Basic Guide to Alterac Valley
Troll Studios presents…
Viskahn’s Nub Guide to Alterac Valley
Introduction to Alterac Valley
Im going to say it now, and again at the end;
Moving swiftly on then..
I decided to write this since ive seen a lot of posts asking what to
do in AV, what various items are used for etc, and there is
currently no guide on the forums to answer these questions.
Alterac Valley (AV) is a battleground located in the Alterac
Mountains. Its capacity is 40 horde players and 40 alliance,
fighting across a pretty big battlefield littered with graveyards,
bunkers and various other features.
The main thing which distinguishes AV from the other battlegrounds
is the strong NPC presence, as well as the secondary objectives and
quests which can be done inside it. Some people dislike the concept,
others such as me, love it. This gives AV a different style of play
completely to the other battlegrounds, as you have to overcome not
only the enemy players but also the NPCs and static defences which
are in place.
A typical game of AV (PuG vs PuG) can range from anything between
4-20 hours, though usually something like 5-8. Hence it is not
something to do if you just want a quick fight, AV is a serious
timesink and if you expect any reasonable amount of reputation or
honor from it (though honor is better farmed elsewhere) then be
prepared to stay for at least 3-4 hours.
OK, as with all BGs, AV is divided roughly into two halves, the
alliance controlling the northern half with their main base at the
top, Dun Baldar. The horde control the southern area with their base
of Frostwolf Village. Each bases is defending by 2 towers/bunkers
(explained more later) as well as ridiculous amounts of NPCs. The
objective of the game is to kill the enemy general, who is basically
a raid boss, who resides right at the “end” of the enemy base, in
his fortress. Each base also boasts a graveyard, along with various
NPC vendors, quest givers and of course, crates.
Moving out of the base, each team has another graveyard pretty close
to their base, situated along the main road, and there is also an
NPC controlled Mine near each teams base (details later). Moving
even further on there is a line of static defences and NPC guards
(there are guards patrolling pretty much everywhere) as well as
another graveyard for each team.
Now we are in the middle of the battlefield, on the Field of Strife,
with a neutral starting graveyard, Snowfall, which can be claimed by
whichever team captures it first.
On the northern and southern edges of the field of strife is also an
“Outpost” which houses each sides captain, who provides periodic
buffs as long as he/she is alive. There is also a 4th and final
tower for each team situated between the outpost and their
graveyards near the field of strife.
A pretty good map of AV is available here:
The only things not up-to-date is the central graveyard which used
to be horde controlled, but now starts neutral. And on the mid
eastern and western sides of the battleground, the 2 caves no longer
exist (update plx blizz).
Most people go to Alterac Valley only to gain reputation with
Stormpike or Frostwolf. You can see a list of rewards at different
reputation levels here:
The fastest way to get reputation is to win, and destroy all towers,
capture all graveyards, kill all lieutenants/commanders/captain and
basically "do" everything.
You automatically gain 1 reputation every time somebody hands in an
item in the battleground, as well as recieving small amounts for
doing quests, destroying towers, defending towers, ditto for
graveyards and so forth. Basically, pretty much everything which
helps your team will get you reputation.
Beware of "leechers" who will just sit somewhere with an anti-afk
macro on, getting reputation from everyone elses hard work without
doing anything themselves. If you find one, report him to a GM and
hope that they will actually do something about it.
Quests perhaps isn’t the right word, but there are several missions
that you can undertake in AV to help your team in various ways.
Whenever someone in the battleground (on your team) does one of
these, everyone in the battleground will usually receive a tiny
little bit of reputation with your battleground faction.
Also bare in mind that all quest items except for the “Headhunting”
ones will disappear when you leave the battleground, so try to hand
them in before you leave. They disappear to prevent someone spending
a week hoarding quest items, then going into a battleground,
unleashing every single NPC attack/upgrade available all right at
the start and instantly creaming the enemy with an unstoppable push.
Note that killing NPCs can also yield most of these items.
