August 8th, 2006
The intent of this guide is to give quick directions to people entering a World
of Warcraft battleground (BG) for the first time. Within five minutes, you
should have enough information to follow what's going on and make significant
contributions to your team. There are additional resources to the BG (see the
links at the end of this guide), but I never really found a simple explanation
gathering all the important information in one convenient place, so I hope
you'll find this guide useful.
If you want to become a more knowledgeable BG player, read this article in its entirety since the second half of it contains a few advanced advice.
|Name||Abbreviation||Where (Horde)||Where (Alliance)||Levels accepted|
|Alterac Valley||AV||North of Tarren Mill||North of South Shore||51 and above|
|Arathi Basin||AB||Behind the Hammerfall flight point||Refuge Point||Brackets (*)|
|Warsong Gulch||WSG||Border of the Barrens and Ashenvale Forest||Silverwing Outpost in Ashenvale||Brackets (*)|
(*) When you enter these battlegrounds, you are guaranteed to be playing with players in the same bracket: 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60.
Note that you don't have to go to the geographic locations listed above to enter a queue: all the major cities (Orgrimmar, Undercity, Thunder Bluff, Stormwind and Iron Forge) have three battle masters in the War Quarters for each of them. Just sign up with all three of them, then go on your way: you will be teleported to the battlegrounds as soon as your turn comes (you will be prompted first).
All three battleground have different structures and strategies and picking one is a personal choice. In a nutshell:
For this reason, I strongly recommend staying at a level ending in 9 for as long as possible if you enjoy PvP gaming. Once you reach 60, there is no turning back...
There are several levels of reputation, each one unlocking more items that you can buy from a special supplier either inside the battleground (for Alterac Valley) or just outside the instance in the geographic locations mentioned above.
Here are the reputation levels along with the number of points you need to accumulate before reaching it:
|Status||Reputation points needed|
If you reach the Exalted status, you will be able to buy epic (purple) items, something you cannot do anywhere else in the game.
The exact formula used to calculate the honor points is not public, but a few facts are known about it. In a nutshell, the final number is calculated from the number of HK (Honorable Kills, see below) and honor points that are granted to you based on achievements performed by you or your team throughout a game. Whenever you gain one level, you can go to your main city's Hall of Braves to buy the new items that are now available to you. Note that you need to be at least level 6 before you can enter the hall, and to whet your appetite, you will probably be happy to learn that at level 11, you can buy an epic mount for 90g...
Be aware that each mark only stacks up to 20, so make sure you never have more than 17 marks when you enter a battleground, or you might end up losing some (the extra marks are actually mailed to you in that case, but they have a twenty four hour expiration, so check your mailbox as soon as possible to retrieve them or they will be lost for good).
|To zerg||To assault an objective with as many people as possible without
trying to group up. This is a reference to StarCraft.
|To turtle||To play defense exclusively. Typically happens when a team is outnumbered or outskilled. It then gives up any hope of winning and puts everyone in defense in order to rake up honor and honorable kills. It's also a way to wait out in the hope that more people will join.|
|To ninja||To capture a node or a building with very few (maybe sometimes only one) players. Rogues and druids are particularly good classes for this.|
|inc||Incoming. Used to signal when the enemy is approaching a target, usually associated with a number: "inc 3 lm" = "3 enemies approaching the lumber mill".|
|To kite||To pull a computer-controlled character and force him to follow you. This is used in two specific circumstances in Alterac Valley: to ninja buildings and to fight elite lords (see below).|
|DOT||Damage over Time. A particular type of damage that manifests itself over time, e.g. "100 nature damage every 3 seconds over 30 seconds".|
|cap||Capture. Sometimes used as a verb: "GY caps in 2mn".|
|LM||The Lumber Mill|
|Node||One of the aforementioned buildings|
|FR||Flag room. The room in your base (or the enemy's) where the flag is kept.|
|FC||Flag carrier. The person currently carrying your or the enemy flag.|
|tun||Tunnel. The tunnel that leads to both sides' flag rooms. This abbreviation can be used to signal where the enemy went (to intercept him) or where the flag carrier on your team should go (for maximum safety).|
|ww||Which way? Asked when your flag was just picked up by the enemy and you hope that someone on your team saw it and can tell you which way the runner is going.|
|trinketing||Teleporting back to the base. You get this trinket by completing a quest requiring you to go into a mine and touch a banner there. Do this quest as soon as you can|
|Bal||Balinda Stonehearth, an Alliance captain located in the Ice Wing Keep.|
If you've never played any PVP, I recommend you start with Warsong Gulch, which is fairly easy to master strategically. The goal is to capture the enemy flag and to bring it back next to your own flag (which needs to be there in order to score the point). The first team to capture the enemy flag three times wins. The top of your screen indicates how many flags each side has captured so far and if a flag icon is next to it, it means that the flag shown is currently in the hands of the enemy.
In Arathi Basin, you are trying to control nodes which, when captured, start producing resources. The more nodes you control, the faster you produce resources, and the faster you will reach 2000, which is when the game ends. Since there are only five nodes, controlling three and keeping them is enough to guarantee a win, so this is usually the strategy you should aim for: capture three nodes and make sure they are all evenly defended at all times.
