The great Sundering of Brightcape has begun. All my gaming posts will hereafter appear here instead of on Brightcape. Hopefully this will begin a new era of even better discussion.
Tol Barad. What a bloody mess. There was plenty of feedback during the beta that TB heavily favoured defense and yet it managed to go live so badly balanced that defense won at least 90% of the time. This is the worst possible situation as if it had gone live where offense nearly always won it would at least have meant equitable access to dailies and the PVP boss but as it is one side gets to control the zone for the whole day until a server shutdown or a middle of the night defensive fiasco.
The solution, as we all probably know, is to make offense get 1800 honor for winning instead of 180. I can't imagine how anyone thought that getting enough honor for a whole new piece of gear for a single win was a good idea but they went ahead anyway. Unsurprisingly everybody figured out that win trading was the best possible solution to this situation and defenders refused to play at all so they could attack 2.5 hours later. Clearly no bans or other punishments are going to come out of this since half the level capped WOW population took part (many or most without any personal wrongdoing) but the rain of free pvp gear was incredible. Finally a hotfix came in to stop the madness and the 1800 was ratcheted down to 360. This is enough that is it worthwhile to try to win on offense I think but not sufficient to make win trading reasonable. If you accept the idea that we are stuck with a ridiculous defense favoured map then this is a good reward system but the whole concept needs a serious rework.
My solution to TB is a very simple one. The fundamental problem with attacking is that destroying the towers actually provides nearly no benefit considering the time it takes to take them down and that since equal numbers are guaranteed the attackers have a hell of a time taking the fortresses. The best way to deal with this is simply have each tower that is destroyed grant the attackers a % bonus to the effect they have on capturing bases. For example, if destroying one tower got the attackers a 5% bonus, two was 15% and three was 30% then after all the towers were down it is inevitable that the attackers win. The question becomes can they get the towers down and cap all three fortresses before time runs out, the answer to which hopefully is sometimes yes and sometimes no. 30% might be too high and since I have only participated in two TB battles I don't have a really clear picture of how the zone plays out. However, it is clear that incompetent attackers would lose (probably stymied in their attempts to knock down towers) and very competent attackers would win fairly quickly so the system is pretty much guaranteed to be better than what is in place right now. It is much better to err on the side of favouring offense rather than defense so I would aim high for the bonus and tone it down if necessary.
Most of Cataclysm has been a real success, minor bugs and hotfixes notwithstanding. TB however gets a huge thumbs down from me. Usually I am a big Blizzard booster but they really, really screwed this one up.