The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginners' guide to Eye of the Storm

Zach Yonzon
Z. Yonzon|11.29.09

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The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginners' guide to Eye of the Storm
Every week, Zach takes you on a guided tour of the Battlegrounds, kind of like how those tour guides take you on a safari. Except that instead of boring old lions or lazy zebras on a savanna, you've got bloodthirsty, axe-wielding orcs and stubby gnomes pewpewing laser beams from their fingertips.

So you know a little bit about the Battlegrounds now. The PvP equivalent of dungeons and raids, Battlegrounds along with Arenas cater to those players who enjoy going head to head against enemy players aside from dragons, murlocs, or fires on the ground. In the past few weeks we'd gone through complete beginners' guides to Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley. Those were the first three Battlegrounds firmly set in Azeroth.

In the Burning Crusade, Blizzard introduced a fourth Battleground called Eye of the Storm. Set in the tempestuous environment of Netherstorm in Outland, the Battleground looks unlike anything that has come before or after in the game -- fighting on asteroids make it literally out of this world. Long after players have leveled past Outland content, the Eye of the Storm is the one lasting legacy of the Burning Crusade that players will continue to experience even after Cataclysm has come out and players level to 85. Hit the jump to find out what this Battleground is all about.


What is Eye of the Storm?
Eye of the Storm is a Battleground that combines the resource accumulation mechanic of Arathi Basin with the flag capture aspect of Warsong Gulch. The map accommodates 15 players per faction in a game where the goal is to accrue 1600 resource points, or Victory Points as noted on the counter at the top of your screen. The accumulation of resources is dependent on the capture and control of points of interest on the map as well as the capture of the flag, which is located on the center of the map.

Taking the flag is a 10-second channeled action and players cannot ride a mount without dropping it. The flag can be captured by taking it to a tower that your faction controls and crossing over a capture point marked by a metal circle on the ground. Each flag capture grants an amount of resources depending on the number of towers your faction controls:
  • 1 Tower or Ruin controlled = 75 Victory Points per flag capture
  • 2 Towers or Ruins controlled = 85 Victory Points per flag capture
  • 3 Towers or Ruins controlled = 100 Victory Points per flag capture
  • 4 Towers or Ruins controlled = 500 Victory Points per flag capture
Teams also acquire resources at a rate that scales with the number of towers they control. Blizzard introduces a new capture mechanic in Eye of the Storm which is also evident in several world PvP objectives in Burning Crusade -- strength in numbers. Points in Eye of the Storm can be captured through proximity, with the number of players expediting the capture timer. In order to capture a point of interest, players simply need to be near the objective.

The more players there are, the faster it takes to capture a ruins or tower, although enemy presence cancels this out on a 1:1 basis. That is to say, if there are equal numbers of Horde and Alliance within the proximity of a point, it will be a stalemate and control will not change. The moment one side has more players than the other, control begins to shift towards the numerically superior faction. An advantage of 5 players is the fastest a team can capture a point, so there's no difference whether you have a party of five or a raid of fifteen sitting by a tower. Assuming there are no enemies in sight, they will convert at the same time. Speaking of being in sight, stealthed players do not count towards the capture of a key point.

As with the flag captures, the more that your team controls, the faster you accrue resources:
  • 1 Tower or Ruin controlled = 1 Victory Point per second
  • 2 Towers or Ruins controlled = 2 Victory Points per second
  • 3 Towers or Ruins controlled = 5 Victory Points per second
  • 4 Towers or Ruins controlled = 10 Victory Points per second
The four points of interest in the game are the Mage Tower, Draenei Ruins, Fel Reaver Ruins, and Blood Elf Tower located at the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast areas of the map, respectively. These are usually abbreviated on Battleground chat as MT, DR, FR, and BE. The Horde start the game on a rock in the Southern end of the map while the Alliance start up North. Each of these locations also grant a nearby Graveyard where players from the controlling faction can resurrect. Teams that don't control any points respawn in their elevated starting area.

What the deal with this place?
Nothing. It's an ugly mass of space rocks that have the Horde and Alliance at loggerheads but is the first Battleground not to have any factions associated with it. This would start the trend of not having any Battleground factions, which Blizzard considered to be an obsolete concept. These are the same guys who thought sucking up to giants for every day for about a month straight just to get shoulder enchants was a good idea.

That said, the fuzzy lore behind this place is that the Blood Elves and Draenei are after the rich energies of the Netherstorm. Think of the Transformers and their quest for energon. Eye of the Storm is also the first Battleground not to have a physical entrance in the game world, yet another trend that Blizzard would follow in subsequent Battlegrounds.

That's alright, I don't care. I just want to fight!
Great! The Eye of the Storm is an extremely fun Battleground that promises a lot of combat because the map lends itself to a lot of player movement. Because nodes are captured through numerical superiority, it is often imperative to lend support wherever it is needed. Be careful, however, because Eye of the Storm also has the geographical peculiarity of being set in space or the Netherstorm, making it the only Battleground where players can fall to their deaths if they make one wrong step.

One important thing to note is that Eye of the Storm is only accessible to players who have upgraded their accounts to The Burning Crusade. There are currently three level brackets for this Outland Battleground:
  • 61-69
  • 70-79
  • 80
Because this is a Battleground that emphasizes combat quite a lot, players would do well to be on the higher end of the bracket in order to better participate. Since there's no faction associated with Eye of the Storm, the only rewards to be gained from playing are the Eye of the Storm Marks of Honor which are used to purchase item rewards and fairly good Honor. Eye of the Storm is also a whole lot of fun.

Any tips before I head out into the nether?
Don't fall. Although that's probably easier said than done when you're facing an Elemental Shaman or a Balance Druid. Perhaps the most basic thing I can try to impart on new players is the importance of capturing a Tower or Ruins. This is far more important than capturing a flag, although getting a flag is good for obvious reasons. For one thing, having no points under your team's control means that a flag is pretty useless, anyway. Generally, Towers/Ruins > Flag. Just keep this in mind and you should do fine.

This means that you absolutely must go where you're needed. Strength in numbers can't be stressed enough here. Furthermore, always fight near a capture point -- you will see a progress bar appear on the upper right hand of your screen when you are within the proper vicinity of a Tower or Ruins. Unless you're pursuing the flag or something, if you don't see that progress bar, you're likely too far away from where you're supposed to be. Fighting too far from a node is like fighting on the roads in Arathi Basin. Yes, that means it's bad.

Oh, and one last thing... be careful when you jump off the starting rock.

On to Strand of the Ancients!
We're almost done with our complete beginners' guides to the Battlegrounds, which means we'll soon be able to talk about more exciting stuff like strategy and mayhem! As much as I detest the trend of having no Battleground factions that Eye of the Storm started, the Battleground itself is a lot of fun and is popular among a lot of players.

Zach attempts weekly to write about the Battlegrounds and world PvP in one crazy column. He started this series talking about the pure Battleground basics, and proceeded to do a Dummies' guide to the three original Battlegrounds: Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley.

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