Generally speaking, the contribution an individual can make towards the success or failure of his team in a battleground is inversely proportional to the size of the battleground. What you do in a 10-man Warsong Gulch has a much bigger impact than what you do in a 40-man Alterac Valley or Isle of Conquest game. Arathi Basin is one of the oldest battlegrounds in the game and one of my all-time favorite maps.
I will go over a few things you can do to maximize your impact in it.
I am not going to go into specific battleground strategies in this post and instead I’ll point you to Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual. He has made some excellent posts on battleground strategies and you’ll definitely pick up a few things by going through them. His posts are so consistently good that they should be required reading for anyone getting into BGs.
The add-on arms race is at a fairly advanced stage and I prefer to use the following:
This add-on puts a big red + over the heads of enemy healers. You need to lockdown enemy healers ASAP by either CCing them (doesn’t work well in random BGs) or focusing them down first. Left alone, an enemy healer can easily turn the tide of a battle. This also means that you have to protect your own healers as a priority.
In node capture based maps these DBM timers are critical in letting you know how much time you have to defend a base. Constant access to a timer can let you focus on objectives you have a reasonable chance of achieving. There is no point in wasting time riding to defend a node if it caps in mere seconds.
Raid frames for the enemy – lets you see their health, range and spec. Invaluable tactical info.
This puts a box on your screen with a few buttons you can click to call for support. So no more typing “5 alliance incoming, farm!” in Arathi Basin. Simply click the button “5” and the addon will post a message to BG chat saying 5 inbound enemies at farm. This lets you return to pureeing gnomes without wasting time – always a good thing IMO.
When you hit tab to select a target, it will select the nearest hostile. This means hunter pets, mage mirror images, shaman totems… all the stuff you should not be targeting. This addon switches your tab to select enemy players only upon zoning into a BG and reverts the keybind when you exit a BG.
With these addons helping you track things you’ll have some mental cycles freed up to focus on the actual battle happening around you. Here are some general directions to keep in mind:
- ALWAYS go after the healers first.
- If you see an enemy at low health, it is usually a good idea to do a hard switch to them to finish them off. People do the same damage whether they’re at 1% health or 100% and by taking out low health players you make the job for your side considerably easier. If there is an enemy with his health in execute range you definitely want to CC or incapacitate any enemy healer near you as that healer will be about to land the biggest heal or CD they can on the low health target. See point 1. :)
- Call out incoming before the enemy reaches your base – your reinforcements will have to traverse some distance to reach you. If you call out incoming after you’re dead, the base will almost certainly be lost. Also, the time while a rogue has you sapped or in stunlock is best used clicking on the Battleground Defender addon!
- Try to play with raid frames up – they do a lot for your awareness. I use Vuhdo and have it set to show an arrow on mouseover. I like to stand at Blacksmith in Arathi Basin and keep an eye on my raid frames. If I see someone taking damage in the direction of a base we hold, that base has incoming enemies. That’s when you call out incoming enemies for that base and rush to defend it.
- CHECK YOUR MAP. If, upon spawning, you find that you’re the only one at the base then stay and guard the flag. Do not blindly rush off! Unmanned, unguarded bases are easy pickings for rogues and feral druids!
- Do not “save your cooldowns for later”. I used to make this mistake a lot. When someone opens up on you, use your defensive CDs. Many classes have execute abilities that hit much harder when you’re low on health (<25%). You want to engage your cooldowns before your health plummets into this range! Plus using your abilities early will let you survive long enough against multiple enemies for reinforcements to reach you. If you kept the enemy from being able to attack your flag, grats, you’re going to rez right next to the fight!
- Rebuff often. Buffs can make a big difference.
- Use the Battle Standard. Hide it out of sight if possible. 15% extra health is nothing to sneeze at!
- Keep an eye on the bigger picture. If you’re a stealth capable class and there is a 10 man skirmish happening on one node, leave and go find a less defended base to attack. Like Pugnacious Priest said in her post, if you’re healing an unwinnable fight at the cost of losing the battleground, stop healing and go heal where your heals will help achieve a win.
- If you die while assaulting a base and the flag is close to capping, do not release. Wait until the base caps, you’ll rez at the newly controlled base.
- If you are defending, fight ON THE FLAGS. Keep an eye on the flag at all times and hit the flag with some AOE if there are a bunch of enemies on it. You can bet that at least one of them is trying to capture it. If you’re attacking, try to draw the defenders 15 – 20 yards from the flag so someone can go ninja cap it. This is not fighting on the road, this is fighting at the node away from the flag. If you’re a stealthie, always try to ninja cap.
- If you are a rogue and a flag has a lone defender you can sap them and instantly click on the flag. The sap will run out just as the flag caps. If you’re defending, stand at least 15 yards from the flag, never on it, for this same reason.
- If you are fighting an elemental shaman or balance druid (you installed Battleground Targets, didn’t you?) try not to get a cliff at your back or you’ll be reminded of your lack of aerodynamic grace very shortly. If you are a shaman or druid, try to knock people off cliffs, especially at lumber mill to make your life easier. As a druid you can also sneak up there in stealth form and given good placement, knock a couple of defenders off to get an easy cap.
- Always be doing something. Having three people defend a base is great but that is at least one person standing there not actively doing anything who could instead be helping defend a base that is actually under attack. It is also a bad idea to leave a lone healer on defense – healers are force multipliers. They are far more useful healing a couple of damage dealers than just standing around doing nothing waiting for an attack. What I am saying is, 4 DPS with 1 healer will do much better on an assault than 5 DPS with no healer backup. It is better to have a DPS defend a base with healers engaged in combat as much as possible.
- Once you get the upper hand, 3 bases, try to keep a healer with 2 – 3 people on each. If you’re a stealthie, try to hit the remaining two nodes. You might not be able to take them, but it will force the enemy to keep a strong defense – that means less pressure on YOUR defense. But please don’t sit there in stealth doing nothing – that is the same as having an honor farming bot on the team.
If you’re able to apply these tips you’ll find yourself making a big impact on the success of your team.
Please add your own tips in the comments!