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BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft

It's Day 1 of BlizzCon 2017! Everyone is expecting some big World of Warcraft news, and I'm here to provide an overview of it. Expect a gallery of slides from the Virtual Ticket stream as well as any additional insight I can provide. If you have any thoughts or feedback, please leave a comment below or tweet @PrestonDvorak.

Expect tons of spoilers ahead! If you want even more coverage, stop back tomorrow for my coverage of the Day 2 World of Warcraft panels. If you're itching for some information now, check out my Day 0: Warcraft Speculation article, or all of the BlizzCon articles.

Table of Contents

Opening Ceremony

World of Warcraft Classic

World of Warcraft Classic Announcement

Blizzard is working on World of Warcraft Classic, a Blizzard-quality "vanilla" World of Warcraft experience. PC Gamer talked to J. Allen Brack, Blizzard Vice President, about their plans for the Classic experience. From the interview, we learn these servers will be as close to the Classic experience as possible, and won't have modern features like group finder or cross-realm capabilities. As expected, many of the nuances players may have forgotten will also be present, such as needing to farm fire resistance gear and buy ammunition.

Battle for Azeroth, New Expansion

Battle for Azeroth aims to make you prouder than ever of your faction, and will make your faction matter!

Features Overview Slides

 

Features Overview Video

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Features Overview

  • New Continents, Kul Tiras and Zandalar
  • Level to 120
  • New Dungeons and Raids
  • Plunder Uncharted Islands
  • Dominate Warfronts
  • New Allied Races

 

Cinematic Trailer

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Cinematic Trailer


What's Next for World of Warcraft

Battle for Azeroth reinforces the foundations of Warcraft. No matter who or what our enemies are, our hearts are with our factions. We do what we do for the Horde and the Alliance.

World and Story Overview

  • Battle for Azeroth expansion begins where cinematic left off, following the battle for Lordaeron (Undercity).
  • Why would Alliance attack Undercity? Why would Horde burn Teldrassil?
  • Which attack came first?
  • Stage is set for Alliance controlled Eastern Kingdoms and Horde controlled Kalimdor, one huge sea in the middle
  • Search for allies
    • Kul Tirans as Alliance
    • Zandalari as Horde
    • Both nations have powerful navies, important for navigating the huge sea
  • Fighting for faction's survival
New Continents, Zandalar and Kul Tiras

  • Kul Tiras
    • Ancient human kingdom, founded 3,000 years ago, was cold, mountainous island
    • Built most powerful navy on Azeroth
    • Ruled by four houses, and are in trouble
    • Three main territories
      • Tiragarde Sound
        • Inlet in middle of continent, main connection for all zones
        • Capital city of Kul Tiras, Alliance main hub city
        • Ruled by Katherine Prooudmoore
          • Jaina's mother
          • 100% NOT a dreadlord :)
        • Monster hunters, hunt big sea monsters
        • Having trouble with pirates attacking city
      • Drustvar
        • Forested mountainous region
        • Ruled by House Waycrest
          • Recently absent from public affairs, citizens concerned
            • No longer exporting arms, or sausages, to Kul Tiras
          • Drustvar found to be cursed
      • Stormsong Valley
        • Lush, green, beautiful
        • Ruled by House Stormsong and Sea Priests
        • Provide ships to Kul Tiras, all ships blessed by Sea Priests
          • Dark forces from sea (and quillboars) have halted ship building
  • Zandalar
    • 16,000 year old troll empire
    • Was once a land-locked mountain range, sundering changed all of that
    • Hearty and resourceful race, have mastered the seas, navy rivals Kul Tiras
    • Continent in turmoil, order must be restored
    • Three main territories
      • Zuldazar
        • Capital city of Zandalari, only safe refuge, Horde main hub city
        • Ruled by King Rastakhan and daughter Talangi (check spelling)
        • Blood trolls are invading from the north
      • Nazmir
        • Was once lush forest, Deathwing caused zone to start sinking, now a festering swamp
        • Perfect place for Blood Trolls to thrive
        • Must enlist help of Loa to defeat Blood Trolls
        • Will uncover ancient Titan secrets, location holds key to destroying all life on Azeroth
      • Vol'dun
        • Once vibrant jungle, old god minions destryed it thousands of years ago
        • Zandalari use it to house criminals
        • Will befriend the vulpera
          • Fox-people
          • Cuter and cuddlier in person!
        • Will face off against the sethrak
          • Snake-people
          • Less cute in person!
Character Stories
  • Liked how Illidan turned out over the patches, but his story isn't done yet.
  • Will do more of that in Battle for Azeroth, following Thrall, Sylvanas, Anduin, Jaina, and explore the origin story of Vol'jin.


