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 Saturday, 16 September from 00:01 – 02:00 CEST. 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!


Seething Shore - This BG should be rebalanced and should come back. It is very unique.

As long as 2 players can Q together I LOVE IT

No, it’s written that you can only duoq if one of them is a healer.
Also, is it currently possible to queue on PTR? I sit in an infinite queue and it never pops ( even gathered multiple healers and dps to make sure we have the numbers, but it doesn’t pop ).

I think overal great idea.

I love that:

  • you can duo queue (queing as healer + dps friend is cool, incentivises dps to also bring healer, which cuts the queue and you can queue with friend without it being whole premade vs random)
  • it’s not 10+ players (there is too much chaos, takes too much time, unfair battles… with less people chances of heavily being outnumbered at one place decrease and it’s great it’s 8 ppl only (although I’d prefer 6, but I understand why it’s 8 and I wanna try that already)

I love that you realize that. This really gives me hope and it really shows you do understand the player experience.

I got only one problem with this: RATING.
If this releases as Brawl, unrated, people will not play it very much as they did not play solo shuffle until it was rated.
I would like to see some rating added, possibly giving nothing, just for testing the rating and how does the rating work.

People want to see if they’re doing good or not, people want to be matched against equally (relatively) skilled people etc.

I really really really really love Shado-Pan Showdown brawl. By far my most enjoyable format in PvP. I almost never play it. Because it doesn’t have rating, I win easily, I don’t feel any sense of progress and winning everything because my opponents aren’t skilled enough doesn’t feel good.
We even won 3v5 when two people on my team just didn’t join and with two random people I won. It makes me sad that I cannot play this. I would like to see that as BG, but rating needs to happen and in my opinion even this BRAWL needs to have some sort of visible rating for testing even before it’s introduced as permanent format.

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Is this going to count towards the rbg wins for the mage tower mog?

Thanks to everyone who have shared their thoughts so far on Battleground Blitz. We’ve seen a lot of feedback here and elsewhere that we’d like to respond to and hopefully provide some additional information about the game mode for clarity.

Arathi Basin and Deepwind Gorge

As indicated in a screenshot in the initial preview, there are objective timers for these maps to indicate when bases will be reset and this functionality is implemented on PTR. Currently, these timers are located under “Objectives”, which may be initially minimized for some players. Placing them under objectives will allow players to utilize Edit Mode and move them on their UI as best fits.


One thing we didn’t specify in the initial post is: during the time a node is fully captured and your team controls it for 45 seconds, the enemy team cannot recapture the base until it deactivates and resets. A node that cannot be captured will have a shield visual on it.

Ping System

The new Ping System feature that is now in-game is something we’d like to point out, as it’s a feature that lends itself well to Battleground Blitz. To adjust settings for the ping systems, navigate to Options, then Ping System in the UI.

We’re eager to see more feedback as more testers have the opportunity to check out this new game mode. We’re hosting a Brawl with the Blues event tomorrow, so please join in the battle and share your thoughts with us here thereafter.

Defitnetely is a good work and a good way for the players!
I think also 5vs5 would sound more competitive (1healer and 4 dps or tank) like other games as lol or cs. Maybe with a special map but is nice for streamers, tournamets and to play casual

Will map show these time indicators as well? It could use a slight update.

I’d also like to see you throw-in similar objective like Shado-Pan Showdown, altered to 8-players.

This is all very welcoming and very good, new game modes and all, but can we actualy see actual changes and some love to Rated BG.
Something must be done and change in rbg, more rewards, changes in tank perspective because groups aint forming for decent game sessions because you only have viable for tank in rbg is DH and Druid, new maps, possibly new game objectives, hoping that the new power up runes also can be added to rbg, introduce new mechanics perhaps like activating traps and ways of counter those traps.
Please dont make a new bg mode and leave rated bg community in a box like its been for years we havent seen some love for rated bg…

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I think greatest solution for leavers is this:

for leavers

  • debuff that prevents game blitz played for X time (4h …), increasing with every game person leaves (8h, 24h, week…)
  • probably deescalate the penalty after some time (let’s say you DCed twice, so you have penalty now 8h, but for next month, you never left anything, so next leave should be only 4h and not 24h…

for rest of the players

  • this should be main concern
  • I’d say leaver could be replaced by some AI bot for rest of the match
    • make it bit worse than regular person on that mmr (?)
    • it’s better than nothing
    • we’ve seen Blizz can do AI
    • have the bot have same abilities (race, class) as leaver and somehow make others know it’s a bot (with some obvious name or something