Alterac Valley is a battleground in the continuing war between the Horde and the Alliance. Long ago, before the First War, the warlock Gul'dan exiled a clan of orcs called the Frostwolf Clan to a hidden valley deep in the heart of the Alterac Mountains. It is here in the valley's southern reaches that the Frostwolves eked out a living until the coming of Thrall.
After Thrall's triumphant uniting of the clans, the Frostwolves, now led by the Orc Shaman Drek'Thar, chose to remain in the valley they had for so long called their home. In recent times, however, the relative peace of the Frostwolves has been challenged by the arrival of the Dwarven Stormpike Expedition.
The Stormpikes have set up residence in the valley to search for natural resources and ancient relics. Despite their intentions, the Dwarven presence has sparked heated conflict with the Frostwolf Orcs to the south, who have vowed to drive the interlopers from their lands.
In Alterac Valley, your goal is to push your way to the other faction's base, and kill the enemy General. Along the way, you have to deal with Bunkers, Towers, and several groups of NPCs. Each faction can capture the five Graveyards that are arranged through the valley to gain control of an area and a resurrection point. There can be up to 40 players on each side, and the minimum level requirement is 51. The match can be completed in fifteen minutes, but battles can last several hours.
Entry to the Valley
The official entry to the valley is in northern Hillsbrad. The Alliance entrance is due north of Southshore and the Horde entrance is north-east of Tarren Mill. Like any battleground, you can also enter through a Battlemaster in any capital city.
Each side in the Valley has one General, one Captain, four Commanders, and six Lieutenants (also see Blizzard's Alterac Officers page)
The Generals, Vanndar Stormpike and Drek'thar, stay inside their faction fortresses at the far north and south ends of the map. When a general is killed, the match is over. Generals are tough, raid-level bosses, and typically require coordinated tanking and DPS to take down. It is impossible to kite the generals out of their fortresses and will reset if any attempt to train them is made. Generals are guarded by several Marshals (Alliance) or Warmasters (Horde), which are also tough bosses which require coordinated tanking and DPS, and can be pulled independently by skilled players. The number of Marshals or Warmasters in your faction's fortress is increased if the towers of the enemy faction are destroyed, and decreased if towers of the friendly faction are destroyed. With there being eight towers total on the map, it is entirely possible to have eight Marshals or Warmasters guarding your General, if you keep your own towers up and destroy all of the enemies.
The Captains, Balinda Stonehearth and Galvangar, stay inside the more central bunkers of Stonehearth Outpost and Iceblood Garrison. As long as these captains are alive, they will periodically grant a 20% health buff and a size increase to all members of their faction. They are fairly tough bosses that can be taken down by a skilled 5-man group. The entrance to Stonehearth Outpost and Iceblood Garrison is guarded by two Lieutenants on each side, with Lieutenant Largent and Lieutenant Greywand guarding the entrance to Stonehearth Outpost, and Lieutenant Vol'talar and Lieutenant Lewis guarding the entrance to Iceblood Garrison.
The Commanders occupy the towers and patrol the graveyards of their faction. They are moderately tough elites and provide a moderate buff to members of their faction that are near them. If all Commanders are taken down, some of their faction NPCs will stop respawning.
The Lieutenants patrol the roads and graveyards of their faction. They are fairly weak elites that provide a lesser buff of the same nature as the Commanders.
In addition, both factions have a number of non-elite NPCs that assist their side. These NPCs spawn at all graveyards and towers, and a small number of road patrols. When a graveyard is captured by a faction, the NPC guards for the graveyard spawn immediately. NPC players in AV can be buffed, healed, bandaged, and many other spell effects apply to them like paladin auras or the AoE buff of Battle Standards.
In Patch 1.11, the number of NPCs was severely reduced. On some servers, this has led to a strategy that is usually called "the race". In this strategy, both sides bypass the main enemy group and rush the graveyard nearest the enemy base, quickly clear the two bunkers in the base, pull the Marshalls, and then pull the General. Each side may also kill the opposing captain and claim a mine or easy Graveyard "on the way", but the goal is still to "rush the General" without directly engaging players of the opposing faction. This leads to a faster paced game which can be easily won or easily lost. The safest route is to leave some defenders to at least slow the opposing teams attack, but to still maintain an overpowering offense; to give up some ground, but not too much.
