Blizzard is ditching WoW's PvP servers for an opt-in system

World of Warcraft's next expansion, Battle for Azeroth, is all about reigniting the Horde versus Alliance conflict. In that spirit, Blizzard has announced sweeping changes to its World PvP system and the elimination of PvP-only servers. Game director Ion Hazzikostas revealed the changes during the World of Warcraft panel at BlizzCon 2017.

"Our ruleset doesn't necessarily make a ton of sense for how the game is right now," Hazzikostas said, explaining that since 2005, the rules governing open-world PvP haven't really been updated. That's set to change with Battle for Azeroth.

First up, PvP servers are going away entirely. Instead, all servers will operate under the same rules of engagement, where players can opt-in for open-world PvP or choose to stay neutral. That's kind of similar to how it is now, except players will have to make the change in their capital city—so you can't flag for PvP the moment you see a target of opportunity. Opting into PvP will fill your world with other players who have also opted in, keeping likeminded players together.

As someone who recently had to pay to transfer off of a PvP server because of how imbalanced the population was between factions, this is an incredible change. Those who choose to play with PvP on will also get bonuses like extra experience, to reward their added risk.

This overhaul will be coming when Battle for Azeroth launches in 2018 and will become the "foundation on which we can make World PvP great again," Hazzikostas said, implying that these overhauls could be just the beginning.

There's a lot more info to sift through as the BlizzCon 2017 announcements roll through. But probably one of the biggest is the announcement of official Vanilla servers. To find out more, read our interview with Blizzard vice president J. Allen Brack.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.