Alterac Valley

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Basic Guide to Alterac Valley






Viskahn's Basic Guide to Alterac Valley


Angry 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.

The Basics

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.

The Quests

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 it.
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 guards immediately.
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 towers/graveyards later).
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 enemy towers.
-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 respawn.

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 units.
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 the graveyard.
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.

The Zerg
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 wins.

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 example;
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 ( which was rather amusing. The bottom line is if you have AoE, use it!

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.

In Conlusion

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 thread useful.
And let me just say it one more time:
 If you need more in-depth coverage of battle grounds and PvP tactics, check out  Spugnort's PVP guide, there's a small fee for it, but it's well worth it in my opinion.

- Viskahn Out




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