Alterac Valley is a confusing place, especially with all the changes that keep happening to try and balance it out. So while you may know the basic rules and understand the ideas of how it works, the tactics and strategies to actually win may elude you. That's where this portion of our Alterac Valley guide steps in to help. We are going to look at the basic strategies that will allow you to win in the valley.
Before the battle even starts, you need to get prepared. This means a few things, some depend on you class, others depend on you being the leader of the battleground.
- If you can buff players, you should be buffing everyone you can while the gates to the valley are still closed.
- If you are a mage or warlock, create food tables and health stones for other players.
- If you are a player capable of stealthing (Rogue or Druid), you should try to create a stealth group to capture the enemy towers by their leader.
- If you are the leader, attempt to create some valid 5 player groups that will work well together. This means a tank group for the NPC's with a few healers, several DPS groups, a stealth group, a fear group, etc.
- Decide which groups are going on offense and defense.
The current doctrine in AV is that a good offense is the best defense, with the motto being "win before they do". As such a strong emphasis is put on offense. In general initially 30 players are put on offense and 10 on defense.
The offenses job is to move forward to capture and hold each of the enemies graveyards and towers in a coordinated manner. Ideally you should be capturing all the towers within a minute or two of each other and then hold them until they are destroyed. If you do this you can then move on to the enemy general all at once, rather than have to wait for the last towers to be destroyed. Since the order is different for each faction they will be discussed more in the Alliance and Horde sections below.
While trying to take the objectives you will have to try to lure the attacker away from an objective as you will not likely be able to kill them all before they have a chance to get reinforcements there. To do this, send in a few hard targets (Warriors, Paladins, Druids, Hunters) and then have them run past the target or back away. Your goal is to get the defenders to follow you so that your real attackers can get in and hold the objective.
As you advance with the offense at some point you may be killed and not have a graveyard available to rez at in a forward position. When this happens you become a member of the defense and start to help them, until such a time as you die and rez in a forward position again, or the game ends. If many players die and join the defense the game becomes a turtle, which will be discussed later.
The Alliance offense is made up of roughly 30 players that have the following goals.
- Take the 4 key graveyards in this order: Snowfall, Iceblood, Frostwolf, Relief Hut.
- Destroy the towers in the following order: Iceblood, Tower Point, East and West Frostwolf.
- Kill Galvangar at the Iceblood Garrison
- Kill Drek'Thar in Frostwolf Keep
To accomplish these goals the first thing that should be done is to split off a group of 5 players to race forward for the Frostwolf keep objectives (the relief hut and the east and west towers). This groups ideal makeup is 2 druids (tank and healer) and 3 rogues for DPS. With this group they can stealth past everyone else and get to the enemy keep to start capturing them before the rest of the offense catches up.
The rest of the offense works through the other objectives as follows:
- A few players detour to Snowfall to capture it and defend until taken
- The rest split up between the Iceblood graveyard and Galvangar in the Iceblood keep. These should be taken at the same time and can usually easily be done with 10-12 on each.
- As soon as they are taken, 3-4 players from the graveyard stay to defend the graveyard while the rest move to Tower Point to capture it. The players from the keep take Iceblood tower and then leave a few on defense before moving on to help at Tower Point. Once both towers are held and have 2-3 defense the rest move.
- At this time as well the advance stealth group should be at the Frostwolf keep and be attempting to take the relief hut and then the two towers.
- Take the Frostwolf graveyard, leave 2-3 defenders and then move on to help the advance offense.
- At this point the early captured towers and graveyards should be under control or destroyed and their defenders can move up to help the offence.
- Hold the remaining towers and graveyards until they are destroyed or captured and then move into Frostwolf Keep. The leader should call out an "All In". Once everyone is in, the Main Tank can pull, and it is a DPS race to down Drek'Thar.
Remember: If you have aggro from Drek'Thar and run out of the keep, he will reset and go back to full health. It is imperative that you stay in the keep and die rather than reset the fight. Suck it up, die, and run back from the graveyard.
The Horde offense is made up of roughly 30 players that have the following goals.
- Take the 3 key graveyards in this order: Stonehearth, Stormpike and the Aid Station.
- Destroy the Bunkers in the following order: Icewing, North and South Dun Baldar Bunkers
- Kill Balinda in the Stonehearth Bunker.
