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Alterac Valley heading to Heroes of the Storm makes us giddy for classic WOW again

"Let your essence congeal with Lokholar!"

Crikey! I remember spending whole days in Alterac Valley in World of Warcraft, and now the beloved old PvP battleground is being turned into a new map for Heroes of the Storm.

Alterac Valley arrived in World of Warcraft in June 2005. It was one of the first battlegrounds in the game, along with Warsong Gulch. But whereas Warsong Gulch was a brief 10-aside, Alterac Valley was a gruelling 40-aside.

Playing Alterac Valley was like exploring a whole new zone. There were named (powerful) NPCs guarding opposing choke points, raid-powered bosses to tackle at the end, and there were unaffiliated and aggressive NPCs roaming, waiting to trounce you. You couldn't simply waltz through.

Cover image for YouTube videoOriginal Alterac Valley - Time Warp Episode 4

You could, though, summon help by turning in collectibles, calling in air strikes and ground forces and even a whopping great mobile raid boss of your faction's own to stomp a path through. For the Horde it was Lokholar the Ice Lord, and for the Alliance it was Ivus the Forest Lord. "I drink in your suffering, mortal," shouted Lokholar, a naff-looking oversized earth elemental (Blizzard didn't have many boss models then). "Let your essence congeal with Lokholar!"

Alterac Valley still exists in World of Warcraft but it's a dusty old relic of its former self (like so much else I discovered not so long ago, when I returned to World of Warcraft after more than nine years away). Back then AV was all new and exciting, as Blizzard pushed into big-scale instanced PvP, but now it's something over too quickly and out of place in the wider game. What a shame! But I suppose such things happen when a game lives for so long.

Cover image for YouTube videoAlterac Pass Battleground Overview

Heroes of the Storm's interpretation of all this, Alterac Pass, seems to take a lot of the old Alterac Valley essence on board. Of course it's a three-lane interpretation, but instead of bases to bash there are raid bosses to defeat - General Vandar Stormpike and General Drek'Thar - just as in Alterac Valley!

Alterac Pass will be available the week of 19th June.

There will be a new hero, too, the Draenei Yrel, who has a very fetching purple hammer. She'll be available the week of 12th June.

This announcement has reminded me how excited I am to revisit vanilla/classic World of Warcraft - something Blizzard announced at BlizzCon last autumn. We haven't, however, heard anything since. Perhaps once new expansion Battle for Azeroth has been released (14th August) and up and running for a couple of months we'll hear more?

Cover image for YouTube video7 things to know about World of Warcraft Classic