|Advised level||20 to Level cap|
Alterac Valley is a battleground in the continuing war between the Horde and the Alliance. The two opposing sides are the Frostwolf Clan (led by GeneralDrek'Thar) and the Stormpike Guard (also known as the Stormpike Expedition, led by General Vanndar Stormpike), both of whom lay claim to this secluded territory. Alongside the Generals are their two Captains, Captain Galvangar andCaptain Balinda Stonehearth, respectively. Aside from Lake Wintergrasp, Alterac Valley is generally considered to be the battleground that delivers the most Honor points per battle. You can queue for Alterac Valley(AV) from level 20.
Alterac Valley is a battleground players fight in frosty Alterac between the Frostwolf Clan (Horde) and Stormpike Guard (Alliance). Alterac Valley is notable both for how many people can queue per side (40) as well as how much honor each game rewards.
Alterac Valley is won when the enemy's General is killed, or the opposing team's resources are reduced from 600 to 0. 1 reinforcement is lost when each player dies, 75 lost per each destroyed tower (4 towers total), and 100 for the enemy Captain. Two mines can be captured that replenish reinforcements every 45 seconds--but this is trivial and should only be used in a very long turtle.
Killing players is secondary to destroying towers. For each tower destroyed, the enemy's General becomes easier to kill. Most players will rush for the enemy's graveyard closest to the General first, capping other graveyards in the middle after. A "turtle" is when both teams rez in inconvenient areas and spend most of the battle fighting at a chokepoint, instead of capturing objectives. It is important to defend your own towers and cap graveyards in a strategic order.
Alterac Valley was initially seen as a zone that was both a battleground and questing area. Before cross-realm battlegrounds, games used to last for days. There still are a fair number of quests players can do (and it's a great way to level at 45 for easy experience), but longer games meant more elaborate quests that have been removed--including a summoning ritual that created a friendly elite that would stomp on the enemy.
Reputations associated with Alterac Valley are: Stormpike Guard and Frostwolf Clan.
With up to 40 players on each team in this battleground, Alterac Valley is one of the largest battlegrounds available. Until the inclusion of Isle of Conquest, it was the only battleground to allow such large numbers of players.
The goal of Alterac Valley is to reduce the opposing faction's reinforcement count to 0. Each team starts with 500 reinforcements. There are a number of ways to reduce reinforcements, named below, but killing the enemy General does it instantly.
The primary bases are Dun Baldar for the Alliance and Frostwolf Village for the Horde.
For information relating to balance issues in Alterac Valley, please see Alterac Valley Tactical Overview.
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.
As of patch 3.1.0, a player may queue up for Alterac Valley anywhere in the world by going to the battlegrounds tab of the Player vs. Player window. They will return to the location they chose to enter the battleground from, not the queue, when the game ends.
Alterac Valley is split into level brackets; 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80-89, 90-99, and 100.
Each side in the Valley has one General and one Captain.
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. If a General is drawn out of his fortress, his health will reset to full.
Generals are guarded by several Marshals (Alliance) or Warmasters (Horde), and they can not be pulled separately. Each general starts with four, but each one is linked to one of the four towers and dies when the tower is destroyed. Each Warmasters and Marshalls add a stackable buff that increases damage and health by 25%, so the general begins with +144% health and +144% damage, which makes him very difficult to kill without any tower destroyed.
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.
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 known as "the race" or "the zerg". 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 Marshals, 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, providing more honor per hour than protracted games with the same win rate.
The safest route is to leave some defenders to at least slow the opposing team's attack, but to still maintain an overpowering offense; to give up some ground, but not too much. The way some do it is to run most of a faction as fast as possible to the enemy base and then some of the team will use their recall to go on the defense team and slow the progress of the enemy. This provides enough time to let one side win while the other is held up by the defense.