Patch 3.2 introduced PvP leveling and even though Patch 3.2.2 made Alterac Valley a bit less lucrative experience-wise, the Battlegrounds are still a really great way for those of us with limited playtime to squeeze some leveling time in. Before we go any farther, however, let me just say that PvP leveling is only for those who actually enjoy Battlegrounds. If you think BGs are a chore, then leveling in them will be a chore. Really, you should only be playing WoW if it's fun, so just skip this column if Battlegrounds aren't for you and we'll see you next time.
Ok, so if you are still reading, you enjoy BGs. On the flip side of the coin, if this is your main character on this realm, then I can't recommend PvP-only leveling unless you only want to PvP on this character. You will miss out on a lot of cash and gear if you skip questing entirely. Of course, if you have a sugar daddy main to feed you gold and heirlooms and are done questing before Cataclysm, you are already hanging out in BGs all day. Or you are playing Aion or Champions Online.
Ideally, you want to keep things fresh and fun by experiencing a mix of enjoyable activities during your play-session. Battlegrounds can now be part of that mix, without delaying the leveling of your non-maxlevel characters. Here are some tips for getting the most out of incorporating PvP into your leveling time:
- Do the dailies: Pick up the PvP daily (once you are level 10 or above). These quests provide great XP that scales for your level. You can find the daily quest next to the Battlemaster in any major city. If you are high enough level, I find the one in Shattrath to be the comfiest one (less people, less lag).
- Pick up the Battleground specific quests: Arathi Basin has one quest and Alterac Valley has several that scale for your level and provide a little bit of extra fun while you are in those battlegrounds. You have to actually go to the locations in Arathi Highlands and Alterac Mountains in order to pick up and turn in these quests.
- Queue for two: Queue for the PvP daily BG and one other BG at the same time. Friday through Monday, the current Holiday Battleground will be busy enough to have shorter queues. If you are over level 51, Alterac Valley is usually busy enough to not have long queues either.
- Quest while you wait: Fishing and cooking dailies are perfect for in between BGs, but with the ability to queue from anywhere in the world and be returned after battle, any quest hub works.
- Beware of late night Battlegrounds: I don't know if they are sneaking online or their parents are just happy they aren't out shooting up and knocking off liquor stores, but late night Battlegrounds are heavily populated with foul-mouthed brats. They claim to be the best, but impart no coherent strategy, blame everyone but themselves and brag about imaginary sexual exploits. There is nothing quite like having a 13 year old whisper you about your lack of playing skills and propensity for gay male sex (not that there's anything wrong with that). I don't recommend the experience.
- Follow strategies: If someone takes the time to put a coherent strategy in BG chat, even if you don't agree with it, follow it. Often it is for partial premades and they have organized people trying to coordinate a plan. Also, any organization is often better than the haphazardness of any given PuG opponent. Or post your own if no one else does, but don't get testy if no one follows it. That happens -- particularly during late night (see above).
- Report AFKers: It's really easy, just go to the map and rightclick the stack of dots at the spawnpoint for your BG. Then choose Report All as AFK. After a time, they will be booted and be replaced by people in queue who hopefully want to play. If you tend to have a live and let live policy, I understand where you are coming from, but these leeches are making the game last longer and your playtime is precious. Boot 'em!
- Don't AFK!: Those of us with limited playtime know better than to waste their time doing boring things like AFKing in battlegrounds, right? We play to have fun, not be funsuckers. Don't be That Guy.
- No really, don't AFK: You say that you can do other things while AFKing therefore extending your playtime? I say go play a turn-based, single player game and stop bringing your teammates down. Seriously, don't be That Guy.
But if you insist on AFKing...: OK, so you're That Guy. Fine. You can still mostly AFK and actually help your team with a teeny bit of effort and communication. For example, in Arathi Basin, run to the Farm/Stable and cap it. Then stand there and inform BGchat when the enemy approaches. When you die, return to your post or be a sentinel at another non-contested objective. In Alterac Valley, run with the pack to Bal/Galv and participate in that battle as much as you are willing. By the time she/he is dead, the first enemy bunker/tower should be in conflict. Go be a sentinel there, calling out to BGchat when the enemy shows up. Remain there until it is destroyed, then advance to the next target. Apply the same "strategies" to the other Battlegrounds, although most of you AFK-types hang out in AV, so whatever. /glare
- You can still contribute if you are on the lower end of the level range: The strategies for mostly AFKing above also work if you are a BG noob or a poorly-clad, low-level, non-healing class. If you are a healing class, find a melee player, follow and heal. Now that 80s have their own bracket, BGs in the low 70s have become an easier place to play, and you won't hear so much whining about "low level leeches".
- AV is still the place to be: Yes, the XP did get reduced with the re-bracketing, but it is still the best ratio of experience to time played among all the Battlegrounds. Unless the game turns into a turtle, losses tend to be quick and wins tend to be fruitful.
Last minute bonus tip: If you are feeling like a PvP weakling, I have the perfect confidence boost for you: take a baby DK into the Battlegrounds. Being an OP, fashion-forward Death Knight in the 50's bracket will make you feel like a god. If you are anything like me, a few rounds of Death Gripping people to their doom while never leaving your objective will rejuvenate your PvP spirit. Note: Make sure you like the name you give this DK, because you may find yourself BGing him/her all the way to 80.