Put 15 random people into a group, add a dose of epeen, a dash of afk, and a dollop of cluelessness, and you have your typical battleground group. At any given time, there will be a couple people in low quality (or high quality PvE) gear trying to figure out what the rules are, a couple of bitter people that have lost 4 in a row trying to get their daily, and maybe some guy who has an arena team and wants to make sure that (a) everyone knows how bad they all are, and (b) does what he says.
How can you turn a rag-tag band of misfits into a winning team?
First, recognize that the other guys have it just as bad, on average. You will increase your win rate by utilizing the resources you have as well as you can.
- Know the rules: every BG has rules and mechanics. Know them so you can make intelligent decisions.
- Know the strategies: people write volumes about strategies. It’s not a raid with a strict “when this happens, do this”, but you might glean various bits of information you can put to your advantage (like “defending nodes after capping them can help you win”).
- Put winning ahead of your place on the scoreboard: if you spend the whole game using demolishers to poke holes in their walls, regardless of your damage done, you’ve advanced the battle.
- Know your class: should you open with aimed shot or explosive shot? How many types of CC do you have? Do you have Master’s Call easily available in case you (or your flag runner) are snared?
- Know your opponents: should you never tranq shot a tree druid? Should you interrupt polymorph or frost bolt? Do you trap the approaching rogue or healer?
- Be mobile: the maps are cleverly designed so that there is no single strategy that always works, and you never have enough people to attack or defend everything at once. Moving from objective to objective to react to your opponent’s attacks as well as forcing them to react to yours is the only way to get ahead.
This last one is hard to strike a balance with. On the one hand, you really don’t want to be that douche-nozzle trying to tell everyone what to do, but on the other hand, you really need to know what’s going on, and to let others know as well.
The art of communication
My strategy for communication is two-fold. Before the battle starts, I either suggest an opening strategy, or confirm that I will go with an opening strategy already suggested. It doesn’t matter what the strategy is, just so long as as many people are doing it as possible. The only downside is if the strategy is too comprehensive- unless you’re in a pre-made, you can never tell what you’ll be doing after a couple of minutes elapse. In any case, avoid bickering about strategies whenever possible, as negativity feeds on itself, and breeds hopelessness and afkism.
Once the battle has started, I will call out enemy movement as I see it (if it’s relevant), call for reinforcements when needed, respond and acknowledge requests for help, as well as ask people in my vicinity to come with me. I’ve macroed:
- “/battleground OMW”
- “/say Could I ask for a few of you fine folk to follow me?”
- a few “/battleground there’s light defenses at [node], heading there now and would appreciate backup :)”
Lastly, I make a point of being positive as much as possible. If you’re waiting for a graveyard respawn, take the time to try and reinforce how awesome the team is doing, or bolster their spirits if you’re losing. Little things like “lol, poor hordies/allies” or “I smell a turnaround coming- can we get anyone to blacksmith?” can get people smiling, which, believe it or not, has a huge effect on how well they perform. It may make little difference when they’re beating up a target dummy, but when they’re facing a group of coordinated, intelligent players with a group of their own, having a positive attitude will make them cooperate better with their team.