Is Blizzard's latest PvP instance worth the wait?
With Wrath of the Lich King, a new Battleground is upon us. Using Siege Mechanics like Wintergrasp's, Strand of the Ancients is the newest instanced battle available for players eager for a new PvP challenge in Blizzard's newest expansion.
In this Battleground, teams of 15 people, Horde and Alliance, fight to either attack or defend a fortress from the opposing side.
If attacking, your goal is to break down all the walls stopping you from claiming the final area with Siege Weaponry. Currently, you have 10 minutes to capture the opposing team's base.
If defending, your goal is to use anti-personnel turrets and any means necessary to stop your enemies from gaining ground in your base and thus advancing toward their goal.
Strand of the Ancients Loading Screen
So we've covered the basics on how Strand of the Ancients works. We've mentioned Siege Weapons and such, but how exactly do they work, where are they, and what performance can you expect out of them? People hoping that WoW becomes the next Unreal Tournament-style PvP competition may be happy to learn that Stats and Class don't matter at all when controlling a vehicle - only skill and luck.
Skill to aim and shoot correctly, as well as luck to have people working with you in order to prevent your vehicle from being shot down or destroyed. While it's awesome to think that a massive truck of death could stomp on anything in its path without major damage, this is WoW, and those pesky Lightning Bolts and Big Hammers will definitely put your vehicle in trouble given the chance!
Map of the Battleground
People on Offense get to start the Battleground on a boat, for 1 whole minute. It is unwise for you to do anything but wait as the boat moves forward toward the shore, as you may be left behind since you're moving at an extremely fast speed. Be careful for the enemy camping the dock, though, and while it has your first 2 siege machines ready for boarding, they may be destroyed quickly should a sizable enemy force be awaiting for you and your team.
If you die, you will be ressing at the shore, which is as good a place as any. Your first task is to destroy the first wall(s) and obtain a secondary Graveyard. You may do this by boarding siege vehicles and attacking the enemy fortress, or simply escorting your faction members as they man their vehicles.
Alternatively, you may go on the offensive by foot, and if you're sneaky enough (think Solid Snake sneaky), maybe you'll get on an Anti-Personnel turret's blindside and destroy it with ease from below!
As you keep on taking walls down and gaining Graveyards, you will gain access to more vehicles from the Goblin Workshops - it is up to you to know when to use them, and secure victory for your troops!
During this phase, you get to use Siege Weapons like Siege Tanks and Catapults, depending on how much you have advanced and the time in the match. You must be somewhat close (and in range of the anti-personnel turrets) in order to assault the gates, so you must have proper support or your assault will be short-lived.
Defend the Base!
If you're charged with defending the Base, you have the hardest task yet. With little to no help from machinery, you have to delay your opponents the best you can in order to beat the round. You should position people defending the turrets in every single gate, as well as people manning the same turrets in order to let the gates survive long enough to claim your goal.
Destroying Walls gets you a new Graveyard and closer to your goal!
From the start, you should position yourself laying in wait for the initial onslaught of players along with fellow teammates. A few in the first gates, and a few attacking those who come at the shore. Be sure to destroy any and all Siege Weaponry available first and foremost, as players can't damage the walls otherwise. If you keep defeating the enemy siege weapons before they reach your gate, you will have no trouble winning the round. A good thing about this battleground is that a good set of tactics will take you very far and let you win over those who just randomly go running about.
These cannons, or turrets, need one person to man them and shoot to the ground. You cannot target people. It is ideal that you target the ground where your opponents WILL be, rather than the ground they are currently at. This is an ancient technique passed down from FPS god to FPS gods (well, not really, but it's common sense), since you will increase the chance of hitting people by atleast 100%, unless they're walking and turning with their keyboards and remain static for a long while.
You win the Battleground if you have successfully won both attack and defend phases, or based on the progress both teams made across the battlefield. Since progress will almost always be different, a winner is not hard to be declared.
Winning in this Battleground gives you Faction with a new Alliance or Horde offensive - a feature we didn't have when Eye of the Storm was introduced. In addition, you will gain the standard tokens for wins/losses and some bonus honor depending on your team's overall performance.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth coverage of the final Siege Weapons added to this battleground!