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Beginner’s PvP Guide for F2P Players - World of Warcraft

Learn about the free to play Player vs Player battle options including tips and strategies for two of the battlegrounds.

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Free to Play PvP Overview

Player-versus-player, or PvP, is one of the most exciting aspects of the free-to-play WoW experience. Because you will be playing against other players, PvP is always dynamic. Once you've run out of quests and other standard game content, you can enjoy endless hours of PvP. There are a few tricks to ensuring a more successful PvP experience, however, and employing these strategies will save you from frustration. This guide will explain the different types of PvP and how to make the most of each class.

World PvP battles can get quite large.

Types of PvP in WoW Starter Edition

The free-to-play portion of World of Warcraft has three primary types of PvP:

#1 Duels

These occur between two mutually accepting players of the same faction. In order to duel, you must challenge another player. If the player accepts, you will duel until one player is defeated. Your health is restored at the end of the duel, and you do not receive any item damage. Duels are a fun, fast way to try out your abilities and challenge your one-on-one skills against other players. The best place to find a dueling partner is usually outside a major city.

Two very high level and experienced players dueling

#2 World PvP

This only occurs on a designated PvP realm. You can attack a player of the opposite faction who wanders into territory controlled by your faction, but he cannot attack you on your own turf until you have initiated combat. In contested areas, which are marked with red names on the world map, any character can attack any other character of opposing faction.

This looks like fun

At the F2P level cap of 20, you will not spend much time in contested areas unless you seek them out on purpose. For Kalimdor, the level 20 contested area is Ashenvale, just above the Northern Barrens. In Eastern Kingdoms, the level 20 contested areas are Hillsbrad Foothills, located east of Silverpine Forest, and Wetlands, located just north of Dun Morogh. When you die in open-world PvP, you take item damage and must return to your body to resurrect.

#3 Battlegrounds

At level 10, you will have access to two separate battlegrounds. The first, Warsong Gulch, is a game of "capture the flag" where opposing factions guard two opposing points and must steal the opponent's flag and return it to their own base. Arathi Basin is a game of "king of the mountain" where opposing teams must capture and control points.

A speedy flag runner in Warsong Gulch

Battlegrounds can be entered at any time by pressing "H," then selecting the battleground you want and choosing "Join Battle." The strategies for each type of battleground will be discussed in greater detail below.

General PvP Tips

  • Remember when traveling through contested areas on a PvP server that all members of an opposing faction can engage you in combat, including players of a much higher level. Some players like to "gank" low-level players by camping in contested areas and killing them repeatedly. For this reason, some people prefer to level up on non-PvP servers.
  • Some character classes will naturally be stronger against certain classes than others, but Blizzard attempts to keep classes fairly balanced. It helps to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your class so you can accommodate them when fighting.
  • One of the most important skills when PvPing is learning how to stay moving while attacking. This is harder with some classes, like spellcasters who must stay stationary while channeling spells. Nevertheless, try to move as much as possible to make it harder for opponents to target you.
  • Know which abilities will be effective against which types of characters. For example, trapping or rooting a melee character in place so you can get away is effective; the same technique will not work as well on a spellcaster or hunter. Similarly, silencing effects will do nothing against melee attacks.
  • It's usually best to travel in groups while playing in battlegrounds. Attempting to take on multiple players by yourself is a sure way to get killed. Whenever possible, try to team a damage character with one or more healers.
  • Communication is vital to a truly successful battleground. You'll be assigned to teams randomly, and some teams don't work as well together as others. You can, however, join a battleground as a party. If you have several friends you can party with, group up and enter the battleground together for maximum efficiency. You can communicate with your party by typing "/p" followed by whatever you wish to say. You can also participate in the battleground chat channel by typing "/bg" before whatever you wish to say. Free accounts cannot accessed WoW's in-game voice chat, but you can communicate with teammates over Skype or Ventrilo if you wish.
  • When playing in battlegrounds, economize your battling. Only battle near the capture points in Arathi Basin rather than wasting time fighting players on the road. Focus your attention on your base and your flag carrier when playing Warsong Gulch. You get more honor points from winning the match than from killing other players.
  • There are three level brackets: 10-14, 15-19 and 20-24. The final bracket will be comprised only of characters who, like you, have their experience gains disabled. This means that many of the people you play against in this bracket will be twinks, or low-level characters with extremely good gear and very high stats. Don't get discouraged if you die a lot from being under-geared; the more battlegrounds you join, the more honor points you will gain, and these can be traded for better gear later.

Warsong Gulch

This is the simplest battleground to learn, and it's one of the most popular for low-level characters. Two teams consisting of 10 players on each side will face off on a small map. There are two bases, one for Alliance and one for Horde, located on opposite ends of the map. Each base has a flag. Your goal is to capture the enemy's flag and return it to your base while defending your own flag. You cannot capture the enemy's flag if your own is not in the base. The game ends when one side has captured the flag three times or 30 minutes has passed, whichever occurs first.

If a flag carrier has the flag for more than 10 minutes without capturing it, that player will begin to take 50 percent more damage from attacks. After 15 minutes, the carrier will take 100 percent more damage and a speed decrease. If the flag carrier dies before capturing the flag, the flag will return to its position in the base.

Good tips and strategies for Warsong Gulch

Arathi Basin

This battleground has a larger map than Warsong Gulch, and it's somewhat more involved. There are five points on the map, each with a flag. In order to win, you need to capture and hold at least three points. The more points you have, the more resources you gain. The first team to reach 1600 resources wins.

Unlike Warsong Gulch, the match is not timed, and some Arathi Basin matches can take a very long time. In general, the best strategy is to move with a team from one base to the next while leaving behind a small contingency of guards at each captured flag. It's usually better to capture and hold three bases than to try capturing five bases; capturing additional bases can wear your defenses too thin.

Pro strategies for Arathi Basin


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