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
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.
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:
- Some plate wearer does their best to tank all the Elites and doesn’t survive the first whirlwind (thank you for trying, though)
- 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:
- the East and West Frostwolf Towers and waiting until they have been won
- 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 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:
If in doubt, don’t capture Iceblood Graveyard!
6. Spirit Running is Totally Pro
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:
- 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).
- 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.
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!