I have played World of Warcraft for 14 years now. That doesn’t mean I haven’t unsubbed for a while or dabbled in other games, but it has always been a game I will return to. Especially when a new expansion launches. Several weeks ago Battle for Azeroth was released and I have some friends asking if this would be a good time to start the game or if they are too far behind already to get into the franchise.
In all honesty, if you think MMO’s are your thing and you don’t mind paying a monthly subscription fee, then I would say there are some very good reasons why starting now or coming back as a returning player would be a great idea.
1. New story!
As with any expansion, the story of Warcraft will progress in the Battle for Azeroth addition.
For returning players, there will be a lot of background story for Jaina Proudmore and Queen Aszhara. We get to meet the Zandalari trolls and interact a lot with the Loa they worship. All I can say is that if you had any interest in Jaina Proudmore, The troll empire or old gods, then this could be the expansion you always wanted.
2. New Zones
We are getting two new area’s or islands with Battle for Azeroth. The horde faction will get to quest in Zuldazar and get to run around with dinosaurs and the Zandalari trolls, where the Alliance faction will go to Kul Tiras where you will be thrown into a world of witches, dark woods and some Lovecraftian cults in this sea faring area. Luckily, you aren’t tied to stay within your faction area. As you are expected to venture into the enemy territory to follow new quest lines and world quests.
3. New allied races
I will have to warn you that you will have to unlock these new races by completing quests and reputation grinds, but the thing with mmo’s is that this sort of thing will keep you playing for a very long time. There is no rush to finish any of the rep grinds, but you can do it as fast or slow as you want. If you always wanted to play a Zandalari Troll or a Dark Iron Dwarf, now is your chance.
We also received some extra additions to our existing characters, for example the blood elves can now have golden eyes and orcs can now stand right up. Small changes that can make your old character feel brand new.
4. Island Expeditions
When you reach max level you can queue up for these scenarios called island expeditions. You can either go against NPC’s in a race to gather resources or go against a team of other players. The rewards are not bad and I quite enjoyed how quickly grouping up goes.
5. War Fronts
This was introduced last week and it does give you a good sense of Horde vs Alliance. The players get to visit ‘old’ places that have been revamped just for the purpose of War Fronts. The first one we have experienced is in Arathi Highlands and Blizzard has already revealed we will be getting Darkshore as another War front. During the Warfronts the horde or the alliance fight as a united front against NPC’s to conquer the area and gain great rewards. It’s a cool throw back at the old RTS Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft. You need to train your troops and gather supplies to upgrade your base and troops, while fighting off the waves of enemy NPC’s.
For those of you who don’t like the PVP (player vs player) element, rejoice. Even if you are on a pvp-server now, you are not automatically pvp enabled. This has helped some players stay on their old servers, even if they hated that it was pvp. Some might have created characters on those servers by accident or because that’s where their friends were but now they are stuck. (unless you want to pay for a server transfer and no one really wants to do that.). If you want to enable or disable pvp, you just go to your main city and turn this feature on or off. I play a rogue, I think you can guess if I have war-mode on or off.
7. New Social feature; Communities
Blizzard has looked at utilities like discord and the guilds in game and created a new feature called ‘Communities’. It’s like joining a discord server, but it’s all in the game. Now this could be a good thing, but I still see too many issues with it. The big one being that you can’t actively search for any communities in the game. There is no data base for them. You either have to rely on your discord community creating one, or go onto Reddit or the official Forums to find the links, copy these ‘invite’ links and paste them in game. It’s not quite there yet, but at least the first step for communities has been created. I will stick to discord though.
8. Stat Squish
In a game where the max level is 120 now, it can be a bit intimidating to see all these other players to over a million damage. Well with Battle for Azeroth, that has all changed. Blizzard has squished the stats and damage output so that the numbers don’t go into the 1000’s any longer. The same goes for the numbers on your health bar and the enemies health bar.
9. Level 110 boost
Now another thing that can be quite intimidating is the level cap of 120. The great thing is, that when you buy the latest expansion, you get a free ‘boost’ to level 110. So you can start in the new expansion at the same level as everyone else, work your way through the latest story, levelling from 110 to 120 like everyone else is doing.
I will say that if this is your first time in World of Warcraft, you might want to start off with a level 1 character and get to 120 the ‘normal’ way. You will get a better grasp of the game the mechanics, not to mention the story and your class. Once you are at max level with 1 class, you can use that boost on another class or perhaps on a character on the other faction to see both sides of the story.
10. Battle Chest removal, reducing the cost
I often heard that many people don’t want to start to invest in World of Warcraft because it’s so expensive to buy the base game and all the previous expansions. And they are right, in the past Blizzard had already created the ‘battle chest’ which was the base game and the previous few expansions for a small price. However, this has now completely changed. You can try out the game for free until level 20 and if you decide you want to own the game you either buy the latest expansion and a subscription or you just subscribe and you will get all the previous content for ‘free’. At least this will make that threshold of starting this game a little bit lower for those afraid of having to dish out a lot of money on previous content.