What you need to Know about BfA

World of Warcraft is 14 years old and the game’s seventh expansion, Battle for Azeroth, is set to release on August 14, 2018.


Like past expansions, it will add new zones, new dungeons, new raids,  and new features, as well as raise the level cap (to 120). 


The release  of a new expansion is a great time to dive back into World of Warcraft.  


Here’s what new or returning players need to know.


THE STORY RETURNS TO THE ALLIANCE VS. HORDE CONFLICT

Recent expansions have toured through extreme and varied realms of  World of Warcraft lore, culminating in the last expansion, Legion, which  wrapped up the long-running conflict against The Burning Legion. 


Battle  for Azeroth is going to take a breather, refocusing on Azeroth itself,  and the conflict between Alliance and Horde.


That’s not to say the expansion won’t eventually have a “big bad.” It  probably will.  For now, though, the story deals with the fight between  the two factions, and major characters that have risen through the ranks  on each side.


You might be surprised by how the story progresses if you haven’t  played World of Warcraft for years. 


The game’s in-engine cinematic  technology has drastically improved, and voiced dialogue is far more  common than it used to be. 


The leveling experience is more like an  open-world, single-player RPG than an old-school MMO.


120 IS THE NEW LEVEL CAP, LEVEL SCALING RETURNS

New expansion, new level cap. Players will now level to 120, an  increase of 10 levels from Legion’s cap of 110. Level scaling returns,  which means you can level through the zones in any order, though the  story quests are more linear than in Legion. 


Blizzard has added limited level scaling to all older content. Zones  will scale within a range of levels. For example, the Northern Barrens –  a classic zone outside of the Horde capital – now scales between levels  10 and 60. 


Everything in the zone will scale to your level, in both  challenges and rewards, within that range.That makes leveling more fun, though it still takes a long, long time to level a new character.


THE EXPANSION ADDS TWO NEW COOPERATIVE PVE MODES

The focus on faction conflict has inspired two new cooperative modes  that put players against A.I. opponents that represent the opposing  faction.


Island Expeditions are three-man scenarios that pit the team against  three enemies using what Blizzard calls “advanced A.I.” 


That means the  enemies will act more like players, pursuing goals proactively and  filling class roles. 


The expeditions take inspiration from action RPGs,  with randomized areas that mix up the experience each time. Players’  main goal will be obtaining resources more quickly than their foes, and  expeditions should last 15 to 20 minutes. 


While primarily meant for PvE,  there will be a PvP mode that replaces the opposing A.I. with teams  from the enemy faction.


Warfronts are larger, 20-man instances that take inspiration from the  Warcraft strategy games. 


Players are deployed on the Warfront to  collect resources, destroy enemy troops, construct buildings, and  eventually launch an assault to take over the enemy base. 


These battles  will take 20 to 40 minutes to complete and, unlike Island Expeditions,  won’t offer a PvP mode.


Both modes reward players with a variety of achievements, loot, armor  appearances, mounts, and a new resource called Azerite, which is used  to upgrade armor.


PAST GAME MODES WILL REMAIN


Battle for Azeroth isn’t removing any game modes to make room for  what’s new. 


The game will continue to support standard dungeons, raids,  arena PvP, and battleground PvP. 


The Mythic+ dungeons – timed dungeon  runs of increasing difficulty and rewards – will also return from Legion  and support all the new expansion’s dungeons.


In total, the new expansion adds 10 dungeons and one new raid. It’s  virtually guaranteed that a number of new dungeons and raids will appear  throughout the expansion, as that’s been Blizzard’s tactic in recent  years.


PVP SERVERS ARE DEAD, ‘WAR MODE’ REPLACES THEM


Despite the focus on conflict, Battle for Azeroth is effectively  killing PvP servers.  They will no longer exist after the introduction of  the expansion, and current PvP servers will be converted to regular  servers.


That doesn’t mean world PvP has disappeared, though. 


The expansion  will introduce a new “War Mode” that anyone, on any server, can turn on.  Activating the mode brings players to a part of the world that exists  only for those in War Mode. 


