Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Zaphind's Battleground Guides – An Introduction

World of Warcraft's battlegrounds offer a very unique kind of gameplay that is much different from the rest of the game. (To understand why I think battlegrounds and PvP in general can be a lot more fun and interesting than questing or raiding, read this article.)

Each of my battleground guides contains information that is valuable both to complete beginners as well as intermediate players, and should turn both very quickly into seasoned veterans. To make it easier to find the information that is most helpful to you, each guide is split into the following sections:

  • Overview: A general description of the layout of the battleground, the teams, and the object of the game.
  • In-game Mechanics: Describes how to interact with the various elements and objects within the battleground.
  • Strategies and Tactics: Gives basic and advanced strategies to playing and winning the battleground. Players who are already familiar with the basics of a battleground may prefer to skip directly to this section.

The key to winning any battleground is team coordination. If all (or even several) of the players are off trying to do their own thing, this will pretty much ensure a loss – unless the players on the other team are equally bad.

Useful Add-ons for Battlegrounds

The one add-on that I find indispensable in battlegrounds is Cartogropher 3. It lets you leave your map open at all times, but shrink it to a small area of your window (similar to the Picture-in-Picture functionality on TVs). This allows you to see a complete picture of the battleground at all times, including where other team members are, what locations you control, where the flag carrier is, etc.

General Battleground Rules

For those who are new to battlegrounds, what follows is some basic information that you will need to know that applies to each of the battlegrounds. More advanced players will probably want to skip the rest of this section.


When you die in a battleground, you are automatically resurrected at a nearby graveyard within the battleground. Resurrections happen on a continuous 30-second countdown. So depending on when you show up at the graveyard, you may have to wait anywhere from 1-30 seconds to get back in the game.

Players who had active pets at their death will find their pet resurrected alongside them.

Once you release to the graveyard, all you can do is sit and wait. Do not wander too far from the spirit healer, or you will miss the resurrection and have to wait another full cycle. 30 seconds waiting in a game that is as fast-paced as a battleground already feels like an eternity, so don't prolong your suffering.

If the graveyard that you are in is captured by enemy forces while you are waiting to resurrect, you may suddenly find yourself transported to another graveyard. This can be exceptionally annoying if it happens just as you were about to be resurrected, because it may cause you to miss the resurrection and have to wait another full cycle. Unfortunately, it is unavoidable. (Hopefully Blizzard will fix this someday).


You can use any land-based mount within the battleground. Normal usage rules apply, such as mounts not working indoors. Flying mounts cannot be used in any of the battlegrounds.

In battlegrounds that involve carrying a flag, the flag carrier is not allowed to mount and must remain on foot until the flag is successfully captured. Attempting to mount will cause him to drop the flag at that spot.

Leaving a Battleground

You normally shouldn't leave a battleground until the battle ends and a winner is declared. If you choose to leave early, you will be marked as a "deserter", and will be unable to enter another battleground for a period of 15 minutes. This apparently is Blizzard's way of preventing someone from continually entering and leaving battlegrounds just trying to find a group of players that he feels has a chance of winning.

If you must leave prematurely, simply right-click the PvP icon that is attached to your mini-map (it looks like a small shield), and choose "Leave battleground".

Going AFK in a Battleground

Some players enter a battleground solely for the purpose of receiving the marks that everyone gets for participating, and don't care whether they win or lose. (This is kind of stupid since you get three marks for winning and only one for losing, but lazy people still attempt it.) Sometimes these players will simply sit at the starting position, or some other hidden location to avoid detection, and proceed to watch TV while the battle unfolds. This is extraordinarily annoying for those of us who are actually trying to play and win.

Blizzard has taken some steps to minimize this type of abuse. First, players automatically go AFK (away from keyboard) after a few minutes of non-use. As soon as they go AFK, they are kicked out of the battleground and marked as a deserter.

If for some reason they do not go AFK (maybe they run around in a circle every minute or so while watching their TV show), you have the ability to report them. Simply right-click on their name and choose "Report player AFK". (I'm not sure what action is taken in this case, but at least it makes you feel better.)

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