Non-Gamer's Guide to This Post
Battlegrounds are PVP (player-vs-player) games that players join, trying to steal/recover land or flags from the other side (Alliance vs. Horde). They remind me of children's games like capture the flag, hide and seek, or king of the hill.
Whichever battleground you play, you're divided into level brackets (10-19; 20-29; 30-39; and so on). So it's unwise to play a battleground until you're near the top of your bracket. Once a side gets a certain amount of points, the game is over and you leave the battleground.
Marks of Honor are soulbound items that you can trade with battleground vendors to get special things, like gear. If your side wins a battleground, you get 3 marks of honor. If you lose, you get 1.
Twinks are characters that a player has leveled to the top of a certain level bracket (usually 19 or 29) and then decked out in the very best gear available. Twinks are unfair to players with normal characters, but they aren't against the rules.
I've been playing Arathi Basin with my holy-spec priest because there's a fabulous belt-o-healing once I get 20 marks of honor, and a nice pair of boots to match once I get 20 more.
After playing tonight, I'd like to send a shout out to Bubbleberry the twink, who knew enough to try and get the healer out of the way every time (s)he noticed me (and who had the best name on the field). There was also a rogue I'd like to bow to, who waited stealthed every time I died so he could Backstab me, but I didn't catch his name. I just cursed it. Over and over and over again.
The trick to playing battlegrounds is to keep your cool and try to have fun. If you hate losing or can't stand incompetent teammates, you're going to be disappointed a lot. Not all the time, but often enough to raise your blood pressure to an unhealthy level. I really like to go in with a group of friends, so we can talk to each other and strategize. Dustfire is even the protector of our team flag-runner when we play Warsong Gulch.
In general, I enjoy playing -- not winning as much as the action itself. Taking down a frustrating enemy feels great, and so does healing a guy with 1/3 health.
Getting ganked by three twinks . . . not so much.
But you have to take it in stride. It is just a game. Even when, like on one of my runs, my measly little holy-spec priest managed to do more damage than half of our team because most of those people spent their time complaining about "We're losing, oh no, we suck" or "Stop giving orders, losers" or something equally whiny when they should have been fighting. I mean, really. I died a billion times but the only thing I said was, "Stay near me so I can try and heal you." And then they DIDN'T!
*rolls eyes* Honestly.
Anyway, I'm happy because I managed to get first or second place healer every time, and the only time I didn't was because we beat the other team so badly that they spent all their time healing, and I didn't have to do as much. Woohoo!
Alterac Valley: Destroy the enemy towers on your path to defeating the enemy NPC general.
Arathi Basin: Occupy resource nodes to accumulate resources until 2000 resources are reached.
Eye of the Storm: Capture-and-hold version of capture-the-flag. 2000 points. (Level 61-70 only.)
Warsong Gulch: Return enemy's flag to your base while protecting your flag. 3 captures to win.