Alright, newbies, it's time for today's Battlegrounds primer -- Alterac Valley. This huge, 40-player-per-side Battleground was an ambitious project by Blizzard intended to give players a sense of epic battles. In it's original iteration, Alterac Valley had more NPCs roaming the battlefield, including a massive troll in the Field of Strife who has since packed his bags "for greener pastures". Those greener pastures turned out to be Zul'drak in Northrend, as Korrak the Bloodrager shows up in the Ampitheater of Anguish as the penultimate boss. It's a sweet nod to old school players, and his yells never fail to tickle my old, nostalgic bones.
The old Alterac Valley didn't have the resource mechanic, which I'll explain shortly. Instead, the only way to end it was to kill the enemy General, which sometimes took quite a while. Back in the day, it wasn't uncommon to have Alterac Valley, or AV, games that lasted for hours and hours or even more than a day. There were numerous quests which included turning in race-specific enemy player drops which could be turned in for reputation with a particular Horde or Alliance faction.
It was also one of the game's highlights to summon elemental lords into the battle -- an Ice Elemental named Rokholar for the Horde and a Forest Elemental named Ivus for the Alliance. Those elementals can still be summoned in the current version of Alterac Valley, but rarely make an appearance in today's fast and furious environment. The game has changed quite a lot since its inception, so we'll go through the AV basics right after the jump but make sure to read the Battlegrounds primer along with beginners' looks at Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin.