World of Warcraft resumes warring in Battle for Azeroth

Oh sure, World of Warcraft has seen plenty of fights, scraps, rumbles, scuffles, tussles, and barneys over the years, but proper war will return for really real with the MMORPG’s next expansion. Blizzard today announced Battle for Azeroth, which will see the Alliance and Horde gearing up to give each other a right drubbing. This time they really mean it uh huh. Players will adventure to new lands (Zandalar and Kul Tiras) to recruit new allies and play as those races (the Highmountain tauren, Void elves, Dark Iron dwarves, among others), power up to a higher level cap of 120, nab super-fancy new gear, and generally fight a lot. Watch the cinematic announcement trailer:

The new ‘Allied Races’ sound interesting. Blizzard explain:

“Explore Azeroth as one of six new playable Allied Races, including four you’ve encountered in your campaign against the Legion. Embark on a quest to earn their favor and unlock each race, adding their strength to your faction. Create a new character and complete the full leveling experience to earn a distinctive Heritage Armor set.”

These races will have their own unique abilities, and do look pretty fancy too.

Beyond them, the two factions will be sent to new lands to drum up more support. Alliance players will rock around Kul Tiras, the kingdom Jaina Proudmoore is from, whle the Horde is off to the troll empire of Zandalar. And everyone will get to explore new uncharted islands, three-player encounters that span the world of World of Warcraft, to gather resources.

Also in are new 20-player cooperative Warfronts, PvE scraps about building up forces then going and giving enemy commanders a drubbing. Blizzard say these are “inspired by classic Warcraft RTS battles.”

And there are new dungeons and raids and… hit WoW’s website for more information.

“Conflict is at the heart of the Warcraft saga, and in Battle for Azeroth, tensions that have been simmering for a long time escalate into all-out war,” Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said in today’s announcement.

Everything they’ve spoken about so far sounds like the build-up to war, though. Sure, diplomacy and logistics are important but they are still at the level of saying “Yeah? Come on then! I’ll do you! Yeah any time!” increasingly loudly outside the pub and hoping their mates will hear and come out to back them up.

Or if you’d rather have old WoW, ooh, Classic servers are coming.


  1. Stargazer86 says:

    Haven’t they done this before? I could swear one of the expansions was already about the Alliance and Horde going back to fighting each other. It’s like they really need some marriage counseling. One expansion they’re fighting, the next they’re working together, then fighting again, then working together again…

    • Moraven says:

      Yup. Mists of Pandaria was about the two sides getting back to fighting.

      • ANeM says:

        A lot of the 1-60 plot threads in Cataclysm also focused on Alliance vs Horde. Garrosh as the Warchief was pretty singleminded in destroying the Alliance.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      The expansion dance usually goes like this:
      Horde and Alliance at war.
      A bigger bad guy shows up.
      They put problems aside to fight him instead.
      He is defeated BUT AT WHAT COST. There are overtones of peace. Everyone goes off and does unrelated raids for a while.
      Oops wait, those other jerks are still here.
      Back to war.

      • malkav11 says:

        You left out the incredibly and increasingly contrived nonsense they have to come up with each time to force two groups who have every reason to work together into open war.

        It’s not like there couldn’t still be tensions and splinter factions that aren’t willing to uphold the peace, but trying to reset the clock back to full on deadly hatred that ignores all the other, more important enemies they have is almost completely authorial fiat and nothing to do with the natural trend of the narrative.

  2. causticnl says:

    and Vanilla servers

  3. satan says:

    I honestly kinda zoned out for the new ex-pac part.. after they announced classic/legacy/vanilla servers, I think I need a shower because I’m dripping with anticipation.

    • Horg says:

      They said we didn’t want it, not really, then the cinematic cut to a Dwarf looking over old gates of Ironforge and I got a tingle down my spine. Like hell we don’t want it!

  4. Freud says:

    Hi. I’m a former WoW player and have been clean for 8 years.

    • Obi-Sean says:

      Do you also exclusively eat kale and do cross-fit?

