HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

6 Tips to Suck Less at Alterac Valley

Truth 4: Holding Snowfall Graveyard is crucial, especially at the beginning of the game.

Holding Snowfall Graveyard is important, especially at the beginning of the game.

I’m no expert at Alterac Valley (AV) strategy. But I think it’s time I shared some small, but critical, slivers of  knowledge that I’ve learned over time. These are the things I wish someone else had told me when I first queued Alterac Valley as a total noob.

Master these concepts and you’ll no longer be confused by the strange, and often contradictory, advice provided by the “helpful” people in your battlegroup raid.

Oh yeah, this is for the Alliance. I don’t know much about how to AV as Horde, I only know how they beat us.

1. Don’t Leave Until the Tower Goes Up In Flames

Trust me: this type of fire is good!

Trust me: this type of fire is good!

If you, and 5 others, run into a tower (say Iceblood Tower, which starts out under Horde control) and it has a Horde looking flag you can click on that flag to “cap” it for the Alliance. Doing so turns it into a contested state. It’ll go half-blue on your map.

If you run away with those 5 players, a sole Horde player can sneak up behind you and click the same flag to win it back immediately. You’ve just completely wasted your time as have the 5 others with you. And backtracking isn’t fun at all, is it?

You need to hold the contested tower for a couple minutes. It will burn all around you when you’re successful. Only then is it yours (well, technically it’s neutralised, but the Horde still lost it). And it’ll stay that way for the duration of the game. The fire doesn’t hurt. So stick around.

2. Drek’thar isn’t just an Elite. He’s an Elite with Friends.

Those 2 medium sized dudes on his left and right are *optional*

Those 2 medium sized dudes on his left and right are *optional*

He’s a big, ugly green Orc wearing a blindfold. He’s an Elite. He has wolves and he has generals. He probably kisses Thrall’s toes when he goes on annual leave.

If you pull Drek’thar (accidentally or on purpose) while he has his mates with him usually one of two things happen:

  1. Some plate wearer does their best to tank all the Elites and doesn’t survive the first whirlwind (thank you for trying, though)
  2. Nobody tanks Drek’s friends and they happily eat your healers’ faces (the people trying to help you)

See how neither option kills Drek’thar?

Those Elite generals will simply disappear if your team successfully captures and burns down the East and West Frostwolf Towers thus removing them from Horde control. Personally, I think the Elite Generals should bloody well stand in their respective towers (I would have made the connection about a year ago: Tower = Elite General) but whatever.

3. Zerging Drek’thar Works. If the Horde let you.

I.e. hardly ever.

Zerging means your entire team just rides, hellbent for leather, all the way south to the stone cave where Drek’thar lives. Sure an Alliance player might click a flag here and there, but nobody will actually stick around and try and defend the towers.

A typical zerg group only stops to capture:

  1. the East and West Frostwolf Towers and waiting until they have been won
  2. the Frostwolf Relief Hut graveyard (just in case the first attack on Drek fails, thus significantly shortening the run back for the next attempt)

Waiting til you win the East and West Frostwolf Towers removes some of Drek’s Elite friends (see item #2), thus significantly increasing your chances of success.

Usually this strategy doesn’t work because a small group of Horde players can pick off a significant portion of your raid group while you ride south, take back all their towers, leave you with no graveyards, and send most of your offensive back to the starting point where the Horde offensive can farm Alliance honor kills endlessly.

Don’t even think about zerging when it’s the holiday weekend.

4. Snowfall Graveyard is Something You Want to Own

Snowfall Graveyard located west of the Field of Strife

Snowfall Graveyard located west of the Field of Strife

Snowfall Graveyard lies mid-map on the west side of the battleground. Horde don’t path this way as they travel north. All the Alliance battleground action (capping Towers, mini-bosses and the like) is going to happen south of this graveyard.

If you don’t capture it as soon as possible anyone who dies on your team is going to be sent all the way back to the start of the map. Where the Horde will do their best to ensure they never rejoin the Alliance teammates until they cry and give up.

Ok, this bit is important. Pay attention! Defend Snowfall until you win it. Hold it until you hold a graveyard further south.

Just like you do with a Tower you need to click the flag at the graveyard to turn it into an Alliance-contested point. If nobody defends the graveyard flag for the next couple of minutes Horde can capture it.

And Horde usually do double back to capture it just before Alliance win it – with one or two players at most. Five minutes into the game and every single Alliance player who has died is stuck at the northern most spawn point.

Once you win this graveyard you get a group of NPCs who will help you defend it. This can deter Horde (sometimes) but if your Horde opposition seems to be playing dirty you might want to stick around and defend it until you have another graveyard right near Drek’thar.

