BlizzCon 2017: Everything you need to know about World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion

Blizzard made several major announcements for World of Warcraft today that you probably need to know about if you’re a current or even a former player who’s been trying to decide whether or not to go back. Let’s recap the highlights!

  • The expansion is called Battle for Azeroth. We don’t know when it’s launching or when it’ll go into beta. You can, however, opt-in to the beta through Battlenet as always. We’re guessing it’s a ways off as there’s no preorder yet.
  • The level cap is lifting to 120. The official site boasts a level 110 booster as a catch-up mechanic.
  • Allied races (not sub-races) are happening. We’ll start with six: Void Elves, Dark Iron Dwarves, and Lightforged Draenei for Alliance and Nightborne, Highmountain Tauren, and Zandalari Trolls for Horde. We can quest to make them allies, then we can roll them ourselves from level 20 (or race-change into them), though there are extra gear rewards for those who level the hard way.

  • Jaina is back! Alliance players will be defending the zones of Kul Tiras (Tiragarde Sound, Drustvar, and Stormsong Valley), while Horde will be recruiting from the Zandalar empire’s Zuldazar, Nazmir, and Vol’dun areas, all in a world that is much more strictly divided along factional lines than in older expansions.
  • Island Expeditions constitute a new three-player, role-agnostic gameplay type a bit like scenarios.
  • Warfronts are new; they’ll be 20-man co-op raids against NPC armies.
  • The Heart of Azeroth is a new character progression system a la artifacts. More expected tonight.
  • There are 10 new dungeons, with special leveling dungeons for each side, along with a few raids, in at least one of which we’ll be fight Azshara herself.

Some of the best updates are actually launching before the expansion, mind you. Those’d be:

  • Level-scaling – it’s not new to WoW, but it will finally be encompassing the whole of the game, every zone, not just new content. Players will be able to journey through older expansion zones more flexibly, too; for example, you’ll be able to choose either Outland or Northrend as you level from 60 to 80. It launches in 7.3.5 and should hit the PTR “soon.”
  • PvP is getting quite a bit of love ahead of the expansion too. Not only is there a new battleground, Seething Shore, but Blizzard is removing the PvE/PvP server distinction and essentially making world PvP entirely opt-in.

And finally, Blizzard announced that it is indeed working on legacy servers called World of Warcraft: Classic. We don’t have many details on it, but there you go. It’s happening.

We have more liveblogs on the way tonight and tomorrow, so join us!

Follow all of Massively OP’s coverage of BlizzCon 2017, Blizzard’s annual fan convention highlighting World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and beyond!
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60 Comments on "BlizzCon 2017: Everything you need to know about World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion"

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Necromonger

Its sad that no other studio was able to match WoW other then GW2…..

Every other mmo failed completly wich is realy realy sad…

I tried playing a ton of other games and other mmo’s and i never imaged me saying that nothing comes even close to WoW after all these years -_-

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Ben Stone

The reveal didn’t exactly blow my mind, and I think that the way they are turning the new races into a cash cow / grind is annoying (here is hoping they at least give you one free race transfer once you unlock).

That being said, WoW is kinda winning by default at the moment. Legion was a solid expansion and if they keep going along those lines the new one will be decent too even if there aren’t any mind blowing new features.

The real problem is that all the other MMOs around are so disappointing right now. I would love for there to be another MMO to move onto, but its slim pickings.

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kelvar

GW2 Path of Fire has been great thus far. Check it out if you’d like a change.

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Ben Stone

It has been tempting me, I was pretty disappointed with the first GW2 expansion though. And I really hate that they abandoned dungeons. Is Path of Fire still mostly just about running DE chains? What is the main activity?

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kelvar

PoF is far better than HoT. I too was disappointed in the dungeons being ditched. But the mounts are amazing. Probably the best implementation of any game thus far.

The zone design is far better and the mobs are far more forgiving and less annoying. Most inprotnsntly there’s no god flamed mushrooms!

