The State of World of Warcraft Battlegrounds

Written by: Mhortai

PvP Writer

Battlegrounds are one of the main features of Player vs Player in World of Warcraft and the main content consumption from a casual PvP standpoint. First introduced in patch 1.5 with the release of Alterac Valley and Warsong Gulch, they it gave players an instanced form of PvP with capture-the-flag-like objectives in a 15v15 format. PvE and PvP objectives were combined in a 40v40 format. Since then, many more battlegrounds have been added to the game with the last new map being Seething Shore at the end of Legion.

Battleground and PvP participation took a big hit overall in the Shadowlands expansion due to borrowed power and the gearing system putting such a massive gap between people. This especially affected new players and alt characters. Dragonflight looks to be rolling some of those issues back, but we will we see.  

Let’s look at some of the issues and fixes that can be done today to improve player participation in current battlegrounds, and what we could see in the future.

The Issues

While focusing on battleground issues, I will not concentrate on outside factors like gearing and balancing. Gearing has been somewhat addressed in Dragonflight, and balancing is a broad issue that affects more than just battlegrounds.

The biggest issues surrounding battlegrounds can vary from person to person as well. To me, my largest issues are using the same design over and over, and not seeing a new battleground since Seething Shore at the end of Legion in 2020.

From Vanilla to Legion, we saw, at minimum, one new battleground per expansion. Nothing in Battle for Azeroth or Shadowlands was announced, and despite players calling for one now, nothing in Dragonflight has been either. 

Design wise, many of the battlegrounds have too similar layouts. Deepwind Gorge stood out among its peers in having a point system combined with players carrying carts from the middle of the map to their faction’s base. This was, however, until the map was redesigned in patch 8.3 to be very similar to Arathi Basin. 

Warsong Gulch and Twin Peaks are both capture the flag maps, while Eye of the Storm is a combination of Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin.

Alterac Valley map

The more memorable battlegrounds are: Strand of the Ancients, Seething Shore, and Silvershard mines. However, Strand of the Ancients was removed due to issues with the map.  Players have also expressed issue with unbalanced team compositions. For instance, one team has multiple healers but the other team has zero, which swings the favor to the side with healers. Players also criticize that there still isn’t a punishment harsh enough for AFK players in battlegrounds or that games will start with one faction not having a full team.

Ideas for Improvement

There are many things that can be done to improve the player experience in battlegrounds. I believe this will bring both new and casual players into the PvP scene.  So many battleground maps are too similar from an objective standpoint. One mistake developers made, in my opinion, was changing the Deepwind Gorge map. The battleground was already unique with the cart running and base nodes. The only other battleground like it was Eye of the Storm, with the cart running and flag running being the difference.

Only by revamping current maps could developers improve them, but in most cases, they would just be separate battlegrounds at that point. Another thing that need to be addressed is the damage siege vehicles do to players, particularly catapults that can’t be CC’d and move as fast as someone on a mount.  The fire breath attack they have just mows people down.

On top of that, there needs to be a system in place that allows for fair matches, whether to prevent uneven team numbers, or teams not having any healers, etc.

A system similar to the ready check in dungeons that waits for everyone to accept before starting needs to be in place. However, this would likely add to queue times and other frustrations like people not accepting queues as often. I would add that Epic Battlegrounds should probably be excluded because of how large they are, but LFR does use this system with a large queue. 

A Wintersgrasp siege vehicle

Without a complete overhaul of the current battlegrounds we have today, there aren’t any major improvements that can be done as far as the battlegrounds, themselves, go. But one major change that should happen is that rewards need to be added for both battlegrounds and PvP in general.

There is just so little as far as rewards, and even achievements, when it comes to PvP. There is just so little as far as rewards, and even achievements, when it comes to PvP. Whether it be mounts, tabards, transmogs, or even battle pets, rewards need to be something other than seasonal items like Vicious mounts, elite transmog sets, and Gladiator mounts. They’re all obtained only via rated content. The honor level system was a step in that direction, but it hasn’t seen updates to rewards in quite some time. For now, it seems to have all but abandoned. 

In short, I think the following sums it up best: Change the queue system, balance siege weapons in battlegrounds like Wintersgrasp and Isle of Conquest, and even bring back the blacklist feature that allowed people to remove up to two battlegrounds that they didn’t want to do.

The Future?

The future of battlegrounds is uncertain, but Blizzard has made statements that they would like to add battlegrounds in the future.  When that will be, who knows?  We do know the number of WoW developers that work on PvP have grown. Unused maps have also popped into the files over the years, but never made it into the full game. These maps detail alleged battlegrounds called: Azshara Crater, Heroes Through Time, and Defense of the Alehouse.

Azshara Crater (unused map)

Azshara Crater is an Alterac Valley type of map that was supposed to be added in Mists of Pandaria but was left out. Defense of the Alehouse, also with an expected release for Mists, looks like a MOBA-type of map that takes place in Townlong Steppes. It would be interesting to see how a MOBA-style battleground would work in WoW. Heroes Through Time is essentially an island with an Alliance and Horde base on two opposite sides. The island has several unnamed subzones, such as a goblin workshop or a small human village. It’s also littered with ogre, human, and orc scale models. 

It would be interesting to see a king of the hill styled battleground, or a city defense style (ie a defense of Stormwind or Orgrimmar). There are lots of possibilities and it will be intriguing to see if any of the unused maps do get put into the game sometime in the future.

Defense of the Alehouse map (unused map)
Heroes Through Time (unused map )


There are many things that could, and should, be changed when it comes to battlegrounds to bring players back. These are just some observations and suggestions.   This is the first of many of these types of short write-ups I will do. This article is a bit broad, but going forward I will focus on more specific PvP issues.   

I would love to hear from you on topics and PvP concerns you would like to see me cover. Twitter is a great place to let me know issues you see in PvP and what you would like to discuss.  Hope to see you there!

Looking for a friendly, helpful environment to talk WoW in or to just hang out? Look no further than the Oasis WoW learning community. We do all kinds of content! Raids, Mythic+, arena, and RBGs!  Check out oasis_wow on Twitter for more information!


is a PvP writer for Bonus Roll Productions and an admin in the Oasis WoW Community. He is also an active member of the Technically PvP podcast community and can be found via his twitter or chatting in Bonus Roll’s TPVP discord channel.

If you like PvP, you should tune into Technically PvP, a podcast about player versus player content in World of Warcraft. Hosted by Gerissar, BigMoran, and Treesapjake. Airs live on Twitch every other Tuesday!

Listen to the latest episode 168: Devastation Evoker 10.0