World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
|World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor|
November 13, 2014
Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
- "When the past and present collide, the fate of all worlds hangs in the balance."
- —The Prophet Velen
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor (colloquially referred to as WoD or Warlords) is the fifth expansion pack for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft. It was officially announced on November 8, 2013 at BlizzCon 2013. The expansion will be released on November 13, 2014, and is available for pre-purchase on Battle.net.
Across Draenor's savage jungles and battle-scarred plains, Azeroth's heroes will engage in a mythic conflict involving mystical draenei champions and mighty orc clans, and cross axes with the likes of Grommash Hellscream, Blackhand, and Ner’zhul at the height of their primal power. Players will need to scour this unwelcoming land in search of allies to help build a desperate defense against the old Horde’s formidable engine of conquest—or else watch their own world’s bloody, war-torn history repeat itself.
Warlords of Draenor is the first expansion pack to exist primarily before the main timeline, and depicts a timeline that branches from the original. It is also the second expansion that is set beyond the world of Azeroth, the first being The Burning Crusade, which featured Outland, the current, shattered incarnation of Draenor.
On April 3, 2014, Blizzard announced that the Warlords of Draenor closed alpha test had begun. Blizzard posted a preview of the patch notes a few hours later. The expansion's external "Friends and Family" phase began on June 5, and the beta test began on June 27.
- It is the era of an Old Horde, forged with steel rather than fel blood. A union of great orc clans, the Iron Horde, tramples the planet Draenor beneath terrifying war machines. Azeroth falls next. Worlds uncounted will follow.
- You must mount a desperate charge on Draenor – savage home of orcs and adopted bastion of stoic draenei – at this pivotal moment. Your allies are legends from across time; your fortress a foothold in an alien land. Lead the armies of one world against another…before the future itself is unmade.
- Following the events of Siege of Orgrimmar, Garrosh Hellscream was imprisoned to be tried in Pandaria. Before the trial can conclude, aided by an ally who can manipulate the timelines, Garrosh escapes to Draenor of the past, and prevents the orcs from ever drinking the blood of Mannoroth, creating an untainted Iron Horde under the leadership of Grommash Hellscream.
Return to the Dark Portal
- For both Horde and Alliance players, the campaign starts behind enemy lines in the Tanaan Jungle on Draenor. It’s up to the player and their allies on preventing the seemingly impossible Iron Horde from wreaking havoc in Draenor and eventually to Azeroth.
- Once on Draenor, adventurers will face the might of great orc warlords such as Grommash Hellscream and Kilrogg Deadeye, legends who command a legion of 10,000 orcs from Draenor’s united clans—but you won’t have to take on this desperate mission alone. The ancient draenei champion Vindicator Maraad from Wrath of the Lich King will accompany the Alliance's expedition through the portal, while the Horde's faction rallies behind by Thrall. Your strike on Draenor is practically a suicide mission, but if you can destroy the portal from the other side, you’ll buy your faction—and Azeroth—some much-needed time. . . .
- All level-90 players will begin in the Tanaan Jungle (pre-Hellfire Peninsula), and for newly boosted level-90 characters, the quest line will be edited to help you get up to speed and ready for taking on the challenges to come. Also for boosted 90s, insead of gaining all of your skills and abilities right away, you’ll be able to unlock them as you progress and learn your way around your more powerful character—and you’ll need every ounce of your ability to stop the Iron Horde and continue your campaign on Draenor.
- Once the threat at the Dark Portal has been (temporarily) dealt with, Alliance and Horde players will go their divergent paths. Each will answer the call of their new allies to engage the native threats of the world and mount a long-term defense against the Iron Horde.
Alliance: Karabor, Shadowmoon Valley
- In the aftermath of the Dark Portal strike, Alliance players will be led to the pre-Black Temple, otherwise known as Karabor in search of allies to face the Iron Horde. Once there, you and other travelers will work together to save the draenei holy temple and turn it into a capital city for your faction. Stay alert though, while the Iron Horde lays siege to the temple, Ner’zhul and his nefarious Shadowmoon Orc clan pursue another line of attack that could put the entire world in mortal danger.
Horde: Bladespire Fortress, Frostfire Ridge
- Following the assault on the Dark Portal, Horde players will be led to Frostfire Ridge and the aid of the Frostwolf Clan. Once there, you will battle the ogres of Bladespire Fortress to secure a new base of operations in this harsh land. Don’t be fooled by your progress, though—the Thunderlord Clan will be right on their heels to reclaim their lands.
Altering the past
- "We will never be slaves... but we will be conquerors!" - Grommash Hellscream
After arriving on Draenor, Garrosh encounters the timeline's orc clans, and apparently shares with them some knowledge of the course of future events, as well as technology from the original timeline, far outstripping the orcs' relatively primitive technology. After encountering Gul'dan during his transformation, Garrosh is able to persuade his father Grommash Hellscream not to drink Mannoroth's blood, but instead to prepare a technologically empowered army in order to ambush the pit lord Mannoroth, and overthrow the Burning Legion's efforts to enslave the orcs.
