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Elder Scrolls Online Column: Battlegrounds - Do We Need Them?

By Ryan Getchell on May 13, 2014

Battlegrounds are something that The Elder Scrolls Online community has been asking for since the game was first announced. During a recent interview Brian Wheeler (Lead PvP Designer) commented on Battlegrounds in ESO. Are battlegrounds a required feature for ESO or can it strive without them?

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Battlegrounds can offer players additional content to explore. Take World of Warcraft for example, if you want to PvP you have many different options in front of you. You can either do World PvP, Rated Arena Battles, Rated Battlegrounds, or just regular battlegrounds. Each style of PvP offers a completely different type of play that the play can enjoy. 

ESO can easily be compared to Dark Age of Camelot when it comes to is PvP style. Dark Age also offers level restricted battlegrounds for the players to explore as they level up. These battlegrounds go from level 1 – 5, 6 – 10, and so on.  If you got tired of grinding through the experience levels you could easily jump into a BG of your level and earn experience this way.


(image from daoc.eaderbreca.com)

Offering many different paths for players to go down is a sure fire way to keep players engaged. The style of PvP that I enjoy might not be the same style of PvP that you enjoy, and with these options we all can enjoy the style we want. Allowing players to change up their game play will keep players more excited about the game as they do not have to login and do the same thing they’ve been doing for the last week or so.

Battlegrounds also offer an “ease of access” to content that takes no work to get to. Nowadays when games are created with a battleground style system they are automatic systems. When you queue up to do a battleground you will automatically be dropped into a group and in the battleground of your choice, hence ease of access.

We’ve talked a little bit about all the positives that battlegrounds can offer, but what about the negatives, the sole reasons why Zenimax hasn’t implemented any sort of battleground and has no immediate plans to do so.

The Elder Scrolls Online is a game designed around a world divided, a fight for control of the ruby throne. Adding in battlegrounds would deflate that war and would eventually force to decrease the size of Cyrodiil to accommodate for the lack of interest in Cyrodiil.

As great as the above positives are, they would be very detrimental to the overall design aspect of ESO. Zenimax wants our attention to be solely placed on Cyrodiil when it comes to PvP. That is where the war is, that is where we fight. If Zenimax introduced a battleground it would decrease the amount of potential players that would be fighting in Cyrodiil.

Currently, you can join Cyrodiil at level 10, get bolstered to level 50 stats and be somewhat competitive. Will you be as powerful as a Veteran 10 ranked player? No, and that makes sense, but you’ll still be able to help our faction in the war.

If they introduced a level 10 – 20 or even a 10 – 49 level battleground, all those players that could have joined the war effort in Cyrodiil will now instead join the lower level battlegrounds.

All of the positives I mentioned above about Battlegrounds are all something that can be found in Cyrodiil, except for ease of access. There is no automatic group finder for Cyrodiil, there is a bit of leg work involved in trying to find a group to join, but a key thing to remember is you don’t need a group. If you don’t wish to group with people you can sit at a choke point and pick off those enemy players who are straggling behind. This is something I personally used to do all the time in DAoC. Adding an automatic group finder shouldn’t be an option for ESO either. ESO is all about promoting social engagement, and as I’ve stated many times and in my article, Social or Solo, automatic systems kill social engagement.

What would you rather see? A large zone that is focused on the war at hand where we can fight for keeps, scrolls, and honor, or smaller less attractive battlegrounds where what we are fighting for is nothing but five minutes of fame?

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