Thursday, November 26, 2009

Warsong Gulch Weekend

So today is friday and you know what that means? Warsong Gulch weekend of course (seriously, its in the title... you should have known.)

Warsong Gulch is one of the first, most basic and smallest (both in size and players) battleground. It is a 10 vs 10 match with each side starting in essentially symmetric bases. Horde get the south base and Alliance have the northern base.

The objective here is simple. Capture the flag. If you did not play that game as a child I pity you... seriously. For those of you with severely repressed childhoods; in capture the flag there are two teams each with their own flag. You must take them enemy flag from their base and get it back to your own. The same in Warsong Gulch (WSG) you just need to do it between 1-3 times within 25 min and the team to reach 3 first or have more after the 25 min is the winner.

At the back of each base (the extreme north and south of the map depending on your team) are the flags. This is what
the whole battle (despite what some people do during the battle) is about. To get into / out of the base you can take a few paths. To get into a base there are 2 basic paths. When facing a base from mid field, directly in front of you will be an entrance to what is called the tunnel (for obvious reasons). The tunnel goes directly from midfield to the flag room with one possible off route that leads to the roof. While the most direct route you can not be mounted in the tunnel. When looking at the base from midfield, to your right will be what is know as the ramp. It leads around one side of the base and up to two other entrances, one leading directly to the flag room, the other going to the second floor (which you can jump off into the flag room). You can use a mount for most of the route while going up ramp.

You can get back out the same way you came in. Here is where a bit of strategy comes in if you are the one with the flag (if you don't have the flag you better be following the guy who does... most of the time). So lets go over reasons to chose each.

1) Gives you more escape options.

2) More open allowing you to avoid combat all together where as if there are enemies in the tunnel... you will be fighting them.

3) Often much harder for enemies to pinpoint you.

1) More direct

2) Benefit of the speed boost buff which you can pick up for 100% extra speed for a few seconds.

3) Much easier to control the one exit route for you team to protect you.

WSG is a very small BG in terms of team times and this means that more than any other BG every team member counts and it is very important to stay together as a team in this BG. At the same time breaking an enemies coherency is a good way to win this BG.

Most of the time you will find people who say 'stay out of mid' 'fight in the flag room' 'don't fight in mid'. In most BGs this would be the best option but WSG is different in design and I would say control of midfield is actually the best strategy. The basic idea is to have the majority of your team stay in a group in mid. Kill any enemies they come across. The key here is that if any enemies do manage to get your flag your entire mid team must quickly figure out where they are and kill them.

In addition to the mid team, 2 of the fastest / most survivable people need to rush the flag room and get the flag out. You don't need to worry to much if they follow you out, as long as you control midfield, once you are out of their base your team can protect you. If the defense in the flag room is to heavy than you can either try distracting them out of the room so one person can ninja it or your mid team can help break the defense before returning to their usual job.

I find this to be most effective as most random WSG group will be doing some form of this just by default. To make it truly effective it will just require someone who is good at paying attention to the map and where the enemies are and is vocal enough to make even idiots listen. More than any other BG, random groups will benefit mainly from sticking and working together. Coherency is more important than any one strategy.

Unfortunately the small size of WSG means that gear and skill of each individual will play a big role here so in one way all the good tactics won't help you if you get stuck with terrible team mates.

I will have more on WSG later. Have fun and good luck.

Monday, November 23, 2009

AV Weekend Roundup

Well AV weekend is coming to a close. On my little Battlegroup of Stormstrike it was not exactly a pleasant weekend for the horde. My win percent came out at 40 over the weekend which is not horrible mind you but it felt that way during the losing streaks.

The Horde of this battlegroup seemed content to ingore many of the core rules of playing AV and in general people followed the wrong orders. In almost every game the first thing out of someones mouth was "ZERG VANN". Sometimes it worked sure. But zerging requires a few things that were not always there.

1) You NEED a good tank. If you are going to all out zerg then you really need a geared tank in order to handle Vann and and four marshals. If you don't have a geared tank, in tank spec you won't zerg.

