I don't run Alterac Valley because the Horde always loses there.
Are you a Horde player who craves a win in Alterac Valley? Does the inevitability of the Alliance zerg leave you feeling spent and hopeless, devoid of your former lust for battle? Do you dream of complete Alliance annihilation, caroming atop an endless stream of Honor Kills?
What you need, my friend, is an injection of the renowned Rath Strat, the PvP premade team strategy refined by Rathamus of Nathrezim (US) that focuses on battleground domination and savage player-versus-player combat. Rath Strat games are all about rack and roll -- racking up HKs and rolling over the opposition with a prolonged, satisfying crunch. The premades that have sprung up around this strategy thrive on its ability to bring the spirit of PvP back to a battleground that's become a ghost of its former epic glory.
Savvy strategy or premade steamroller -- is this even true PvP at all? "Some argue that what we do is not PvP," Rathamus explains about the concept's detractors. "However, when we defend Galv, we are fighting players. When we retake our towers, we are fighting players. When we kick the Alliance out of our Keep, we are fighting players. Taking bunkers? Yup, player combat. Our push that has been coined 'The Death March' phase of the strategy? We are fighting players. The failure to stand and fight as a team nearly always results in a Stormpike Graveyard (or cave) HK farm fest."
Is that blood lust we see beneath that hopeful expression? Read on, dear Hordie -- the Rath Strat may be just what General Drek'Thar ordered.
Main characterRathamus Guild Unrated Realm and faction Nathrezim (US-Horde)
WoW Insider: What exactly is the Rath Strat? What is the strategy's goal?
Rathamus: Rath Strat is a formulated order of events/actions deployed in Alterac Valley designed to shut down Alliance "zerging" and effectively deny the opposing team as much honor as possible, while simultaneously maximizing those gains for the Horde. It is an extremely brutal strategy with the unmistakable intent of punishment.
It also forces the Alliance to actually PvP in a battleground that has devolved into a PvE experience.
Does the Rath Strat apply only to Alterac Valley, or is there a Rath Strat for other BGs as well?
Rath Strat applies only to Alterac Valley in both its execution and results.
So what about the Alliance? Is there a BG strategy specific to them?
The Alliance strategy is to zerg; there really is no name for it beyond that. And it is very effective and very cruise-control easy to do. This is the mainstream method of victory for the Alliance.
To what extent is the Rath Strat simply playing to the advantage that organized premade groups have over PuGs?
Rath Strat does, as any premade will, have an edge over PUGs with an organized means of communication. Ensuring that the majority of players from the start of the battleground are on the same page along the lines of a plan of action helps as well.
I have led over 670 games of Alterac Valley over the years, and I have lost only once. It can be easy to assume that we have never been challenged. Every premade I have faced and followed the strategy used has consistently defeated other premades.
The one loss occurred when we faced another premade that had nearly a full roster of excellently geared players and a "spy" that was in our channel listening to every move we made. I marked this battle as a victory in the end, as it was the best damned game of AV I had ever played and that feeling reverberated agreement from everyone in the raid.
What if you're up against an equally organized opposing team that knows what it's up against?
The best people that could do such a thing would be those who participate in my games regularly. We have tried to organize war games to see what would happen if we could have two groups deploy in that respect but found a nice bug that makes it difficult to do so. We created a thread on it [on the Blizzard forums].
How is the Rath Strat different from BG strategies in the past such as the original Scorched Earth strat?
It is argued that Rath Strat is Scorched Earth; however, as I have mentioned in my posts and threads, I had no idea what that was and it was certainly not employed on my realm or battlegroup. I recognize I am not the only one who would eventually understand the mechanics of AV and find the result I have, but I was certainly the first to employ it there.
I have read a bit about Scorched Earth (can't find a solid guide on it), and it appears the biggest difference is the HK farming and organized choking for control during the three phases of Rath Strat. Other than that, the idea is similar, I assume.
Let's talk about the whole faction advantage issue. Does AV have a built-in Horde advantage if both sides play the BG as it was intended, without zerging? If so, why?
Each side has its own advantages and disadvantages that can be capitalized upon with varying tactics. However, it is my opinion that the Alliance has a slight edge if they were to play the Alterac Valley with the expectation for PvP and use the terrain to their advantage. Their defense is formidable with the positioning of their bunkers and the bridge. I envy their bunker design; [it] is solid with lots of room and excellent fields of view for their archers. Thankfully, these assets are largely ignored.
