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Blizzard talks WOW Battlegrounds

Player-versus-Player combat detailed.

World of Warcraft has been so well received in the USA since its November release there that it's already topping a few end-of-year polls. We'll have to wait a little while before getting our hands on it in Europe, but one of the benefits of waiting is the constant refinement and new content that developer Blizzard has poured into it in the meantime.

One such addition is Player-versus-Player (PvP) combat, and in a big update on the official World of Warcraft website recently the developer outlined to some degree how PvP will work with the introduction of "Battlegrounds", which will be specialised "instances".

"Instances", for those struggling to keep up, are self-contained areas aimed at eliminating the traditional MMORPG problem of players camped around queuing for quest-specific creatures or items which haven't respawned yet. The idea being that you go into an instance, and somebody else goes in after you, and you wind up both playing through the same area separately without running into each other. Personal copies of dungeons, so to speak.

Anyway, Battlegrounds will be instances that see vast armies coming together in, for the moment, an area called the Alterac Valley, and the article introduces us to the Valley and talks of the developer's desire to "create a battle experience that felt like Warcraft", "like you are part of a larger conflict, with the potential for lots of strategy and tactics beyond a simple mob of players crashing into each other".

There's much evidence of this already. Predictably PvP is easier for high-level players (and griffons. And shamen), but lower-level players can undertake PvP-related side-quests, such as capturing wolves or rams to provide mounts for cavalry charges, to aid the charge. The article also discusses graveyards, and how blood can be collected from fallen foes to gain powerful summoning spells.

We suggest anybody with an interest in WOW and PvP give it a good read-through. You can find the full text here. World of Warcraft is due out in Europe in the first few months of 2005.