[WotLK BG] Strand of the Ancients
I've been enjoying the new battleground, but lamenting the fact that players are woefully unprepared when they enter. Blizzard drops players into the invasion of Normandy without any idea which way is up. This guide is an attempt to orient you and give a few tips.
This is an assault style battleground. One team attacks while the other defends. After a successful attack or 10 minutes (whichever comes first) the attackers play defense and vice versa. The attacking team spawns on two boats (half the team on each boat) which sail to the northeast and northwest beaches during prep time. The defending team spawns at the southern graveyard to start. The defending team can move at will during prep time and can even wait on the docks for the attackers to land if they choose. The goal of the attacking team is to reach the southernmost building and click the artifact inside. To do this they must break down a series of walls between the landing site and the artifact using two kinds of siege weapons.
The first barrier has two walls--one on the east and one on the west. The second barrier has a similar setup. The third and fourth barriers have one wall each, located at the midline of the map.
Graveyards can be captured by the attackers, but cannot be recaptured by the defenders once lost. Capture is achieved by clicking the flag, similar to Arathi Basin (not like EotS).
If the first team successfully captures the relic, the sides immediately swap regardless of the time left on the clock. The second team must then beat the first team's assault time to win. If neither team touches the artifact, the match is a draw. A draw will not count as a win for the daily quest, and both teams receive only one mark. Due to these rules, the maximum time for a complete game is 20 minutes.
There are two brackets for SotA: one for levels 71-79 and one for level 80.
(25000 HP in 71-79 bracket)
• Shoots a explosive in the targeted area for 3500 or so damage on demolishers and about 2000 on players in the 71-79 bracket. (2 second CD)
• These do not respawn once destroyed
These can have 1 driver and 2 passengers. The attackers start with 4 and they respawn at the docks. After you capture the first set of graveyards, they will also spawn at the goblin workshops farther up. Since the tanks move at run speed, capturing these graveyards is important to speed your assault. They have two abilities:
You have two methods of taking down enemy gates.
2) Seaforium charges
Use them both at the same time. Every attacker should carry a seaforium charge at nearly all times. 4 demolishers can carry 12 people with seaforium charges (4 drivers, 8 passengers). If you can mass 4 demolishers and 12 charge-carrying attackers that wall is going down. String the demolishers in a line so the back tanks can give covering fire to the front tanks. When your demolisher is destroyed go straight for the wall and drop the charge.
- Demolishers—Your priority is killing gates, not players. You should be constantly moving toward the gates, only firing on players if your ranged attack is out of range of the gate. Note that defending turrets have a delay between aiming and firing. Use this to your advantage by moving in a constant direction until they fire the turret, then changing direction away from where you were headed.
- Also note that 2 people, other than the driver, can ride in a Demolisher. This is a great spot for a ranged class to dps from. Most players will be targeting the siege tank and not you, so you won’t be cc’d, interrupted, or damaged.
- Seaforium charges—You can carry 1 at a time. The goal is to carry it to the wall and drop it. The defenders then have 10 secs to diffuse them before they damage the wall. If you die, the charge drops at your feet so teammates can pick them up and continue on. They can be picked up wherever tanks spawn, which is at both docks and at the goblin workshops past the first set of gates. They can also be found in the final courtyard on the east and west sides.
- The number one goal of any SotA newb should be to learn how to use these charges. I've played quite a few games at this point and almost never see them used. Note the number of achievements for this battleground that involve seaforium charges. They are clearly meant to be a big part of the game.
- Stealth/invisibility + Seaforium charge = fun
- The Death Knight group aura Path of Frost will allow you to leave the boats a bit before they pull up to the docks and get a bit of a head start. Don't leave the boat too soon though, or you'll be out in the middle of the ocean. Also note that the defenders can break the aura with damage and may drop you in the water.
- Most defending teams fall back immediately when a gate falls. Rush straight for the graveyard flag and cap it ASAP. The defense cannot recap the gy, so don’t worry about defending it.
- If there is a stalemate at a well-defended gate, rogues can shadowstep to reach the cannons from below and ranged classes should also destroy the cannons. These cannons do not respawn.
- Protect the tanks. Melee chasing tanks REALLY hate being snared. The tanks move at run speed so even a second of earthbind totem will make them use intercept/sprint/etc to catch up
- Demolisher hitpoints will likely remain static as gear progresses. This means that it will be easier to destroy them as people gear up. Demolishers are very useful at the moment, but I predict you will see more and more Seaforium charge assaults as gear progresses.
- Anti-personnel cannons should prioritize Demolishers. The cannon charge takes a while to land, so lead your targets.
- You want to stop the attackers from using their two methods of taking down your gates, namely Demolishers and Seaforium. Again, everyone—especially turrets—should prioritize killing Demolishers.
- Anti-personnel cannons have a dead zone. This needs to be covered either by the other cannon at that gate or by players on the ground.
- Tanks move at exactly run speed and have rather small hitboxes. This can make it difficult for melee to keep up if they get even one step behind. Try to stay right up on the tank and shadowstep/sprint/intercept/ghost wolf/etc if you get a step off.
- Set up your defense as far forward as possible. Many teams set up defense at the first gates and don't bother the attackers until they come in range of the Anti-personnel cannons. This effectively cedes ground to the attackers before the battleground begins. You can easily be at the docks when the round starts. You may want to keep someone back in the cannons, but the majority of the team should drop aoe on the attackers as soon as they hit the beach. I like to start by standing 3 people inside the Demolisher model (defenders can't actually get in it), so we can start dpsing it as soon as the round starts and the attackers have trouble targeting us. Note that the tanks become targetable several seconds BEFORE the boats reach the docks. You can usually burn 1 Demolisher completely down before it moves. An aggressive defense can really slow down the attacker's initial rush by reducing their initial 4 tanks to 2 in the first couple seconds. Ideally, you should NEVER give the attackers easy initial access to the tanks and allow them to drive up into the range of the anti-personnel cannons.
- If the green (western) gate falls, keeping the blue (eastern) gate up will still slow the number of tanks reaching the 2nd set of gates. Priority goes to keeping the second line of gates up, but don't just abandon the post automatically, especially if the anti-personnel cannons are still functional.
- Ranged classes should stand up with the turrets and defend them from shadowstep rogues.
- Keep in mind that even when a gate falls, it is still a choke point. Choke points are not totally worthless until the other team is spawning south of them.
- You can play aggressive forward defense killing tanks and ignoring players and win most games, as many people don’t know how to use seaforium charges. This will obviously become a terrible strategy as more people figure out how the seaforium charges work.
- There are restoration leaf buffs in the final courtyard on the far east and west sides.
- If defenders drop down below a gate, they can get back behind the gate by using a portal near the gate. Attackers cannot use these portals. This can be a nice escape if you are being focused, though there is a cooldown to prevent abuse.
- Thunderstorm does appear to work on demolishers.