In less than two months, Blizzard will launch the Battle for Azeroth — the latest expansion in World of Warcraft. As part of that event, Blizzard is offering a “Welcome Back Weekend.” Beginning immediately, and running through June 24, World of Warcraft is free to play to anyone that has previously had an account.
As the fine print states, the game access you’ll be granted is equivalent to either the last expansion you purchased (if you played through Legion), or the previous expansion, Warlords of Draenor, whichever is higher. This might not seem to be a huge gift, given that it still locks out the latest expansion, but it’s a great way to spend some time refamiliarizing yourself with class capabilities and possibly some game plot after years away.
If you’ve been gone from WoW for years and decide to check it out this weekend, don’t feel bad if the game feels like you’ve fallen off a cliff. Classes were heavily revamped for Legion and those changes are generally persisting into Battle for Azeroth, which means you can learn the way the game works now without having to relearn nearly as much from scratch two months from now. (There will, of course, be some changes — but you’ll get a head start on the process).
Obviously whether you want to leap into Azeroth will depend on whether you’re interested in returning to WoW in the first place, but I’ve got high hopes for BfA. I used to be a PvPer — I earned Commander in the original honor grind — but ultimately didn’t find battlegrounds all that attractive and the small-scale Arena combat wasn’t very interesting, either. BfA’s emphasis on PvP and its war zone ideas sound interesting and I’m curious to see what the game does there. The slideshow below rounds up some of the changes Blizzard has made from the launch of WoW through to Legion.
Story-wise, meanwhile, BfA should be an interesting continuation of the plot we played through in Legion. While the threat of Sargeras may have been dealt with, his last action inflicted critical damage on Azeroth itself. Healing this hurt — while beating the crap out of members of the Horde — are basically the two plot anchors of BfA that we can talk about without giving away spoilers for Legion or other content. But the overall path WoW took during Legion was a strong one, and provided this continues in BfA, I’m looking forward to another few years of excellent overall gaming.
If you want to get back into WoW but aren’t sure how, sites like Wowhead have written a tutorial on re-entering the game covering everything from reinstallation to leveling guides, “What’s Changed,” and general FAQs covering various aspects of the title. It’s a great way to refamiliarize yourself with the mechanics and classes before jumping in.
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