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It's Like Alterac Valley, Only Better
Coming soon to the World of Warcraft, the latest content addition, patch 3.2, is bringing with it a long-anticipated new battleground - The Isle of Conquest. This exciting new zone has something for everyone - vehicle combat, parachuting, air strikes, bombs, and of course, resource control. This epic battle plays out like real combat, with players rushing to capture control points to obtain different things, from an airship, to Steam Engines, to the all new Glaive Thrower anti-personnel vehicle. Each point you capture adds something to increase your chances of victory - but your 40 man team will be hard-pressed to hold every resource. That is why tactics feature so heavily in this battleground.
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Alterac Valley + Arathi Basin = Win
With five capturable points this battleground may seem more reminiscent of Arathi Basin than Alterac Valley - But wait, there's more. Instead of getting resource points for capturing things, you get upgrades or unlock various things. The resource points only serve to progress the battle. The main "points" to be worried about is the reinforcements mechanic the game uses to place a cap on how long the game will run. Much like Alterac Valley, ultimate victory is obtained by defeating the opposing faction's general, found deep within the enemy Keep. There is another way to win, however. Reinforcements are lost in a number of ways, including losing control points and players being killed. If a team's reinforcements are reduced to 0, they are defeated.
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The Isle of Conquest
The Isle is, as you can imagine, a roughly circular land mass surrounded by water. When players join the game they are in the middle of their respective keeps, and can use teleporters to get outside. Horde are located on the North side, an Alliance on the South.
There are five capturable points. Directly West of the Horde Keep is the Oil Derrick - a maze of pipes continually harvesting "black gold" for the team that controls it. This capture point grants Reinforcements, and steadily flowing honor to the faction in control.
Much like the Oil Derrick, the Cobalt Mine (sometimes called the Quarry) on the Southeast corner of the island only grants Reinforcements and honor points. When the game begins, it is a good idea to send one player to capture these points - though retaking them from the other team is a lower priority than other points in most cases.
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Priority Target - The Docks
The Docks span the Western shore, equidistant from each faction's Keep. The Docks are one of the more important capture points because the allow access to the new vehicle - the Glaive Thrower - and also Catapults. The Glaive Thrower is mainly an anti-personnel vehicle (and in testing I discovered that to be in no way an exaggeration) but can also be reasonably effective in assaulting the enemy Keep. The Catapult is also pretty special in that it has the capability to launch the driver over the keep walls - but watch out. The landing hurts. Once inside, players have access to the bomb stores of their enemies, and can use them to take down the walls.
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Death From Above
On the Eastern edge of the map the Airship Hangar rests at the top of a mountain. This is an incredibly powerful point for any team to control, as it allows players to board the Airship and take it for a flight around the map. Once your faction captures the Airship Hangar you will be able to use teleporters to board the Airship. Air-to-Surface guns line both sides, though you'll have to have your graphics turned up to be able to spot enemies from that far up. If you want to disembark, all you have to do is take a leap of faith off of the sides. Shortly before landing you'll pop a parachute and float to safety. This is also a good strategy for infiltrating your enemy's base, but it takes a little bit of practice to get the landing just right.
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At the Heart of it All
Located in the dead center of the map is one of the biggest contention points in the Isle. It is the Siege Workshop, which when captured gives that team access to the coveted Siege Engines. While less exciting than Catapults and Glaive Throwers, the Old Faithful of vehicles is the most effective way to take down the enemy walls and break through to the General - but vehicles are limited. There is, in no way, a steady flow of Siege Engines coming out of that workshop so teams are going to have to make the most of it, and un-vehicled participants need to protect the Siege.
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The Most Fun in a Battleground Since Original Alterac Valley
It's unfortunate that there are so few players left that remember the original Alterac Valley. That truly was a battle of epic proportions, where matches would last 3-6 hours, and teams would constantly be in flux. Gathering armor scraps, blood, whatever one could find and turn in to their faction's NPCs to give buffs to their team was the key to success. If you played long enough and hard enough you could eventually unlock NPCs to assist, like Gryphon Riders. Or, teams could summon an extremely large and powerful elemental to fight along with them.
Those days are long gone, sadly, but for those nostalgic for the old feel the Isle of Conquest offers a taste of that. Of all the battlegrounds currently available in the game, it is certainly the one most dependent on good tactics for victory. There is no cookie cutter "do this and win" strategy - everyone has to be dynamic and use every aspect of the battleground to the fullest, from parachute assaults to bombs to holding choke points. The Isle of Conquest is certainly both the most complex and most fun battleground I've played in years.