I know there are hundreds of World of Warcraft screenshots out there, but it
just so happens that I felt compelled to take two of these myself within a
half-hour time, which is rare enough, so I thought I’d share my experience (and
said pictures).

I took these two screenshots in Alterac Valley, which is one of WoW’s three
player-vs-player (PvP) areas.  In these areas, members of the main two
factions are pitted against each other and assigned certain goals.  In
Alterac Valley, the goal is to conquer the enemy’s fortress and kill its general
before your opponents do the same.

Alterac Valley is a big battleground with various buildings and constructions
that you can choose to conquer or skip, depending on your strategy.  The
Alliance put up a good fight in one of their advanced bunkers and it took us
numerous attempts to finally capture it.  The fights were fierce and all
classes of combatants were involved.  I died several times myself along the
way, but since the graveyard was nearby, I was able to come back and continue
the fight.

Finally, we were done, and when the flag eventually converted to our color, I
emerged from the bunker, still pumped with adrenaline and ready to move on to
the next target, but the landscape outside just stopped me in my track. 
The moon was rising behind the hills and a pond way down below the valley was
reflecting its silvery rays.  The entire scenery looked so peaceful and it
contrasted so starkly with the intense scrimmage I was just submitted to that I
paused and took this picture.  The two blue banners in the distance are set
on the Alliance fortress, which is our next goal.

The moon rises over the Frost Wolf Fortress
Click for the large version (3 megs)

There are various ways you can make the fight for Alterac Valley more
interesting.  One of them is being able to summon various elite characters
or animals that will help you in your fight against the other faction.  You
need to fulfill certain conditions before you can do this (such as turn in items
collected on the dead bodies of your enemies), but once you’re done, it’s
definitely worth making a quick run for the altar and do the summoning.

While the Horde can summon a creature called the Ice Lord, the Alliance can
invoke the help of Gryphons, which hover high above the fight scene and have the
ability to cast a powerful knock back that will throw all the troops under it at
a distance.  It doesn’t harm anyone, but it causes chaos that is very
valuable to the attackers.

The Gryphons fly so high that you usually never notice them until you feel
yourself lifted in the air for no reason.  This is exactly what happened to
us during that fight and the group reacted immediately by concentrating their
firepower to the harmless-looking creature flapping its wing over our heads. 
Again, the sight was so taking that I stepped back on a nearby hill and snapped
several pictures to immortalize the instant…

A Gryphon becomes the target of a Horde group in Alterac Valley
Click for the large version (3 megs).

Say what you want about World of Warcraft, but I have yet to come across a
game that, one year and a half after I started playing it, is still making me
live such intense and gratifying moments…