2) You will need MOST of your team up there. The problem with the encounter is that the marshals randomly charge and swing at a person before returning to the tank. With 4 marshals up people will die. You need enough healers and dps to compensate for those that end up getting killed. So at least 30 if not more need to be there in order for a zerg to work well. Maybe you can do it with less if they are all well geared but it is hard to find a solid group like that on my side these days. So for a zerg to work you somehow need to convince everyone to go to Vann.... which despite what people were always yelling... did not happen.

3) Stop for nothing. If you are going to zerg you have to go all the way. No one can stop for Towers, Graveyard, Belinda ... NOTHING. Your entire zerg must go straight from the cave to Vann with no stops in between. Breaking group coherency will break a zerg like nothing else.

Honestly though I think in many cases these things are to much to ask from a random group of people, at least Horde side on this Battlegroup.

So zerging is probably not a good idea for random AVs. Time and time again we won games with good hard Defense. In every game that we wiped then on Galv and started taking towers back, they did not recover and we won. Defense is the best possible way to win with a random group in AV.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Alterac Valley Week Achievements

So while it is still AV week it seems about time to discuss the achievements you can get from one of my favorite BGs. Achievements are one way to keep BGs interesting and fun as in some cases they make you do thing that you may not of tried before. Lets jump in.

Pretty simple concept, take 50 graveyards. This one could take awhile as there are up to 40 people you have to compete with (you have to personally cap it) plus any number of enemies who may try and stop you. If you want to play dirty and get it, let one person go in ahead of you and distract the graveyards guards and while he takes them down you can cap it. The key here is that you don't have to hold it... you only need to assault it, so don't worry about death afterward.

Straightforward but not all that easy. The main trouble I had with this one was assaulting or defending things before the other people did. Once again, on the assaults, you don't have to hold anything you just have to assault. I would suggest going on the offensive to start. As soon as you have assaulted a tower and graveyard fall back to your side and defend one of each. You can even just assault a tower and then fall back as you can easily assault a graveyard on your side that the enemy has taken.

Alterac Valley Victory / Veteran
Win 1 / 100 AVs. Want a way to do this, look at my strats... and hope to God the majority of the people in the BG are not idiots.

Even if you are not going for achievements, holding both mines becomes very important during a turtle so this one should be a given. If you are really going for it then you can always guard 1 mine. Usually you will only get one enemy at a time and between you and all the mobs in the mines it should be easy to take someone down.

Simply buy one of the AV mounts. They are bought for 50 AV marks. THey are sold by a vender just outside the old AV caves in Alterac Mountains or in the base of your faction in the BG itself. The alliance cave is located north-west of Southshore, just across the border between Hillsbrad and Alterac. The horde cave is directly north of Tarren Mill.

Frostwolf / Stormpike Perfection
Win an AV without losing any tower or captain and control all the enemy towers. The key to this will be a strong defense. You must start your defense off at your factions captain to stop their initial zerg on him. Once you have saved your captain you must fall back and defend your towers but keep an eye on your captain to ensure you don't lose him. Your towers can not even be contested at the end of the game to get this. Normally I would suggest letting the enemy take a tower and you recap after they leave, but for this you can not risk that. You must hold every tower at all costs and if they do take one you have to take it back asap. The other part to this is controlling the enemy tower i.e. destroy them. You have to destroy them, not just contest. With your strong D in place just send a small group up that can hold their towers until they are destroyed, stealthers are nice for this. Graveyards, mines and enemy captains have no affect on this one.

This one is just to earn exalted with your AV faction. There is rep from almost every action in the BG and it is given to everyone in the BG regardless of where they are. So the way to get this is simply play, win or lose. There are, in addition to that, some quests that can be done for rep.

Kill fifty people in your base, specifically to building your leader is in. They key here is that it does not matter where you are, only where the enemy dies. So if you are, lets say, stealthed near your base and an enemy dies inside with your leader, you get credit. As long as you are in range for the honor kill, you get credit. That being said, the most common way to get this is to simply get a group of people to defend your leader.

