World of Warcraft on Xbox – Would it Work?

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I have played way too much World of Warcraft in my lifetime. I don’t think this fact can argued otherwise. With the announcement of the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft, the first thought that came to my mind was: Will World of Warcraft actually come to Xbox Consoles?

I’ll start out by sayhing that nobody knows for sure if WoW has plans to be ported on to Xbox. I doubt Microsoft or Activision even know themselves.

For the sake of this article, let’s imagine that the annoucement for World of Warcraft on Xbox just happened. Let’s talk a little bit about all the pros, cons and considerations of bringing Azeroth to Xbox Consoles.

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Warchief Thrall in all his glory.

WoW on Xbox.. I am highly concerned but intrigued

Let me say flat out that at face value this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. As a 17 year WoW veteran, the thought of not playing WoW on a PC seems sacrilegious. Still, I see some glimmers of hope and I am willing to consider both sides of the coin. Nevertheless, we are going to start with the negatives here and get them out of the way.

Negatives – Wow on Xbox

Can you even play WoW with a controller?

While playing WoW with a controller may be technically possible, it is far from optimal. Combat and movement specifically in WoW requires a quick reaction time along with many complicated spell and ability combinations across a range of targets at any given time.

I could see raid healing being specifically very tough. Keeping a tank and DPS alive through heavy damage spikes requires a quick reaction time when swapping targets and I don’t see it being viable without a mouse and keyboard. I guess using a mouse and keyboard connected to your Xbox could be a solution in the future. It kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion and you might as well play on PC.

It feels like PC players using a mouse and keyword would have an unfair advantage against players using a controller. I could be completely wrong here but I am just not sure.

Two versions of the game need to be maintained

WoW is an extremely complex MMORPG with multiple zones, classes, factions, professions, systems, spells and much more. The game breaks relatively often from patches and exploits. When the game breaks, players take notice quickly and start posting on the official Blizzard forums and WoW subreddits. Maintaining the integrety of the gane on two platforms sounds like a logistical nightmare even for a company as rich and dedicated as Microsoft.

If the versions are not exactly the same, it could also cause drama in the race for world first when new raid tiers launch.

Positives – Wow on Xbox

Infusion of new players to a game that needs it badly

WoW has been dying for quite a long time. It got so bad that Blizzard decided it was in their best interest to stop reporting the amount of subscribers after Warlords of Draenor. There are many reasons why Players packed up their bags and left for green pastures over the years, but we will save that for another article.

WOW Subscriber Count
WoW Player Numbers 2005 – 2015

Over 100 million gamers play Xbox which coul a potential huge infusion into the dying playerbase. There have been several successful MMORPG’s on Xbox Consoles over recent years such as Black Desert Online (BDO) and Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) which generally have some overlap in the WoW playerbase. It would be tough to say how many gamers would play World of Warcraft on Xbox, but any new players would be a win in my opinion.

More accessiblity

Xbox has made it clear in 2021 that improving the accessiblity of their games and products would be top priority.

In reality, some gamers may want to visit their favorites zones in Azeorth from the comfort of their couch using an Xbox instead of PC. Adding the option to play WoW on Xbox is in line with Microsoft’s mission to increase accessiblity for it’s customers.

The possibilty to include WoW on Xbox Game Pass

Video game companies are increasingly moving to a more “Netflix style” model offering gamers a library of games to pay at a fixed monthly subscription. The Popularity of Xbox Game Pass has exploded in recent years with over 25 million subscribers. Consolidating the WoW subscription into Xbox Game Pass sounds like a win for Microsoft as well as World of Warcraft fans. Will they actually do it? Time will tell.

If WoW was on Game Pass. The only way I could see it working is if was a permant title and did not rotate on and off the library.

A new graphics engine and creation of WoW 2

While World of Warcraft is a groundbreaking game that defined the MMORPG genre, the graphics and entire engine is argueably a bit outdated. The game really needs a fresh of breath air and seeing Azeroth reborn on the Xbox Series X engine sounds quite nice. If Microsoft is feeling spicy, they could even launch World of Warcraft 2 in the future and truly connect with the fanbase in a whole new way.

Conclusion

I am hopeful that World of Warcraft makes it on to Xbox and is a success, but I am worried about the integrity of the game being affected. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome but if any company could do it, I would bet my money on Microsoft. Let’s see what happens!

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