Back in November, Blizzard Entertainment kicked off a world event to celebrate World of Warcraft's 15th anniversary. Players could sign in during the event to get a Lil' Nefarian pet, face classic world bosses, and take part in a unique raid that revisited encounters from the Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm expansions. Finishing the raid rewarded players with the Obsidian Worldbreaker, a mount that looked a lot like Deathwing himself.
The last part of the event was Korrak's Revenge, a special PvP brawl that transports players back to an older version of the Alterac Valley battleground. Named after Korrak the Bloodrager, a boss that lived in the middle of battleground, Korrak's Revenge lacks the time limits and reinforcements of the current Alterac Valley, making for a much longer, but more warlike experience. Completing matches in Korrak's Revenge awards Timewarped Badges, and getting 200 of them not only gives you the "Alterac Valley of Olde" achievement, but you get a special mount as well.
And while players were largely happy with the 15th Anniversary event, it seems that Korrak's Revenge is the mode that the community wishes would stick around. In fact, players are enjoying the map more than current PvP content like Warfronts.
"Literally the best thing Blizzard has added to PvP in years. Keep it forever. Don’t add it to Brawl rotation, don’t make it a yearly event. Permanent," writes WoW forum user Demonsocks.
"Being able to coordinate big groups together to strategically take [Korrak's Revenge] has been a blast and I've had so much fun leading Horde to victory," writes Reddit user Loser_Supreme. "Even just pugging it solo has been fun; it's an adventure each time, win or loss. I'd love to see Korrak's become part of the specialty [battleground] rotation, it doesn't even have to have the XP bonus added on for me to want to do it. It's just fun altogether."
What Korrak's Revenge has over Alterac Valley is probably the harsh feeling of endless conflict. Current Alterac Valley is designed to have a rough time limit, with a limited amount of resources preventing you from being trapped in a single match forever. The original Alterac Valley was an ongoing war, so you could jump into an ongoing match, knock out many hours trying to whittle the enemy down, only to log out without a win. Players could summon mobs or fight raid-level bosses to help their side, while still having to deal with the opposing force. Old anecdotes point to conflicts that were hours or even days long with a sea of corpses, because the only way to win was to defeat the opposing general.
Classic Alterac Valley relied on some strategy, because you needed to get enough people on your side together in order to turn the tide of battle. "Battles feel more 'real' though when every inch of ground is paid for in blood and tears," says one Reddit user about the original Alterac. Some come to World of Warcraft for the "warcraft." And the original Alterac fed that need, while the current version is closer to sports than war. Part of why players are drawn to WoW Classic is that feeling of hardship, that uphill climb to success or crushing failure. The original Alterac Valley is a microcosm of the changes to WoW over the years.
For others, the experience gain is the reason to tackle Korrak's Revenge, as it's an easy way to gain experience across a wide level range. The 40v40 PvP brawl is available for any player level 10 to level 120, and there's bonus experience given for wins and losses. As such, players have been using the brawl to level alts to maximum.
"I recently went back to Horde and am using it to level my stable of 100s and 110s from [Warlords of Draenor] and Legion. Definitely nice for leveling. Plus, being scaled lets you still PvP acceptably even without gear, which is nice. And not having to quest for the 15th time is even better," says another WoW forum user.
That said, more players in the battleground means there's more sheep for the hardcore PvP players to kill. "Sure, the XP is probably why like 75% of the reason most people are there. But it gets bodies out to participate, and that's most of what makes the game fun," adds Reddit user Travman064. "It's an MMO, and most of the fun comes from other players. Simply getting people into the same area together is like 90% of the way to making great gameplay."
There's still a few issues that are holdovers from the original Alterac Valley. Players have complained that the map itself isn't balanced for both sides: the Horde are closer to their first capture point and their path is more straightforward. Alliance can win, it just requires more teamwork and coordination. As such, it seems like Horde tends to win many of the matches.
"Anyone who argues that the [battleground] is even remotely fair is lying. It is not possible to have a record of 10-66 in an even sort of balanced battleground. There's just no reason at all one faction should have ~13% win rate for a battleground, or that it should have been left that way with no intervention for the duration of the event considering the toxicity it spawned by Blizzard just leaving it that way," claims another Reddit user.
Regardless, there's been no indication from Blizzard whether it intends to keep Korrak's Revenge around in some form. We could see Korrak's being added to the rotating PvP Brawl schedule; Southshore vs Tarren Mill was first introduced during the WoW 10th anniversary event, returning in Legion. At the very least, perhaps the team should look to the response around the PvP event when it comes to creating future content for WoW.
The 15th anniversary event ends tomorrow morning, giving the game a week gap until Patch 8.3 drops on January 14. That patch, Visions of N'Zoth, will include a brand-new raid pitting players against the Old God N'Zoth within his realm, Ny’alotha, the Waking City. This patch will be the final entry in the Battle for Azeroth expansion, setting the stage for 2020's World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.