The “when will Battle for Azeroth” speculation train is rolling once again because it looks like patch 7.3.5 is just around the corner. We haven’t actually been told when that’s landing yet, of course, but the World of Warcraft community continues to push forward with the sort of boundless optimism that it’s so well known for. “This time is going to be different!”
Here’s a spoiler for the future: It’s not. This time is going to be exactly the same, just like how previous times have been exactly the same, just like each time we’ve talked about this have been exactly the same. Betting on anything before October is optimistic, betting before September is wildly unrealistic. Similarly, betting on 2019 is pessimistic, and later than January is wildly unrealistic just as surely.
With Battle for Azeroth a ways down the road for antsy World of Warcraft fans, a lot of attention from the community has settled on one of the expansion’s key features that could be rolling out this month. Allied races — at least the first batch of them — look to be coming to the game in Patch 7.3.5, and now we’ve learned that you won’t have to grind them over and over again.
Wowhead’s staff confirmed that once unlocked on one server, those allied races would become available to play account-wide, meaning that players won’t have to jump through the requirement hoops on each shard.
The popular WoW site also has a guide up about all of the requirements to unlock the Nightborne, Highmountain Tauren, Void Elf, and Lightforged Draenei races. This means that you can get a start on the requirements right now and be in a good position to check out the new races when they debut (probably) later this month.
One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.
But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2018 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.
When are the first four Allied Races arriving in World of Warcraft? They’re a big feature of Battle for Azeroth, but evidence increasingly points to them being playable before the expansion launch, and the latest bit of datamining for patch 7.3.5 reveals another important piece of evidence. Yes, the starting cutscenes for all four races have been mined out, with each one getting a new narration from their respective racial leaders explaining what the race is doing and where it stands with its allies.
You know, the ones you get when you create any new character and log in for the first time. They’re familiar enough.
You can watch the cutscenes below, although you can expect some minor spoilers; they also are not necessarily finalized cinematics, so caution and suspicion is advised. Just the same, it seems to be more than enough evidence that you’ll be seeing them running about sooner rather than later. And hey, it’s been two expansions since any new races were added to the mix; we’re sure that people will be excited to see some new arrivals.
With the community consensus that World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3.5 will be coming out prior to January 21st, some excitement and interest has been bubbling up over this “mid-sized” content update.
Icy Veins has a great roundup of pretty much everything you need to know about this patch, including the new mounts coming in the Call of the Scarab micro-holiday, the Seething Shore PvP battleground, new rewards for Trial of Style, the Ulduar timewalking raid, and the much-anticipated zone scaling that will revamp the leveling experience.
Perhaps the biggest question mark over this patch is the first wave of allied races. These alternative racial options are a major selling point of the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion, although it appears that four of them, including Highmountain Tauren, will become available well before then. While 7.3.5 will contain the races, mounts, and faction embassies in the data files, it will be up to Blizzard when this content will unlock.
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
Blizzard took the month of November with huge announcements for World of Warcraft, specifically the Battle for Azeroth expansion and vanilla-flavored WoW Classic servers.
Meanwhile, we saw the sunset of Motiga, the sunset announcement for Master X Master, and the abysmally handled and abrupt end of Gazillion and Marvel Heroes.
In happier news, Kakao took the wraps off its next mega-MMORPG, Ascent: Infinite Realm, specifically targeting western players.
And lockboxes continued to drive conversations around the law, the cost of games development, the press, and gambling, and not just because of EA: Guild Wars 2’s mount lockboxes and Star Citizen’s land claims sales reminded MMO players that monetization problems aren’t just for mainstream gamers. Still, we doubt anyone will be forgetting the ol’ claim that lockboxes create a “sense of pride and accomplishment” any time soon.
Read on for the whole list!
We still do not know exactly when World of Warcraft will make allied races playable. What we do know is that it sure as heck looks like it’s going to happen before the next expansion is out; that’s not announced, no, but there is an awful lot of material about them already on the test server. Everything points to them being a pre-launch thing, most likely along the lines of Demon Hunters with Legion. All well and good. And we also know the preliminary requirements for these various races, which is… more contentious.
There’s a lot of stuff we don’t know yet, of course; while achievement tracking is account-wide, it’s not yet clear if you need to have the reputation and achievements on multiple characters or just on one. (It’s plausible, for example, that you might need to have the reputation on the character but can get the achievements on another.) But there’s already some debate about whether or not these requirements are too steep, and I think it’s an interesting thing to discuss and analyze, even while I’m of the mind that it seems pretty reasonable thus far.