Blacksmith Supplies – For either team, when you kill an enemy
you can effectively loot their corpse by right clicking it. You get
a couple of silver and some quest items, and sometimes a grey junk
item with a humorous name (Broken IWIN button for instance) which
serves no purpose. One of the things you are likely to find is armor
scraps. You get about 5-10 of these per player usually, and in your
main base your blacksmith NPC will accept stacks of 20 of them. When
you and your team-mates have handed in enough of these scraps, you
will have the option to upgrade your NPC guards and patrols. You
should do this immediately since there is no real downside to doing
The guards have 4 levels of upgrade – Default (no rank), Seasoned,
Veteran and Champion. Obviously, the more upgraded they are, the
stronger. Even after you have champions you can still hand in armor
scraps just for the reputation.
Elemental Lords – Sometimes when you loot an enemy player,
you will find either a Storm Crystal (for alliance looting horde) or
a Stormpike Soldier’s Blood (for horde looting alliance). When you
have handed in a LOT of these (500 or so I think? Not sure…) then in
your base, the Primalist for horde or Archdruid for alliance, will
yell for assistance. He and an escort of shamans/druids will then
proceed towards the field of strife. Once they reach the outskirts,
they will begin a summoning ritual. They will then require 10
players to come and help the summon (the same as a beefed up warlock
summoning). After the ritual is done, an elemental lord will enter
the field of strife. For alliance this is Ivus the Forest Lord, and
for horde it is Lokholar the Icelord.
These 2 bosses will remain on the field of strife for roughly 20
minutes before heading towards the enemy base, obliterating all in
their path. These things are extremely tough to take down, and
virtually impossible if the other team is good at healing/buffing
them. The best way, owing to a pretty stupid AI, is simply to have a
hunter pull the boss all the way back to your teams general, who
will then annihilate the puny elemental lord.
Note if the primalist/druid is killed before they can start the
summoning ritual, then that is the end of it, and you have just
wasted a lot of blood/storm crystals, and will have to wait for a
pretty hefty respawn time.
Cavalry! – To get your teams cavalry onto the field requires
2 things. Firstly, some of your team will have to spend some time
taming wolves for horde or rams for alliance (you are given the
taming thing with the quest) and returning them to the stable-master
NPC who you got the quest from. For alliance he is at the back of
Dun Baldar, for the horde he is outside of the base on the eastern
side of the BG, south of the entry portal.
The other part of this is to collect ram or wolf hides. This means
you have to kill the opposing teams beasts (ie if you are horde you
kill rams and vice versa) and loot a “Alterac Ram Hide” or
“Frostwolf Hide”. Once you have collected 25 wolves/rams and 25
ram/wolf hides respectively, you can give the order to let loose the
cavalry. They will march out to the field of strife and remain there
patrolling a set route until told otherwise. However, if you have
some reputation with your Alterac faction (honoured I think) you can
then talk to the cavalry commander and tell him to attack. This will
then cause your cavalry to charge towards the enemy base. Cavalry
can prove deadly against the enemy zerg, and should be used wisely
since once the commander is dead he has a long respawn before you
can start collecting stuff again.
Another note is that by killing the enemy cavalry commander, this
will automatically force the enemy cavalry to attack in the same way
as if the attack order was given. This is useful just if you have
the enemy cavalry patrolling and want to get rid of them quickly
before the other team can use them at a better time.
Aerial Support – Another thing you may loot from time to time
is either Frostwolf Medals (for alliance killing horde) or Stormpike
Flesh (for horde killing alliance, not to be confused with the blood
required for the icelord). There are 3 different types and they
appear to be “dropped” pretty much at random. Until you have rescued
your wing commanders, there is nothing you can do with these.
Each team has 3 wing commanders, all of which have been captured and
are being held prisoner by the enemy. For the horde these are as
follows – Wing Commander Guse is in Icewing Bunker, Jeztor is in the
Stormpike Lumber Mill, and Mulverick is in the Dun Baldar North
Bunker. For the alliance, I don’t know the names, but they are in
Tower Point, a little hut near the gate of frostwolf village, and in
frostwolf villages western tower.
