With Ashran having opened up in the last WoD Beta there has been a lot of feedback. Game developer Phalanx wanted to respond to the feedback:
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I have feedback on the “Horde and Alliance Hubs” (aka the staging areas)
The Horde and Alliance staging areas are still being worked on by the world team. As for Ashran the world PvP zone, they have very little relevance. You may see some random PvP skirmishes there in the same way you see skirmishes in any Horde or Alliance capital, but they’re not meant to be part of the overall world pvp zone. While we do want your feedback on those areas, the PvP team’s involvement is pretty minimal so I suggest directing them towards the general discussions in this forum rather than this specific discussion.
I feel the size of Ashran is too small.
During Ashran’s early development we debated whether the zone should be larger, but we ultimately landed on its current size after concluding that if the zone were too big your chances of running into the opposite faction in your day to day excursions would be quite low. We want there to be a feeling that you’re sharing a limited resource with the opposing faction, and you have to fight over that resource. The bigger the zone, the less the opposite faction’s presence matters, and the less tension and ultimately the less world PvP will transpire.
That said, it could be possible that the zone could still stand to be larger. And if more players spill out into the side areas to where it gets too cramped, we may have to make changes. Keep in mind we also want to build onto Ashran in patch content.
What is the philosophy behind Ashran?
Ashran is a new type of PvP design. While it does have the spirit of old Alterac Valley, it’s not supposed to be purely an objective based map. Our goal here was to create situations in where players would engage in world PvP. These situations primarily are the outskirts areas, off the midlane.
In beta it is understandable that players are not reward driven. But on live, we expect players to be driven by getting honor and other rewards for their characters. The PvE on Ashran will be the most rewarding in that regard. The idea is that Horde and Alliance will be fighting over completing the side objectives and spawning and that will create interesting PvP situations (especially since you can loot other players currency). Even within the current incarnation of Ashran on beta I’ve experienced small unexpected fights in the outskirts areas.
We feel we’ve delivered on objective based win condition content through battlegrounds, but we haven’t delivered in giving players a sandbox environment where they can experience PvP similar to that of which you may have experienced before battlegrounds were created. We’re trying to do that with Ashran.
One of my most memorable moments of world pvp before battlegrounds were introduced into WoW was when my guildmates were farming for the frostsaber mount in Winterspring. They were being ganked by a Horde guild over and over, so some of our guildies went to help them out. The Horde guild responded by sending more of their guildmates. Then other random guilds joined in. Eventually, there were so many players in that area we crashed the server.
The spirit of that experience is what we’re trying to go for in a zone like Ashran.
What’s the deal with the middle lane?
The middle lane serves as a centerpiece of Ashran. It’s similar to that of Alterac Valley: a push/pull tug-of-war battle. While the road of glory isn’t exactly world PvP, this type of PvP is appealing to a number of players so we decided to include it in Ashran. It’s also nice to know that there is almost always going to be some battle going on there.
The middle lane wont’ really be very rewarding in terms of honor or currency. And we intentionally don’t have a way to “win Ashran.” Storming the enemy base and killing their commander will give you some reward and an achievement, but it’s not the main focus of the zone. If your time in Ashran is within the middle lane and storming the enemy base, you’re mostly doing that for the intrinsic fun of it.
We envision that most players will be coming to Ashran to farm honor and rewards. You’ll do that by killing creatures and participating in the side events. Along the way you’ll find items that boost your characters power (such as the class books, scrolls, wands etc.) and we hope you’ll get some PvP fights.There is no objective like “cap and hold these points, run this flag, kill this guy” like our other objective based maps. We’ve found that more objective heavy maps lead to more predictable gameplay, which lead to less interesting unexpected PvP fights… which defines the idea of “world pvp.”
That said, I would say some goals in the map would be as a faction to maintain the mage portals, warlock gateways, and spawn Fangraal/Kronus. They all serve to help your faction be more efficient in the zone.
Why does Ashran not put you into a group/raid?
Ashran is intended to simulate any other zone in WoW. If we put you into a huge group, that would insinuate that there is some global objective to win… which there really isn’t. We want you to be able to come to Ashran in a small group as you would in any zone to collect honor and other rewards.
That said, I can certainly see the utility of having a raid group if you’re in Ashran to just do some casual PvP in the road of glory. For that, we will just leave it to players to create those groups naturally. It’s a bit anti-social to be forced into a raid group if you don’t want to be in one.
Balancing Horde and Alliance populations is a priority. Current on beta, there is no population enforcement. It’s something we’ll be monitoring and tweaking going forward.
Thanks for reading all that!
Keep in mind Ashran is still in development. There are bugs, things will change, items will be put in, new side objectives added etc. We hope you’ll revisit Ashran as the builds progress in beta.