Arathi Basin strategy
- 1 Basic Strategy
- 2 Pre-Start Activities
- 3 Assaulting, Capturing, and Defending Nodes
- 4 Tactics for Assaulting
- 5 Tactics for Defending
- 6 Battle Strategies
- 7 Accumulating Resources
- 8 Other Strategic Elements
- 8.1 Start with a strategy
- 8.2 Be Vocal
- 8.3 Graveyards Are Your Friends
- 8.4 The Blacksmith - Vital Node?
- 8.5 Go Where Your Enemy Isn't
- 8.6 Stay for the minute
- 8.7 Attack in groups
- 8.8 Stable/Farm Disease
- 8.9 Rat Rage & The Farm
- 8.10 The Two Crossroads
- 8.11 Featherweights
- 8.12 Non-Projectile Spells
- 8.13 Lookout Mill
- 8.14 Water Walk to Blacksmith
- 8.15 See also
- The only criterion to win is to accumulate 1600 resources before the other side does. Kills do not count in any way towards victory, except of course in slowing your enemy's capture of nodes.
- The main strategic considerations arguably are speed and coordination. It is vital that you get to nodes quickly at the beginning, and that you work as a team to defend your captured nodes and when attacking contested/enemy nodes.
- Some argue that you should stay with your group in Arathi Basin. However, this is seldom practical as you will rarely know what graveyard you will respawn to after you inevitably die. Every time you spawn, a quick decision must be made as to where you are needed at the moment, and wasting precious time trying to put your group back together is rarely feasible. Experience will tell you where to go.
- Remember that the winning team gets extra bonus honor (not to mention a larger reputation boost than the losers), so your goal should be capturing and defending nodes, not hunting for Honor Kills.
- Your battle map is vital! Keep your map overlay open at all times (press Shift + M to open your overlay). Generally, if you go where the fewest 'dots' are on your battlemap, you will have a good chance of helping your team win. Quiet areas of the map always need attention either defensively or offensively. All friendly nodes must be guarded at all times, and all enemy nodes should be constantly checked for security lapses.
Once you enter Arathi Basin through the swirling red instance portal, the Battleground will begin its countdown. Alliance players will appear in the League's camp at Trollbane Hall, located in the northwest of the Basin. Horde players will appear in the southeast of the map in the Defiler's Den.
During the two minutes or so prior to the start of the game, you should take care of the following things:
- Begin the communication and strategy creation process. Now is the time to talk to your teammates and decide what kind of game you want to play. Once the fighting starts, trying to figure out if you'll do a zerg, 5-5-5, or "take three and hold" doesn't tend to work very well. This is not to say that you should enter the battleground and begin shouting orders at everyone, but a few suggestions combined with civil discussion can make a world of difference in your team's success.
- Summon pets, make mage tables, create healthstones, prepare items, and buff yourself. Movement speed buffs are especially useful right out of the gate.
- Buff everyone else with your longer-duration buffs. Save the short-term buffs for battle situations.
- Get on your mount if you have one. Arathi Basin is one of only three battlegrounds which allow you to mount up before the match starts (the others being Eye of the Storm and Battle for Gilneas); make good use of it.
Assaulting, Capturing, and Defending Nodes
The status of nodes in Arathi Basin is indicated by a flag, which can be in one of five states (from your point of view):
- Neutral (all flags start in this state)
- Friendly-Contested (under assault by your side, but not yet captured and not producing resources)
- Enemy-Contested (under assault by the enemy, but not yet captured and not producing resources)
- Captured (owned by your side, and producing resources for you)
- Lost (owned by the enemy, and producing resources for them)
Neutral flags are white and Contested flags have a grey symbol of the assaulting faction on them. Captured/Lost flags are either red (Horde) or blue (Alliance).
