Warsong Gulch (WSG) has always been one of my favorite battle grounds. I can’t really tell you why that is, though I’m sure it has something to do with its small size and the its simplicity, or maybe it’s because I spent many of my summers growing up playing capture the flag at Boy Scout camps. Either way, it’s time to look at the basics of our primary battleground.
Battleground: Warsong Gulch
Number of Players: 10 Alliance, 10 Horde
Time Limit: 25 minutes
Primary Objective: Capture the enemy flag three times within the time limit
Contingency B: Capture more flags than your opponent within the time limit
Contingency C: Capture an equal number of flags as your opponent, but capture it more recently
Location Buffs: 2 Speed, 2 Berserk, 2 Restoration
Acronyms & Terms
“FC” – Flag Carrier (your team)
“EFC” – Enemy Flag Carrier
“FR” – Flag Room (your flag room)
“EFR” – Enemy Flag Room
“INC” – Incomming, alerting others that opponents are on the move
“Cap” – Capturing the flag by returning the enemy flag to your base while in control of your own flag
“Recap” – Killing the EFC and recapturing your flag, returning it to your base and your team’s control
“2nd/On 2” – The second floor of either base
“Roof” – The top floor of either base
“Mid” – Midfield, the vast open area full of large tree stumps
“Ramp” – located at stage-left of each base, leads to both the 1st and 2nd floor of the base
“GY” – Graveyard for either team, located stage-right of each base, opposite the Ramp
“Tun’ – The tunnel leading to/from both bases, located at the north and south ends of midfield
“Healing Hut” – Located in front of each graveyard, contains a spawned Restoration buff (Health & Mana)
“Zerk Hut” – Located in front of each ramp, contains a spawned Berserking buff (Increased Damage, Decreased Armor)
“Side Room” – A small room attached to the flag rooms, stage-left, at the “top” of each tunnel
“Zerg/Zergging” – A large portion of either team, moving together as a group in an attempt to overpower
“Turtle” – Pulling the majority of your team into your base to maximize defense
“Camping/GYC” – Positioning yourself near the enemy graveyard, to attack immediately after they ressurect
FC and EFC refer to players, the ones who have control of the flags. People usually use these in order to ask where a flag carrier is, or to inform others of where the flags are. Often used in conjunction with other terms and acronyms from this list. “EFC TUN” for example, means that the enemy flag carrier is in the tunnel, expressing to your team that they should move to the tunnel to intercept.
FR and EFR are locations, most often used to communicate how much defense is in the flag room, or the location of the FC or EFC.
2nd, On 2, and Roof are also locations, typically used to express the location of FC/EFC or the location of incoming assault groups. 2nd and On 2 both refer to the second, or middle level of the bases. This level has a small open portion that allows ranged advantage onto the ground floor. Roof is the third and top level of the bases which have access to both the ground floor of the flag room as well as the second floor, and the open area between the roof and tunnel that is used to reach the roof in the first place. You’ll often see these used with INC calls as well. “INC TUN” means enemies are coming to the flag room via the tunnel, “INC RAMP” means they’re coming up the ramp, and so on.
Cap is usually used to let the FC know that the EFC is either dead or about to die so that they know to begin moving to the flag spawn location in order to capture the flag before an opponent can sneak in there and run away with it again. It’s also used by impatient players a way similar to “GO GO GO!!!” which is freaking annoying and will cause me to shank you.
Recap is used to communicate that people either need to go to offense in order to recapture your flag, to let your team know that you’re about to recap the flag, or to alert others that the flag has been dropped and needs to be clicked on to recap before an opponent does.
Mid, Ramp, GY, and Tun are all used to communicate areas of the map, most often associated with the location of the EFC or the intended path of your FC, or to call out large packs of opponents. “Going GY, Move to assist” means I have picked up their flag and I’m going to bring it back by moving through the opponent’s graveyard and/or that side of the map in order to return it to our base, and that I need help bringing it back so you should start pushing to that side of the map to help me.
The other terms I think are fairly explanatory, so if you have any questions leave them in the comments and I’ll give some more details. If you see any big ones that I left out, mention those too so we can get them added.
