Basic first-time BG strategy

It dawns on me that some of you will never have stepped into a battleground. And re-reading a lot of strategies, to include my own, it seems like most of us aren’t giving you much help. Thus, I pontificate.

Caveat 1 – this is for priests. Heal and shadow both will follow, though each in turn as each is different.

Caveat 2 – do not expect to win. In fact, let me change this from caveat to first instruction. Your first few runs have one big objective – figure out what’s where. At a minimum a basic lay of the land to include the places you’ll be spending a lot of time (besides the graveyard(s)). So even in the thick of it, make sure you actually look around. Seriously, there’s going to be a crapload of things happening all at once so much of the time that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So make this your first ‘rule’ – after the game is over, or during if you’ve a moment to spare – ask yourself if you saw something you didn’t know of before. Did you see the weird glowing boot in the tunnel or building? Do you have the least clue what was meant when “All In” came across the raid channel? Did you even READ the raid channel? Did you get a chance to get to the third floor of your base in WSG – or did you even know it was there? Did you see more than two ways to the blacksmith? And so on and so forth.

The second thing you’ll work on learning is the ebb and flow of the battle. Regardless of whether it’s good or bad, all the battlegrounds have a pattern. WSG has the first mad dash, killing in the middle, then a flow of “flag captured” “hunt and kill the carrier” (and guard our carrier), and endstate (drop or cap). Oh, and the 30 second pulses from the graveyard AoE rez. I use that for example – all the BGs have their patterns. And once you get a feel for that you’ll be able to anticipate a bit better – and to figure out when something is ‘wrong’ or ‘very, very right’.

But none of that is strategy, it’s analysis. WHAT DO I DO?

First, you die. Sorry, you’re going to die. A lot. Live with it, accept it, and go on. But there are a couple of things you can do to reduce you’re dying. Let’s play with them, shall we? Healpriest first.

One really big trick you can do is communicate. (aargh, there’s that word again). Pick someone in your group – not raid, GROUP – who is high level and is DPS. Sure, tank-types are ideal, but for now it just doesn’t matter. Fire off a quick party message – “Hey, XX, I’m a BG Noob. I’d like to tag along with you and focus on healing you. OK?”

heh – bet you get something along the lines of “sure” – while the player’s REALLY thinking both, “Darn, a noob,” and “HOLY CRAP MY OWN PERSONAL HEALER I’M GONNA OWNZ!!!” still. “Sure.” heh.

And then – you do what you said. You treat this person like your own dedicated tank. Now not just healing as needed, but if you’re in trouble, yell “help” and run toward that player. Odds are – if that player is halfway competent – you’ll get some assistance. Oh – and if the player says something like, oh, “run toward my pet” — do it. But remember you told the person up front, “I’m a noob.” They’ll not be expecting miracles of battle.

Do this two or three more times till you get a feel for the place. Then start working on groups. Or even raids.

Now you’re going to get yelled at. “Why aren’t you healing me, you noob,” will be the more polite versions. That’s ok, there are a lot of hypercompetitive children (mental age) playing this game. You have to learn before you can be good. Just note the idiots – if they continue to be problems, you’ll know who to work on/with as appropriate at a later time. For what it’s worth, I’ve learned that if I respond, “Because I’m a NOOB at this BG stuff,” (yes, I’ve macro’d it) I tend to get laughter and a lot of helpful advice — though I do get the occasional practical joke. (sigh)

OK, but what about the shadow side? heh – this one is both easier and uglier. That’s because you have two choices. Well, three, actually. Let’s start with that third. You can pretend to be a heal-priest. It works – seriously. Except every so often you slap someone with a shadowspell. If it’s mindflay the beam will tell everyone who you are, but the lack of shadowform is going to cause a bit of confusion. If you skip mindflay… fun ensues. Remember that you’re NOT going to top the charts your first few times playing. More critically, you’re probably not going to make a major contribution to the success of your side. Again, your first few times are to learn what the heck is going on here. That said, there are a couple of other options for you to pursue that are more oriented to your “I am Shadow, beware” persona.

Option one is to explore, killing (or at least trying to kill) anything that happens to get near you. Poke into all the buildings and tunnels and caves. Watch all the talk, trying to figure out what the heck “1 to BS” means from seeing who goes where. I don’t recommend this, really, but it’s an option.