- Kill Vanndar Stormpike in the Dun Baldar Fortress
To accomplish these goals the first thing that should be done is to split off a group of 5 players to race forward for the Dun Baldar Fortress objectives (the aid station and the north and south bunkers). This groups ideal makeup is 2 druids (tank and healer) and 3 rogues for DPS. With this group they can stealth past everyone else and get to the enemy keep to start capturing them before the rest of the offense catches up.
The rest of the offense works through the other objectives as follows:
- The offense races forward to kill Balinda in Stonehearth Bunker, several players split off to take Stonehearth Graveyard. Usually the graveyard is not defended and can be taken with 3-4 players. The Alliance will want you to take this to prevent the game becoming a turtle.
- As soon as Balinda is dead, everyone moves to Icewing bunker and takes it quickly. Leave 2-3 players defending the bunker and the graveyard until they are destroyed and captured, but it is unlikely that the Alliance will come to recapture it.
- At this time as well the advance stealth group should be at the Dun Baldar Fortress and be attempting to take the aid station and two bunkers.
- You then push on to the choke point at Stormpike Graveyard, where you need to take the graveyard.
- Leave 3-4 defenders at the graveyard as the Alliance will be moving through there from their starting point to reach you from behind on the bridge.
- At this point the early captured bunkers and graveyards should be under control or destroyed and their defenders can move up to help the offence.
- Take the two Dun Baldar bunkers (assuming the early group has not already) and then hold the remaining bunkers and graveyards until they are destroyed or captured and then move into Dun Baldar Fortress.. The leader should call out an "All In". Once everyone is in, the Main Tank can pull, and it is a DPS race to down Vanndar Stormpike..
Remember: If you have aggro from Vanndar and run out of the keep, he will reset and go back to full health. It is imperative that you stay in the keep and die rather than reset the fight. Suck it up, die, and run back from the graveyard.
While on defense your job is basically to slow the enemy down as much as possible. You will not be expected to win the game, as you will be severely out numbered. You can however fear, trap, slow, mind control, polymorph and use every other crowd control or debuff you have to slow the opponent and frustrate them. Some of the very basics are:
- When the enemy is trying to capture something, ignore the player hitting you can interrupt the player capturing.
- Wait until they are grouped up to fear or AOE.
- Try to recapture anything that does fall (other than the Stonehearth graveyard, let them have it or the game becomes a turtle).
- When not hitting someone trying to capture something, focus on a healer.
- Watch for the enemy trying to lure you away from the point you are defending. Do not chase them, stake out your territory and defend it, if they fall back, let them.
While on defense as well, you should aim to control the choke points and the generals buildings. The choke points are the areas where travel is constricted which means the entrance to Frostwolf and the Dun Baldar bridge. These areas are key defensive areas and a good group of fear causing and CC based players can hold off for a very long time. Even once they get past you into the generals room, once they engage a team of shadow priests or warlocks can run in and fear, causing players to run out of the building and reset the encounter. Even when you die right after, the next fear causing player runs in and repeats it. You take turns doing this for as long as you can. If the opponent it on the general and you have several players doing this, you can usually hold them off and reset the general enough to delay them for 3-5 minutes, which should be enough for your offense to win.
Watch for groups that sneak behind you. This can be done by both teams. The first common ways is for alliance to ride west of the Frostwolf graveyard to jump the fence, bypassing the graveyard and its defense. The Horde also tries this by sending in a group under the bridge to get past the defenders if they setup to far forward of the Stormpike Graveyard. Watch for both and be prepared to fall back to stop them.
When the offense fails to push through fast enough, or dies before capturing a forward graveyard the game can quickly become what is called a turtle. What this means is that the defense has enough players to form a hard shell around the general. This usually happens once the defense has 20+ players.
Prior to patch 2.4 this was a very bad thing, since with diminishing returns for honorable kills, you would get very little honor for the length of time the game went on. Post 2.4 however, since diminishing returns were removed, turtles can actually provide a lot of honor to both sides. While previously as soon as a game became a turtle, players would start to leave, I would suggest that they can be fun and rewarding now and it is worth trying to stick it out.
To break a turtle the offense needs to mount up and attempt to ride through the defense to get someone at the next graveyard to capture it. This is hard to do with a good defense, but can be done. The defense's best bet is to use fears and other CC to stop this from happening.
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