Win AV in 6 min or less. The ONLY way to do this is to zerg. You will need most of your team including a strong tank and heals to just rush the enemy leader and take him down asap.

Kill someone while they are mounted in the field of Strife. You do not need to personally get the Killing blow on this one, you just have to be in range for the honor kill when they die. The key to killing them while mounted is burst; kill them so fast that they don't even bother trying to dismount.

Loot the Autographed picture of Foror and Tigule. This is an RNG achievement. The pic can drop off ANY lootable mob and player in AV and has a very low drop rate. To have any chance of getting this one in a short order you must pretty much just spend you time looting bodies. Just follow behind the main group of your team and loot everything as you go. Make sure you have some spare bag room as there is a lot of other crap you will get by looting these bodies.

Defend 50 towers. Simple. For this one you will want to stay on your side and be a general defender. Once the enemy has assaulted a tower you go and try to retake it. Wait too long and they will destroy it. If you are going in a group, let your group distract the enemies while you retake the tower. Once again you must personally be the one who defends the tower.

Complete all the listed achievements. Once you get your last one you will get this which counts toward the Battlemaster achievement.

Well that wraps up AV achievements. Have fun!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Arena Mistake

So I read this awhile ago but I have not updated the blog so of course I did not mention it here.

In an interview with WarCry VP of Game Design, Rob Pardo, said that arenas were a mistake... the biggest one in WoW's history. All I can say is ... ABOUT DAMN TIME! He goes on to say how hard it has been to maintain balance with arena around and that it is causing more headaches than it is worth.

I am now looking forward to a day I thought might not come. Arenas are already on the decline and maybe soon they will be removed all together.

Full interview:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Alterac Valley

AV weekend started a couple of hours ago. While I am here I figure I should start updating. And so this will be the start of my 6 part series on the most basic Tactic and Strats for the current BGs... and maybe a 7th for WG sometime.


For those of you young to WoW, AV was the third BG put into WoW and the largest at the time (80 people, 40 per team). In its current state the objective of the game is to do one of 2 things.

1) Kill the enemy leader (Vanndar Stormpike is the alliance leader and Drek'thar is the horde one).

2) Run the opposing team out of reinforcements.

Horde start the game in a cave at the south end of the map and Alliance at the north. The faction leaders are in large bases on their team's side of the map and both teams start with 500 resources. The leaders are protected by 4 other npcs who boost the leaders health and damage. These npcs are linked to 1 of four towers that each side has. Destroying an enemy tower gets rid of an npc AND lowers their total remaining reinforcement count. There are also 2 sub-leaders (1 for each faction) located on either side of the middle of the map in a large bunker. Killing the sub-leaders will reduce the opponents resources by 100. Finally there are capturable graveyards that allow you to spawn closer to the enemy base after death.


I will go over 3 basic strategies, however without a full 40 premade real-time tactics become far more important than an overall strategy as some people will never listen to strats and always go off and do their own thing in random BGs.

1. Zerg) A zerg is simply having a very strong offense that ignores the enemy players and pushes straight to the enemy leader. If done right it can mean a very quick victory or a rather quick defeat if done wrong. In order to work it will require 2-3 good tanks because of the 4 extra npcs you will have to deal with in the boss room and some nice heals and dps. Essentially you need a large portion of your team to follow along to get it to work. You will not stop for the sub-leader or any towers and you will ignore players except those directly guarding their leader. If you fail to kill the leader then you will be faced with the problem that the enemy is most likely deep in your territory and you have nothing of theirs so it will be an uphill battle to regain the lead and I have never seen a successful attempt at a second zerg.

