World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas has revealed the future of the Battle for Azeroth, which players will experience in a new update called Tides of Vengeance. Hazzikostas said in a livestream on Twitch (via Wowhead) that the update will see the war between the Alliance and the Horde grow, with a new feature called Incursions, new world quests, a new Warfront, a pair of new Island Expeditions, and two new raids. Oh, and dwarves and blood elves are getting Heritage Armor now, which is also super cool.
Just as importantly, however, is that Tides of Vengeance will also address some of the bigger complaints that had the community riled up recently. For example, if you've reached a Champions of Azeroth reputation tier on one character, it'll unlock on all characters bound to that same account. This will make leveling new characters way less of a chore.
The update will feature "a lot of core, quest-driven, story driven content," Hazzikostas said, as both the Horde and the Alliance escalate the conflict. Incursions, which will be similar to Assaults in World of Warcraft: Legion, will see forces from the opposing faction attacking and establishing footholds in your zones. This will disable world quests in the area and enable a new set of content in its place, "very similar to how Legion assaults were structured."
Incursions can also be used to level alts that have unlocked world quests, and there will be a number of new world quests added to the rotation throughout the world. Existing storylines will continue, and new ones will be added: "We're going to be looking very closely at Saurfang, who as members of the Horde, we last saw languishing in the Stormwind stockades, lamenting lost honor," Hazzikostas said. Tyrande and Vol'jin will also feature in new storylines.
Heritage Armor, which has so far been reserved for Allied races, is being expanded to dwarves and blood elves through special "racial questlines." Blizzard expects to roll Heritage Armor out to other races in the future; Hazzikostas said that "racial identity is a really important aspect of World of Warcraft."
The Alliance will attempt to strike back against the Horde in Tides of Vengeance by opening a new Warfront in an effort to retake Darkshore and establish a foothold within striking distance of Orgrimmar. The new Warfront will focus on the forces of the night elves and the forsaken, with new structures, upgrades, and systems. Other Horde and Alliance forces will also appear, but Hazzikostas said that it will be "a very different take on the Warfront experience." The outdoor zone of Darkshore will also be updated as a "max level experience."
The new Siege of Zuldazar raid will be "quite different from any raid we've done before," Hazzikostas said. Each faction will have a "completely separate experience" in it: Alliance players will land at the docks and fight to confront King Rastakhan, while Horde players will come at it from the north and fight the invaders down to the docks, where they'll ultimately battle Alliance commanders including Jaina Proudmoore. Events experienced by the opposing faction will be playable in a sort of live after-action report, ensuring that both factions can experience all nine bosses in the raid.
A second raid, Crucible of Storms, is a two-boss battle that will come after Zuldazar, and will hint at "dark secrets" under Stormsong. Hazzikostas said the release of the second raid will take place well after Zuldazar, to help ensure that players don't feel overwhelmed.
There will also be a pair of new islands added to the game called Jorundall and Havenswood, each of which will have new events and enemies, and the reputation system will be changed so that reputation unlocked on one character will be unlocked on all of them. Reputation unlocks will be removed, and progress toward Exalted Reputations will be account-wide rather than character specific. New Azerite traits are coming, and some that haven't been very interesting will be removed. (You can read more about that in Steven's rundown of why players are sick of Battle of Azeroth's shitty gear system.)
A release date for Tides of Vengeance hasn't been set yet, but Hazzikostas said the goal is to have the update on the PTR by the end of this week.