WoW's Next Expansion Has Raids That Play Like A Classic Warcraft RTS

The years have not been kind to fans of Warcraft's real-time strategy roots. Before each BlizzCon, a dwindling contingent of hopeful fans prays for Warcraft IV to no avail. But WoW's next expansion Battle for Azeroth might contain the next best thing.

Among a number of other new features, Battle for Azeroth will introduce 20-person cooperative raids called Warfronts. While other WoW raids pit you against processions of baddies and bosses, Warfronts see you face off against entire NPC armies.

Instead of just rolling up your chainmail sleeves and getting to it, though, you start by building and planning. The basis for the new mode's base-building, World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas told Kotaku during an interview at BlizzCon, is RTSes like Warcraft III.

"In searching for inspiration for how that might unfold, classic RTS roots felt like the perfect place to turn," Hazzikostas said.

He told me that while Blizzard is still ironing out the exact details of Warfronts, they will likely occur in three stages. First, you'll need to get your base up and running. That will involve "getting basic resources like lumber or gold that you'll need to upgrade your town hall" and "going out, vanquishing foes, and clearing supply lines for your peons to do their thing," Hazzikostas said.

So basically, you're a hero character on a Warcraft III map.

You don't just do blood-spattered dirty work, though. Stage two will involve collaborating with other players to make decisions about what gets built. Hazzikostas said that resources can go into buildings like barracks, armories, or stables, which will give you, other players, and NPC allies different bonuses.

"They will also enable you to train more troops and build siege vehicles — things that will let you push forward," he said.

The final stage is the most predictable: you charge into the field, bust down some walls, and lay waste to the enemy keep. First you craft, then you war. So basically, it's a cooperative midpoint between a raid and an RTS. It probably won't satisfy the Warcraft-IV-hungry masses, but it will at least tide(s of darkness) them over.


    Was waiting for Kotaku to pick up on this. It's one of the most innovative things they've ever done in WoW. Legion saw a bunch of experimentation, some worked out well, other bits bad. In Battle for Azeroth they've already shown they're going to implement the bits that worked more widely and scrap the failures (RNG Legendaries).

    The experimentation continues with Battle for Azeroth, with Warfronts and the Island scenarios chief among them. I have a feeling Warfronts is kind of what they envisioned with Warlord of Draenor but they never really followed through and realised the idea.

    I've gotta be honest this sounds goddawful for a game like WoW. RTS works fine when you're the supreme commander (I love WC 1-3) but not when you have 20 people trying to collaborate.

    Well, wait and see I suppose. They tend to change a concept so much during the course of development it winds up looking nothing like the initial proposal (I'm thinking particularly of garrisons).

      Oh and meant to add, this sounds a lot like they did with zones like Quel'danas. Maybe on a more condensed scale, taking 20 players and a couple hours rather than 100s and a month.

        I don't know if you've played Legion but I'll assume you haven't. in the deep dive panel, they said it's going to be like the building the buildings in broken shore. each person can contribute to either a barracks or a stable (as an example) and which ever reaches the required amount is built

        naturally if all 20 people builds the stable then it will go up faster but you're not going to be sitting around waiting for people to collectively decide.

          Yeah I'm playing legion. That is pretty much the same metaphor they used on Quel'Danas. Mechanically maybe a little different but not by much.

          Main difference seems to be that once QD was "built" it was permanent, whereas these are effectively instances.

          And I don't mind the idea for a zone, but for what is effectively equivalent to a raid, it's going to be a pain in the backside. "Hey why is EvilPally69 going off killing random stuff not completing the stables" kinda thing.

            yea this is going to get interesting.

            I'm going to be rather interested in seeing how Blizzard makes us cooperate as opposed to 20 people running around doing our own thing

      I've gotta be honest this sounds goddawful for a game like WoW. RTS works fine when you're the supreme commander (I love WC 1-3) but not when you have 20 people trying to collaborate.

      Honestly, it reminds me of Ashran, from Warlords of Draenor and AV from Classic where you can spend resources to do things such as bring out a mounted cavalry patrol or summon a giant elemental lord.

      Calling it an RTS is just for hype, realistically it won't play anything like one. It's just co-operative gathering of materials to build things to give you buffs or other unit types. Then they'll get sent out to fight.

      I'm picturing it to be more like DOTA but you have an initial phase where you gather resources to get troops.

    Uh huh. Cool.

    /continues waiting for Warcraft IV/

    Honestly I am kind of getting sick of the whole base building shit in WOW, and war fronts just seem like more of Garrison building mixed with invasions or invasion points? I don't really see it as innovative.

      The way they described it at Blizzcon sounded much closer to old school AV (but without the PvP) than Garrisons. You basically just run around mining, looting and killing AI until you have gathered enough shit (as a team) to unlock a building, which produces ally NPCs to help you out. Then you repeat that (new buildings, upgraded, whatever) until you are able to destroy the enemy base - with the help of your AI allies.

      It really feels like WoWs take on a MOBA rather than RTS if you ask me - though MOBAs obviously came from RTS (Warcraft 3 even) so I can see what they're going for.

      A lot of it still sounds up in the air though; "we're hoping...", "we want..", "we really think we can...", ect. As Simocrates said, I'll believe it when I see it, just like the good old Dance Studio.

        Uh ok yeah that sounds a bit obnoxious still though. I mean I loved the original AV back in Vanilla and BC (except for the fact that one AV could last like hours upon hours) but it kinda just looks like what they did with Legions Landing collecting the necessary resources build a tower and gain buffs. That is what I meant by Garrison building, but yeah I relly hope they do make so of the stretch goals could be potentially a great Expac. Legion kept me around for 3 months before I unsubbed and came back only recently to get my flying in Broken Isles. Enjoyable content. Heres hoping anyway.

    I'm hype.

    People are real silly if they actually expect WC4 before WoW is finished, though.

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