There are a number of quests that can be completed in Alterac Valley for reputation and rewards. They are broadly identical for Horde and Alliance, so they will be described in general terms here. These quests provide permanent rewards to a character, unlike the "Battle Quests" described below. For specific faction details, see Alterac Valley Alliance Quests and Alterac Valley Horde Quests.
- Alterac Valley Trinket quest: A quest-giver outside the instance gives a quest to retrieve a banner from a cave. The caves are located in the far north and south ends of the valley. The reward for this quest is a trinket that provides a small amount of frost resistance and the ability to portal back to your faction's fortress from anywhere in the Valley. The trinket is upgraded for free as you gain reputation with your Alterac Valley faction, ultimately reaching epic status and carrying additional effects such as health regeneration and chance to dodge attacks. "Trinketing back to base" is a standard last-ditch defensive strategy, and you will be expected to have completed this quest and be carrying your trinket. In addition to this the trinket is also useful to quickly return to your faction's fortress in order to turn in armor scraps and various other turns in.
- Quest:The Battle for Alterac/Quest:The Battle of Alterac: A quest-giver outside the instance gives a quest that is completed by winning a match. You must have the quest and be inside the instance when the enemy General is killed to complete the quest. The rewards for this quest are quite desirable blues, including the Template:Lrare, Template:Lrare,Template:Lrare and Template:Lrare.
- Capture a Mine quest: A quest-giver outside the instance gives a quest to capture a mine. This quest is intended largely to teach you where the mine is, since you may be repeating the Mine Supplies quest many times.
- Capture a Tower quest: A quest-giver outside the instance gives a quest to capture a tower. You do not have to be the one who personally clicked the flag, nor does the tower have to burn for the quest to be completed. You simply have to be in the vicinity of the tower when someone in the raid captures the flag in the tower.
- Capture a Graveyard quest: A quest-giver outside the instance gives a quest to capture a graveyard. You do not have to be the one who personally clicked the flag, nor does the graveyard have to be successfully captured for the quest to be completed. Like capturing a tower, you simply have to be in the vicinity of the graveyard when someone in the raid captures it.
In addition to the personal quests, there are a number of objectives that can be completed during a battle to provide a bonus to a faction. Many of these quests provide reputation points and all are worth doing whenever your side can complete them.
- Unit Upgrades quest: The blacksmith in each fortress will accept Armor Scraps, which are dropped by players of the opposite faction when they are killed as well as enemy NPCs though in smaller numbers. The quest requires 20 scraps and can be completed as many times as you like. Each turn-in grants 1 reputation point to ALL members of the faction in the battleground, and 10 reputation points with Ironforge or Orgrimmar to the character completing the quest. When this quest has been completed enough times, the General will start to periodically provide a damage buff to all members of his faction; it starts at 10% and proceeds up to 30% as more quests are completed. In addition, once enough scraps are retrieved, a player with Honored or higher reputation can direct the smith to upgrade all of your faction's NPCs to a higher level and overall strength.
- Mine Supplies quest: There is a mine located near each of the fortresses. The mine is initially under the control of hostile NPCs but can easily be captured by a single player. The mobs within are low-level (~52) and have unusually low health (though they do hit hard). A non-elite mob resides deep inside each mine; when he is killed, the mine comes under the control of your faction and is quickly filled with friendly NPCs. Once the mine is under your faction's control, the Quartermaster inside your fortress will start to collect supplies. When enough supplies have been gathered, a player with Honored or higher reputation can direct the Quartermaster to launch a ground assault which will spawn a group of elite NPCs that will move forward through the zone attacking enemy players and NPCs.
- Cavalry quest: A cavalry stables is located near both fortresses. By using a tool provided by the stablemaster, characters can tame rams or wolves and return them to the stable. By killing the opposing faction's wild mounts, players can gather pelts. When enough tame animals and pelts are available, a character with Honored or higher reputation can direct the stablemaster to launch a cavalry assault. A player with high reputation (Revered?) can direct the cavalry to attack further by clicking on the cavalry directly.
