Why Rated Battegrounds are not just you and your mates who PvP

Rated battlegrounds were first introduced in Cataclysm - a step up from Arenas where you could now have large raid-like preformed teams battling together against other preformed teams for rating, achievements, and titles.

Rated Battlegrounds is something that my guild has yet to do successfully as a group.  We often PvP together as little groups and on the surface, you'd think that you just mesh 10 people together and form a little rated battleground group.  As long as we all love to PvP it should be easy right?

Wrong.  Totally wrong.

Ok, so you think it's a little step up from that.  It's 10 man, so you basically want to run it like a raid, right?  So you'll need a tank, some healers and some DPS.  Sounds easy right?  After all, we raid together as a team.

Nah-uh.  Still wrong.

Attitude is the clincher here.  Teamwork is ESSENTIAL.  Amongst all my WoW friends, their battleground playing mentality is different from the raiding mentality.  In battlegrounds, there's a little bit more free for all.  We all have our own mind, we control what we do, but we help our other teammates.  Take this example:
We've all agreed 5 of us are going to rush Gold mine, right?  The rest are going to Blacksmith.  OK cool, we all go there.  One of us caps, and the rest of us just zip off.  Whoever capped it, is usually left behind to guard it, and whoever feels like staying can, or they can go off and farm honour kills at stables.

That works fine in  a random BG, and we're the semi-cohesive side.  However, come rated BG, it's not like that.  You're working against an organised TEAM.  They are moving as one unit, with coordinated strikes.  They are geared, experienced, organised.  You can't afford to be doing your own thing.

And that's why we haven't been able to do a rated BG successfully as a guild.

When we raid, we have a clear leader.  The tanks do have some leeway when it comes to controlling a raid, but the raid leader coordinates DPS, healers, tells you the timing of when things are going to occur - they have the big picture in their head.  And with a raid boss, there is a little bit of predictability with the chaos.

I've found that when we try to do a rated BG, everyone has their own 2c to put in.  Because we are all on the same level, as in we all are experienced doing our own things in battlegrounds, we think that what works for ourselves will work for everyone else, and so we all yell out instructions on where to go, what we should be doing.  There of course is some coordination because we have to go get a node back or something, but it's almost like we have 5 leaders and nobody knows who to follow, and they pick one, but the others pick the other one and then our strategy gets picked apart by the other team.

Last night, we had so many people who wanted to PvP.  I had my usual group of friends who work well together - me, Sev, Lushnek, Gutsy, Arv, Shabadu.  Execute, who is also a heavy PvPer was a good asset to have to boost our coordination in the random BGs we were going to queue.  Jinjersnaps was on and she had 3 mates who were doing Arena, and she wanted to join in.  McTacky wants to come because he's a guildie and he wants to hang with us.  All cool.  We did a few randoms at first, without Jinj, and we had difficulty coordinating the timing so we'd all get the same BG.  Poor Arv went into one when the queue popped but the other group didn't get it so we all left it, and he was in there by himself, losing 1590 to 1600.  OUCH.

We queued AB again (it was AB weekend - MY FAVOURITE!), and with Tacky around, who was the least PvP geared of all of us, I told him to go with Exe because I know Exe can mow through them like wheat, and he plays very aggressively.  I'd forgotten how aggressively.  He would tag nodes and then leave them.  Defending was not for him.  That, unfortunately failed to impress me, because if we were going to do a rated BG you can't have someone running around doing that when we need them to defend.  Warriors are great for annoying people coz their spinny-spinnies hurt like HELL!  And fears are also nice to keep people off the flag :)

Anyway, poor Alliance realised that Tacky was a weaker link because he would get bashed down super fast all the time.  And nobody to save him.  I was on GM defence with Lushnek and a random hunter and nobody took our node.  Exe did keep the Alliance on their toes by constantly tagging nodes though.

So, we won that one (Heyyyyy, I just realised Own and Won are anagrams... LOL).  And now, we thought we'd form a rated BG.