Garrosh goes with Grommash to the gathering of the orc clans, in response to Gul'dan's summons to imbibe the demon's blood. Grommash accepts the drinking horn from the warlock, but at the last moment refuses to drink from it, pouring the glowing blood onto the floor and incurring the wrath of Mannoroth. With the pit lord revealed, at Garrosh's signal the hidden Iron Horde bursts forth, firing ballistae and chains at Mannoroth. The orcs prepare to launch an iron star to destroy Mannoroth, but the mighty demon quickly overcomes their attempts to trap him and begins to lay waste to the orc army.
Grommash, seeing his chance to defeat the pit lord, seizes the now unmanned iron star and single-handedly launches it at the demon, but the projectile falls short, its explosion serving only to rebuff and anger the pit lord. As Mannoroth prepares to strike afresh at the orcs, Grommash soars out of the fire and smoke, leaping through the explosion to drive Gorehowl directly into the pit lord's forehead.
As the pit lord's death howl begins to build for a devastating explosion, a stunned Garrosh picks himself up off the ground and dives for his father, pulling him out of harm's way before the demon can destroy him, again altering the path of history.
With the Legion's plot foiled, Gul'dan is imprisoned, and the Iron Horde revealed. Grommash proclaims a glorious future for their people, with Gul'dan's original plans to invade Azeroth repurposed to suit the new Iron Horde.
- Level cap raised to 100, new level 100 talents
- New world: Draenor of a parallel past, homeworld of the orcs and the last refuge of the draenei. (7 zones, 1 PvP zone)
- Player character revamp for the pre-Cataclysm races
- Changes to stats - removing hit, expertise, dodge, and parry; and adding new (Tertiary) 'fun' stats such as movement speed and cleave
- Build and upgrade your own garrison
- Dynamic Primary stat on Armor
- Item squish
- Inventory updates
- Group Finder - a new feature to find players and form groups for 5-40 player activities. The new tool for finding groups for all types of group events, including dungeons, raids, scenarios, battlegrounds and arena. Cross-realm capable.
- A level 90 character upgrade. Players will be able to instantly boost one character to level 90, which may be a pre-existing or newly created character.
- New permanent ability bonuses
- Refined quest log and system with hundreds of new quests
- 8 new dungeons, 3 for leveling and 3 for max-level, as well as a revamped Upper Blackrock Spire
- Restructured raid difficulty structure, with expanded use of 5.4's Flexible Raid scaling technology:
- Raid size changes.
- Raid Finder (10-25 players).
- Normal (10-25 players, roughly equivalent to 5.4's Flexible difficulty).
- Heroic (10-25 players, roughly equivalent to 5.4's Normal difficulty).
- Mythic (20 players, roughly equivalent to 5.4's Heroic difficulty).
- Upgrades to battleground systems, including objective displays, scoreboard upgrades and new rewards
- Ashran - a new sandbox PvP zone featuring bases, vehicles and quests in an uncapped and dynamically changing battle
- Skirmishes readded for 2v2s and 3v3s
- Tarren Mill vs Southshore - a new 100v100 "team deathmatch-style" battlground, available only for a limited time
- War Game changes
- Tournament Mode gear available just for War Games
- Others in the organizing player's party can spectate the match
- All mounts will work as ground mounts.
Expected to take place with Patch 6.0.2, a unique world event will precede the release of Warlords of Draenor. The event will feature orcs coming through the Dark Portal and taking over Blackrock Mountain.
A special level 90 'preview' of the new Upper Blackrock Spire instance will be available for a limited period as part of the event.
- The Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands has turned blood red. Hundreds of strange-looking orcs are violently pouring into Azeroth, killing everything that stands in their path. Nethergarde and Okril’lon have already fallen, and while the Horde and the Alliance moved as quickly as they could to get reinforcements to their people, they are too late. The Iron Horde invasion has begun.
- In this desperate hour, King Wrynn and Warchief Vol’jin have called upon their greatest champions to join the front lines in the Blasted Lands and do whatever they can to stop the Iron Horde . . . before the rest of Azeroth falls before them.
The world event will see a number of quests in the Blasted Lands, with the zone transformed by the invasion of the Iron Horde.
Upper Blackrock Spire
- An advance party of Iron Horde forces has barged right out of the Blasted Lands and pushed all the way to Blackrock Mountain, where they found refuge and supplies in Upper Blackrock Spire. There can be only one response: the Alliance and the Horde of Azeroth must face this iron incursion head on.
A level 90 'preview' of the new Upper Blackrock Spire instance will see players facing off against bosses including Orebender Gor'ashan, Kyrak, and Commander Tharbek. The instance's loot will provide an edge over current gear, allowing players to upgrade in preparation for the coming expedition to Draenor.
Ability bonuses and changes
Warlords of Draenor introduces a new bonus system that rewards players with powerful perks as they level up to the new cap. At every level from 91 to 100, characters will earn a major permanent boost to one of their their key spells and abilities (e.g. a Fire mage might earn a +50% damage boost to or +30% boost to ). Players will also unlock a new talent tier once they’ve achieved level 100, rewarding each class with three potent new abilities to choose from.
