What We Now Know About World of Warcraft: The War Within

What We Now Know About World of Warcraft: The War Within

World of Warcraft: The War Within is the game’s next big expansion, and will kick off the multi-expansion story of the Worldsoul Saga. Announced during BlizzCon 2023’s Opening Ceremony by crowd favourite Christ Metzen, the MMORPG’s tenth expansion will launch in 2024, followed by Midnight and The Last Titan (release windows TBA). While the opening ceremony revealed an intense cinematic trailer for The War Within, panels across the event delved deeper into just what players can expect on launch – here’s everything we learned about World of Warcraft’s tenth major expansion at BlizzCon 2023.

The Story

World of Warcraft: The War Within was introduced via a cinematic reveal, with Anduin Wrynn, grappling with his experiences in Shadowlands, and Thrall coming together after experiencing visions radiating out of the heart of the world. Compelled to investigate the ‘Radiant Song’s’ origins, other darker forces have also been attracted to the depths of Azeroth, wit the return of Xal’atath. Now freed, the Black Empire has fallen, the Old Gods are dead and “their ancient blood runs deep within the cracks of the world.”  

Xal’atath seeks to create a new legacy through the conscription of the Nerubian queen Annsurek and promises of a new era of might for the kingdom. The Nerubians of The War Within aren’t the soldiers of the Lich King, though – rather, a stronghold of Nerubians “as they once were.” However, Xal’athath has granted a dark alchemical form of evolution to the Nerubians that sees them transform into a “new kind of ferocious and terrifying soldiers.”

Blizzard has described The War Within as just the beginning, with the aim to set the stage for twenty more years of storytelling like the last, beyond the three announced expansions.

Returning Icons

World of Warcraft: The War Within sees the return of some of “Azeroth’s greatest heroes” as they struggle with visions and their own challenges. Among the characters who’ll feature heavily in the expansion’s story are Anduin Wrynn, Thrall, Magni Bronzebeard, and Alleria Windrunner.

Anduin will “grapple with his relationship with the Holy Light that he no longer feels worthy of” in The War Within while Thrall is “seeking a connection to the visions spreading across the world and working to find his new place within the Horde,” and based on the trailer alone it seems both characters are in for a whole lot of character development. Alleria Windrunner is described as “central to the events and themes” of the expansion as she uses her void hunter capabilities to hunt down Xal’atath, with a “unique rivalry” forming.

New Locations

World of Warcraft: The War Within
Image: Blizzard

Players jumping into World of Warcraft: The War Within can expect to explore a whole new subcontinent, Khaz Algar, complete with four new (mostly subterranean) zones; Isle of Dorn, The Ringing Deeps, Hallowfall, and Azj-Kahet. Khaz Algar is situated between Pandaria and Kalimdor.

The Isle of Dorn is the home of surface-dwelling Earthen, while players can expect to run into the Machine Speakers in the underground Ringing Deeps, as well as plenty of Kobolds led by the Candle King (who devs at Blizzcon were very excited about players getting to meet). Hallowfall is illuminated by a giant crystal at its centre and is home to a faction of zealots known as the Arathi, a “human tribe who have battled against nerubians for centuries.”

The final zone, Azj-Kahet, is the high capital of Nerubian society. Players will be able to fly mounts between zones thanks to the seamless zone flow in the descent to the core of Azeroth. All four zones have been layered and stacked upon one another, and built for dynamic flight (and some really sick dives on the back of flying mounts – more on that later).

Dungeons & Raids

World of Warcraft: The War Within
Image: Blizzard

The War Within will include eight new dungeons, with four level-up dungeons and four max-level dungeons. Each zone will be home to a level-up dungeon and a max-level dungeon.