- Ultimate Unit quest: Arch Druid Renferal and Primalist Thurloga, located inside the faction fortresses, will accept Storm Crystals or Stormpike Soldier's Blood, which are dropped by fallen characters of the opposite faction. When enough of these items are turned in, the Druid or Primalist will move through the valley, accompanied by a group of elite guards, until they reach the Field of Strife. They will then start a summoning ritual, which requires ten players to click on their summoning circle. When this summoning is complete, Ivus the Forest Lord or Lokholar the Ice Lord will be summoned. These are tough raid-level bosses. They will spend some time on the Field of Strife killing whatever they see, and will then start to move towards the enemy base. These bosses are, unfortunately, plagued by evade bugs and are fairly simple to train into areas where they can easily be killed. The standard Horde strategy is to train Ivus to the entry tunnel and to kill him there. But if they are guarded carefully, they can easily turn the battle and end the match.
- Aerial Assault quest: Wing Commander NPCs are held inside the enemy faction's base and towers. A friendly character can interact with these NPCs to free them, which will cause them to start running back towards their base. If the wing commanders make it back to their base, they will turn into a quest giver that provides a repeatable quest to turn in items that are dropped by players of the enemy faction (various sorts of meat for the Horde, and medals for the Alliance). If enough of these quests are completed, the Wing Commander will grant a quest that allows a player to summon a tough flying unit that will hover over an enemy area and drop bombs with a tough AoE knockback.
Once you have rescued the appropriate Wing Commanders and turned in the required number of medals, you have two options for each flight (assuming you have the required Stormpike Guard or Frostwolf Clan reputation level.)
- Placing a beacon: You can request a beacon from any of the Wing Commanders that must then be planted on the battleground. (All beacons share a 30 minute cooldown before you can deploy another. If you want to have multiple beacons deployed, other players must deploy them.) The beacon takes 60 seconds to arm, during which it can be disabled by the opposing faction. When the beacon arms, it will summon an Aerie Gryphon (Alliance) or War Rider (Horde) to patrol the Field of Strife and aid ground troops there. Slidore and Guse's beacons must be deployed in the east crater on the Field of Strife; Vipore and Jeztor's beacons must be placed in the west crater on the Field of Strife; Ichman and Mulverick's beacons must be placed at Snowfall Graveyard.
- Ordering a strike: This will launch the Wing Commander by air to assault the enemy's base. Once you have done this, they will no longer be available to speak with - so if you plan to deploy a beacon, you should get it before you order the strike. Each Wing Commander will patrol a specific area of the enemy base, and support ground troops there. Slidore and Guse will assault the graveyard immediately outside the base (Stormpike and Frostwolf); Vipore and Jeztor will assault the outer section of the base (the Dun Baldar tower area and the lower part of Frostwolf Village); Ichman and Mulverick will assault the inner base (immediately outside the Generals' fortresses.) Prior to patch 1.11, it was considered advantageous to hold off on airstrikes until your forces were attempting to assault an area; after 1.11, this became less of a factor since there is now much less time between ground pushes.
Standard Battle Strategy
A battle in Alterac Valley tends to follow a standard pattern:
- Initial Phase: Both factions attempt to gain control of the enemy chokepoint to prevent access to the Field of Strife. For the Alliance, this means capturing Iceblood Graveyard and destroying Iceblood Tower. For the Horde, this means capturing Stonehearth Graveyard and destroying Stonehearth Bunker. Snowfall Graveyard is frequently ceded to the Alliance since it is a distraction to the Horde rushing from Iceblood to Stonehearth. Snowfall Graveyard is easily defended and difficult to capture once a side has claimed it. It often results with the side who holds it winning the battle. Winterax Hold is a great first graveyard for alliance to cap.
- Consolidation and Advance: Typically one faction will control the chokepoint and capture the graveyard there. That faction will then attempt to push onwards to the graveyard nearest the enemy base (Stormpike or Frostwolf). The defending faction will attempt to recover their graveyard and delay the advance.
- Note that if a race is underway, both graveyards could be captured and the two factions could be pushing forward simultaneously.