You can attack other players of the opposing  faction, and they can attack you.


Players who turn on War Mode will earn bonus experience and credit  toward the game’s PvP “conquest bar.” That’s unlike current world PvP,  where players earn next to nothing for participating except the  satisfaction of killing their enemies.



ARTIFACT WEAPONS ARE GONE, AZERITE REPLACES THEM

The key feature of World of Warcraft’s previous expansion, Legion,  were the artifact weapons.


These had special features and a key ability,  and unlocked skill trees unique for each class specialization. They’re gone for Battle for Azeroth, however, and are replaced by the  Heart of Azeroth, a medallion that players upgrade with the expansion’s  new resource, Azerite. 


Upgrading the Heart of Azeroth unlocks new  traits on other pieces of armor, providing new customization options for  each class.Make no mistake – the Heart of Azeroth won’t be as impactful as  artifact weapons were.


Still, it will allow some new forms of character  customization that weren’t possible before.



NO NEW CLASSES, BUT MANY NEW RACES (KINDA)

Battle for Azeroth doesn’t include a new class.  It also doesn’t  introduce a specific, all-new race. 


What it does add, though, are  “allied races.”Allied races are variants of existing races. 


The Void Elves are a  version of Night Elves, while the Highmount Tauren are, you guessed it, a  version of the Tauren. 


Four allied races are already in the game and  two more, the Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs, are planned for after  Battle for Azeroth launches. 


Each Allied Race has its own racial  abilities. 


You can also unlock a heritage armor set by leveling any  Allied Race to the level cap. 


One thing is for sure it’s not clear how far Blizzard will take this system. 


Players have  speculated that numerous Allied Races could be added, but only six have  been confirmed. It seems a good bet that a few more will be added over  the course of the expansion. 


Which ones, though, is anyone’s guess. 

COMMUNITIES LET YOU BUDDY WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE A GUILD

Guilds have long existed in World of Warcraft, but they’re tightly  organized groups that can only be joined by players on the same server.


The new expansion will pair them with Communities. 


They have rosters  and roles like guilds, but aren’t tied to servers, and players can be in  multiple Communities at a time. 


They won’t have the leveling features  of Guilds, nor will players be able to unlock Guild achievements when  grouping with players in them.


THE PRE-PATCH WILL ARRIVE AHEAD OF THE EXPANSION


While Battle for Azeroth’s official stated release date is August 14,  2018, the game will receive Patch 8.0 ahead of that. 


The current  expected launch date for the pre-patch is July 17.


The pre-patch won’t add expansion features, but it will make a lot of  “system changes.” 


The Artifact Weapons will be retired. PvP servers  will be removed, replaced with War Mode. 


The Honor System will be  updated to its Battle for Azeroth state. New UIs will appear for guilds  and player communities new quests will connect the close of Legion  with the new expansion.


Most of these changes will be available to everyone, so you don’t need to pre-order Battle for Azeroth to enjoy them.


PRE-ORDERING THE EXPANSION GIVES YOU A LEVEL BOOSTWith that said, it’s not a bad idea to pre-order if you want to jump  back into World of Warcraft. 


Players who pre-order gain a free character  boost to level 110.

Blizzard normally charges £49 for that, but the  expansion is £39.

YES, YOU STILL NEED TO SUBSCRIBE


You can play World of Warcraft for free up to level 20, but  otherwise, you must pay for a subscription or purchase “WoW Tokens,”  which are £17 each. 


There’s no free-to-play option here.


IT LAUNCHES WORLDWIDE AT 3 P.M. PT ON AUGUST 13


Battle for Azeroth’s official launch date is August 14, but  strangely, that’s not when it goes live for some of the world.  


Blizzard  will push the big red button at 3 p.m. PT on August 13.


That applies to all regions worldwide. 


Those in Sydney, Australia,  will see it go live at 8 a.m. local time on August 14, while French & European  players will have to burn the midnight oil to enjoy a 12:01 a.m. launch  on August 14.    

Where there is unity there is always victory.
 

Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.

There is more power in unity than division.