The process of taking a Neutral or Lost flag is called "assaulting" the flag. Assaulting a flag is a simple matter:
- Approach the flag and click on it (the cursor will change to the "use" or gear icon)
- Remain at the flag "channeling" the capture for 8 seconds
- Flag will change to Friendly-Contested (white with your faction's emblem)
- After 1 minute without a successful defense (see below), the flag will change to Captured (blue or red with your faction's emblem)
If a Captured flag is successfully assaulted (the enemy survives the 8-second "channeling"), the flag will change to Enemy-Contested, and one of two things can happen:
- The flag can remain untouched for 1 minute, after which it will change to Lost. You must perform a full capture (8-second assault + 1-minute wait) to get the flag back.
- One of your team can assault the flag (going through the 8-second "channeling"), after which the flag will immediately change back to Captured (no 1-minute wait). This is called "defending" the flag.
- Assaulting: Neutral/Lost -> (8-second assault) -> Friendly-Contested -> (1-minute wait) -> Captured
- Defending: Captured -> (8-second enemy assault) -> Enemy-Contested -> (8-second friendly assault within 1 minute) -> Captured
Tactics for Assaulting
Since the 8-second assault can be interrupted by damage, you either need to destroy all defending enemies or, at least, keep them off the assaulting player for 8 seconds. In general, assaulting a flag is a balance between the need to keep all enemies off the assaulting player and the need for a quick capture to cut off reinforcements from the graveyard. Here are some strategies for assaulting a flag:
- Zerging - One of the three main battle strategies (see below), zerging is all about assaulting, and there is not much nuance to it. Shock-and-awe your foes into submission and have whomever assault the flag. If every second counts, you may wish to send the speediest of the group ahead to start the flag assault while the rest of the mob lays waste.
- Ninja - Send an invisible/stealthed player in to assault a lightly-defended flag. Useful when the other team is zerging and leaves few defenders.
- Shielded Assault - Send a shielded player (Priest, etc.) to assault the flag while the rest of the group keeps the enemy at bay.
- Pull and Cap - This tactic is similar to ninja-ing. First, a stealth class approaches the node, scouts and waits. Then a non-stealthed player (preferably a warrior or other high-def class) approaches, drawing the attention of the defenders and trying to pull them a short distance from the flag. While they are busy with the second player, the first unstealths and caps.
- Crowd Control - Use a crowd control ability or spell against a single defender which lasts longer than 8 seconds and capture the node while they look on helpless. Examples are Sap, Entangling Roots, Freezing Trap, Fear or Mage's Polymorph. Note that this will no longer work as well as it used to, as all PvP crowd control has been limited to a maximum duration of 10 seconds. However, a speedy player might be able to still finish performing a capture if the opponent cannot make a counter-attack soon enough after the crowd control effect wears off.
Tactics for Defending
Defending a Captured node that is under assault boils down to "damage the assaulting player". Here are some strategies and tips on this tactic:
- If the assault is interrupted, a Captured flag will remain your color and producing resources at full speed.
- Fight at your flag, and make enemies come to you. Don't give in to enemies who are trying to draw you away from the flag: they may be clearing the way for a stealthed assaulter.
- If you need more defenders at your location, use the /bg command to communicate with your team. Don't forget to let them know how many more defenders are required (you can tell by the number of dots on map nearby you). You should never be the only defender unless the strategy requires it.
- , and other abilities that let you project your vision can allow you to watch for enemies from a safe location (such as inside the mine).
- Low level AOE spells and magma totems can help to uncover stealthed attackers without using much mana.
- and DoT damage will not interrupt capture. Only instant damage spells (such as or the initial damage from ) will interrupt the capture.
- Don't hesitate to return to your corpse if the resurrection timer is too long, especially if it looks like the resource node is being overwhelmed. Although you will resurrect with about half health and half mana, you may be able to interrupt anyone trying to capture the node and possibly stall long enough for more help to arrive or for the rest of your team to resurrect.
- You must follow up by killing or driving off the attacker, so call for assistance if needed as soon as you notice an attack on your flag.
- This is especially important if you are alone at the flag and 3 or 4 of the opposing force are coming for the flag. You can stop the initial capture by damaging all of them but you will soon die and they will get the node.
- can be used to stop the enemy from capping the flag while you are nearby.
- When you kill an opponent, take their insignia. This will force them to resurrect at the graveyard. It prevents any resurrection, including priest, paladin, and druid spells, warlock soulstones and shaman self-resurrections. You will also loot a small amount of copper or silver.
Race/Class/Profession Specific Defense Tactics:
- Rogues frequently near the flag and then would be capturers, or them to disable them for a short time.
- Night Elves can a distance away from the flag and use a ranged attack to interrupt assaulters.
- Hunters can lay freezing traps at the base of the flag to stop assaulters (works well against stealth).
- Warlocks should find an appropriate location to drop a teleport pad that is out of site from as many angles of approach as possible, then lie in wait for an opponent to attempt to cap. Also, even if the Voidwalker isn't the preferable minion when it comes to PvP, it has the Sacrifice ability which is extremely useful to lay on if the situation is critical (for example, you are left alone against more than 3 enemies), especially when conquering a node during an attack. The amount of damage the sacrifice-shield can take is huge.
- Mages will die a lot, no matter the spec. Obvious defense tactics are to the one on the flag. Others depend upon the Talent spec. A well timed low-Rank Frostbolt can slow down even the faster duelers. the 41-point Arcane talent 'Slow' can do so even better, and is an instant cast. As a Frost-spec, a well-placed (or Water Elemental Freeze) can root a group of enemies and provide for a nice critical hit from a Cone of Cold. All of these are delay tactics though. You won't hold a flag alone, so don't try. Delay them until reinforcements arrive.
- Priests have a low survivability rate as well when faced with multiple opponents or with long ranged attacks. When defending certain locations (the Stables, Lumbermill, and Blacksmith) it can be possible to cast on an opponent and lead them either off a cliff or into the water. is an instant cast spell that can get an attacker off of the flag if you are unprepared to cast a damage spell. Priests at the lumber mill who find themselves not the focus of attention for a moment can always an enemy near the cliff and walk them off the edge. You don't get any honor for a kill that way, but one less attacker is always good news - and imagining what the player is thinking as his character is forcefully walked off a cliff is truly sweet.
- Paladins can consecrate the ground around the flag as a stall method if you're alone, and do it constantly, and since paladins are the hardest class to kill it will buy you time to get reinforcements. Also if they are zerging and you are the only defender, a favorite trick of mine (at LM) is to bubble and jump off the cliff, then as some follow you,you get to laugh and greet their dead bodies when they hit the ground.
- Shamans can drop a near a flag to pull hidden enemies out of . Blasting a every once in a while will increase your stealth-breaking radius by 2 yards. And anything to slow down an assault: Earthbind Totems, , etc. can turn the tide of a faltering defense - it can buy some time for your teammates to arrive, or at least hope they rez at the closest graveyard.
The information in this section will be old news to seasoned battleground guild members who, with training, experience, and often Ventrilo or similar voice comm software, will have mastered similar strategies and can use them to crush any pick-up game (PUG) team. However, if you are a PUG player and you can convince your teammates to use these strategies, you might just have a fighting chance.
Zerging - the practice of descending upon the enemy en masse to overwhelm them through sheer numbers - is the most basic of Arathi Basin strategies. It is unsubtle, lacks flair or finesse, and requires almost no skill to perform. Perfect for PUGs!
To zerg, you simply gather your entire team and move from node to node, utterly destroying anything in your path. Unless the enemy is also zerging, you are almost guaranteed to capture any node your amorphous blob of players comes across. At the same time, however, the nodes you leave behind are unprotected and can be ninja'd easily.
