Last Saturday I logged on in Booty Bay and asked in /world if anyone was up for Stranglethorn Fever. The response was (what I interpreted as) a gentle chiding in regards to why I was merely questing in Stranglethorn when there was a big PvP tournament going on at the Gurubashi arena.
Never one to ignore a community event right in front of me, I immediately made my way over there and was amazed to see about a hundred players of both factions spread out across the edges of the arena. There was a clear east/west split between Horde and Alliance, however overall people seemed to be respecting the truce of the event for the time being, and at the edges of the two groups, the factions were even mingling peacefully.
The Unstoppable Force), and would occasionally even manage to sit down and drink. This continued for about twenty minutes, with people in the stands offering increasingly hilarious commentary ("and they say you can't make a perpetual motion machine") or simply booing at the contestants for drinking so much. Eventually the paladin got lucky with a combination of a fear resist and a well-timed stun proc and was able to claim victory. The crowd erupted in cheers and the chat was scrolling past so quickly that I couldn't even read any of it.
None of the matches that followed took nearly that long, but they were still interesting to watch and some of them were quite impressive displays of skill. My favourite was the druid who managed to kite a warrior for a really long time and then still lost, with the warrior only having a fraction of his health left at the end. That generally seemed to be the thing with warriors, they all hit extremely hard, often taking half their opponent's health off in a single hit, and could only be countered by classes that could exert control and managed to keep them at a distance.
Things got particularly bad when tournament participants were suddenly teleported to the Dire Maul arena with the justification that one entrant, a mage, had such a bad computer that it couldn't handle the crowds in Stranglethorn. What the hell? This is Vanilla WoW, a game from the early 2000s. That thing runs on a toaster! What sort of PC does this guy have? Either way this was quite disappointing for the people actually sitting on the edges of the Gurubashi arena, and the organiser pointing everyone towards his Twitch stream was a cold comfort.
Things got interesting when Teremus the Devourer, an elite dragon from the Blasted Lands, suddenly appeared in the stands. I thought that a GM had spawned him to distract the unruly crowds, but other people in chat claimed that someone had actually kited him all the way to the arena from the Blasted Lands. Either way a dragon rampaging through the crowds certainly served to liven things up for a while.
Eventually it was announced that both the match for third place and the final would take place in the Dire Maul arena and the GM officially gave permission for people to start killing each other in STV. It's noteworthy that while several Alliance players had been talking big the whole time about how they were going to do nasty things to the Horde the moment the tournament was over, it was the Horde that actually came rushing over as a group. It goes without saying that I as a lowly level 46 simply got steamrolled by all those level 60s. I decided to take res sickness and hearthed back to Ironforge before tabbing out to watch the last two matches on the organiser's Twitch stream.
Despite those issues I would say that this event was definitely a success. In the future I would simply disqualify any players whose machines can't handle the crowds, as it kind of goes against the spirit of such an event to remove the contestants from the arena and tell all the people who showed up in person that they need to tab out and go watch on Twitch instead. The increasingly long breaks between match-ups also gave people way too much time to get bored, however in the end, the community was quite successful at making its own fun whenever the actual event failed to provide it. Well done, Kronos!