Deepwind Gorge is a bit of an oddity among Battlegrounds. It combines the payload escort of Silvershard Mines, the flag running of Twin Peaks, and the capture nodes in Battle for Gilneas. Yet with so many ingredients, it still manages to create a unique identity to call its own. Loved (and hated!) by veteran PvPers, Deepwind Gorge provides plenty of tight moments worthy of holding your breath. And, as the last brawl took the very first Battleground for a spin, it seems only appropriate that this week it should do the same to the last. Bringing in a sports inspired theme, Deepwind Dunk is a very different animal from its parent map.
The changes to mechanics are perhaps the most dramatic of any brawl thus far. There is no mine cart to be stolen, and the three mines along the center longitude are no longer able to be captured. Instead, the three mines hold host to a single pillar each. Atop these pillars is a strangely familiar object known in Azeroth only as a Dunkball. Once taken, your objective is to bring it to the opposing side’s base and…well, dunk it!
As with every brawl so far, Deepwind Dunk prioritizes aggressive strategies over defensive ones. Sure, you can protect your base, but if the enemy makes it that far, you probably won’t be able to stop them in time. And even if you do, it’s not as helpful as you might think, as each Dunkball carries no permanent faction ownership (similar to the flag in Eye of the Storm), and cannot be easily returned to its spawn point. Thus your best move is to continually escort the ball carriers to the enemy base and be ready to play the front linesman when the enemy inevitably moves to intercept.
From my perspective I have noticed that this brawl, even more so than the others, tends to be extremely one sided. The weaker team tends to get shoved back into their base and becomes unable to leave it, while the other side makes the runs effortlessly. Recovery is possible, but it becomes very difficult at this point. Some potential balances would seriously improve this mode. Perhaps changes could be pulled from another game that perfected this mode well over 14 years ago.
Though new to World of Warcraft, Dunkball hearkens back to a genuine classic. Unreal Tournament 2003 (and later 2004) carried their version of Dunkball, known as Bombing Run. The objective remained the same: Carry the bomb (ball) to the enemy base and either shoot it or run it through the goal. Unlike Azeroth’s version, there was only one ball and the carrier could not defend himself, thus requiring his team to clear a path. It was one of the hardest game types, and coupled with the lightning pace of UT, you didn’t dare blink until it was over.
Dunkball is a little more forgiving than that, but you must still act quickly if you plan on slamming home some points for your team! Below is a list of tips and tricks that will have you dunking like a pro in no time:
As with all brawls now, entering each one for the first time will automatically start a quest to win it. The rewards are fairly considerable for the effort, including 1000 Honor Points, an RBG level Artifact Power token, and a guaranteed Gladiator level armor piece.
The score limit is the same as the normal map: 1500 points.
Dunkballs can be scored in two ways, both of which require you to press an extra action button when it pops up. Getting within 60 yards of the capture point will allow you to throw it in, but requires a rather lengthy cast bar to do so. Alternatively, approach the goal directly, and when close enough to touch it, you can leap into the goal and slam it home. Throwing a ball in is worth 100 points, while dunking it is worth 150.
60 yards translates to just outside the fence around the base. Throwing it is safer if the enemy is swarming their base and you can’t get close enough. In reality however, if you made it this far you can probably go the distance more quickly than the time it takes to throw it.
The center mine in Deepwind has traditionally been the spot where the heaviest fighting takes place. Controlling the center is not quite as important, but it still provides the shortest route to the enemy base, and thus is the fastest way to rack up points. Expect the opening charge to still focus on the center, but subsequent fights will follow the balls.
As with Warsong Scramble, don’t attempt to stop every enemy capture; instead, focus on scoring more points for your team and making their captures irrelevant.
Remember that there’s no easy way to return a Dunkball. Killing a carrier will drop it at that spot, requiring you to carry it the entire distance to the enemy base.
The only way a Dunkball will return to its spawn is if no one picks it up after it has been dropped. Due to the size of these balls, finding it in the midst of a heavy fight is quite a bit more difficult.
Unlike the mine cart, Dunkballs do not hinder your movement in any way. You cannot mount, but every other speed increase is fair game. Classes with enhanced movement naturally make for better carriers.
As with the previous brawl, your goal should only be to make it to the objective. Surviving afterward is nice, but not required.
Demon Hunters have a unique advantage here. In addition to their already stellar mobility, they also have the ability to jump over the fence surrounding the enemy base and goal, making a dunk trivial.
Likewise, Fury Warriors also have an ace in the hole when running the Barbarian Honor Talent (three leaps). These will enable this class to spring free of clustered enemies and cover a tremendous amount of ground.
When pinned down on defense, your best bet is to redirect where the fight is rather than stay and duke it out. Run or sneak past the enemy offense and go for the Dunkball spawn points. At the very least, you can harass the other team, possibly enough that they need to peel their offense away to deal with you!
Similarly, go for the least trafficked Dunkball of your particular match. With a little luck, you can still score some points for your team.
Have a story of your own to share? Let us know of your dunking adventures in the comments section!