Battleground Basics, Part 1: Warsong Gulch

Going into battlegrounds and not having a clue what to do is discouraging. I remember queueing up for Alterac Valley and wanting to punch a baby because I didn’t know what I was doing.

“Just follow the crowd,” the boyfriend urged calmly.

“BUT WHY? WHAT AM I DOING? I’M LOST! I’M GONNA DIE! AHHHHH!” I responded, completely irrationally. And I was lost. I spent a lot of my time running in circles or going off the path and ending up next to really strange fairy-esque creatures called harpies and wanting to leave the battleground all together because I was so! frustrated!

Moral of the story? It’s always better to know what’s going on than to go into PvP battlegrounds blindly. (Besides, going in blindly will totally make you run into the opposing faction and get squished. Har-har.)

OLD WORLD BATTLEGROUNDS

There are six battlegrounds in total that you can queue for, not counting Wintergrasp at level 80: Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, Alterac Valley, Eye of the Storm, Strand of the Ancients and Isle of Conquest. We’ll first focus on the Old World bgs.

WARSONG GULCH

Background: You can queue for Warsong Gulch at level 10. You will be competing against other players who range from level 10 to level 19. These level restrictions are called “brackets.” The brackets continue as follows: 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79 and 80.

The object: The easiest way to explain Warsong Gulch is that it’s a huge game of “Capture the Flag.” The first team to capture the flag three times wins. (The game ends after 25 minutes, even if no one has captured a flag. If it’s a tie, then the team who capped the flag last wins.)

Here’s a diagram from the map of what must be done:

This is what “base” looks like from an Alliance perspective:

To get to the second floor, there is a ramp just outside of each flag room. To get to the roof, both areas have ramp-hills that lead up.

This is what everything looks like from the Alli graveyard:

Sound confusing? It’s not. You’ll get the hang of it super quickly. It’s just a bit difficult to illustrate without actually being in the battleground.

To keep track of where you and your teammates are in the game, there is a counter on the top of your screen:

This tells you how many times your team and the opposing team has captured each other’s flags as well as the time left on the battleground. It will also tell you if anyone has a flag and what their name is:

This means that an alliance teammate has the horde flag.

Strategies:

Defense and Offense

Each team should have a group of defense and offense. The defense team can stay in their designated flag room — usually staying stealthed or hiding is your best bet — in order to help make it so that the opposite team can’t nab your flag. You can hide in the corners of the room or on the second floor or the roof.

If the other team sees no one in the flag room, they are more likely to try to cap it on their own without calling for back-up. That’s when you and the other defense can pounce and, hopefully, return the flag to its base.

Defending can be slow. You have to have patience and wait for the excitement to come to you rather than seeking the excitement on your own. However, defense can certainly contribute to winning the battleground. Without a few players defending, both teams can end up with the flag in a turtle, where both teams have the other’s flag in their room but neither can cap it. (You can’t capture a flag, ever, if the other team is holding onto your flag. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the other teams flag-carrier goes down as quickly as possible to maximize your win.)

If you’re playing offense, then, your role is mostly to help the person who will capture the other teams flag or to be that person. Each offensive group must charge across the field and capture the other team’s flag and then safely return it to your flag room. You are the ones who will be bombarded first, most likely, as you may encountering the opposing faction at mid-field, where much of the fighting takes place:

Some offense should probably battle it out at mid-field while two or three attempt to grab the other team’s flag. Killing in mid-field means that you’ll be ready when the flag carrier leaves the other team’s building and can help them successfully travel across mid-field toward your flag room or base.

You can find out where the flag-holder is by pressing “m” and bringing up your map. They will show up as a small flag icon. If you see that they are alone, be sure to try to help them in any way that you can (by trying to distract the other team if you’re tanky, dps the opponents down or heal the flag carrier if you can).

If YOU want to capture a flag, a few things to remember: picking up a flag breaks stealth. You can use travel form/ghost wolf/rocket boots, but you cannot mount. Mounting will make you drop the flag. There are power-ups that you can pick up in houses along the path from horde-base to alliance-base and vice versa. Use these to your advantage (some heal, some give a speed boost). If you’re killed, you’ll drop the flag. You also can’t use Divine Shield if your a paladin, Ice Block if you’re a mage, Vanish if you’re  a rogue or be given Hand of Protection by a paladin. These things will all make you drop the flag!

Dropping the flag means that a nearby enemy can click it and return it to base. (Returning the flag to base happens automatically when a dropped flag is clicked.) However, friendly players can also pick up the flag and try to continue where you left off.

Everyone helps the Flag Carrier

This time, defense is completely scrapped and everyone goes with the FC to the enemy’s base to help capture the flag. Then they assist the FC back to base. Once back at base, a few will venture out and try to kill the other team’s FC (because, without defense, they probably will have taken your flag, too!) in hopes that it’ll be successful enough for your team to win.

Zerging

This requires the least coordination and usually just means a bunch of people are trying to cap the flag for their own benefit. Nearly everyone tries to cap the flag on their own or with one or two others by running straight for the other team’s flag without really having a plan. If you make it out of the flag room, this sometimes leads to you getting caught mid-field with no back-up and consequently dying. However, sometimes you might get lucky and navigate around everyone!

Fighting in the middle

In this strategy, most people are sent to the center of the field to fight opposing team. The thought is that this will keep the enemy from reaching your base and grabbing your flag. If they happen to, though, then it’s believed that you will then have the manpower to kill them before they can return to their base.

Abbreviations/terms:

FC: Flag carrier, meaning person who is carrying the flag.

FR: Flag room, meaning the room where your flag is kept and where the opposing flag must be taken in order to cap it (zomg no wai!).

INC: Incoming, meaning a group of the opposing faction are coming your way.

Mid: Mid-field, meaning the main fighting area in the center of the field.

Cap: Capture, ie: capturing the flag.

Turtle: In regards to WSG, when both teams have the flag and neither can/is willing to DPS down the other team’s FC. (Turtle means other things in other bgs.)

Defense: People who stay to defend the flag.

Offense: People who actively attempt to capture the flag or assist the flag carrier in his/her capture.

CONCLUSION

This probably sounds like information overload and I’m sure I missed some stuff. But this is enough information to get you going into WSG without being called a ZOMG NOOB! You’ll certainly learn as you go — what strategy you prefer, whether you enjoy capping the flag, which tools work for you, how to navigate the field efficiently, etc. Keep these things in mind from a prior post and you should do just fine!

GOOD LUCK!

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