Level-Up Dungeons:

  • The Rookery
  • The Stonevault
  • Priory of the Sacred Flame
  • City of Threads

Max-Level Dungeons:

  • Cinderbrew Meadery
  • Darkflame Cleft
  • The Dawnbreaker
  • Old City

World of Warcraft: The War Within
Image: Blizzard

The first raid from the upcoming expansion is the Nerub’ar Palace, an eight-boss raid in Azj-Kahet that results in the culmination of the storyline involving the Nerubian Empire, their monarch, Queen Ansurek, and Xal’atath. The Queen will be the end boss for this particular raid. The World of Warcraft team says verticality will make this raid feel unique in comparison to others.


During the World of Warcraft deep dive panel, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas discussed the introduction of Delves, scalable world instances for 1-5 players which were likened to dungeons, raids and PvP but for players wanting to focus on the outdoor world with a “more structured experience.” Delves are aimed to address the lack of upgrades and excitement in the outdoor world beyond completing quests. 

Delves will involve exploration, deep-diving into mysteries, and extending open world content, as opposed to moving from one boss to another in the same vein as dungeons – with the difference from other open world adventuring being the treasure received at the end. There’s currently twelve planned Delves, themed around the zones coming to The War Within:

  • Earthcrawl Mines
  • Skittering Breach
  • The Waterworks
  • The Spiral Weave
  • Kriegval’s Rest
  • Nightfall Sanctum
  • The Dread Pit
  • Rak-Rethan Abyss
  • Fungak Folly
  • The Sinkhole
  • Deepwalker Hold
  • Mycomancer Cavern

Delves will also offer plenty of cosmetic awards, like “silly hats” such as mushrooms and candles, based on the theming of the specific Delve. There’s also a customisable flying machine mount exclusively available through completing Delves.

New Allied Race: Earthen

World of Warcraft: The War Within
Image: Blizzard

The Earthen dwarves are a new Allied Race coming to World of Warcraft: The War Within. Players who play through the expansion’s campaign and endgame questline can unlock access to the Earthen Allied Race, which can join either the Horde or the Alliance. Earthen will be available to play as the following classes: Death Knight, Hunter, Mage, Monk, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior. Levelling an Earthen toon will also unlock the new Earthen Heritage Armor. The Earthen reside on the Isle of Dorn and the zones beneath it, and exist as three estranged groups – Oathsworn, Unbound, and Machine Speakers.

Hero Talents

New hero talents for each class specialisation will allow players to progress characters with “evergreen self-contained talent trees that also infuse class fantasy flavour” inspired by iconic Warcraft universe archetypes. These will be in addition to current talent trees, and include three trees per class – two small trees per specialisation that can be switched between. This system will auto unlock at level 71, with players receiving a new talent point at each level. Once players reach level 80, the whole tree will unlock – the goal is for Hero Talent trees to be “low friction” with the ability to swap between choices and trees easily, in a similar vein to Dragonflight talents.

Dynamic Flight

World of Warcraft: The War Within
Image: Blizzard

Dragonflight’s dragon riding is “here to stay” in The War Within, with players able to toggle between ‘Dynamic Flight’ or the flying style initially introduced in The Burning Crusade. Dynamic Flight will be available from the beginning of the expansion in Khaz Algar, with the TBC style unlockable at max level when the campaign is completed.

Players can collect glyphs throughout The War Within zones, with Blizzard confirming glyphs will be shifting to an evergreen state so players don’t have to return to Dragonflight to gain any missed in the previous expansion. However, some abilities collected in the Dragon Isles may be location restricted, but base abilities including increased Vigor will “become a part of how Dynamic Flight works and available to everyone as they level up.”


Warbands are a system that will represent all characters on a player’s BattleNet account, which will share achievements, resources, renown and reputation across all characters, with the goal to respect player’s time. Transmogrification rules will also be revisited so transmogs collected on characters of an unsuitable class can still be used on other alts that can by adding it to your collection.

World of Warcraft: The War Within
Image: Blizzard

There’s likely to be plenty more news about World of Warcraft: The War Within as we get closer to release (which is currently TBD, but slated for 2024), but so far based on all the details coming out of BlizzCon, it’s shaping up to be a big one – and likely make-or-break for players considering returning to the MMORPG after the poor reception of recent expansions like Shadowlands

Lead Image Credit: Blizzard

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