To be fair, a reasonably well-directed zerg could be successful against another PUG team, if they are not schooled in anti-Zerg strategy. The sight of 15 frothing enemies barreling down on your position is enough to send the weak of stomach into fits of "/bg AGH!!!11 INC MY POssitION!!! HLP! HEEEELP!" If your zerg can keep the other team in disarray through sheer fear, you may have three nodes against their two nodes just long enough to earn the win.
(Note: the author of this section hasn't researched much zerg strategy; zerg experts please add your thoughts.)
Added Info: Zerging is ineffective if the group move on from a captured node without retaining any defense. A good idea is to make the person who capped the node remain behind and alert the rest of the raid of incoming enemies. Thus the "zerg" effectively becomes a large mobile defense force.
This being said, zerging against even remotely experienced played can be highly detrimental – as the zerg can easily circumnavigate the map, capturing everything in its path, only to have said nodes taken back the moment they leave.
Five-Five-Five (4-node option)
The "5-5-5" refers to the arrangement of the raid group into three groups of five players. This grouping is very common in Arathi Basin, as it makes good use of the five-player limit on groups, and provides for flexible positioning of fairly powerful groups of players.
The "4-node option" works basically as follows:
- Group 1 runs straight to the Gold Mine, captures and defends it.
- Group 2 runs straight to the Lumber Mill, captures and defends it.
- Group 3 runs straight to the Blacksmith, captures and defends it. One person on Group 3 takes the Farm/Stables on the way.
As mentioned before, SPEED and COORDINATION are keys here, as is STAYING IN YOUR ASSIGNED PLACE. For PUGs this is difficult because not everyone will have read this (or any other) basic strategy guide, and will want to go off hunting Honor Kills. Defending a captured flag can be boring, but remember that the winning team gets bonus honor, plus extra reputation that the losers don't get. Try to impress upon your group mates that staying put and keeping three (or four) nodes is more important than "Pwn1ng" someone on the other side.
Keep your chat on /party most of the time, to coordinate with your group. Use /bg to communicate to the other groups from time to time about your status, or to call for backup in case of an enemy zerg or mini-zerg. It is important have a strong PUG raid leader to help keep the troops in line.
Five-Five-Five (3-node option)
The "3-node option" works almost the same as the 4-node option, except that it concentrates on three nodes instead of four. The strategy works like this:
- Group 1 runs straight to the Gold Mine or Lumber Mill, captures and defends it.
- Group 2 runs straight to the Blacksmith, captures and defends it.
- Group 3 runs straight to the Farm/Stables, captures and defends it.
This strategy treats the Farm/Stables nodes with a bit more respect, as nobody likes to find that the enemy has back-doored him. It also keeps your forces in somewhat closer proximity, which enhances flexibility since forces can be repositioned more quickly. However, the strategy only sets out to gain a 3/2 advantage, which can result in a long slog through a battle that is nearly tied much of the time. Since the rate of resource accumulation increases non-linearly as you gain nodes (see below), the 4-node option of the 5-5-5 strategy has benefits beyond "just one more node".
A possible blend of the two options could be successful. Start with the 4-node assault, hold it as long as you can to rack up resources at a 4/1 advantage, then fall back to a 3-node defense. As the enemy assaults your three nodes, the time you spend at a 2/3 disadvantage will be offset by the extra resources you gained during that initial 4/1 advantage.
Seven/Seven And The Fat Kid
This strategy is similar to the 3-node option in that it only gains three nodes initially, and it is also similar to the 4-node option in that it doesn't defend the Farm/Stables. Using this strategy, players blend in a mini-zerg element that makes it interesting.
The basic strategy:
- Group 1 (seven players) heads to the Blacksmith
- Group 2 (seven players) heads to the Gold Mine or Lumber Mill
- The Fat Kid takes the Farm/Stables
Obviously, each group will not fit into a "party" within a raid group, so either there needs to be two raid groups set up, or a combination of parties within a raid group to make up each group of seven. The Fat Kid can be put into whatever group wants him.
