If you played World of Warcraft when it launched you’ll remember world PvP. You’ll remember the impromptu battles at Tarren Mill between Horde and Alliance, or Stranglethorn Vale or Booty Bay. Unorganised fun that echoed the Orcs vs. Humans essence of Warcraft as a real-time strategy game.
But as WoW got more complex, and things like server-links started to happen, world PvP faded further and further from view until it was a memory of a bygone era. Now, however, Blizzard intends to bring it back. Properly.
“You might feel [world PvP] hasn’t been treated with the respect it deserves over the years,” said game director Ion Hazzikostas during a WoW ‘what’s next?’ panel at BlizzCon 2017 (requires a Virtual Ticket). “We agree.”
The first step is unifying everyone on one ruleset. No longer will there be PvE and PvP servers but individual PvP and PvE toggles. It means the eternal roadblock of “What happens on a PvE server?” goes away, allowing Blizzard to develop systems to encourage the two warring factions together.
Temptations may be bounties on high value targets (it wasn’t clear if these would be enemy players or NPCs), for example, and Blizzard will entice people to be flagged for PvP by offering bonuses while questing.
It’s just a start, said Hazzikostas. “The aim of these changes is to build a foundation upon which we can make World PvP great again.” We’ll hear more about the changes in the future.
Rekindling the RTS roots of World of Warcraft was a running theme at BlizzCon 2017, as Blizzard announced new expansion Battle for Azeroth, which will add RTS-style Warfronts to the fray, among many other things.
Blizzard also made my evening by officially announcing plans to resurrect pre-expansion World of Warcraft on special Classic servers, although they sound like they’re still a long way off.