The Daily Grind: What’s the perfect size for an MMO battleground?

The vista

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I like big battle MMO PvP. I want it to feel huge. I want there to be multiple fronts, multiple angles of attack, multiple skirmishes going on where I can’t even see them. I want it to have small light units and big hapless zergs all working at the same time to Do the Thing. That’s fun for me.

Where I’ve had less fun is in smaller battlegrounds and arenas. I’m not saying they’re never fun, only that they seem far likely to turn into a disproportionate mess, more heavily dominated by the FOTM class combo and meta and the individual skill of a couple of people or premade, and the outcome of the match is often clear from the first few minutes, so you’re just waiting for the buzzer to rescue you. Yes, Warsong Gulch and BGs like you, I’m shading you right now.

What do you think is the perfect size for an MMO battleground?

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’d say 15v15 or 20v20 is a good size. 40v40 feels too big and impersonal to me, where my personal contribution doesn’t matter and death is often due to being outnumbered. Neither of those things is fun, but in 15-20 people I can feel like I matter there without it being so small that every fight is 2v2 – because I like to heal, and there’s not much fun in healing arena sized fights.


100 v 100 an all out skirmish.


I don’t PVP. But, if I did, I’d want it to be an epic clash between hordes of players on a battleground the size of a whole damn planet.

Random MMO fan
Random MMO fan

Doesn’t matter as long as you can use bots or pay someone else to play your character to get unique rewards or ranks for your character through boring battleground farming.


For team-based PvP, including battlegrounds, my preference is for about 10-20 people per team in a fully instanced battleground where character power is completely normalized (as in, someone who has just created their account not even 5 minutes ago has a character exactly as powerful as someone who has been playing for years non-stop).

I also prefer when there is absolutely no penalty for losing, and little to no reward for winning.

With more people than that I start feeling like I don’t matter at all; less than that and it starts feeling too personal, which kinda makes me feel guilty if I mess up in any way and often destroys my enjoyment.


I’d say 10 players for each side, like an expanded arena with objectives. Or whatever is two groups in the game. Then fights will be personal and important, and it’s not too hard to get enough players. I think it’s important at least to use multiples of group size, for scaling between content. Anything bigger than 20 should be RvR stuff.

Oleg Chebeneev

Warsong Gulch (10v10) is perfect BG

Ben Stone

Yeah I have to say, WoW really nailed the battlegrounds structure and maps. How they have handled rewards and balance though is another thing, but I cant think of another MMO that really did them well?

I really don’t like GW2 / ESO style RvR. It just gravitates to messy zergs which I don’t find particularly enjoyable.


Totally depends on the game’s mechanics and intended audience.

I have found 4 groups per team to be the best size, with a group being anywhere between 4 and 8 players.

With 4 groups, it means a single pre-made group isn’t going to swing the whole thing as the other 3 groups will still have to complete objectives and stuff. 4 groups provides cover for bad players so they get a chance to learn without feeling too bad about it. 4 groups also gives a nice sense of scale without being overwhelming – gotta think of ur UI when in a battleground! I wouldn’t want 40+ healthbars on my screen…

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Paragon Lost

As big as the game engine can handle and still keep the frame rate to 30fps or better.

(Looking at you TSW and your slide show frame rate versus the big golden guy when we got to around 80 to 100 people and yeah I know this was pve but my point about fps stands)


Bigger the better. For me I like the chaos of huge battles, where there’s room for small groups that are playing smart to have a big impact, and victory doesn’t boil down to who has done the most vertical progression. My experience with instanced PvP modes is that you’re usually just going to get bodied by the 5-person premade that’s running the meta builds with the perfect insta-kill rotation.