The WSG thread was filled with walls of helpful text, and we'll get the same for AB, EotS and even a 40-man like AV. There's just not enough depth to this BG to describe strategy in more than a brief paragraph.
Edited by Hinenuitepô on 3/2/12 6:28 AM (PST)
I just want to touch on the 80-84 bracket for a minute, as I've levelled a number through there in recent weeks.
In the 80-84 bracket, the WORKSHOP is the key to victory.
It doesn't play out like the level 85 BG, the respective Horde and Alliance bosses are devastating with their attacks, particularly the special attacks. It is not uncommon to wipe repeatedly on them as the special attacks will take you to within an inch of your life, if not kill you, even if you handle the mechanic well. The spread of stats and gear means that it is very unforgiving on players in this bracket. Absolutely you can pull off a successful boss kill, I've been there on a couple of occasions it has been done. But in a random battleground scenario, there is alot working against you, ranging from player level, gear, ability and overall makeup, the average health pool of any given player could be disparate by up to 50k HP, depending on class, level and gear. At least at 85, the level issue is a non-factor, gear is generally above the minimum reccommended and the mechanics are slightly more forgiving based on average health pools etc.
Having been on the recieving end a number of times, the most consistent way to gain victory is to control the WORKSHOP (WS) first, get yourself a siege and go spawn camp the nearest enemy graveyard until their reinforcements hit zero. It's hardly in the 'spirit' of good PvP, but be aware, if you aren't doing it to your opponent, they will sure as the sun rises be doing it to you. All other tactical points fade into insignificance compared to the might of a siege engine wailing away on players, in fact, the Refinery and Quarry are arguably the number 2 and 3 most important capture points behind the WS.
I've seen it executed in situations where the vehicle is grinding up taco meat in home and enemy bases, and solutions are few. GHOSTWALKING to a safer spawn location is crucial, as 10-15 spawning at the same time as a siege plows through instantly becomes 10-15 less reinforcements in the bank. In some instances I've seen Alliance players get inside turrets in the home keep to avoid the STEAM RUSH and on walls to try take a siege engine down. You can maybe manouvre some glaives to take chunks off an enemy siege engine, but their fragility makes it a high risk, low reward option. The handful of victories I've seen have been Alliance back-caps of the WS while all of the horde chase their siege engine around, the Alliance get their own siege and return the favor. Every time the back-cap was a response to the masses adopting the level 85 strategy and being soundly beaten prior to the tables being turned by a handful of more experienced players. I have been in one instance where the Alliance controlled the WS from the outset, the result was a victory.
Just to reiterate, this is the 80-84 bracket. The strategy is very different to the standard, consistent, strategy adopted in the 85 only bracket. It is probably the most consistent mistake that is made by players in assuming that what applies at 85 also applies in the levels before it. Much like the level 85 variety, half the battle is won in that first 5-10 minutes, it's just the reasons why that are different.
It seems that there is a cookie cutter offense and defense for this battle ground for both sides as it is with most of the BG's in WOW.
If the alliance controls the Glaives it is an automatic win.
If the horde fails to control the docks it is end of game.
It has made Isle of Conquest very boring.
Despise this BG. Even with how big the map is their can be very little balance to this BG because of 40 ppl in it. Whoever Zergs better and holds 2 of the 3 main bases wins. Plain and simple but not very fun.
Right now the biggest mistake I see is Alliance always going for the docks. The glaive throwers are woefully weak and anytime you rest your whole strat on hoping the other side ignores your siege engines you are bound to fail often enough that it's apparent something new needs to be done.
5 or 6 horde dedicated to killing the glaives can do so, no matter how many people protect them, when more than just 3 or 4 bother to do so it still doesn't matter.
