Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Blizzard gets back to basics with ‘World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Cinematic Trailer
Blizzard capped off the opening ceremony for BlizzCon 2017 with several major announcements for one of its most venerable titles “that also has amazing shoulder pads,” World of Warcraft . As expected, we have a new expansion inbound, Battle for Azeroth, which gets back to the franchise’s core conflict of the Alliance versus the Horde. Executive Producer J. Allen Brack also had another surprise in store, however: An upcoming Classic server option that will allow players to go back in time and enjoy the pre-expansion World of Warcraft experience. Neither was given a release time frame, though Brack’s comments about the classic server in particular, “It’s gonna take some time, but it will happen” suggested it was not imminent.

Battle for Azeroth is the sixth major expansion for World of Warcraft since the game launched in 2004. The conflict between the Alliance and the Horde has been a persistent feature of Azeroth, but its intensity has waxed and waned as outside threats forced both sides to put aside their differences temporarily on several occasions. The time for compromise has passed, however, and now Azeroth is on the brink of world war. Both sides are rallying their forces for an all-out conflict on a scale never seen in the World of Warcraft. The opening cinematic featured a gritty siege in Lordaeron, with Varian Wrynn leading the Allied forces against Sylvanas Windrunner and the Horde in a castle. Apparently, the expansion begins in the wake of this world-shaking battle.

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Features Overview

In order to tip the scales in their favor, both sides will have new continents to explore and alliances to forge therein. The Alliance will be exploring the Kul’Tiras archipelago, while the Horde will be penetrating the jungle depths of Zandalar. Both sides will have parallel quests to “battle for land and resources”  that will feed into overall conflict. Six new “allied races” join the fight, with three playable for each faction (and supposedly more coming after launch), including Void Elves, Lightforced Draenei, Blackiron Dwarves, Highmountain Tauren, Zandalari Trolls, and Nightborn. You unlock the ability to create new characters in these races (which start at level 20) once you have successfully brought them into your side through quests. The overall level cap will also go up to 120, at which point the world quests and allied race emissaries will become available.

A new system of Uncharted Islands will allow groups of three players to explore discrete areas with randomized content. There is also a new 20-player cooperative mode called Warfront in which players lead whole armies and battle for control over strategically important locations in gameplay inspired by the classic Warcraft real-time strategy games.

The announcement of World of Warcraft: Classic will excite a lot of fans that were disappointed when in 2016 Blizzard shut down a fan-run vanilla World of Warcraft server, Nostalrius. In an attempt to soften the blow, Blizzard invited the Nostalrius team to tour its headquarter and speak with them about what they want out of their WoW experience. That effort to listen to their community has finally come to fruition in these official classic servers.

According to creative director Alex Afrasiabi at the follow-up panel, the zone-level scaling introduced in Legion, which adjusted the difficulty of whole zones based on your character level, will be rolled out across the entire game. Zones will scale to a cap, so not every region will be equally playable at all levels, but it will allow for a wider range of options to play at any given level. This feature will be rolling out soon in the public test realm servers, likely dropping in the main game before either Battle for Azeroth or Classic arrive.

Editors' Recommendations

Will Fulton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Fulton is a New York-based writer and theater-maker. In 2011 he co-founded mythic theater company AntiMatter Collective…
World of Warcraft development paused amid Activision-Blizzard harassment lawsuit
A party attacks a red dragon in World of Warcraft.

Following an explosive lawsuit filed against publishing giant Activision-Blizzard, development on World of Warcraft has been paused according to a senior designer working on the game.

Taking to Twitter, World of Warcraft senior system designer Jeff Hamilton didn't mince words, saying "I can tell you, almost no work is being done on World of Warcraft right now while this obscenity plays out. And that benefits nobody -- not the players, not the developers, not the shareholders."

Read more
World of Warcraft Classic: How to level a boosted character from 58-60 fast
wow classic how to level boosted character 58 60 fast leveling guide featured

Leveling up in World of Warcraft Classic was no easy feat: A bitter reminder of just how little time players of the original game have in adulthood. If you were able to stick it through, you're likely all set to venture through the Dark Portal as Burning Crusade Classic launches in early June. If not, there's still hope. A one-time paid boost can take a character of your choice to level 58. But with level 60 still being the goal, you don't have much time to get there. Here's how to level a boosted character to level 60 fast in WoW Classic.

Further reading:

Read more
World of Warcraft Classic: How to race to level 60 fast
Characters fly on mounts in World of Warcraft Classic.

Playing World of Warcraft Classic can get frustrating if you don't know how to level up to 60. Many twists, turns, and blocks prevent you from getting to the next level because you either lose money or you lose a life. To make your game go a bit easier and get farther along, this guide will help you level up to 60 in no time.

There are two main ways to level quick in WoW Classic: Questing and dungeons. Questing is generally the more fruitful of the two, so that's where we'll start. However, you can also level quickly by farming dungeons with the right loadout.

Read more