For those logging into World of Warcraft Classic right now, there’s a major push for great gear ahead of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion launch. For many, this grind is taking place in PvP, where honor points can be easily farmed and powerful PvP gear can be obtained relatively quick. However, there’s a barrier to this. It’s not bad team mates (although those don’t help), and it’s not a class or a bug. It’s a playstyle – dubbed the “Russian Meta”.
First off, we need to go over how Alterac Valley works for the uninformed. It’s essentially a giant battleground filled with towers, bunkers, and a boss at each faction’s HQ. Each team has 600 reinforcements (respawns), and the goal is to either wipe out the enemy team’s boss, or whittle down their lives. This might sound like it takes a while, but taking out enemy towers and bunkers reduces enemy reinforcements, and weakens their boss.
As such, a fast and “efficient” method was coined for finishing up games of AV as fast as possible. This “European meta” has both teams essentially pass each other at the centre of the map without fighting at all. Then, both teams quick try to take out a mini-boss, two towers and both bunkers in the enemy HQ before taking down the boss. It’s a rat race, with both teams seeing who can zurg down the PvE elements the fastest.
Enter the Russian meta, and you get what seems like a perfect counter to the European style. It starts immediately, with the participating team riding headfirst into the other, stopping the race towards towers and forcing a massive fight. They don’t rush ahead, instead opting to stop any offensive and retaking towers and bunkers before they’re taken. This halts the European style immediately, you can’t pass, and what was meant to be a quick five minute battleground becomes a 40 minute brawl.
“Sometimes I see them taking objectives, but usually they will just farm kills at graveyards,” says Kirase on Mirage Raceway. They are one of numerous players jumping straight into AV again and again attempting to gather up a full set of PvP gear. They’ve provided screenshots of waves of players all jumping ship the moment they realise they’ve ran into an opposing team all-in on the russian Alterac Valley strategy.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t a new development in World of Warcraft PvP by any means. The Russian Alterac Valley meta has been a presence in the game for years now, and has been terribly effective ever since its conception. Heading to the Classic WoW Reddit, numerous posts on the playstyle can be found which dive into the frustrations with the resulting PvP slog. It did fall out of mind for many players for a while before Classic launched, only because… well, Alterac Valley isn’t really as big of a deal in retail WoW these days. With a return to the older version of the MMO, a tidal wave of new players got to experience Russian AV for the first time.
I jumped into some Alterac Valley last night, just to see how bad it really is. I was lucky enough to run into them on one of my first queues, breaking towards only to find a wall of unmoving horde waiting for me. After only around a minute, with no progress made towards their towers and a 30 minute+ brawl ahead of us, my team, my friends, and I all left.
The funny thing is, they aren’t really doing anything wrong. In fact, if we were to poke through the minds of the original creators of Alterac Valley, these epic battles over the course of dozens of minutes, slowly pushing back players towards towers which you then need to siege, is likely what they had in mind all those years ago. However, in the face of modern sensibilities and a substantial efficiency-minded community, the idea of sitting down and bashing your head against players for that long a time is not worth considering, let alone actually doing.
But what do you think? Have you had firsthand experience with this clash of metas in Alterac Valley, if so what do you think? Let us know below!
For more Classic WoW articles, check out our pieces on the massive queue times plaguing Classic WoW, as well as the players who hunted as zombies through questing zones during the Classic WoW plague event.