World of Warcraft

What I saw leveling through 500 battlegrounds

wow4 - What I saw leveling through 500 battlegrounds

I have enjoyed PVP for much of my time playing WoW and have traditionally participated in battlegrounds (BGs) while leveling. This has changed over the years with the introduction of level scaling, BOA items, stat squishes, and the speed at which you level. Today I can spend an afternoon doing BGs and level a character through an entire bracket without worrying too much about being an undergeared burden on my team.

Like most people I have some sense of how successful I am in battlegrounds, but didn’t have numbers to reference. I felt like I was competitive regardless of the class or faction I was playing. But I’ve seen other people post on the forums that they don’t or can’t win as much as the other faction. So I decided to start recording the data to see how my sense of success compared to hard data.

Over the period of almost 4 months I recorded my win rates playing different characters and factions while leveling through 500 battlegrounds. This gave me some better insight into my own successes and failures, so I decided to share the data with you. Here’s a brief summary of what I found.

A bit over half of my games were played as Alliance (267 games) compared to Horde (233 games). On Alliance characters my win rate was about 62% with Horde at 59%. However, when I looked at the roles I won 65% of my games when healing compared to 56% when dpsing. I’m the same person playing the same way I normally do, but I apparently have a greater impact on outcomes when I heal. While this makes some sense I was surprised to see it make a 9% difference.

I actually always queued up my characters as healers OR dps (if the class supported it), but was never moved from a healer to a dps role. I always entered in a healing role, even if our team already had plenty of healers. This is a problem that Blizzard has seemingly ignored since making changes to BG queues a few years ago.

Another regular complaint I hear about is joining battlegrounds in progress. About 8% of the BGs I joined out of my 500 were already in progress, with maybe half of those having just started within a minute or two. Recently started BGs are less frustrating than those that are beyond your ability to influence the outcome, but it still isn’t ideal since you can’t change talents, buff up, etc. before you are thrust into action.

Initially I only started recording wins and losses, but later realized that I should track BG scores as well. I recorded 403 BG scores which let me better measure how competitive the games were. Once I had the score data I could set a minimum threshold for flag cap BGs (like Warsong Gulch) and point count BGs (like Arathi Basin) to differentiate between the closer games and blowouts.

Of the 110 flag cap BGs with score data I found that only 27% were competitive, with Alliance winning by a blowout 28% of games and Horde winning by a blowout 45% of the time. When looking at the 293 point count BGs they were actually competitive 80% of the time, with Alliance winning by blowout 8% of the time and Horde winning by blowout 13% of the time. I didn’t realize so many flag cap games were dominated by one team, but it kind of makes sense given the format.


I mentioned one issue with healers earlier, and the data both obscures and highlights how much of a problem this can pose. If we just look at averages over 500 games, Alliance had 2.3 healers per BG and Horde had 2.2 per BG. Looks fair, right? But those averages smooth over recurring games where Alliance had 4 healers to Horde’s 1, or vice versa. Those games tend to feel very unfair and frustrating to play.

What might further that frustration is analyzing the impact of a team with more healers on the outcome of the games. The teams with more healers won an average of 60% of their games, ignoring other factors. And of those games with a healer advantage, 40% of them resulted in blowouts against their opposition. So while it is possible to win with fewer healers on your team, the odds are against you.

My personal win rates paired with that data leads me to believe you’re better off filling the healer role for your team while leveling through BGs if you want more wins or better XP. I’m sure there’s a threshold where having too many healers poses a disadvantage to your team, but reaching that is probably less likely given normal healer/dps numbers.

Blizzard introduced partysync this expansion to allow lower level characters to group up with their higher level friends (often 120s) and do battlegrounds together. This seems to be a big area of contention, with people regularly complaining about how overpowered 120s are, especially in the 110-119 bracket.

My personal experience was that partysync players were not an issue in lower brackets, but did sometimes cause problems in the final push from 110 to 119. Having to adapt to a scaled down DK death gripping or a DH gliding in the 30-39 battleground bracket wasn’t a huge deal. However in the 110-119 bracket these players tend to have substantially more health and do more damage than levelers. And in my experience it was more often than not that each team would have at least a couple 120s partysynced in this bracket. It’s beyond the scope of this discussion to figure out how to make partysync work better for everyone, but I do think changes need to be made.

To conclude, while I think this data can give some insight into win/loss ratios, healer numbers, and other issues in the leveling battleground brackets I think it’s important to recognize that results can be different at the end game. Maybe someone who regularly participates in PVP at 120 can record and publish their own findings for us to compare.

My raw data and further analysis is available in a Google Sheets doc

Please let me know if you have any other questions about what I observed during this process.

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