Last week Blizzard announced details on the next World of Warcraft expansion – Warlords of Draenor. The expansion will have a new map, raised level cap, and new character models. So far, Blizzard showed the new character models for a male orc, male, dwarf, male gnome, and female gnome. Also, with the level cap, it will be raised from 90 to 100. You can also start out with a level 90 character this time, much like the Recruit a Friend system where if you get a Scroll of Resurrection you could get a level 80 character. I’m assuming it works the same way.
As far as dungeons go, we get six new ones – Bloodmaul Slag Mines, Blackrock Depot, Auchindoun, Arakkoa Spires, Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, and Iron Barracks. In addition to those, Blizzard is bringing back Upper Blackrock Spire. We also get to see the return of normal dungeons for max level characters. The gear you get from these dungeons will replace your regular quest gear so you’ll be ready for Heroics, which will increase in difficulty. Blizzard is also going to add more max-level Heroic dungeons after the initial release date of Warlords of Draenor. Time trial challenge modes will be available for most dungeons, as well.
The new raids are Blackrock Foundry, Highmaul, and other world bosses. Flex mode will be the new standard. The raid difficulty will scale to the amount of players present in the raid for normal or heroic modes. The only mode this won’t work on is the new Mythic difficulty, where you have to have 20 players to complete the raid. The people who think raids are too easy should be happy now.
For PVP, there will be a new world zone off the coast of Tanaan Jungle. It’s like an everlasting battleground with no beginning or end. The PVP zone is really meant for max level characters. The objectives will be constantly evolving – you might have to gather resources, summon creatures, build and defend a fortress, for example. This zone won’t have a population cap, so cross-realm will have to happen.
Other changes for PVP include flag timers and objective timers visible on the map. There will be a new Battleground Score, which takes into consideration what you did in the battleground – your flag returns, interrupting enemy objectives, damage you dealt, and any healing you did. When you win a battleground, you’ll be rewarded with a random item. This could be gear, PVP set items, or consumables. It’s going to be random.
There will be a new arena called Trial of the Gladiator. This will be similar to the Arena Tournament realm, but any player can get involved. You can purchase gear, enchants and gems. You won’t always get to do rated play, however. The rating system only kicks in at scheduled times, so you can use the other times as practice. Blizzard thinks this will even out the playing field.
Massive changes will be made to the Quest Log and Inventory system, I think for the better. The quest log is going to tell you which quests in your journal are part of the main story line and which ones are side quests. Your bags will be sortable. You can dedicated certain bags for certain item types. Items will have colored borders, so you know right off hand what they are and if they’re useful. You can craft items with materials in your bank without having to move them to your inventory.
The Collection System is a new way to free up space in your inventory. My favorite thing about Warlords of Draenor is that now Heirloom items will be part of this Collections tab. They’ll show up for every character, that way you don’t have to mail them back and forth between your characters. You also get a Toy Box for fun items that people have no space for. The Collection tabs will also show you items that you don’t have, so you’ll be more motivated to get a full collection.
Last but not least, is the Garrison. I suppose you could consider this a mini-game kind of like the pet battle system. This is basically a whole town you can build for yourself on Draenor. In your garrison, you can build an armory, barracks, farms, stables, and workshops. You attract followers, which are NPCs who work in the garrison for you. Followers will have a character level, item level, and special traits that make them suitible for specific tasks and missions. Your followers can gather resources, build upgrades for your garrison, or you can send them into dungeons to collect loot for you. Your followers can do all this work for you while you are offline and they can team up with your guildmate’s followers to help you out. You chose the buildings you put in your garrison, and the bigger and better, the more followers you can attract. Followers are rated common, uncommon, rare, and epic and the higher the rating, the more special traits they have. Gameplay with garrisons is meant to go fast at first and players are meant to be heavily involved, but once your followers hit max level, you don’t need to micromanage them as much and your garrison can pretty much run itself.
So, there you have it – everything I could possibly dig up about Warlords of Draenor. I’m very excited about it, moreso than I was with Mists of Pandaria (which was “Oh cool, Pandas.”) My favorite changes are to the inventory system and being able to use all my Heirlooms across all my characters, no matter what server I’m on. I’m also very interested in the Garrison game-within-a-game, even though it’s the entire premise of the game Towns. I’ll be super sure to let everyone know a release date, although I wonder if they’ll tie in the release of the expansion along with the release of the movie?