The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO for small-scale PvP?

All right, then.

A while back, we did a Daily Grind about whether size mattered in MMO PvP. We talked about how multiple MMOs are talking up their ability to eventually get thousands of people on a traditional MMO battlefield, in a meaningful, visible, ungated way.

But that’s not at all the only kind of PvP MMO players enjoy. Several MMOs boast small-scale battlegrounds or even tiny arenas where you can test your mettle against just a few people. And a lot of the fun I’ve had in PvP over the years has been in small groups on big battlefields – think scouting parties and strike teams, both in PvP sandboxes and in RvR, where the big picture is genuinely big but the individual input is small.

What would you argue is the best MMO for small-scale PvP?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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I like the PvPvE trend like Destiny 2’s gambit.

For 1v1 PvP Blade & Soul seems very deep and has a huge playerbase that only plays the 1v1 religiously.

Fred Douglas

I think SWTOR has underrated PvP. The warzones are very enjoyable to me, and your skill and play feels meaningful. At least in regulars, ranked warzones get a little dry to me.

James L

I haven’t played since the first year of the game’s launch, but Huttball at that time was the most fun I’ve ever had in MMO pvp.


If we’re talking about PvP specifically for small groups (i.e. has player caps) then I’ll go with WAR.

Some interesting arenas, a variety of objectives and the depth of the combat system only ever came out in group pvp, keeping it small scale gave you the opportunity to experience that dept. My favourite was always Gates of Ekrund, but mostly because I love orcs and dwarves!

If we’re talking about small-scale encounters in a more open world, then LotRO. That game remains my favourite combat system, the depth was unrivaled. Time-to-kill was pretty long anyway, but small group v group action with good teams made it a really long and enjoyable fight. Best one I had was about 9 of us good guys vs 12 or so bad guys (freeps were overpowered, so worked out about even balance), fight lasted 15-20 minutes with loads of back and forth. Was epic!

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Paragon Lost

Forum posting? I’ll see myself out. Hehe


I’ve played WoW, ESO, GW2, LOTRO, DAoC, and my best, most enjoyable small pvp experiences are in DAoC by a mile (still playing it for that reason).


Small group encounters in ESO’s Cyrodiil are just the best. You will encounter larger forces but when doing scouting missions and taking small locations, it’s the best.

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I’ve played just about every MMO that has offered PvP in the small and large scale and some of them in the top 1% dating back to UO – GW1 – WAR etc. Nothing comes close to early TERA’s small scale PvP in terms of mechanics and combat.

GW1 would be my second pick for just how versatile the games builds were and how you could have so many different comps that worked.

After that its a jumble pile.

BDO could be in the very top as well but the developers are more worried about RNG mechanics, gear disparities and cash shop sales than making a stellar system for PvP and PvE. Its sad because BDO could be a huge PvP & PvE title. BDO needs a stat squish and the AP brackets to be taken out, it would greatly reduce the disparity in gear. Class balance is a bit off but a few passes and they could really bring it into line. Whatever they did to the XBOX servers and engine bring it to PC to get rid of all the desync we see on PC as well.

As for right now, I don’t think there is a single MMO worth playing for PvP. They are all scarred by some extreme issue.

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In no particular order:
GW1 had some fun PvP missions
WAR’s early PvP instances were fun (I only played up until the server merges, since I lost my characters)
I enjoyed 20s/30s WSG in Vanilla WoW.


I tend to try a little PvP in most of the MMOs I play. The one I played the longest in is GW2 WvWvW. My favorite way to contribute was either in a roaming 5 person strike team or in defense of smaller keeps. It was really quite enjoyable and one had the ability to contribute without running in a zerg.

Hikari Kenzaki

Fusang Projects in original TSW was probably the best PvP experience if you just wanted to jump in and contribute by doing a few random tasks or group up to take on the bigger fights.

Bloody Bay in City of Heroes is a fun map for that sort of PvPvE play, though I was always partial to Siren’s Call. Never really like RV.