Tag Archives: Wintergrasp

PvP in Patch 3.2 and The Isle of Conquest

I have actually been quite pleased with what patch 3.2 has brought to PvP in Azeroth; not only is there a new battleground, there are substantial improvements to both Resilience and DoT damage, enough to make Affliction warlocks and Shadow priests alike jump back into the fray. Yes, Destro locks got a slight nerf to Fire and Brimstone, but the warlock trees remain pretty balanced. I’m pretty happy with it so far.

There are a lot of PvP changes to take in with 3.2. Here are the major ones.


If you haven’t visited The Isle of Conquest yet, you should do so immediately. Not only is it a lot of fun, but anyone who claims in /bg to have the right strategy is talking total BS. You have to play a lot of matches, with a lot of different types of opposing strategies, to really say how to win. So don’t let any natural Battleground inhibitions get in the way, because NOONE knows what they’re doing yet. It’s total chaos and total fun.

Now, while the strategies are in flux, your tactics should be the same as other battlegrounds: fight at the flag, not in the road, defend what you take, and kill the opposing healers while defending your own. But questions like, should you capture the hangar or the docks first, or how many people should defend the keep? Those strategies are still to be written. Keep an open mind and experiment!


Flying To Wintergrasp Keep.png

Wintergrasp is now an instanced battleground, so the biggest change is in numbers and lag. On Durotan, a 3:1 A:H server, the Alliance often fielded 3 full raid groups, which allowed crowd contol and gang tactics to overcome 20 stacks of Tenacity. With limits of 80 players per side, I expect to see more even matches, which lessens the impact of CC while enhancing Tenacity.

The other huge change is that the legendary Wintergrasp lag is gone. This should equalize things a bit, as during most frantic Keep combats you were limited to instant cast spells.

As opposed to the Isle of Conquest, Wintergrasp strategies are pretty well established at this point. I’m a conservative sort, though, so I’d like to see if the lack of lag and reduced numbers affects them at all.

Also: when the battle is over, you can now fly through Wintergrasp. This is awesome on many, many levels.


Resilience now affects all incoming player damage, not just crits and DoTs. This is both a survival buff for everyone (making Resilience THE stat to have in PvP, after 6% hit cap), and an indirect buff to any DoT-heavy spec, like Affliction Warlocks and Shadow Priests. It’s an indirect buff because DoTs are no longer resisted differently than direct damage, therefore relatively improving them.

I love this change. It simplifies Resilience and makes it the battleground stat to stack.

(The one modification you may need to make to your target Resilience is that it now takes about 15% more Resilience to mitigate the same amount of critical strike rating. So if your target was 800 before, you should shoot for 920.)


I haven’t played in the new Warsong Gulch, with a time limit, or the new Arathi Badsin/Eye of the Storm, with lower resource limits, yet. But I think all of those changes are good ones. Yes, spending two hours in WSG is great for the HK and damage meters, but terrible for honor/minute.

And the changes to grant honor for defending nodes? I LOVE THEM.


Experience Eliminator.jpg

I wish I had this feature when I was leveling up to 80. I spent many hours in battlegrounds that were a needed break from questing, but I hated the tradeoff. I expect to be using this a lot with some of my alts.

The side effect of earning XP in battlegrounds, of course, is that now you can turn off all experience gains for a character by visiting the stealthed twinks in the War Rooms of Orgrimmar or Stormwind, respectively. This feature has gotten a lot of attention because of the implications it has for twinks; they are now no longer city-bound, and twinks will only fight twinks in BGs. This is a great thing for both the twinks and the casual PvPers, since the presence of each was often an irritation to the other.

But I think that this will also concentrate twinks into 2, or maybe 3, brackets (19, 29, and 39). There just aren’t enough in the upper brackets to support a good community. Perhaps I’m wrong, and that everyone is off at The Isle of Conquest. But after an hour in queue last night in the 59 bracket, I am starting to think that leveling my DK through regular battlegrounds is the way to go.


Speaking of the lower battleground brackets, how cool will the 19 bracket become with Travel Form / Ghost Wolf and mounts for everyone at 29? Or the new heirloom chest pieces?

Okay. I don’t know how cool they will be for those brackets. I need to roll a twink and find out.

But I do know that 3.2 excites me in a way that 3.1 utterly failed to do, probably because I’m not a progression raider. As someone who spends a lot of time in Azeroth’s battlegrounds, I really like these changes. They are thought out well to bring people back to the battlegrounds to have fun.


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50 Stone Keeper’s Shards, the new PvE Achievement

I haven’t been in Wintergrasp that long, but I’ve been there long enough to see that [Stone Keeper's Shards] are the currency you want to collect, if for no other reason than to get Heirloom Shoulders for your alts with their nifty +10% XP bonus.

But there’s another reason: those pesky Achievements. You know, the ones that you need for Master of Wintergrasp?

Well, if you’re like me and just started in on the Wintergrasp Dailies, you better get used to running PvE instances. Since the 3.1.1 patch shards earned by doing the PvP quests don’t count towards the achievements. Only shards that you get from bosses count, making this the first PvP achievement that requires only PvE play to achieve.

I’ll let that one sink in for a bit. Maybe it will make more sense to you than it has to me.

You know, if I hadn’t already given up on Battlemaster before now, I sure would be pissed. When you see that you’ve gotten 225 shards:

225 Stone Keeper's Shards.png

but only 7 of them have counted:

50 Stone Keeper's Shards.png

… it’s hard to not to think that this is bugged.

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Wintergrasp Keep

Wintergrasp Keep.png

Despite it’s problems, I’ve come to like Wintergrasp Keep.

The keep is divided into 4 zones, of which attackers must pass through 2 to get to the goal. That’s a minimum of 3 walls that must be destroyed by siege to come down, including the wall protecting the relic. By isolating it into 3 outer zones (east, south, west) and an inner keep, the designers have made it more difficult to defend than a ring keep would be — the sight lines are all blocked, and you can not tell at a glance where the enemy are located.

In and of itself, the layout of the keep lends itself to focused fighting in each specific area. This is good for the side which doesn’t have Tenacity, which is almost always Alliance on Durotan. But it’s not really good, because as soon as you cluster people together, the real enemy of Wintergrasp appears: lag. Lag takes the game out of your control — you get killed and don’t find out until 10 seconds later, you lose the game before you even see the engines storm the keep. (Sadly, Patch 3.1.2 didn’t do much to fix this. No surprise there.)

Since you can’t do much about the lag, you can at least do something about focusing your strength where the enemy is weak. The picture above shows how not to do this — by breaching the walls on either side of the south zone, the Horde allowed the Alliance defenders to switch back and forth between the two fronts without yielding the inner keep. The keep can, and should, be used against the defenders to split them apart and divide their forces.

I’ve noticed that the best, quickest attacks don’t divide their forces. There is a buildup of good vehicles (Demolishers, not Catapults) that attack en masse from the northern workshops, either as a single wave or two waves that meet at the middle wall and punch through. The defenders are caught without engines of their own, the southern towers are safe, and you can focus all your fire on knocking down those three walls.

I’m still gearing up, and the PvP rewards out of Wintergrasp are too good to pass up. But I find the battle for the Keep itself to be fascinating, and I’d play it even if I were maxed out. I wonder what the next one will bring?

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