2. Turtle) This involves a very strong D. The basic idea here is to have people defending each tower and graveyard and a small group that moves around to assist any tower that is being overwhelmed. In addition you will want a small offensive group of 10-15 people who will take the enemy towers 1 at a time. It is important that that group stays together to avoid getting forced out of a tower. It is also import that a small group stops the initial attack on the sub-leader that usually happens as the first enemy attack. In almost all cases if the initial attack on the sub-leader is stopped, the enemy will not try again and that will be 100 extra reinforcements for you. An important part of the turtle that usually does not otherwise effect the game are the mines. There is one on either side of the map and they give back reinforcements .... SLOWLY. A turtle is a slow game though and controlling the mines in the long run of such a game can make or break your team. The game will be slow but unlike a zerg, a mistake or two will not break you.

3. Middle ground) In between a zerg and a turtle. This is what most games end up being naturally as most people won't stick to any one plan. That being said this type of strategy is best pulled off by a complete 40 man premade. Optimally you want about 25-30 offense and 1--15 defense. The Offense should move forward, kill the sub-leader and take towers and graveyards as they progress together. Leave 2-3 people in each tower you attack until it is destroyed and have 2-3 more people able to reach a tower at a moments notice in case they are overwhelmed. Once the towers are down your offense will meet up in the enemy base and kill the faction leader. The defense should NOT initially defend the towers. You will be outnumbered and in most cases only serve to lower your reinforcement numbers. All Defense should initially start in the sub-leader room. Defend your sub-leader and then move to the recap the towers. In most cases the enemy will leave fewer people in the towers than they attacked with so they will be easier to save AFTER they have been attacked. The defenses prime goal is to not let the enemy destroy any towers, this will make it very difficult for a non-zerg to take down your faction leader.


DEFEND WHAT YOU CAP. Seriously... one of the main reasons for loss in any BG involving capture points (AV, AB, EotS, Isle) is that someone will cap a graveyard, tower, etc ...and then leave it undefended. This is just asking for someone to come and recap it. Doing this to an AV graveyard will mean your team will spawn far away from where they need to be. For a tower it will mean longer until you can destroy it... The only time it is acceptable to leave a capture point undefended is if it is YOUR tower or graveyard. In most cases the enemy will attack it with far more people than they leave on D so it is much easier to let them have it and then retake it once most people are gone.

So if you cap it, don't leave. If you help cap it and everyone else leaves, don't leave. Never leave a tower or graveyard you attack undefended. If the enemy comes and trys to retake it is your job to insure that they don't. To that end, even if you are overwhelmed if there is ANY way you can keep them off the flag till it caps it is your duty to stay alive and keep them from retaking for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Go Bear, AoE, pop all cooldowns, do whatever you have to do because that tower or graveyard is probably worth more than your characters life. To be fight hard and hold out long enough to destroy a tower is one of the most rewarding things because even if they kill you they lost, you succeeded in protecting what you needed to.

Graveyards. One important thing with graveyards is that you not only control where you spawn but where your enemy does after death. While it is true you want the enemy as far from your leader as possible always let them have one graveyard in your territory. Why? If you take every graveyard they have in your territory away this will force them into a turtle situation which in most cases will slow the game down and hurt your offense (unless your team is trying to turtle). To this end, let the enemy have snowfall graveyard. It is in the middle and as far from your leader as you can push them without putting the enemy between your offense and their leader.

Bottlenecks. There are plenty of bottle necks in AV. If you are defending a bottle neck it is important that you keep the enemy there and AoE. The thing about a bottleneck in WoW is that AoE is very effective because people will be bunched up. In a fight over a bottle neck the defense should stay OUT of the bottleneck itself so they don't get AoEd back.

If you are trying to fight past a bottleneck it is important that you play smart because it is a given that most of your fellow players will throw themselves into the AoE. Find a way to get behind the enemy, attack an objective or players in the rear, if all else fails, mount and ride right through the bottleneck and past the enemy as far as you can. Any of these and more tactics will break the enemy coherency. Some of them will want to go after you and some will want to continue to AoE. This will make it much easier for your team to push through. Once the defenses coherency is broken it is all a matter of who is better player for player.

I think some of these things are getting to general for all BGs so i will stop here with AV and make a general BG Tactics post later.

Happy AV weekend!