First impressions: Warcraft Arclight Rumble isn't the mobile WoW MMO I was expecting

·Contributor
·3 min read
Warcraft Arclight Rumble cinematic still (Image: Blizzard)
Warcraft Arclight Rumble cinematic still (Image: Blizzard)

The latest Warcraft game, Warcraft Arclight Rumble, probably isn't what you're expecting.

At least, it wasn't what I was expecting when I got the invite for a "WoW mobile". In fact, I had suspicions that it would have been a PVP-focused MOBA with just Warcraft lore, which would make sense.

I was completely and utterly wrong.

Even as the trailer played and a pinball machine appeared powered by "arclight energy" popped up in a basement of a dingy tavern, and cutesy chibi versions of Warcraft characters pranced about on screen, I was still thinking I could be right.

Then they showed me gameplay, and I knew then I was completely off the mark.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble, in essence, is a single-player campaign filled with Warcraft lore, with gameplay similar to Clash Royale, but instead of competing with others, you're doing your best to beat the snot out of Warcraft characters such as Hogger, VanCleef, and Niddhogg.

I've been playing it over the weekend in a private closed Alpha for the media, but I'm still not too sure if I like the game. It's definitely grindy, as you'll need to level up your troops to succeed.

Gameplay is simple, you are a commander controlling Warcraft miniatures (Minis, officially) powered by arclight energy. You summon troops with gold and can choose between one or two paths to summon your troops to. You can contest and capture outpost points on the map to summon closer to the enemy.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble was not the WoW mobile that we expected. (Screenshot: Blizzard)
Warcraft Arclight Rumble was not the WoW mobile that we expected. (Screenshot: Blizzard)

Each boss usually has a gimmick, especially the final boss in each map.

There are a lot of missions (over 70), all the way to Blackrock Mountain, where you'll fight a final boss (feel free to guess, but it's you know who). I did not get that far in my game yet though, as it will take a while.

You can also summon Leader units, which are tankier and deal more damage. They will have certain abilities or gimmicks such as reduced cost when you're summoning heroes of a certain type.

There are a total of five leader types (or Families), and you can replay maps with different leaders to get more gold. You can also spend real world cash to buy gold, and xp boosters to level up heroes. There are no plans for NFTs.

With the gold earned from clearing the maps, you can hire new troops.

You can build your own roster of troops. (Screenshot: Blizzard)
You can build your own roster of troops. (Screenshot: Blizzard)

As you progress, you will unlock stuff like quests, PVP, dungeons, and raids. Quests offer XP to level up your troops, and makes you replay maps and defeat the same bosses (which is why it feels grindy).

PVP feels a tad pointless for now, there are no leaderboards, and you only get XP for doing so.

Blizzard also told me there are no plans yet for Arclight Rumble esports, so I'm guessing competitive pro play isn't yet happening anytime soon.

But if the game takes off, and if more people clamour for better PVP like in Clash Royale, I suspect this may change.

Play long enough and you'll see your troops improve. (Screenshot: Blizzard)
Play long enough and you'll see your troops improve. (Screenshot: Blizzard)

Overall, the game feels like an authentic Warcraft experience, but designed for the newer generation of mobile players. It's no Warcraft III, or World of Warcraft, but as it grows, it could be a great way to introduce the Warcraft world to these new-gen players.

Plus, because it's single player, you don't have to force yourself to keep playing.

There's no word yet on when this will launch, or when a closed beta is happening. You can pre-register for the game at https://warcraftrumble.blizzard.com/en-gb/.

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com

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