Warlords of Draenor sounds very cool and seems to be bringing a lot of great things. I don’t intend for this post to rehash all the news released at BlizzCon, but I still want to talk about my reaction.
I love the direction of the story; Garrosh escapes and, with the help of the Timewalker Kairoz, travels back in time to Draenor. He stops the orcs from becoming corrupted by the Burning Legion and forms the Iron Horde. He then builds his own Dark Portal connecting that Draenor to our Azeroth. I know that anything relating to time travel can be confusing to people, but I kind of like that Blizzard basically told us not to worry about it and that there wouldn’t be any time paradoxes or consequences. I like it. It’s just an excuse for us to visit Draenor and interact with all the old orcs. Of course, this gives us a lot of potential. Seeing ruthless, old-fashioned orcs should be fun, and of course, experiencing Draenor will be great.
It could also be a vehicle for some interesting character development. What if Garrosh finds his father’s not what he expected? What if Grom thinks Garrosh is a failure? It’ll be fascinating. I also think Blizzard has a chance to do something great with Thrall. Thrall never had the chance to know his parents. We know Durotan is going to side with our Horde, but what if he’s different than Thrall imagined? Even if he’s a good guy, what if he’s still ruthless? What if he thinks the Horde is too soft? In addition, some characters could stick around after the end of the expansion. For example, Durotan could come through the Dark Portal to live on Azeroth.
I’m also fascinated by the idea of circumstance shaping a person, and I hope Warlords of Draenor examines this. I’d like to see some characters act very differently than they did in the original timeline due to the changed events in their lives.
Stats and itemization
Hit was always a boring stat to me. There was no strategy or choice. You just had to get hit-capped. I’m glad to see it and its fellow not-fun stats removed. Movement speed could be a fun stat on gear as well. Plus, being able to move quickly and get back to DPSing or healing means a DPS/HPS boost.
Having gear change to match the wearer’s current spec is very interesting. It means you can use more gear but that there’s more competition. Ultimately, I think it’ll make the game much more offspec-friendly.
Reforging seemed more needless than useful. On the other hand, it is nice to be able to change from a haste build to a crit build without changing gear. I almost feel like it would work better like changing specs. When you’re out of combat, you can could change builds. Oh well. We’ll have to see what it’s like for gems and enchants to be less common as well.
Garrisons are effectively the Sunsong Ranch farm crossed with the companion mission system of TOR (or other games) with a dash of Warcraft RTS. Sounds intriguing. I liked the farm even though it felt like a grind at times, so I’m optimistic about this. Honestly, it’s more of an evolution of the idea of keeps and followers from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It could be pretty fun.
Updated character models
Honestly, I don’t really care about this. I don’t understand it. My character is a pretty portion of my screen. When I play D&D, my representation is, at most, a small metal figure that isn’t even using an accurate weapon half the time. However, a lot of people do care, so I’m glad Blizzard’s doing it.
Boost to 90
I completely understand how some people are bothered by this, but I’m not at all. I’ve never had two characters at the level cap. With the character boost, I’m more likely to get a second to level 100. It’d be nice to check out some other styles of play, because I’ve only ever had my priest at endgame. In addition, being able to boost to 90 combined with updated character models mean that people who haven’t played WoW before can immediately begin playing what is effectively a new, modern game. That’s great.
Collections and quest items
These might be my favorite changes. Currently, mounts and pets are in collections rather than items. In Warlords of Draenor, toys, heirlooms, and possibly tabards will be in collections as well. That’s so much bag space I’ll be regaining. In addition, quest items won’t take up bag space. Finally. I’m pretty excited. The only downside is that I lost all those toys I earned previously. Maybe Blizzard could check that I did those quests and award me the toys. Please, Blizzard?
LFR is still LFR. Flex will be called Normal. Normal will be called Heroic. Heroic will be called Mythic. LFR, Normal, and Heroic will all be flexible (1o to 25 people) and cross-realm. Mythic will not be cross-realm and will be 20 people. As a normal-mode raider currently (so a heroic-mode raider next expansion) in a guild that struggles with attendance, this is great news. We recruit so we have 15-20 people, and then we take everyone every week. Awesome! I do feel bad for current 10-man heroic guilds, but it won’t be my problem at least.
Dailies and dynamic events
Dailies will not be widely used. Great. Dynamic events like those from the Timeless Isle will exist in the world. Also great if not overdone. In addition, they talked about wanting to combine the ideas behind the Isle of Thunder and the Timeless Isle. I think Blizzard is on to something, and I like to see them iterating on the way content is delivered. A combination of these two is exactly what I want.
The map will tell you where the next story quest is, and it also indicates how many story chapters you’ve completed. This is awesome news. In Mists of Pandaria, I finished all the zones before I started raiding, and I only did a dungeon once I got to it in the story. It made for a nice, cohesive experience, but it also meant I took longer to get raid-ready. In Warlords of Draenor, I’ll skip all the non-story quests and come back to them. This should speed up the process significantly.