- Fortress Assault: Once a faction has captured the graveyard outside the enemy fortress, they will attempt to push into the fortress. For the Alliance, this means pushing through a twisty series of ramps to the upper courtyard, where the two Frostwolf towers and the Frostwolf Relief Hut are located. For the Horde, this means fighting across the bridge and into the Dun Baldar Bunkers located north and south of the main road, and then to the Stormpike Aid Station located on the rear plaza. Defenders can use their trinkets to portal back to the main defensive area during this phase. Skip Galv entirely
- Fortress Capture: Each faction has a graveyard close to the enemy fortress. It is important for the opposing faction to take this graveyard and leave a few defenders behind to allow it to cap.
- General Pull: Once the interior graveyard has been captured, it is very difficult for the defenders to stop an attack. The attackers will typically pull the marshalls defending the general one at a time and the dogs. It has been shown on multiple occasions that looting (or not looting) the dogs has no effect on their respawn time, since they will do so each time the general resets, whether looted or not. It's also best to have a hunter walk in and pull just one warmaster, run outside to the bottom of the stairs, feign death and let the main tank pick up aggro. It's important to let the Main Tank get in several sunder armors or similar high threat attacks before other players lay on the dps. If the main tank loses aggro, the warmasters and the general will run from person to person killing cloth wearers. It's best to mark the main tank with a raid icon and have all the healers focus only on the main tank.
- All In: Once all, or a majority, of the warmasters have been killed, the raid leader should give the "All In" command, and everyone enters the fortress, again allow the main tank to pick up aggro before laying on the dps, again have healers only heal the main tank. Defenders may attempt to trinket in and disrupt the fight, or to mount a coordinated attack into their own base from the graveyard outside. Once the general is dead, the match is over.
There are certainly variations on this pattern. The most important factor in the flow of a battle is control of the graveyards. A stealthy capture of a graveyard in the interior of the map while a heavy attack recovers a graveyard at the end of the map (for example, a stealth capture of Snowfall while the Horde recovers Frostwolf from Iceblood), can cause a sudden reversal of the entire match. (In this example, the Alliance would be forced to rez at Stonehearth, suddenly losing control of half the map). The use of cavalry or ground unit charges in coordination with an offensive or defensive push is another rich source of advanced strategies.
Since patch 1.11, it is considered a good strategy to allow the enemy to hold at least one friendly graveyard, since recapturing all the friendly graveyards will force the enemy back into their base and make the offense team's job considerably more difficult. This leads to a race of offences which can be easily lost if there is not some defense to slow the opposing teams assault. So an all out assualt tends to be the fastest way to win or the fastest way to lose. Around ten defenders will often give your offense time to wage the assualt. Balance is key.
Sometimes the basic race strategy will fail for one side, and the entire offense will rez at the Stormpike/Frostwolf Graveyard. In that case, the most common strategy employed is Turtling. In this strategy, the Defending team attempts to halt the opposing offense altogether and break it, thus breaking the opposing teams momentum, and gaining much momentum for the defending team. The defending team will mass at one graveyard and create a sort of defensive mob or wall while waiting for the opportunity to plow through the offensive team, which keeps attacking the graveyard in order to break the defense and get closer to the defensive team's general. 5-10 players will usually be devoted to quests, as NPCs such as the Elite Druids/Shamans, the Wing Commanders, the Summoned Elites, and Calvary can be a turning factor in each team's respective roles. One problem with the Turtling strategy is that total defense gives the offensive team a lot of time to gain a lot of honor killing NPCs such as the defending team's captain, as well as allowing the offensive team time to summon their ultimate Elite. This strategy also makes for games that last for hours on end. However, this strategy is ideal for players who want to rack up kills.
As you fight in Alterac Valley, you earn reputation with either the Frostwolf Clan for Horde or the Stormpike Guard for Alliance. Higher ranks with your respective faction will allow you to purchase items from your faction's vendor. There are two vendors for each faction; one inside Alterac Valley and one outside in Hillsbrad Foothills. For the Alliance, the NPC within the battleground that sells vendor rewards is in the Dun Baldar South Bunker.
Note that in Alterac Valley all reputation with the Frostwolf Clan and the Stormpike is shared amoungst all combatants, whether or not they are partied with you or not. However some turn-ins will give reputation with one of the four main primary factions. This faction is not shared.
