to engage in the wars.
Queueing up for Alterac Valley, usually like a 40 minute wait (1 minute wait, average, for my Horde characters), I also queued up for Arathi Basin, this being AB weekend.
It's absolutely pathetic. Alliance performance in Arathi Basin is embarrasing. On Msaker, in the 50-59 matches, Horde were undefeated. On reaching 60, he went once, and we won there too. It was tougher though. They got better gear, we got good gear too, but the Msaker has below average gear and suffers above average deaths. (Outlands, here I come!!)
But in the 50-59 matches, Alliance may as well just sit in Trollbane Hall and eat snacks. We start okay. ... No, we don't. We don't really need 4 trying to cap the Stables flag. Honest. To watch 4 guys run to the stables and all 4 dismount and try to cap the flag... pathetic. Because that's 3 that aren't on the offensive to catch the next flag.
Two out of the three matches, I thought we started well. We get the Stables, boy, do we! The rest split into two groups and we take the Lumbermill and the Blacksmith. We got 3, let's hold them. Nah. Defense is for wusses. (Ask the Horde about Defense in AV.) So, sitting on a victory, some folks ride off on their own. The mines (dead). The farm (dead). So the Horde are strategizing. Having some Horde characters of my own, I'm somewhat in synch with their thoughts. While the Horde watch us, the careful thinkers in their group, those studied up on Sun Tzu's "Art of War" and von Clausewitz's "On War" and Macchiavelli's ... you get the point, these Horde strategists are watching the Alliance and thinking "Damn, those guys are noobs. We're losing in AV to these guys??" The PvP'ers amongst them are probaly thinking "ROFLCOPTERZ WTFBBQPWNED!!111!one!" and ride out and win the game. Third game they actually five capped us.
Alterac Valley, an altogether different story.
We ride out of our mine. We ride straight for Snowfall. Actually first match I'm there they're all riding past. I ride up and capture it myself. It remains ours the rest of the match. I catch up with the group.
We then set about attacking Galv. First the Lieutenants outside, then Galv himself. We don't bypass Galv. Ever. We attack him with pretty much our entire force.
Now think, do the Horde ever take out Balinda on their push north? Never. They leave her like it was an aside. An optional thing to do. When they've got five folks to spare, that when they do it. When they're losing, they rush to grab these last few points of honor and rep.
Now the Alliance is quickly done with Galv and they take Iceblood. The whole groups takes Iceblood. By now most of the Horde has rode past and is at Stonehearth.
It's at this point where the stragglers are cut down at the chokepoints. For the Alliance it's as they're riding south at Icewing Bunker. For the Horde it's as they head north between Iceblood Graveyard and Tower. That'll occupy an army for a while. My experience has been Horde will have a lot of people killing a few. Alliance will have a few killing a few. Where are the rest of the Alliance then? Glad you asked.
After Iceblood GY is captured...
Let me add something at this point. While we wait in the tunnel for the gate to open, "we" being Alliance in this case, two games of the three, some silly person yells in /bg chat, "IB!!!". So, that is proof positive that Alliance employs strategery in this BG. Because that's just what we do. We take IB.
So, after Iceblood is captured we ride south again. This time Frostwolf Graveyard is captured.
Oh, yeah, there appears to be no Horde defenders at all here. None. Not at Galv or IBGY or FWGY. Where are they all? Farming HK's at the Icewing Bunker? That's what I see playing as Horde.
After FWGY is taken we enter Frostwolf Keep. There are no NPC defenders that I can see. Either they number so few, or they're taken out so fast. I, a level 51 Hunter, typically can ride from the FWGY to the bridge leading to the Frostwolf Relief Hut without worrying too much. If I'm taking arrows from the Towers I simply ride as far as I can. I help take out the FWRH guards and boom, phase 1 is done. Typically 15 minutes and the Alliance has taken the Relief Hut.
I have an addon which shows me who's gotten what and the progress on it. We've taken most of the map, in 15 minutes. Does that sound familiar? It should if you're Horde, and you're in Battlegroup 7.
So now we simply wait for the FWRH to cap and we get to work. There aren't a lot of Alliance with me in the Keep either. As Horde, it always seems everyone and their brother is assaulting Dun Baldar. As Alliance they just send a group down. The rest stay home defending.
On a good game, we pull Warlord's one by one. And then we go and get Drek himself. Being a slighly reduced crew, we do die a bit. Drek's a meat processer, and we're sausage. But we respawn quickly from the RH and quickly rejoin the action.
Horde, on the other hand, are usally beating on Van in a solid mass.
On a bad game I've seen several Warlord's come out, and when there's two of them running around our little group, it gets ugly quick. BUT we manage to pull it off and continue.
Last game we had: a Warlord left, Horde defenders recalling to the Keep (Thank's for the free HK's off you by the way.), and Drek. We're inside the Keep and it's a flurry of activity. I'm just firing shot after shot, always tabbing for targets. If you're a player, I particularly make sure to get you down.
In a race, Alliance wins. If Arcarius keeps going to AV I'm hoping I can get some PvP gear out of it. How bad can PvP gear be for a Hunter vs. the environment?