When you have found them, you can talk to them and tell them to go
back to base. This they will do, and it is up to you to protect them
until they get there. If they are killed along the way then that’s
it, they don’t respawn. This means that it is a really bad
idea to try to free one when he is in the middle of a tower with
loads of NPCs guarding him, as he will just be slaughtered by the
Once they are back in base however, the wing commanders will accept
a certain type of medal/flesh depending on which wing commander they
are. Once you have handed in enough of whatever they want, you will
be able to do 2 things.
1) Obtain a beacon, which must be planted somewhere on the field of
strife and protected for 1 minute. After this minute is up, a bat
rider or gryphon rider (depending on faction) will come and fly
around the field of strife. You can get one of these for each wing
commander, and having 3 of these things flying around battering the
enemy is a nice advantage.
2) Tell the wing commander to attack, upon which he/she will mount
up on his/her bat/gryphon and fly to a specific location, after
which they will act pretty much like a normal bat rider but a lot
tougher and more powerful.
You can do each of these things for each wing commander, so there is
no sense in telling a wing commander to attack before you have
gotten a beacon from him/her.
Also note after the wing commander is out flying, there is then no
use whatsoever for his/her specific type of flesh/medal, so you can
safely destroy it.
Mines and Infantry Assaults – Near each teams base is a mine.
At the start of the game this will be controlled by neutral NPCs. At
the centre of each mine is a named neutral NPC boss, and if killed,
your teams NPC miners will then come to the mine and start mining.
The neutral boss isn’t too hard, and a stealth team should easily
take him out. The mine will then be under your control for about an
hour until the neutrals come and reclaim it. Whilst the mine is
under your control, supplies will begin to spawn. In your base you
can get a quest to gather these supplies in bundles of 10. Once
enough supplies have been turned in, you will have the option of
sending an infantry attack (reavers for horde, commandos for
alliance) which are much like the cavalry. You will need to get the
attack orders from an NPC in your base and give them to your
infantry commander, who should be on the field of strife somewhere
waiting for you. After you have given them to him, he and his
infantry will start their attack.
Note that it is perfectly possible to claim the opposing teams mine,
and supplies gathered there are a lot more “valuable” to your team
than those gathered from your home mine, but naturally the trip is a
long longer and far more perilous.
It is also possible to capture a mine directly from the opposing
team. To do this, do exactly the same as if it were controlled by
neutrals, and kill the named NPC at the centre of the mine.
Capturing a mine is instant once the NPC is dead (explained with
It has been confirmed that a total of 30 trips from your "home" mine
(ie the one closer to your base) or 5 trips from the enemy mine (or
a combination of both) is the requirement for a ground assault.
(Thanks to Keras for that info)
Lieutenants, Commanders and Captains
Scattered around the battlefield in each teams halves are 6
lieutenants, 4 commanders and a captain. Each of these provide the
enemy with various uses-
-The lieutenants control various NPC spawns, so by killing them you
prevent the respawn of certain enemy NPC guards.
-The commanders are in towers and bunkers, and also command NPC
spawnpoints. Hence they offer the same benefits for killing as a
lieutenant, but also need to be killed if you plan on taking the
-The captains, as mentioned earlier, provide a periodic battleshout
buff to everyone on their team in the battleground. They are heavily
guarded in their outposts, and pretty tough to take down. Killing
them will also grant you an extra battleshout buff (assuming your
captain is alive still) and prevent the respawn of the NPCs near the
outpost. The Hordes captain is called Galvanger, and is a melee
fighter with various warrior skills, whilst the Alliance captain -
Balinda - is a mage.
So basically, these guys are all worth taking out. The best way I
find is to just pull and kite them into your teams zerg, and then
spam /attacktarget and hope people will pay some attention. It
doesn’t require a huge amount of effort to kill them and they don’t
Towers, Bunkers and Graveyards
Basically, towers and bunkers provide static defence points as you
would expect. They are manned with NPC archers/bowmen who have a
nice range and are pretty good at sniping and annoying, so it is
worth taking out the towers to eliminate these guys. Most towers
also have a commander at the top, who is a pretty tough cookie, and
some have captured wing commanders. There are also some anti-stealth
Towers are controlled by flags. At the top of every bunker or tower
is a flagroom, well defended with guards of course. In order to
destroy an enemy tower (note you cannot capture them, only destroy
them) you must first take the flag, which requires you to “open” it
for 10 seconds. After this, you must then hold the tower for 5
minutes and prevent the enemy from taking it back. After these 5
minutes are up, the tower will burst into flames and it is
destroyed. Obviously, if the enemy has any sense they will try to
reclaim it when they see that a tower is under attack (it is
broadcast across AV whenever something important happens). If you
want to reclaim a tower under attack, you must similarly “open” the
flag for 10 seconds, and if done successfully then the tower will be
back under your control and the NPCs will respawn pretty shortly.
