Leveling-Up In Battlegrounds

by NirnStorm
7th March 2021

Guide Contents

Did you know it’s possible to level up characters effectively through PvP, rather than through boring and repetitive PvE grinding?

In this guide I’ll be doing my best to explain the best method to level up your characters through PvP and answer a lot of the common questions and concerns people might have regarding this type of leveling process.

Whether you’re new to ESO, making a new character for PvP, or are just looking for a new way to prepare characters to the end-game without burning yourself out grinding the same 20 mobs over and over – you’ve come to the right place.

Why level up characters through PvP?

Well, the main reason for that is fairly straight forward – if you like PvP and intend to be focusing on playing it once your character is ready – whether that’s the main thing you want to do in ESO, or it’s some specific plan for your one character – then there’s no real reason for you to waste your time leveling up your character in PvE, questing, or doing anything you don’t WANT to spend your time doing. Instead, you can jump right into the PvP experience you’re looking forward to, starting already at level 10!

In addition, there are some additional benefits to leveling up characters through PvP. For one, you get to unlock the Alliance War skill lines naturally while leveling up, as you are gaining Alliance Points while leveling in PvP. Those skill lines can unlock some active and passive skills every PvP player, or even some PvE players, would need. Such as Vigor, Caltrops, etc.

Moreover, while leveling up your Alliance Rank, you gain additional skill points, once per rank. Those skill points will allow you to unlock more skills while having to hunt down less skyshards, and allow you to complete your character’s setup at much more ease.

How to effectively level up characters in PvP

Sadly, as most PvP players would tell you, gaining experience while playing any PvP activity in ESO is not an easy task.

Dueling grants no experience to the participants whether they won or lost. Cyrodiil fights too, grant very little experience, and even taking keeps and resources non-stop without getting side-tracked by fights will not yield a good experience gain.

However, the solution is clear. Battlegrounds is the best way to gain experience while leveling up. You get a static amount of experience every single time you complete a random battlegrounds match, which isn’t reflected based on your performance alone, similarly to completing random dungeon. And similarly to completing random dungeons, you gain an experience BONUS once per day, when you win your first random battleground of the day.

Do note that even if your team wins the 2nd place in a match rather than the first, the game still counts the match as victorious, and grands you the full experience and Alliance P

Things to keep in mind while leveling in PvP

While the leveling up process as a whole is quite straight-forward, there are a few points that are important to keep in mind and plan around to make sure you level up effectively:

  • Experience is being given at the end of each BG match.
    This means you will not gain any of the experience throughout the match, but rather only in the end. This is important to keep in mind because only the skills – and the weapon type – that are slotted on the bar you have active at the moment the battleground ends, will gain the experience and be leveling up. The same applies to armor types, if you change them around throughout the match.
  • Battleground players are matched by both level and MMR.
    Not only does battlegrounds matchmaking prevent your low-level character from fighting vs. max level characters, but in addition, even at a very low level, it starts applying it’s MMR (Match Making Rank) rules, which means players who tend to win matches often will be matched against players with similar winrates, and players who are less experienced and tend to be less successful in battleground matches will be facing players who are less experienced just like them more often than not. This system makes sure you can have a great time learning to play a new class in battlegrounds while leveling it up, without constantly feeling frustrated and losing too often.

Common Questions & Concerns

A lot of players tend to avoid leveling up in battlegrounds, due to having some concerns about things they might be missing by doing so, or due to lack of confidence in their potential to succeed and win in battlegrounds while in such low level.

Here are some of the common questions and concerns people tend to have, and the answers and resolutions to them:

Leveling Up Different Skills

What if the skills you want to use during a battleground match, aren’t exactly the same ones you want to be leveling up?

That’s a common issue, but one that is easy to play around and avoid. Here are two great ways to work around this issue:

  1. Choose your flex spots.
    Prioritize which skills are super important for you to have on your bars, to be able to deal damage, heal, etc. to try and win the matches, and replace the less important skills – or fill the empty skill spots – with additional skills you want to level up. That doesn’t mean you have to use those skills throughout the match, you can have them slotted just for the experience gain, without using them in the matches themselves.
  2. Separate your Front & Back Bars.
    You can choose one bar that will be your main bar throughout the matches, where you slot most of your offensive and defensive abilities that you need to use to win the match, kill enemy players, heal yourself, etc.
    On the other bar, slot as many skill you wish to level that aren’t very helpful throughout the match.
    While the match is ongoing, make sure to stay mainly on your main bar, and make full usage of all the important abilities on it. And as the match is coming to an end, make sure to bar swap to be the secondary one, where all the abilities you want to level are slotted, and let the match end with it being your active bar. As mentioned earlier, the experience gain from battlegrounds occurs at the end moment of the match, so only at that point do you have to have all these skills actively slotted.

Lack of Healing Abilities

Some classes can’t unlock any good heals until a very high level

While a lot of classes don’t get some of their end-game heals and shields until very late in the leveling processs, like Rally at lvl 38 Two-hander, Hardened Ward at lvl 42 Daedric Summoning and Cauterize at lvl 42 Ardent Flame; there are many optional heals that you can use in the meantime until you get to unlock these.
Some heals are class based, like Dragon Blood that unlocks at lvl 20 Draconic Power for even for stamina Dragonknights, or Fungal Growth which is unlocked for Wardens by default. While those abilities aren’t commonly used on max level characters, they effective enough in low level battlegrounds to keep you going, until you unlock better heals.
Additionally, stamina characters can unlock Vigor very fast when leveling through battlegrounds, as you gain a lot of AP alongside your EXP after every match, and magicka players can use the light armor skill Annulment while waiting for a better magicka based heal.