Edited by Hinenuitepô on 3/2/12 7:02 AM (PST)
I dont know why but last night out of 7 'random' queues, I got this BG 5 times and AV twice. Maybe its because i have a decent raid set that Blizzard assumes I want to pve while I pvp, Im not entirely sure. That said, one effective strategy for this BG is to wear your pve gear because you never actually fight players anyways. As other posters have said, and this seems to differ based on battlegroups, the horde will almost always go to one base, the allies to a different one, a few bold stragglers will get ganked for deviating from the the established norm, the rest will stand in vehicles, perform actions which lack class/race/utility relevance, beat up a wall, and fight a raid boss reminiscent of Patchwerk, our old friend from Naxxramas. So essentially do this: Go with the flow, follow the herd, get full rebuffs up, prepot, pull the boss, dps your heart out, get rewarded with honor (for some reason), queue again and hope you get a real BG. I'm sorry blizzard, but I really cant think of anything constructive to say about this BG. It simply doesn't make sense. Same with AV.
I actually don't mind AV and IoC, I definately don't like getting them back-to-back-to-back, and I must say that watching your opponent run past you going the other way in AV is a little on the ridiculous side, but I do like the scale and PvE elements being incorporated into the PvP. I can see the PvP purists not being a fans, but as someone who is just as happy mixing it up with and enemy as they are doing a raid, I think the overall PvP makeup is pretty good. It often feels like the Alliance is on the losing side, with the exception of Arathi Basin, Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest, which they seem to have a level of parity. And it is 'tear your hair out' frustrating getting isolated and zerged in the more PvP focussed BG's, particularly as your side goes down meekly, but you take the good with the bad. I'm definately not crying foul over comparative wins and losses, nor demanding this be balanced, you take the good with the bad, and do the best you can, with what you can. But on days when it feels like you can't survive 10 seconds, or things are just not going right, a BG where you can actually take a second to regroup, contribute in other ways, and maybe engage in some relatively even skirmishes, can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
When levelling, IoC is actually quite enjoyable, so to is AV, particularly when one side or the other turns things on their heads and changes their strategy, it often triggers some kind of massive, ongoing battle and at the end of it, many reinforcements have been burned, HK's logged, and furious, balanced (relatively speaking), fights between players have taken place.
The way I see Isle of Conquest is whoever controls the docks wins as long as people can
1) defend the glaives
2) actually try to get docks
The glaives are so stupid OP there's no reason to get any other node, even the demos/siege and airship don't deal as much damage as the glaives do in a short time.
Isle of Conquest to the new player can be very confusing at first (I have been on vent with first timers) but once you get the lay of the land and learn what does what, its actually not so bad a place. It was actually the first of the battlegrounds I earned the Mastery achievement on.
Lets start by making clear the actual goal of the battleground. Isle of Conquest focuses on utilizing siege mechanics to bring down the gates of your enemies' base and kill a "general" inside. If you've played Alterac Valley you may be familiar with this concept. The important part is that the generals will NOT be accessible until at least 1 gate of their respective keep is destroyed. So in short your mission in on the Isle is to use bombs, glaive throwers, demolishers, siege engines, or any combination thereof to shatter a wall of your enemies keep and then kill the general hiding inside.
Alternatively much like Alterac Valley there is a reinforcement counter...and it is possible to win by simply killing sufficient amounts of the enemy players. However this is unlikely to happen in a normal game and isn't a very timely win strategy.
Now lets discuss locations and what each one does.
The far north and far south locations are the horde/alliance keeps respectively. You will start in your own...and have to cross the map and infiltrate the enemy keep. Each keep has 3 gates...defensive turrets (usable by players)...bombs...and a graveyard. The bombs in your own keep can only be used by the enemy and vice versa...this is one method of destroying a gate. The banner of the enemy keep graveyard can only be assaulted when one of the gates has been destroyed. It is also worth noting that if you are defending from a turret and it is destroyed...you can repair it by clicking on the destroyed turret and allowing a cast bar to finish.