    • Buuurr says:

      Hi. I too have been clean for 8 years. I do cross fit and have a wife. Wives are those other symbols on the character selection screen that bring up the pretty character – the one you want to leave all vanilla with no clothes as a ‘jack alt’.

    • shagen454 says:

      I’ve played almost a full 24 hour year in WoW since it came out. It’s been like when I was a kid and I said I didn’t smoke pot, but then every blue moon that it came around, I smoked. The irony being: the absolute shit tons of weed I smoked playing WoW. Those were good times, very interesting soundscapes in that game, lol!

    • waltC says:

      I just love the “insect-antennae eyebrow” look…[not.]…;)

  5. durrbluh says:

    So: tauren with moose antlers, the well-tanned dwarf NPCs from vanilla WoW, and an inexplicably *third* type of elf. Of all the sentient races in Warcraft lore, those are the ones they picked?


    • ShrikeMalakim says:

      They’re actually subraces, that’s the whole point. Void Elves are new, and I assume they’re the new Alliance version of blood elves. Nightborne were in Legion, they’re basically magic-addicted night elves (and will be Horde-aligned). Highmountain Tauren were in Legion, too, and are Horde-aligned Cenarius-blessed tauren. Lightborne Draenei were on Argus in Legion, I think, and will be Alliance. Dark Iron Dwarves have been around forever, and even in the Alliance officially for a few xpacs, just not for players. Zandalari Trolls have also been around forever, also not for players.

      They also announced there will be more subraces, and it’s definitely something a lot of people have been asking for: things like redeemed fel orcs, or untainted brown-skinned orcs, or high elves, or Shen’dralar as a unique separate group from night elves, and so on.

  6. zulnam says:

    I’m actually more excited about the vanilla servers. Thanks, Blizz!

  7. Samudaya says:

    Why does every other cinematic siege battle have to remind me of Lord of the Rings? Sylvanas even goes full one woman army like Legolas at one point.

  8. BaronKreight says:

    those eyebrows man

  9. malkav11 says:

    I hate that they keep trying to force the Horde/Alliance conflict back into the center of things when the actual truth is it’s a tired, boring storyline that hasn’t made sense in several expansions and requires increasing narrative gymnastics and flat out breaking characters in order to sustain to no actual benefit. Making that stupid bullshit the core of the entire expansion means for the first time since I returned to the game back in Wrath, I am not only not excited for the next release but actively dreading it to the point that I may very well be done with the game for good. I mean, even if the next expansion is awesome I’ll still have to sit through all this nonsense to get to it.

    And of course, they still haven’t reversed course on flying (the best thing they ever added to the game) and so I’d have to suffer through the entire expansion on foot again. Boy, that sounds -so- appealing.

    • Obi-Sean says:

      I like the prospect of flying, but it does remove something from the “feel” of the expansion when you can just fly (pun intended) through the content without experiencing it. We will still fly through it as fast as we can, but the maximum speed is reduced forcing us to soak it in. Then again I also don’t enjoy being told how to enjoy my free time, so while I’ll admit your point has merit, I will have to side with Blizz here.

      • malkav11 says:

        A) I am resigned to the idea of having to reach level cap before flying, since that was the old policy. The current system means you’ve literally done everything in the expansion by the time you get flying, so there’s no reason to fly by that point, or indeed continue playing. Yes, technically your alts also get it but I don’t run alts as without the delight of fresh discovery, it’s all just a big grind.
        B) The “experience” of slogging through things on foot is constant aggravation, unwanted encounters, and uncooperative terrain. The experience of flying is power, freedom, and beautiful vistas. I know which gives me more enjoyment of the game.

        Ultimately, because everything else about Legion was very neat, I was able to suffer through the lack of flight. (And for Draenor, I honestly thought I was going to get it at cap, and was -not- happy when that never happened.) I’m already not excited about this one. Not being able to fly just compounds the error.

  10. Asurmen says:

    Errors spotted:

    “If players dig the demo, they’ll be able to buy the Zerg and Terran campaigns for $15 each”

    I assume you mean Protoss rather than Terrain, as the Terran campaign is free?

    Also, the link at the end about Classic servers links back to this article.

