Walatiki Temple is the first battleground, or Practice Ground, that you get access to in Wildstar. It becomes available for play at level 6, with the first bracket being levels 6-14, the second 15-29, then 30-49, and finally level 50. Walatiki Temple is a 10 v 10 matchup against the opposing faction. Each match lasts for 30 minutes, or until a team manages to capture 5 masks.
In this guide, I want to teach you the basics of this map and give you an idea of what PvP feels like in Wildstar. I will talk about some of the basics of strategy, but I don’t plan to go into too much detail beyond which methods of capturing the masks are best for which situation, and how things like guarding your masks is important.
I will cover the different parts of the map, how to utilize them, where to find the buffs, different routes to take for capturing the flag, timers for respawning after death, timers for masks to spawn or despawn, and some basic strategies for playing the game.
Win Condition: Capturing Moodie Masks
In some ways Walatiki Temple is similar to battlegrounds you find in other games, such as Warsong Gulch from WoW or (loosely) Huttball from SWTOR. The object of the game is to capture Moodie Masks, and the first team to 5 is declared the winner. Each team starts the game with 1 Mask, and there is a neutral mask that spawns randomly at one of four points in the middle of the map. Teams most often fight over the neutral masks, but you can also steal masks from the opposing team.
In order to pick up, or steal, a mask you have to click on it and interact with the item for a period of time (3 seconds) before you pick it up, and any damage that you take or movement that you make while trying to pick up the mask will interrupt the process and you’ll have to start all over.
I believe the timer to obtain the mask is 3 seconds, but don’t quote me on that. (I’ll try to time it in a game and update this with a confirmed time.) At this point in time, all forms of damage prevent you from picking up a mask, including damage over time effects.
If your mask carrier drops the mask, you have 30 seconds to pick it back up before the mask despawns. If a neutral mask despawns, a new timer starts up for 60 seconds and then a new mask will be unearthed at a random location. If a stolen mask despawns, then it returns to the team that owned it previously.
In order to capture the mask, you must return it to the mask stand located in your team’s base.
While carrying a mask, you will receive a slight movement penalty, and you cannot use any movement or teleportation abilities without dropping the mask. The movement penalty is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20%; I don’t know the exact number as it doesn’t tell you anywhere in-game. You can be the target of spells that other players cast which impact your movement, such as a Warrior’s Grapple ability
or a Medic’s Extricate ability (removed in a recent patch), without dropping the mask. You can also benefit from the speed buffs in the battleground itself. There’s a map further down the article here that shows you where the battleground buffs are located, and what they do.
Basics of the Map
The Walatiki Temple (WT) map consists of 5 different regions: Graveyards, Bases, Caves, Bridges, and Middle (Mid). We’ll talk a little bit about each one of these regions, take a look at where they are on the map, and how to utilize them.
The graveyards, which also happen to be your starting point, are located at the south-east (Dominion) and north-west (Exile) corners of the map, roughly 40 yards counter-clockwise from the entrance of your team’s base. Exiles are based on the north (top) side of the map, and Dominion are located on the south (bottom) side.
The graveyards are raised above the battleground, with no access into the graveyard from outside. Each graveyard has two exits, one that heads towards your own base, and one that heads across the map towards your opponent’s base. Which one you want to use will depend on your situation. When the match is first starting, the left exit, the one nearest your base, gives you the fastest access to the masks, so it’s the one most players tend to use. The exit on the right, nearest to your opponents’ base, is generally used at the start of a game by those people who want to capture the enemy mask right away.
Once the match has begun, which one you use is generally going to depend more on what’s going on in the match. If you need to protect your masks, or if you have a mask carrier that’s close to capping but needs support, you generally want to use the one on the left to provide that support.
Also, the resurrection timer is set to 30 second intervals that follow the clock, so if you die at 25:29 left in the match, you’ve got 29 seconds to wait before you resurrect, but if you die at 25:02 then you only have to wait 2 seconds. If you’re capturing a flag and wondering if it will be safe for you to go to the enemy’s side of the map, that’s how you know.
Your base is where your team keeps their captured masks, and where you capture new masks. Bases are located at the top and bottom of the map, with Exiles at the top and Dominion at the bottom.
Each base has three entrances. You can see two of them on the map above, and you’ll see the third on the map down below. The two forward entrances are located on either side of the U-shaped wall that I’ve drawn on the map above. The one on stage-right from the mask stand is near the teams’ graveyard, and the other is opposite it. The third entrance is the cave, which I’ll discus below, which is located stage-left of each base. [For those of you unfamiliar with stage directions, stage-x means if you're standing in a base with your back to the mask stand, your character's perceived left and right are stage-left and stage-right respectively, regardless of which direction is left or right when looking just at the map itself.]
Some people talk about directions in terms of the map itself, which ignores character perception, meaning that left=West and right=East, while others like to talk about directions in terms of the team’s perception which means left=West and right=East for Dominion while left=East and right=West for Exile. People can’t be bothered to agree on a specific definition for some reason, so you’ll have to figure out what people mean on your own.