Stormpike/Frostwolf reputation is gained in the following ways:
- Killing Enemy General (389 Rep)
- Killing Enemy Captain (125 rep)
- Killing Enemy Lieutenants and Commanders (12 rep each)
- Killing an Enemy Air Master (5 rep)
- Killing any Enemy Guard (5 rep) *NOTE: This is capped through honored and does not give rep in exalted*
- Killing an Enemy Player(+1 Rep+HK+CP). As of Patch 1.12 as soon as you enter Battlefield, you are assigned to a Raid Group. To score a kill, all you have to do, is to be in a vicinity of a player who made the kill.
- Killing Ivus the Forest Lord or Lokholar the Ice Lord (125 rep)
- Destroying an Enemy Tower (12 rep)
- 1-time quests (first turn in of each repeatable, capture a tower/mine/graveyard, etc) (~100 rep each, varies) - rep gained from these quests is NOT shared amongst all combatants.
Repeatable reputation quests
- Ram Hide/Frostwolf Hide (2 rep each)
- Bringing a Frostwolf/Ram to your stable (1 rep each)
- Armor Scraps (1 rep for 20 plus 10 Orgrimmar/Ironforge plus 5 rep of the other factions(for every 2 turn ins)for the character)
- Storm Crystals/Stormpike Blood (1 rep for 1 plus 10 Orgrimmar/Ironforge plus 5 rep of the other factions(for every 2 turn ins); 5 rep for 5 plus 50 Orgrimmar/Ironforge for the character)
- Wing Commanders
- Slidore/Guse (1 rep)
- Vipore/Jeztor (2 rep)
- Ichman/Mulverick (5 rep)
At the end of the game, extra rep is gained for each of the following conditions:
- Enemy Captain Killed (36 rep)
- Allied Captain Still Alive (125 rep)
- Enemy Towers Destroyed (24 rep each)
- Enemy Lieutenants and Commanders killed (12 rep each)
- Controlled Intact Tower (12 rep each)
- Controlled Graveyards (12 rep each)
- Controlled Mines (12 rep each)
- You'll never get me out of me bunker, heathens! - General Vanndar Stormpike
- You seek to draw the General of the Frostwolf Legion out of his fortress? PREPOSTEROUS! - General Drek'thar
- Uncouth scum! The Alliance will prevail in Alterac Valley! - Captain Balinda Stonehearth
- I'll never fall for that, fools! If you want a fight, it'll be on my terms, and in my lair. - Captain Galvangar
- I'm coming, Frostwolf! And this time you're gonna feel the flames! - Wing Commander Slidore
- Wicked, wicked, mortals! The forest weeps. The elements recoil at the destruction. Ivus must purge you from this world! - Ivus the Forest Lord
- It is done! The Ice Lord has arrived! Bow to the might of the Horde, fools! - Primalist Thurloga
- "Snivvle is here! Snivvle claims the Coldtooth Mine!" - Taskmaster Snivvle
- Captain Balinda Stonehearth
- Begone, uncouth scum! The Alliance shall prevail in Alterac Valley!
- Filthy Frostwolf cowards! If you want a fight, you'll have to come to me!
- Wing Commander Slidore
- I'm coming, Frostwolf! And this time you're gonna feel the flames!
- Wing Commander Vipore
- Senior Wing Commander Vipore launching. Pray for a swift death, Frostwolf.
- Wing Commander Ichman
- Drek'Thar, I'm coming for you!
- Arch Druid Renferal
- Moving to the summoning place
- Soldiers of Stormpike, aid and protect us! The Forest Lord has granted us his protection. The portal must now be opened!
- Ivus the Forest Lord
- Kiiling a player
- Wicked, wicked, mortals! The forest weeps. The elements recoil at the destruction. Ivus must purge you from this world!
- Horde Base reached
- I come to raze your bases, Frostwolf Clan. Ivus punishes you for your treachery!
- Vanndar Stormpike
- Soldiers of Stormpike, your General is under attack! I require aid! Come! Come! Slay these mangy Frostwolf dogs.
- You'll never get me out of me bunker, heathens!
- Die! Your kind has no place in Alterac Valley!
- I'll never fall for that, fool! If you want a battle, it will be on my terms and in my lair.
- Wing Commander Guse
- Guse is entering the battle! Time to take out the Stormpike filth!
- Wing Commander Jeztor
- Jeztor's coming for you, Stormpike!
- Wing Commander Mulverick
- Incoming air support to Dun Baldar! Stormpike bow down!
- Primalist Thurloga
- Moving to the summoning place
- Soldiers of Frostwolf, aid and protect us! The Ice Lord has granted us his protection. The portal must now be opened!
- Summoning complete
- It is done! The Ice Lord has arrived! Bow to the might of the Horde, fools!
- Lok'holar the Ice Lord
- WHO DARES SUMMON LOKHOLAR? The blood of a thousand Stormpike soldiers shall I spill... none may stand against the Ice Lord!
- Killing a player
- I drink in your suffering, mortal. Let your essence congeal with Lok'holar!
- Alliance Base reached
- Your base is forfeit, puny mortals!
- Stormpike filth!? In my keep! Slay them all!
- You seek to draw the General of the Frostwolf legion out from his fortress? PREPOSTEROUS!
- Patch 1.8.0 (patch date:2005-10-10):
- In order to keep teams in Alterac Valley more numerically balanced, players will now enter Alterac Valley on a one-for-one basis (i.e. if there are 30 players in the battleground for each side with 10 players in the Alliance queue and 2 players in the Horde queue, only two players from each team will be added, bringing the total to 32 per side).
- The minimum number of players required to start a battle in Alterac Valley has been lowered to 20 (the maximum is still 40).
- Points for completing the map and winning have been slightly decreased.
- Graveyards and graveyard capture points are now at different locations. The banners players must interact with in order to capture a graveyard have been distanced from each other somewhat in order to alleviate "graveyard zerging" and make graveyards more meaningful to both defense and offense.
- Several terrain changes were made to fix some geometry exploits as well as to adjust for the new graveyard mechanic.
- Iceblood Graveyard has been fortified.
- The Frostwolf Relief Hut now has appropriate guards.
- A great avalanche has closed off both the eastern and western segments of Alterac Valley. This has displaced the Syndicate, the Wildpaw Gnolls, and many of the Winterax Trolls.
- Due to the avalanche, Korrak the Bloodrager and a small band of surviving Trolls have made the Snowfall Graveyard their new home. Players will find that Snowfall is now under Korrak's control and they must defeat Korrak and his Troll guards if they wish to take Snowfall.
- NPC difficulty has been scaled down. All NPCs have had their power reduced by 15-30%.
- There is now a portcullis at the end of each of the entrance tunnels inside Alterac Valley. They will rise two minutes into the battle.
- Patch 1.7.0 (patch date:2005-09-22): Fixed a bug that would cause players to stand up when a turnin was made in Alterac Valley.
- Patch 1.6.0 (patch date:2005-07-12):
- Each team will now gain additional bonus honor if their towers are not destroyed by the end of the map. The more towers that remained intact, the more honor received.
- If you manage to keep your faction's Captain alive for the duration of a battle, you will be granted extra points upon victory.
- Several Alterac Valley vendor items are now bind on acquire.
- The respawn time for tower guards (assuming the tower has not been destroyed) has been greatly increased.
- The minimum reputation needed to send a cavalry charge has been reduced to Honored.
- Players of Revered or higher reputation may now call offensive air strikes if they have managed to rescue their respective Wing Commanders.
- Alterac Valley's guard spawn is now controlled via a more intuitive mechanism. Please check the Officer Supply vendors for your faction to read up on the changes.
- Fixed a bug that sometimes prevented the Alliance team from receiving honor for destroying towers.
- Fixed a bug that was not awarding Horde credit for owning a mine at the end of a game.
- Patch 1.5.0 (patch date:2005-06-07): Added.
- Alterac Valley info pages at the Official site.
- Tips from the official site
- Alterac Valley Map with Locations, NPCs and Quests.
- Alterac Valley Mobs
- Alterac Valley Buildings
- Proud Aardvark's Alterac Valley Guide
- Alterac Valley Strategy and Tactics.
- Alterac Valley Guide for the Horde
- Khyth's Horde Alterac Valley Strategy Guide
- This article has been tagged among the Pages that need revision.