The Hangar Blitz

The Hangar Blitz.png

I’ve noticed a change in the Isle of Conquest in the few short days it’s been open. There’s now a vocal minority advocating a full assault on the hangar, storming the keep, and killing the General. This same group complains vociferously when the other players don’t follow this advice.

In other words: full-on nerd rage that everyone else screwed up their quick win.

I’m sad to see this appear so soon in the Isle.

The proposed strategy is relatively simple: attack the Hangar in force to control the Airship, use the Airship to parachute in force into the enemy keep, and kill the enemy general for a quick win.

The problem is, I’ve yet to see it work.

I think the Hangar-only strategy can work, if all of the steps above are followed and nothing goes wrong. Attacking with a sizable chunk of your force is essential to winning with it, though, and it can be stopped by a strong keep defense.

There are flaws with the Hangar-only strategy, though.

First, it’s not flexible in the face of failure. If you don’t win on the first try, you’re out of position for the rest of the map, and your keep defense is vulnerable. You might hang on to the airship, but at the cost of the Docks and Workshop. I have already seen a lot of nerd rage about how the failure to rush and hold the Hangar resulted in an automatic loss. I think that’s a problem with the strategy, not the execution.

This is because of my second objection, the extremely fragile supply line. You must hold the hangar to reinforce your assault, because the walls have been bypassed, not opened. You have no close graveyards to rez at, and if you lose one node the forces inside the keep are isolated.

My third objection us that it’s not a good maximizing strategy. Even if the Rube Goldberg-like steps are followed, you’ve traded a quick win for a lot of honor. Taking and holding the Quarry and Derrick yields a constant flow of honor. If you’re not in it for the honor, okay, I get that – but don’t tell me you’re in it for the marks. (Can you buy ANYTHING with Isle marks?)

This last part touches on what I think is the source of the Hangar-only strategy: Alterac Valley. The accepted AV strat is to kill Bal/Galv, take the towers, kill for 4 minutes, then kill Drek/Van. Because the map is asymmetric, the Horde have to also recapture TP or IBT to slow the Alliance zerg. But either way, this maximizes the honor you get from the battleground objectives while keeping the games short. There are some nuances to the order graveyards should be capped (skip FWGY or risk a lot of QQ), but this is pretty much the game plan.

The Alterac Blitz, though, forgoes every single objective but one: kill the boss at the end. Take at least half your force with 2 tanks and 4 healers and ride without stopping to the end of the map; do not engage the enemy at any cost, abandon everyone along the way, then MT on boss, OT on everyone else, and bring the heat. It’s a ludicrously simple plan to beat; put a quarter of your force to defend the chokepoint into your base, kill half as they ride by, the other half as they reach the boss. Without a nearby GY the attackers are sent to the other end of the map.

The way I see it, the Hangar-only strategy is a bad variant of the Alterac Blitz. It ignores all battleground objectives but one, it is fragile, and easily countered. I’m worried that the Hangar will become like the Stables are in Arathi Basin for Alliance, or the Blacksmith is for just about everyone – a node with more psychological than tactical advantage.

I don’t have a good counterstrategy to propose yet. I would think a balanced offense focusing on one node to bypass the walls (Hangar/Docks) to soften the defenses, and another to destroy the walls with siege from the Workshop is necessary. This needs to be coupled with roving packs to take the honor-producing nodes and interrupt the enemy, and a good, solid Keep defense.

Sadly, it’s much easier to yell “everyone to the hangar!” in /bg.

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12 Comments

Filed under Battleground Strategies, Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

12 responses to “The Hangar Blitz

  1. Too true. Trying to organize this bg is worse than herding cats. But I’ve seen the ‘hanger hanger’ people already.

    Really sad ahead in AV by 300 pts, then 1/2 the team wants to summon the tree, four of us on D, they lose the map and the match. /sigh

    • What’s really funny is that when I toggled my UI back after getting the screenshot for this post, /bg was full of this guy yelling how we’d already lost because we lost the hangar.

      Reinforcements? Us 295, Them 215. /facepalm.

      Those kinds of AV losses are terrible. I’ve had that happen where we’re ahead by 200-300 points but everyone is farming HKs and the other side just goes and kills the boss.

      Those are the days it’s best to switch to a different battleground.

