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Arathi Basin

Arathi Basin

Arathi Basin is a 30-player battleground (15 per side) where the Alliance and Horde battle for resources inside the Basin. This guide will educate you on everything concerning this intriguing and fun battleground and answers any questions you may have.

The Rundown

  • Style: Occupy resource nodes to accumulate resources.
  • Location: Eastern Kingdoms (Arathi Highlands)
  • Limits: Level 20-60 players (level range breakup: 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60)
  • Maximum players per team: 15 Horde/15 Alliance
  • Win Conditions: Be the first team to accumulate 2000 resources

General Information

Two teams of 15 (Horde versus Alliance) battle to occupy five resource nodes located within the battleground. Once captured, these resource nodes will begin to generate resource points for your side. The more nodes you control, the faster you will gain points. The first team to reach 2000 resource points wins. As well as the honor you get for killing enemy players, bonus honor is awarded to both sides depending on how many points you acquire. Even the losing team is awarded bonus honor, and the more points you have when you lose, the more bonus honor you are awarded.

Arathi Basin is directly tied with two groups - The League of Arathor for the Alliance, and The Defilers for the Horde. Competing in Arathi Basin contributes to your reputations with your side's group (Defilers/Horde and Arathor/Alliance) which have great rewards as you obtain better and better reputation with these groups. Also, whenever you fight in Arathi Basin to the end of the game, you are awarded items called Marks of Honor. You will receive three Marks if you win, and a single one if you lose. You can hand in three Marks at a time to a specified NPC to receive reputation points for Arathi Basin as well as a small honor bonus.

How to Enter Arathi Basin

Arathi Basin has two entrances; both are in the Arathi Highlands. The Alliance entrance portal is in Refuge Point, while the Horde's is in Hammerfall. You can also enter Arathi Basin via Battlemasters located in each of the six major cities: Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff, Undercity, Stormwind, Ironforge, Darnassus.

Also, at each Battlemaster (as well as the portal entrances in Arathi Highlands), there is a quest NPC which accepts your Marks of Honor and awards you honor and reputation for them. He can accept Marks of Honor from any of the three Battlegrounds, as well as accept them for a quest called "For Great Honor." This quest is when a player accumulates three Marks of Honor from each of the three battlegrounds (so 9 in total) and hands them all in at the same time. "For Great Honor" awards you more bonus honor and reputation than handing in the nine Marks separately. If you can, always try to hand in "For Great Honor" as it is a bigger boost.

Keep in mind that purchasing any of the rewards from the League of Arathor and The Defilers requires you to visit the Supply Officer, located in Refuge Pointe and Hammerfall respectively.

Capturing a Resource Node

There are five resource nodes in Arathi Basin. Capturing them is the essence of the struggle; the fight to claim the resources and collect them faster than your opponent. At each resource location there is a flag which is the focal point of capturing that location. To capture the flag, you must right-click on it and a 10 second timer counts down (kind of like casting a spell). You must go through the entire 10 second timer and successfully complete the 'casting' to capture the node. Any damage, either from Area Effect damage, a melee hit or special attack, as well as Damage-Over-Time, will interrupt your flag capturing. You can't move forwards or backwards, but you can rotate-on-the-spot while capturing a flag.

Benefits of Holding a Resource Node

If you control a resource location on the map, not only will you gain resources from that place but your faction will have exclusive rights to resurrecting in the graveyard that is located at that resource node. The more resource nodes you control, the faster your resource points go up. To gain resources, your faction must be in full control of the resource node. All nodes collect resources at the same rate, but the flow of resources to your stockpile increases exponentially as you increase the number of nodes collecting.

  • Example: If you had a team hold 4 nodes for 10 minutes, and your next match have them hold 2 nodes for 10 minutes, the results would not show that the 4-node match having double the points of the 2-node match; it would be a larger margin because the rate increases exponentially, not linearly.

How the Game Starts and the Nature of Capturing Nodes

As mentioned briefly above, at the start of an Arathi Basin match, every node on the map is marked 'neutral'. This is a unique stance for a node, and only happens at the beginning of a match. When somebody captures a node from its neutral state, they must hold that location for 1 minute (meaning not allow the opposition to capture it for their side). When you capture a node from neutral stance, it will be marked In Conflict in your team's favor (meaning the map will show half of the node marked the color of your faction, and the other half blank - noting both that it is contested but in a certain team's favor). If you are successful in holding that node for 1 minute, your team will fully capture the resource node and it will be marked either Horde Controlled or Alliance Controlled depending on your faction.

If, for example, the Horde capture the Lumber Mill while it is neutral at the start of the match, but before the 1 minute timer expires the Alliance charge through and cap (capture) it for themselves, then the Alliance will get the In Conflict stance for that node in their favor.

