World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will have no personal boats, no big class overhauls, and no lockboxes

It’s hard to imagine that anyone is going to be upset about the idea of no lockboxes in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. Sure, Blizzard makes use of them in several other games, but at this point there are no plans to bring them into Azeroth, according to a new interview. (Whether or not that will change in the future remains to be seen.) Of course, the same interview that confirms that also confirms that we will not be getting our own personal boats, so it’s sort of good news, bad news.

Other interviews have indicated that the team wants to bring forward Mission Table-style content, so that doesn’t mean we won’t have anything similar; it just means it won’t be a boat.

Last but not least, there’s another “no” on the list that will either make you happy or sad depending on how you feel about the Legion mechanics for classes. While every class and spec will be adjusted and altered moving into the next expansion, there will be no major overhauls on par with the Legion shift, certainly nothing like the large-scale rework of Survival Hunters. Exactly how things will be balanced remains to be seen, but this is good news if you like your current spec’s playstyle. If you don’t… well, it’ll be adjusted, not wildly changed.

Source: Blizzard on Taliesin & Evitel Do GamesΒ and Rolling Stone via Blizzard Watch 1, 2
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45 Comments on "World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will have no personal boats, no big class overhauls, and no lockboxes"

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Grave Knight

I say “said about the first one” “not sure about the second one since I’m not a WoW player” and “awesome about the last” cause fuck lock boxes.

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Bryan Gregory

No personal boats………. but guild boats!!!!!!!!!!! Woo!

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Jack Pipsam

Boats is like all I need in life.

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Robert Mann

Heard that about classes from them so many times when I played. Then mid xpac: “Oh, we don’t like this thing you guys like, and we want our vision, so we are changing it…” Then the insults about how they know better, and how words mean what Blizzard says and not what dictionaries say.

The rest I would believe them on, but that one is at something like Eleven times bitten, a baker’s dozen shy. As in if people still trust them on that I wonder if they need medication for memory problems.

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John Mynard

Just to be clear, we aren’t getting boats per se, we’re getting AIRSHIPS! Completely different thing.

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Tiresias

As someone who really enjoyed the frenetic playstyle of Death Knights during WotLK, when they were initially released, I have not been enjoying the direction the class — my favorite — has taken in recent expansions. Almost everything that made them unique is gone. Everything is too streamlined.

Perhaps that is why there is an outcry for classic servers. Yes, most of the classes had chores to do before raids or even just for daily maintenance; during vanilla WoW I played a Rogue with Herbalism and Alchemy, so I had to gather ingredients for Blinding Powder and Thistle Tea before every raid. As a result, I also supplied healing, mana and resistance potions for the entire raid. The bulk of the Rogue squad (7 of us!) would split up around the world while on Ventrillo and coordinate the gathering of the necessary ingredients, which would take several hours a week.

This might sound crazy, but I LIKED that. The raids had investment that went into them. It was more than just “hit this thing until it dies and collect loot”; there was a WAGER of time and in-game currency on every boss attempt. The chores brought the members of the Rogue squad closer together.

Streamlining isn’t always a good thing. Many of the perks that made the classes unique are gone. Even the advantages conveyed by the crafting professions have largely vanished.

I’m glad that WoW has avoided the lockbox economy — there’s nothing good to come of that — and I’m sure that B4A will be a solid expansion, but I think that the game has just moved past me. If I want a hyper-streamlined experience I can play Destiny 2 or even Guild Wars 2. If I want a simulator I can play Black Desert or EVE Online.

But I do miss the old days of MMORPGs, when Developers were making “mistakes” that resulted in gameplay that, by modern standards, would be considered “grindy”. That need to grind is what often brought people together — when you need to crank out literally HUNDREDS of potions for a raid and the ingredients are scattered across multiple high-end zones, you HAVE to work as a group to accomplish the task.

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Sorenthaz

Sounds like BfA is literally the ‘safe’ fallback expansion after the roller coaster that is/was Legion and Warlords of Draenor.

This was like the perfect opportunity to add in player boats that take on the Garrison/Order Hall system, but I guess Blizzard is probably aiming at getting something out faster this time around and don’t want to choke it full of risky features.