The author has never participated in nor seen this strategy in action, so cannot comment much on its effectiveness. However, the benefit to the 7/7 strategy is that each group is a mini-zerg with respect to enemies using one of the 5-5-5 strategies. Your seven-player groups should be able to defeat any five-player enemy groups, and comfortably hold any node against anything short of a zerg.
The Fat Kid, after taking the Farm/Stables could be used as a lookout to direct the mini-zergs against the enemy, or he could join one of the groups.
"This is a great strategy. I have worked it into my premade raids with a twist. The raid needs to be set up into 5 raid groups. Here's the perspective from the Horde side. Group one is full, group 2 is full. group three will be 2 members, as well as group four. Group five is the fat kid defending the farm. Groups one and three go to Lumber Mill at the start, groups two and four go to Blacksmith. Groups three and four are designated for flag protection. So after Lumber Mill and Blacksmith are taken, groups one and two go to Stables as 10 members, probably outnumbering the Alliance again. The fat kid should be a warrior if you have one in your group. Reason being is since he/she is alone they can kill rats for rage. This pinches the Alliance into two places, the Mine and the starting Den. Best of luck."
Six-Six and the Floating Three
This is a variant on the Seven/Seven and Fat Kid strategy. This author has definitely seen it work extremely well against "3-Zone" (or 5-5-5). Groups are broken down into a 2x6+3 formation: two groups of six zerg the nodes that are being held by the 5-man teams, and hold them. The +3 group floats around, stealth capping the weaker nodes.
This technique relies on having even more speed and coordination than the 5-5-5 does, since it is even more fluid as there are two six-man groups need to float between three nodes.
Five-Five-Five (Floating nodes option)
Similar to Five-Five-Five, but with more fluidity:
- Group 1 takes and holds Farm/Stables, and provides backup to the Blacksmith.
- Group 2 takes and holds the Lumber Mill, and provides backup to the Blacksmith.
- Group 3 takes and holds the Mines, and then sends a harassment/stealth subgroup out to the Stables/Farm.
This technique requires some of the most precision and communication as all of them, since the two rearguard groups are constantly in motion. In this strategy, it is less necessary to hold the Blacksmith since the floating groups are sufficient to keep the enemy trapped in the Blacksmith if necessary.
The advantage of this technique is that on weaker and less coordinated enemies, it can be much faster as it affords a 5 node win.
Each group of three should contain a high armor class, a healer and a DPS class. The group of six contains any class.
The first group of three moves to the Farm/Stables, caps and defends, where they remain for the rest of the game.
Groups 2, 3 and 4 go together to capture the Blacksmith. After capture group 2 remains to defend.
Groups 3 and 4 to together to capture the Lumber Mill. After capture group 3 remains to defend.
Group 4 (with six players) becomes a roaming defense group, assisting any nodes that need defense.
The strategy has the advantage of starting out as a Zerg which becomes smaller as more nodes are captured. The roaming six-man defense has quick access to the three controlled nodes by ignoring the mine. The three man defense teams are well suited to taking on unorganized groups even if they are outnumbered.
Take Three and Hold
A common misconception is that the "Take Three and Hold" strategy is a sure win. In fact, it is almost certainly a losing strategy. Holding three flags will not work well unless the opposing team is exceptionally uncoordinated. If your team is doing a "Five Five Five" (see above), you are susceptible to any of the other attack methods. The only three bases that lend themselves to this strategy are the farm, black smith, and lumber mill. Looking at the map will show that the road nexus between these three points make it very easy to move troops between them. This makes it very important for the alliance side to keep the horde from getting the blacksmith and makes it equally important for the horde side to get the farm and black smith as quickly as possible.
Take for example, you have five troops defending each of your three flag points, and you do no further assaults. The opposing team will have fifteen troops, needs no defense (as you are not assaulting), so all fifteen troops are available for offense. They can do two seven-man assaults and will hold four nodes, or they could do one zerg, and will sweep the board, taking each of your points one after another. If your teams only strategy is "take three and hold", you have no defensive strategy.
