I’ve been very busy the last few days and have not had a chance to write the larger posts I want to.
That said, this weekend I have been going into AV on my level 74 elemental shaman though and I’ve had some, ahem, charged battles. I’m going to ignore the crushing defeats and instead dwell on our victories. 🙂
Alterac Valley is a 40v40 battleground that in its heyday was far more expansive than it is today. Nonetheless, compared to the other battlegrounds it is huge and new players often feel lost there.
You win AV by bringing your opponent’s reinforcement count to zero. At the top of your screen you’ll see something like this:
If you slay the enemy general, their reinforcement count immediately drops to zero and you win. Other ways of whittling away reinforcements are:
- Capture towers/bunkers (75 reinforcements each)
- Kill enemy players (1 reinforcement per honorable kill)
- Defeat their captains (100 reinforcements).
The two mines in the battleground provide reinforcements (1 reinforcement every 45 seconds each) and are captured by going deep into the mines and slaying their overseer. Feral druids/rogues are preferred for this role as stealth allows them to reach the target quickly with minimum fuss or delay from the other mobs inside the mines.
It is not so easy to just slay the general though, each is protected by 4 NPCs corresponding to towers (horde) or bunkers (alliance). Those bunkers need to be captured (go in and click on the flag like in Arathi Basin) . Once you do that the flag will turn grey for 4 minutes. During this time the base can be “backcapped” by the enemy so it is important to guard the flag till it burns.
Alterac Valley is a HUGE map and Cynwise has a fantastic post up on strategy for AV at http://cynwise.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/graveyard-control-in-alterac-valley/ and the simple guide section of the wowpedia article on Alterac Valley has useful information for people very new to AV too.
Typical Horde strategy for Alterac Valley
For Horde, what seems to happen 9 times out of 10 is that everyone will ride to Balinda, dispatch her within one minute and then ride north to Dun Baldar. There, Horde will just mill about aimlessly. A few will bleat “WTB a TANK FFS” while the tanks (if any) will bellyache about “Need a healer!”. A few industrious players will attempt to capture the North and South Dun Baldar bunkers but they’ll see something shiny outside the bunker and run off to chase it. It is not uncommon for a lone Alliance rogue to repeatedly backcap North and South Bunkers with the only peril to their health being the very real possibility of choking on their laughter. The 5 Horde players (which are likely to be the 5 healers on the Horde’s roster) not at the northern end of the battleground will try to defend the bunkers they are capturing or to backcap towers that the Alliance is capturing. They will not see much success.
Approximately 8 minutes into the game, the Alliance will have burnt 3 – 4 towers and will attack Drek’thar (the Horde general) and 9 minutes into the game, the Alliance will win.
Winning games as Horde
1. Two groups of 5 people each ride straight to Stonehearth Bunker and Icewing Bunker when the game starts and they defend the bunkers for the 4 minutes it takes them to burn. Only 10 – 15 attack Balinda.
2. One team of about 5 people, ideally including a healer, stays on backcap duty and goes to backcap the towers the Alliance is trying to burn.
3. Ten people ride straight to Dun Baldar and groups of 5 hold each bunker till it burns.
What? Never going to happen!
Those of you familiar with Alterac Valley are probably laughing at the likelihood of ALL of this happening in a single game. But that is okay because random battlegrounds are full of random elements. Not all of the Alliance will be executing flawlessly either and having a generic workable plan to adapt as the battleground dynamics change is always better than just aimlessly going to Dun Baldar and standing there doing nothing.
In a game with 40 random people, it is hard to coordinate so generally it is best to speak up and volunteer by saying something like:
- “I am going on backcap duty, need a few more please.”
- “I’ll be attacking Stonehearth Bunker and defending it till it burns. Need a few more to come with me.”
Lets stack the odds in our favor
You can get the quests to get these trinkets from an NPC near the Alterac Valley quartermaster for your faction. For Horde, it is Warmaster Laggrond at 58,33 in Hillsbrad Foothills. For Alliance the quest giver is Lieutenant Haggerdin at 45,46 in Hillsbrad Foothills. The quest involves retrieving a banner from a cave inside Alterac Valley. I’ve only done the horde version, it can be done in a few minutes and the entrance to the cavern is to the left (west) of the starting den/cave. Look for a frozen waterfall, the path inside is on the right bank.
Once you turn in the quest, you’ll get the Rank 1 version of the trinket. As your reputation with the Stormpike/Frostwolves increases, you can revisit the quest giver to upgrade the trinkets. Finally at exalted, you’ll get the epic version of this trinket (Rank 6) which has no cooldown on the teleport.
Turtles can be fun
If both sides backcap and end up with 3 or more towers up, the game often turns into a turtle. At this point, holding the mines is useful. What you also need to be doing is trying to not die as each death costs one reinforcement. Typical tactics become even more important in during this “victory by attrition” phase. Try to:
- Hold the higher ground during a fight. This lets you take a few steps back to LOS ranged attackers to heal yourself or drop pursuers. That means you live longer.
- Focus the enemy healers. The faster you take them out of the equation, the faster everyone else on the other side drops. They are the most critical targets.
- If you’re a healer using #1 above, kudos – you can hang back on higher ground heal your side while being out of sight of the attackers.
- Rebuff your side often, use bloodlust/heroism/timewarp whenever the battle intensifies.
- Use the battle standards and banners on cooldown. Try to hide them behind trees or rocks if possible.
You can get these beauties from the Alterac Valley quartermaster for your faction for just 500 honor. Everyone should have them!
These can’t be used at the same time as the Alliance/Horde Battle Standards but they do not share a cool down either.
Speaking from experience, bloodlust with the Frostwolf Battle Standard up is just amazing – those chain lightnings turn you into a tesla coil!