Originally posted November 13, 2023
It’s been four years since the last in-person Blizzcon, and the event made its return this year with tons of new announcements and mic drops for all of the studio’s franchises - especially World of Warcraft.
Let’s catch you up on the major highlights!
WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WORLDSOUL SAGA
Chris Metzen, the original creator of the Warcraft IP, has recently returned to Blizzard as Executive Creative Director of Warcraft. Bringing his classic charisma to the stage, he announced the Worldsoul Saga - a story taking place over the next three expansions, wrapping up threads from the last 20 years of Warcraft and preparing us for the 20 to come.
We got the names and story hooks for all three expansions:
THE WAR WITHIN
The War Within will see us delving into the heart of Azeroth, embarking on a hollow Earth style adventure featuring the stone-skinned Earthen, the Old God aligned Nerubians and the return of Xal’atath as a primary antagonist!
In Midnight, the forces of the void invade Azeroth through the Sunwell. We make a stand with the forces of the light in Quel’thalas, reuniting the disparate elven nations and potentially founding a new, neutral Silvermoon City. Metzen did hint “not everything will go to plan”, so we may see the Light in an antagonistic light as many fans have speculated for years.
THE LAST TITAN
The final chapter, The Last Titan, sees the return of the Titans to Azeroth, heavily featuring the legendary locations of Northrend and the titan facility of Ulduar. Metzen went on to say we would see many secrets revealed and vast conspiracies uncovered, discovering the true nature of the planet, the world soul, and the titans themselves.
While we’ll have to wait on more details from Midnight and The Last Titan, we got a more in-depth look at The War Within. Here’s what you need to know:
You can watch the announcement cinematic for The War Within here!
Our adventure will take place on the new continent of Khaz Algar with four distinct but connected zones:
- The surface zone is the ancient Isle of Dorn, home of the Oathsworn Earthen who guard a pathway to the heart of the world. This is also the location of our capital city for the expansion. Fans of the dwarves will get a massive dose of their favourite aesthetics in this zone with their breweries and cliffside cities.
- Just beneath the surface lies the industrious Ringing Deeps, home of the Machine Keeper Earthen who maintain the Titan’s facilities and constructs. We will see an incursion of larger, meaner and more organised Kobolds here.
- Further below we’ll find the glowing caverns of Hallowfall, home of the long-lost Arathi humans, wielders of holy fire. They’ve settled beneath an enormous glowing crystal in the roof of the cavern which waxes and wanes between light and void while they fight off creatures from a vast underground sea and the forces of the Nerubians from deeper in the world.
- In the deepest abyss we’ll dive into the dark reaches of Azj-Kahet, home city of the Nerubians. Here Xal’atath works with the Nerubian Queen to mutate new soldiers for her army and gather the black blood of the Old Gods for an unknown, nefarious purpose.
There will be 8 new dungeons (4 during levelling and 4 at max level) and 1 raid at launch, the Nerubian palace in Azj-Kahet. While this is standard, there are lots of exciting new or revised evergreen systems and features to sink our teeth into
- Delves are endgame outdoor adventures that reward heroic raid level gear and will have their own track on the Great Vault reward system. Players will earn many unique cosmetics with delves including a customizable plane mount! They will feature seasonal NPC companions starting with Brann Bronzebeard for Season 1 who we’ll be able to outfit with gear and talent choices.
- Warbands, a long requested feature, connect your characters across your account for account-wide progression in reputation, currencies, transmog unlocks, crafting materials and more. This will also include a new character select screen that shows your five favourite characters sitting at camp together!
Hero Talents are 3 additional talent trees for each class that layer on top of existing talent trees, to further specialise your build, playstyle and class fantasy.
- A new playable allied race, the Earthen, will be unlocked once we finish the story campaign for the new expansion. The Earthen, dedicated servants of the Titans, have had a presence in World of Warcraft since its release in 2004 and The War Within will be their largest stage yet.
- The excellent Dragonriding feature introduced in Dragonflight will adopt a new name, Dynamic Flying, and will be unlocked from the start of the expansion. You’ll finally be able to zoom around on your wyvern, gryphon, winged horse, phoenix and more as this feature expands to include all flying mounts!
Check out The War Within Features Overview video (featuring a voiceover from Alleria Windrunner!) to see some of these new features in motion:
Prominent characters in the story will include four fan favourites returning from hiatus: the not-so-much-boy-king-anymore Anduin Wrynn, Thrall, Alleria Windrunner and Xal’atath herself as the antagonist.
Welcome home, Knaifu!
What do you think of these updates? Are you excited for the World Soul Saga and story-centric approach for World of Warcraft or the new evergreen features? Let us know what you’re looking forward to or hoping for below!
Be sure to check out our news roundup article for Diablo IV (link) to learn more!