Resurrection Vectors and Graveyard Control in Warsong Gulch

Character death and resurrection vectors are key strategic elements of Warcraft’s Battlegrounds; unlike the Arena deathmatch format, battleground combatants can and will die multiple times throughout the course of a match.

Death in a battleground is like being sent to a penalty box. Characters are removed from their present position, placed somewhere else on the map, and then prevented from rejoining their team for a set period of time. It’s possible for a teammate to put someone back on the map where they were through a resurrection spell, but once in the penalty box, the character’s new location is permanent.1

I call this movement of players across the map through death and rebirth their resurrection vector. Understanding these vectors is essential to understanding the overall strategy of a battleground.


Where characters go when they die in a battleground is not a metaphysical question; they go to the graveyard to be resurrected by a Spirit Healer in 30 seconds or less. This brief visit to the afterworld is often punctuated by the cries of the fellow damned bemoaning their fate and lack of heals or peels2, but – aside from this cacophony in /bg – our hero’s katabasis is brief and uneventful. Thirty seconds to reflect on your situation, check the map, and then it’s back to work again.

Because death only temporarily removes characters from play in battlegrounds, resurrection vectors are really the primary weapon in disrupting your opponent’s plans while achieving the goals of the match. Knowing where you and your opponents will end up dictates the answers to strategic decisions like:

  1. Which graveyards should we seek to control, and which should we ignore?
  2. Where is the best place to engage the enemy?
  3. Where should our forces go next?

Each battleground has unique resurrection vectors. Some maps have very logical vectors and symmetric graveyards; others are asymmetric or follow nonstandard rules designed to balance Rated PvP.

One constant is that Spirit Healers resurrect in waves based on a timer. Every 30 seconds a graveyard could potentially spit out multiple reinforcements for a given area. These resurrection waves can turn the tide of a specific battle – or get destroyed by a well-organized graveyard camp.

While the general principle is easy to understand, each battleground is unique and requires individual evaluation. Over the next few posts I’ll be going over specific resurrection vectors in different battlegrounds, using topological maps to illustrate how they can be used to your team’s advantage.

Let’s start with the most zen of all battlegrounds – a little conflict in Ashenvale and the North Barrens that we like to call…


Warsong Gulch has the simplest map of resurrection vectors because each side has only one graveyard.

No matter where someone dies on the map, they go to their team’s graveyard.

There are several important strategic facts about the WSG graveyard to consider:

  1. The graveyard placement is symmetrical for each faction.
  2. The graveyard is on the stage right side of the map. (From the home base of each faction looking out over midfield, it will be to the right.) This means that resurrection waves are going to reinforce that side first and stage left (ramp) last.
  3. The graveyard is much closer to the home base of each faction than to their opponent’s base.
  4. The graveyard was changed in patch 4.1 to only allow characters to only allow exits onto midfield. They cannot run back directly to the base, the ramp area, or even the ledge above the graveyard without some kind of assistance.
  5. Characters in the graveyard can be attacked from above and below. There is no immunity from camping.

Some of the strategies we can derive from the resurrection vectors are obvious. Defenders have the edge in their base because reinforcements will arrive quicker than the offense, Flag Carriers should favor runs down the Ramp over going straight through the Graveyard.

I’ve written before on graveyard camping in Warsong Gulch and how it is, sadly, strategically sound. Looking at the resurrection vectors gives you an understanding of why it’s so effective:

You see how pressuring the graveyard opens up half the map for the FC to run unimpeded? That is why graveyard camping works. Pushing the offensive control zone (the blue slanted lines) towards the enemy graveyard means that when opponents die, they are sent into a situation where their movement is restricted. They have to break the blockade before they can do anything about the FC, by which time it’s usually too late.

The single graveyard of WSG creates a resurrection bottleneck that rewards camping. You don’t have to camp the graveyard per se, but setting up a strong line of offense at midfield and pushing it towards the graveyard:

  1. Establishes a zone for the FC to run.
  2. Removes the opponent’s ability to reinforce their offense.
  3. Eventually removes their ability to establish an offense.

Establishing and maintaining that blockade zone around the graveyard establishes control of the map. Even if a few opponents get by, they will face poor odds isolated from their teammates, and their resurrection vector sends them right back into the blockade.

Next time, we’ll look at a more complicated set of rez vectors: the shifting graveyards of Arathi Basin.


(1) Admittedly, it’s not an entirely permanent relocation. Corpse Running in Battlegrounds describes how running back to your corpse can screw up resurrection vectors, and is sometimes the difference between keeping or losing a node.  

(2) “First to complain, least skilled. No exceptions.” Dusk of Uldum, How to BG, 2009.