It is different, however, when one side captures a resource node that is in full control of the opposition. For example, the Alliance control the Blacksmith fully, and the Horde push through and cap the Blacksmith flag, then the node will be marked In Conflict for the Horde.

  • Note: During ANY In Conflict stance of a resource node, that graveyard won't resurrect either side. Both sides will resurrect at the nearest graveyard.

However, if the Alliance in the example above come back and defend the Blacksmith before the new 1 minute timer has expired, then the node will simply be back in their possession - it won't be In Conflict because they already had control of it, and only allowed the Horde to contest it (contest is another term for putting a resource node In Conflict).

Know your Resource Nodes!

There are five of them. Know the ins-and-outs of them all so you can better understand your role in this small-scale battleground.

The Farm

This is the South-Eastern node located right beside the Horde Spawn (Defilers Den). The Farm is the first thing that should be captured by the Horde. Most teams send 1 or 2 people to capture and defend the farm because being the closest to the spawn, it will be difficult for the Alliance to capture unless they run straight past other nodes. Be sure to designate someone to capture and defend the Farm right away. To get there fastest, an Epic Mount is good to have. Also, lots of players like to enchant a pair of gloves with the Riding Skill Enchant which increases their mount speed, as well as equipping the quest item "Carrot on a Stick" and/or attaching Mithril Spurs to their boots.

Inside the house near the farm there is a periodic chest that spawns, that will give you one of the three buffs (see Three Buffs section). There are also bushes around which casters like to stand in while healing or firing their spells at you. If the Alliance take the Farm, and are defending it, always check the bushes for a Night Elf using Shadow Meld. The graveyard is pretty far from the flag, so don't skimp out on using Sprint or Aspect of the Cheetah if you know you need to get to the flag and interrupt people capping it.

The Blacksmith

The grand-daddy of nodes. Most unorganized teams will rush STRAIGHT to the Blacksmith. Although it is the best node to have, it is sometimes unwise to send so much of your limited forces to it. The Blacksmith is considered the most useful node because it is in the smack-dab middle of the entire map. It provides a fast route to any of the other four nodes, so even if your team only controls the Blacksmith, you can gather and attack any other node that is weak (think about it, the other team can only afford to have about 3-4 at each node if they spread out evenly, and if they don't then one node should be nearly empty of defenders).

There is an actual blacksmith building where you can find a periodic chest that will give you one of the three buffs. Again, watch for those bushes. The Blacksmith is also prone to amphibious attack; that is, people don't necessarily have to attack from one of the two bridges connecting the blacksmith, they can easily swim the measly 10-15 yards that the moat provides and hit you from the side. Be careful. The graveyard is pretty close, so watch out if you're capturing it.

The Lumber Mill

Considered to most as the second-best node to capture, the Lumber Mill is always a fun place to fight. Perched up on a hill along the south-western wall, it overlooks the rest of the Basin, and isn't a bad vantage point to scout major movements, although it's too high for a hunter to perch up and shoot things. When a Horde team wants to capture three nodes and defend them, the ideal set-up is to control the Farm, Blacksmith and Lumber Mill. All three are close to each other and are easy to rotate defenders to and from.

There are plenty of bushes, as well as tree stubs where dumb hunters like to stand and immediately get noticed. The buff chest is located inside the Mill building in the middle. The graveyard is also behind the mill, so it's a bit of a run to get to the flag. *Priests and Engineers can use Mind Control, take control of an enemy player, and jump them off the huge cliff at the Lumber Mill. Depending on the class, their health and their buffs, they will most likely die. At the very least you will make them run all the way back up again, while damaging them. Try to Mind-Control Warriors, Paladins and anyone else with full health.*

The Stables

This is the Alliance's equivalent to the Farm. The Stables are located right beside the Alliance Spawn point (Trollbane Hall), and is the first thing to get capped when the Alliance comes flying out of the gates. Again, as mentioned for the Farm, getting items and enchants like Carrot on a Stick, Riding Enchant for gloves and Mithril Spurs for your boots, as well as owning an epic mount can help you get there faster.

The bushes may have some Night Elves in Shadow Meld or healers/mages trying not to draw attention to themselves. The buff chest spawns inside the Stables building (that has real horses in it!). The graveyard has a good proximity to the flag, but the building is kind of in-the-way.

The Mine

Probably the least desirable node, the mine lies to the north-east corner of the map, below ground level (it's dug out). The mine actually has an inside players can hide in if they want, as well as a roof over the entrance to the mine. The buff chest spawns on top of a small wheelbarrow on a small hill right near the flag.

Hunters, especially Night Elf ones, like to perch themselves on top of the mine and Shadow Meld, and then rain down arrows and havoc from the top. It's a GREAT vantage point to shoot from because any melee or casters will have a hard time hitting you and/or reaching you. There are plenty of bushes, and the graveyard proximity is okay, but you are in good sight of the flag when you resurrect.