Are there any viable Alliance counters to the Rath Strat?
I have not run into any counter that I have had trouble with in the games I was personally present for or leading. I would like to recognize with respect that efforts were made by QueueQ.net (Alliance Premade Community) and a few threads on the WoW Battlegrounds forums that tried to organize such an effort. These have largely either succumbed to the Rath Strat groups or fell into chaos before they could ever form.
I still look forward to the day I get pleasantly surprised by an effective counter from either a premade or a PUG that understands what they are up against.
What do you consider the best thing to have come out of the development and popularization of the Rath Strat?
I would have to say the community. Over the years and for years to come, this has been about bringing players together, helping gear players that otherwise would not have the chance, and showing people what multiplayer gaming is all about. Tens of thousands of players have participated in these games, and the memories and moments they have created of epic battles, the joy they have restored to those who viewed it as a grind, have given many another reason to log onto World of Warcraft and continue enjoying this incredibly dynamic game.
What do you think about the introduction of BG blacklisting in Mists? Doom for Alterac Valley?
I have not read too much about it, but I can't imagine it will be the end of Alterac Valley. With the entire playerbase available as a pool to draw players from nationwide and the size and style of the battleground, I don't think there will be a shortage of those who seek glory in the snow-covered hills of AV.
Speaking of no end to a shortage of glory, we hear you recently were able to purchase one of original Nathrezim server blades. How cool is that?!
When I found out I could own a piece of the server I started my World of Warcraft experience on, I was thrilled and excited. I immediately hopped on eBay and preauthorized the $2,500 I was prepared to part with to ensure I got one. I founded what would become the World of Warcraft Public Vent (the most heavily trafficked Ventrilo server on the planet) on Nathrezim, raided with the best on the realm, PVPed with incredible people, helped create a community, and organized events that helped remind everyone that there are faces behind the characters we play.
I proudly display it in my living room bookcase, where it will forever remind me of those I had played with, the epic adventures I had there, and ... why I keep doing what I do best, bringing people together and creating lasting memories.
Tell us a little about your WoW background. And what about other games?
I have played World of Warcraft on Nathrezim since day one. I have enjoyed PvE and I thank the guilds that have allowed me the chance to experience endgame content, but my true passion is PvP. My PvP gaming started with DOOM and has included Halo 2 (ranked Top 200 in Big Team Battle), Combat Arms (#2 top ranked sniper in the world), Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Black Ops, and League of Legends.
What do you see yourself doing in Mists of Pandaria?
I intend to continue to support the community that has grown as I have, continue to have the opportunity to meet players from around the world, and continue providing free premium services to World of Warcraft gamers to get the most of their online experience.
I have also had an addon created for me that will allow me to track battleground stats not only for myself, but all players who participate in my games. With this, I intend to make these stats available online for use in leader boards and other prize-awarding events I plan on hosting.
You sound like such an organized type of guy. So when you're not leading the Horde to victory, what are you doing?
I am currently employed as a supervisor for a broadband communications contractor. I also do IT for my own computer business. My hobbies include running the World of Warcraft Public Vent, flying small aircraft, writing music, outdoors activities, and spoiling my girlfriend.
OK, you've got a fired-up Horde player on your hands, raring to get into AV and knock some heads. How can a new player get involved?
Although I do have a rough guide on how to join these available on the WoW Battlegrounds forums (Rathamus.com is a redirect to whatever thread/site I am using), I am in the process of developing Publicvent.org as a central place to go to join premades such as the Rath Strat.
Download an addon that assists with synchronized queuing such as PAV (a rework of Preform AV Enabler by .bitbyte of the WoW Public Vent), available at http://www.publicvent.org; oQueue (being developed by "tiny" of the WoW Public Vent), at http://solidice.com/oqueue; or [another] equal alternative.
Download and install a Voice Over IP (VoiP) client such as Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, Mumble, RaidCall, etc. Rath Strat AV's are exclusively hosted on the World of Warcraft Public Vent at IP: wow.publicvent.org Port: 4135, a public gaming Ventrilo server that has been serving the WoW community since 2007.
Log on to the server and join one of the channels in the War Rooms section of the Vent and wait for an opportunity to politely ask how to join.
Be prepared to add a Battletag or Real ID of the person who is either hosting the premade or managing the waitlist.
If you are a new player, don't worry! Have an open mind, be ready to listen to the raid leader (they will walk you through the strat nearly every game, step by step) -- and most importantly, have fun!