Stat changes and squish
- See also: Attributes in Warlords of Draenor, Item squish
- One of our goals for Warlords of Draenor is to make the act of finding and collecting loot even more exciting for players. With that in mind, we’re adding some fun new stats to gear, such as Movement Speed and Cleave, which gives you a chance to do extra damage or healing to additional nearby targets. In addition, we’ll be retiring a few stats that players don’t find very enjoyable to manage, such as Hit and Expertise. We’re also making improvements to armor itemization that will make it easier to share armor pieces across classes. We’ll have more details to share as development continues.
Additionally, an item squish will take place, scaling back the stats of all players and creatures, so players go from having 500,000 health doing 100,000 damage in their main nukes, down to something more reasonable like 50,000 health and 10,000 damage. The relative power level between players and creatures will not change, so if players can kill a mob in five seconds before the squish, they can kill the same mob in five seconds after the squish. The squish will also not compromise the ability of players to solo old content.
The squish will affect damage and healing ability output more than player health, in order to reduce the importance of burst in combat. For example, a tank may find their health reduced from something like 1 million to around 400k health at the start of the expansion. This is intended to make combat less concerned with burst and quick reflexes.
Warlords of Draenor will see changes to how the game servers work, allowing for improved responsiveness during play. Currently, actions that one unit takes upon another are processed in batches every 400ms, consistently causing small amounts of delay in actions such as healing other characters. While this delay is generally undesirable in that it produces a less responsive game experience, in some cases it can more substantially affect gameplay. For example, a healer may cast a healing or protective spell upon an ally just before they take fatal damage from a boss attack. The spell is cast and the spell's cooldown activated, but the effect itself is placed in a queue to be processed at the next 400ms interval. In the meantime, the target may take damage from the boss attack and die, in spite of the life-saving spell already having been successfully cast upon them.
With Warlords of Draenor, the system will now process each such action as quickly as possible, with a predicted latency of 1-10ms. This should make the game feel significantly more responsive, and is predicted to reduce the frequency of latency-caused death and cooldown activation by around 40 times.
- The quest UI will be updated to make it easier on knowing just where to go and what to do. The quest log will now show which quests fall into the main story of Warlords and quests that are side quests so players won't miss out and enjoy the content of the expansion before moving onto the next area. There may still be some surprises along the way, and not everything will be listed, so as to avoid spoiling all the fun!
The map will show where to go in order to continue the main storyline, as well as indicating bonus objectives. Bonus objectives will no longer have any accompanying text, merely a list of objectives. This will help to distinguish the main quests from bonus objectives.
A number of improvements to the inventory system will be made, adding features to remove some of the clutter.
- Quest Items: Quest items will no longer occupy space in the player's inventory, and will instead be moved to the Quest UI.
- Sortable Bags: The player will be able to designate bags for carrying certain types of items, allowing for significantly improved organization and sorting.
- Bags can be designated for particular types of items such as armor, consumables, gray items, etc.
- In addition, borders of item icons will be colored to indicate item quality, and gray items (that can be safely sold to a vendor) will have a gold coin icon.
- Newly acquired items will have a white border to allow for easy location.
- Craft Directly from the Bank: Players will be able to craft directly from the bank without needing to go through the effort of going to the bank and collecting ingredients for what needs to be crafted.
With Warlords of Draenor, heirlooms and many "fun" vanity items will be moved to new collections, outside of the player's inventory. These collections will be accessible at any time through the user interface and will contain all relevant items. Items in these collections will not take up inventory space, allowing players to make use of heirlooms and "toys" across their characters without the limitations of physical storage and item sharing. The vast majority of items will be available to all characters on the player's account, regardless of realm. The collections will also list items which have not yet been acquired, allowing players to see those missing from their collections.
- Main article: Heirlooms tab
The Heirlooms tab will allow players to summon any unlocked heirloom directly into the current character's inventory, removing realm limitations and the need for mailing. Current information suggests it will be possible to summon any given heirloom for each character, removing the need to purchase multiples. It has been stated that the Heirlooms tab will likely not be introduced until after Patch 6.0.2.
- Main article: Toy Box
The Toy Box will house the player's "toys", vanity and fun items with no combat applications. This will allow players to enjoy using the variety of fun items they have earned across their characters, without needing to carry them around or store them in the bank for later. Toys not possessed will also be listed, helping players to track down interesting items that are missing from their collections.
The Adventure Guide, planned to be added some time after the release of the expansion, is a new feature which provides a convenient overview of appropriate and progressive content for the character. Suggestions will be tailored to the character's favored types of play, and will include level- and gear-appropriate instances and zones, as a way of guiding the player to both challenging content and the optimum path to gear upgrades. The Guide is intended to assist players in finding appropriate content, both at end-game and during levelling, and will serve to guide players in exploring new content as it is added to the game.
