Over the past fourteen years of WoW, the game has not been known as a PvP paradise. If you follow MMOs over time you know that WoW based a lot of its PvP foundations on Everquest. It placed a ton of content on epic raids and hosted PvP servers which allowed players to fight in the open world with no real purpose. The game has been trying to catch up with its competitive content ever since. They have never offered any real answer to a solid PvP format other than Battlegrounds which ported you into an instanced fight.
With Fortnite ruling the world right now, will Warcraft be able to answer with some new mechanics that enhance the competitive experience in WoW? This is after all the Battle for Azeroth.
Toggling PvP on your character is nothing new in MMOs. The idea has been present in more than a few games before. However, the question has always been whether or not the risk was worth the reward.
The key here is a simple philosophy of risk vs. reward. Is it worth it? Putting yourself into or taking yourself out of Warmode is only something that can be done in your home city. Once you head out into the world, you’ll be flagged for PvP. There are benefits though, the biggest being a boost to XP. I wish this was in the game back in 2004 when leveling took forever and well, any boost would have helped. The achievements are okay, you get an Assassin title for racking up kills. You also get a bounty on your head which is fun too. Support characters may not be happy about this though. If anything it forces a DPS mode for leveling.
Warmode also changes your view of the game. You will not see characters running around the open world out of war mode. So you are essentially playing a very different game. The big question is how many players will sign up for this idea? If you get a large number of people fighting it out across Azeroth then you could see a fantastic trend arise in the game that honestly had not been around for a long time, if ever.
This mechanic is why I am joining WoW again. The idea of exploring islands which change all the time is fun. The three player grouping is solid too. Racing against other players may even make it better. This will open a lot of PvP opportunities as well as a fight for resources and exploration. It is almost as if they went back and researched the heck out of Warcraft III to get the most fun elements out from the RTS and brought them into WoW. This idea was tried in Mists of Pandaria, but Blizzard has now seemed to perfect the notion that small group content is a huge win. Islands could be one of the standout features in the expansion.
The first battleground to be added to the game in a long time, Seething Shore could be a solid push for PvP. As in the past Battlegrounds have always been fun, but they are very repetitive. Battlegrounds are nothing really new and have been the go-to design for much of Warcraft’s PvP over the years. This new way to fight for resources and plan attacks may help bring the fun back into Battleground for players. Now that it is mixed in with these other elements you could see a change.
The caveat is, of course, what effect Warmode will have on instanced Battlegrounds. Is it possible that Warmode takes over and we see fewer people in Battlegrounds? Time will tell.
Overall, Battle for Azeroth is shaping up to be a fairly decent expansion for World of Warcraft. However, we are not sure how much, new ground the expansion breaks with new players. The ad campaign has been fun to watch, but Warcraft really is more about servicing their current players rather than trying to find new ones in these recent years. They still maintain a huge community who will hopefully be happy with the game. If not, well, there are plenty of other options out there right now.