World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is strongly encouraging SSD storage

Written by Jennifer Allen

September 2, 2020 | 15:00

Tags: #world-of-warcraft-shadowlands

Companies: #blizzard #blizzard-activision

Blizzard has released more details about the launch of the latest World of Warcraft expansion pack - Shadowlands - and it looks likely that an SSD will be all but essential for players.

Set for release on October 27th, the virtual GamesCom event showcased a new trailer for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands last week. It's set to be a huge update for the popular MMO with a new realm to explore, along with significant level changes with the big one being that there'll be a new level cap of 60, having the level cap from previous expansion packs. Alongside that will also be a new feature that allows players to team up with dead characters from Warcraft's lore to earn new abilities and passive buffs.

With so many changes coming to the game then, perhaps it's no surprise to learn that its system requirements are also higher than initially anticipated. Minimum requirements are now an Intel Core i5-3450 or AMD FX-8300, 4GB of RAM, a GeForce GTX 760, Radeon RX 560 or Intel UHD Graphics 630, and 100GB of storage space. Recommended specs are now an Intel Core i7-6700K or AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, alongside 8GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 1080 or Radeon RX Vega 64. 

The biggest surprise here? In both cases, Blizzard refers to storage space as an SSD in particular. Windows has the ability to detect if you're using a standard HDD or SSD so rumours are swirling that Blizzard could actually enforce this requirement. It seems quite unlikely given it could rule out some low-end gamers but we're guessing having no SSD could be an issue. Notably, it almost certainly means that game loading times will be much longer without the benefit of a SSD. 

While many avid players will already have an SSD installed, this could prove to be a fundamental shift in game developers' attitudes towards the need for SSD. It may also make things a little trickier for players who solely play World of Warcraft given they may have ageing systems by now given the low requirements elsewhere within the game. Still, we're guessing the use of the word SSD is more a recommendation than an actual minimum requirement as no issues like this have been reported yet during beta tests. Patience when loading may be all that's truly required in the long-term. 

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