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Loopy

My Christmas wish will be complete if WoW announces return to twitch healing. Even though the classes are not getting reworked, here’s hoping that roles go through some tweaking.

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Dug From The Earth

Im a bit confused. Ive played WoW off an on since beta, and healing has never been “Twitch”.

Unless you mean healers deciding to start streaming their gameplay again for others to watch.

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Tiresias

I’m not sure how much you played during the early days of WoW, but during vanilla and Burning Crusade, the boss encounters — even in heroic dungeons (in BC) required healers to be on their toes. Tanks couldn’t take more than three or four hits before dying, and bosses had mechanics that occasionally dealt out massive damage.

Since there were multiple levels of healing spells with varying levels of efficiency, healers would “spam” very low-level healing spells to fish for procs (usually for Spirit, which provided mana regen in those days and was of critical importance) but had to be aware of damage spikes. Tanks would need to use defensive cooldowns and healers would have to quickly land a big heal, often with only a second or two to react before the next big hit thanks to very long cast times on the most efficient spells.

And then you had to watch out for raid members taking big spikes of damage as well, such as Baron Geddon casting Living Bomb on someone. As a Priest I would have to pick out the victim from a 40-man raid, wait for the explosion, and hit them with a heal directly after it so they would survive the fall damage.

Obviously WoW has a limited definition of “twitch”, as it moves slower than action-oriented games; it’s more tactical in nature. But there was a time when having good twitch reflexes and decent mouse skills were important to healers.

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Chosenxeno .

I was the Bomb Healer for our group back then:) I remember letting 1 guy die because he was always being a jerk:)

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Dug From The Earth

First off, seeing someones health drop, and rushing to press your heal button, barely… BARELY qualifies as “twitch gaming”.

That said, old school WoW had 40 man raids, but it also had addons that automated and simplified a LOT of the work healers had to do.

Remember the addon called Decursive? It was a 1 button wonder addon, that eliminated the need for a healer to do anything other than click that one button over and over to remove negative debuffs from the entire raid.

There were also healing addons that made healing nothing more than wack-a-mole. There are still mouse over macro’s that allow you to simply hover your mouse over the health bar frame of the person whole needs heal and press your heal button. All of that is hardly “twitch”

Also, old school WoW really only required healers to be reactionary to events. Blizzard has done a lot of work to change not just the way tanks take damage, but also how boss deal damage, and how healers have to deal with various situations. The end result being that healers dont just have to be reactive, the also many times have to be proactive.

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Chosenxeno .

You’re exaggerating a bit. What you are describing with decursive was done on 1 fight in Molten Core.

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Dug From The Earth

That one MC fight was where most guilds required the addon.

However, that addon was nearly just as useful in ANY other encounter in the game the required a healer to cleanse a target of a debuff. The more targets that had debufs, the more useful it was. I remember using it even in 5 mans when the group would get poisoned.

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Loopy

When i say “twitch healing” i refer to the old BC/WotLK/Cata-era healing style of requiring healers to rely on their reflexes and situational awareness to drop high fidelity heal bombs, compared to the current “triage” method of heals where you trickle in healing based on prioritization, requiring a lot more button presses but less reliance on speed of reaction.

I don’t enjoy casting a heal and watching the health bar barely moving. I do enjoy feeling like i actually make a difference in saving somebody’s life with a well-timed heal bomb.

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Dug From The Earth

So basically healer wack-a-mole. Spend the entire raid encounter watching colored boxes for the ones that suddenly drop to 10%, and then click them to refill it back up again.

Not my thing for sure.

A tip though… if you are using any healing addons or macros, try not using those. It might make healing feel a bit more like you remember it being in older expansions.

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Chosenxeno .

I’ll cut through the Red Tape. I absolutely missed Whack-a-mole style of Healing. Which is why I left WoW for Rift during Cata. Suddenly it was OK for other classes to feel powerful but not Healers. Eff that. LONG LIVE WHACK-A-MOLE! It works that’s why a lot of the newer MMOs will mix Tab Healing with action combat.

