World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Arrives August 14

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Back in 2016, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft debuted Legion, an expansion I’d argue represents the best storytelling and cohesive storylines the game has ever fielded. Legion’s storyline involved a catastrophic invasion of the Burning Legion, the Biggest of Warcraft’s Big Bads. It touched on lore and concepts that in some cases date to some of the earliest work in the Warcraft universe, predating WoW itself. And with the Dark Titan Sargeras now dealt with, the focus is shifting back to Azeroth itself.

The expansion’s trailer, revealed last year at Blizzcon, is below:

The events that drive the Battle for Azeroth are laid in the end to Legion, a last-ditch attack by Sargeras that harms the planet Azeroth itself and distributes a new resource, Azerite, across the planet in the process. Cue a major war between Horde and Alliance, a new focus on PvP content, the complete destruction of the Alliance city of Darnassus (the Night Elf racial capital) and the retaking of the Undercity / Lordaeron from the hands of the Forsaken. Meanwhile, players will simultaneously be gearing up to take on the last Old God, N’Zoth, and the Highborne Elven queen Azshara, who kicked off the War of the Ancients over 10,000 years ago, got transformed into a naga, and has made periodic appearances (at least by name) in the Warcraft universe since Warcraft 3’s The Frozen Throne.

With Sargeras dealt with and the Titans having some kind of existence again, Azshara and the Old God N’Zoth are the biggest bads left standing — apart from the heroes themselves, which, at this point, are honestly demigods in their own right. Comments from Blizzard’s own devs indicate one reason BFA focuses on player-versus-player combat with new mechanics around it is because at this point, we’re basically our own raid bosses.

This honestly makes some sense. At this point, any given Lvl 110 – 120 WoW character has slaughtered multiple Old Gods embedded within the world to corrupt it. We’ve killed Titans, Aspects, Elemental Lords, the ruler of the Undead Scourge, Loa, and a deadly Riverpaw gnoll known only as Hogger. We are, to put it simply, kind of a big deal.

Champions of the Horde will visit Zandalar, an island in the South Seas that serves as the ancestral homeland of the Troll races, while the Alliance will seek out the forces of Kul Tiras. While characters like Jaina Proudmoore have referred to Kul Tiras, we’ve never actually seen the island nation as a visitable location. Next expansion, that’s changing. Characters will receive a level boost (to 120), Wow’s new leveling technology will be in-play (this is already available if you roll new alts), and both Alliance and Horde players will be able to roll a new “Allied Race” character, fight their way across various new locations with island expeditions, engage in 20-player cooperative Warfronts, and engage in the usual grind for new loot, experience, terrible puns, and pop culture references.

The Battle for Azeroth begins on August 14. For the Alliance!

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