Guardians of the Dream Preview: Battleground Blitz Brawl

Our first venture into a solo rated PvP in World of Warcraft was Solo Shuffle. Following its success, we’re now looking to experiment with a format we’re calling “Battleground Blitz”, for solo queue Rated Battlegrounds.

Battleground Blitz is an 8v8 solo queue Battleground experience, and our first foray into what could potentially become solo queue rated battlegrounds in the future. We learned a lot from Solo Shuffle that informed the gameplay considerations of battlegrounds in a solo queue environment for this brawl, which will be discussed here.

Design Considerations

We’ve been happy with how Solo Shuffle lowered the barrier to entry in rated Arenas and served as an accessible PvP game mode. The biggest obstacle we faced was the low ratio of healers to damage dealers, which was typically 4 damage dealers for every healer waiting in queue during the most active times. This leads to long queue times for damage dealers. It was an early concern when we first launched Solo Shuffle as a brawl, especially after shifting away from using tanks to be the anchors in Solo Shuffle matches.

We previously experimented with other formats for Battlegrounds, like the “Deep Six” Brawl in Legion. We felt the team sizes were too small for some of the available maps, especially the larger ones like Arathi Basin.

Additionally, we want to try some updates to map formats that we think will make a better solo queue experience in rated battlegrounds. For example, in domination maps (such as Deepwind Gorge), the role of being a base sitter can result in tension in a solo queue environment. We also think that shorter match lengths would be more fun for solo queue players, bringing in more frequent moment-to-moment gameplay and decision making.

Battleground Blitz Format

Our plan is an 8v8 format that can be queued solo, or as a duo if there is a healer in the pair. Map mechanics and pacing are adjusted to be quicker, with the goal of 10-to-12-minute average match lengths.

Team Composition

  • The 8 players on each team will be made up of 2 healers, 5 to 6 damage dealers, and 0 to 1 tanks.
  • Opposing teams will always have the same number of tanks (0 or 1).
  • Matches that do not include tanks will not take place on Capture the Flag maps (Warsong Gulch and Twin Peaks).
  • Matches made with a tank on each team can take place on any map.

Our goal with the increased ratio of healer to damage dealers as well as healers having a duo queue option aims to alleviate potential longer queue times.

Map Pool and Mechanics

Initially, the map pool will be that of the Rated Battleground pool: Warsong Gulch, Twin Peaks, Temple of Kotmogu, Eye of the Storm, Silvershard Mines, Arathi Basin, and Deepwind Gorge.

In Battleground Blitz, there are some general mechanical changes made across all the maps.

  • On maps where you cast to take an objective, the cast time has been reduced from 6 seconds to 4 seconds.
  • On domination maps, control points are captured in 30 seconds after being contested (reduced from 1 minute).
  • On all maps, players will gain a buff that provides a large increase in mount speed.
  • On several maps, there are new power up runes.
    • Shield of Protection provides a large absorb shield.
    • Into the Shadows provides a player with stealth and increased movement speed.
    • Rune of Frequency increases cooldown rate.
    • Shadow Sight provides Stealth and Invis detection.

The goal with the changes above is to provide more moment-to-moment decision making while adapting maps to make sense for 8 player team sizes, while ensuring the macro strategy that players find to be fun in battlegrounds is still intact.

We looked at several factors for each map, including average game lengths, the size of the map, and individual mechanics to make some modifications to have them make sense in Battleground Blitz. Eye of the Storm, Arathi Basin, and Deepwind Gorge will have the most significant changes of the pool.

  • Eye of the Storm
    • 4 nodes available, only 2 capturable at a time (1 per side) which award points, with the middle flag being available to capture.
      • Mage Tower or Draenei Ruins and Fel Reaver Ruins or Blood Elf Tower.
      • When the middle flag is captured, previous nodes move to neutral and reset.
      • 2 nodes (1 per side) re-activate, alternating.
    • Points for capturing a flag significantly increased.
    • When a flag is captured, the existing available nodes will become uncapturable. After 15 seconds, the other set of nodes will become available.

