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GameGeex - BlizzCon 2013: All we know about Warlords of Draenor WoW's upcoming expansion explained.

BlizzCon 2013 was definitely the year of the WoW.  With the new expansion Warlords of Draenor finally revealed, we have a clear, if someone surprising vision of what the next year holds for the denizens of Azeroth.  Let's take a look a what we know about this expansion, where it will take us, and what WoW will look like in the years ahead.  It should go without saying that what lies ahead is completely spoilerific, but there, I've said it anyway.

 

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

Expected Release Date: 2014

Expected Rating: Teen

Genre:  MMORPG Expansion

Premise:  After his defeat during the Siege of Orgrimmar, Garrosh Hellscream is brought in chains to stand trial.  Before he can though, he escapes, and with the help of a Timeless Isle dragon Garrosh jumps back in time 30 years to the point when the orcs of legend are about to drink the blood of Mannoroth.  By preventing this from happening, Garrosh saves his ancestors from corruption, and bestows upon them knowledge and advanced technology from the present in order to create the Iron Horde.  

After 30 years of building up this massive army, Garrosh leads them back through the Dark Portal into present-day Azeroth, intent on laying waste to all we know and love.  Heroes from both the Alliance and the Horde volunteer for a suicide mission to head back in time to stop Garrosh before he has a chance to create this army.They will venture into the Dark Portal, now glowing red, and step back in time knowing that if they want their world to survive, they cannot fail their mission.

Expansion Content Summary:

  • New World: Draenor
  • Level cap raised to 100
  • Garrisons -- New player housing system 
  • New Player Models
  • New Dungeons & Raids
  • Boost to 90
  • New World PvP Zone, Ashran
  • Itemization Update
  • Group Finder
  • Adventurer's Guide

Announcement Trailer Released BlizzCon 2013

 

New World: Draenor

In Warlords of Draenor players will be travelling back in time 30 years to visit the planet of Draenor before it was torn apart by magic.  Most of the planet's seven zones correspond to areas that players previously encountered in Outland during The Burning Crusade expansion launched in 2007.

Before and After Video Release BlizzCon 2013

 

Zones in Warlords of Draenor

Frostfire Ridge: Across snow-covered wastes and beneath towering volcanoes, heroes of the Frostwolf clan and the Horde unite to repel invaders from their homeland.

  • After their Return to the Dark Portal starting quest, Horde players will help the Frostwolf clan wrest control of Bladespire Fortress from the Ogres and then make it their base of operations on Draenor.
  • The Frostwolf clan are Thrall's ancestors.

Shadowmoon Valley: Amid rolling moonlit hills, the draenei at the holy temple of Karabor unite with the Alliance in a desperate fight for survival against the Iron Horde and Shadowmoon clan.

  • After their Return to the Dark Portal starting quest, Alliance players will assist the draenei at the holy temple of Karabor (known as the Black Temple in The Burning Crusade) stave off invasion from the brutal Shadowmoon clan, and then make it their base of operations on Draenor.
  • It will always be night in this zone.

Gorgrond: Deep within the desert canyons of Gorgrond, an arsenal of massive siege weapons built by the Blackrock clan is about to be unleashed upon the whole of Draenor.

  • Blackrock Foundry will be the capstone raid to start off the expansion, located in Gorgrond.

Talador: In the shadow of a besieged Shattrath City, the Auchenai Soulpriests actively seek to safeguard the countless draenei souls inside Auchindoun from a terrible demonic threat.

  • Talador is a coastal region sitting on the Zangar Sea, and is home to the holy temple of Auchindoun, the draenei version of Valhalla, and Shattrath City which remains in tact.
  • Auchindoun will be one of the dungeons in WoD.

Spires of Arak: At the height of their power, the regal arrakoa plot atop their high peaks, well out of the reach of the brutal Shattered Hand orcs and the wingless outcasts below.

  • Home to the Arakkoa before they lost their wings.