The Guide will cover areas including dungeons, raids, battlegrounds, scenarios and zones such as the Timeless Isle (and possibly other zones while levelling). It will also feature less progression-related content such as the Brawler's Guild and may recommend profession-related activities such as new level-appropriate items to craft.
As well as providing a few recommended picks, the Guide will also present a larger list of possible PvE activities, rated by color to indicate the estimated difficulty for the character based on their level and gear.
Reduced visual effects
Another planned adjustment with Warlords of Draenor is to reduce the amount of "ground clutter" and visual effects created particularly by player abilities, specifically in order to prevent them from impairing players' vision and actions during combat. In Heroic 25 player raids, the plan is for the client to be displaying roughly 50-70% fewer effects than before.
The developers plan to "tone down some of the visuals" from allied players' effects, in order to prevent them from obscuring the battle, while each player's own visual effects will continue to be displayed in full for that player. However, visual effects will not be toned down for PvP, where these can act as important cues to the state of the battle, with the exception of large-scale PvP combat such as Alterac Valley.
Every spell will also have an internal priority which will cause spells to display lower impact visuals when there is too much going on at once. This should improve client performance during encounters and also help with visibility. Players will be able to disable this feature if they wish.
Characters and objects are now highlighted with a coloured glow under various conditions. When targeting characters, hostile targets are highlighted in red, and friendly characters in green. Quest objective objects and characters are highlighted with a yellow glow, making it easier to locate goals in the environment. Special objects such as treasure chests are highlighted in purple.
Distant objects and terrain entering the player's visual range now phase into view with a particle-based animation, rather than simply appearing on the landscape.
Merged auction houses
Alliance, Horde and neutral auction houses will be merged into a single unified auction house per server. This is partly intended to improve conditions for small faction populations, but will also serve to increase auction house traffic for both factions on all servers.
Player character revamp
- Main article: Player character revamp
The expansion will feature a full revamp of the older player character models:
- As we’ve released new World of Warcraft content and expansions, we’ve received feedback that some of the earlier player character models and animations are no longer measuring up to the quality of the newer races. Because Warlords of Draenor takes players back to the homeland of the orcs—one of WoW's original playable races—it felt like a great time to update not just the orcs, but other playable races that could use a refresh.
- We know that many of you already strongly identify with the look of your current character, so we’re dedicating a lot of time and resources to make sure these updates capture each race’s iconic identity and personality. We’re still in the process of determining which races will be available upon the expansion’s release, but our goal is to update all eight of the original World of Warcraft playable races, along with the draenei and blood elves, over the course of the expansion launch and subsequent content updates.
While updated models for most of the pre-Cataclysm races are already present in the expansion's beta, it has been announced that the new blood elf models will not be ready in time for launch.
Crowd control and diminishing returns
Primarily concerned with PvP, Warlords of Draenor will see an "across-the-board disarmament" of crowd control (CC) abilities, in response to an acknowledged excess of crowd control in the game at present. This will be achieved through wide-spread changes:
- Removed Silence effects from interrupts. Silence effects still exist, but are never attached to an interrupt.
- Removed all Disarm effects.
- Reduced the number of Diminishing returns (DR) categories.
- All Roots now share the same DR category.
- Exception: Roots on Charge-type abilities have no DR category, but have a very short duration instead.
- All Stuns now share the same DR category.
- All Incapacitate effects (sometimes called "mesmerize" effects) now share the same DR category and have been merged with the Horror DR category.
- Removed the ability to make cast-time CC spells instant with a cooldown.
- Removed many CC spells entirely, and increased the cooldowns and restrictions on others.
- Pet-cast CC is more limited, and in many cases has been removed.
- can now be dispelled by immunities and .
- PvP trinkets now grant immunity to reapplication of an effect from the same spell cast when they break abilities with persistent effects, like .
- Long fears are now shorter in PvP due to the added benefit of a fear changing the players position.
- Significantly reduced the number of throughput-increasing cooldowns and procs in order to further reduce burst damage.
Diminishing returns information will also be inserted into many crowd control ability tooltips.
- Main article: Draenor (Warlords of Draenor)
The expansion sends players to Draenor as it existed before it shattered into the realm World of Warcraft players know as Outland—and while some of the names of these places might be familiar, we’re building them all from scratch for the expansion.
- Frostfire Ridge (90-92): Horde's entry point to Draenor. Across snow-covered wastes and beneath towering volcanoes, heroes of the Frostwolf clan and the Horde unite to repel invaders from their homeland.
- Shadowmoon Valley (90-92): Alliance's entry point to Draenor. 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.
- Gorgrond (92-94): 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.
- Talador (94-96): 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.
- Spires of Arak (96-98): 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.
- Nagrand (98-100): 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 (100): 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. Briefly explored during the expansion's introductory experience, a fully developed level 100 version of the zone will be released in a later patch.
- Ashran (PvP): An island off the north-east coast of Tanaan Jungle, housing the expansion's faction capitals and an extensive instanced PvP zone.
- Farahlon: An island located east of Gorgrond, which is the original incarnation of an archipelago today known in Outland as Netherstorm. It is planned to be released at some point during the expansion's patch cycle.
