Blizzcon 2017 – Does Battle for Azeroth make sense after Legion?

Blizzcon has wrapped up for another 12 months, and for the first time in 4 years, we’ve had a Blizzcon expansion announcement!

Battle for Azeroth looks to bring the game back to its classic roots, pitching the Horde and the Alliance into an all out war harkening back to the conflict that birthed the franchise some 20+ years ago in Warcraft 1: Orcs v Humans.

However the base premise of the expansion seems to me to be somewhat forced to say the least. For the duration of Legion the emphasis has been on our Class Order halls. These were Sanctuary spaces where players of each class could, if not interact (still a dumb design decision), at least exist in the same space in a more friendly manner.

Now, all of a sudden that sense of class pride and cross-factional co-operation and camaraderie is being thrown under the bus for the sake of ice cream?

Trust me, it makes sense if you saw the expansion announcement.

This time around, rather than rallying around a specific class, focus will shift to your Factional Allegiance…

Anyhow, let’s do a bullet point list of the standout features of the expansion:

  • Separate levelling experiences from 110 to the new level cap of 120 for Alliance and Horde on separate 3-zone islands.
  • Scaling tech has been introduced to older expansion levelling (I’ll cover this in more detail shortly).
  • PvE and PvP server differences are being removed, and the decision to World PvP will be an individual choice per player, regardless of server.
  • Allied Races: Void Elves, Highmountain Tauren, Zandalari Trolls, Lightforged Draenei etc.
  • Mythic+ and World Quests make a welcome return.
  • Artifact Weapons and AP will be gone, as will Legendaries!
  • Goblins & Worgen will get model updates mid-expansion, with extra attention on the Worgen Females this time.
  • Massive Stat & iLevel squishes – down to pre-Wrath levels!
  • Class Buffs make their return!
  • “Classic” servers – the vanilla WoW experience goes from private servers to official status.

Old World levelling getting scaled

Yep, this was one I was absolutely dreading to be honest. The thought of going to Thousand Needles at 120 and having mobs scaling to 120 did not appeal to me in the slightest. There’s something to be said for the feeling of raw power afforded to the player when they go back to older zones at level cap. Be it for Loremaster reasons, or picking up quest rewards for transmog etc, the ability to blow through this non-relevant content is an important one for many people, myself included.

So the way Blizzard have decided to apply scaling to the old world not only allayed my worst fears, but it actually made me extremely happy.

So the vanilla experience is still 1-60 before moving on. At level 60 the old school progression would’ve looked like this:

  1. Outland until 68
  2. Northrend until 80
  3. Cata until 85
  4. Mists until 90
  5. Warlords until 100
  6. Legion up to 110 and max level.

However, the way the scaling tech has been applied is a pretty sensible one (for Blizzard): zones will merely increase in their current level ranges. So whereas before a zone would cover levels 30-40, now it’ll cover 30-50. This is to allow players more of a choice when choosing zones to level in, and prevents players out levelling quest chains excessively early. This gives players that extra 10 or however many levels to round out the story-line of a zone, whilst simultaneously overlapping with zones that would’ve immediately preceded or followed the zone you’re in so that you can move onto those zones whenever you’re done.

The biggest change though is that, come its implementation in 7.3.5, the content from Burning Crusade and Wrath, rather than being sequential will actually be concurrent content, with content from both expansions scaling fully between levels 60 to 80!

You know what that means, don’t you?

PRAISE BE TO JEBUS!

Hellfire is the place where so, so many of my Death Knights have gone to die over the years, and oddly is where my current Alliance DK is currently parked, at level 60…

Hellfire Peninsula, a dumpster fire of a zone.

The other big news is Allied Races, and specifically for me, Void Elves.

Now, as you’ll maybe know, I played Horde for 8 years before making the switch to Alliance earlier this year for raiding reasons. For the majority of my time horde side I was an avid Blood Elf player. I loved the whole sarky persona given off by the character models, and the upgraded character models we received in patch 6.1 for them were stunning.

Fun aside, this is the first screenshot I made when I returned to WoW back in 2009, and it was my mage, Saruya:

I still remember, after the experience in Vanilla in 2006 of trying to grind gold and it taking FOREVER, the feeling of having a whole 50 gold at level 11, I thought I was the dog’s bollocks, I really did.

Now I’m sitting at 1.7m gold account wide and drop 10 times that 50g on a single night of raid repairs…

Anyhoo, getting back on track with Void Elves, here’s the female Void Elf:

ALLIANCE GET BLUE BELFS! \o/

In terms of classes, they are planned to be:

  1. Hunter
  2. Mage
  3. Monk
  4. Priest
  5. Rogue
  6. Warlock
  7. Warrior

Yep, Warlock’s on the list, so sorry Kritney, but as much as I love my female Gnomes (and fuck me do I ever), my deepest desire for Blood Elves to join the Alliance since making the switch has basically and unbelievably come true. I’ll likely be converting my more-often played classes like Warlock & Hunter to Void Elf. Sadly Paladins aren’t on the list, which kinda makes sense. But then again, they can be Priests so… pretty please Blizz?

Anyway, that’s enough for now, I’m off to watch Muse as this year’s closing act!

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