Keep in mind that things like positioning yourself correctly and managing your resources are going to be a whole lot more important in battlegrounds matches until you get your effective heals and will be a very relevant part of your survivability too!

Leveling Additional Skill Lines

How can you level additional skill lines like Guilds and Crafting while leveling your character in battlegrounds?

That’s definitely one of the bigger problems with leveling characters up through PvP, but do keep in mind most of those type of skill lines, such as Guilds, Crafting, Soul and similar trees, are not skill lines you would be leveling while grinding PvE mobs either, and require different types of activities to be completed in order to level them up (with the exception of fighters guild).

My personal advice to solve this issue is to use your queue time effectively. When you queue up to join a battleground, you may spend anywhere from mere seconds to 10 or even 15 minutes waiting to be matched with other players. In the meantime, I recommend walking around the world, collecting skyshards for unlocking skills, as well as lore books, psijic portals, and gathering materials, so that you can progress your guild lines and crafting lines alongside leveling though PvP. There’s no time to waste if you want to reach the endgame quickly!

Skill Points Gain

How many skill points will you be getting while leveling up in battlegrounds compared to other leveling methods?

If you’re concerned with the amount of skill points you’ll be gaining while doing battlegrounds, you must keep in mind that battlegrounds – quite obviously – give you Alliance Points (or AP), which increases your Alliance Rank. And what many people tend to forget is that every single time you gain a new Alliance Rank, you are granted a skill point right away.

As a matter of fact, if you use your queue time to collect skyshards as I’ve previously suggested, and combine the amount skill points you earned doing that with the amount your matches granted you via Alliance Rank progression (and let’s not forget the amount you gain from simply leveling up), you’ll very likely have more than enough skill points for all of your skills and passives, with quite a few to spare, by the time you reach level 50. This works for me every time!

Proper Gear for Battlegrounds

What if you have a hard time in battlegrounds if you don’t have optimized low-level PvP gear?

When thinking of the gear you want to use while leveling up, you must let go of the standards for gear that you might be familiar with from endgame, if you have maxed characters already.

You’re going to be out-leveling your gear very fast, and you’ll want to use the training trait on it nearly at all times, as it will help you gain additional experience. This means you must not expect your gear to be optimized and make everything overly easy for you. Since your stats will be based on battle scaling (a mechanic that gives additional resources to low level characters in ESO), and not on your gear, you might want to focus on affordability rather than quality.

I personally tend to have 4 different sets of gear for my leveling process, which I recommend you craft or have crafted for you, at the following levels:

  • Levels 3 or 4 – as that will be the level you exit the tutorial with
  • Level 15 as at this level you unlock your second bar
  • Level 30 – at which point you’ll begin to feel the penalty of out-leveling your level 15 gear too much
  • And last, level 42 as you unlock your last 3 class skills at around that level, get your effective heals, and are ready to really dominate BG matches.

This gear could be made as any combination of crafted sets you feel are effective for your playstyle. There’s no point trying to optimize your stats or sets-combinations as you’ll only be using each setup for a few hours or days, until you out-level it and move on to the next one, so feel free to pick any sets you like or want to mess around with.

As for quality, I recommend sticking to green or blue quality unless you have some money to spare, as you won’t gain too many stats by making your gear purple or golden at low level.

Once you’ve leveled up your character fully, make sure to stash these low level sets in your bank, as you will only need to craft them once, but can use them to level as many characters as you like in the future.

If you’re unable to craft at all, you shouldn’t be too concerned either. Having a friend or guild member craft you the gear, shouldn’t be an issue normally, or you can even ask people in zone chat to help you out, or join a community guild that would have people who could assist you. You can even try to find a crafter in our very own community, by joining our discord server which will be linked down below.

You won’t have to pay much even if you find a crafter who’ll charge you for the gear, since low level crafting materials tend to be fairly cheap, and you won’t need the armor to be upgraded beyond green or blue tier, making it super easy to make, and very affordable.


To summarize, if you’re looking to level new characters through more entertaining means than just grinding PvE mobs over and over, I very much recommend trying out leveling up through PvP, via battlegrounds.

Make sure to have a proper training gear setup at hand, sort out which skills you want to be using in matches, and which skill you want to prioritize leveling, locate and slot whichever heals you’re able to utilize based on your character’s level, and make sure you queue to random matches, as those grant more experience than any specific game mode (if specific game mode selection is enabled to begin with, as Zenimax disables it on some patches, leaving random matches as the only option).

In addition, I recommend spending your queue time between matches to find and collect Skyshards, in addition to lorebooks, psijic portals, crafting nodes and similar items, to make sure you can level up the rest of your skill lines at ease, even those that aren’t directly combat-related.

Make sure to follow these advice, and you’ll make it to max level in no time, while learning a lot about PvPing with your new character, before even completing and finalizing it.

I hope you enjoyed this guide and found it helpful!
If you have any questions or feedback regarding this guide or it’s attached video, feel free to reach out to me by joining my discord server or tagging me on Twitter.

Thank you for reading this guide, and good luck crushing your opponents in Battlegrounds!

About NirnStorm
NirnStorm is a content creator on Twitch and on YouTube. He currently plays and streams mainly The Elder Scrolls Online, with a focus on end-game PvP, and occasionally some different games such as Witcher, Among Us, Apex Legends and many others!