  2. Well see, I have seen the hangar strategy work really really well several times :)

    The major problem that I see in this bg is when 99% of the team go on the offensive but split their efforts between the docks/workshop/hangar. This usually results in winning the docks and workshop and giving the hangar to our enemy.

    In my experience, whichever team does NOT have the hangar need to get back to their base and defend. And nobody likes defending.

    • Ah sorry not sure if I made it clear that 99% of the team are on offensive, so there’s like 2 afk players in the keep when the enemy arrive.

      Poor Halford Wrymbane.

      • He really does deserve better.

        It’s been real tough going for the Alliance in my battlegroup (Ruin). The only victory I’ve gotten in the Isle was when we mounted a strong defense of the Keep. Every other time it’s been a rout once the Horde enter, either by airship or catapult. They overwhelm the weak defenses while tying up most of the offense at the midfield nodes.

        Defense isn’t sexy, but it sure looks like it wins this battleground.

  3. I just found your blog off of Hots & Dots and this post is getting you put on my blogroll :-).

    I had the exact same thought going into Isle that you did when people started shouting for HangAr blitzes (maybe 60% of the time now?) — I thought, “what is this, AV?” and it turned out just as you’ve said, and just as badly as Alterac Blitzes tend to go. You either win quick, which is rare, or the rest of your game is so screwed up that it takes a really hard effort to dig your team out of the hole they’ve gotten themselves into.

    @ your BS comment though, I think I have to disagree — the importance of BS is that from the center of the map they can interdict your supply line to any base, and all bases are threatened. I think it’s a clearly superior argument, if you’re 4-capping, to give them something like GM b/c you only need to watch two bases instead of spreading defence on the whole map.

    • Thanks! I’m glad you liked the post. I’m really getting frustrated with the Hangar Blitz.

      The Blacksmith, and importance of it, is worth a separate post all its own. It is important, and tactically the “best” node to hold. But it can also be a trap if we overvalue it. If more than half of the opposing team shows up to take the BS, that means their other nodes are weakly defended and should be attacked, not that the whole team should rush to defend the BS. It’s important, but not THAT important.

      The Stables, on the other hand, are never important enought to warrant the effort the Alliance puts into taking them. *sigh*

      • Well with that clarification I can agree with you, I guess :-).

        Stables? Did you mean farm?

        I like LM, BS, ST. Farm you always have to worry about the repops back at the start, and while GM is easy to get into b/c of that cliff jump it’s hard to get out of. It could be just me but it seems like a triangle of nodes is more defensible than a line b/c they’re all within helping range of each other. GM can’t sent help to LM without running through ST/Farm (which in your plan is enemy territory?) so you’d have to do a double switch where you stripped BS to help a threatened LM and then pulled from GM to protect your now-vulnerable BS.

        agree @ LM > BS for visibility though I’m not sure you can see the GM garrison from much of anywhere.

        • LOL! I agree, the triangle of nodes is easiest to hold and ride all the way to a victory. Bisecting the field lets you divide the opponent and is good for getting a 4-cap, but is weaker on defense. It’s easier to get forces from LM to BS to GM than the other way around, so GM is the weak side.

          Perimeter can certainly work, too. It always seems to work better when you hold the node next to your hall. And ST-BS-FM is weakest of all, but you can win with it.

          I guess it all comes down to the simple rules: take three and defend them, fight at the flag, call out incs, and attack where the enemy forgets to defend.

          • Doesn’t it always come down to the simple rules? Too bad they’re so simple most people apparently don’t believe they work or something :-p.

            I hadn’t thought about which was best offensively to go 3 -> 4…you’re probably right, though. I know going 4 -> 5 I try to leave GM for last (b/c it’s so easy to get bottled up there) and then rush defense to farm after somebody grabs the flag.

    • Plus you can see everything from the Blacksmith – exactly how many players are left on defence at the other sites.

      Makes me wonder why the LM is so rarely fought over – it’s up on high with a good vantage point. Perhaps it’s hard to sneak up and attack because it’s hard to see how many are defending it?

      • I consider the Lumber Mill superior to the Blacksmith because of the visibility it gives you and how there are only two approaches. Every other node has at least 3 ways to get to it, if you’re willing to jump down off a cliff to get to the Mine.

        If I get to pick three nodes to take and hold, I’ll choose LM, BS, and GM every time. This divides the opponent in two and keeps them from massing.

        I rarely have that luxury, though. :-)