Some people love the caves, and some people hate them. On the one hand, using the caves is the only way to utilize a speed buff from the map without wasting time by dropping down into the middle, which is nice given that you can’t use any speed related abilities. It also keeps you out of the primary fighting areas, which means that it’s a somewhat safer method of going after a flag or returning one that you’ve captured yourself.
In the picture above, you’ll see the two entrances to each of the caves. Each cave has a PvP buff that increases your Assault and Support power, though you have to go a little bit out of your way to get it, so it can be a waste of time if you’re rushing to either capture a flag or steal it. The cave entrance that’s away from the connecting base also has a speed buff located right outside the entrance, which is the only way that a mask carrier can increase their speed without dropping the mask (more on that later).
The main drawback of using the caves is that it takes more time to use them, so if you don’t manage to get that speed boost at the end of it, then you’ve wasted the time as a flag carrier. The benefit of the caves, is that there’s very little reason to use the caves otherwise, so there’s almost never anybody in the caves to fight you. A defender will follow you in there, but otherwise it’s the “safest” route for a mask carrier to take because of the general lack of opponents found inside.
If someone steals your flag and you see that they’re going to use the cave, your job is to use sprint, dodge rolls, movement boosts, and whatever else you can to get your butt to the cave exit and get that speed boost before the mask carrier can. That way you’ve made them waste a significant amount of time to use the cave in the first place, and you’ve removed their ability to make up for some of that lost time by robbing them of the boost. If you’re escorting your own mask carrier through the enemy cave, you likewise need to make sure that you’re not stealing that speed buff from your mask carrier, or you’ve wasted your own team’s time in a similar fashion.
One thing that’s not shown about the caves by looking at the maps is that the caves travel up in elevation, so not only are you spending time by taking a less direct route, you’re also spending that time changing elevation, so it takes longer than it appears if you simply look at the map. If I knew the exact elevation I could get into the math of it all, but just trust me when I tell you that because elevation is involved you’re losing even more time that you would think.
If you want to visualize the effect though, lay your hand flat on the table in front of you with your fingers spread out, then take one of your fingers and bend it so that your palm and the tip of that finger are still touching the table but the middle knuckle is raised. Notice that the more you bend that finger, the higher the middle knuckle is raised (increased elevation) and the shorter the distance between the palm of your hand and the tip of that finger. Take note of where your fingertip is and then straighten out your finger again and notice how much distance you lost by walking over the elevation of the bent finger compared to if you had simply walked straight and avoided that elevation.
If you steal a flag at the same time I respawn at the graveyard, and you decide to take it to the cave, then I can generally beat you to the other cave entrance as shown below. While carrying the flag you don’t have access to sprint, dodge, or any of your movement abilities, while I do. So I can cover significantly more distance in the same period of time so long as I know how to counter your cave-based steal.
I’m not saying that using the caves is bad, I do it myself sometimes, it’s just the least efficient method in terms of time without getting too ridiculous and running all over the map. As I said before, it’s one of the safest method of stealing a flag out there because of it’s drawbacks, you just need to be aware of what the pros and cons are in order to utilize it effectively.
The bridge runs above the middle of the map, and it’s the fastest way to get from one side of the map to the other. Because there are four ways to get on the bridge, and both teams have equal access to it, the bridge is also the most dangerous route to take. The center of the bridge is also the only location for a mask to spawn that’s now down inside the pit/bowl/mid. The center of the bridge is one of the most contested areas because it’s the easiest place for you to split off and go after a mask that’s just been unearthed. One mask can spawn on top of the bridge’s center, another spawns directly below that same point, and then the other two spawn off to either side of it.
If you’re trying to go from one side of the map to the opposite side, the bridge is the fastest method to do so, plain and simple. If you want to get from one side to an adjacent side (east/west to north/south for example), then you’re generally better off just going around mid in terms of time. If there’s fighting going on around mid though, the safer bet might be to go ahead and use the bridges if they’re open. You run the risk of having opponents who’ve recently respawned catch up to you on the bridge, but at least you miss the clusters.
People refer to this as a lot of different things, but the most common I’ve heard is “Mid” because it’s the middle of the map. Other names I’ve heard simi-commonly are Pit and Bowl, because they’re referring specifically the part of mid that’s beneath the bridge, rather than the bridge itself. Three of the four spawn points for Moodie Masks are found in mid, with one in the very center and the other two on the east and west sides of it. The four lines that intersect the circle there show you the paths in and out of the pit.
Mid is generally where you’ll find more people skirmishing than any other point for the majority of your games. Since masks spawn here a lot, there are always people down here looking for masks or looking to kill people who are looking for masks. When skirmishes happen on the bridge, people generally decide to jump down into mid when they’re about to die in hopes of escaping death or committing suicide to prevent someone from getting kill credit, and that leads to people chasing them off the bridge which leads to more people in mid. I’m sure you get the point.
Generally speaking, you’re going to spend time in mid to grab masks or to prevent the other team from doing the same. On one hand, fighting in mid for the sake of fighting in mid doesn’t really help your team as far as objectives go, so fighting in mid is kind of dumb. On the other hand, if you’re distracting the enemy team by making them fight in mid, then you’re also helping the team by tying up their players, which is brilliant. So be aware that wasting time in mid can be bad for your team, but also be aware that there are times where fighting in mid is a perfectly valid tactic. If you’re not good at being the bait though, help your team and focus on objectives.
Walatiki Temple has two types of buffs. The first one increases your speed for a short time (8 seconds), and the other increases your Assault Power and Support Power.
I read an article today that said grabbing either of these buffs will refresh the other if it’s currently active, but I haven’t had a chance to try that out for myself, so I cannot verify. If you can, then stealing via cave is potentially much more viable since there’s a power buff located fairly close to the speed buff. I’ll try to confirm that and let you know. You used to be able to refesh your run speed buff by grabbing the power buff, but that was fixed in a recent patch.
I don’t have hard numbers for how much these buffs give you, unfortunately. I’m pretty sure that the Power buff is percentage based, and I want to say the speed boost is 50%. I’ll have to see if I can find an addon or a macro that can calculate those things for us, or see if maybe I can find a resource online that has those answers.
Typical Steal-Capturing Routes
There are all kinds of different method you can use to capture a mask that you’ve stolen from the enemy team. When you’re grabbing an unearthed mask from mid, you’re basically going to take whichever route is shortest based on your current location so there’s not much reason for me to cover that beyond saying that generally the best/safest route is to go towards your team’s graveyard so that those who respawn after dying can more easily come to your aid rather than going towards their graveyard which makes it easier for their resurrecting players to reach you.
Cave: Slow & Safe
This seems to be the method a lot of people like to use when first getting into Wildstar PvP because it seems sort of sneaky and they think it’s cool. There’s nothing particularly wrong with capturing flags with this method, except that it uses up additional time (see above) and can really slow it down if the speed buff isn’t available. Because combat is usually focused around mid and the bridges, and the enemy team respawns on the opposite side of the map, the cave is usually a pretty safe option for returning with the flag. That’s not always true, but generally it is.
If I’m stealing a flag and I don’t find any defenders at all, that’s usually when I’ll go for the cave. If there are defenders, then I don’t take the cave unless for some reason I feel that I have to because every class has crowd control abilities that can slow you down and this is already the slowest method out there so you’re just asking to fail by taking the cave. There’s just too much time for the opposing team to react, and not enough time for your own team to get there to offer the necessary support without abandoning other parts of the field and potentially giving up an uncontested mask while they’re at it.
Returning a stolen flag via the bridge is one of the riskiest moves you can make beyond running the flag up to the enemy base and then coming in on the side of your own cave. Chances are pretty high that you’re going to be attacked on your way back, but it is hands down the absolute fasted method of capturing
without utilizing things like the Medic’s Extricate ability which essentially teleports teammates to your location (edit: fixed in patch). It’s a risky business, but the speed of the capture can be high rewards.
If things get really hairy you can move left or right instead of crossing direct, or you can even drop down into the pit if absolutely necessary. Most players tend to use the graveyard exit that’s closer to the base, so it’s often “safer” to push forward towards your base where other people can support you, but you have no control over where they go so you can’t count on that.
As with all things PvP, people have control over their own actions and can change on the fly, so you need to be able to react. If you’re looking for the absolute fastest way to capture a stolen flag though, here it is.
Default: Safe’ish & Quick’ish
This method is the one that I most often use myself, which is why I call it the default. It’s not as quick as running it over the bridge and straight down the middle of the field, but it’s as close as you can get without doing that. It’s also a bit safer because you’re going opposite of the enemy graveyard so their respawns have to run across the field to get to you while your respawns have a more direct route. It also gives you the option of moving over to the bridge if there’s a skirmish going on near your graveyard or between you and the base. You can then take the bridge over to the center and then up to your base and decide from there whether you’re going to enter your base on the left or the right.
Other Useful Tips
Beyond that, here are some other things that need to be aware of in Walatiki Temple.
- Only 1 mask can be stolen from each team at a time. If a Dominion mask has been stolen, another Dominion mask cannot be stolen until the first is returned to the Dominion base.
- When an unearthed mask is captured, the next mask will spawn in 60 seconds.
- You can switch your LAS during a PvP match as long as you are not in combat. Use this to your advantage if you’re playing a class with healing capabilities to heal yourself between fights, to switch to a more survival focused set when you’re carrying a mask yourself, or to switch to a utility spec for escorting flag carriers.
If you have any tips you would like to share, or any questions that came up while reading, please leave me a comment below.