Nagrand: Among the fertile hills and outcroppings of Nagrand, the bloodied wolf-riders of the Warsong clan remain a threat not to be trifled with.
Tanaan Jungle: Within the overgrown jungle home of the Bleeding Hollow clan, a Dark Portal is under construction . . . and an Iron Horde army makes grim preparations to conquer Azeroth.

  • This zone was known as Hellfire Peninsula in The Burning Crusade.

 

Garrisons

In Warlords of Draenor players will be able to select a customizable home base that they build to suit their own needs.  The player selects which zone in Draenor they want to build on, and can move their garrison with great difficulty if they decide to switch places. Garrisons will level up over three tiers.  There will be different art for Horde or Alliance garrisons.  The garrison is character-based, so you can have one with each of your characters who have reached level 90 and begun adventuring on Draenor.

Starter Buildings

All garrisons will contain these four starting areas.  They will upgrade as the garrison levels up.  

  • Town Hall
  • Mine
  • Farm
  • Fishing Stack

Building then come in three sizes, small, medium, and large.  Filling up your garrison plots unlocks more plots, and the size of the plot determines which size building you can place there.  The buildings have three levels, and once you max out your levels you can assign a specialization to the building.  These specializations might be seen as talent trees, and will provide bonuses that can be used within the Garrison or even in the outside world.

Small Buildings

Small buildings will give players access to professions they don't have.  The specifics on how this will look are still in flux, but the developers mentioned that you might send followers on a mission to gather recipes for an engineering item even though you are a Blacksmith/Miner.

  • Alchemy Laboratory
  • Tinkerer's Garage
  • Blacksmithing Foundry
  • Enchanting Tent
  • Dance Studio (The devs have stated that this was placed in the screenshots to troll the community)
  • Jewelcrafting Shack
  • Leatherworking Shop
  • Tailoring Tent
  • Salvage Yard
  • Storehouse

Medium Buildings

  • Pet Stable
  • Inn -- will contain a kitchen where you can learn to upgrade your cooking skills.  You will also be able to 
  • Trading Post
  • Lumber Mill
  • Barn

Large Buildings

These are the large defining buildings that will set the scale of your garrison. An example might be a Mage Tower, Barracks, or Infirmary.  These will have bonuses available, for instance having the infirmary will give you the ability to rez once a day. Upgrading your Barracks will increase the amount of followers that you can send out on missions in any given day.

 

Followers

One of the main purposes of the Garrison is the ability to recruit followers to help you out with tasks.  Rather than simply hanging around like followers at Sunsong Ranch, garrison followers will be able to help work at the buildings, perform tasks even when you aren't there, and can be sent out to get epic gear for your character, gather resources, run scenarios, dungeons or raids, or complete garrison-related missions.  These missions provide positive outcomes (bonuses, loot, etc) for your playable character.

Some followers will just show up at your base, but others can be recruited by upgrading your Inn. There are common, uncommon, rare, and epic followers, and their rarity affects the number of traits they can have. A major goal for the Garrison system is for followers to be dynamic and interesting—for example, if a follower fails a mission that takes place in a local dungeon, they might be taken prisoner; the next time you adventure in that dungeon, you’ll be able to rescue them.

 

New Player Models

All player models from before World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will be received complete redesigns.  The philosophy behind this revamp is that the developers want to stay true to the original models and what players are familiar with, but give them an updated look and animations. For more information see our New WoW Character Model Preview.

 

New Dungeons, Raids 

A new raid tier system will be in place with WoW 6.0.  They are doing away with the 10 and 25 man raids, and instead are implementing a 20 man raid across the board.  Instead of having a specific level for Flex, all raids will flex between 8 and 30 players, with the exception being the most hardcore tier.  All raiding will be cross-server from day one, because Blizzard believes you should be able to raid with your friends. Each raid tier will have their own gear-based lockout, to encourage helping others with bosses. Drops will be based on the number of players. 

New Raid Tiers

  • LFR (the only tier that will use a queue system)
  • Normal
  • Heroic
  • Mythic -- fixed at 20-man with no flex

Blackrock Foundry

A 10-boss non-linear raid, with three wings you can take in any order before getting to the end boss.  

