You can tell Blizzard are based in California because they see summer as something to escape from, a cruel and terrible season where people need something big to occupy themselves in the air-conditioned indoors. We can tell this because Blizzard have announced plans to release the next World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, sometime this summer. O dreaded summer, when temperatures in Irvine, California can reach temperatures of 29C and it does not rain a t a l l. A perilous season to avoid however possible. Best to retreat to cyberspace and wage virtuawar.
Blizzard announced the summer launch yesterday, alongside opening up pre-orders with the offer of giving buyers early access to Battle for Azeroth’s four new playable races. Apparently that offer is tempting enough that Blizzard’s store servers had queues then fell over. Alongside this, the game itself suffered crashes and problems with characters not showing up. Not the best start.
The four new ‘Allied Races’ are variants of existing WoW folks, having different fashion sense and racial trait perks. The Highmountain Tauren and Nighborne elves join the Horde, while the Alliance is bolstered with the Lightforged Dranei and Void Elves. Players will need to complete achievements (including grinding faction) and a quest to unlock each race.
The new races are a relatively minor feature of the expansion. It’ll quest across new lands (Kul Tiras, where Jaina lives, and the troll empire of Zandalar), war in the 20-player cooperative mode Warfront, and race NPCs and other players to plunder islands in expeditions. Also a new level cap and items all that. Expansion stuff. But this time it’s WAR.
Battle for Azeroth will cost £40. For those keeping count, it seems Blizzard are on the right side of the hot hot astronomical vs. meteorological summer debate, as they say it’ll be out “on or before September 21.”
God, an MMO in summer! After a few years in Scotland, the idea that I would ever do anything that might cause me to miss any of our three days of sunshine is horrifying.