  11. Wednesday says:

    While I agree that narratively and within the context of the story, the Horde and Alliance going back at it is really dumb, I really enjoyed how much the trailer reminded me of Warcraft 3.

    And, really, in history this was pretty typical. The Middle Ages were full of grand Alliances, great leagues and eternal peaces that immediately dissolved back into pointless war.

    • malkav11 says:

      In history they weren’t constantly fighting off Lich Kings, demon hordes, old gods, and so on that require the unified effort of all the heroes to stop. Also, by this point they’ve done real violence to many of the characters involved to force the conflict, like whatever the hell they did to turn Jaina from one of the foremost people willing to work with the Horde and focus on the real threats to a rabid xenophobe entirely out of game in some novel.

  12. trjp says:

    That video cheered me in many ways, not least that it confirms my original choice of HORDE was always the right one.

    Seriously – who wants ‘young Brad Pitt channeling Wesley Crusher’ leading them? :)

  13. Skabooga says:

    Say what you will about Blizzard, they’ve been reigning champions of the CGI cutscene since Warcraft II.

    Although I seriously question the wisdom of going outside your fortified position en masse while under attack.

    • Sian says:

      Well, it sounds about as smart as mounting a trebuchet on a siege tower and driving it closer. Not only would you not want a weapon designed for longe-range fire close enough to be in danger, but the stresses and forces involved in lobbing heavy rocks require a sturdy foundation – not a wooden box on wheels.

  14. Neutrino says:

    Is WOW ever going to have some proper voice acting? I created an account earlier this year and was rather shocked to find all the quest givers still just pop up a dialog box, like back in the 80’s.

    Neverwinter is F2P but has full voice acting throughout (and it’s bloody good too). How many billions do Blizzard need to make before they improve the basic experience?

    • Moraven says:

      Main quest lines have voice overs.

      Its a big effort to add that much varied voices. I would rather have them invest into things other than someone you read once.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’d take WoW’s unvoiced but varied and entertaining quests over Neverwinter’s fully voiced but bare-bones, cookie-cutter identikit quests any day. Like, I enjoy Neverwinter, but the only thing that’s changing from one area to the next is the theme and a few different abilities on the monsters you fight. You can absolutely guarantee that you’ll hit a quest hub, be asked to kill X things while also collecting X or using X objects, go back, get a second set, then do a minidungeon with a boss fight, then go to the next hub and rinse/repeat until you’ve done three minidungeons at which point it’s on to the next zone with maybe an optional full on dungeon unlocking to queue for.

      Or at least, that’s been the unwavering formula up into the mid-40s so far. I guess they might get more creative later, but it looks to me like you mostly get campaigns to work on with dailies.

  15. Sian says:

    My significant other is still sorta enamoured by WoW – less so recently, but they’ve been a diligent player since vanilla. They sometimes ask me to give it another try, but I can never stand it for long – it’s just so dreadfully dull to play. I’ve never gotten past Northrend – maybe things pick up later on, but why waste precious hours on dull content to get to the good stuff when I can play something else?

    • malkav11 says:

      If you’re not finding Northrend entertaining, there’s not going to be anything remarkably more exciting later. They introduce some minor innovations regarding questing in later expansions but mostly Northrend set the standard going forward. IMO it’s the best questing outside of the investigations in Secret World Legends, but if that doesn’t float your boat, it doesn’t.

  16. zyrcona says:

    I have to agree with the people who are looking forward to the classic servers more than the expansion. The original game and Burning Crusade were great, Lich King was pretty good, but Cataclysm was awful, and what was worse it spoilt the original 1-60 questing areas and replaced the cosy and fun levelling experience of the base game with a depressing world-is-destroyed, we-hate-the-other-faction theme. Mists of Pandaria was similarly dreadful with its obsession with the irrational hatred between the factions, and players forced through linear quests centred around ridiculous megalomaniac characters rather than the exploring and discovering quests that featured in the early game. This new expansion pack about more pointless hate between the smelly dominatrix walking corpse and the shiny golden prince who glows in the dark promises to be just more of the same old.