Dungeon, raid and scenario content
At the expansion's launch, there are seven new dungeons introduced for level 90-100 players, as well as two raids forming the very first raid tier of the expansion. Also, four dungeons were updated with new lore, and one of them (Blackrock Spire) was split and the upper section retuned for level 100 players.
|Scenarios||New dungeons||Raids||Updated dungeons|
At BlizzCon 2013, the following information was released:
- We’re planning 6 new 5-player dungeons for the launch of Warlords of Draenor, along with a revamped version of the classic Blackrock Spire. One of our goals is to make sure we’re giving players a good mix of “level-up” Dungeons along with some new, unexplored Dungeons to delve into at max level. The expansion will also give players a chance to earn awesome transmogrifiable weapons and other unique rewards in Challenge Mode Dungeons. We’re also planning a wide variety of Scenarios for launch, along with Heroic Scenarios for those who enjoy the extra challenge.
- On the Raiding front, we’re planning 2 new raid instances around launch, as well as new world bosses. We’ll also continue to provide players with a wide variety of raiding options. In addition to offering four tiers of difficulty as in Patch 5.4, we're also extending our Flexible Raid scaling technology to Normal difficulty raiding. We’ll have more details to share as development continues.
At the February 2014 press event, it was revealed that getting silver in a specific role would be one of the requirements to queue for a random Heroic at max level:
- We will have Normal and Heroic versions of our max-level dungeons. (Note that we did not have Normal level 90 dungeons in Mists.)
- There will be no special requirement other than basic level/ilvl requirements on queuing for Normal dungeons or LFR.
- Level-up quest gear will get you into Normal dungeons/scenarios, and Normal dungeon/scenario gear will get you into LFR.
- Heroic dungeons will be more challenging than the Normal version (not brutally difficult, mind you -- just somewhat more demanding).
- You will need a Silver Proving Grounds medal in a given role in order to queue for random matchmaking for a Heroic Warlords dungeon. If you form a premade group, you can zone in regardless and no such requirement applies.
In the past, challenging content and random matchmaking have often not gone so well together. Relying on item level does nothing to prevent a random group from getting, for example, a tank who may literally have never tanked before. Everyone has to learn somewhere, but we'd rather not have that learning come at other players' expense. One option would be to require a full premade group to do Heroic Dungeons, as we do with Heroic Scenarios, but that would present a very high barrier to entry (finding 4 other people with rigid role requirements is much harder than finding 2 other people with no role requirements). This solution represents a compromise in order to allow the content to see a broader reach via matchmaking, while minimizing frustration.And yes, we realize that by formally using Proving Grounds as a qualification, it will be incumbent upon us to further refine their balance and mechanics. We'll be updating them for Warlords, and we're confident that we can make them a fair test of baseline ability within a given role.
Expanding upon the above, it has been stated that in Warlords of Draenor the Proving Grounds will tell failing players what they did wrong, making it something of a teaching tool rather than simply a test.
In addition, the Proving Grounds beta implementation currently scales the mobs in the encounter to fit the player's item level, rather than adjusting the player's item level to fit fixed-level mobs.
Player versus player content
Minimum PvP item level
All gear will be scaled up to a minimum item level in designated PvP areas, including battlegrounds, arenas, skirmishes and Ashran. The level will be lower than that of current season PvP gear, but will reduce the disadvantage suffered by newly levelled characters and those who have not yet acquired higher quality gear. The upscaling will apply to both PvP and PvE gear.
PvP gear in Warlords will not have PvP-specific stats. Instead, PvP gear will automatically scale up to a higher item level as soon as the player enters a designated PvP area (including battlegrounds, arenas, skirmishes and Ashran), or engages in (or is engaged in) PvP combat anywhere else in the world. Each piece of PvP gear will have its alternate PvP item level displayed on its tooltip.
Crafted PvP gear will be replaced with a system that allows players to upscale their gear to a specific item level, increasing each season.
- Main article: Patch 6.0.2#Player_health_and_resilience
- Base Resilience has been reduced to 0%.
- Battle Fatigue has been removed. PvP combat no longer reduces the amount of healing received by participants.
- Critical Damage and Critical Heals in PvP combat now deal 150% of the normal spell/ability effects (down from 200%).
Enemy unit frames
Expected some time after 6.0, Blizzard are planning to add "a complete solution" for enemy frames in PvP. The plan appears to be to provide much of the functionality currently only found through the use of addons, through the default user interface.
- Players will no longer be able to attack, heal or apply buffs or debuffs to PvP-flagged targets without first enabling their own PvP flag. This will make it harder for players to accidentally flag themselves for PvP.
- Players will be able to accept summons to queued battlegrounds and arenas while in combat or dead.
- The Deserter debuff will be restored to a consistent 15 minute durations for battlegrounds in Warlords. Arenas and rated battlegrounds will give a give a 1 minute debuff the first time, increasing to 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes if the debuff is repeatedly earned.
