Arathi Basin is a capture-and-hold game. You succeed in capturing as many of the 5 resource nodes as you can. When you hold a node, it gives you "resources" (a number, which grows more rapidly when you hold more nodes) until you reach 2000 resources and win. To hold 3 or more nodes steadily means that you are accumulating resources faster than the other team and are acquiring a huge lead. A horn sounds when one team hits 1800 resources, and that team is likely to win even if a node is lost, unless the score is very close.
The red-circled numbers are the resources you collect, and that's how you keep track of them. Resources collect per node thus:
- 1 node= 0.8 resources/sec
- 2 nodes = 1.0 resources/sec
- 3 nodes = 1.7 resources/sec
- 4 nodes = 2.5 resources/sec
- 5 nodes = 30.0 resources/sec
The nodes are thus: Stables (blue), Mine (red top), Blacksmith (blank/center), Lumber Mill (half-half), and Farm (red/green circle). Memorize these, because people will abbreviate them in-game.
The beginning point and main graveyard of the Alliance is behind the stables. The Horde is behind the farm. When you hold a resource node, you adopt its graveyard (each has its own graveyard) and dead players will go to the nearest graveyard that their team controls. Here in my made-up example, Alliance would go to the stables graveyard and Horde would go to the farm or the mine. Not the lumber mill, because that is contested and no one owns it yet.
The green-circled yellow dots are your fellow players. You can always see how many people are at which node, though you can't see where the other team is.
The blue-circled button on your personal minimap will give you more info about the other team when right-clicked. This can tell you what classes/levels/names you'll be going up against, but that's about it.
The terrain is very confusing until you play a few times. I suggest going in with a friend who's played a lot and following them, paying attention to where you're going.
There is an incorrect supposition that taking the stables or farm will hurt the other team worse than taking any other node. Some people believe that these nodes provide more resources than others, being close to the enemy's base (they don't). Some people believe that taking these demoralizes the other team (it doesn't, and if it does, losing the game demoralizes them muuuuuch worse). And some people believe that this is a way to cut them off from their graveyard (as previously stated, you can spawn at whatever graveyard you own, NOT just your beginning graveyard -- you can even run from one owned graveyard to another in spirit form, which is called "Spirit Run").
Grabbing farm/stables are the easiest to keep if they are close to your base, but the hardest to keep if close to the other team's base. So when people pass up perfectly good nodes in the middle to charge stables/farm, they are putting their team at a disadvantage. In any sensible Arathi Basin run, you should only go after stables/farm if you're able to take stables/farm without losing ground elsewhere. This means keeping two other nodes as well as stables/farm. This, however, is very hard to do, as stables/farm needs a lot of extra manpower to keep up.
This is how it went with me (slightly dramatized, but not really):
[upon 8 people trying to zerg (overpower by numbers) the stables and failing]
Dustfire: I don't think the stables is a very wise place to attack. I think we should take LM or Farm, which are both wide open.
O-guy: Yeah, guys, get off of stables.
Dustfire: [with Guildmate and Shaman at the mine] I'm on D for mine. We need to take these things and hold them.
[fighting spreads out as some people listen to us and some don't]
O-guy: Let's take the lumber mill, and hold blacksmith and mine, guys!
[farm is lost to alliance]
S-guy: We need to retake the farm!
O-guy: No, keep on blacksmith!
Mage: Losing blacksmith -- abandon it -- everybody run to LM!
Rogue: No one is at farm! Help!
Guildmate: (party chat) Let's help at the farm.
Dustfire: /s (out loud to Shaman) Headed to farm. Call us if you need help. [wonders if Shaman is mute or foreign, as he doesn't reply]
[get there just as everyone else dies, shield Guildmate, shield self, fear 3 enemies]
Dustfire: Not many at farm, maybe 5 or 6. Guildmate is very good, and can take several, but not all.
[I die, wait for resurrect, mine goes under attack]
Dustfire: We're getting there to support just as our teammates die. We need to group before we get there and go in together. [checks minimap] We have several at BS, 3 at LM, [notices 2 guys in particular] . . . why are people still at the stables?!
[the mine is lost]
Yeah, we didn't win. Surprised? Different people were giving different orders, people ignored us about the stables, and no one really stuck together. We put up an okay fight, but we totally lost, and not even by a little.
If you do not coordinate, you do not win. Period.
More in-depth strategies, most useful for pre-formed groups, but generally useful for everyone: WoWWiki Strategy Guide
(I kind of like the one where you leave 4 at each of three bases to defend and have a group of 3 travel together to aid whomever needs it.)
First, know your character and know its pvp strengths. You want to work your debilitating spells hard. Fear (warlocks, priests) is VERY powerful, as are stun (rogues), polymorph (mages), frost trap (hunters), seduce (warlock+succubus) and anything else that can slow the enemy down so that your melee teammates can kill them. Also, for priests, "Dispel Magic" is very important. You can remove slowing/harmful spells (like freezing trap) from teammates or remove helpful spells (like Power Word: Shield) from enemies. Also, Dispel is something you can cast while moving, which is great. (I suggest having extra taskbars: Main Menu, Interface Options, Advanced, Show _____ Taskbar.)
Second, coordinate. If you cannot work as or in a team, you cannot win. The minimap (shift-M) is important so that you'll know where your people are, and so you can meet up with groups to aide them. If you try to solo the whole thing, you will die often and weaken your team in the process. People who ignore group consensus are forcing the team to work as if with a man down. When facing a strong opposing force, this cannot be done. This is true for any battleground.
Do not head out to kill a specific enemy or take a specific flag on your own. Boneheaded players who insist on doing their own thing are how Arathi Basins are lost. Even when out-geared, you can still outplay (I'm level 36, wearing level 19 robes, and was key in keeping the mine this morning against 39's). But you must work with your people and not against them. I didn't run up and start beating on people with my wand -- I shielded the fighters, healed where I could, and Psychic Screamed (feared) when people came after me. It's a team effort.
Third, defense is boring but necessary. I have stood at the Lumber Mill with my husband, shielding him as he cut his way through enemy after invading enemy, and triumphed. I have stood at the Mine, bait for hunters who want to take down a lowly priest and score one for the home team, only to watch my rogue friend ambush, sap, and steal their life away.
Fourth, don't join a battleground until you're in the upper half of your bracket. (36 is fine, but 35 isn't. If it's your first time, wait until you're at the top of the bracket to minimize death.)
Fifth, keep your team apprised of things that are happening, especially in defense. (/bg is how you get into battleground chat.) For example, "6 enemies at mine, 3 defenders, dying, help."
Get some boots with +speed on them from the Arathi Basin vendor in Hammerfall(H)/Refuge Pointe(A). In any battle, you cannot win if you can't keep up with your opponent. This goes along with the slowing-spells thing.
With gear in general, you want stamina to increase your health -- consider getting +stamina enchants on your gear if you want to be more protected in pvp (though they're expensive). In pvp, you want to outlast your opponent. In case you're a little like I was when I started, here are your five basic stats:
- +Stamina: +10 health
- +Intellect: +15 mana
- +Spirit: Percentage of mana regeneration. This is better for priests than most classes, because priests can use talent points to improve mana regeneration by spirit.
- +Strength: Percentage of attack power. Good for warriors, rogues, and other melee classes. Useless for casters.
- +Agility: Percentage of dodge and critical strike chance. Best for hunters and rogues because it also gives them attack power.
Better gear will not assure you a win, but it will help you survive. My guildmate, Ihsahn, stands by the idea that twinks (players who outgear everyone else) only twink because they aren't good players, and beating others by having more health and mana is the only way they can win. So he firmly believes that it's possible to outplay someone who is heavily geared, as long as the team works together.
Winning v.s. Losing
Note that I'm on defense at nodes that we never lose. We held the Mine in the losing image the whole game.
If the text is too hard to read, this is how it goes:
Dustfire: Guys at BS/LM are spread out -- decide on one, and team up.
Um, hello, I'm on the only one we haven't lost! Shut up and listen to me. (Didn't say that, just let them lose, because it exhausts me to fight with idiots.) Near the end, they actually told the people at the mine to LEAVE and help at the blacksmith. Leave the only well-defended node we owned so Alliance could get a 5-node lead and win that much faster. Yeah, right.
It really sucks, too, because I'm trying to build up enough honor for my Insignia of the Horde (a trinket that resists stun/polymorph/fear), but I'm still not farming for honor. I'm playing D, with less action and less chance for honor, because I want our team to do well. (You get bonus honor if you win, so that's good too.) And then stupid people like Destinity just keep fighting and dying and never changing strategy, both getting more honor than me and losing the game for our team. Yuck.
So, just tell me where to find Destinity, and I'll go beat my honor out of him.