Check it out :)

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Josh

Eh…it looks ok. I’ll probably pass though. The allied races is a nice indirect way to get a bit more character diversity in a game where there’s so few options for character creation, but the unlock sounds annoying.
The level scaling is nice, but I’d rather stick with GW2, where this has been baseline since launch.
Classic servers are the only thing I’m really intrigued by, but I doubt those rosey-colored glasses will stay long when facing the actual reality of it. I mean, there will be a lot of quality-of-life changes getting taken away along with the actual content revert.

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voydd

All in all I’m quite excited but not sure I like Kul Tiras Alliance Zandalar Horde only idea.

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Jack Pipsam

Keen.

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Ysayle was right

Petition to change the expansion title to Tides of Ruin as a callback to Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.

Reader
Ahelms Tub

which would also fit with the jaina proudmoore book from a few years ago which its title was a throwback to that. it was called tides of war https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0061NXDO0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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Ysayle was right

So if BC and Wrath will be interchangeable, will that do the same for Cataclysm and Pandaria? For Warlords and Legion? Because I know which expansions to skip in all of these cases,

Loyheta
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Loyheta

Level scaling might be what I needed to enjoy questing again.

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Nascent Visions

A PvP-centric expansion in a game played almost exclusively at this point by PvErs. What could possibly go wrong?

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Chris Walker

Unless there’s something I’m missing, so far the only real PvP feature in the expansion for players like me is the new BG. If anything, the expansion sounds very PvE-centric, with a small bone for pvp players. PvE features: Island Expeditions, Warfronts, higher level cap, 10 new dungeons, The Heart of Azeroth character progression, etc.

I also don’t consider the world pvp opt-in to be a “pvp feature”.

Reader
Nascent Visions

I was speaking more…thematically? You make a lot of valid points. I guess my real gripe is most people have never and will never care about Horde V. Alliance so making that the focal point of the game’s next expansion (either in name or in practice) seems lazy at best and foolish at worst. Especially since, as you point out, there doesn’t seem to be any meaningful Horde V. Alliance PvP coming.

The opt-in feature is a case in point. “The theme of this expansion is all out war between Horde and Alliance, blood, devastation, death, war, and horror! You may of course opt out at any time.”

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murmillo

A lot of people complained and questioned the point of factions after the ‘let’s all get together and hug it out, Pandaria’ expansion. This direction is about identity and about being “proud”, if you can say that about a game, of being in either faction.

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Schmidt.Capela

I’ve always questioned factions, they were a bummer from day 1 for me. Why the heck should I be prevented from playing group content with someone else just because we picked different factions at character creation?

I still remember how this even contributed to faction imbalances, as large communities were choosing a specific realm and faction, often in a PvP realm, so everyone in it could play together. Case in point, Brazilians elected Warsong Horde as the unofficial Brazilian refuge in WoW, with the few that wanted to play Alliance picking Gurubashi so they could still have a Horde alt to play with the rest of the community (back then you could only have characters of one faction in a PvP realm).

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Chris Walker

I see. I’d still prefer real pvp updates vs thematic pvp overtones any day. ;)

As for more Horde vs Alliance, I love it. I wish they’d emphasize even more of that in the future — as a real return to the roots of the game. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but the whole “kumbaya-we-smoke-peace-pipe” between the factions never sat well with me.

Reader
Voxflux .

I almost got sucked into the hype, but after driving home and thinking about it, I’m not falling for it again. FFxiv was my personal WoW killer, and I’ve kicked the habit.
At lest the Cinematic was cool.

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Schmidt.Capela

Blizzard is removing the PvE/PvP server distinction and essentially making world PvP entirely opt-in.

This is interesting. So in essence there are no more PvP realms (as in, realms where the PvP isn’t opt-in).

I wonder if this is a prelude for merging (sorry, connecting) more realms. AFAIK there is a large number of PvP realms that are awfully underpopulated.

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Vicarious Fan

well they don’t really merge realms in WoW just do that cross server instanced zones thing.

As for PVP it’s kind of silly to have PVP realms in WoW. I mean its not like there is any actual World PVP. The most you get is some level 120 ganking lowbies in vanilla zones. Everything else people just queue up in Group finder for PVP and Raids.

