Updated Tue, Dec 14, 2010 by Cyrak
Twin Peaks is the new 10 player battleground in Cataclysm. The objective is Capture the Flag. The simplest explanation of the battleground is that it's Warsong Gulch with a different layout. The map has the same power-ups that Warsong does as well as a roughly similar map design (two large enemy bases opposing each other across a field). The devil, and genius, of battleground design is always in the details though and Twin Peaks doesn't disappoint.
The most notable feature about twin peaks is the river that snakes through the center of the map and terminates at the Horde base. The biggest change in the new Cataclysm battlegrounds is the use of asymmetrical terrain in map design. The water seems to provide a tactical edge to the Horde side by making their base more difficult to exit swiftly whereas the Alliance base has quite a few quick exits without the hindrance of swim speed. However, that factor can quickly turn into an advantage for an Alliance team that uses the water to their advantage. Druids and classes that have water-walking abilities can make liberal use of the water in their flag running strategies adding layers of complexity that don't exist in Warsong Gulch.
Twin Peaks has the same power-ups as Warsong Gulch and they're arrayed in a similar fashion as well. As you can see marked on the map the green circles indicate the "relief huts" where the regeneration power-up is and the red circles are the "berserker huts" with the damage increasing buff. The graveyard locations are marked with light blue circles.
As many people are no doubt aware Cataclysm is introducing a button that will appear while dead -- "Return to Graveyard" -- which will teleport you to the graveyard. This means that you can actually make a run at your corpse if it's nearby and you want to get back into the fight quickly without having a horrendous walk back if someone picks up your insignia before you make it there since you can teleport back right before it's time for the spirit to resurrect you! Each side has two graveyards which allow you to get back into the fight faster than ever.
Twin Peaks map design is the perfect blend of simplicity and possibilities. Click to enlarge.
The bases in Twin Peaks are set up in a manner that's reminiscent of the Warsong Gulch bases, but significantly different. Each base has three entrances; one on the East side, one on the West side and one directly at the front of the base. The front entrance of both bases is reached by a long, straight ramp. The front entrance of each base has a ramp leading to a second floor balcony that overlooks the flag room, the front entrance also has a ground level passageway leading directly into the flag room.
The flag room itself has two other exits: the East and West side exits to the base. The East Horde entrance and the West Alliance entrance can be accessed either through the front ramp or from a path going around the side from the East and West respectively. The East Alliance base exit is a ramp that runs down near the West zone wall whereas the Horde West exit is a pipe that exits into deep water immediately. There are logs in the water in various places around the Horde base that can be used as ways to run across the water as well. All in all Blizzard has given players a lot of different strategic and tactical avenues to pursue in this new BG.
The state of play is underdeveloped at this point so any insights into how the game will actually be played on live servers is pure speculation. There are certainly some notable trends and important map locations though. The central bridge that crosses the river dividing the map is typically the main area of conflict. This bridge is the only area where a group of players can cross the river in force without being easily intercepted (of course, if you've got a Death Knight with path of frost then this isn't the case). Players tend to gravitate and fight near this bridge, if you can control it then it accomplishes the same purpose as central map control in Warsong Gulch: it allows you to assist your offense who is trying to return the flag, and cuts off the opposing team's flag carrier from reinforcements.
Unlike Warsong, the exits to the base are relatively straight forward and allow flag runners a large degree of freedom when it comes to choosing their route. In Warsong you have the option to either run through a confining tunnel, waste time running far to the East or West to go down the ramp, or risk running past the opposing team's graveyard. However, in Twin Peaks you have 180 degrees of potential paths as soon as you exit the front entrance, and the Horde West and Alliance East exits allow you to conceal yourself from the enemy. Flag carriers can quickly reach the rivers which can be used as concealment; it can be very difficult to spot a flag carrier that is currently underwater and outright impossible if your graphics are at low settings. This means flag carriers have more options and require less protection. It creates a very dynamic style of play and gives Twin Peaks the potential to be one of the best Battlegrounds out there.
Here you can get a decent look at the map and what's involved in playing the Twin Peaks Battleground. You can also laugh at how horrible I am at playing a Hunter. Spending half your play time looking through the spellbook is not the mark of a great player!
This video is a full, uncut Twin Peaks match from the Beta servers so feel free to skip past boring parts. It's also worth noting, for you Hunters out there, that you shouldn't use Camouflage when you are carrying the flag! I learned that one the hard way.