Posted July 9, 2014 by Chloe Cabrera in Gaming

WARLORDS OF DRAENOR Breathes New Life Into WoW With Core Game Changes!

The future of Azeroth is being rewritten, and in the upcoming World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor expansion, players must return to the long lost Orc homeworld of Draenor to fight for Azeroth’s survival!

Warlords of Draenor

Scheduled for release in Fall 2014, Blizzard’s latest addition to the WoW franchise brings players back in time to Draenor to battle the Iron Horde, an army of untainted Orcs led by Grommash Hellscream. Following the events in Siege of Orgrimmar, ex-Warchief Garrosh Hellscream escaped to the past and prevented the Orcs from drinking Mannoroth’s blood, thereby creating an Iron Horde set to lay waste on Azeroth and countless other worlds.

Aside from new quests and zones, Warlords will be bringing players the usual class changes, new talents, inventory upgrades, added dungeons and quests, PvP updates, and a level cap raise from 90 to 100. Players will also be getting one free level 90 boost for a pre-existing or newly-created character.

While all these changes may seem routine, there was one particular piece of Warlords news that set the community abuzz. Back in 2013, Blizzard announced that they would be making some prominent core changes to WoW for Warlords, aimed at improving the overall experience and breathing a new life into the decade-old game.

No flying in Draenor

One change that has been getting a lot of attention online is Blizzard’s decision to make Draenor a no-fly zone, meaning players will lose the ability to fly while leveling from 90 to 100 in Warlords’ new zones. According to Blizzard, flying trivializes combat, and they want to remove the problems it presents to how players approach and consume game content.

Flying Mount

Removing the ablility to fly will force players to explore zones and complete quests using only ground mounts and flight paths. While this may seem a whole lot less convenient compared to freely flying about, it does make the game more challenging and thought-provoking – requiring players to explore the area, enjoy the game’s beautiful environment design, and strategize how to accomplish certain quests.

As WoW community manager Bashiok explained in a Blizzard forum post, assassniating an enemy leader from the ground would require the player to methodically dispatch patrolling guards, sneak through hallways, and perform all other kinds of clever moves before getting to the target.

“Alternatively, from a flying mount, you fly over the gate, see some guy whose name is highlighted, land on top of him, kill him, and then fly away,” he said. Even though most players may have already gotten used to this simplified technique, Bashiok points out that using convenient methods to avoid combat is not the kind of “clever gameplay” WoW should encourage.

The use of ground mounts could also make the game feel more like a community again, since all active players would be seen travelling and doing quests on the ground. “No flying” would also prevent max-level players from suddenly dropping out of the sky and ganking the players leveling below them.

Player character revamps

Orc Model Draenor

Another popular change in Warlords is the massive character remodeling for all pre-Cataclysm races. Blizzard has constantly been releasing teaser photos of the newly-remodeled races, with animated versions already available for the Orcs, Tauren, Gnomes, and Dwarves.

Human Model Draenor

This long overdue graphics update boasts of higher detail, updated animations, and new visuals that “reflect the soul of their original models: teeth, bones, beards, ’hawks, and all.”

Item “squishes” and upgrades

Blizzard will also be doing an “item squish” for Warlords, scaling back the statistics of all items, players, creatures, and abilities. A character with 500,000 health and 100,000 damage, for example, would have his or her stats scaled down to 50,000 health and 10,000 damage.

While the smaller statistics may take some getting used to at first, they won’t have any negative effects on the player’s performance, since the relative power levels between creatures and players will still stay the same. The only difference is that these smaller figures will help make computations in combat easier.

Epic Quest Rewardsphoto from wow.joystiq.com

Warlords will also be adding random quest item upgrades. This change to quest gearing gives players a chance for any item they get as a quest reward to end up upgrading from a regular green type to a blue (rare type) or even a purple (epic type) item.

This change, while small, does make the questing experience a little more exciting, as long as the player trusts in the power of Blizzard games’ based RNG (random number generator) gods.

Player-owned Garrisons

Aside from combat-related changes, Warlords will also be introducing Garrisons – customizable, expandable, and upgradable fortresses that serve as a player’s personal base of operations against the Iron Horde.

Player Garrison

Garrisons draw inspiration from the original Warcraft RTS game, requiring resources and time to build successfully. One perk of having a garrison is that it serves as a home to one’s NPC followers, who can be sent to do missions for the player after being recruited or bribed to join.

Interestingly, these garrisons are also intended to be part of the leveling experience, with their development tied to key quest lines throughout the expansion’s zones.

Adventure Guides

Adventure Guide Draenor

It was also announced at Blizzcon 2013 that Warlords would feature an Adventure Guide, which provides a convenient overview of appropriate and progressive content for the character.

The guide is intended to assist players in exploring new content, providing suggestions tailored to the character’s professions and favored styles of play. It will also include level and gear-appropriate instances and zones to help players find challenging content in-game.

Something old, something new

The prospect of returning to a historical world in WoW lore has captured the attention of players old and new and, with these core changes Blizzard is implementing, it looks like they’re stepping up their game to make up for the decline in players over the years. While WoW still remains one of the most celebrated MMOs, players have criticized time and time again how Blizzard seemed to be “nerfing” the game and making it too easy in terms of combat, talent trees, and other gameplay aspects.

By offering rich lore and a more dynamic, adventurous, and challenging type of game experience, WoW might just be able to give players that balance between the old and new gameplay that they’ve long been looking for. Even though Warlords is still in its beta testing phase, it has already shown features and upgrades that are sure to give all WoW players something fresh and exciting to look forward to!

So, will we be seeing you at the final stand in Draenor this fall? Be sure to let us know!

Chloe Cabrera

Chloe is an ally of the Swarm and the Horde, loves video games, and is determined to help eSports grow infinitely stronger both locally and internationally. If she's not lounging about Orgrimmar, she'll be sipping tea or coffee at a cafe like any other college student - no plate armor, just dresses.