On the west coast along the water is the Docks. This location produces Catapults and Glaive Throwers. Catapults have a simple functionality...they are only used to throw the player driving them into the enemy keep. This can be beneficial in that it allows you to bomb the enemy gates from within using the bombs stored inside the enemy keep. Glaive throwers are long range siege engines capable of high amounts of damage to keep gates, but are very fragile. The best advantage to a Glaive Thrower is that it can hit gates from outside the range of fire of defending turrets...so positioning is key in making the most of a Glaive Thrower. New players are not recommended to drive them...instead watch veteran players move them over the course of several games to get an idea of their range and ideal spots to fire from.
Central to the entire zone is the Workshop. Control of this location allows for Demolishers, bombs, and a periodic Siege Engine. The Demolishers are fairly straightforward...with ranged fire and ramming abilities. Identical to Strand of the Ancients if you're familiar. The Siege Engine is a bit more technical. Its only available after holding the Workshop for several minutes...and allows for four players to use it at once. There is a driver/rammer position...a main cannon...and two side cannons. The main cannon is best used on gates but is also very effective damage against players. Side cannons do no siege damage to gates so are best used against attacking players and turrets.
On the mountain to the eastern side of the map is the Hangar. This location once captured places a teleportation pad on the ground nearby that when used places you on an airship that makes a repeated cycle flying over the enemy keep as long as you hold it. This is best used to jump from the airship into the enemy keep (you automatically get a parachute...no worries). The airship is also equipped with cannons but unfortunately their seige damage isn't very high and you'll do more damage by running bombs inside the enemy keep.
The last two points to mention are the Refinery in the northwest area of the map and the Quarry to the southeast. These locations when controlled provide a constant tick of additional reinforcements and honor...but most importantly provide a 15% bonus each to your teams siege damage. This is important as the more damage you do to a gate...the faster you destroy it, kill the general, and win the game.
So now that we know the field and the goal...the big question arises. What is the best way to win?
Fact of the matter is there is no one way to win. No strategy is fail-proof...no strategy constantly loses. In all my victories the key thing that seems to win games is strong players and smart use of siege. Persistence certainly helps as well...many is the game someone declared lost that became a win. There are though some things you can do for yourself that might just increase the odds.
Control the Refinery/Quarry. These two locations seem the most undervalued but can be the most powerful. If your team is smart and fleet of foot...controlling only one base but both these nodes can overcome your enemy holding two bases. Additionally they can be the key to victory if your game becomes a turtle.
Destroy those Glaives! If the Docks falls into enemy hands...you want to bring their glaives down. Any class can do this but stealth characters will have the easiest go of it. Glaives are fragile and don't take much to be destroyed...and even if you get killed their health doesn't regenerate so you can come back and try again.
Docks and Hangar isn't optimal. If you find yourself in a strong group that aims to control two of the three siege bases...your best bet is to try to steer them toward claiming the Workshop and Docks or Workshop and Hangar. Docks and Hangar can work effectively...but as we discussed glaives are fragile and easily taken down by the enemy while Catapults and the Hangar both do the same thing essentially...allow keep infiltration. Bombs inside the enemy keep respawn at a fixed rate and there are only four spawn points...so unless there are defending enemy players you could find yourself with teammates in the enemy keep that have nothing to do.
Don't send everyone to one base. Divide and conquer. Not everyone needs to go hangar for the reasons stated above...there are only so many bombs and players can find themselves idle when they could be better used elsewhere. Docks has some leeway because non-drivers can guard the glaives. Workshop is the most "zerg friendly" because the bomb supply doesn't disappear...however its a long run to the enemy keep and back. Your best tactic is to carry one bomb...follow the demolishers to the gates...place your bomb and then guard the demolishers from defending players.
Defend! To often players don't appreciate the value of the shield and put all their attention on the sword. If you happen to die and come back up in your own keep...look around. If there are enemies in your base try to kill them. If you see siege vehicles coming...jump in a turret. A handful of defenders can easily wreck a demolisher caravan...just depends on how smart the enemy drivers are. And believe me I have seen some dumb ones. The stories I could tell...
I thank you for reading this far...and hope this has helped you better understand the Isle. Happy hunting to you...now go blow something up. :-D