There is a way around this issue however. Using a 4,4,4,3 strategy, using three to distract the opponent by assaulting their stables/farm, you can easily gain a significant lead by holding the three (LM, GM, ST for alliance; LM, GM, Fm for horde). I find it the most effective way to win as long as the troops listen. The only issue with the above tactics is that the blacksmith is involved in most of them. It is actually a very vulnerable target, with access by water from all sides. Whilst it can give a significant offensive advantage, it is not worth battling over several times, when you could be providing more forces for other tasks. A major must-have for this strategy for alliance is the gold mine. It allows access to your stables easily, and if this falls then the strategy is routed.
Please, encourage your PUG teams to read this guide, and become familiar with a variety of the above strategies.
Five Four Five and The Ninja
This strategy is based on surprising the enemy to give you the "Grind-at-Spawn"-mode on. You make 4 different groups for assaulting one base each.
Group 1: 4 dps, 1 healer. Caps Lumber Mill, leaves 2 dps behind (preferably a rogue) and attacks stables/farm.
Group 2: 3 dps, 1 healer. Caps Blacksmith, leaves 1 healer and 1 dps behind and attacks stables/farm.
Group 3: 4 dps, 1 healer. Caps Gold Mine, leaves 2 dps behind and attacks stables/farm.
Group 4: 1 Rogue, caps Farm/Stables and stealths protecting it.
It's all about making the surprise attack, when all 5 bases are taken just farm them out, don't let them leave their own base.
Resources accumulate at the rates shown in the table below.
So if your team has three nodes, their team has two nodes, and they lead 1400 to 1300, you can still win if no nodes change hands. But if your team is at 1200 you cannot win unless you gain control of four nodes.
Other Strategic Elements
There are a few general strategic considerations for battles in Arathi Basin which can be used to flavor your preferred overall battle strategy.
Start with a strategy
If you join a game where the players have no strategy you can and should suggest one. Having some strategy is better than every man for himself.
Not everyone has read this strategy guide, and some strategy and tactics are difficult to realize without being told. If you tell your raid "We should try to fight at the flags instead of leaving them vulnerable" you might improve your whole raid group's success rate. The same is true of warning your raid of incoming attacks or vulnerable nodes.
Graveyards Are Your Friends
When you capture a node, the nearby graveyard becomes usable by your faction. Since you WILL die during the battle, having a forward graveyard to resurrect at will help immensely with flexibility of your forces. Occasionally, the node will change to contested soon after you die, and you will have to resurrect at the closest secured node.
The Blacksmith - Vital Node?
Sitting right in the middle of the map with two bridges that may function as choke points leading away from it, the Blacksmith is an important node to capture and hold. Having a central graveyard is very useful, as is having a staging point from which you can launch sorties to the Lumber Mill and Gold Mine. In most games, the Blacksmith and its bridges tend to be the sites of the most furious battles.
There are also defensive strategies considering the bridges (when the Blacksmith is capped by your faction). Hunters should be active with laying Frost Traps on the bridges since they will slow down the enemy faction considerably due to the narrow space the enemy faction has to move over. Shamans should lay totems all around on the bridges. If a Warlock is using a Imp, it can lead the Imp to the hills besides the bridge, switch it onto 'Stay' and then setting it on 'aggressive'. This way it will be like a turret at the bridge. This doesn't work as well with the other minions since the Imp is the only long range minion the warlocks have.
Alternately, by allowing the enemy to hold the Blacksmith, it is possible to keep them penned in. One strategy involves giving up the Blacksmith to the initial zerg, capping the outer ring of nodes, then leaving a few defenders and keeping the enemy confined to the Blacksmith.
Go Where Your Enemy Isn't
There is a limited number of people in AB at any one time, so always be aware of where the enemy is. If they zerg, say the blacksmith, with 7 or 8 people, they have only that number split between the other 4 nodes. Instead of wasting your forces fighting a superior force, consider letting them take the node and hitting elsewhere instead. Ideally everywhere else, often resulting in 4/1 flags in your favour.
