Veni, vidi Insula, et Vici
Or roughly, I came, I saw an Island, I conquered it. That was my lame Latin wordplay on Isle of Conquest, which today’s rant shall be on! Now, I never claim to be an expert at PVP. I enjoyed Alterac Valley as a 70 hunter, and I’ve dipped into Arena on most of my characters. I still despise Warsong Gulch on any character I can’t stealth on, I favour Arathi Basin for it’s comfortable size and convenient hiding and jumping possibilities, and level 80 Alterac valley has become one massive fail-zerg. Eye of the storm is just nasty, like some horrible mutant hybrid of every available battleground that can’t be reasonably put down for ethical reasons. Strand of the ancients was a poorly conceived Wintergrasp-in-a-box, without the pleasure of bumping off people you used to know of the opposing faction.
Now we come to the whole new ballgame we were gifted with a few patches ago: Isle of conquest! (If I weren’t as focused on typing and not losing my thread as I am, I’d tab out and look up what patch it came in. I certainly remember playing it on the PTR.) It has a large playing field, somewhere between AV and AB in size. There’s a flying ship to capture, which allows you to bomb the enemy gates and players from a safe height, or launch yourself off the edge to sabotage the enemy from within (or landing fruitlessly on the roof with bubble on CD and no way to get down without killing yourself, as happens 9/10 times.) There’s an Oil refinery, which as I understand it makes a difference to your resource.. count? There’s the docks, which gives you access to vehicles. I still love watching people get the catapults and expecting them to work in the same way as they do in Wintergrasp. In WG, the catapults will either fire barrels of scourge gunk at people, or fire flames. The IoC ones will either speed up, or fire not projectiles, barrels of gunk, or even stone donkeys, they fire the rider to the targeted location. Now this is ace, especially if you need to get in the enemy base at speed (to lay bombs on the gate from within, wrecking their defenses,) but not many folk use it properly. I’ve seen a fair few people rocket into the group of Orcs they thought they were blasting, and a couple of people throw themselves off cliffs when trying to aim at a distance bunch of the nefarious wrongdoers that are the Horde. (I dunno, it sounded good.)
It’s a battleground with a lot of potential. Positive and negative. It suffers from what I’d like to christen ‘Alteracitis’ in that people are now trying to zerg the endboss as fast as possible. Each keep contains a Horde / Alliance Leader, the killing of which grants an instant win. The pressure is on to nuke down the gates by means of sabotage by seaforium, bombs from up high and the occasional confused blade thrower, hurling his spinning blades into nothingness with misplaced zeal. Incidentally – the front gate (the one everyone always chooses to go for) has a great deal more health than the gates at the side… so if you’re in a position to yank the parcel of morons you’ve ended up grouped with into actually organising themselves into a streamlined force of death, go for the sides. You’ll thank me for it when you’re spanking that Orc all the sooner. (Sounds worse than it is.) The chap hits rather hard, but nothing more than two capable healers shouldn’t be capable of managing. Chances are if you’ve gotten to the big boss, you’ve got a force of at least 20 strong with you, probably a heroism, and a plate wearer is enough to tank them.
The good thing is, it takes a while to get to that point. The big boss is inside a keep that has to be strategically broken into, and anyone standing around outside the gates is likely to get mown down by turrets and godamn warlocks with their fears and mana drains. What? The other lovely point of IoC is that completing the battleground achievements for it rewards a tabard – a rather explosively orange, blue and yellow one for the Alliance, and an utterly unfairly amazingly cool one for the Horde of their symbol in red on a black background. We may be the superior side, but someone up in Blizzard HQ designing tabards is certainly a closet Hordie. So, if you’ve never even set foot in that Battleground, I’d highly recommend you do so. Even if you spend all the time in the turrets on the ship or at the base, racing around in a catapult, chucking blades at things, or even just wrecking your way through the ground forces on foot, I guarantee small increments of fun. Large increments of frustration may follow, depending if the average IQ of your side is higher or lesser than your bank alts’ Gearscore. Enjoy.