5. Iceblood Graveyard is Not Something You Want to Own

Ok, this one is hard to put into words.

Iceblood Graveyard is the furthest graveyard away from where Horde want to be, but still allows them to resurrect and run due North without unduly blocking the way of the Alliance offensive as we capture Iceblood Tower and Tower Point (which we want).

Consider the situations below and how resurrecting members of either faction will try to rejoin their team:

3 Graveyard Senarios (click to expand)

3 Graveyard Senarios (click to expand)

If in doubt, don’t capture Iceblood Graveyard!

6. Spirit Running is Totally Pro

Run quick if you dont want to auto-ressurect

Run out of range quickly if you don't want to auto-ressurect

Ok, so you died. You’ll get ported to the closest graveyard and have a few seconds before auto-ressurection kicks in.

If you died somewhere on the southern half of the map, got ported way up north, and you know the Horde army is somewhere between you and your corpse, run out of range of the Spirit Healer ASAP. You have options:

  1. Spirit Run all the way back to where you died. Only works if Horde haven’t taken your insignia (thus forcing you to resurrect at a graveyard).
  2. Wait until your team captures another graveyard further south and spirit run to that graveyard and stand under a different Spirit Healer. You’ll join the auto-resurrection timer when you get in range. Works even if Horde have taken your insignia.

Option number 2 is the ideal method to rejoin your offensive team if you died early on when Snowfall Graveyard was contested, but not yet captured, by your team.

Congratulations you just successfully avoided facing the entire Horde army on your own.

Good Luck!

Unfortunately it takes 39 other people to win Alterac Valley. I hope that your next teammates are smart and have 1000 resilience each.

If nothing else, I hope that these tips will make you feel a little more in control of what’s happening in your next Alterac Valley game. And the Spirit Running tip is totally awesome. I’m sure it’ll save you a lot of angst. I just wish I knew about that one a year ago!

8 Responses to “6 Tips to Suck Less at Alterac Valley”

  1. BoizeNo Gravatar says

    As Horde, you probably don’t want to cap Snowfall GY if you have decent defense. If you do so (and the Alliance haven’t capped any GYs further on) it will mean that, for the most part, your offensive group will be forced with waves and waves of Alliance, often coming to a complete stand-still at choke points.

    Then it just becomes an extremely slow HK-farming game.
    .-= Boize’s last blog … Relocation =-.

  2. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    Well see it never used to be a problem, everyone just assumed Alliance would get to keep Snowfall back when I started AVing.

    Then they opened up the group to leveling characters 71-79 and it was like playing under completely different rules. Graveyards, including Snowfall, were hotly contested zones.

    Now an element of that still remains. You can’t assume that Snowfall will be left under Alliance control. It’s kind of a relief to hear that you guys don’t want really want it LOL.

  3. LassirraNo Gravatar says

    One thing worth mentioning is that capping the graveyard nearest the enemy boss before the relief hut is usually a bad idea. All that accomplishes is sending any defenders closer to where you want to end up rather than further away, making a massive turtle much more probable–particularly if your side is capping several graveyards across the map.
    .-= Lassirra’s last blog … Gamer Halloween Costumes =-.

  4. BoizeNo Gravatar says

    Oh yes Cassandri, you should see the chat that occurs when someone goes to SFGY at a less than optimal time.

    Not pretty, even by AV standards.
    .-= Boize’s last blog … Relocation =-.

  5. NubdroodNo Gravatar says

    Not sure if its in your Battlegroup but there is a group called QueueQ and the do premade AV’s over different servers, and they have a 99% win chance… only because its looked after by 1 person who controls the whole AV over vent. You normally get about 1.7-2k honor every 10 mins which is also how long each AV lasts, sounds great i know lol well yeah just thought id let you know about that because b4 i found out about these guys i hated AV with a passion.

    oh and love your work both of u!

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      I have a secret confession to make: I’ve never done a premade battleground – never! I’m somehow convinced that someone will use jargon and tell me to go somewhere or do something that I don’t understand and I’ll get in trouble. Or worried that I’ll nub out and build a reputation for being bad at PVP. I always think of Premades as being for the serious PVPers and out of my reach.

      One day, one day soon…

  6. SolaNo Gravatar says

    Haha, I am one of the leaders for Queueq Premades. And trust me Cassandri, everyone starts off as a “Newb” who doesn’t know the jargon. But give it 5 games and you’ll be pro. When you finally decide to come give us a try – just let the leader know you’re new and he or she will walk you through it. Hope to see you on the battle field soon!

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