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More than any other battleground, SOA depends on communication. The fight is straightforward: the offense fights its way south while the defense impedes progress. However with two gates on opposite sides of each of the first two levels, both teams must be able to switch forces back and forth from east to west and vice versa. A team with an alert leader and players who are willing to follow directions has a significant adavantage.
The defensive plan seems obvious, and the same pattern is used in most battles. As noted above, the key is not the strategy but the execution.
It is important to monitor the battle closely and move forces east and west as needed.
Keep the two north grave yards as long as you can. Until they control them, the enemy must rez on the beach. Also, control of a gy opens its associated tank workshop, giving the enemy more vehicles.
Defense in SOA is about time. Your first priority is tanks and bombers. The losing defense is the one that gets lots of kills on enemy players while the enemy bombs through to the relic. The winning defense fights a battle of deny and delay, protecting gates and falling back in good order to keep the enemy out of the relic room.
OFFENSE: PRO ON PUG
The goal is to get up the hill as quickly as possible. The more you have to fight, the slower your advance will be. Melee will drive tanks. Ranged and CC will follow tanks and "peel" defenders away. Healers will keep peelers up. Anyone who can dispell will help keeps the tanks moving. Everyone will have a bomb.
The basic attack format is this: tanks hang back and shoot the gate from range ... this pulls the defenders out to the tanks. Bombers run in close to drop and then defend their bombs. The defense cannot both defuse bombs AND kill tanks, and the gate goes down.
While the ships are coming in, the pro leader will choose a beach gate as the main assault point. Either will do. The plan is symmetrical. In this example, the assault gate is "blue".
Forces from the off-gate will move across the beach to the main gate. A small group may attack the off-gate to keep the enemy occupied.
A blitz hits the assault gate. If a tank dies, everyone who was in the tank runs to the gate and delivers their bombs. Anyone who rezzes while the gate is still up goes back to the dock for more tanks and bombs. This repeats until the gate falls. There is no melee ... pros don't stop to fight .... they c.c. and get to the gate.
Once through the beach gate, pros use communications to reorganize on the fly. Sometimes the main assault team can break through to the next level before the enemy notices, but even so, there are other tasks that need to be done.
As the tanks and bombers roll on, a small team crosses the map to cap the two north flags. This will bring up the workshops with their bombs and two more tanks. The new tanks will immediately join the assault ... this will put the remaining beach tanks at yellow, with another coming up on either side ... and these will be joined by a cloud of bombers.
From now on as people rez they will get tanks and bombs at the workshops, setting up waves of assaults on the remaining gates.
The enemy will likely mass at the yellow gate, so bombs become a major weapon. Stealth players will be running bombs to the yellow gate. Everyone else will be driving or guarding a tank.
At this point, it is probably best to cap the south graveyard. If the enemy has fallen behind and is still down on the beach, the leave the flag alone. Otherwise, getting the south gy and its bomb pile will put your entire team in front of the yellow gate.
Once the yellow gate is down, the fight has a tendency to fragment. A PUG group will often be spread out by now, but some will get inside and set up a defense. Pros want to avoid melee and stay focused on bringing tanks and bombs to the relic room door. Coordinated attacks "stack" tanks and bring them along with mounted bombers to the gate at the same time. This kind of rush will often get two or three bombs to the door.
After the door breaks, you only need to get inside and click on the relic to end the round.
OFFENSE: PRO ON PRO
Against good defense, you need a more flexible strategy. As always, communication is the key.