Warfronts are one of the big new features in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. But since they were first talked about at BlizzCon 2017, there’s been some confusion as to what they actually are and how they’ll work. While we don’t have every single detail on the gameplay of these massive scale battles, game director Ion Hazzikostas gave us some system level information during a visit to Blizzard Entertainment last week.
Warfronts are 20-player PvE missions that mimic a real-time strategy game, drawing serious inspiration from Warcraft 3. But instead of controlling the peons and infantry, each player-controlled character acts as a hero would, leading the charge and swinging the battle in your faction’s favor.
The first of these Warfronts will be Stromgarde Keep in the Arathi Highlands, an old Vanilla WoW zone. The mission will rotate between Alliance and Horde. The example we were given was that the Alliance would start out holding Stromgarde when the expansion launched. After Horde players turned in enough resources to their faction leaders, they would launch a Warfront.
Over the next week or so, Horde players would then be able to jump into the activity and reap the rewards. Once the Warfront ended, the Horde would be victorious in their conquest and hold the zone. When the Alliance players gathered enough war supplies, just like the Horde did, they would launch a counter Warfront, which would also be available for about a week.
Hazzikostas made it clear that launching a Warfront is as good as winning one. Because the activity is PvE and not PvP, there is no failure state. In some ways, this system seems very similar to the Broken Shore buildings in patch 7.2 of World of Warcraft: Legion. Players would gather supplies and turn them in to build a specific building. Each building would have different activities and bonuses, but would only last for a few days before being destroyed. There would then be a cooldown period before it could be built again.
It seems that the zone will trade faction hands every week or two, although it isn’t entirely clear what that means. Hazzikostas made it sound as though the team is still trying to determine what the rewards are for Warfronts and for holding the zones. One suggestion was faction-only World Quests in that zone for the entire time you hold the area.
There is still much that is unknown about Warfronts, but everything should be a little more clear once they go up for testing on Battle for Azeroth’s alpha in a few weeks. Either way, players won’t have to wait long to try out Warfronts for themselves when Battle for Azeroth releases on Aug. 14.