Players will be able to earn Strongboxes through completing Random and Call to Arms battlegrounds. Three ranks of Strongbox will be available: Bronze, Silver and Gold. One or more of these will be awarded to each player at the end of the match, depending on the team's performance in the battleground. Players will still be able to earn Strongboxes if their team doesn't win the match. Strongboxes may contain Honor, Conquest, consumables or even gear.
For example, Warsong Gulch will reward a Bronze Strongbox if the player's team captured 1 flag, a Bronze and a Silver Strongbox if they captured 2 flags, and a Bronze, a Silver and a Gold Strongbox if they captured 3 flags. Some battlegrounds scoring systems will be changed to make these milestones easier to recognise (such as changing Arathi Basin to a maxim of 1500 resources, down from 2000).
The Strongbox system aims to act as encouragement for players to participate strategically in each battleground, even if their team seems unlikely to win. Completing objectives such as resource gathering will still earn players extra rewards even if their team loses.
Battleground brackets will be returning to their previous 10-level ranges, instead of the current mostly 5-level ranges.
- For example, Warsong Gulch will have brackets for 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, etc, instead of for 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, etc.
- Some expansion-limited brackets such as 84-89 may stay as they are.
The battleground scoreboard will be updated to better reflect player performance in each match. A new stat called Battleground Score will be introduced, taking into account objective-based gameplay engaged in by the player, including returning flags, interrupting objective captures, healing, doing damage, and more.
Call to Arms
The Call to Arms battleground feature will be removed with Warlords. Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka has explained that while the feature was originally added to increase variety to the battleground experience and allow players to regularly 'binge' on specific battlegrounds, it has come to have an "adverse affect" on queue times in "a pretty profound way" due to players of one faction typically queuing heavily for the current Call to Arms battleground, while the other faction avoids it. Warlords will see the feature removed, with players intended to use the Random Battleground feature instead.
Planned for some time after 6.0, the battleground map will display objective timers, complete with additional animations. This is intended to make it easier to identify the time until an objective is captured, for players on both sides.
- For players looking to engage in PvP combat on an epic scale, Warlords of Draenor introduces a new world PvP zone off of the north east coast of Tanaan Jungle. This new experience involves a raging battle that has no distinct beginning or end—instead, it offers constantly evolving objectives for participants to take part in. There will be items to gather, creatures to summon, and tons of action on multiple levels. While you can enter the fray sooner than level 100, you may find yourself biting off more than you can chew—enter at your own risk!
- When first joining the battle, you’ll be presented with objectives based on the current status of the battle. The closer you get to your opponent’s base, the more difficult your tasks will become. Objectives will change at a moment’s notice based on events within the zone, and you may quickly find yourself switching from offense to rebuilding your fortress and gathering the materials needed to do so. There will also be faction-based vehicles—and some Iron Horde war machines—at your team’s disposal.
- To provide a truly epic world PvP experience, the number of players and the amount of faction members allowed in the zone won’t be capped. Don’t worry, though—with cross-realm technology, the pool of potential allies (and enemies) is wider than ever.
- Main article: Skirmish
Planned for Warlords of Draenor are the return of skirmishes, a casual version of arena combat, featuring 2v2 and 3v3 matches. These matches will not affect ratings, and are intended to be a good way to try out new team members, specs or comps, as well as providing a chance to engage in arena play on a more casual basis. Skirmishes are also intended to allow players who are less experienced in PvP or who lack the teammates for regular arena to discover and experiment with arena play for the first time.
Players will be able to queue for skirmishes in groups or solo, for either 2v2 or 3v3 matches. If the player's group does not fill the chosen bracket size, they will be matched with other queuing players to complete the team, similar to when queuing for a battleground. Winning a skirmish will grant the winning players as well as a random bonus, which could be gold, more Honor, a small amount of , a piece of Honor PvP gear, or rarely even a piece of Conquest PvP gear.
Skirmishes are planned to be made available with Warlords of Draenor's pre-expansion Patch 6.0.2, before the start of the new arena season.
Tarren Mill vs Southshore
- Main article: Tarren Mill vs Southshore
Tarren Mill vs Southshore is a new "team deathmatch-style" 100v100 battleground, set amid "the timeless struggle" of the area's world PvP conflict during vanilla World of Warcraft. Once released, the battleground will only be available for a limited period, although it may return again at some point.
Questing and leveling
- A whole world’s worth of rewards awaits as you brave the unforgiving wilds of Draenor. Taking a cue from the Timeless Isle, Warlords of Draenor will strike a balance between traditional questing and discovery. Each quest will have its own unique reward, but this time around, you’ll also have a chance to earn a rare or even an epic item, adding an element of surprise when you’re turning in quests. New quest UI improvements will help guide you on your journey and help you identify larger story arcs in zones as well as side quests.
- Across Draenor you’ll also encounter rare spawns and personal Scenarios, and all manner of skirmishes and points of interest that will dot your path to level 100. And as you earn levels, you’ll receive bonuses to existing spells and abilities, capped off with a new talent tier at max level.
