….Looking past how EPIC the Opening Cinematic is, this is clearly a “filler” expansion just like Warlords of Draenor and Cataclysm were for Mists of Pandaria and Legion respectively. We will see “Part 2” in the expansion after this one. They also made it a bit more obvious this time around: “Whoever wins will inherit a ruined world.”
Of course, it’s unlikely neither faction will be wiped out completely. More like one will control most of Azeroth politically and militarily. This also isn’t the first time there has been all out war between the Alliance and the Horde. That was basically Garrosh Hellscream’s tenure as Warchief of the Horde spanning Cataclysm and Mists. Despite sacking Orgrimmar, The Alliance spared the Horde’s leadership aside from Garrosh Hellscream. He was taken into custody by the Shado Pan and tried for War Crimes, effectively ending the conflict between both factions for the time being.
After heroes of Azeroth stopped the Iron Horde on Draenor and neutralized the Legion, war between both factions was reignited: The Horde burns Teldrassil to the ground and takes control of Kalimdor. In retaliation, The Alliance takes The Undercity and with it, total control of the Eastern Kingdoms. Unlike Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria in which the Faction Conflict drove the story, in BfA the Faction Conflict IS the story.
Easily bigger than the new expansion announcement was Blizzard’s announcement of the release of WoW Classic aka Vanilla WoW. As of right now, we know nothing other than it’s coming. It has been the most requested thing by many vets of the game since The Burning Crusade went live: Dedicated servers locked to WoW’s pre-expansion state. I myself started playing WoW halfway through Burning Crusade but even then, folks liked to talk about “how much better” WoW Classic was than the current live version. As the game evolved, those voices grew and grew. Let’s not also forget there were the private illegal servers that ran WoW Classic, too so…yeah.
Me personally, this is a situation where the “Old School WoW Players” and those who started playing WoW from Burning Crusade onward both get what they want. All that is currently known about WoW Classic is it will happen, it will be “as close to Pre-expansion as possible” and it will have full Battle.net integration like StarCraft Remastered (HD Remake of the first StarCraft game and its expansion Brood Wars) does. Nothing more is known about it beyond that.
For those who never played the WoW during it’s early years, here’s what you should know:
- 4 Alliance Races and 4 Horde Races: Human, Orc, Troll, Dwarf, Tauren, Night Elf, Undead and Gnome. Draenei and Blood Elves were added in Burning Crusade, Worgen and Goblins were added in Cataclysm and Pandaren added in Mists of Pandaria.
- Paladin is Alliance Only (Human and Dwarf) and Shaman is Horde Only (Orc, Troll and Tauren): The Draenei introduced the Shaman class to the Alliance in Burning Crusade but in Cataclysm, Dwarves gain the Shaman class via the Wildhammer Clan and the Alliance-aligned Tushi Pandaren has the Shaman class as well. The Blood Elves introduced the Paladin class to the Horde in Burning Crusade but in Cataclysm, the Tauren gain the Paladin class via The Sunwalkers. The Horde gain two more races with the Shaman class via the Goblin and Huojun Pandaren.
- Druid class is one race per faction: Night Elf for Alliance and Tauren for Horde. Cataclysm brought an additional race for the class to both factions via the Worgen and Trolls.
- No Death Knight, Monk or Demon Huner Class: These were introduced later on via Wrath of the Lich King (Death Knight), Mists of Pandaria (Monk) and Legion (Demon Hunter).
- No Dungeon/Raid Finder: If you want to do a dungeon or raid, you will have to physically travel to the instance. LFD was introduced in Wrath while LFR was introduced at the end of Cataclysm. Both are pointed as one of the two reasons (along with Paid Faction Change) as what killed Server Community.
- No Paid Faction Change: This was introduced in Wrath and is pointed to as one of the two reasons (along with LFR/LFD) as what killed Server Community.
- No Accountwide Achievements: This was introduced in Wrath. Popularized by Microsoft’s Xbox Consoles, WoW’s Version tracked every milestone you achieve. It was upgraded in Cataclysm to allow certain achievements to now be shared across all current and future characters on a single account.
- No Heirlooms: Heirlooms were introduced in Wrath as a means of speeding through the leveling experience. At the time they were introduced they took a long time to get. When the Heirloom Tab was introduced in Mists, that created a unified system shared across all current and future characters.
- Race Mounts locked to Race: Until halfway through Cataclysm, you couldn’t have Gnomes rocking Nightsabers or Tauren rocking Wolves as mounts. One can now use other mounts of their faction that were previously exclusive to just the race they played as.
- Shared Starting Areas: Dwarves and Gnomes share the same Level 1-5 starting area while Orcs and Trolls share the same Level 1-5 starting area. Gnomes and Trolls got their own starting areas in Cataclysm via Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles.
- Level 60 is the level cap: Goes without saying. The raids were Molten Core, Zul’Gurub, Blackwing Lair, Onyxia’s Lair, Ruins of AQ, AQ40 and the original Naxxramas. Naxx, Ruins of AQ, AQ40, MC and BWL all had an attunement requirements attached at the time as well.
…There’s more than that but that’s most of the big stuff.
And for those who are scratching their heads yes, there are literally thousands–probably no more than 30,000 worldwide–who want to play that version of WoW. It’s not known if it will be free, have a separate subscription or be included as part of an existing WoW Subscription. I’ll post more info as it comes.