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 DO WE GO WHEN WE DIE?
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:
- Which graveyards should we seek to control, and which should we ignore?
- Where is the best place to engage the enemy?
- 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:
- The graveyard placement is symmetrical for each faction.
- 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.
- The graveyard is much closer to the home base of each faction than to their opponent’s base.
- 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.
- 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:
- Establishes a zone for the FC to run.
- Removes the opponent’s ability to reinforce their offense.
- 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. ↑