Ashran sounded so exciting when I first read about it, I couldn't wait to get in there. It sounded like an all day Alterac Valley which also had some side objectives you could do as well for bonus honour. In the first few days, those who hit 100 quickly were in Ashran as it was a really fast place to level and gear.
That got nerfed recently and so now it seems like people who actually like to PvP are in there. But, if you want to do Ashran, you'd better have 4 hours up your sleeve.
Yep, you heard me. The queue to get INTO Ashran is almost 2-3 hours most days, and once you're in you might as well spend an hour there doing things anyway. I'd say for people who have to AFK a lot, Ashran is not an ideal place to spend time - probably OK once you got in and then went AFK.
I've only done a couple of the mini objectives in there (mostly in Amphitheatre of Annihilation and Brute's rise because they are closest to the Horde starting area) and I find the mini events quite fun. The racing one (pictured above) is quite fun but that's probably because I have only done it when there are tons of Horde around and almost zero alliance.
The first thing you want to do is find a group. If you just type in general chat that you'd like an invite to group someone should pick you up pretty quickly. I didn't know this at first and spent a lot of time just wandering around by myself thinking that everyone else was in some kind of premade. Luxy quickly told me how silly I was and then finally when I was in a group it was so much better because at least now I had people to heal and objectives of sorts to follow and PvP is so much better in a group - better chances of survival.
Basically everyone is running down trying to get to the Alliance base to kill their leader (Grand Marshal Tremblade) and it's timed so Alliance can defend it and we can lose our objective. Along the way we fight a whole lot of elite NPC captains as well as capture towers along the way defeating the elite NPC inside which awards you honour points and some conquest points. You also loot Artifact Fragments from just about everything you kill in Ashran, and you hand these in to help summon captains and big boss NPC to help you fight (Fandral for us Hordies, a big rock dude) as well as portals and gateways and the like. Handing those fragments in also gives you a little bit of honour as well, so make sure you loot everything you kill in Ashran!
There is a chance at each objective to get an Ashmaul strongbox - killing the Alliance leader gives an epic one but green and blue ones can drop from all the other daily objectives. There is a chance for cool loot inside these strongboxes which is PvP gear 600 or 620 ilvl but also a chance for epic loot (which lucky me got one item) which is the Conquest points gear.
The rares in there are not soloable by little old me, and it's a pretty dumb idea to solo anything remotely hard since all it takes is one alliance to come and start wailing on you and you're pretty much dead. But, since they're pretty much left alone, it leaves me plenty of opportunity for screenshots of rares.
So how is it in terms of time efficiency, honour and conquest points and gear? Well, I think if you're just wanting to start getting ready for arena and RBGs or even just random BGs, Ashran is a good place to get geared up quickly. The gear may not be fantastic but it's passable and better than running around in your dungeon heroics. Getting just a few pieces from those boxes and then supplementing with honour bought items has been good for me. Then you feel a bit better about getting into BGs and having SOME survivability.
It's not a particularly great way of getting conquest points but I find that time passes very quickly in there and you can get a couple hundred in an hour or so if you do your objectives, per day. But I would probably recommend doing random BGs after that to try to get at least the first BG win conquest bonus.
I think arena is probably the best way to conquest cap and RBGs if you can get in (you won't get in anyway unless you're geared) and so I did a few and got some conquest that way. Well, that worked for me last week, because I had plenty of free time, but this week I haven't got as much time, so it may not work out as well. I foresee a lot of late nights... again.
Being in Ashran makes me wish I had a Gladiator's Sanctum building in my Garrison. I see everyone looting Broken Bones and I want some too! On a PvE server it's the only place you can get those bones anyway.
So that's me in Ashran. I've been having fun in there, but it really needs a long period of timeplay since you should log on, queue for Ashran, then go and do whatever it was you wanted to do when you got on (raids, dungeons, BGs etc). Once the queue pops you haven't got much time to accept so don't AFK too far or for too long (it wouldn't surprise me if someone had an addon for it that makes some loud yelling noise saying "YOUR ASHRAN QUEUE POPPED!!!") or you'll miss it.
But, I need to get back into proper arenas soon. It's very melee heavy in there at the moment, and it seems casters aren't having much fun in there which means may not be very fun for Sev, Shab and myself. But we shall see!