Three wings: 

  • Iron Ring
  • Slag Works
  • The Black Rorge

The devs are also looking at reinstalling attunements of sorts to unlock the end boss of a raid so you don't always have to clear the wings if you are working on the last boss of a raid.

New Dungeons

There will be seven new dungeons in 6.0, and a revamped heroic dungeon to make eight in total.  My notes are incomplete about the eighth dungeon, so here's what we have so far:

  • Bloodmaul Slag Mines
  • Blackrock Foundry
  • Auchindoun
  • Arakkoa Spires
  • Shadowmoon Burial Grounds
  • Iron Barracks
  • Heroic UBRS

 

Group Finder & Adventurer's Guide

In Warlords of Draenor players will have access to a couple nifty new systems. The first is a group finder queue system that will enable players to find groups for all sorts of content.  Much like the Dungeon Finder tool, players who create a group using the Group Finder will be able to create or browse for groups to help them conquer challenges, and will receive a "Stacking the Deck" buff for using the Group Finder.  If you queue with friends you will get bonus Valor Points, and if you requeue to an instance with a group you found through the tool they will count as friends and thus provide the Valor bonus.

The Adventurer's Guide will provide players with an in-game upgrade path to their best-in-slot items.  We will no longer have to pay an outside service to find out where we can get the best gear.  The Guide will be tailored to your class and spec, and will give you suggestions on what you can do each day to progress your character.  By this I assume they mean that the guide will also give you information that isn't solely related to gear, but also to your progression through faction content and possibly quests.

 

New Questing Philosophy

In 6.0 Blizzard is looking to give us new ways in which to access content.  We will see key storylines that we can choose to follow, and more non-linear optional content.  There will also be dynamic events and quests that you discover in the world as you explore.  They want players to be excited about questing, so they are adding in the opportunity to get rare rewards from quests.  In addition there will be a ton of max level content, but little of it will actually be daily quests. 

Going forward the devs like the key storyline progression of the Operation Shieldwall content, as well as the freeform exploration of the Timeless Isle.  So in Warlords of Draenor we will see a combination of these two game design styles.

 

Itemization Changes

Items should be exciting, but in Mists the minute you get an item you have to go get it gemmed, enchanted, reforged, and upgraded before you can even use it.  This boggs down the fun factor.  So in Warlords of Draenor itemization is getting retooled so that it can be fun to get items again.

Summary of Changes

  • Reforging is gone as are hit, parry, expertise and dodge.
  • Very few items will have sockets going forward.  Sockets are themselves a bonus, not a requirement, so there will be no socket bonuses 
  • Enchants will only be available on certain items, but there will be a larger variety of enchants for those items.
  • You will no longer need to gather multiple sets of your armor:  The armor stats will change when you switch spec.
  • The exception being trinkets, jewelry, etc, which will not change and will still be role focused.  They could have Spirit or Armor on them for instance.
  • A new tertiary set of stats may appear on gear, like Run Speed or Durability. These will be rare enough that you can't really build an entire set of them, but will provide added excitement to loot drops.
  • Item Squish is back, and the devs are flattening out the numbers across the board to stave off output inflation.  Instead of 400k DPS, you will be doing 2k, but the percentage of damage remains the same.
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3 Comments for this post.
Like 1 Disike 0

The Garrisons thing looks really cool since it pretty much upscales the whole concept of in-game housing. I wonder how much of a gold sink it's going to be, heh.


[Mandifesto] @ 4:15:53 PM Nov 12, 2013
Like 2 Disike 0

Well they said this is your base on Draenor so yes, it will take effort to get to the top tiers and specializations, but hiding the content behind a huge goldsink would defeat the purpose of providing utility to players as they go through the content.  I am thinking less gold sink and more time sink.  I just can't wait to have 20 followers go out and raid for epic loot for me.


Like 1 Disike 0

Heh sounds like a time sink to save time then with followers going out and doing things for you.


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