Feel free to watch the video above or to read the article below, the old fashioned way.

I’ve recently been added to the lucky few who have received an alpha test invite for the upcoming expansion, Battle for Azeroth. This expansion is still early in its testing phase and isn’t due to launch until September, so a lot of the content is not yet accessible. However, it is possible to get a glimpse of four of the new zones and at the new zone questlines.

 

For the first time in many expansions faction zones have returned, with Alliance and Horde each having separate questing zones. I’ve been busy exploring these over the weekend and I’ll give you a brief tour below:

 

Horde: Zandalar

 

 Now, up until this point I’ve always been an Alliance player, with all my current 110s on in that faction. However, I have to admit that this expansion might just put an end to that. I have to confess that the horde zones are stunningly beautiful and wonderful to explore. This isn’t to belittle the alliance zones which I’ll get on to later, as they do have a character of their own; but I’m a sucker for misty, broody swamps and forests and this place has me eating out of its hand.

The currently available content is the main city Zuldazar and the swamps of Nazmir. I’ll give you an overview of each in turn.

 

Zuldazar

 

Zuldazar is the main Horde stronghold of the expansion, an ancient city of tall stepped temples in a forest of humongous ancient trees. The whole city works to make me feel tiny with everything done on an epic scale, and it’s great. All the usual vendors and service NPCs seem to be present with many on the main street. There are fountains and waterfalls galore. Even the locals don’t travel light with dinosaur mounts walking the streets.

 

The whole city has a majestic, ancient feel to it, and is a great chill out spot. It’s quite quiet here in the Alpha phase, with very few players to be seen, but I can see it becoming a lively and busy hub when the expansion goes live. This is definitely my favourite of the faction cities.

 

Nazmir

 The expansion info page describes Nazmir ans bleak swamps which really doesn’t do the area justice. It’s not just a swamp there are also beaches, dark temples, frog grottos. So far in playing through the zone quests I’ve aided walking turtles and talking frogs and battled demi gods. It’s a massive zone but the quest hubs are quite close together and you are guided there by either quests or NPCs, so you never feel like you’ve had to trek to reach the quest.

 

The variety of quests on offer is the only thing lacking at the moment with a lot of kill X number of mobs or collect X number of items, which does get a bit repetitive. However, we are still very early in the testing phase and the zones are still being completed as we play them, so I’ve no doubt that more variety is coming.

 

On the whole, though. I really love this zone.

 

Alliance: Kul Tiras

 

I have to confess that I haven’t spent as much time in this zone as I have the Horde one. This zone is almost a polar opposite to the horde zone with this one being on the whole very bright and open. There’s a lot more hills, cliffs and peaks in this zone.

 

Tiragarde Sound

 

 

This is where the Alliance’s main city of this expansion is. Like the zone, over all, it is the opposite of the Horde city, being a comparatively modern looking metropolis. This city is much more spread out, and arranged around a network of cannels and waterways. In terms of testing, this zone feels a lot less complete than the Horde areas. There are quite a few holes in the mesh and some floating npcs which would indicate that this zone is in a slighter earlier development state. This is particularly noticeable in the city area. However, it’s still a very impressive city which covers a larger area than the Horde city.

 

The zone beyond the city is generally coastal and mountainous. Be ready for lots of shipwrecks, pirates, cliffs and mountains. As well as the flight paths, for the landlocked quest hubs, there are also ferry points in which two muscly sailors will whisk you away in a boat to your destination, which is a welcome change from the usual gryphon travel and does add character to the zone.

 

The zone has an abundance of picturesque coastal towns, most of which are connected by ferry points. I can’t comment much on the questing in this zone yet, as I haven’t really advanced through it far enough. However, the ones I’ve completed so far have been of a better variety than the Horde zone.

 

Drustvar

 

Drustvar has a very eerie and occult feel, think spooky graveyards, sinister buildings and eerie effigies. Again it’s quite costal and mountainous and is connected both by flight paths and ferry routes. It covers  a smaller area than Tiragarde Sound and is dominated by a massive mountain which I’ve yet to find a route up.

 

I haven’t progressed far through this area’s questline yet but from what I have done it appears quite dark, relating to witchcrafts, curses and lots of possessions and undead, It’s all rather grim in an exciting way.

 

Overall, the zones in this expansion are looking great. In terms of environment there is plenty of variety throughout each of the areas, Horde and Alliance, to keep that explorer spirit baited. It’s too early to judge the content as only some of it has been made available and it’s all still clearly in development. I also haven’t tried the dungeons or the island exhibitions yet which are also available in the alpha, so I’ll be checking those out soon and feeding back.

 

I hope this has been an informative glimpse into the new zones and if you have any specific questions on the alpha then please do feel free to drop questions in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Katie Alford
Katie lives in London; she loves playing games, is a published author, a digital artist and an astronaut. Okay, so one of those is a lie. Her blog can be found at http://kmalford.blogspot.co.uk/ and her twitch channel at http://www.twitch.tv/tailyna . You can also find her on steam as Tailyna.