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WoW The War Within will “serve solo players well,” Blizzard says

The new World of Warcraft expansion, The War Within, will be a little friendlier to those who can't plow hours and hours into the MMO.

WoW The War Within will "serve solo players well", says Blizzard: Anduin Wrynn holds his father's sword aloft in this WoW promotional art. He looks messed up.

I’ve probably played World of Warcraft too much over my years on this planet. Spending hours levelling, raiding, doing dungeons, or just hanging out in Orgrimmar watching other players go by; it’s one of the biggest time sinks out there. As you get older and undertake more responsibilities it can be harder to spend as much time in the game that once ate your life. We spoke to WoW’s executive producer, Holly Longdale, about how the next expansion aims to help Azeroth’s many time-strapped solo players.

While World of Warcraft has always been fairly accessible for players who adventure by themselves, it’s an MMORPG at heart. As such, there’s certain roadblocks in the way unless you’ve got a team at your beck and call. With new features like Follower Dungeons, NPC companions, and Warbands all making the game a little easier for casual players to access content, we wanted to know if WoW was moving away from its MMO roots.

“At it’s heart it’s still a multiplayer game and that’s how we use our priority,” says Longdale. “But what we’ve seen over time in MMORPGs, at least for us, not everyone has time to dedicate hours a day or a week.” To remedy this, Blizzard took a peek at player data and “started looking at breaking our player base into segments just based on the behaviour and what they were playing.”

Brann Bronzebeard and a female human rogue stand in front of a huge door in WoW.

This data dive highlighted that solo players would reliably turn up to burn through levelling content, but Blizzard feels they receive relatively little attention compared to segments such as raiders or PvPers. As a result The War Within will be a chance to give a leg up, helping solo players into other kinds of content

“We don’t serve them well. So it’s their time; it’s our time to serve them well. It’s not that they only ever solo, but providing them an opportunity to do a Delve with a family member or friend. I think it’s a valid way to play. We haven’t supported this way in the past. We’re going to give it a shot”

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For this aged time-poor player, it’s encouraging to hear that there’ll be support to get into World of Warcraft content which will fit better with when I’m able to play. With WoW about to enter its third decade, the venerable MMO is starting to recognize that many of its players have jobs and responsibilities that cannot be dodged, leaving relatively few hours each week to devote to the game.

If you’re looking forward to what’s next for the World of Warcraft, our guide to the WoW The War Within release date will make you get all the info you need. We also had the chance to get some hands-on time with the expansion, check out our WoW The War Within Alpha preview to learn what we thought.

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Additional reporting by Lauren Bergin for PCGamesN .