Alterac Valley is by far the most intriguing battleground, and it's the kind
that you either love or hate. The reason is that there seems to be a general
imbalance on every single realm that I've read about. On the one I play on
(Draenor), the Alliance basically wins 95% of the games. It's the opposite on
other realms, which probably tends to prove that Blizzard designed AV just
right, and the imbalance is simply created by players for various reasons that
I won't go into (gear is usually the main factor). If it's any comfort to you,
I reached Exalted status with the Frost Wolf faction after having only won one
game. That's right, one game. We lost all the others I participated in (which
I evaluate to around fifty).
If I can make it to Exalted, anybody can...
In the beginning, an AV battle is a massive rush: both sides head strong toward the enemy fortress and try to go as fast as possible. In a perfect (but boring) game, both factions will soon reach each other's fortresses and it will be to whoever is the fastest to kill the enemy general.
In practice, it never happens this way.
Very often, a midpoint encounter will happen and one side will
prevail, slowly eroding the other's offense. After a while, one side will
typically have 80% offense and 20% defense and the other team will have the
opposite, guaranteeing a non-stop kill fest on both sides of the map.
The first thing you should do when you enter AV is to check out your map and identify the main fight points (there are usually two). One will typically be behind you and the other ahead. Pick a destination and head there, while paying attention to the messages flying by. Typically, each landmark on the map has two buildings of importance: a bunker and a graveyard. The bunker is defended by bowmen and an elite captain and the graveyard will also have an elite and five guards. Bunkers typically need to be taken by force, but graveyards can easily be ninja'ed by two players: one will ride on his mount and "kite" the elite and his guards, while the teammate runs to the flag and captures it. Ninjaing graveyards can sometimes be of value, but unless you have a stronger presence, it is very likely that the two ninjas will soon be overwhelmed by the other team that will try and reconquer it right away.
When you approach the enemy fortress (Storm Pike or Frost Wolf), the first thing you should do is destroy the two towers defending it. This is not mandatory, but doing so will make future walkthroughs easier and it also impacts the number of war masters (assistants) the enemy general will have at his side once you reach him. The next step is to capture the Relief Hut (Horde) or Aid Station (Alliance). This will guarantee that the enemies can no longer respawn inside their fortress. Once you capture the RH/AS, it's usually very hard for the enemies to retake it, and at this point, it's only a matter of time before you kill the general.
The next step is to pull the war masters one by one. These are elite characters, so you need to make sure you don't pull out everyone or your offense will quickly get wiped (if you own the RH/AS, you will respawn nearby, so it's typically only a temporary setback).
Finally, you will enter the fortress and fight the general (he cannot be pulled). He's a 62 elite that will require at least ten people to take down.
Alterac Valley has a few additional complexities that make the game more interesting than the other two battlegrounds.
Each time you loot an enemy corpse, you will get a certain amount of armor scraps, blood and flesh (different items for the Alliance). Each of these can then be turned in to NPC's back at the Keep:
The captains give their respective faction a regular buff and will give some reputation if you kill them (e.g. 125 points for Balinda Stonehearth), so the question regularly arises to figure out whether you should kill them on your way to the enemy fortress or just skip them. Even though these characters can usually be taken down by five good players, I tend to think that they are a costly distraction when the game is just beginning and each side is rushing toward each other's fortress. Of course, people will be quick to point out that "it only takes a few minutes and five men", but the reality is very different.
As an AV raid leader, your responsibility is to spend
more time looking at the map, read the messages and direct people
appropriately. Pay close attention to the messages describing which nodes are
under attack, and if you're using AVBar (see below), make sure you keep your
team appraised on capture times (I usually announce the three and one minute
Whenever you give directions, expect that only a small portion of your team will obey, so feel free to repeat at length. It also helps to use group numbers to give orders ("group 2 retake SF GY") but again, I found that most players don't know enough about the game to even know what group they're in.
On the other hand, something that works very well is to call out names. It takes a bit longer (you need to identify them on the map) and extra typing (you need to be a fast typist), but "people in tunnel, defend FW GY" doesn't work as well as "xyzzy haru dozel, defend FW GY". Try it and you will feel some great satisfaction when you see these players moving in the direction you asked them.
Pay close attention to how both teams measure up in terms of captures. You can get a good sense of what team is ahead by seeing which buildings each one takes. For example, if your Horde team is still fighting around the Ice Wing Bunker while the Alliance has already taken the Frost Wolf Graveyard, you know you're rapidly falling behind and you should probably start allocating more people to the defense of your keep.
I'll start this section with a few general comments and then more specific
ones depending on which class you are. I'm hoping to receive some help from the
community to fill this section since even though I have three 60 characters, my
Rogue is the only one I've ever PvP'ed with.
The first thing you need to realize is that you will rarely be dealing deadly blows. That's right: very rarely. You'll land a few hits on someone, but you won't be the first one to hit them and you won't be the one finishing them off. Therefore, all the crit and combo abilities you have in store need to be revised in light of what battlegrounds really represent: teamwork.
For this reason, I tend to focus a lot more on crippling and immobilizing enemies than killing them (I rely on my heavily equipped teammates to do that). DOT's are also a good weapon to use since a lot of human players will know when to run away to heal (especially paladins, which have the ability to "bubble up" when they reach 1% health and then heal themselves), but they will typically not know exactly the amount of DOT they have just received until it's too late.
That's all I have for now. Hopefully, this little guide will help you ramp up on battleground fighting faster than I did. Please email me if you have any feedback or contribution, or post a comment.
|Alterac Valley||Arathi Basin||Warsong Gulch|
August 8th, 2006
(Ros on Draenor)