That’s pretty much all there is to towers.
Now graveyards, these provide a place for you to resurrect when you
die. As with other battlegrounds, the spirit healer will resurrect
all the ghosts in the graveyard every 30 seconds.
The graveyards are controlled by flags similarly to towers. The flag
will be defended by 4 NPC guards and sometimes a lieutenant. Same as
with towers, if you manage to capture a flag, it will be 5 minutes
before the graveyard comes under your control. Notably however,
whilst the graveyard is under attack/contested, the enemy will be
unable to resurrect there.
When you die and release your spirit, your ghost will appear at the
nearest graveyard controlled by your team and you will
recieve a countdown to resurrection. When the countdown reaches 0,
you are resurrected with full life and mana and your pet alive, at
You are ALWAYS ressed at the closest graveyard owned by your team,
so if an alliance side controls ONLY frostwolf graveyard and the
entry tunnel (there are spirit healers at the entrance/exit portal
to the battleground) then if you die at say, iceblood, you will be
nearer to frostwolf and be transported there when you release. You
can still run to another graveyard owned by your team and res there
if you like, but never at a contested or enemy owned graveyard.
The only other thing worth mentioning about graveyards is Snowfall
(SF) and Korrak. Before 1.8 (I think) Korrak roamed the field of
strife and had a quest to kill him. It caused too much annoyance
however, that everyone was constantly asking to “OMG KILLZ KORRAX
PLS I NEED QEUST” and not actually fighting, so blizzard removed the
quest, made Snowfall start neutral and put Korrak and some elite
trolls there to guard it. And that’s how SF starts, neutral and
guarded by elite trolls. These are easily enough killed, but Korrak
is still a pain in the ass. The only realistic way to capture
snowfall is by kiting korrak away from the flag whilst someone else
captures it. This makes the first 30 mins of any AV match usually a
case of each team trying to lure korrak into the enemy zerg whilst
they capture the flag and so forth.
Korrak will remain there even after you capture snowfall, and whilst
he provides some good extra defence, he is still hostile and will
attack you when you have just resurrected. This means snowfall is a
bit of a pain in the ass in general.
Note: Korrak and his trolls have packed their bags and left Alterac
Valley once and for all in 1.10(?), so now Snowfall operates just
like a standard graveyard.
OK now you know what AV is all about, lets discuss what you actually
may want to do.
Usually since it is 40 vs 40, the vast majority of players will join
one large “zerg” of players and slug it out with the opposing zerg
constantly (think world war 2 trenches). This is just a fact of AV
and isn’t going to change, so accept it.
However, if you are an intelligent player who doesn’t want to just
be part of the zerg, then good for you, and there are other things
you can do.
Try to get a group of 5 people who you know can play, who you trust,
and who aren’t idiots. With 5 good men in an organised group, you
should be able to take down a bunker, graveyard or mine with ease.
So do this, go around killing lieutenants, commanders and attacking
towers and graveyards etc.
If there is really nothing available, then join the zerg and PUSH. A
single warrior supported by 2 healers can easily push forward 50
yards within a few seconds. The zerg mentality prevents them from
doing this much, but if they see you a warrior charging forward and
not dying, a fair few might join in, and the rest will
follow. This is how you push.
If you cant get a nice 5-man group going, do something else useful.
Go and farm materials for your cavalry, gather supplies for your
infantry and so forth. It might not be especially interesting, but
its how to win the game.
