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The War Within > WoWNov 4, 2023 4:19 pm CT

The War Within’s Epic Edition includes three days early access to leveling (with some endgame content disabled)

BlizzCon 2023 has offered us plenty of news and reveals about WoW’s next expansion, The War Within and among those is the revelation that the Epic Edition of the game ($90 USD) includes three days early access to the expansion itself. Unfortunately, that makes the Base and Heroic Editions of The War Within — which do not include a three-day head start — more like The War Without (early access).

Now, World of Warcraft has toyed with this concept before. Both Demon Hunters and Evokers were available before their respective expansions launched for anyone who had pre-ordered said expansions. Of course, the difference there is that the pre-order early access content only ever served to catch players up to current content ahead of an expansion’s launch. This is the first time WoW leveling content beyond the existing expansion’s cap will be available early.

Blizzard is already addressing this to some degree, making it clear up front that the early access period will not include “certain endgame features” like weekly quests and Mythic dungeons. Still, even as recent as Dragonflight — which did not include early access — players who hit the leveling cap early found advantages like the Cobalt Assembly rings that were very easy to farm during the first 24 hours or so and quickly nerfed to become much more of a grind.

Is that sort of thing game-breaking? Probably not. But there’s a certain subset of players that will always find some sort of early advantage that gets nerfed. And there are understandable concerns that early access is an invitation for even more players to find that advantage — subsequently making it easier for casual players to fall behind.

Early access to games is nothing new — Diablo 4, Baldur’s Gate, and Final Fantasy 14 are among many others that have offered similar windows of early play. The question that many WoW players are feverishly asking right now is whether or not early access actually fits WoW the same way it does with other games. The jury’s still out, but strong feelings abound already.

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