Earlier this week it was revealed that a Solid State Drive rather than mechanical HDD would be the minimum storage hardware requirement for World of Warcraft's upcoming Shadowlands expansion. After no little player consternation Blizzard have rolled back their guidance, with wording that now implies a strong recommendation rather than requirement. The minimum and recommended specifications have been adjusted accordingly.
MMORPG players are among the worst (or best?) when it comes to stretching their gaming hardware budget as long and as far as possible. The relatively static base game engine and enormous number of hours invested into these titles to the exclusion of all others lends itself to running the same PC for years, or in some cases over a decade. On the other hand they might invest vast sums into peripherals including premium keyboards, mice and monitors - almost the opposite of your typical triple-A PC gamer.
That approach for budgeting might have bitten World of Warcraft players in the backside this autumn however as Shadowlands - the long-running MMO's latest expansion - raised its minimum storage requirements to a 100GB SSD. That immediately caused concern among players content with their rickety old circa 2012 systems, equipped with a mechanical HDD laden down with this and older titles. No-one likes to be hit with an additional charge over and above the software cost, just to keep playing the game they've been playing for the last 15 years.
Budget 2.5" SATA SSDs such as the Crucial MX500 are a relatively inexpensive storage upgrade option today
The benefits of SSDs for general system responsiveness and indeed WoW itself have been known for over a decade now, of course. Indeed some players may be running their OS and WoW installation on a single 120GB SSD until now, making the new minimum capacities equally worrying. Today a retail WoW installation is a little under 70GB, so Shadowlands could be a pretty increase in the game's footprint.
Those most resistant to change can rest easy in the knowledge that their system will probably still be fine come October 27th. However, if they do want to expand their storage options by going down the SSD route, it's possible to pick up an inexpensive ~250GB SATA III model for less than $30/£30 to accommodate just the game (and a few others) or game plus OS if necessary. And if you have a more up-to-date system the sky is very much the limit.
Revised World of Warcraft: Shadowlands PC Requirements
One other note about system requirements: Shadowlands will also for the first time optionally incorporate ray-traced shadows, for which you will need a GPU that supports DXR (currently limited to NVIDIA's GeForce RTX lineup).
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands launches worldwide on October 27th/28th, priced from £34.99.
SOURCE: Shadowlands Product Page