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World of Warcraft’s battle royale mode won’t force you to PvP so everyone can 'have an awesome pirate party with your friends and collect plunder’

 A World of Warcraft Orc pirate fighting off a raptor in a grassy zone.
A World of Warcraft Orc pirate fighting off a raptor in a grassy zone.

World of Warcraft releases a wild battle royale mode today as part of its Plunderstorm 10.2.6 patch, but you won't have to battle other players to fully enjoy it, Blizzard developers said.

"Even if you're not the one to directly attack other players, you can go around killing monsters, opening chests and still collect Plunder along the way," said Orlando Salvatore, a lead software engineer for Warcraft. Of course, you'll still be a viable target for other players to attack.

The 60-player free-for-all mode, which lives on a separate server than your normal WoW characters, launches today. Plunder is the currency dropped by monsters in the zone, other players, chests, and by winning the match. Plunder adds up to give you levels of Renown, which is similar to the reputation levels in the current Warcraft Dragonflight expansion. Each new level of Renown (there are 40 in all) earns you Plunderstorm's rewards–mounts, pets and transmog items.

But just because you can earn Plunder by killing other players doesn't mean you have to, developers said in a PC Gamer interview. They wanted everyone to enjoy the experience.

"We want players who just want to have a good time, they go in and they want to have an awesome pirate party with their friends and collect plunder, fight monsters and play it all for the cool abilities that are in there," Salvatore said. "There's a gold monster on the map that drops plunder. There are chests you can open. Even if you're not winning, you can earn stuff, you could still have fun. That's really what we've been focused on."

A World of Warcraft Orc and Night Elf battle in pirate outfits
A World of Warcraft Orc and Night Elf battle in pirate outfits

To that end, class-versus-class or ability-versus-ability balance wasn't the developers' priority. Abilities are looted during the match, so they're often random, coming from random ground spawns. For example, Mana Sphere is a charged AOE spell that throws an orb and hits any enemies in its path. Fiery Axe is a melee ability that hits close enemies in a cone. Quaking Leap launches you off the ground; hit it again and you'll land on your opponents with a boom, causing damage.

They're deliberately designed to allow casual PvPers to enjoy the combat, said Ray Bartos, lead producer. "It's different between every match."

"We're less concerned about the min-max and more concerned about how much fun players have," Salvatore said.