- Main article: Garrison
- As you progress toward level 100, you’ll also open up the opportunity to create your very own Garrison—one of Warlords of Draenor’s biggest new features. To establish a foothold on Draenor and bolster your faction’s defenses against the formidable Iron Horde, each player will need to build and manage their own Garrison, a customizable fortress that serves as your personal base of operations throughout the course of the expansion. As you complete quests and win allies to your cause, your Garrison will expand and you’ll be able to choose which upgrades you’d like to construct from a variety of options. You’ll also meet and recruit NPC allies and followers who will join you at the Garrison, each providing different benefits.
Garrisons are highly customizable character-specific sub-zones, where players can arrange, construct and manage their own base of operations against the Iron Horde. Expansive and fully explorable areas featuring dozens of different buildings, garrisons are brought to life by the player's followers, interactable NPCs who must be inspired (or bribed) to join the player's ranks. Detailed characters in their own right, followers can be grouped up and sent off to undertake quick quests, delve into dangerous dungeons or join with an army of allies to tackle special raids agains mighty foes. Successful missions can reward the player with epic loot and vital resources for the development of the garrison.
Each garrison building offers a special purpose - be it to improve the player's followers, grant access to professions, or provide the player with bonuses in the rest of the game. Buildings and followers can be customized, with every upgrade and specialization reflected in the appearance of the base. Garrisons can also be entered by party members, whether to appraise the base's strategic planning, to interact with followers, or to trade in special resources.
Garrisons are intended to be part of the expansion's levelling experience, and are integrated into the expansion's zones and gameplay, with players frequently redirect to their garrison throughout the levelling experience. However, the feature will also be an ongoing feature at max level. Garrison development will be tied to key quest lines throughout the expansion's zones, with each character's garrison located in their faction's home zone on Draenor. Garrison play will extend beyond the garrison itself, with buffs that affect play in the rest of the game, and discoverable elements such as followers found through exploring the rest of the game world.
Level 90 character upgrade
Purchasing Warlords of Draenor will grant one free Character Boost, allowing the player to instantly boost one character to level 90. Character Boosts can also be purchased separately. For more information on the service, see Character Boost.
Why are you giving everyone a level-90 character boost?
- World of Warcraft is constantly evolving, and these days players engage with the game in a wider variety of ways than ever. Some enjoy the process of exploring the world and leveling up. Others enjoy the challenge of raiding. Many simply enjoy playing with their friends, wherever they may be. One of our primary goals with Warlords of Draenor is to empower WoW players to quickly and easily be able to participate in the content they’re most interested in, and giving everyone a level-90 character upgrade right out of the gate helps make that possible.
- One common piece of feedback we’ve received from new players and those who’ve taken an extended break from the game is that World of Warcraft requires a significant time investment before they’re able to “catch up” and play with high-level friends. Design changes such as speeding up the leveling curve and features like the popular Scroll of Resurrection and Recruit-a-Friend system have proven very popular, but the issues’s only getting more challenging with each patch and expansion we release. By giving players the option to boost a character to be ready for the latest expansion content, we hope to remove some of these entry barriers and make it so anyone can pick up and enjoy Warlords of Draenor right away, no matter how much World of Warcraft they’ve played in the past.
It’s been a while since I’ve played WoW—will I know what to do with a level-90 character?
- At the start of the new expansion, players will be thrust into an exciting introductory experience involving a desperate strike against the orc forces on Draenor. During this opening sequence, new and returning players will have an opportunity to get up to speed on the game before diving into their faction’s starting zone content—similar to the Death Knight starting experience in Wrath of the Lich King. We’ve also recently added features such as Proving Grounds, which help players learn how to tank, heal, and deal damage in dungeons in a solo “teaching” environment, to help ease the learning curve and prepare players for battle as quickly, efficiently, and enjoyably as possible.
How will the included level-90 character upgrade work?
- In regions where players purchase World of Warcraft expansions, each World of Warcraft account that you upgrade to the Warlords of Draenor expansion will receive one level-90 character boost (to be used once the expansion releases). You don’t need to decide which character to boost immediately. You can also create a level-1 character from scratch and then use the upgrade on that if you wish. The boosted character will also receive a level-appropriate set of gear (along with some other assistance) to make sure you’re set for adventuring. We’ll have more details to share as development continues.
- For regions where players do not purchase expansions (including China, Korea, and Taiwan), we’ll have more information to share on our plans in the future. In the meantime, our goal for all regions remains the same—to give players a way to get straight to the action in Draenor.
Among the many figures confirmed to have major roles in the Warlords of Draenor story arc are:
After escaping from captivity in Pandaria, Garrosh will return and go back in time, along with Zaela. He will alter the history of Draenor by supplying the clans of the Old Horde (now dubbed the Iron Horde) with current technology and making them refuse to drink the demon blood. He will be a major antagonist of the story arc.
Kargath Bladefist leads an army of sadists simply by being the most hate-filled orc to ever attach a scythe to the stump of his severed wrist. Initiates of Kargath’s clan, the Shattered Hand, emulate their chieftain’s vicious body modification, but it’s only the first of many opportunities for new scars, both on their own bodies and in the sculpting clay of their foes’ flesh.