Poor Tacky, I want to take him, I do, but you really have to be PvP geared to survive in a rated BG.  Everyone is high up on resil and a healer who dies in 3 hits is not going to be much of an asset.  He volunteered to sit out and I accepted.  Exe wanted to come.  Now, Exe is not a team player.  I can't control where he goes or what he does and he was drunk as a skunk, so he was even LESS likely to listen to me!  Yes he's done rated BGs before but I bet you he went around doing his own thing and the rest of them played as a unit.

So I got Jinj and her 3 friends into the group.  It looked balanced.  We had 3 healers, 1 or 2 possible tanks (Arv and Arashikage) and a good spread of DPS.  Mages for CC.  Warlocks, priest and warriors for fears.  Boomkin for massive aoe damage and dot annoyance and pushbacks.

Queues for rated BGs are long.  Very enticing for going AFK.  And Jinjer went AFK.  And then the queue popped for Battle for Gilneas.  Arv was thrilled.  :P

We all went in.  Jinj did not respond on vent.  Or to /rw yells.  Or to me in guild screaming:


Sev told me to calm down with a little :P at the end.  I was being ridiculous.  But it was just that I really wanted this to succeed.  It would be so exciting for everyone, who hadn't done a rated BG before, to get a win.  But with 9 vs 10, it was going to be a tough call.

Now can someone explain to me why Horde is yellow and Alliance green here?
 I have been in a rated BG before.  And we did win a few games.  It was a PuG and they specifically asked for a healer with a certain rating and knowledge.  I went into the group, ready to listen to whatever the leader wanted us to do, and not argue, and not make any suggestions.  I only spoke when my node was under attack or if there were incoming enemies.  It worked very well.  Everyone listened to the leader, and those who didn't were booted out.  And I was really excited to be part of that team, and I REALLY wanted my friends to get that experience too, their first rated BG win.

It started off poorly, we did our usual Lighthouse rush and they have 5 waiting there to defend, and then they ran off, and left 2 behind who were pretty good at getting us off their flag.  Though we got it and then people ran off to help other nodes, Mines was taken from us and they had Waterworks and Mines now.  We managed to fight back and get Waterworks but then they coordinated their efforts and did a focussed assault on Lighthouse and I became OOM (and I could hear the dreaded Mana burn sound) and I died so I could rez with full mana.  Too late for Lighthouse though.

Jinj eventually came back and she could actually get into the Battleground, but she came in as Elemental!  Why???  And she sounded tanked too... poor thing I rolled my eyes at her and told her to help Mines.

But, though we tried to fight back, it didn't work.  The other team was well organised.  The non guildies were good, they listened to instructions, but it was difficult with the others.  We all had our own ideas on how to do stuff.  I tried to say don't go off in dribs and drabs to a node, wait for everyone to rez then rush it.  Sev's advice about needing 7 to go attack a node was good, so I used that, I even asked for 2 DPS to intercept between Lighthouse and Waterworks so we could hold them off for a bit to cap.  It didn't happen, either they didn't hear me or they didn't want to, because Sev said the same thing a minute later after we'd failed our waterworks rush.  I do find it difficult and uncomfortable ordering people around, because really, I don't normally run strats for BGs.  I leave that to Shab or Sev.  But both of them are shy when around a lot of people so they wouldn't feel comfortable ordering people around.  And I hate to say this, but Gutsy never listens to anything I say anyway!  If he was positive and encouraging enough, I'd leave it to him to try to run it because it's easier to let someone lead than have to fight for leadership with them, but he tends to get angry at us if we don't do it correctly, which leads to bad morale and irritation.  Can't have that if we're running as a team.

And I thought of poor Tacky.  It would be nice if we could bring him along to a rated BG, but he would find it very frustrating as they would quickly figure out that he was an easy target and he'd be farmed to death and he would not find the experience at all enjoyable.  Hell, we can't even get it with 10 geared people, I'm not sure if we could do it with 9.