Despite its simplicity, there are a lot of things about WSG that players have no means of knowing without doing some kind of research or experiencing it themselves. In terms of PvP, one of Blizzards greatest failings is that they give players no information on how to play the individual battlegrounds. So here are the unwritten rules that come to mind for WSG:
- You cannot carry the flag while riding a mount.
- You cannot carry the flag while under the effects of immunity.
- You cannot carry the flag in Stealth.
- You cannot capture the flag if you do not control your own flag.
- Your opponent cannot capture your flag while you control their flag.
If you are carrying the flag and you summon your mount, you will drop the flag the second your mount is cast. If you pick the flag back up, it will dismount you. You cannot, under any (legit) circumstances, carry the flag in WSG while mounted. Druids and Shamans can take on forms that allow them to move faster (Travel Form and Ghost Wolf respectively) while carrying the flag, and you can use whatever speed boosts your race/class/consumables provide you, but you can’t mount as the flag carrier.
While the Gnome Clones won’t have to worry about #2, it’s something that deserves mentioning for anyone else who happens to read this and for you to be aware of in case you’re facing opponents that this may apply to. The only class that I can think of that is able to grant actual immunity is the Paladin. If a Paladin activates their bubbles that make them immune to damage, they will drop the flag and cannot pick it back up until the effect ends (or is cancelled). If you have consumables that make you immune (there was a flask in Wrath that you could get that may or may not still be around), these too will force you to drop the flag. Now, I’m not talking about bubbles here like the Priest’s Power Word: Shield spell that absorbs a certain amount of damage, I’m talking strictly literal immunity to damage. Paladins can’t force their bubble on you if you have the flag, so no need to worry about that.
Picking the flag up while you are in Stealth will bring you out of Stealth, and using Stealth while you have the flag will cause you to drop it. Again, this isn’t a worry for the Clones since we don’t have Stealth, but it’s something to be aware of. If you see an enemy Rogue carrying the flag who goes into stealth and drops it, expect that he’s going to try to either Sap you or attack you, hoping to pick the flag back up before it despawns.
You can’t capture the flag unless you control both yours and your opponents’. What this means is, if the enemy has your flag then your flag carrier (FC) needs to avoid getting caught/killed (preferably with the help of a healer or two) while the rest of your team goes after the enemy flag carrier (EFC) to get your flag back.
The last item on the list is exactly like the previous one, except that you’re looking at it from the opposite side. Your opponent can’t capture the flag if someone on your team has their flag. The default action for most people in WSG is to kill the EFC and that’s it. Sometimes it’s better for you to forget about the EFC and instead go and grab their flag as fast as possible to prevent them from capturing. If the EFC is closer to their flag than you are, then you probably want to try to kill the EFC, but if you have the means to get ahead of them and get the flag before they can capture, then you’re doing your team a huge favor by blocking the other team from capturing. This is one of many examples of actions you take in PvP that wins games and doesn’t require you to do anything at all to your opponents.
Objectives and Contingencies
The object of WSG is to capture the enemy flag three times before they do the same to you. The first to three flags wins. Flag captures are the only thing that matter in this battleground. Period.
Because of the situations that I mentioned in the previous section that prevent you from capturing the flag, not every game is going to have three captures in the 25 minute window. To address that, Blizzard put into place some contingency plans.
If the time expires and neither team has captured three flags, then the team with the most captures wins.
If time expires and there is a tie, the team who captured the last flag is declared the winner. In PuG’s you’ll often hear people ask, “who capped last?” to know who wins in the case of a tie.
If time expires and there is a tie with neither team having captured any flags at all, then it is a draw and both teams lose.
The best, most rewarding way to win WSG is to capture three flags, so you always want to strive for this. NEVER stop going after your opponent’s flag, even if you know that 9 of them are waiting in the enemy flag room to kill you and you’re going to die in 0.000014 seconds after stepping foot inside. Always try for another flag capture.
If capturing three flags isn’t going to happen, then you want to make sure you capture the last flag. Group up with your team and push for the flag with all your might. Ignore battles in midfield, even if it means letting your friends die, and push for that flag. Stay together in a group and assist each other as needed in order to get the flag and bring it back for a capture.
Similarly, if you are tied and your team was the last to capture the flag then it’s very important for you to protect your flag carrier. The biggest piece of advice I can give you for this is to not chase after opponents if they withdraw. If they pull back, let them. The second you go chasing after someone rather than staying to defend your flag carrier is the moment that their Rogues and Ferals spring a stealthed ambush on your flag carrier and save their flag.
