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Hands on with the Alliance Side of Battle for Azeroth

William Murphy Posted:
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The next expansion for World of Warcraft is Battle for Azeroth that finally takesg the dormant cold war between the two factions to the next level. We were able to get our hands on two of the new zones coming with the game’s 7th expansion. There’s a metric ton of new content coming with BfA, but sadly most of that new stuff has to wait for the beta. I had the opportunity to check out Fallhaven and the town possessed by a Witch in the new Alliance starting area called Kul’Tiras.

There are several new zones in Kul’Tiras, but the only one playable at BlizzCon was Drustvar. The town is known as Fallhaven in the Drustvar zone. Drustvar is a port district nestled up along the coast. Fallhaven is rife with witchcraft, dark magic, effigies and the like and, in many ways, is reminiscent of Duskwood. In fact, that’s probably the intent. WoW’s devs know that Duskwood is an old favorite of WoW players. 

The first little taste of gameplay is familiar if you've played WoW for long. Devs aren't mixing things up with questing and events in zones. The team feels they got it right with Legion and I’m inclined to agree. If you liked Legion’s and Warlord’s leveling content, you’ll like what you have here. There are big complex quests, lots of lore, lots of phasing tech to make the zones change and feel dynamic.

What I noticed immediately was a welcome change: The artifact weapons are gone, and all my gear was green in quality. It felt like I really had room to grow to acquire new equipment. As much as I loved the idea of artifacts, making them more of an expansion-use system is good for the game. Getting new weapons is part of the experience and I’m glad to see it return. Check out Suzie’s WoW panel coverage for details about the new Armor system replacing Artifacts.

There are two dungeons in the demo but I only poked around because there weren’t enough people playing at the time to play with me. Freehold is the Pirate haven of Broken Isles – where the Bilge Rats, Black Tooth, and Cutwater Corsairs all linger and plot. It’s a throwback to the Deadmines for sure, a theme I got sense of a lot in the expansion content and reveal. WoW’s very aware of the love of its old content, and the team is very clearly trying to capture that with this new expansion.

The level scaling is back, something that I feel works really well to improve replayability in the game. What’s better is that it’s going across the game from 1-110. Each zone throughout the entire game will feature brackets os "suggested levels" that adhere to the game’s expansions. How you play through the zones to level up an alt will now be up to you. And yes, the idea of a PVP server is changing. Like games with megaserver tech, you’ll flag or unflag for PVP in safe zones and be placed in areas where other players are there for the same thing. You’ll have your home server, but it will be more in name than effect. All this is coming soon in the 7.3.5 patch.

So when will Battle for Azeroth launch? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m expecting we’ll see it in beta before long. Like always, I’m already readying my subscription because the idea of recapturing the actual feel of WARcraft has me psyched. Will it finally work? We shall see, but they’re hitting all the right notes for this old fan.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.