Right, what are we looking at? Well, these are the key locations within the battleground. You've got the Horde and Alliance start points on the left and right sides of the map. The four different-colored egg shapes in the inner area are the four Artifacts.
You thought there was just one artifact? Well, you could be forgiven for thinking so; that was the original idea after all. But from what I've heard, this was tried out and was literally insane. The battleground is fast-paced enough with the four artifacts, so I can only imagine how it was with one. Seems to me like a good change!
Anyhow, the four artifacts or orbs, as they're referred to by the game in the battleground, are color-coded. Red is the northwest, green the southwest, orange the northeast and purple the southeast. Right now, there are no discerning markers on the map, but towers of light indicate which orb is which. I'd welcome some color on the map for those of us who run with lower graphics settings and might not see the tower of light immeditely, so we can see which orb has been returned and, indeed, some better way to tell which orb is on which player. Currently in the standard UI, all you get is a set of frames for players who have orbs, showing their faction and their health.
The four black blobs I've very artistically drawn in are graveyards. The red-ringed ones are Horde, and the blue-ringed are Alliance. Don't worry, they're not the exact locations. They are all equidistant away and the same size. I'm just not that good at art, OK? The graveyards are not elevated or separated from the rest of the battleground in any way, meaning that the enemy can walk right into your graveyard and stay there. The fact that there are two graveyards per side is interesting. It seems that whichever one you die nearest to is the one you resurrect at.
To the north and south of the central square, you can see the two divides. These are a lake and a building and are impassable; they cannot be crossed by players. So the only way to go from left to right is to enter the courtyard area, by which I mean the central square. You can see all the entrance points on the map here, indicated by darker paths and breaks in the wall into the courtyard.
Orbs of Power
To capture an orb
, you simply wander up to it and click it. There is no cast time; it is immediately picked up by the player, even if they're mounted. A message is posted in chat saying "[Player] has taken the [color] Orb!" You also get a warning tone whenever an orb is picked up or returned.
If you look to the right, you can see the red orb as I pick it up. You may note the reddish glow of the area as I'm standing in the tower of light that surrounds the orb, and as my game was rather laggy the day I took this screenshot, you'll see how there appears to be an orb on the stand, as well as an orb on my head. As you collect the orb, it moves from the stand to your head. Only one orb can be held at once.
Holding the orb
gives you a debuff called, believe it or not, Orb of Power
. This debuff, as you can see, increases your damage taken while also decreasing your healing taken, but it also increases your damage done. The values on the tooltip are not yet accurate, and the longer you hold an orb the higher the values get. The speed of the increase depends on which of the scoring zones you're in. We'll get to that.
The debuff starts off at 30% increased damage taken, 5% decreased healing received, and 10% increased damage done. The maximum numbers I've been able to get the debuff to stack to on the beta is 540% increased damage taken, 90% decreased healing taken and 100% increased damage done. Then I died. Not a huge surprise.
Once a player has an orb in their possession, in return for their debuff, they also receive points. The players who are holding the orbs are easily visible by the huge light beam above their head. This, cleverly, is red if the player is in combat and green if they are being left alone.
You can see here that I am holding an orb, am Horde, and have just gained four victory points. It's going well for me! The green color of the light beam indicates that I'm not in combat. This is an excellent feature, in my opinion, and is particularly useful for healers as it shows who you might like to prioritize for your heals.
Once you kill an orb holder, the orb is returned to where it came from. You cannot pick up the orb from the deceased player, nor can you drop the orb and have a teammate pick it up.
As a points-based battleground, scoring is a pretty darn important feature! The score per tick is based on where you are when you're holding the orb. The closer you are to the middle, the more points you score. I've yet again employed my fantastic MS Paint skills to show the scoring zones and their corresponding points per tick.
The ticks seem to come roughly every five seconds, and the zones at the four corners of the orange four-point zone are included in it too. Not very good at art, remember? Your points ticks all add up toward a 1,600-point total. I've not yet been able to conclusively tell whether points are awarded for killing members of the opposite team or opposing orb-holders.
Staying in higher scoring zones increases the speed of the Orb of Power
Points and damage are clearly key factors to consider here. Because the debuff starts off fairly light and ramps up fast, it would seem logical for teams to lower the healing or protection priority for players who have just picked up an orb. Their debuff is less substantial, so it might be viable for them to head straight to the 5-point zone, ensuring they can make good their escape once the debuff ramps up. Then they'll need help!
There's some fairly basic math you can do here to aid your tactical decision-making. Simply multiply the number of orbs by the number of points per tick. For example, three orbs held in the three-point zone will get your team more points per tick than the other team can get from one orb in any zone. If your team can effectively take a few orbs out of play by moving them to the distant parts of the three-point zone and preventing players getting to the orb holders, that would be a viable strategy until the debuff got out of control.
Speaking of the debuff, once it's hitting its higher levels, it's probably best to reset it by sacrificing the player holding the orb and having another player take that orb from its spawn point. There is no interval between the orb holder's death and the respawn of the orb, so make sure that you know which orb was just returned and that you have another player there to pick it up.
Mobility is the key in this battleground. Leap of Faith
, Death Grip
, Demonic Circle: Teleport
, Rocket Jump
, and all movement abilities can be key for moving enemies into the central part where the debuff ramp-up is very high or getting friendly players out of there! A squad of high-burst-damage players controlling that central zone could be powerful, as could slowing or snaring effects on the two exit points from the zone.
The graveyards are located differently to the start rooms, which is interesting, since when the battleground first commences, you've got the Horde rushing in and grabbing the red and green orbs and the Alliance taking the orange and purple. As those orbs get returned and people resurrect at the graveyards, the Horde have closer resurrection points to the purple and green and the Alliance to the red and orange. Therefore, controlling the orbs the opposition spawns closest to could provide you with a distinct advantage.
Do you want to capture flags, invade cities, attack towers, and dominate the enemy for your faction? Do you dream of riding your War Bear with pride? We'll steer you to victory with secrets of Battlegrounds and Arena, prepping you with proven addons and keybindings that win! Send questions or comments to email@example.com.