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What to expect in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

With the burning legion defeated and Azeroth's safety secured, the Horde and Alliance now face their greatest threat, each other! That’s the pitch for Battle for Azeroth, the newly announced expansion pack for World of Warcraft. There’s lots of cool new features coming to the game, here’s what you can expect.

Battle for Azeroth’s story picks up where Legion left off; the Alliance and Horde combined their forces by heading to Argus to stop the Burning Legion once and for all. However, tensions between the Alliance and Horde arise as the Alliance have not forgotten the betrayal at The Burning Shore that lead to King Varian’s death. The starting questline will have the Horde burning down Teldrassil and the Alliance taking back Lordaeron from the Undead. These events change the landscape of Azeroth as the Alliance fully control the Eastern Kingdoms while the Horde control Kalimdor.

The Horde and Alliance will each have a different continent to level from. The Alliance travel to Kul Tiras while the Horde will travel to Zandalar. Each continent will have unique content associated with it and at max level you’ll be able to explore the opposing faction’s continent. Speaking of max level, Blizzard will be upping the level cap to level 120 and similar to Legion, will include one character boost to level 110 with the purchase of the expansion.

One major change coming to Battle for Azeroth is the removal of the artifact weapons introduced in Legion. While we don’t know if it means they’ll be removed from our inventories or if there’s a story mission to return your weapon, we’ll once again be obtaining new weapons throughout our journey. However, in place of these, a new item is introduced called The Heart of Azeroth, a legendary necklace that’s provided to players that can be upgraded using Azerite. The upgrades obtained allow you to gain new powers and traits similar to artifact upgrades. Similar to artifact power, you’ll find Azerite throughout your adventure and as well as from different quests and dungeons.

While Battle for Azeroth doesn’t include a brand new race, it does try something different by adding new Allied Races. The new Allied Races include the Highmountain Tauren, Dark Iron Dwarves, Nightborne Elves, Lightborne Dranei, Zandalari Trolls and Void Elves. Each are based off a pre-existing races but they have their own unique racials and customization options. Blizzard has confirmed that while these 6 races will be available at launch, there WILL be more launching later on in the expansion. You’ll be able to change your existing character’s race to one of the allied races but you’ll earn a special heritage transmog armor set if you level your character from level 20-120 as an allied race. Blizzard has confirmed that there will not be a new class this time around, and that each class will receive some tweaking when patch 7.35 launches next year. 

Speaking of levelling, the overall leveling process from level 1-90 is getting a much needed overhaul. Similar to Legion’s levelling system, the level scaling system is being applied to all of the expansion content with the following level ranges: Burning Crusade + Wrath of the Lich King quests between level 60-80 and Mists of Pandaria + Cataclysm quests between level 80-90. This will allow you to mix and match between expansions or concentrate on a single expansion’s content, it’s up to you how you want to level. Starting zones will still be level 1-10 while each zone in the 10-60 content will have their levels adjusted to have a 20 level range, meaning you can spend more time in your favourite zones or not feel like you are rushed from zone to zone every five levels. These changes will actually roll out before the expansion releases and will be available to all players.

With Battle for Azeroth’s story focussing on the tension between the Alliance and the Horde, world PVP is getting a much needed overhaul as well. Servers will no longer be flagged as PVP or PVE servers; instead, characters will be able to toggle PVP on or off at will allowing you travel between different shards on the same realm. Blizzard has stated that this could lead to new world PVP features added later but we still haven’t heard too many details regarding this.

There will also be two new PVE additions coming in the form of Island Expeditions and Warfronts. Island Expeditions will work similarly to Scenarios from Mists of Pandaria where you and two friends explore different islands in search of Azerite while completing different objectives depending on the island. These encounters are designed to last approximately 15-20 minutes at most and are meant to be role agnostic, meaning they are meant to be completed with any combination of 3 characters and classes. They will offer the normal 3 difficulties, Normal, Heroic and Mythic as well as a PVP difficulty that matches you up against opposing players.

Warfronts on the other hand are a 20 player mode allowing you to compete in a large scale battles meant to feel like an epic battle from a Warcraft RTS game. You’ll obtain resources, build buildings, recruit troops and attack fortresses. Warfronts are only active at certain times, similar to other rotating weekly events but we don’t know the rate of which they’ll be available. We do have confirmation that the first Warfront will be Stromgarde, with it being a key fortress in the Eastern Kingdoms.

With the launch of any new World of Warcraft expansion comes new dungeons and raids. There will be 10 total new dungeons, but as you level up you’ll have 4 available to you depending on your faction with the rest unlocking as you reach level 120. Meanwhile, the new raid is Uldir, The Halls of Control, which is a quarantine facility built by the titans in order to to contain G’huun, the blood god, and will feature 8 new bosses. It was also confirmed that during the expansion there will be a raid encounter featuring Queen Azshara

Battle For Azeroth is already beginning to shape to be one of the biggest World of Warcraft expansions to date! We don’t have a firm release date from Blizzard yet, but the game is set to arrive sometime in 2018. As we get closer to the launch of Patch 7.35 and the launch of Battle For Azeroth, I’ll be continuing to bring you all of the details for what’s to come. Until then, I’ll be preparing my Night Elf Priest for raiding Antorus, The Burning Throne on November 28th!

Ryan Turford