  • Arathi Basin and Deepwind Gorge
    • 5 capturable nodes.
    • Increased resource acquisition.
    • After you capture a node entirely, you control it for 45 seconds. It then deactivates and can be captured again 5 seconds later.
      • To fully capture a node, you have to complete the 4 second cast then hold the point for 30 seconds without the enemy team recapturing.

  • Warsong Gulch and Twin Peaks
    • The flag carrier debuff, Brutal Assault, stacks 100% faster (each stack every 15 seconds, up from 30 seconds).
    • Maximum game length set to 12 minutes.
  • Battle for Gilneas
    • Increased resource acquisition rate.
  • Silvershard Mines and Temple of Kotmogu
    • No changes planned initially, these maps are fast-paced already.

As mentioned above, we are cognizant of the tension that can come from having dedicated defender roles within a battleground. The gameplay changes for Arathi Basin, Deepwind Gorge, and Eye of the Storm aim to alleviate that tension.

Looking Ahead

We’re approaching this idea in a tempered manner, as adding a new format to PvP is a big commitment. Our intent is to implement this feature as a PvP Brawl first, so we can experiment with the format, discover any problems, and consider player feedback. If the format is well-received during the brawl, we can dig into additional details on the plan for a rated mode, including rating changes, how the ladder will work, rewards, leavers, and additional team matching, such as limiting the number of a single spec per team.

We will host a PvP Brawl with the Blues event focused on Battleground Blitz on the Guardians of the Dream PTR on Friday, September 15 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post with additional details for the PvP with the Blues event.

Please share your thoughts and feedback with us here. We’re eager to hear it!


I am SUPER pumped for this! Testing it as much as possible.


Are we going to be able to unlock the Mage Tower RBG artifact appearance this way? Inquiring minds would love to know.


The Dominationmap change sounds really good. Maybe so good we could have them in regular BG?


This is exciting news! Can’t wait to try it out. I don’t think teams necessarily need 2 healers, though.


This seems really cool and something I’ve been looking forward to for awhile. However, there are some initial questions.


    1. The PvP Reward and Ranking system feels extremely outdated, does Blizzard have any plans to update this in 10.2?
    • more along the lines of having better cosmetic rewards to having a Silver, Gold, Platinum, etc… ranking system
    1. If this was to be implemented in the future, could players gain titles such as Gladiator, High Warlord or Grand Marshal? Access to Glad Mounts or Rank14 Xmog?
    1. Rank Solo Shuffle felt long overdue, which caused a lot of players to test it out in Shadowlands, along with a lot of desired Honor gains at the time, what will be there to encourage players to test this brawl out this time around?
    1. Ranked Solo Shuffle has a unique experience of 6 rounds, this allows each individual an opportunity to experience each “comp” to ensure as much balance in comp make up is achieved, is there anything Blizzard can discuss about how this system will organize teams?
    • For Example: Joining a map of 4 Holy Priest, 10 Frost Mages, and 2 Ret Paladins, will each team be ensured to get their own Ret Paladin?
    • Is the system smart enough to balance off specializations? If not-- could it be?
    1. Could Support specs, such as Augmentation, be utilized as another healer option, similar to tanks?
    • Is there a world where Healer + Aug + 6 DPS vs Healer + Aug + 6 DPS exist?
    1. Will teams be limited to only partying up with their own Faction or will there be better was to distinguish friend from foe? Will there be better UI improvements for PvP that enable you to track all members of the opposing team? (RBGs usually have required Addons)
    1. Will power up runes be individual based or will it effect everyone within a certain radius to prevent slight griefing?
    1. Is 4 second capture lengths too short for some heavy CC comps, such as having multiple rogues, mages or locks on your team?
    1. Will there be any updates to maps to help heavy melee vs heavy caster comps? Such as adding in LoS pillars?
    1. Are there any steps that could possibly be taken to ensure Flag Capture maps aren’t too heavily favored in comp make up, say having 5 druids vs none, or 4 Aug Evokers vs none? While RNG is RNG, being “out comp’d” is not a really fun experience.
    1. Will item level be scaled or will there be a minimum item level cap required to join? Will items be “locked” to ensure griefers do not take off all their gear?
    1. Will there be a report button, or surrender button? What will happen to teams once someone leaves?
    1. Will there be an option to enable voice speak in game? (Similar to games such as DotA)
    1. Could another option be implemented for a DPS vs DPS map, game mode, or something else for excessive queue times?
    • While leveling, if a dungeon queue doesn’t pop in Chormie Time, it will ask if you want to expand your search to other expansions, could something similar happen for this game mode?
    • 6v6 Death Match, Warsong Scramble, etc…
    1. Will this game mode replace 10v10 RBGs? Is Blizzard concern with spreading player population too thin across too many different game modes?