PVP interface updates
I don’t know how anyone could have a problem with being able to see capping progress on the map and on the flags themselves. This is a welcome change.
Warlords of Draenor
I’m pretty excited about all the aspects of the expansion. I’ll admit, things could go wrong. The quests could be boring, or the new content delivery mechanisms could be boring. I won’t know until I see the content. But I’m feeling hyped to experience it. Of course, I’d like to defeat Garrosh in normal-mode first!
Heh. I’m with you about updated character models, I’m more happy they’re coming just so people will stop talking about them. The only time I actually see my character in any real way is on the character selection screen, the rest of the time I’m staring at the back of their heads. For me, the perk will hopefully be that other characters (PC and NPC alike) will look better, I’m far less concerned about my own toons.
I find the boosted 90 discussion interesting, the general tone that I’ve seen in the past is “once you’ve leveled 8 toons to max why would you want to level a 9th?” Thing is, I have way more than 8 max level toons… one of the reasons that I do is because I enjoy leveling/questing, sometimes I’m in the mood for exactly that type of content. Based on that argument I’m the prime demographic for a free 90 (and by extension, paid 90s) but at least in my case, I probably won’t partake… I’ll likely end up putting the 90 on a new server to give myself more cross-server options for inviting friends over assuming that connected realms don’t completely flatten all realm populations. I liked how Blizzard presented it in the various discussions, kind of a “If someone’s coming to the game and wants to get into current content quickly, they’ll have that option. If existing players want another current content toon in a hurry, they’ll have that option. Anyone who wants to level the normal way will still have that option, though.” Any “who the hell would want to level another toon?” responses I’ve seen to those comments are misguided and silly, no better than the majority of trade chat comments. I’d much prefer to see the far more specific, and probably accurate, “If that’s an option I’ll never level another toon again!” comment that isn’t pretending to speak for 7.6M players. Awesome! Go buy your 90s and help subsidize my content. I’m all for it! Last thing I need is you competing with me for mobs and nodes, I like leveling but waiting 15m for a quest mob spawn is the opposite of fun (looking at you, Gava’xi, you slow spawning jerk…). Buy all the 90s you want!
Yeah, people always get angry over silly things in this game I think. Personally, boosting to 90 and leveling characters are kind of separate. I’ll boost a character to 90, and if I get him to 100, that gives another raiding option. But then when I want to go do more questing, I’ll switch to a different character and level. Personally, I like seeing the quests.
I agree that I don’t really care about the character models, but whatever. That said…
“I do feel bad for current 10-man heroic guilds, but it won’t be my problem at least.”
You’re in a 10-man heroic guild currently, right? I believe you blogged about this change as well. I’d love for you to post about what you guys do, because I am curious. I have a good friend (my former roommate) who’s also in a 10-man heroic guild, and he’s not sure what he’s going to do. Not a good situation.
I lead a 10H guild currently, so it’s *really* fun for me.
I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet either. Probably finish progression first so we’re in a better position to recruit. The “good” news is that we’re very high ranked within the 2 night a week raiding community and we raid on unusual days so we have less to fear from poaching…but the bad news is we need to find people who only want to raid twice a week and who want to raid on our days (Sun/Mon).
Probably going to start recruiting once Garrosh is down — going to mean people will have to sit 50-60% of the time as we get closer to the need 25 people instead of 12-13. Might wind up being able to field two raids IF Siege gets a huge nerf like Dragon Soul — otherwise I don’t think we’d have two raids capable of clearing full heroic.
So it’s going to suck for everyone because we’ll all have to sit a ton, it’s going to suck for myself because I’ll probably need to add another officer or two (have one and myself at the moment), and it’s really going to suck for me because I’m going to have to juggle a 25 man roster with all of the churn and constant recruitment that entails.
Basically precisely what I was trying to avoid by going 10 man.
10H RLs are going to be hit the hardest of anyone with these changes, absolutely, but I think the upside is that it should be significantly easier to get to and maintain a roster in WoD than at any previous time in the game’s history. With connected realms incoming (assuming your server isn’t already huge) the local talent pool should increase over the next 6 months and players from smaller servers may be anxious to hook in with a talented, successful progression raid. Flex being available (even at a significantly lower difficulty) is an option for bringing in recruits to compare against your full core of 10 players in legitimate content and see how they stand up. Once you’ve completed the content (or sooner!) some of your raiders may be looking to take a break or shift to a more part-time schedule, that’s been my experience with heroic raiding in the past, so you should have some openings for recruits without having to significantly inconvenience your core, they might actually welcome it. It does make for more scheduling hassles for the RL but isn’t that always the case at this point in the expansion lifecycle?
And in WoD, having a larger than 20 roster will be less of an issue than it is now, you’ll be able to bring your bench for Heroic (Normal) flex runs on a separate lockout to learn the strategy and cut down on the learning/explanations that are required now. It has a strong potential to make Mythic a better experience than it is now.