The Alterac Valley battleground is physically located in the Hillsbrad Foothills at the foot of Alterac Mountains. The Frostwolf Clan is lead by the blind Shaman Drek'thar, who taught Thrall the ways of Shamanism and helped found Orgrimmar. The Stonepike Guard is lead by Vanndar Stormpike, a Mountain King. AV is the long time home of the Frostwolf Clan but also the sight of many thought to be lost dwarven artifacts. Both sides struggle to remove their opponents from the land entirely.
AV is a 40v40 battleground with level ranges 51-60, 61-70, 71-79, 80.
The game can be won in two ways: killing the enemy generals or whittling down enemy reinforcements to 0. Each side begins with 600 reinforcements, which can be reduced by achieving certain objectives.
The various reinforcement-affecting objectives are as follows:
- Killing the enemy Captain takes away 100 reinforcements. Captain Balinda Stonehearth is the Alliance Captain, while Captain Galvangar serves the Horde.
- Burning down an enemy bunker or tower takes away 75 reinforcements. There are four towers per side, for a total of 300 reinforcements. Additionally, burning down a bunker or tower eliminates an Alliance Marshal or Horde Warmaster respectively. These elite NPCs serve as the Generals' bodyguards and increase the Generals' total health by 25% each (for a total of 100% additional health if all four are up).
- Killing an enemy player reduces enemy reinforcements on a 1:1 basis.
AV has the most asymmetrical battleground map in the game. Both factions swear that the other has some sort of geographical advantage but I've played both sides, I see none.
Don't worry about being confused for your first few games. The map is large and can be very confusing for new players. Take some time and get to know the landscape, particularly the locations and names of key points such as graveyards and bunkers/towers. Don't worry too much if you lose your way going to a place, and it's generally a good idea to follow the crowd for the first few games just to get into the flow of things.
Most players already familiar with AV will abbreviate all objectives and tend to be massive tools when it comes to explaining what they mean. Here's a list of the more popular abbreviations.
- Relief Hut - RH
- Frostwolf Graveyard - FWGY
- Tower Point - TP
- Iceblood Tower - IBT or IB
- Iceblood Graveyard - IBGY
- Captain Galvangar - Galv
- Drek'thar - Drek
- Stormpike Aid Station - Aid Station
- Stormpike Graveyard - SPGY
- Icewing Bunker - IWB
- Stonehearth Graveyard - SHGY
- Stonehearth Bunker - SHB
- Captain Balinda Stonehearth - Bal
- Vanndar Stormpike - Vann
- Snowfall Graveyard - SFGY or SF
- Starting points - The Cave (which spawned the term Cavedwellers)
It might seem overwhelming to have to learn so many terms and objectives, specially after the simple Warsong and Arathi maps, but it gets easy after a few games. There are many specific strategies to win Alterac Valley but there are a couple of important things to remember.
Defend what you tag
Players should never leave what they tag. Just as with Arathi Basin, where it's a bad move to leave a flag unguarded, graveyards or bunkers and towers should be defended until they are captured or destroyed. Careless defense of tagged objectives often spells the difference in close matches.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but there are lazy players who tend to just 'soak' honor by entering Alterac Valley and not participating actively in the battle. Report players them by clicking on their 'dot' in the map and selecting 'Report Player AFK'. There are many ways for players to be useful in Alterac Valley, from defending nodes to capturing them, as well as good old-fashioned killing enemies. If you can, cap the mines.
There are many honor rewards in this battleground. The Alliance vendor for these items is Alliance battleground entrance. The Horde vendor for these items is outside the Horde entrance.
There are a number of quests for completing AV objectives. You can get all of these quests outside the battleground entrances, including inside the cave. These quests go a long way to helping leveling up a character.
Alterac Valley is a player's first taste of large scale PvP encounters. It takes a coordinated, concentrated effort to win efficiently but it's totally fine as a beginners to feel your way around the map as there are many opportunities to be useful. So queue up, get in there and contribute to the organized chaos!