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Loopy

Well i mean, you’re still watching coloured boxes for changes, but this time you’re just spamming button to get people progressively up, as opposed to using your reflexes to time your heals right and make an actual impact.

I don’t know – i’m comparing the old healing style to current FFXIV style of healing. Your heals actually feel impactful – you get an immediate feedback to your heal. There is nothing more annoying than spamming your biggest heal over and over again just to top off a party member.. it diminished the “power” behind heals, in my opinion.

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Chosenxeno .

Healing definitely got diminished. 3 things I hate about Modern Healing: The assumption that I want to do DPS while healing. The Death of Whack-a-mole. The assumption by Developers that I was bored.

I hate modern healing. I’m not interested in DPSing at all as a Healer(or I would have ROLLED A DPS!). Just let me fill up boxes dammit! I was never bored healing Raids when I played Vanilla, TBC, or Wrath. Suddenly Cata comes and Blizz is up my ass. They started making changes that made an already tough role more annoying. I also played a Resto Druid. They lowered what we can do while moving thereby defeating the whole point of being a druid.

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Ben Stone

Some of the classes could be fixed up a bit, I don’t think the majority need an overhaul though. Class balance is probably the best its been ever aside from a few outliers (or in PvP). Survival hunters and demonology warlocks stand out as needing a rework. Completely irrelevant of class balance, they are annoying to actually play (casting demonic empowerment every time you summon something? urgh).

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RJB

Eliot…. lol

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Hirku

Sounds like all good news to me, then. I never cared about a boat, I don’t want my class to change, and I happily pay a sub to avoid all that f2p shenanigans.

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Darthbawl

No lockboxes? What is this travesty? *mind blown* :P

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Utakata

Where did this personal boat thing come from anyhow? O.o

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Sorenthaz

’cause this is the expansion setting where boats would make sense. It’s pretty much the South Seas expansion and even has an emphasis on exploring uncharted islands.

Not to mention boats inheriting the Class Hall/Garrison system would make totally perfect sense in a way that would probably be more impactful than the former two, as you could have NPC crew members actually doing stuff for your ship.

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Utakata

You know…as corny as that sounds to me, I would take that over “Putting the war back in WarCraft, raw-raw-raw!!” shtick any day. Just saying.

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Armsbend

I think it’s just wishful thinking. It would be a huge headline producing move that would get probably millions of people excited for something brand new.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

Rumors and hype by people, rumors was about sea-themed expansion and boats.

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Schmidt.Capela

The expansion theme, and geography, is reminiscent of Warcraft II, which was a game where naval combat was prevalent. If player boats were to ever be introduced, it would make sense to introduce them in this expansion.

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agemyth 😩

At this point I’ll never actually expect something like player housing/boats/whatever, but I hope one day to be surprised.

I am more or less happy with the classes/specs I play, so new stuff to play with and continued tweaking will be fine.

It is a real shame Blizzard won’t be bringing over lockbox technology from their partner game devs over at Activision. Just think, the Blingtron 7000 (or maybe Blingtron INFINITY since this one would never need to be replaced) could be an RMT vendor in town. It will become the new “water cooler” location in cities for players to mingle with each other as they witness box openings in public. Blizzard set the standard for what to aspire to with card pack opening animations in Hearthstone and crates in Overwatch, so it would certainly make everyone feel good about their purchases. With that and the ability to phase lower level or low skill players up dynamically with people Blingtron’d up players the potential social experiences are endless!

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Armsbend

Blizzard I am imploring you to never bring lockboxes to your game.

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Chosenxeno .

You are forgetting something. They are actually ACTIVISION Blizzard..it’s just a matter of time…eheheehehheheheheheheh!!!

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Bryan Turner

You don’t have to when you know how to make a profitable game.

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CMDR Crow

Well, WoW isn’t Blizz’s cash-cow anymore. Hearthstone is, afaik, their big revenue winner. They don’t need to do lockboxes because they don’t really need to monitize WoW beyond what they’re already doing. Hearthstone, on the other hand, is a purely “lockbox” driven game entirely.

I’d even go so far as to say that Blizzard certainly know how to make a “profitable game” vis-a-vis the lockbox-driven Hearthstone.