A power-mad and tactically brilliant weaponmaster, Blackhand has both the ambition to rule and the cruelty to maintain his hold on the conquered. Under his leadership, the bold orcs of the Blackrock clan arm an entire world with the strength of steel. Blackrock slaves labor whip-crack to whip-crack on frightful siege engines—weapons that will inevitably be turned against the slaves’ families, neighbors, and homes.
After seeing his own death during a vision quest, Kilrogg “Deadeye” embraced the finality of fate, and tore his left eyeball free in a brutally symbolic gesture. Members of Kilrogg’s clan, the Bleeding Hollow, imbue themselves with berserk fury, slather their weapons in hallucinogenic venom, and stalk prey from the treetops, branding their victims’ final moments with visions of pure horror.
Though Ner’zhul is contemplative and forward-thinking, his vision of a united orcish culture has been eclipsed by the manipulations of his apprentice, Gul’dan, and the bloody reality of the rising Iron Horde. His clan, the Shadowmoon, has always looked reverently to the stars to guide their fellows. Today, the mysticism of these death-sages nudges Draenor closer to obliteration.
Indebted to a demonic lord and pitted against the mentor he betrayed, Gul’dan is one of a handful of fel orcs on Draenor, his visage and shamanic power twisted balefully by demonic communion. The outcasts he leads, the Stormreaver clan, now fight to wrest their “rightful” place in the Iron Horde from Gul’dan’s former master Ner’zhul . . . and to tempt a great army of orcs into infernal corruption.
A passionate voice of pride and fury, Grommash Hellscream acknowledges only pronouncements made in the language of swinging axes. His clan, the Warsong, is a nomadic group of deadeyed archers and bellowing wolfriders who gather at the vanguard of the Iron Horde, razing their enemies’ lands and homes to embers, then stamping those embers into ash.
Loyal to his allies and terrifying to his enemies, Durotan has led the Frostwolf clan to a life in one of the most hostile lands imaginable. Durotan’s people rejected the Iron Horde’s call for orcish unity to focus on their own survival. They now subsist in the biting cold of Frostfire Ridge by cloaking themselves in furs and taming the massive frostwolves that accompany them, snarling and howling, in battle after battle.
The son of Durotan will reprise his role as a major character, as he hunts Garrosh through the portal with the goal of finally bringing his ill-fated successor to justice. Thrall will interact with his parents in their prime (both of whom are deceased in the main timeline), and joins forces with the native Frostwolf clan as it stands in defiance of the Iron Horde's call to arms. According to Chris Metzen, the experience will be an important lesson to Thrall, who will see whether his father was a good man because of his circumstances, or in spite of them.
The Blood Knight matriarch will make a return in Warlords of Draenor, also travelling through the altered Dark Portal. In an arc reminiscent of the blood elf/draenei alliance in The Burning Crusade, in which the two races united to defend the blood elves' sacred Sunwell Plateau from the Burning Legion, Liadrin and her knights will come to the defense of Auchindoun, battling agents of the Legion who seek to defile this most sacred of draenei precincts. According to Metzen, the Blood Knights' knowledge and understanding of the Light will come full circle from The Burning Crusade.
As the ancient leader of the draenei, the prophet Velen has spent hundreds of human lifetimes carefully weighing and recording the futures he foresees so that creation itself does not fall. Velen’s guidance preserved his people during an exodus from their homeworld, Argus, but his wisdom is in question after the arrival of the Iron Horde on Draenor. What value is a prophet whose visions cannot prevent calamity?
Perhaps the most accomplished of all living wizards, Khadgar was an apprentice to the Guardian Medivh until he helped defeat his master and destroy the Dark Portal created to summon the orcs to Azeroth. Though cursed with frailty and age, Khadgar nevertheless remains an exemplar for the Alliance, leading counterattacks against the Burning Legion and all who would threaten his world with annihilation.
A wandering warrior of faith, Vindicator Maraad is a pillar of draenei society. After prevailing against evil in the Northrend campaign, this hammer-wielding paladin began instructing the other races of the Alliance in the ways of the Light. Exposure to Azeroth’s myriad dangers has left Maraad prone to action above meditation—he will strike while others tarry.
Yrel is a female draenei paladin. She is mentioned to start out as an ordinary character that will rise to become a hero and an important figure for her people in the storyline, in a manner similiar to Joan of Arc.
Factions and organizations
The main antagonist faction of Warlords of Draenor, the Iron Horde is a union of the uncorrupted orcish clans of a parallel Draenor, as a result of Garrosh Hellscream's interference with the timeline.
Spires of Arak screenshot
Frostfire Ridge screenshot
Shadowmoon Valley screenshot
- World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor announcement trailer
- World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor cinematic
- Faction Zones Feature
- Remaking a World
- Warlords of Draenor In Action
- Frostfire Ridge Zone Preview
- Shadowmoon Valley Zone Preview
- Gorgrond Zone Preview
- Talador Zone Preview
- Raid and Dungeon Preview
- