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There are now two ways to level in the popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft – PvE (player vs. environment) and PvP (Player vs. Player).  Many PvPer's are excited about this option – they can now gain XP by fighting other players, especially in battlegrounds –mini-games designed to pit Alliance and Horde against one another in a fight to meet certain goals. 

Many new players walk into their first battleground and are completely lost as to what to do.  Some follow the crowd and do whatever they do, even if it's right or not.  Others will run to the center and fight anything with a red name.  Then there are those that just wander around, not sure what to do but willing to help out as much as they can…and usually failing horribly at it.

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How can you be sure you're not labeled a "newb" and ridiculed mercilessly by the elite PvPers?  Read on and find out….

What is a Battleground?

A battleground in World of Warcraft is a Alliance vs. Horde battle where members of each faction try to meet certain objectives, all the while trying to stop the other side from meeting theirs. 

For example, in Warsong Gulch, the first battleground you have access to when you reach level 10, you play a game of Capture the Flag.  Your team has to infiltrate the opposing faction's location, grab their flag, and run back to yours without dying.  Of course, your opponents are trying to do the same and you have to stop them.

Other battlegrounds require that you control the flags at different bases.  The more bases your side controls, the more resources you get.   Whichever side has more resources when the battleground ends wins.

Why would I want to play battlegrounds?

As explained before, battlegrounds give you another way to level up your character.  Along with XP, you are also awarded Honor Points for every opponent kill, objective completed, and battleground won.  These honor points can be used to purchase PvP gear and items from quartermasters located in Stormwind or Orgrimmar or supply officers located outside of the battlegrounds.

Most important, battlegrounds are fun!  The more casual players use battlegrounds as great stress relief after a bad day at work.  They can run in and hack and slash without any thought about death or repair bills. 

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When can I start playing battlegrounds?

Warsong Gulch, a 10-player battleground, becomes available at level 10. 

What happens if I die?

When you die (and yes, I do mean when because it will happen), you are immediately transported to the nearest graveyard where an NPC (non-player character) will rez you.  Best of all, your gear does not take damage in battlegrounds so no high gear repair bills!

Do I need special gear to play PvP battlegrounds?

You don't need special gear to start playing battlegrounds but be assured that you will die a lot.  Once you have a few honor points, you can buy yourself a few pieces of PvP gear, which will increase your survivability.  PvP gear can also be found on the auction house and at certain faction quartermasters.

PVP gear is known for having high stamina and resilience.  Stamina gives you more health while resilience will help reduce the damage you get from critical hits and "damage over time" spells.

How do I queue up for a battleground in WoW?

Once your character is level 10, the PvP window will become available.  Press "H" and the "Honor" window will pop up.  This window will show you how many honor points you currently have and which battlegrounds you are eligible to enter at your level.

Select the battleground you want to enter and press the "Join Battle" button.  This will enter you into the queue (or line) for that battleground.  A window will pop up when a spot becomes available in that battlefield.  Select "Enter Battle" and it will automatically take you into the battleground.

You can queue up for two different battlegrounds but can only participate in one at a time. 

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What the best way to play in a battleground?

When you queue for a battleground you've never played before, take a moment and read over the objectives and general strategies for it.  You can find these online by doing a simple Google search for the battleground's name.

When you enter, try to find a group of people that seem to know what to do and follow them.  When it comes to battlegrounds, it's best to stay in groups and not try to go solo.  At least in a group, there are others to take some of the damage and can distract some of the heavy hitters, allowing you and others of the group to get the objective done.

Make sure to keep to your role.  If you're a healer, heal those around you.  If you're a tank, do what you can to draw fire away from your healers.  If you do a lot of damage, help your teammates bring down the enemy.

The one true secret to successful PvP is to keep moving!  It's hard to hit things that keep moving.  Of course, this is hard to do if you're a spellcaster where many spells require that you stand still.  Go through your spells and find those that allow you to cast without having to stop – put these spells on your toolbar and use them often.

What if I have to go in the middle of the battle?

Life happens and sometimes we have to step away from the computer even in the middle of a battleground.  If you have to stop for a really short period of time, find a safe spot for your character to hang for a moment and go do your thing.  Hopefully, when you get back, you'll still be alive and well.  If not, rez and get back into battle.

Just note – the moment that the system marks you <away>, it will automatically kick you out of the battleground.  Blizzard wants people who are actually participating in the battle and not just riding along on the coattails of others.

If you are kicked from a battleground, you will get a debuff called "Deserter", which will ban you from joining another battleground for 15 minutes.