Blizzard announces Battle for Azeroth, the new expansion pack for World of Warcraft

Yesterday during the company's annual BlizzCon festivities at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, Blizzard announced the latest expansion pack for their wildly popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth.

Azeroth has paid a terrible price after the events of the Legion's crusade, and the trust between the Alliance and the Horde have been destroyed. This has re-ignited their historic conflict with one another.

In Battle for Azeroth, those who align themselves with the Alliance will travel to the land of Kul Tiras, the home of Jaina Proudmoore, as you seek help for the cause. Meanwhile, Horde members will visit Zandalar, a land filled with blood-troll worshippers, towering titans, and even dinosaurs. Here, you will also visit the ancient city of Zuldazar, the deserts of Vol’dun, and the swamps of Nazmir.

As you can imagine, this announcement brought with it an insanely good-looking cinematic trailer, a hallmark of the studio, which provides a little bit of backstory on the next expansion. You definitely need to check it out below!

Here's the rundown from the official press release:

In Battle for Azeroth, the fall of the Burning Legion has set off a series of disastrous incidents that reignites the furious rivalry between the noble Alliance and the mighty Horde. As a new age of warfare begins, Azeroth's heroes must set out on a harrowing journey in search of new allies, race to claim the world's mightiest resources to turn the tides of war, and fight on several fronts to determine which side will lead Azeroth into its uncertain future.

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth includes new features and content that will put heroes' dedication and fortitude to the test. In this expansion, players will be called upon to:

  • Explore Two Fabled Kingdoms: As a champion of the Horde, travel to the Zandalar empire to persuade the trolls to lend their naval might. As a defender of the Alliance, venture to the seafaring kingdom of Kul Tiras, home of Jaina Proudmoore, and rally its inhabitants to fight for your cause.
  • Recruit Allied Races: Take a new form for your adventures as several new playable Allied Races, each with unique racial abilities. Earn the favor of the Highmountain tauren, Void elves, Dark Iron dwarves, and others to create a new character of that race and add their strength to your faction.
  • Plunder the Islands of the Great Sea: Scour Azeroth's myriad uncharted Islands and conquer an ever-changing array of enemies, environments, and objectives. Battle in groups of three as you race against cunning rival intruders—or enemy players—to collect each island's resources and fuel the war effort.
  • Charge Into the Warfronts: Fight on the battlefields of a large-scale, 20-player cooperative Warfront to claim a key strategic location. Capture resources to build your faction's forces, lead the charge as your troops lay siege to objectives, and fight the enemy commander to claim victory in this new PvE mode inspired by classic Warcraft RTS battles.
  • Infuse Your Armor with Titanic Might: Seek out Azerite, an invaluable new resource that has emerged in the Legion's wake. Imbue the Heart of Azeroth—a legendary neck piece entrusted to each hero by Magni Bronzebeard—with Azerite to customize your armor with new powers and traits.
  • Battle to Level 120: Trace the corruption of the Blood God to the Underrot, unearth the secrets of a lost titan vault, escape from the Drust Realm of the Dead, and more as you quest through 10 new levels—then continue to grow in power through new World Quests, raids, dungeons, and more.
  • Instantly Boost to Level 110: Enter the raging conflict between the Horde and the Alliance prepared to survive on the front lines of a vicious new war.
  • Connect Through Communities: Join up with WoW® players who share common interests in persistent cross-realm Communities. Share strategies with members of your class, fraternize with auction house magnates, talk shop with fellow tailors, and expand your social circles.

And here is the aforementioned cinematic trailer for Battle for Azeroth:

While a release date for the new expansion pack wasn't revealed during the event or the following press releases, it is expected to drop sometime next year. 

We also have several new screenshots below:

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Gallery

Blizzard also announced during their presentation that World of Warcraft vanilla servers will also be making a return in an official capacity. The publisher courted some controversy last year when they sent a cease and desist letter to a group of fans who were getting the original version of the game running on private servers on a project called World of Warcraft: Nostalrius.

It allowed players who wanted to return to the legacy edition of the game a chance to do so. While details were light, they could only say there will be a classic server option. This was apparently a large endeavor they only recently figured out how to make it happen. 

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