Playing Arathi Basin

Now that you have learned the characteristics of each node, the mechanics and gameplay of capturing and defending nodes and the goal of Arathi Basin, you are now ready to learn how to effectively defend and attack resource nodes. These guidelines are very broad and general - specific battle details are impossible to suggest because every encounter is different. Depending on how many people you have, if you are attacking or defending, and what classes are present, a battle can go any number of ways. You will have to adjust accordingly, and learn from experience.

Attacking a Resource Node

Learning how to effectively fight and tackle resource nodes in Arathi Basin is the difference between winning and losing. Experienced guilds can steamroll Pick-Up-Groups (also known as PUG's) just by having good experience battling in small groups and having a good battle plan.

If you are just starting the match, then the battle will be to take control of the neutral nodes. It's a bit of chess and luck, because you won't know where the enemy will send most of their troops, and how they will divide themselves. Will they send a large force to take the Smith and send smaller groups to the Mine and Lumber Mill? Will they even bother with the Mine? Will they try to take the Mine, Blacksmith and Lumber Mill?

You must assess your own plan and be ready. Each group should have at least 1 healer (Druid, Shaman, Paladin, Priest), and a variety of classes are good. Mages are always useful to sheep, and Priests/Warriors to fear. Charging in, you want Warriors/Paladins /Druid's-in-BearForm first so people target them first. Rogues and Druids in cat-form should sneak around the sides and flank the enemy casters from behind. The rest of the cloth wearers should stay back, and heal and begin to do their jobs. Here is an in-depth guide of a class' job during an offensive on an opposition-owned node:

Warrior: You're the first in. Use charge to get to your enemies fast and if there are a clump of them, feel free to rout them by your AoE fear. Spreading them out helps their healers lose focus and makes them attack you as soon as they are out of fear. Go for healers/casters/rogues first, as you take them down with ease. Have a healer designated to shield and heal your butt (although sometimes shield is very noticeable and draws attention to the Priest).

Paladin: Along with the Warrior, charge in first. Don't really focus on doing damage. If you have consecrate, feel free to spam it to provide a bit of damage and uncover any Rogues prancing around. Your main job (and the one you're must useful as) is providing support. If you see a Priest or Mage going down, pop Lay On Hands or Blessing or Protection, and use your blessings/buffs/heals to keep your team up. If you see an important Warrior going down, and he's a real asset, use your shield and heal him up without interruption. People ignore Paladins because they are low DPS, so make them pay for it by providing heals.

Rogues: You don't want to be the focal point of a fight. On the attack, flank the sides and avoid AoE damage. It's best to hit and preoccupy Priests and Druids first so they spend their time trying to kill you instead of healing their teammates. Next go for Mages, then Warlocks, and work your way up the chain. Paladins are dead-last on your list, after Warriors. Use kick to interrupt heals and spells, and kidney shot as a last resort to stop a heal or someone from running away. Dagger rogues do very well because of high crit ambushes that decimate casters.

Bear Form: Charge in and basically follow the Warrior guidelines. You have the versatility to turn back into caster-form and heal, so if someone is going down, and you're okay, pop them a heal or a Rejuvenation.

Cat Form: Waste of time to be in cat-form, because you would rather be in the front lines as a bear or healing in caster form, but if you HAVE to be in cat-form, you should follow the Rogue guidelines and hit the casters from behind. Do your best to do high burst DPS, and again don't hesitate to transform and heal yourself.

Moonkin: Slightly more useful than cat-form, Moonkin allows great Moonfire spam and some great group buffs. Only go Moonkin if you're okay on healing, and make sure to DoT those Rogues and keep everyone on Moonfire. Once again - transform and heal yourself/others when needed.

Warlock: Warlocks are very strong in Arathi Basin. On the attack, you want your imp out spamming fireballs at targets and providing your group with the great stamina aura. On the attack, feel free to spam DoTs on their plate users, but focus your Shadow Bolts and burns on their casters and Rogues/Hunters. If you got other Warlocks and don't want the imp, the next option is Succubus to seduce healers and such. In a hectic environment like AB - don't seduce someone in the front lines or someone will break it. Go for a backline healer or Mage who isn't being touched.

Group Targeting and Assisting

When you have an arranged group versus a Pick-up Group, then the major difference during battles is that the arranged group (if they have any clue) will either be on a Teamspeak/Ventrilo type voice communication program or be utilizing the CT_Raid Assist add-on, which allows them to choose group targets to focus fire on. Groups who use Raid Assist as well as a voice communication program are your worst nightmare.

The key to winning even battles or ones where you are out-numbered is to target their healers and cloth wearers first and focus fire (Read: everyone attack the same person). If everyone hits the same guy, chances are he's going to die. If you have a regular group you run Arathi Basin with, practice these battle tactics and you will find success is easier to come by the more you guys become in-sync with each other.


Arathi Basin is very dynamic, so there's no real point in formulating linear strategies. What you should do is decide on a starting plan and tell everyone where they are going. Be aware you have fifteen (15) players to utilize. At the start of every match, you should have someone assigned to stopping and capturing the Farm if you are Horde and Stables if you are Alliance. Whether or not you leave anyone on defense there is up to you, but someone should cap that first node. Many PuGs seem to all rush in and no one stops to capture Farm or Stables for their side, and it hurts them later on.

From there, you have to decide whether you are going for a full-fledged 5-cap (Trying to capture all five nodes and end the game in a matter of minutes), go for a 4-cap (Capture Blacksmith, Mine, Lumber Mill and then depending on your side - Farm for Horde and Stables for Alliance) or a simple 3-cap (Any three nodes). Most PuGs try to go for the 3-cap because they aren't organized enough to try for more. The 3-cap, if held, guarantees a victory. Blizzard has made sure that holding three nodes in fact does give you an edge, but small enough that the other team can always come back from it.

As a Horde team, your ideal 3-cap would be Farm, Blacksmith and Lumber Mill. The three are connected and are the closest three resource nodes on the map. Alliance often complains about this combo and say that it's too easy to defend, but as you will find, Alliance can break this triangle with good tactics.

As an Alliance side, most people also prefer the Lumber Mill, Blacksmith and Stables - but the thing is the Mine is closer to Blacksmith and Stables then the Lumber Mill so it all depends on your opinion. Either way, getting the three cap is essential to victory.

Assisting and Defending the Nodes

Now, once your desired cap (3-cap is always the lowest thing to aim for - otherwise you lose unless you have a huge lead and can still win with a 2-cap) is reached then you have to play defense. Communication is the key. Assign two people (Warriors/Paladins/Shamans are always good) to defend a node permanently if you are three-capping and then rotate the other people to wherever the opposition is hitting. Be careful though - many times the enemy will send 3-4 people to one place, wait for your troops to all move to that spot, and then charge the now empty resource node.

The key to keeping a resource node is to keep the enemy off the flag until reinforcements arrive. Anytime you are outnumbered or out-powered, the only thing you can hope to do is delay the flag cap until reinforcements arrive. You also have the power of a much closer resurrection point if you own the resource node and are defending it, so always hold out for the rezzers. Voice communication programs also help because they let players talk to each other much faster then typing, so calling out incoming attacks is faster.

Breaking the 3-Cap

When a good team decides to settle for three resource nodes, it's tough to break their defense. They won't waste troops on trying a fourth cap and are quick to react to your attacks. Many people get frustrated at this and give up. There are tactics around this - but you must be quick and decisive.

The first option is to have a stealth team of Druids and Rogues to move to a node, and have 4-5 others hit somewhere else. As soon as the stealthed team sees people leave the node to reinforce the distractive attack, they can all spring out and unleash hell. Even organized teams fall for it if you plan it well enough. One thing to be careful about is not sending everyone to attack - keep at least one or two on defense in case they send someone to steal your node while everyone else is attacking.

How to pull off the 5-cap

Many people wonder how on Earth you can pull off the 5-cap in Arathi Basin. If you are well-coordinated it's very possible.

Horde: Have one person cap and defend the Farm. Send 6 to the Blacksmith and 4 to Lumber Mill and Mine. The trick here is to recognize quickly which nodes the enemy has not sent a lot of troops to. If you see, for example, the Mine or Mill are basically empty, you have to support the nodes which the Alliance have zerged, or sent a lot of troops to. If you somehow win all three battles at the Mine, Smith and Mill, then keep one on defense at all three nodes and charge the stables. You have to clear out the Alliance at any of the other four caps first quickly and then hit the Stables very quickly. If you assist on targets and heal, you can out-fight them and contest it. If you successfully capture it, leave two on defense at Smith, Mill and Mine, and a Rogue or Druid at the Farm stealthed (so they can't Crowd Control you and then cap it). Call out any zergs, but mostly you should be stopping anyone from the north resurrecting and trying to reach the Mine or Mill.

Alliance: Same story. Leave one to cap and defend Farm, and send identical numbers to Smith, Mill and Mine. Recognize weakness and double back to support nodes where you are out-numbered. Otherwise, push forward to Farm and keep them at bay in their south spawn point. 2 on defense everywhere, except Farm which should have stealthed defender.

  • Note: If you are holding the 5-cap easily as Horde, feel free to send a 2nd defender to the Farm for security. Same for Alliance and the Stables.

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June 5, 2006