But I've diverted from what I really wanted to say.  And that was about the teamwork required in a rated BG.  Here are the points that I've decided that I'll need to enforce before I try to make a guild rated BG again:
  • One CLEAR leader.  Suggestions welcome but instructions must come from one person only.
  • If you are told to go do something, do it.  Node guarding is boring, but you can't just wait for someone to volunteer to do it when you're in a rated BG.  If I've asked you to do it, it's for a good reason.  Like, you have good flag protection abilities.  Or, you have no CC abilities so you're useless for attacking a node with 2 healers on it.  If I need you to do intercepts for god sake intercept and don't hang around the node trying to get the honour kill on that paladin just coz he's almost dead.  Those 5 seconds are precious!
  • Everyone has to be on Vent.  You don't have to talk, but you do have to listen.  And don't clutter vent with crap talk!
  • You MUST be PvP geared.  If you don't have decent resilience then you better have some damn good avoidance abilities because you'll be mown down like wheat and once they realise you're squishy, you will ALWAYS be a target.  It's like in a raid - you need to have a decent gear level to be able to live through the raid stuff or heal through it, so in a rated BG it should be no different.
  • No swearing at your teammates.  We are playing together, this isn't a random PuG(*).  Not that I condone yelling at people(#) in a PuG but we are all experienced, and I will not tolerate anyone saying they are so much better than anyone else in the team.  And that means you Gutsy!!!
  • And OMFG please, if you AFK you're not allowed to do it for more than a minute.  If you need to AFK for long, please say so and I'll drop you from group.  God the queue times are bad enough as it is already!  But the good thing is that you can teleport to the BG after the entry time has timed out, kind of like a raid or a dungeon, so that's something I learned.
OK.  Effing /Navizor has spoken.

* Gutsy needs a slap!  He was so embarrassing in one of our random BGs that he said "We're all on vent, you pugs just do what we say and we'll carry you".  I almost died of embarrassment.  I apologised profusely to them.  Then Tacky was being cheeky as well, saying "Everyone fight on the road!" though he was taking the piss out of low level people who say stuff like that in BGs and I had to tell them both not to say that stuff, even as a joke, in a BG because I don't want everyone to think that people from Frostwolves Dath'remar are a bunch of dicks.
# There was this one time, we tried a rated BG with Gutsy a long time ago, and he started yelling at all of us like we were a bunch of idiots!  Saying that we're not F***ing defending the flag, he had to do it all by himself, we're a bunch of retards... because of that horrific day, I never did another rated BG again, not for a long time.  But since then I've been PvPing with him and he's been really good, and did more more team playing so I thought it would be better.  He was better, in terms of that, I have to admit.  See, you can teach an old dog new tricks, eh Guts?


  1. I don't remember saying anything about fighting on the roads. Joke or otherwise...

    1. The only time I remember roads mentioned was during the one in Battle for Gilneas, when someone said not to right on the roads.

    2. You were joking. Sev said "Tacky you're doing a Gutsy!" I thought maybe you had wrote it in BG chat instead of guild chat. You weren't being malicious!

    3. That reminds me, I owe you an achievement :)

  2. I agree with you that rated bgs should probably be treated like raids, with clear leadership and ground rules to follow no matter what. Although, I think we just need to practice working as a team. We've only done rated bgs a handful of times as a guild and after each time we disband for a long time so there's no real continuity or chance to learn/test strats. The other thing our opposing team had were 3 or 4 healers. I think it's also quite important to have at least 3 healers, which we would have had if Jinj entered as resto. It was just really tough to get anyone down when they had 3 healers around. Coordinated zerging is also quite important I reckon. Grouping up and hitting something quickly was what the other team also did quite well.

    But anyway, I still had a great time :) Hope we can try another rated bg again soon.

    1. I'm thinking Monday is our designated PvP day. From now on, PvP raiding will happen on Mondays. I'm sure Fue won't mind we cut into the raiding week - 4 days of instance raiding is too much and burns us out :)

  3. Rated BGs is definitely a different beast than normal ones. Like Shab said, practice is what's gonna make these perfect, so hopefully you guys will be able to own these soon!

    1. Hope so! Shame you can't play Mondays :P Damn that thing called Work!

  4. You will also need a DPS leader to call out for focus fire / CC. That is a different role from the leader/tactician and is expecially needed in a skirmish where there are several players involved (in AB it's usually the fight to control BS - at least it was for me but I haven't done RBGs in a while).

  5. Thanks lazytree! Will try tonight.


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