Editor's take: By recommending a solid-state drive, Blizzard is taking the path of least resistance by addressing one of the easiest and most affordable components for PC gamers to upgrade. In other words, the recommendation eliminates the potential of the HDD being a bottleneck.
Blizzard has updated the minimum and recommended specifications for Shadowlands, the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion heading to Windows and macOS on October 27, 2020, and one change could have some gamers worried that their system might not be up to the task.
Per the refreshed system requirements page, Blizzard is calling for 100GB of available solid-state drive storage space for the expansion. You read that right - not just free space or hard drive space, but SSD space specifically.
In all actuality, a traditional spinning hard drive will still technically run the expansion but it might not be a pleasant experience.
As titles have grown in size and scope, more data needs to be pulled from the storage system and decompressed to build the game world. The faster and more efficiently you can do this, the better. Solid-state drives boasting fast read and write speeds, often over the PCIe interface, excel at this task and are many times faster than traditional mechanical drives.
A 480GB Kingston M.2 drive, for example, can be had for less than $50 and in many cases, can offer more of an overall performance boost than a new CPU or GPU.
Image credit: Hadrian