Option two is my recommendation, and that’s to pretend it’s a free-wheeling PVE encounter. /p (that is, talk to the PARTY) and say, “I’m a noob. Who’s leading, and can I follow so I can VE and VT?” (If you’re lower level and can’t VT, trust me when I tell you VE is still appreciated.) And when you get a response, don’t hesitate to additionally ASK when you get an instruction you don’t understand. “IGY? What the heck is IGY – and WHERE is it?”

OK, now we need to add one more common strategy/tactic. What do you do when you die – and again you will, often. Remember that I’ve recommended you pick up a guide. So what you do is ask them, “Where are you and where should I meet you?” If their answer confuses you, say so. Look, in WSG it’s going to be a piece of cake to get there. Everywhere else you could conceivably be on the other end of the battlefield and never able to join due to intervening Bad Guys. Doesn’t matter – try anyway. If you get another visit to the graveyard, just tell your guide it’s happened (while you’re dead) and ask where to meet him or her now. Or if you should attach to someone else.

That last needs a note – a final note, really. In AV, if the other side gets certain positions they shut down your ability to get from the Defensive graveyard where you rezzed to the other side of the valley. It’s Just Not Happening, not for us priests. (Stealthers and really fast runners can make it, sometimes.) So we need to be prepared to change up. Just pick someone in your area, preferably in your group so you can easily use your minimap as an aid, and start the “Me noob, you friend?” (MNYF) routine again.

You’re going to die. A lot. Your side is probably going to lose often. Accept it. Learn from it. Play more, anyway.

Oh – one peculiar benefit from the whole “MNYF” routine. For some reason, once someone starts talking – coordinating – even with one other player (see healpriest routine), everyone else realizes they can talk too. It may not be well-coordinated, it may not lead to a win, but… it sure seems to do so more often than NOT doing it.

Regardless, have fun.

~ by Kirk on February 26, 2008.

One Response to “Basic first-time BG strategy”

  1. MNYF? hahahaha. Definitely worth a try. All good advice. A few things to sideways from, I guess.

    Caveat 1 (nee 2): do not expect to win. I never go into a BG expecting to win; there are too many variables compared to a PVE run with guildies (19, at minimum). Set yourself goals, as you say – once you’ve worked out what to do, escalate. Try running the flag as disc, pre 70 (I’ve lost the screenshot, sadly, but, once, I ran the flag all three times). Persuade everyone in AB that a 1800/2000 loss is better than a 1000/2000 loss. Go find Snivvle in AV. I think you underrate the exploration option – one of your goals should probably be, for one battle in each bg at least, mess around; go places. A frightening number of people do not know how useful the slope to the right of the WSG enemy’s base is; there’s a gap in the fence on the way up, too. There are at least 3 good hiding places in WSG that are NOT on the 3rd floor (one of my proudest moments in wsg was finding one of them, and though we lost the flag, it took *6* people to winkle us out). AB? There are 5 ways into BS that I know of, for priests, and no-one but another priest can tell you about the 5th – so explore.

    Caveat 2 (nee 1): yeah, you die. Oddly, I think accepting this is harder for priests than for most other classes. Yes, leveling a priest is slow – but only leveling alts and duoing with other characters showed me how rarely we die. There should be a special BG loading screen for priests which simply says – ‘you come back with full mana and health in 30 seconds – srsly, it’s OK.’

    Incidentally, if attack have a gy in AV, you’re not trapped. In most BGs, you can’t spirit run – you just get teleported back to your original GY. In AV, not so. Die, check the map for contested or taken GYs, and head for it, especially if you are a NElf (+50% corpse speed).. that said, if the gods of war throw you back on defense, I think your best option is to find the chokepoint, POM and flash it till you’re -well – NOT blue in the face, then scream… and come back to do it again.

    If you have an alt that’s still in Azeroth, run them to the appropriate BG entrance (the real one, not the city queue). Most offer quests for respectable ep that help with understanding the BGs, as well as respectable gear if you decide you like pvp enough to stay for a while (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=19597 – level 40). I’m not sure if it’s *absolutely* worth the time since the ep boost, but I used the 50 equivalent until I qualified for outlands. It’s also the only way to get the AV trinket (http://www.wowhead.com/?search=Stormpike+insignia), and the only way you can get the stormpike battle standard* (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=19045)… and my goodness me does that bolster defence.

    One final note regarding AB & WSG: it’s useful to get an alt in there before 40. Both are designed, IMO, for pre-mount – and certainly pre-epic mount – & grasping their strategic subtleties is easier at run speed than mount speed.

    (I guess this is ice;
    I throw my stone in blue pools –
    Cold angel is near)

    *apparently you can buy it, on a whim, from the vendor in AV, also

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