This is going to be huge! I’ve been a big arena player for a long time but am very excited for this.

I think this is what the game needs PvP wise. BG’s are better suited for the mmo format compared to arena. They’re easier to also watch and follow, which is good for streaming and also for tournament play.


Solo queue 8v8 is pretty cool. But please dont do those ridiculous changes. Especially the 4 second node capture and the locking of nodes.

This is more than what I was asking for. Thank you! Great work team.

Very excited for this!

I hope this is the start of a regular cadence of bg content! It’s been loooong overdue.

This is great to hear. This comes up as an idea on the PvP forums at least 4 times a week, so I figure a lot of players will be interested.
I appreciate the amount of thought that went into this game mode so far.
Thanks for this.

Awesome!! I love that you added Duo queue for healer + friend. That makes me soo happy!! Now I am way more likely to play the mode!


Hype hype HYPE!

love solo queue for RBG (and a buddy system for healers)

Love alternate/streamlined game modes for the maps, we’ve been asking for this sorta thing for yeas. Now we just need some new maps as well :3

I am absolutely over the moon for all of this.

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This is incredibly awesome to see. I’ve always felt objective-based gamemodes were a better route for competitive PvP than 3v3 team deathmatch. (And one reason MOBAs have had such massive success in Esports and PvP.)

I’d still suggest a few things:

  1. Remove DWG from the pool, because the map is not only massive, but has large vertical obstacles for traversing it. (I really only enjoy it with gliders.)

  2. Hope we keep chipping away at team size until it’s closer to 5v5 or 7v7. Smaller teams make individual players feel more impactful.

  3. Hope we eventually get unique maps made just for the reduced team sizes. Proposed changes will have unintended consequences, such as greatly benefitting Rogues because of their multiple forms of 4+ second CC which can be used to capture a flag. (And conversely, benefit specs that can counter Rogue capture.)

  4. Tanks. Is there going to ever be an effort to make all Tanks as appealing as FCs as Guardian? Guardian benefits from not only having advanced mobility, but on-demand self-heals. Specs like Blood are not just immobile, but have to aggressively enter melee range to use their primary defensive abilities.

It worked like this for years and was only very recently nerfed, so I don’t think this is such a huge issue.

sap and cap is pretty easy to defeat simply by standing far enough from the flag.

Also, keep in mind that there is a buff allowing to see through stealth, so rogues won’t be exactly impossible to counter.


I believe it bounced between 6 and 7 seconds. I don’t ever remember a 4 second capture time.

And Sap isn’t the issue, it’s Sap + Blind + Kidney/Cheap Shot if it only takes 4 seconds to cap. Melee cannot fight a Rogue near the Flag for fear of getting Stunned.

And because it’s random teams, you can’t count on having Hunters or other top-tier base sitters.

And I don’t think those sight buffs are permanent, just temporary.

I mean they better not be, rogues would be less than useless if they were. A temporary buff to see through stealth is already a huge boon…

It’ll probably work like the Arena version, and the current BG buffs you can pick up also only last a little while anyway

Bro, stop. Just stop.

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