Battle for Azeroth Releases August 14th
Blizzard recently held a Battle for Azeroth Media Day where a release date was shared and presentation about the expansion was given.
- Battle for Azeroth will release on August 14, 2018!
- Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag'har Orcs will be the first two new Allied Races. Play through the War Campaign at release and unlock them.
- Kul'Tiran and Zandalari Trolls will come later in the expansion.
- Another round of realm connections is coming!
- The pre-expansion patch will include content in Darkshore that tells the backstory of the Burning of Teldrassil. It will include both story quests and replayable skirmishes with elites.
- There will be 2.5D animated pieces that tells the story of the Burning of Teldrassil.
- Warlords had the Garrison campaign, Legion had the Order Hall campaign, and Battle for Azeroth has a War Campaign.
- Attendees were shown the Zandalar landfall cinematic. Nathanos and a Zandalari troll are on a ship and mention that they believe that they have lost the Alliance that were chasing them after they rescued Princess Talanji. Talanji is in the cabin, praying to Rezan for aid. She is worried that her father will not agree with her seeking out the aid of the Horde. He sees her boldness, power, enemies that fear both, and that her enemies that seek her demise are here. Alliance ships appear behind the Horde vessel and attack, with it sustaining some damage. Talanji summons a large dinosaur spirit and pushes her ship away quickly into fog. After exiting on the other side, you can see an entire fleet of Zandalari ships waiting. They fire and destroy the Alliance fleet.
- We are very close to a beta, which the team is trying to save for when the game is feature complete and polish is remaining.
- Patch 7.1 may have been released a little too soon, but other than that Legion content pacing worked out well.
- Trial of Valor was an idea that came up just before Legion launched.
- There are 6 factions for the continents, 3 for each continent. There are 2 neutral factions: Tortollan and Voice of Azeroth.
- The team isn't 100% sure why players are hesitant to engage in PvP combat. Is it the fact that there is a person on the other end, so they feel pressure and stress, or is it the behavior of the character on the other end.
- Leveling with War Mode (World PvP) enabled will grant more experience and rewards, with the intent being to offset the time lost to dealing with PvP and making leveling just as fast and rewarding with PvP on.
- You will fill up a bar with Conquest Points, earning a weapon or another piece of gear each time you fill it. Every week you earn another piece, and after you completed your set you will build a more powerful set.
- If you are a Gladiator level player, there is still a random loot system that rewards gear competitive with raid gear.
- Honor Talents are now tied to player level and will be unlocked as you level to 120.
- When you have War Mode on, you will be put on a shard with only other players that have it on.
- Group finder will only list groups with players that have the same War Mode toggle state as you.
- You can manually group with people that have War Mode off, but you won't be able to see them out in the world.
- The expansion will release with a 20 player Warfront in Arathi Highlands.
- Warfronts may change the outside world when your faction controls it, granting access to quests or world bosses.
- Your faction will turn in resources, unlock the warfront, play through the content and win the battle, then hold it for around 5-7 days while the other faction turns in resources to fight to control it.
- Resources turned in include Azerite, gold, tradeskill materials, and more.
- You will almost always win a warfront battle, so there is no risk of one faction holding it for a long time. Warfronts are held by one faction across an entire region.
- More Warfronts will open as the expansion progresses.
- You’ll queue for Normal, Heroic, Mythic, or PvP difficulties either alone or with a group by using an Expedition table in Zuldazar Harbor (Horde) or Boralus Harbor (Alliance).
- Island Expeditions are three-player encounters, and while you can play as any mix of roles, you’ll want to make sure you’re coordinating with the rest of your group to overcome the opposing faction and acquire 6,000 Azerite before they do.
- Island Expeditions use your party member's visibility to show Azerite on the map until the entire island's map is revealed.
- There are six different islands with dozens of enemies and structures. There are 6 enemy groups per faction.
Battle for Azeroth Interview with WoW Developers
Blizzardwatch and our team sat down with Jimmy Lo (Senior Concept Artist) and Travis Day (Senior Producer) to ask some questions about Battle for Azeroth.
- Arathi is the only announced Warfront, but there are definitely more planned. The goal is to have a rotation of different locations by the time all the patches are out.
- The team likes to control specific class fantasy and so it will be on a case by case basis whether or not spec specific artifact weapon transmogs will be allowed by different specs.
- Thin humans are a different body type for the Kul Tiran humans. They are not a different race. The team wanted bigger and smaller models to fit the various NPC roles and add more flavor to the world.
- The way the opening of Battle for Azeroth plays out with the burning of Teldrassil, the team hopes that what happened is open for debate. It is likely that the belief will be that Sylvanas burned the tree, but how much of the Horde is behind that decision is open to debate, as well as how much of the retribution is Anduin proving his manhood.
- The art team is always looking at races to see what customizations can be added. With the focus on Allied Races, the team has wondered what options should be revisited on existing races and update as needed, such as with the Blood Elf golden eyes.
- The team is not 100% sure how the future Allied Races will be unlocked. They used the ones on live to see what motivates the players. Some races might be unlocked organically just by progressing in the Battle for Azeroth story. This might also affect where and what level the allied race starts at.
- Battle for Azeroth will have a War Campaign which is an ongoing chapter story similar to how Suramar played out. The campaign will begin during questing and continue at max level.
- The team is getting a little more open to different race/class combinations, such as the introduction of a Night Elf Paladin during the Legion story. There is nothing planned in the near future for new combinations.
- The team is interested in using the new AI in other aspects of the game, but they want to see how players react to it first. It is doubtful it will be used for all NPCs in the world, but possibly things like rare spawns.
- The new AI can do things like jump and line of sight you.
- In terms of storylines for zones, the team starts off with a premise and displays it through key art and imagery. After the aesthetic is set up, the team discusses where the story will go and what the story is trying to tell. The existential threats and story form the cohesive world and allows the team to set up how they want the players to traverse these locales.
- Every quest in the game has gone through about 24 different people before it makes it to live testing. Quests and side quests evolve as different team members test them.
- One of the primary characters in Kul Tiras comes from one of the artists. The character’s story was pitched and was well received and so was placed in the game.
- One of the quest designers is responsible for the creepy girl in Drustvar’s story. She worked mostly on Tiragarde Sound, but pitched an idea for the Drustvar story once she heard the background information on the zone.
- The goal for the Heart of Azeroth is to have traits on each tier that are applicable both generally and specifically to each spec of your class. This will likely make it so that you have different gear pieces for your head, shoulders and chest that you prefer for each of your specs.
- The team believes it’s a healthy part of gameplay to collect different sets based on different gameplay. This includes PvP and different specs. There will be traits that are useful for all different styles of game play such as increased crit chance on abilities, which is beneficial regardless of PvP or PvE.
- Questing gear will have smaller increases to abilities than max level gear and higher item level gear.
Battle for Azeroth Screenshots
Some high resolution screenshots were shared with us.
Battle for Azeroth Art
Some art was also shared with us.