Premade

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Premades are much more strategic than ordinary groups.

A premade is a group of players in a battleground team, that has been assembled for the express purpose of effective play in the battleground. While regular battlegrounds randomly select players from numerous realms, premades join battlegrounds as a group. This function can be used to simply allow friends to enjoy playing together, or to arrange for a devastating tour de force from a highly organised and well-equipped team. Premades are typically composed of players with top-end PvP gear, and are capable of overwhelming regular random teams with their communication and pre-arranged tactics.

While technically the term could be used to refer to any group of players that joins a battleground together, in practice it tends to imply a high degree of preparation, organization, gearing and skill. Premades may be groups assembled in order to play rated battlegrounds, or for the purpose of farming honor or achievements (eg [250000 Honorable Kills]) in regular battlegrounds. Premades may comprise a full complement of players for the battleground, or a partial team, with the remainder comprising players randomly selected by the queuing process. Since participation in rated battlegrounds requires both sides to assemble teams in order to queue (both sides are always therefore technically premade teams, and almost always feature a similar level of coordination and teamwork) the term is mostly used to refer to these groups in regular battlegrounds, or other areas of play.

Since most battleground teams are composed of random players picked from various servers, premades have a substantial advantage. Players may only realise they are playing against a premade after finding themselves up against a vastly superior team, that swiftly and smoothly counters their every move with coordinated attacks and manoeuvres. The response of many players when discovering they are playing a premade is to suggest that the team throw the match; preferring to intentionally lose the game, in the belief that there is no chance of success against a premade team. When the random and disorganised state of regular battleground teams is taken into account, premades can be considered to represent a substantially unfair advantage.

While some may content themselves with a string of easy victories, many premades are made with the express intention of honor farming. In this type of play, the premade gathers at the other team's graveyard, repeatedly killing their players as soon as they resurrect. This can be a very effective way of accumulating honor and honorable kills, but can be frustrating and tedious for the other team. This play may continue for the duration of the battleground, with the dominant team choosing to delay an easily achievable victory until shortly before the timer expires.

Premades are most commonly and easily assembled from players of a single realm, often comprising members of the same guild. Players can often spot a premade by checking in the roster for a large number of players from the same realm, although bear in mind that just because players are from the same realm does not mean they have joined as a group. Encountering multiple players belonging to the same guild is also often a giveaway.

However, premades are not limited to single-realm groups. With 4.3.2, players were enabled to use Real ID grouping to join battlegrounds in large raid groups. This has led to the creation of a number of player-matching websites, performing the function of arranging cross-realm premades. This can be argued to have increased the prevalence of premades, especially for large battlegrounds like Alterac Valley. These premades often focus on honor farming or earning achievements such as [250000 Honorable Kills], using tactics such as graveyard farming to trap and exploit the hapless players of the opposing team.

The sizeable advantage of premades has been the subject of numerous threads on the official forums, often concerning being trapped in graveyard honor farming. Some players express dissatisfaction that premades are allowed to queue for matches against random pick up groups (PUGs), considering play against other PUGs to be much fairer and more enjoyable.

Advantages

Premade groups often come with the advantage of routine, and everyone knowing where to go and what to do. Sometimes the premade groups will be from PvP guilds and often come with their own online chat server (eg Ventrilo) for faster communication and response. Unfortunately, this heavily takes the fairness out of playing the battlegrounds for the other team since they're most likely regular random players whose communication is limited to the chat box.

As well as being in constant verbal communication, premades may also pre-arrange tactics and manoeuvres before the game. Certain players may be dedicated flag-carriers or stealth-cappers, while others may split into small groups of ideal composition with specific objectives in mind. Such orchestrated play is in itself an aim of battleground participants, but premades have a sizeable advantage in this respect, achieving levels of coordination otherwise unseen in non-rated battlegrounds.

Dealing with premades

If you are unlucky enough to find yourself playing in a random team against a premade and your group knows it, you'll most likely feel like you are playing as the sacrificial lambs. Players often do not realise they are playing against a premade until they suddenly find the opposite team in possession of all bases, rapidly capping flag after flag or having managed to trap the entire team at the graveyard.

Ultimately, there is little that can be done to directly combat the unfortunate disadvantage of playing on a random team against a coordinated and well-geared premade. Every battleground represents a different balance of players, some resulting in unmitigated disaster and others in ego-boosting victory. Premades simply represent one example of this range of possibilities, albeit one that is extremely difficult to succeed against.

Alerting your team to the fact that you are playing against a premade can at least help people to understand why they are being so easily defeated, and to not blame themselves or others for the failure of the team. However, be aware that some may respond to this news with frustration, anger or by tirelessly compelling the team to lose on purpose.

Dealing with graveyard honor farming is a slightly different story. Ultimately, if you're enjoying trying to break free of the grip of the other team, by all means play on. If however you're tiring of being farmed unendingly, the best approach is simply to choose not to resurrect. Decline the resurrection invitation and move away from the graveyard. Politely encourage your teammates to do the same, if they wish to end the cycle of farming. Failing that, simply go and do something else for a few minutes. Read a book, or make a drink. All battlegrounds are time limited, and by moving away from the graveyard you are depriving them of your share of the honor. Before long the farming session will be over, and you can return to play.

In the end, dealing with premades is the same as dealing with any other team - do your best, communicate with your team, and remember: it's just a game! Do your best to enjoy the game even if your side is losing, and remember that it won't be long until the game is over, and you can queue for another battleground, which is unlikely to also be played against a premade.

Selected patch changes

  • Cataclysm Patch 4.3.2 (2012-01-31): You can now form same-faction raids with Real ID friends, allowing you to enter Raid Finder in groups larger than 5, run older normal or heroic raids, or participate in Battlegrounds.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.3.0 (2011-11-29): Real ID parties that comprise players from different realms can now queue for battlegrounds together.
  • The Burning Crusade Patch 2.4.0 (2008-03-25): Battleground matchmaking for premades has been tightened, so it is more likely that a premade will meet a group with similar gear. This can result in longer queue times for premades.