With 2017 drawing to a close and 2018 rushing up to meet us, the Massively OP team has regrouped for another round of bold and goofy predictions for the year ahead. We’re feeling pretty good after our fairly successful predictions from last year! What’s in store for the MMO genre next year? Here’s what we think.
So, what sort of World of Warcraft information do you find most interesting? Because there are two different flavors available. If you’re the sort who enjoys taking on raids as they come out but also prefers doing so with the raid finder, you’ll be happy to know that the second wing of Antorus is now available for players to explore on the raid finder. Needless to say, it will involve a fair amount of demon killing, because that’s where the story has gone. You’ll have to wait a little longer for the final two wings.
If you’re more curious about the future, though, Wowhead has been mining out data about the first four Allied Races as new 7.3.5 PTR builds go live. The latest build added clearer requirements to unlock each of the four races, specifically completing the zone-wide achievement associated with each race (Highmountain for Highmountain Tauren, Suramar for the Nightfallen, and the Argus story campaign for both Lightforged Draenei and Void Elves) while reaching Exalted with an appropriate faction (the Alliance races above require Army of the Light and Argussian Reach at Exalted, respectively). It’s already known that you will need to own Battle for Azeroth, but it’s looking like a great deal of groundwork can be done beforehand, especially as the tracking for these achievements is account-wide.
Over at MMORPG.com, one of the writers has formulated an intriguing theory that Blizzard is actually in the process of creating a Diablo MMORPG which will be announced next year.
The hypothesis mostly is based on a few factors from last month’s BlizzCon, including the lack of a Diablo presence at all and the seemingly rushed announcement of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. The author argues that Blizzard originally wanted to announce the Diablo MMO, but since it wasn’t quite ready, it hurried the announcement of Battle for Azeroth before it intended to share that with the community.
When you throw in other elements such as Blizzard leeching WoW members for other projects and hiring devs with “massively multiplayer” experience, it’s enough to make you pause and go “hm.”
In the lull between expansions, I’ve been hard at work bringing my alts up to the level cap, unlocking all of the class mounts, picking up the occasional appearance that I really want from the Mage Tower challenge… you know, the usual stuff. And the result is that I find myself asking a question that surprises me a wee bit in the context of World of Warcraft: What is going to happen to all of the class orders?
I neither had an answer nor cared about one when it came to garrisons. Presumably, they’d continue to sit there, a testament to what happens when designers try to make housing that isn’t housing and don’t understand why people like housing in the first place. But the order halls are different. They’re cross-factional, they’re important, and perhaps most importantly, they represent something that makes different use of the resources of the world.
So what’s happening to these orders? How are they changing? How does this play into the war between the Horde and the Alliance becoming properly hot? And might we get some extra lore about these things?
There’s a lot of information coming out about patch 7.3.5 at this point. Not everything, of course, and a lot of it is based more on datamining than actual stuff that has been announced. But it seems fair to say that World of Warcraft’s immediate future for the next lengthy expansion gap is on the test servers right now, and some of it is obvious while some pieces are… less so. And, if I might be so bold, it even gives us a pretty clear picture of the next few months right out of the gate.
Right now the live game is, obviously, focused on Antorus. That’s the focus for the actual gameplay, and the slow trickle of wings into the group finder are the big thing to do and look forward to until the whole of the content is available by January. For that matter, I think that part of the goal of the next month or so is to give people all the reason in the world to run and explore Antorus and see the story for themselves if they’re interested in having a personal stake in what happens next.
Antorus is out now, and if you want to see the cinematic that ends the very long-running story about the Burning Legion and Sargeras, well, that’s easy to do. It’s kind of spoiler-filled, though, so I’m not going to be talking about it here in any detail beyond mentioning that Azeroth does not exactly end things without a major impact. And needless to say, people have already started asking “why is it that World of Warcraft’s next expansion is going back to factional squabbles when this just happened?”
It’s a question with lots of good answers. So I want to dive into exactly those. In fact, you can neatly divide the answers up into three categories: The anthropic principle, real-life parallels, and the change of flavors. And it’s not that one or the other is the “real” answer or the “right” one; it’s that all three of them combine perfectly to make factional squabbles a perfectly reasonable next destination after the cosmic invasion of the last expansion.