On August 14, 2018, the 13-years-running MMO giant World of Warcraft returns to the franchise’s central conflict: Horde or Alliance?
In Battle for Azeroth, a world constantly at threat — whether from the undead, dragons, demons and olds gods — sees old wounds reopened in the form of heated, open war between the game’s two main factions. Whether you’re a new or returning player, here are the most important things you need to know to prepare yourself for the largest, most devastating conflict the two sides have ever waged.
Horde or Alliance
As the scope of war increases, so also do your in-faction choices. Key to getting started in BfA will be choosing your side (or which to play first). A big fan of Legion’s Nightborne? Well, join up with the Horde. Jealous of the Horde’s more lithe, pointy-eared elves? The Alliance gets their own version. Itching to play a Dark Iron Dwarf ever since the game was first released in 2004? Blizzard is giving you the fan-favorite option.
Keep in mind, access to the new options isn’t a given; there are steps to unlock these ‘allied’ races which require some grinding through existing content.
Steps are also involved to gain access to class-specific mounts. Returning players may already see characters riding around on some fancy steeds. Whether you’re just getting reacquainted with WoW or still rolling through the current content, don’t get left in the dust of your fellow rogue or hunter.
And gear up!
As happens with every World of Warcraft expansion, the damage, stats and other benefits of new items (and more common) items will soon begin to overtake those of your most beloved epic and legendary pieces. Still, players who strive for those top-tier pieces will have an easier time in the first few levels of new content. Log in, grab your guild and create or join a Looking for Raid group that will get you that last ring, trinket, or chest piece that has been lagging several item levels behind the rest of your equipment.
With regards to Looking for Raid, those that love transmogrifying their gear will also want to make sure they complete these special LFR-only sets. Once Battle for Azeroth hits, Legion raids will no longer be available in LFR (and neither will the gear).
Bid a fond farewell to artifact weapons
An interesting feature introduced in the current expansion, Legion, artifact weapons are also one of the first things to go in the new expansion. For players who skipped the current expansion, this is no worry. For paladins who enjoyed wielding the legendary Ashbringer, shamans who finally got to swing Doomhammer, and all those who enjoyed the special new weapons for their favorite specialization, it’s time to sacrifice your faithful friend in order to heal the wounds caused by the Sword of Sargeras.
Speaking of specializations…
WoW’s developers have spoken of a desire to return classes to the more unique feel they experienced in earlier versions of the game. Indeed, many classes are seeing big changes. Whatever you enjoy playing, it’s worth reviewing all the coming changes (some of which already arrived in patch 8.0) to determine whether you want to keep playing your druid or finally try your hand at the dark arts of the warlock.
Be warned: numbers are in flux
With a game as long-running as WoW, giving players new challenges means giving them tougher monsters, and giving players a growing sense of power to fight those monsters means giving them new and more powerful weapons. While this makes perfect sense, it can result in stat numbers growing to the point where they become a burden to track rather than a source of joy.
The only solution? The developers squish those numbers. This time, it hasn’t gone so well. Players reading this article should be warned that though Blizzard is taking steps to fix the unintended consequences of stat shifting and scaling, you might still find an unbeatable murloc or two.
Hit the auction house
With every new expansion, some crafting materials become rarer and most expensive while others become cheaper. Check your bank to see what your stash is worth. To ease things, use an online price-checker tool like AHPrices.com to see how you can make a pretty penny before prices change rapidly with the new content.
Keep to your career goals
Make sure you have quick access to the newest recipes for your given profession by maxing out each one you can. While all professions are likely to see some interesting and powerful new craftables, one long-standing secondary skill is going away entirely; First Aid, a staple of the game since its launch, will now be retired in Battle for Azeroth, and advancements will be considered legacy achievements. If you fancy yourself a completionist, get on and make some bandages!
The Violet Spellwing
With the arrival of the 8.0 pre-patch last week, you may have already missed out on some time-sensitive questing and grinding Blizzard put into place. The coveted Violet Spellwing from Heroic Argus is still available, and for those players who still don’t have it, Softonic recommends getting on board a run with Perky Pugs or a similar community group dedicated to getting players this fantastic Legion-era rare.
On a final note… water mounts
Word is that with a WoW expansion focused more on island-based locations and the high seas, water mounts will be more useful than ever. If you’ve got nothing else in particular to be focusing on, it’s time to make friends with a sea turtle.