New WoW skyboxes hint at big zone changes coming soon

Bill Cooney
Blizzard Entertainment

The decade-long Stormwind drought could be coming to a close, as the city now has dynamic weather on the PTR. These new skyboxes in Warcraft could be just a sign of things to come for other zones as well.

Any longtime World of Warcraft player that’s been paying attention can tell you it actually hasn’t rained in Stormwind, or other zones since the Cataclysm expansion in 2010.

Besides the obvious question of food production in Azeroth, the removal of any dynamic weather — a feature that was present in vanilla — has confused players ever since. 

Zones have been stuck with a constant weather pattern for years, but that could be changing based on what’s being tested on the PTR.

Blizzard Entertainment
Some zones, like the Arathi Highlands for example, still have rain effects, but not dynamic weather.

New WoW skybox appears

With the latest batch of PTR updates, some players have noticed storm clouds and rain have finally returned to Stormwind. As pointed out by Reddit user Sorrel_W, on the test server the Alliance city does indeed have a dynamic skybox and weather effects once again.

It’s not the airbrushed skyboxes we’re used to either, this one actually looks like a stormy sky! Along with some rain effects, this simple fix could contribute massively to the game’s immersion.

There’s no telling why the feature disappeared with Cataclysm. Maybe it was overlooked, or Deathwing’s attack somehow froze the global weather systems. Either way, the return of a changing world environment has already been warmly received by fans.

“That’s not the traditional MS paint spray paint effect from WIN95 that I’ve come to know and love. I’m not sure I can adapt,” one user joked in the comments. “Actually I love the idea of being able to b***h about the rain and weather in RP.”

Whether or not more zones other than the Alliance city will get a climate update remains to be seen. But since it’s finally being tested on the PTR we’d say there’s a good chance of the revamp rolling out across Azeroth.

One thing’s for sure, “Stormwind” will finally have weather appropriate for its name once again.