update on same faction battlegrounds and continued testing
  • Author: Taladril
  • Date: July 21, 2021
  • Expansion: TBC Classic

Blizzard has finished going over the results from the last same-faction battlegrounds weekend. They have been surprisingly transparent with the design goals with the community about this issue. The focus is balancing the original balance of the game while also offering modern solutions to benefit the most people as possible.

In general the response was overwhelmingly good and that people preferred the shorter queues. There were two large negatives – the first was that Alliance-Alliance matches happened frequently enough that people were turned off to the idea. Blizzard has lessened the likelihood that this will happen. The second was that given there were many more battlegrounds happening, premade groups overwhelmed the scene. This made for negative experiences for solo-queuers especially. To combat this, the next test will focus on this aspect and will change the design slightly: premades will be limited to 5 people. This will lessen the strength of the premade, make them more spread out within the active battlegrounds, and also will allow those in the premades to continue questing while not in the BG.

They are also being sensitive about battleground and faction balance and don’t want the balance to swing too far to one side. In general the balance is good but is slowly tipping toward Horde. They are going to offer small rewards to Alliance for those that queue from that faction. Rewards will be a box of loot that includes consumables, crafting mats, and currencies/tokens.

They will be monitoring this next test carefully especially to see the effect on the premades and are still wanting feedback from participants. The test will be conducted starting Tuesday July 20th and last for one week, ending on the 27th.

Kaivax – (Source)

Over the last few days, we’ve read thousands of pieces of feedback on the same-faction Battleground test, and we’ve been working through what we can do in Burning Crusade Classic to meet as many of our goals as possible.

Some players literally asked for more understanding of our goals, so we’d like to list out the goals we think are most pertinent to the Battleground queue situation:

  • Emulate the design pillars and intentions of original Burning Crusade game systems.
  • Leverage modern tech and design to address modern issues.
  • Make surgical changes to the game to improve the player experience.
  • Address player concerns in ways that capture the spirit of the original design of the game.

We’ve heard a clear majority of players telling us that they preferred same-faction Battlegrounds after our first test. During that test, we saw the benefits of drastically lowered queue times and less unavoidable ganking in the outdoor world. However, there were a significant number of concerns registered on other related topics.

We noticed that players were dismayed when the system occasionally launched an Alliance vs. Alliance Battleground. We reduced the likelihood of that a couple of hours into the test, and we think we can do a little more there.

The quick queues revealed that a noticeable number of players were doing BGs in organized raids. This makes sense; the time it takes to form a premade is time well-invested for those players. But for the large number of players who choose to queue alone, there’s essentially no hope of winning the BG. There are a couple of ways we can try addressing this, and in this next test, we’d like to try restricting groups to a maximum of 5 players in all Battlegrounds. This should have the added benefit of allowing players who are in groups to quest while waiting in queue for Battlegrounds.

A major point of discussion was the perception that the faction a majority of players chose for their main character would see all players switch to it, unless we change the game to either reward the minority faction, punish the majority faction, or prevent players from choosing to play on the majority faction in the first place. As you can see (and has been discussed at great length here and elsewhere), most such changes that might come to mind would conflict with our stated goals above. Still, we’d like to see what happens when we place a reward for the minority faction into the game. Globally, the faction imbalance is small, but the trend over the last few months has been towards a lower BG participation rate among Alliance players.

We’ll plan to run the next test for a week, starting with weekly maintenance (tomorrow, Tuesday, July 20 in this region), by enabling all of the following:

  • Same-faction Battlegrounds will be allowed by the matchmaker.
  • The matchmaker will take a little more time to find an opposite-faction match than it did during the first test.
  • Groups will be restricted to a maximum of 5 players when joining the queue.
  • We’re adding an enlistment bonus for Alliance players who participate.

The enlistment bonus will be a repeatable Level 70 quest offered by the Alliance Brigadier General in any Alliance capital city or Shattrath. The quest rewards a Battleground win with a box of loot that includes an appropriate amount of consumables, crafting materials, and currencies/tokens.

We’re planning to end this test with scheduled weekly maintenance next week (Tuesday, July 27 in this region). We prefer having a clear beginning and end to it so that we can do more comparative analysis and take care as we decide what would be best for the game and players going forward.

We think it’s worth noting upfront that the most impactful part of this test should be the restriction on premades, and we’re going to be highly sensitive to how Battleground PvP feels for both players who usually queue up alone and players who would have otherwise formed raids before queueing. As before, we’re going to open a new thread here when the test begins, and we’ll be looking there for your thoughts on how the test went after you’ve experienced it.

And as always, thank you very much for all of your valuable feedback on the game!

About the Author

Taladril

Long time Classic WoW fan, I've had more fun building tools for the game than actually playing it.

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