While Aprils fool usually doesn’t mean anything there are a few exceptions to the rule and this year’s World of Warcraft ”Battle Royale” feature might be one of them.
Blizzard Entertainment is reasonably well known for their Aprils fool jokes that they make for all of their games each year.
This represents an opportunity for Blizzard to have a bit of fun and acknowledge mistakes they’ve made, as well as community memes with a bit of humor.
However, sometimes Blizzard’s April fools tend to be a bit too ”likely” and manage to create a desire in the player base. Like how the Pandaren race started out as a Warcraft 3 Aprils fool that it turned out people really wanted.
So today we are discussing whether or not Battle Royale battlegrounds in World of Warcraft could be more than just another Aprils Fool.
In case you have been living inside of Azeroth for the past 2 years and thus missed the latest huge gaming trend, here is an overview of what Battle Royale is.
The Battle Royale concept stems from the Japanese Cult hit ”Batoru Rowaiaru(Battle Royale) which is basically about being the last man standing in a brutal free-for-all game. The contestants(usually 100 players) land on a remote island and have to eliminate the other players or at least just focus on staying alive for as long as possible. Last man standing wins. Weapons and equipment is usually something you find around the island as well, making scavenging a considerable part of the game(Think The Hunger Games).
The absurd success of Playereunknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite: Battle Royale has made this the next big thing in the gaming industry and no other games have ever before gained such a large player base this quickly.(no, not even League of Legends)
So when one of Blizzard’s April fools for this year was about adding a Battle Royale Battleground to World of Warcraft, it’s easy to see why people got excited.
Blizzards Aprils Fool ”Idea”
The idea comes from the official 8.0.41 patch notes on April 1st. Among other ideas is the Battle Royale Battlegrounds and this is how Blizzard describes them:
- Drop into a massive free-for-all where you and 99 other unknown players will battle to be the last one standing.
- Everyone starts each round with no equipment, talents, or class abilities; you’ll have to find them hidden around the map (or take them from your opponents) to survive.
- Earn exciting new rewards like special cosmetic gear, a new “Fort Knight” title, and more.
- Coming soon to Android and iOS!
Despite the obvious nudges to both PUGB and Fortnite, this is a decently solid first concept of how Battle Royale could work in the World of Warcraft.
Let us take a look at the pros, hints, and reasons as to why this might be a rock solid idea.
First off, no, Seething Shore is in almost no ways like a Battle Royale Battleground. However, the battleground does start out nearly entirely the same as PUGB and Fortnite. You fly in on a massive aircraft and drop down on an island with parachutes. While this doesn’t prove much, it does show that Blizzard is paying attention to the success of Battle Royale and are willing to take ideas from it.
So, what are one of the major new features coming in the upcoming expansion, Battle for Azeroth? That’s right, Island Expeditions. Blizzard now has the technology for creating partly randomly generated areas such as the Island expeditions which is something that would work perfectly with a Battle Royale game mode. Although a 100 player Battle Royale battleground would be on a much grander scale, the concept is the same.
It doesn’t have to be on an island for it to work. World of Warcraft has an absurd amount of beautiful zones that could work very well as a Battle Royale area. Stranglethorn Vale(north & south together), the Plaguelands, Un’Goro Crater or Grizzly Hills, just to name a few.
So Many abilities & Items
Very few games in the world have as many unique abilities, and items as World of Warcraft and these could work as the Wow version of loot in a Battle Royale. Imagine starting with nothing and having to pick up abilities, legendary items, mounts, etc. It would also allow Blizzard to have fun with it and create some ”Battle Royale Only items” with insane effects.
They could either make this class or non-class specific. Each class could start with 2 or 3 base abilities that make them unique or everyone could start with the same and would have to find a mix of all skills in the game. Obviously, they would have to remove some abilities, such as stealth and invisibility.
Fortnite Did it
Yes, the most popular game in the world right now was not initially a Battle Royale game. Fornite was just another third-person shooter game that was well suited for such a game mode.
The most popular game in the world right now merely adopted the concept from Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and made it their own. So why can’t Blizzard? Well, there are a few reasons as to why not but that doesn’t make it impossible!
PVP Could use some Innovations
Player versus Player is far from the most popular game mode in World of Warcraft, and it never was. However, it used to be a lot more popular than it is now and Battle Royale Battleground might be just what it needs to attract new players.
World of Warcraft’s Twitch popularity
World of Warcraft is a massive player in the gaming industry but lacks quite a bit behind on the Esports scene and Twitch viewership in general. While the new ”Mythic plus invitational” might be enough to give it a huge presence on the market, Battle Royale could be another way. Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds both have a massive amount of viewers on Twitch, and it mostly comes down to Battle Royale being an immensely fun and watchable game type. World of Warcraft generally have poor viewership numbers on Twitch due to the slow-paced nature of the game, but this could change that quite a lot.
Arcade – Let us just try it?
Legion implemented the Arcade mode to battlegrounds. This would be a fantastic way to at least test a bare version of Battle Royale. Let’s just try it, Blizzard, drop 100 players down in Un’Goro Crater and see what happens.
While I think this would be incredibly cool, it is as far from likely to be implemented. Let us take a look at the things that are in the way for this game mode.
Player Versus Player Popularity
Battle Royale Battlegrounds could fail to happen for the same reason that we very rarely see a new regular battleground. PVP popularity.
It might not be worth using a lot of resources and development hours on a game mode that focuses on Player Versus Player activity.
No ‘MOBA’ Battleground yet
The last time the gaming industry saw a comparable trend to the Battle Royale was with the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena(MOBA) fever back when League of Legends, Dota 2, and Heroes of Newerth were released.
Despite it quickly rising to being the most popular game genre on the market, Blizzard did not deem it worth to try making a MOBA themed battleground.
While implementing a MOBA inspired battleground to World of Warcraft would arguably be harder than a Battle Royale mode it does show that Blizzard doesn’t just jump on the latest ”big thing”.
Might be deemed too hard to implement
Battle Royale games are almost always shooters. World of Warcraft is so vastly different from Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battleground that Blizzard might decide the task of implementing it too huge or impossible even. World of Warcraft has classes, unique abilities, talents, mounts and many other things that could make it hard to implement.
World of Warcraft’s subscription model might still be too much of a scare for new players. Seeing as Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is a one time purchase, and Fortnite is free to play.
Concept – How we Would do it
- 100 Players are dropped down via a zeppelin on either a randomly generated island or in one of the many zones in Azeroth.
- Players join solo or in groups of 3. Eliminate opponents and be the last one standing to claim victory.
- Players start with 3 class specific abilities. Additional abilities, loot, and mounts lie scattered around the zone as loot. They could also implement it as entirely class neutral, but as players are very connected to their characters, I feel some class identity would be good.
- Cosmetics, mounts, titles, as well as gear, are rewarded to players in each match. Different brackets of rewards for how well you do. Top 50, top 40, top 30, etc. As well as a weekly chest with loot for your best ranking that week.
Feel free to add your ideas or full concept in the comment section.
Aprils Fool – Risk-Free way to test ideas
April fool gives gaming companies a chance to throw the more crazy ideas in there and see which ones excite the player base and which doesn’t, without consequences.
Blizzard has added Aprils fool’s into their games on multiple occasions before so this is far from outside the realm of possibilities. Most famously with the Pandaren Aprils fool but it is not the only one. The Tinker hero in Warcraft 3, many World of Warcraft features such as the Guild Finder tab and transmogrification. Granted, Aprils fool always teases these features in a slightly more wonky way than they turn out when implemented but the core premise is the same.
So, is this a crazy idea which will never happen or could it be the next prominent feature for World of Warcraft?