WoW’s Latest Patch Turns The MMO Into A Battle Royale

World of Warcraft races dressed like pirates opening treasure

World of Warcraft players are buckling up for The War Within expansion that’s due to launch sometime in 2024, but in the meantime Blizzard has something different to offer. Before the three-part Worldsoul Saga gets started with The War Within, the World of Warcraft team is introducing a mode unlike anything the MMO has seen before—a battle royale. Plunderstorm is live now and it’s a huge, but good, surprise for fans.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Plunderstorm battle royale mode has been the secrecy surrounding the project before launch. Blizzard developed the new mode away from test servers for the game, meaning that dataminers didn’t have a chance to leak the project ahead of time. That also means Plunderstorm exists outside of the Classic or Dragonflight servers of WoW. In fact, players will need to make an entirely new character for the new mode, which can be accessed from the main login screen, during the six week period Plunderstorm will exist. You do still need to have an active subscription for WoW to play it, though.

Plunderstorm upends everything about how WoW is played, and that starts with the basic actions players can execute. Instead of a lengthy list of skills, players will have a maximum of six abilities. There are no auto-attacks and no classes. Instead, players level up by defeating environmental threats as well as other players.

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Since this is a battle royale, in the vein of Apex Legends and Fortnite., up to 60 players will enter the Arathi Highlands (solo or in teams of two) in matches that Blizzard estimates will take 10-15 minutes each. Only one winner will be crowned. Plunderstorm bears a lot of resemblance to Spellbreak, the now-shuttered magical battle royale. And there’s a good reason for that: Spellbreak developer Proletariat was acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2022 and the team was folded into the WoW team.

For both Classic and Dragonflight players, Plunderstorm is an interesting diversion from the WoW formula. Which was exactly the idea. Talking to PC Gamer, lead software engineer Orlando Salvatore said that the team wanted to “give players something that’s super exciting, especially experimental, before The War Within launches.” Plunderstorm is definitely that, and it’s worth trying out before it vanishes in six weeks.

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