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Features Overview

  • Six zones spanning two continents
    • Three on Kul Tiras, three on Zandalar
  • Level up in your faction's zones
    • Horde to Zandalar
    • Allaince to Kul Tiras
  • Still have scaling zone tech, choose zones you want
  • And 120, all zones become available
  • Epic "War Campaign" woven throughout
    • Similar to Garrison and Order Hall campaigns
    • Factions will build outposts on each others islands
  • World Quests and Emissaries at 120
Allied Races, Heritage Armor Sets

  • Lines of battle drawn, hard to remain neutral, Horde and Alliance need allies
  • Horde and Alliance champions reach out to allies, help them with their problem, see if they will join
    • Learn how the races come to join each faction through unique quest content
    • Once quests completed, that race is unlocked as a playable race across your account
      • New racial abilities and customization
      • New Allied Race characters begin at level 20
      • Available for race change, level boost tokens
      • Leveling new character as Allied Race unlocks unique cosmetic appearance that's flavorful to that race, shown in the screenshots above
      • 6 Allied Races, more planned
        • Horde: Nightborne, Hightmountain Tauren, Zandalari Trolls
        • Alliance: Lightforged Draenei, Void Elves, Dark Iron Dwarves
Leveling Improvements
  • Leveling stories hold up, but pacing is all off, quests often turn grey party way through the zone
  • Level scaling coming to all outdoor content and dungeons, with some rules
    • Westfall won't scale all the way to 110
    • Zones have level-range minimums and maximums
    • Want to retain some "fear" surrounding going to high-level zones as a low-level character
    • Don't want high-level characters to not feel powerful in older zones
  • Flexible expansion order
    • Outland levels 60-80
    • Northrend levels 60-80
    • Cataclysm levels 80-90
    • Mists of Pandaria levels 80-90
  • Coming with patch 7.3.5
Island Expeditions
  • Explore uncharted isles, gain supplies to aid in the war effort.
  • 3-player cooperative gameplay, Horde vs Alliance skirmishes
  • Varied and dynamic objectives, even on islands you've been to before
  • New advanced AI opponents, behave strategically to complete objectives
    • Also available as 3v3 PvP
Warfronts
  • This is what the resources and alliances are for, large-scale battle
  • Anchored in RTS roots
    • Train troops, siege vehicles, lead them into battle
  • 20-player versus NPC armies
  • Build structures, research upgrades, lead troops
PvP Updates

Preview coming in 7.3.5!

  • New arenas in Tiragarde and Zuldazar
  • New battleground: Seething Shore
    • Horde and Alliance descend upon Silithus
    • Lots of Azurite present
    • Dynamic control points, like Arathi Basin with bases that change location
      • Three out of twelve bases active at a time
World PvP Updates
  • PvP ruleset largely unchanged since 2005
    • Server transfers led to lop-sided factions
    • Very easy to break away from world PvP or avoid it completely
  • Removing PvE vs PvP server division
    • Now individual choice, turning on PvP places you on a PvP "server"
    • Allows for new ways to build world PvP content
    • Bonuses to World Quests with PvP enabled
Dungeons

  • Each faction has separate level-up dungeons, four for each faction
    • All available at 120
  • Mythic Keystones updates coming
    • UI improvements, easier to find groups
  • Freehold
    • Tiragarde Sound
    • Outlaw hideaway, home of pirates, outlaws, criminals
  • Atal'Dazar
    • Zuldazar
    • Zandalari kings, dinosaurs
  • Ten total dungeons
Raids

  • Uldir, Halls of Control
    • 8 bosses
    • Titan facility
    • Face off source of Zandalar's corruption
    • Highmaul/Emerald Nightmare of the expansion
  • Eventually facing off against Queen Azshara in later raid

 


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Changelog

November 03, 2017 (BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft) - Added additional information about World of Warcraft Classic from the PC Gamer interview.

November 03, 2017 (BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft) - Added galleries to Allied Races, Dungeons, and Raids.

November 03, 2017 (BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft) - Added Kul Tiras and Zandalar slide pictures and video stills.

November 03, 2017 (BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft) - Added Allied Races and Leveling Improvements sections.

November 03, 2017 (BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft) - Added Zandalar world overview and Character Stories section.

November 03, 2017 (BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft) - Finished Kul Tiras world overview.

November 03, 2017 (BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft) - Began adding features overview for Battle for Azeroth.

November 03, 2017 (BlizzCon 2017 Day 1: Opening Ceremony and What's Next for Warcraft) - Added feature video still gallery and World of Warcraft Classic information.




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