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Rumm

Is 10 new dungeons with launch the most we’ve had since WOTLK?

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Schmidt.Capela

Though from the announcement seems like you will need to have alts on both factions if you want to play all 10 dungeons, as it seems like at least a few will be faction-specific.

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Darkthunder

All 10 dungeons will be available to both factions at Level 120.

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Hirku

So does this new PVP opt-in system mean I don’t have to deal with high-level opposing faction players coming along and murdering all the quest NPCs? Are players flagged for PVP off in some phase of their own and not around me at all? That would be yet another piece of fantastic news.

hurbster
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hurbster

Ahhh, Isle of Quel’danus (sp?). Turning in a quest and accidentally tagging a player from an opposing faction, shite memories every one…

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thirtymil

I think I’m out for this one. There’s a whole lot of stuff in this expansion that doesn’t really float my boat (just throwing that pun in there because… y’know… Kul Tiras… tell you what, I’ll get my coat…) and a lot of the stuff I was hoping for hasn’t made it in.

Not a criticism of the expansion per se – there seems to be a lot of people happy with it – but I was approaching burnout anyway so given the disparity between what I want and the design, it’s a good time to hang up my druid’s 11-year old…erm, boots? Feathers?

“Sorry Warcraft, it’s not you, it’s me.”

wandris
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wandris

Maybe it will be time to actually do some of those cata zones now that it will be possible to do more than 5 quest without outleveling the content…

and they finally fix the PVP servers now that there is nobody left to scam faction/server transfers service fees from. Thankfully it only cost me gold to transfer 10 chars onto a new server.

It is a bit disappointing though not to be moving the story in a newer direction after finally facing off the legion. Perhaps this will be a build up to something more substantial in 9.0 like a void war. At least it isn’t an underwater naga expansion, although perhaps that will be for post launch content.

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Diego Camargo

So, it seems I am the ONLY one NOT excited about what they announced so far?

It’s basicaly sub races that you have to quest to get them, which means I will have to play to earn for something I pay for. Plus, the horde vs ally, again. Plus, a bunch of islands and a legendary necklace that most of casual players will not get or get too late and that’s pretty much it so far.

I am the only one not seeing the 50 USD tag worthy of a exp? (at least not yet, not sure if they will announce more ‘meat’ on this burger).

I mean, most of these stuff are life improvements, not something you announce as an exp content. Only Blizzard can do something like that and people be happy. If it was any other company though…

nvidia
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nvidia

which means I will have to play to earn for something I pay for.

Uhh.. isn’t that almost every game ever? You pay so that you can play it. What a bizarre thing to say.

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Diego Camargo

I don’t think you understood what I tried to say.

I mean, you pay for an expansion that one of the selling points is the new sub-race thing. But then, you cannot do right away, you have to play a whole campaign in-game so then, and just then, you can play with the new sub-races.

If that was a feature in any other MMO people would go berserk, but hey, it’s wow, right?

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Vicarious Fan

they did it with Death Knights. Remember you had to have a level 55 character to create a Death Knight when you bought the expansion.

In other MMOs they have done similar things.

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Diego Camargo

Not the same. Back on WotLK you just had to have any char lvl 55 in any server to unlock DKs. This time you have to play a campaign to unlock the new sub-races.

When WotLK was announced you just had to lvl a char to lvl 55 (if you didn’t have one) to play a dk from day one.
With the new expansion you can’t do that (unless you pay, I am sure). You have to wait the exp hit the servers and then who knows how much you have to quest before doing the campaign to unlock this sub-races.

It is not about the campaign, though. It is the fact you cannot have this from the get-go. But to be honest, I have no interest in playing the same races with a different skin and a few different racials, anyway.

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be rational

By that logic you should also achieve level 120 by not playing since that is a selling point of the expansion as well.

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Schmidt.Capela

110, actually, as it’s the starting level of the expansion.
And you do get a boost taking a single character to 110 when you purchase the expansion.

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Hirku

I’m sure you’ll find a kindred spirit or two in the official forums.