Speed Buff: a buff located in the tunnels that grants +100% speed for 8 seconds.
This buff is great for trying to either get to and from the flag really quick or getting from the tunnel to the roof or out to mid real quick – WHEN YOU’RE ALONE.
The most frequent noob mistake I see in WSG is people using this buff just because it’s there. Don’t ever leave your healers behind by grabbing this buff and then taking off. If you do, and I’m your healer, you can die. I don’t even care. If you leave your healers behind without a good reason for doing so and you die, you deserve it. Similarly, if you’re going into the base with a group and someone’s about to grab the flag, don’t get the speed buff for no reason; move toward the end of the tunnel instead and let the flag carrier get the buff so that you’re that much closer to capturing the flag that much sooner.
If you’re in your own base then you need to consider the location of the enemy flag before deciding whether or not to take it. If your FC is on his way to return the flag, leave the buff there for them to speed up the capture. If you have the enemy flag in your base and are waiting for a recap, then always take that speed buff when you see it so that the enemy can’t use it against you.
Don’t Leave Your Healers Behind:
I mentioned this in the speed buff above, but I’m saying it again here anyway. Never leave your healers behind unless doing so is the only way to score a crucial flag capture and you’re sure that doing so will achieve that capture. If you have buffs or consumables that increase your speed, don’t use them unnecessarily if your healers can’t keep up.
There are some exceptions to this, but they’re rare. In most cases, the only time this is a good idea is if your healers are drawing all of the enemy fire and they’re willing to sacrifice themselves to give you time to get away. If there’s no way you can win a skirmish, it might be acceptable to leave your healers behind in order to try for a capture. Maybe.
Use the Stumps:
WSG’s midfield is littered with large tree stumps from trees that the Horde have cut down in Ashenvale, which is the lore behind this BG and why it exists by the way. These stumps appear as though they block Line of Sight (LoS), but they actually don’t. You can’t physically move through them, but you can cast through them as though they didn’t exist. Since the Clones are all casters, this is one of the strongest advantages you have in this battleground. Melee has to go around/over the stumps to get to you while you can keep on casting unhindered. The stumps are fantastic for killing tunnel visioned melee. Just don’t forget you aren’t the only ones that can use them like that.
This same concept applies to the large wagons on the Horde’s side too, which we’ll talk about next.
Use Your Stature:
Being a Gnome does have its occasional perks. On the WSG map on the Horde’s side of the field there are four large wagons. Most races can’t interact with these wagons beyond using them in a way similar to the tree stumps or using various jumping techniques to climb on top of them. However, Gnomes and Goblins can both run under certain parts of these wagons, particularly where the handle connects to the cart. Both of those races can run under the handle where all the others have to run around the cart. This is a great place to break away from melee opponents or to kite opponents who can’t take advantage of that terrain like you can.
Shamans in Ghost Wolf and Druids in Cat/Travel Form love to think that they can follow you through that little hole, but when you’re shapeshifted the game uses your base racial size even if you look like you’re smaller and they still can’t use it. I think some of the potions/drinks that shrink you might let you fit under there, but I never see anybody using them on any kind of frequent basis.
There are a couple of other places that Gnomes can go that others can’t, but they’re a bit harder to describe in text than they are to just show you. I’ve been planning to put together a video for a few weeks now and just haven’t gotten around to doing it, but I’ll try to get it posted soon.
I think we’re getting pretty close now to having enough clones at level 24 that we can start seriously invading PvP. I’d like to start up some War Games soon to go over the basics in person. We don’t actually need 20 people for Wargames, I think we can do it with any number actually, but we can handle up to 20 per group.
War Games allow us to challenge each other to a PvP match. There aren’t any rewards for doing it, no achievements, or anything else. War Games are meant to be used for practice, teaching, and general fun.
Once we’re inside we can walk everybody through the map to get them familiar with it, show you where the buffs are and what kind of paths you might want to take when you’re going after the flag or trying to protect one, and so on.
After we’ve gone over the training portion, we’ll have everyone return to their base and we’ll do some practice runs fighting against each other and learning how to run the flag, protect the flag carrier, and bring down the opposing flag carrier.