This weekend, Blizzard and its loyal base of fans have gathered in Anaheim, CA for BlizzCon, the annual convention and biggest event of the year for the gaming giant. Wanting to start the weekend off with a bang, Blizzard ended their opening presentation with a bombastic cinematic and big announcement: the seventh expansion for World of Warcraft, titled Battle for Azeroth.
“The battle against the Legion has left the world broken—but the shattered trust between the Alliance and the Horde could prove the hardest wound to mend,” according to the official press release. Battle for Azeroth will revisit the central conflict of the Warcraft series, the Alliance versus the Horde, but along with it comes a wide array of features brand new to the experience.
First on the list of additions are the new questing zones, both legendary in the Warcraft lore: Zandalar for the Horde, and Kul Tiras for the Alliance. Then comes the new “Allied Races” with unique abilities, such as Highmountain tauren and Void elves, which can be unlocked by gaining reputation with their respective factions. Players can also now explore the Great Sea and battle it out for treasure and territory on small-scenario Islands, or compete in the “Warfronts,” a new PvE mode inspired by classic real-time strategy Warcraft. Finally, the level cap has been raised to 120, and purchasers of the expansion can boost right to level 110 and dive into the new content.
In an extensive interview with Polygon, World of Warcraft director Ion Hazzikostas discussed the game’s journey since Warlords of Draenor—an expansion with poor endgame content partly responsible for driving nearly 4 million subscribers away. After the well-received Legion last year, which fixed many of the present issues, the team is no longer working off of an endgame that, in their own words, “feels broken.” Rather, the team is “focusing some of those creative energies into crafting new systems that are going to really help the story and flesh out the world that we’re building for this new expansion,” Hazzikostas says.
With a return to form for the story and a confident new lineup of modes, activities, and systems, Battle for Azeroth could be the expansion that returns World of Warcraft to its former glory. Look for more news coming soon.