Reader
Brother Maynard

Warfronts have a lot of potential if done right… Class-specific assignments in the first phase (hunters and rogues working behind the enemy lines, tracking and assassinating priority targets, healers keeping the main group including NPCs alive during onslaughts, tanks leading the sorties, etc); there could be profession-specific assignments (it would be awesome if engineers could build all kinds of wacky combat gadgets and then deploy them during the main push), and so on.

Preferably, it should be done through dynamic zones and groups, which people can freely enter and leave and with the possibility to establish, lose, re-capture and upgrade outposts before launching a big push to the enemy base. A bit like an upgraded PvE version of the Alterac BG. And yes, there has to be a real risk of losing – and then having to start from scratch (with extra daily rewards if necessary to motivate people).

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Armsbend

Off topic: where is our around the verse this week? I like ending my week with a few laughs.

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RJB

Jaina looks like she’s older and like just got done with a activity lol withered

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Matthäus Wey

She looks like Elsa from Frozen x_x

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RJB

elsa doesn’t look that hungover

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Vicarious Fan

Elsa also didn’t have her city blown up, help in killing her father, or have her love turn into one of the most evil threats to the world..

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Hirku

So excited. This was my last shot with MMOs and it paid off big time.

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Pandalulz

Legacy and scaling, call me very intrigued. Good job Blizzard.

Reader
Matthäus Wey

This has been the worst announcement I’ve seen in recent years… I never had high hopes for the expansion after legion (knowing how time-consuming legions production was) but this was simply disappointing for me. Beside less innovation and overall creativity, everything seemed really loveless(?) or somehow off to me. Also, I’m quite sure the visuals were really bad compared to Legion (which had gorgeous landscapes and many details). :(

borghive
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borghive

I thought this new zones looked pretty interesting. AS far as the theme of the expansion goes, I love that we aren’t getting the big bad guy expansion, that has been so over done the last few years. This expansion seems like the game is going back to it’s roots.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Azshara is certainly a big bad guy, and she’s directly tied to N’Zoth, who’s also an ultra big bad guy. So yeah, I wouldn’t rule that out; like any other expac, what we do at max level is going to be much different than what was advertised at the start.

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Utakata

Level-scaling…

…after my misplaced rant of the previous thread about this, this maybe the only good news I am salvaging from it…and assuming it’s implemented well without issues.

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Chris Walker

The only thing I do in WoW is PvP, so any love it gets is encouraging. Looking forward to more details about the new BG and enhancements to pvp progression.

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Armsbend

So is everything level scaling like ESO? The thing I didn’t want -_-;

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Scott

Not exactly. Each area will have a level range, e.g. 40-60 so you just don’t jump into Overland, etc.

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Armsbend

Well, it seems that a lot of people are excited about the changes so I’ll be optimistic too I guess.

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Daniel Reasor

Since a new toon outlevels a zone and its rewards faster than they can complete that zone’s story arc, it sounds more like they’re trying to make the zones that you quest and level in a meaningful choice.

I would prefer that they use level scaling as an excuse to revamp Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms and make the old school zones important for new toons and veterans alike, but this is a compromise that I can totally live with. It’ll be nice to have this in place when I’m leveling new Allied Race toons to earn their transmog armors.

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Armsbend

It’s true. But the time I was finishing a zone recently the quests were blinking (low level). Okay, I’m on board.

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Vicarious Fan

i’m more interested with how they are doing it with the old expansions.

After hitting 60 i can choose to do Wotlk from 60 to 80 instead of having to grind through BC

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johnwillo

They seem to be going pretty low-key on the new races. Mostly (entirely?) existing models with new color palettes, and no starting areas since they start at level 20 once you’ve completed the grind for them.

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Red Galaxie

craaaaap, I don’t want to return to this game, but they’re making it look enticing.

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Gooty

Legacy servers? I dont get it… it’s not april 1st yet, guys!

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Indigo Salma

Just by the name i thought it was a Battle Royale type XD.

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Carlos

I gotta say alliance looking pretty good in that cinematic. Still think killing off lothar and troll warchief off was lame. I really wanted to like legion but artifacts grind really killed my enthusiasm

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