Play Your Class
and I cannot emphasise this enough. If you are grouped with someone,
you share honor with them. This means that if you are a priest and
are grouped with a warrior, you will BOTH be better off if you heal
him instead of going shadowform and trying to kill stuff. If you
aren’t in a group as a healer, then join one or make one, and do
some healing. If you are healing people in your group, they last
longer and get more kills, so you all get more honor. Everybody
Similarly, if you are a rogue like me, try to get some other rogues
and a druid or two, and do stealth attacks on towers, graveyards and
the likes. To get through how useful this can be, here is an
I was in an AV match and we were losing badly, the enemy was in our
base and we were only just holding on to our final graveyard. Me and
a couple of other rogues stealthed right up to the other end of the
battlefield and captured stormpike graveyard. Gradually more and
more alliance came back to try to take it back off us, whilst more
horde came up to help us defend it. Eventually the alliance didn’t
have enough people left in our base to kill anything, so the
remaining defending horde pushed out of our base and we captured the
other graveyards and suddenly the entire situation was reversed. We
were then at THEIR base, most alliance quit just out of sheer anger,
and we won easily. None of that would’ve happened if not for our
little stealth attack on stormpike.
Finally, mages and warlocks, use AoE! You may not get quite as many
kills and you may die a bit more (but AV isn’t for honor farming)
but you will push forward far better. A team of 3-4 mages can
literally destroy an entire zerg of 20-30 people if they all blink
in and start spamming nova/ae/blast wave and so forth. Druids can
also use hurricane for AoE when the enemy zerg is nicely compact in
a tight area. Hell as a rogue i used to do stealth-sprint runs into
the enemy zerg and use my chained essence of eranikus (http://www.thottbot.com/?i=5073)
which was rather amusing. The bottom line is if you have AoE, use
Want an example? Back a while ago i was in a pretty evenly matched
AV when in came a rank 14 warrior (damn you jimmeh) along with a
couple of paladins healing/buffing/cleansing him. the guy was
unstoppable, he just charged in, immune to snaring thanks to
blessing of freedom and racked up about 50 kills within 5 mins. and
the paladins being equally as hard to kill because they are paladins
meant there was no easy solution. eventually i resorted to just
sapping/stunlocking jimmeh whenever i saw him, but it didnt help
much. they pushed us back to our base in no time at all.
If jimmeh and the paladins had not been helping each other out,
jimmeh would get creamed (ish) and the paladins wouldnt be able to
kill anything anyway. teamwork.
Coordination is everything
Regardless of what you think of the balance of AV as a battleground,
one thing remains true – a well organised team will always beat a
badly organised team. If there is no raid group, start one up, if
nobody knows what to do and you have a tactical mind, start giving
some orders. Not many people will listen to you at first (I know
from experience) but gradually people will begin to see it is
working and listen to you. Get a stealth group to go take
stonehearth bunker, move 10 men back to defend iceblood whilst the
rest try to kill balinda. Whatever, the point is, if everyone knows
exactly what they are doing and work as a team, you will win.
Similarly, communicate. If you see 5 people headed towards
one of your towers, say it in the general channel that they are
attacking and you will need help. Same if people are going to a
graveyard or your captain or WHATEVER. Information doesn’t hurt
anyone, so make sure you always let people know what is going on.
To give another example, I became quite well known on deathwing as
an AVer who knew what he was doing basically. I might not be a high
pvp rank but eventually I DID get some respect in AV. One time when
I entered the battleground and joined the raid group, I was
immediately made leader and some people asked me what they should
do. Now I was as shocked as anyone would be at that, since, no
offence to anyone, I am used to just utter stupidity in AV. But we
got organised and flattened the alliance in no time, it WORKS.
Finally, if there is someone who is already giving out tactics and
you disagree with him, don’t start a petty argument in the general
channel, whisper him and give him some suggestions, and just try to
work as a team and be constructive. Really, that’s all there is to
winning AV, coordination, communication and organisation. Simple.
Well that’s all ive got for now, ill try to update this when I think
of more stuff to say, but until then, I hope some people find this
And let me just say it one more time: If
you need more in-depth coverage of battle grounds and PvP tactics,
Spugnort's PVP guide, there's a small fee for it, but it's well worth it in
- Viskahn Out