One of my most ecstatic moments in game was an hour-long AV back at level 59 in April 2008. I had twinked myself out, fine-tuned my spec (deep disc even back then!), and bought some great Outland greens. This match was particularly epic, featuring some great come-from-behind teamwork Ally-side. Yes, Ally teamwork…believe it.
I wrote this account right after the match. It really needs some editing, but I find that anything I try to do just ends up gutting the urgency and authenticity that was expressed in the moment. Enjoy!
Most battles in the Valley are won or lost before they even begin.
You enter the starting gate to prep for battle. You probably don’t know a thing about your fellow soldiers: Do they understand how the Valley works? Are they skilled at their job? And most importantly, do they know how to fight as a team?
But even more than all of that, you are at the mercy of the balance of power. The numbers, pure and simple.
This day we started out far behind. Our twenty to their thirty-five.
This battle was lost before it began.
When you start out at such a deficit, you’re hard-pressed to catch up. Sure, over the first 15 minutes or so you might get a trickle of new soldiers. But by then it’s usually too late.
We missed our initial push to kill the captain, so most of the team ended up back at the starting gate. By then, the enemy had killed our captain and had their full force on the road past Icewing Bunker. We were trapped, unable to move forward. At the bottom of the hill we fought for twenty long minutes, and through sheer force of will, or perhaps with divine intervention, we were able to push them back to Stonehearth Graveyard. And we took that graveyard with relish, and deep relief.
With our captain dead and one tower lost, our side was down hard. We had 200 reinforcements to their 400. In a situation like that, most teams will just lay down and surrender. Not today; our team had a desperate will to win.
Now with a forward graveyard, we were able to mount something resembling an offense. A few soldiers slipped past to Iceblood Garrison and mounted a small insurgence. Most of us were caught in a knot on the Field of Strife. And a large cohort ended up back at the defensive starting gate.
All three groups managed to hold ground. Defense protected Dun Buldar with more strength than the numbers would suggest. The forward group took Tower Point. The group on the Field of Strife made very slow progress forward, not past the field, but at least not being pushed back.
While all this is happening, attrition is wearing down reinforcements on both sides. We’re somehow losing ground more slowly than they are. By 45 minutes in, we’re down 100 to 200.
Tower point changed hands, and changed hands again. We recaptured it at minute 50, with reinforcements fading, 80 to 30. Capturing the tower is not enough: it needs four minutes to burn before it falls. Worth 75 reinforcements, it is the one and only key to victory in today’s battle.
It’s now two minutes later, with two minutes until the tower burns. Reinforcements at 70 to 22. If we can hold for two more minutes, the battle is ours. Most of our team turtles up at Winterax. The one and only goal is to protect the tower…and to stay alive. Only for two minutes more.
Soldiers shouting on comm for the timer…“how long to Tower Point!?” Thirty seconds to fall, with reinforcements now at 65 to 12.
At five seconds to fall, five seconds to victory, we lost the tower. Reinforcements are 60 to 8. Our last hope is gone.
Most of the team is still at Winterax. Shouts go like wild over comm…“Get to Galv!” We’re a short ride from their captain, still alive after surviving our initial attempt. No more than a dozen of us brave the ride across the Field of Strife to Iceblood Garrison. Never in my days in the Valley have I seen Galv go down so quickly, or with so few of us fighting. My own healing spells were shelved for this brief moment of desperation. For this moment, I am no Holy Priest. I am a soldier.