Stay for the minute
Always stay for the minute until the node shifts to your side. Having a node undefended is a huge blow in a typical AB game. A stealthed character can simply tap the flag after you leave to undo all your hard work as enemies immediately start spawning there. A stealthed rogue can sap a lone defender left behind too, so don't think that just leaving one person is sufficient.
Attack in groups
Running into a defended node alone will surely get you killed. It is much more effective to wait at a crossroad for a small group to form. Attacking as a group will greatly improve your chances of capturing a node. Tell your raid that you want to form a group near your objective and attack at the same time in order to coordinate with other players.
The flag closest to your teams starting area may seem to hold some special significance. It does not! The object of the game is to control more flags than the other team, not any particular one. If this flag is heavily defended by the other team, you are best served going elsewhere. Seeing the stable/farm as friendly territory that must be defended at the expense of all other flags is one of the surest and most common ways to lose AB. If you spawn at the top of the hill while your closest base is heavily guarded you have no choice but to escape to other areas. Try to get some of the enemy guards to chase you. Dying over and over again out of the gate is not helpful.
Rat Rage & The Farm
Warriors tend to make excellent guards at the Farm. Due to the perpetual spawning of rat critters, Warriors guarding the Farm can ensure that their Rage bar is full by whacking vermin while on guard duty.
The Two Crossroads
On the horde side, the crossroads linking Farm, BS, and LM is an important staging area, allowing quick response to three vital nodes. On the alliance side, the crossroad leads to Stables, BS, and the Gold Mine, but a look at the map will show that the alliances' crossroads is farther from their home base (stables) than the horde's is to theirs (farm). In many rounds, this leaves the most intense fighting at the blacksmith, leaving the outer nodes to ninjas and smaller tactical groups.
A quick note to all mages and priests in Arathi Basin. Bring Light Feathers! Seriously, Slow Fall and Levitate is incredibly helpful in this battleground. If you're at the Blacksmith and the Gold Mine's being attacked, you can Slow Fall and jump down to help them, without going all the way round or losing any health. You can also, if you're at the Lumber Mill, cast Slow Fall, then mount up, and take a running jump off the cliff. Time it right and it's possible to end up a couple of meters away from the flag, or, if you don't trust your timing, aim for the ramp which will be on your left. It's a great trick, and can be great fun to use. Know what spells you can cast while moving as you'll be able to while falling and this makes for a very fun bombing run. It also provides a great means of escape from pursuers. For example, if a large group of enemies assaults the lumber mill that you are defending then it might be best to retreat and capture a less defended node. You can laugh with glee as you deny them an extra honorable kill.
Some spells, such as Fire Blast, Arcane Blast, Mind Blast, Scorch, Searing Pain and the Warlock's damage-over-times (like Corruption and Curse of Agony) have no projectile. Also, certain channeled spells (such as Blizzard and Rain of Fire) do not give away their caster's position. That being said, hiding beneath a river and nuking an unsuspecting target is occasionally viable against one or two defenders. Coupled with Unending Breath, a well placed mage or warlock could nuke defenders out of the Blacksmith or AoE a zerg with relative impunity.
The Lumber Mill is perched on a high cliff that overlooks the entire area, and without the aid of someone there or a long range sight ability (such as a Shaman's Far Sight) it can be used as a decent lookout and staging point. This can be especially advantageous to players with high end computers and have their terrain distance graphics setting set to Max, as they can pretty much see the entire playing field and where the enemy is moving. It can be even more advantageous if the side controlling it has the Blacksmith and Farm, as they can perch one or two people up there and at the other nodes and keep the rest of the players at the crossroads, allowing for fast defensive moves. The Horde has the advantage of this ploy as the Farm is right next to their starting point, but the Alliance can easily pull it off as well with coordination, and a willingness to sacrifice the Stables.