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The decaying remains of this island stronghold tell a story of blood and flames. Built by the first nation of men, the citadel of Tol Barad was once a strategic staging area for Alliance forces in the Second War. The Horde viewed Tol Barad as an obstacle in their path to the Eastern Kingdoms and mounted an assault on the island. Unprepared for such aggression, the Alliance were expelled from Tol Barad and the citadel was razed, a charred symbol of the Horde’s brutal victory. What remained of the blackened, derelict battlements was left to languish until the wizards of Kul Tiras claimed the isle for a new purpose. Towering walls were again stacked high from the war-scarred stones, but in their cleverness, the arcanists turned the citadel’s defenses inward, designing a mystical prison to hold the most powerful criminals.
Today, the struggle for control of the island and its grim penitentiary continues. Now that the Horde and the Alliance once again have a foothold in Tol Barad, whose blood shall be spilled into Baradin Bay?
Unlike traditional Battlegrounds, Tol Barad is an active ‘outdoor’ (non-instanced) zone reachable through a portal in the capital cities (Horde: Orgrimmar | Alliance: Stormwind). Traversing the hazards of Tol Barad’s unforgiving landscape is merely the first challenge; maintaining control of the prison and keeps will require your faction’s steel, spells, and continued vigilance! Every two and a half hours, a new battle is waged to test the dominance of the controlling force. To retain dominion of Tol Barad, defenders must prevent the enemy from capturing the three keeps during the time limit (fifteen minutes).
Whichever faction controls Tol Barad at the battle’s end gains access to a hub of quests in the center of the zone and entry to the prison blocks of Baradin Hold itself. Take heed: although rumors circulate of secret treasures within the hold, the denizens behind its rusted bars would love nothing more than to make their escape at your peril.
A struggle for Tol Barad ends one of two ways:
Offense Victory – The attackers gain control of the keeps.
Defense Victory - The defenders prevent the attackers from claiming control of the keeps.
If charged with the task of defending Tol Barad, your team will begin in the middle of the map and have possession over the three keeps: Ironclad Garrison (north), Slagworks (southeast), and Warden’s Vigil (southwest). If the defenders retain control of at least one of the three keeps when time expires, they will be victorious.
Attackers, on the other hand, will not be content until they have wrested all three of these keeps from their enemies. Beginning at the bridge, the offense will need to divide their forces strategically to ensure that they are able to occupy these areas, assert their control swiftly, and possess all three keeps when the clock expires.
The control of these keeps (visible as a progress bar on your screen) will fluctuate proportionally to the number of your faction’s forces fighting in the area: whichever side has the most players gains an advantage in the struggle. Beware, numbers alone cannot ensure victory. For every defending player killed within the vicinity of a keep, control will transfer markedly in favor of the attackers.
There are three towers located along the perimeter of Tol Barad in the western, eastern, and southern plains. These pinnacles serve as optional points of strategic value that, if destroyed, will extend the duration of the battle for Tol Barad. Attackers can buy themselves additional time by assaulting one or all of the towers. Endangered towers can be a dangerous distraction for the defensive forces; if a tower falls, it grants the attackers an additional five minutes to assault Tol Barad (potentially doubling the original time allotment to thirty minutes if all three fall). Defensive players will have to prioritize the safety of the keeps versus the merit of limiting the game clock.
And, although these towers are cracked and battleworn, they are still too massive for a player to bring down unaided. As luck would have it, the previous conflicts in Tol Barad have created a supply of abandoned war machines ripe for the taking. At the beginning of a Tol Barad battle, six abandoned Siege Engines will spawn for attackers to use. A set of two Siege Engines will appear near the Cursed Depths, The Hole, and D-Block (respectively). In order to drive a Siege Engine, you will first need to prove your battle prowess by achieving at least one honorable kill. Also, be on alert while driving the vehicle. You will not have any offensive capabilities, so you may want a convoy of allies to protect the Siege Engine if the defending team gets wise to your plan. When the vehicle reaches a tower, use its ‘Deploy Siege Mode’ ability to bombard the structure. You’ll be harmlessly ejected out of the driver’s seat as the Siege Engine begins to fire its cannons. After the tower is destroyed, the game clock increases by five minutes and you or your allies may take control of the vehicle again.
Rather than needing to run to your corpse in order to resurrect, you’ll be periodically returned to life after a short countdown. Defenders will be resurrected atop Baradin Hold in the middle of the map and attackers will return to life in the vicinity of a nearby landmark.