If you’re joining the mad rush to the battlegrounds to rack up honour points for shiny stuff, but your friends/guildmates/enough other people for a pre-made team aren’t around, it’s time to join the queue and get ready for some pickup fun. Arathi Basin is a good choice: shorter queues than Alterac Valley, and more of a chance at bonus honour than Warsong Gulch. So here’s a few tips:

1) Check the scorecard. If the enemy are all from the same server, don’t bother applying any buffs that require reagents. You’re going to lose. (Unless all your team are from the same server as well, in which case either cross-realm battlegrounds are down, or you hit a million-to-one chance and should buy a lottery ticket for this week).

2) Defend! Defend defend defend defend DEFEND!
This is where 90% of pickup group members go wrong. “OMG I’ve been standing here for FIVE ENTIRE SECONDS and nothing has happened I must MOUNT UP AND RIDE BY MYSELF TO CERTAIN DEATH!” The key to Arathi Basin is to defend your nodes; even if you lose the match, the more resource points you acquire, the more bonus honour you get. Pull up the map, if by some miracle your side has captured some nodes, check where the yellow dots are. If there’s none by one of your node (chances are, the stables/the farm), head there, and defend it. If you’re very lucky, you might even hook up with a second defender, which gives a much better chance of holding the node, plus you get someone to chat to while waiting for the next attack.

3) Bring your own healing. If your class can’t heal, stock up on bandages, food, healing potions, whatever. You’ll be in a random team, which might not even contain a healer, and you probably won’t see the rest of your team for much of the battle anyway. My personal theory is also that PUG healers know full well how rare it is to get healed in a pickup, so they deliberately don’t do it, else you’d wind up staring in shock at the green text on screen going… “It looks like someone in my team healed me… but… but…”, and getting stabbed by a rogue. Remember: never, *ever* shout “HEAL ME FFS!” It’s unlikely someone is playing a priest, but completely forgot they had healing spells until they noticed your helpful message. The only thing shouting “HEAL ME!” does is annoy the people who were considering healing you, until you shouted that. You might also receive equally helpful tips from them, like “ATTACK TARGETS! USE ABILITIES TO CAUSE DAMAGE!”

4) Communicate. Keep it simple, though. Everything you type in the battleground channel runs through an English-to-Pickup translator (though you don’t see the results). Something which seems fairly straightforward, like “OK, group 1 defend here, group 2 take the gold mine, group 3 take the lumber mill”, after running through the translator, becomes “EVERYONE RIDE AROUND RANDOMLY! RUN AWAY FROM THE NODES WE’VE TAKEN!” For that matter, you could type “Group 1: perform an interpretive dance version of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Group 2: devise a method for transporting an egg over a distance of three kilometres with only two elastic bands and a jar of herring. Group 3: form an anarcho-syndicalist commune to wrest the means of production away from the bourgeoisie”, and it would also get translated into “EVERYONE RIDE AROUND RANDOMLY! RUN AWAY FROM THE NODES WE’VE TAKEN!”

Here’s a handy phrasebook:

Coming and going:
Inc (incoming) – The enemy are approaching the following location…
Go - I suggest that we attempt to seize, or reinforce, the following location (although the chances are nobody else will follow, so I’m going to be dying at the following location)…

Locations:
Stab, stables – the stables (on the left)
Farm - the farm (on the right)
GM, mine – the gold mine (centre top)
BS, smith – the blacksmith (centre middle)
LM, mill – the lumber mill (centre bottom)

That’s about it. Following point (2), you’ll quite possibly be standing all by yourself at the stables/farm when you see a mass of the enemy heading towards you. At this point, switch to the battleground channel, and alert your team thus:
“/bg inc stab/farm”
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can add the number of attackers. If you’re *really* lucky, and you can delay them from capturing the flag for a couple of moments, one or two of your team may deign to turn up, giving you a chance of resurrecting at the same point and rejoining the fray. Failing that, you can at least say “told you so” when the node gets captured, though it’s best to mumble this to yourself rather than sparking one of those oh-so-amusing pickup group rants (“OMFWTFBBQ u r teh noobs LOLOLOLLOL”).

5) Fight at the flags. Try to avoid skirmishes in the middle of nowhere, if you’re drawn away from the flag, a stealth type can sneak around you and grab it.

6) Don’t get fixated on a node. If more than five of the enemy go for one node, don’t try and overpower them, let them have it, and find a more lightly defended node to take in exchange (communicating with your team as you do: “/bg go GM only 2 there”)

6) Defend some more. If, by some miracle, your team takes three nodes, you can defend them to win (if you haven’t fallen too far behind). You can try and remind your team of this, with a message like “Defend these now!”, although that’s often translated to “QUICK! Fruitlessly hurl yourselves at the remaining two heavily defended nodes, leaving our own nodes unprotected to be easily captured so we can lose by a great margin!”

7) Sod it, ZERG RUSH! KEKEKEKEKEKE! Defending is all well and good, but it might well wind up with the enemy controlling three nodes, quite happily defending them, and not threatening the one node you’re sitting at. In these sort of rounds, chances are it’ll get to the stage where they have about 1500-ish points, and your team have maybe 1000 or so, and there’s no way you’ll win short of taking all five nodes, so you might as well grab a few HKs at least. Pull up the map, look for the massed blob of yellow, and ride there at all speed (optionally yelling your battle cry).

Posted by Zoso at 6:40 pm