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'We're still evolving': World of Warcraft's new battle royale is part of Blizzard's plan for 're-envisioning what Warcraft means'

 World of Warcraft Plunderstorm - a goblin and an orc with a pirate hat .
World of Warcraft Plunderstorm - a goblin and an orc with a pirate hat .

In case you haven't been keeping up to date with the latest World of Warcraft news, Plunderstorm is a battle royale mode that has arrived in Blizzard's MMO, except that technically, it's not part of the MMO at all. It's a separate mode, with separate characters, though you'll need a WoW subscription to play it. And according to Warcraft's general manager, John Hight, we might be seeing more limited-time modes in the future.

"This was our first experiment. That's why we're doing it as a limited-time thing," Hight told PC Gamer. "We do have ideas for other things that we'd like to do, similar to this, but with different gameplay. So I'm super excited about it."

So why now? What made Blizzard choose to try implementing a battle royale mode into an MMO? Hight explains that it was a combination of wanting to keep players engaged as the current expansion draws to a close, and wanting to experiment internally with different options.

"From the standpoint of experimentation, being able to do this somewhat outside of WoW makes it easier for us to put it out there because we don't have to hook it up with all the existing systems," Hight says. "And engagement: WoW is this incredible game and there's so many games within the game. We want to make sure that people know about that and that they see that we're still evolving, we're trying a lot of new things."

Plunderstorm might feel like it's come out of nowhere, but Hight confirmed that the limited-time mode is part of a strategic direction for World of Warcraft. "We absolutely have been on a track of re-envisioning what Warcraft means, in some ways, going back to our roots. When we started as an RTS, we got excited about the concept of 3D and being in an immersive environment. And that led us to build an MMO in a time when MMOs were still really, really new."

"We do this because we love making games, and we love entertaining our players. Our players' tastes and the way they participate in gaming communities have changed. And we don't have to do the same thing we've always done. [Players] want evolution, they want to stay part of this community. That's one thing that's been really clear."

While I don't think die-hard World of Warcraft players need to worry about their favourite MMO becoming the next Fortnite any time soon, I don't think we should rule out seeing more modes showing up in the Warcraft universe. Palworld of Warcraft, anyone?