Blizzcon 2017: World of Warcraft

Blizzcon has once again come and gone from the Anaheim Convention Center. Over the course of November 3 and 4th Blizzard Entertainment took over the expanded venue and made a variety of announcements to their games. This series of  articles won’t go into a lot of detail, but we’ll try to cover what the main announcements were.

Arguably still Blizzard’s biggest game, World of Warcraft had a couple of pretty big announcements to reveal. First on the block:

Yes, Blizzard has finally gone down that path. While they’ve said in the past they have no intention of creating Legacy servers, it seems they’ve reversed that decision based on fan feedback. J. Allen Brack did caution fans that while this means they are working on it, it will take some time. Part of that is due to the fact that the old code needs to be rewritten to work with modern hardware. Don’t forget this is 13+ years old at this point. As well, in the Q&A session, it was noted that a big part of it would be discussions with the fans as well, deciding on exactly what a ‘Classic’ server would entail. Which parts should stay the same as they were then, and what should be updated. Do we want to use the original character models for authenticity, or would the updated ones be a nice visual quality. Are there bugs that should stay in for nostalgia sake, or should they update those parts in order to improve game playability? All of these answers are ones that they will work with the community in answering. Let’s just hope that the community doesn’t find out that wanting is not the same as having.

This leads us to the next announcment:

Yes, the next expansion for World of Warcraft is here. The Battle for Azeroth. It seems that the Horde and Alliance are once again at each other’s throats. Kul Tiras and Zandalar have finally been revealed, and the battle lines have been drawn.

Of course, with a new expansion also comes new features and systems. The first of these is the Island expeditions. Island Expeditions are new 3 man scenario content, with changing content. The best part about it is that it will be role agnostic. You can do it with 3 tanks, 3 dps, or if you’re feeling really crazy, 3 healers. Next comes warfronts. Warfronts are 20 man PvE content based very much on the original RTS games. You’ll build buildings, research upgrades, and send your troops out to destory the Horde, or swarm the Alliance. Artifact weapons are being retired, as expected, and being replaced with The Heart of Azeroth. The Heart will be similar in some ways, but the progression won’t be as linear. Instead of adding power directly to the Heart, the Heart will instead unlock power on various pieces of armor. And finally, the biggest part of the announcement is in the races. Instead of getting a new race for each faction, you will instead have the ability to unlock ‘Allied Races’. These allied races will be races that you can recruit to the cause. Once you’ve done the quest to recruit them, you can then create your own member of the Allied race which will start at level 20. If you level one from 20-110, you will get a special set of Heritage Armor that your Allied Race character can then wear.

As with Legion, the zones will be scalable to your level, letting you choose your zone as you level through Kul Tiras or Zandalar. However, the scaling will no longer be limited to Legion and Battle for Azeroth. Scaling will now occur through the ENTIRE game, with zone scaling having upper and lower limits, and expansions will be scaled as well. With Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King scaling from 60-80, and Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria will scale from 80-90. It’s a good move, and means that you won’t feel forced to quest through Hellfire Peninsula if you don’t want to, or avoid Outland entirely, and go straight to Northrend, then do Vash’jir (because that’s absolutely everyone’s favourite Cataclysm Zone), and off to the Jade Forest. The choice will be up to you, and should make levelling much more enjoyable for anyone who likes to create alts.

Oh. And one more thing: before leaving the stage, J Allen Brack gave us one more little surprise. The competed opening cinematic for Battle for Azeroth: