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The Art of War(craft): Wintergrasp part II

Zach Yonzon

Unlike offense, there's nothing straightforward about defense at all. With the objective being the protection of the Titan Relic for the full forty minutes, staying holed up inside Wintergrasp Fortress is a recipe for disaster. While there are thick walls and long range cannons, it's not going to be enough to push back a concentrated offense. Here, the old adage of the best defense is a good offense applies perfectly. In fact, it is the most effective way to win on Defense. As usual, organization is key. But if you're ungrouped, it's good to know what you must do, anyway.

Before the battle, players will be porting to the front of Wintergrasp Keep. If you check the map above, you'll see that most Horde offense will be coming from the West and most of the Alliance offense will be coming from the East, so adjust accordingly. It's always good to send out a regiment to either workshop to prevent the offense from taking control of it.

Man your turrets. Turrets are the most powerful weapons at your disposal because of their extremely long range and high damage. Defense with fully-manned turrets will make short work of siege vehicles even before they get to Wintergrasp Fortress, or at least soften them up significantly for players on foot to destroy. Conversely, players must protect their turrets. Kill the ranged DPS first and let the turrets handle the vehicles. A turret firing at a vehicle will kill a vehicle before the vehicle kills the turret every time. The difference-maker are the personnel.

Again, it's important to head out to mount a counter-offensive. This is the most devastating way to deal with an offense -- destroy their siege workshops. The Eastspark and Westspark Workshops are permanently under offense control, so they should be absolute priority. At the beginning of the game, get Rank and send a fast-striking team of 2-3 Catapults to destroy the workshops. If Eastspark and Westspark Workshops are destroyed, the offense's only recourse is to take control of East or West Workshops. If they are unable to do this, it's game over.

Understand that only siege vehicles may damage the Fortress walls. If offense has no access to siege vehicles, the game is done, and it's just a matter of winding down the clock. Putting offense on the defensive will disrupt their efforts and buy you time. The ideal result is to stymie their vehicle production completely, but slowing them up enough to delay their Fortress penetration should be worth the effort.

While it will extremely difficult to stop a coordinated assault, particularly a group on Ventrilo, effort must be made to disrupt them. A coordinated offense can win the game in less than ten minutes, unlocking the currently buggy Within Our Grasp Achievement. The only way to stop them is to block off their vehicle supply at the source, initally the West or East. This where numbers come into play. If they have more, they will simply wrest control.

If the inner fortress walls have been breached, it's important to fall back into the inner courtyard and take out vehicles before they reach the Fortress Keep Door. Vehicles must take priority. In order of importance, players must take out Demolishers first because of their range, Siege Tanks next because of their heft -- and the only way they'll damage the doors is if they're at close range, and Catapults last because they deal the least siege damage and are easy to destroy.

If offense manages to break through the main doors with ten around ten minutes to spare, it's essentially over. The best thing defense can do is mass inside the Titan Relic's room and madly spam AoEs and tab-select targets in order to damage them. It's not important to focus fire on anyone at this point, but damage as many opponents as possible to break channeling. If the inner sanctum's doors are intact with five minutes left, good job. There's a big chance you'll retain control of Wintergrasp.

General tips
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while playing Wintergrasp, whether you're on offense or defense:
  • If you have Rank and you're not maxed out on vehicles, get a siege vehicle. The more vehicles your side has, the better its chances.
  • If you're solo, get a Demolisher. It has the best range for siege damage and doesn't require a gunner.
  • If you've maxed out your vehicles, get on one or ride alongside one to protect it.
  • Abuse Tenacity. If you have Tenacity, use it to your advantage by picking off stragglers and solo or few players. Just the same, don't try to take on too many players, because you can still be stunned, feared, or otherwise crowd controlled.
  • Destroy towers if you have the luxury of time. Damaging and destroying towers gives bonus Honor.
  • Pick up an RP-GG. They have extremely long range, even if wildly inaccurate. It helps deal damage before the enemy gets close.
  • Destroy workshops. Aside from getting the Industrial Warfare Achievement, it's an immensely strategic move that can turn the tide of a battle.
  • Protect your vehicles. If you see another player target one of your own vehicles, kill him. Vehicles go down faster to players than other vehicles.
  • Prioritize vehicles. If you see an enemy vehicle, go after it, even if it means enemy players will get free hits on you. Vehicles can't repair themselves -- and Mechanical Repair Kits are simply too low-level to make any difference -- so each hit you make on a siege vehicle is worth more than a hit on a player who will be healed or rezz soon after.
In my opinion, Wintergrasp is one of the best features of Wrath. It's fun, it takes little time, and is friendly even if you're not a fan of PvP. Check it out if you haven't, hopefully armed with a bit of knowledge on how to play. And knowing is half the battle.
If you love PvP, then Zach loves you. Every week, when he's not sick or something, he writes about Arenas, Battlegrounds, and world PvP in one column. He whined about the pointlessness of PvP, but he's an idiot because he's now devoted all his time to Wintergrasp.

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