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Armsbend

I don’t care about the other ones. I just care about this subscription based game of WoW. It is one of the few mostly pure games out there.

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CMDR Crow

Just pointing out that WoW’s revenue is minor in the larger scheme of things and WoW’s sub is also an outlier in Blizz’s larger stable of games which are mostly b2p and f2p featuring extensive in-app purchases. Hearthstone, Blizz’s biggest earner (I believe… it is HS and OW at the top if I remember correctly) is a game that is entirely built around lockboxes.

The point in reply to Bryan is that WoW isn’t really the best example of a “profitable game” insomuch as the other games in Blizz’s stable prop up WoW, at this point. The WoW sub is a relic of a bygone era and only still exists because Blizzard wisely diversifies their revenue streams.

The latter bit is most important and also shows how savvy Blizz is as a business compared to almost every other dev house out there. While people like EA tend to have an “All eggs in one basket” style of revenue diversity (i.e. they go all-in on lockboxes or microtransactions and their games tend to have similar revenue streams at any given time,) Blizzard very adeptly was able to keep different games within different revenue streams. WoW is a monthly sub; HS is f2p heavy rng lockboxes; DotA is standard MOBA f2p microtransactions; OW is pretty much box-price+cosmetic boxes; Diablo is box-price; SC2 is f2p; and so on.

Just interesting, as it speaks to Blizzard’s staying power as well as to their actual attention to the detail in what they’re doing.

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Armsbend

$720,000,000 per year at an estimated low-end sub count of 4M people is hardly minor – that not counting additional sales. Additional sales include the box price for their bi-annual expacs and cash shop sales. It is major. Staggering even for such an old game. It is the cornerstone of everything they do as it is virtually guaranteed income – to build other projects. I’d argue it is 100% their most important property even today for that fact alone.

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Schmidt.Capela

Subscription prices vary wildly across countries. For example, I would pay roughly half what a US player pays if I were to subscribe back. And Chinese players β€” which seem to be roughly half the total WoW players β€” pay even less.

So, no, you can’t just multiply $15 * 12 * (number of players). The subscription revenue is reasonably lower.

But yeah, it should still be far more than development costs.

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Sray

I’m not a WoW player, and never have been, but from the outside looking in the “theme” of this expansion seems to just be “more of the same thing you’ve been playing for years”. Which has both good and bad points, but ultimately might feel a little disappointing regardless of the quality due to the lack of a “special draw” to this expansion’s particular content.

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Dug From The Earth

In a sense, its more of a homecoming for many players

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Sray

Doesn’t that apply to pretty much every expansion though? There’s always a bunch of players who return for a new expansion, and most are gone in 60 to 90 days. It’s just the cycle now. As I said “just more of the same” isn’t necessarily bad, it just lacks anything “special”.

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Dug From The Earth

a homecoming in the sense of going back to a more traditional Warcraft feeling.

For so many expansions, its been about these larger than life, cosmic enemies. Its nice to be stepping away from that for a bit, to focus on other things, while the game makes it relevant.

And ive also come to the realization that there is nothing wrong with playing an mmorpg for 3 months, and then taking a multi month break. Gone are the days of playing an mmorpg for 3 years straight. Especially if we are just talking about expansions here. When there were only 2-3 mmo’s to chose from, that was more of a thing too.

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CMDR Crow

It feels like Blizzard is finally realizing that their “new game every xpac” isn’t really something the playerbase actually wants. That’s a good thing. To be frank, this is the first xpac since WotLK I’m actually excited about (Cata doesn’t count… that excitement was dashed quick) and the first since MoP that I may even be tempted to play.

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Schmidt.Capela

Funny thing about expectations, WotLK was the expansion I expected the least from and it ended as my favorite, while Cataclysm was an expansion I really expected to bring the game to new heights but ended making me quit instead.

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CMDR Crow

Hah! You know, when I got the email for this comment response I knew exactly who posted it (since usernames aren’t attached to the notification emails.)

I was wicked excited for WotLK at release, but I was also deep into WoW and didn’t really play many other games at the time. Cata, though, was the same. I even upgraded my GPU for that xpac only to find that I was not enjoying myself even before I hit the new level cap.

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