Warlords of Draenor - BlizzCon Preview

All the key information you need to know about Warlords of Draenor from BlizzCon 2013.

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Immediately following the BlizzCon 2013 Opening Ceremonies Blizzard hosted a panel discussing World of Warcraft and what's next for the game. This overview provides exactly that, an overview, of everything discussed on the panel. More in depth details fill follow in articles on each of the key topics. With that in mind, let's take a look at what is next for World of Warcraft.

New World of Warcraft Expansion - Warlords of Draenor

OK, this is the obvious one that everyone knew was coming, is that yes, the next WoW expansion was announced at the Opening Ceremonies. The expansion is called World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, but not in Outlands. Confused, here is the explanation.

Warlords of Draenor - Lore

The basic lore behind this expansion is that after Garrosh was captured at the end of Siege of Orgrimmar and sent to trial, he escapes. Not only does he escape but with the aid of a mysterious new ally he travels back in time to what he believes is a key moment in the Hordes history in an attempt to mold the Horde to his ideal vision of it. The point in time that he travels to happens before the Legion invades Draenor and corrupts the Orc Horde. His plan is to unite the Orc Warchiefs into one mighty Iron Horde and then have his mysterious ally open the Black Gate once again, but this time to the modern Azeroth and lead his new Iron Horde to domination over the world.

Your goal as both a Horde or an Alliance player is to chase him back through time and stop this from happening and corrupting the time line. At the end of the expansion the gate we will be sent back to the modern time with new options opened up for the future story lines.

Warlords of Draenor - Zones

This expansion happens before Draenor was torn apart and became the Outlands. Therefore while some zones retain the same names that we are familiar with, the zones themselves are very different.

There will be 7 zones in this expansion at launch which are: Frostfire Ridge, Gorgrond, Nagrand, Talador, Tanaan Jungle, Spires of Arak, and Shadowmoon Valley.

As an Alliance player your starting zone will be Shadowmoon Valley. Here you will attempt to aid the Draenei fend off the Iron Horde as they attack Karabor, known to us as the Black Temple but which is still a holy Draenei temple at this point in time. This will then become your factions capital city for the expansion.

As a Horde player your starting zone will be Frostfire Ridge. Here you will have to aid the Frostwolf clan against the Thunderlord Ogres and convince them not to join the Iron Horde. While helping the Frostwolf clan you will capture the ogre stronghold of Bladespire Fortress, which will then become your factions capital city for the expansion.

Warlords of Draenor map
The layout of Draenor before it was shattered and as we will see it in this expansion.

Warlords of Draenor - Inhabitants

The world of Draenor as most players will know is the home world of the Orcs and the center of the Draenei civilization. Even better, since this expansion happens before the Orcs were corrupted by drinking Manneroth's blood we will get to see many of the historic Warchiefs of lore. You will therefore get to meet all of the main Orc clans including: Frostwolf clan, Shadowmoon clan, Shattered Hand clan, Blackrock clan, Warsong clan, and the Bleeding Hollow clan.

In addition to the known races that you would expect when traveling to Draenor such as the Gronn, Orcs, and Draenei, you will also get to meet a few new races. These include the new genisaurs which look like a centaur demon or dragon and are huge, chimeras, dragon flies which can serve as mounts, and Saberons which are humanoid sabertooth cat creatures.

Warlords of Draenor - Changes to the Game

Level Cap raised to 100 - This is a pretty normal change when an expansion launches, the level cap will go up. When Warlords of Draenor goes live the new level cap will be an even 100.

Boost to 90 - This feature will allow players to jump directly into the Warlords of Draenor expansion content by allowing you to either boost an existing character of any level to level 90 or to create a brand new character at level 90.

New Talents at level 100 - When you reach level 100 a new 7th tier of talents will open up for characters, making it really feel like your character is growing in power.

New Character Models - The quality of all character models has been upgraded dramatically. Polygon counts, textures, movements, and animations have all be completely redone from scratch. All while keeping in mind that the overall look and feel, or "soul", of the character had to stay the same.

Warlords of Draenor new dwarf model
Here is a comparison of the old Dwarf model and the new. Can you tell the difference?

Collections - More collections will be added to the came, like the Pet and Mount collection system. Toys and Heirlooms will gain collection status, and Tabards are also being considered. Collections will be able to have favorites set as well, so that you can quickly find the items you like the most.

Inventory Changes - Bags will be able to be assigned for different items, meaning that consumables automatically go in one, vendor trash in one, items in another and so on. Stacks on most items will go to 100 from 20. New items highlight so that you can find them easily, and vendor trash items have a coin over them to show they can safely be sold.

Warlords of Draenor - Additions to the Game

Garrisons - These are the long awaited player housing addition to World of Warcraft. They are however a whole lot more than just a house. These garrisons are in place in the world for you to see and persist in real time even while you are not in the game. You can grow your garrison through several levels of growth, build different buildings each with their own stages, and even collect followers at them. This will be a huge part of the new expansion.

Offline Growth - By using the followers that you gain at your garrison, you are able to continue to do things in the game even when off-line. This growth could can come in the way of quests completed by followers, gear collected, gear crafted, and many other things.

Adventure Guide - This new feature shows at a glance what content is suitable for your character and the path you should take to find upgrades. It takes into consideration your characters history and will suggest PVE or PVP content as appropriate.

Warlords of Draenor - New Multi-Player Content

7 New Dungeons + 1 Classic Dungeon Redone - That's correct 8 new dungeons at launch to play through. 4 level up dungeons, 3 max level dungeons, and Upper Blackrock Spire is being re-done.

2 New Raids - There will be 2 new raids at launch similar to the Mists of Pandaria model. The first will have 6 bosses and is called High Maul in Nagrand. The second is Blackrock Foundry which has 10 bosses and is where you face the Iron Hordes warmachines.

New Outdoor Bosses - There will be several new outdoor bosses in the expansion.

Warlords of Draenor new dungeon boss
One of the Bosses from the new Bloodmaul Slag Mine dungeon.

Warlords of Draenor - New Raid Structure

Since the flexible raid structure has proven to be popular and powerful, Blizzard is now going to utilize it to simplify the raiding structure. Raid finder, normal, and heroic raids will all scale from 10-25 players automatically and use the flex raiding system.

To ensure that Blizzard can still keep control over and tightly tune the hardest raiding content, a new level is being implemented called Mystic. This new raid level is for 20 player groups and will be the hardest content and meant for the hard-core progression guilds.

This reduces the current raiding structure from 6 possible raids to 4, greatly simplifying tuning and making raiding more accessible.

Warlords of Draenor - Comments

There are a lot of additions and changes coming to World of Warcraft. Those changes have me pretty excited for the future of the game once again. What do you think about what we now know of the new expansion, let us know in the comments below.

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