World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’s countdown begins

With Patch 7.3.5 and the launch of pre-orders for Battle For Azeroth, January turned into a pretty busy month for World of Warcraft. There was an insane flurry of activity when the pre-order was announced, so much so that queues shot up to a day or so before settling back down.

I was slightly tempted to get it right then and there, but I held off for the time being. My goal is to be able to pay for the expansion solely with WoW tokens, not because I’m that poor, but just to see if I can. Plus, hey, it’s $50 I could save for something else. With $23 saved up in the store already, I think I could knock this out easily this month, as long as the token prices settle down a bit (they had rapidly risen from 170k to 223k with all of the players returning, but we’ve seen signs of that abating).

There is no real incentive for me to pay $20 extra for the deluxe edition. I’m swimming in mounts, so why would I want two more? And all of the rest of the bonuses are for non-World of Warcraft games, which is an irritating trend that Blizzard has been perpetuating over the past couple of years. If I’m buying a special edition for a game I’m playing, I want all of the goodies to, you know, BE FOR THAT GAME.

But with the pre-order comes two notable events: the introduction of allied races and a release window for the expansion.

I know a lot of people were scrambling to get the pre-order because that meant they could roll up one of the four new allied races. And while we are really far out from the launch right now, it makes sense for Blizzard to give players something time-consuming to do (level a character from 20 to the cap, perhaps multiple times). Fill up those months.

Plus, as was pointed out, even if you don’t care about playing any of these races, simply unlocking them via the pre-order and requirements means that you get their mounts across your entire account. That’s a nice bonus.

I’m in no rush.  The thing that I’m worried about is going overboard on filling up my character roster, which is easier to do now more than ever before. Blizzard is giving us four more slots per server, and hey, now there are four new racial variants to roll. Additionally, the pre-order comes with a boost to 110, which is an option.

I don’t know what I would even want to pursue here. Keeping my Hunter and Death Knight for the expansion is pretty much my goal. Warlock, Shaman, and perhaps Druid are tier two. I’m mulling over a Highmountain Tauren Druid or Shammy but haven’t decided yet, so it’s probably good I don’t have to pick right now. I just don’t want to fill up the roster with tons of characters just because I can.

What was surprising with this pre-order is that Blizzard put the expansion release a lot sooner than many of us were anticipating. Considering that the beta hadn’t begun yet, I was seeing this as an easy November release, but no, the launch will be “on or before September 21st” to keep it in summer. It actually worries me a little bit that they’re going to have to rush the testing, but then again, it’s not like this expansion is breaking a whole lot of new ground in terms of features.

I guess I’m fine with it. That does mean we’re in for a half-year of no new content, despite Blizzard holding back a few quests and the new battleground so it can try to keep content drought accusations at bay. But I have plenty to do, and hey, there are always new characters to level if I get that bored and have that much time on my hands.

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