World of Warcraft 1.5 Update Unleashes Battlegrounds

Blizzard released World of Warcraft 1.5 Tuesday, bringing Battlegrounds to the game for the first time. Battlegrounds are special instances designed for Player vs. Player (PvP) combat. The update also includes 154 other enhancements, bug fixes, and other changes to the game.

Blizzard added two Battlegrounds to the game, one in the Warsong Gulch, and one in Alterac Valley. According to the release note, the Warsong Gulch entrances may be found in the northern Barrens near the MoriShan Rampart (Horde) and south of Silverwing Outpost in Ashenvale (Alliance). The Alterac Valley entrances may be found east of Soferais Naze in Alterac (Horde), and in the Headlands of Alterac (Alliance).

Blizzard also introduced a penalty for Dishonorable Kills (DKs) in the PvP Honor Point system. A DK is gained by a civilian non-player character (NPC) that is substantially lower in level than the player. DKs can also be received by killing player character that are more than 10 levels below the killing player.

Heretofore, DKs had no detrimental effect, but they will now lower your honor. That means players that like to blast a large group of the enemy with an Area of Effect spell will need to be careful that their targets arenit standing near a low-level civilian. The release notes sat that "enough dishonorable kills will reduce a playeris rank all the way to zero."

Additional changes were made to character classes, professions, items, instances, raids, quests, NPCs, flight paths, and much more.

You can update to version 1.5 through the in-game update mechanism. The download weighed in at about 46 megabytes. You can find the full release notes in the patch.txt document in your World of Warcraft folder.

World of Warcraft is priced at US$49.99 ($47.49 - Amazon), and comes in one box for both Mac and Windows. The update to version 1.5 is free.