Filed under Cynwise's Warcraft Manual, PvP Playbook

16 responses to “Resurrection Vectors and Graveyard Control in Warsong Gulch

  1. Cyn, do you remember the reasons given for the change in GYs?. The graveyard camping is really worse than before:

    – Before 4.1 you could have a small group of people escape through the ramp and release some pressure from the base of the GY. Now you are forced into the campers.

    – If you are killed defending, your FC will have a harder time with the attackers before you join again.

    Great post BTW. Looking forward for more of these guides.

    • The reason was to prevent turtles in rated battlegrounds. With 4-5 healers on a team, FCs were really hard to take down in their flag rooms because healers would rez and run back in before the offense could capture the flag. By dropping the GY, this made the healers have to run down to the tunnel or ramp to return to the flag room, delaying them by a good minute or so.

      The stated reason by a member of the Blizzard’s EU comm team was to help prevent camping, which is prima face false. You’re absolutely right that camping is worse now than before the GY change in the leveling brackets. My understanding is that it is also worse in rated brackets, since it’s the most effective strategy – whomever breaks the charge and sets up the camp first takes control of the game. In this case it’s the combination of the rez vector and the healer vector – healers are sent back into the GY, which dictates that they MUST go to midfield, which makes that area between the GY and Tunnel entrance the perfect place to block them.

  2. I particularly love corpse running in WSG, given its small size and how effective a rez right in the enemy base can be, sneaking right by whatever midfield action/blockade is going on. I’ve definitely turned the tide of a few matches by seemingly popping up out of nowhere, grabbing the flag, and being out the door before they even realize I’m there.

  3. I haven’t played (enough) on Horde side, but it seems to me like the maps aren’t completely symmetrical given the placement of the huts/edge of the map relatively to the graveyard position. It always seems to me that there is a bigger gap to the right of the graveyard on the Horde side making flag running down there at least a more viable option for Alliance (it’s often the path I take now after Gnomer’s post about it). And on the Alliance side the hut provides more of a visual barrier to camping (i.e. drop off the back after rezzing and going down past the hut rather than directly into battle).

    I need to get my level 12 goblin out of the starting areas to have a play!

    Anyway looking forward to more of these posts – Twin Peaks is an interesting one because of the graveyard mechanics (and the fact that you can change graveyards, which is a little known mechanic).

  4. I was surprised when Rades said he corpse runs. Does nobody take the insignias off those bodies??

    Great post Cyn. Especially when reading it from the opposite faction. I know that GY camping/boxing is a sound option but man does it SUCK when it’s you being camped. GRRR!

  5. Great post Cyn!

    How close do you have to be to a spirit healer to get a rez? Could you run up the tunnel and out of your base to the top of the cliff near the spirit rezzer to catch a rez? That would let you escape the graveyard platform. If that isn’t possible, perhaps Blizzard should move the spirit healer back a few yards!

    • I’ll test out the ally GY, but I think you can run to the top on the Horde side and rez up there.

      It’s a minute or so to make that run, so it only gets you out of a camp – but it’s better than nothing!

  6. Nice post as usual. I just wanted to add you can, as you probably know, get pulled out of the graveyard with Leap of Faith. I play a discipline priest, and I pretty much ONLY play WoW with my girlfriend who plays a mage. I almost always go for the flag unless some tank is vocal about wanting it. If my girlfriend dies, I always run out to get her. She knows to run toward the base when I tell her to back up so I can quickly grab her.

    While it can lead to a few seconds of confusion, pulling a random person up from the graveyard to help me if she’s not there and I have alliance on me can also be a life saver.

    (Come to think of it, I think I’ll post about Leap of Faith usage soon.)

    • You should do that post! I know it’s possible but as a DPS I have never been lifted out of the GY. 🙂

      Most of the other ways up (Shadowstep, Charge) require an opponent at the top. Can you Heroic Leap up? That’s another ability that might work unaided.

  7. Pingback: Random Battlegrounds: Blizzard’s own Stanford Experiment « Harpy’s Nest Blog

  8. I’m in WSG a lot lately as I’m farming it for achieves and rep. I’m actually surprised how much more often my alliance team is the one camping the Horde graveyard than the other way around.

    • This is possibly due to time of day/week (or bracket, if you’re leveling), but ever since the GY change camping happens a LOT in WSG on both sides. I’m not a fan of the change. 😦

  9. Soondead

    If you (horde) are being farmed in WSG at GY you can go in ghost form up the ramp and and ress above GY. Just go to the tree and on the edge of the cliff and timer will start, then you will be on your upper area and can nuke from above (at least as rdps).