World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Review PC
key review info
- Game: World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: No
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Every time Blizzard outs a new World of Warcraft expansion, players who left the game for whatever reason are wondering whether or not it's worth coming back. The same goes for Battle of Azeroth, an expansion that's been hyped many months before launch, as the perfect opportunity to jump back into action.
The theme of Battle for Azeroth is the neverending rivalry between the two factions: Alliance and Horde. It's a smart decision since we haven't seen that kind of competition between the two factions in a very long time. Although it may sound like Blizzard is focusing on player-versus-player (PvP) more than ever, that's just an excuse to get those interested by this aspect into checking it out.
The escalation of hostilities between the two player factions, the Alliance and Horde, starts at the end of Legion with the burning of Darnassus and Undercity, capital cities of the night elf and undead. In Battle for Azeroth, players are thrown directly into the action as they take the battle in the enemy territory, which feels like we're actually contributing to the war effort.
Unlike many of the previous expansions, few things seem artificial in Battle for Azeroth. Of course, you'll still be given quests where you have to kill a certain number of mobs or gather resources, but the writing is consistently better. Depending on what faction you're playing, you'll be sent to gather allies for your faction in Kul Tiras (Alliance), and Zandalar (Horde).
Looking at the map of the continents, the new areas certainly don't look bigger than any of those added in the previous installments. However, few other content expansions before managed to capture the true spirit of World of Warcraft like Battle for Azeroth.
Although you won't have to explore all the new areas to make it to level 120, that's a requirement if you want to open the World Quests and start working towards getting reputation with various factions involved in the war between the Alliance and Horde. From the watery landscapes of the Kul Tiras, to the lush jungles of Zandalar, Blizzard has been paying attention to every detail, story and graphics-wise.
Several hours into Battle of Azeroth and you'll be swamping in quests, no matter which path you take to level up, Kul Tiras or Zandalar. Each of these zones have three areas where players start the war campaign, each with their unique storyline that ends up with you gaining another ally for your faction.
The main players in the war for Azeroth and the new resource called Azerite are called Warbringers. Blizzard has turned them into a series of animated shorts that offer an insight into they came to play such a pivotal role in Battle for Azeroth. The three iconic leaders from across Azeroth that have already been introduced by Blizzard are Jaina Proudmoore, Sylvanas Windrunner and Queen Azshara. If you want to take a plunge into even more World of Warcraft lore, these animated shorts are a must.
As I mentioned earlier, the writing in Battle for Azeroth is exceptionally good. I've caught myself laughing stupidly quite a few times while leveling up in Kul Tiras, not to mention that the amount of pop culture references is absolutely amazing. My favorite ones are the Harry Potter alternative universe, Winnie the Pooh, Anchorman, and Darkest Dungeon questline.
Battle for Azeroth is one of the few expansions where I actually sat and read every quest that I've been handed, which is no small feat for a game of that magnitude. As far as the may story goes, it's not mind-blowing, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
The seventh expansion pack for World of Warcraft is a great opportunity for PvP-oriented players to come back to the game. The entire PvP experience has been reworked to reward those who enjoy fighting the opposite faction while leveling up. The new War Mode, when enabled, awards players an extra 10% experience when they level up, but there are other activities meant for PvP players after they hit 120.
Warfronts and Island Expeditions are two new activities introduced in Battle for Azeroth. The former is a PUBG-like mode where a team of players must harvest enough resources to build up their base, recruit soldiers and siege weapons and conquer the opposite faction's fort.
The best way to describe Island Expeditions is a treasure hunt adventure in the same vein as Indian Jones. Unfortunately, that's a bit of an overstatement since the 10-15 minute activity is quite boring and uninteresting. The idea of sailing to a mysterious island to gather resources faster than the A.I. or opposing team is great, but there's no other gameplay mechanisms involved except killing just enough monsters on the island to win the race.
One other thing that I didn't like about Battle for Azeroth is the Azerite system, which heavily relies on grinding. The artifact weapons in Legions are going away for this expansion and are replaced by new gear (head, shoulders, and chest), which can be upgraded with azerite to unlock various passive abilities.
Also, instead of the legendary items, all players are now given the Heart of Azeroth, a necklace that can be upgraded with azerite, just like the special items mentioned above. On the bright side, many of the activities that reward azerite are the backbone of the game, so players would have done it on a daily basis anyway.
- Solid writing and voice acting
- Charming visuals and music
- Plenty of activities
- Fun leveling experience
- New dungeons (not The Motherlode!!)
- A turtle made it to the water
- Warfronts and Island Expeditions need to be redesigned
- Progression gated by the new Azerite system
- I thought we got rid of the reputation grind
Thanks to Battle for Azeroth, World of Warcraft doesn't feel like an obsolete MMORPG any longer, on the contrary, it's fresh, fun, surprising, and … addictive. Of course, the new expansion is not without its problems, but the overall feeling is that World of Warcraft is on the right path.
And for those sitting on the fence about whether or not to jump into the action again, there's only one thing I can say: Battle for Azeroth is the perfect opportunity to come back to World of Warcraft. I have to give the folks at Blizzard credit for pouring their hearts and souls into the game once again, it definitely shows.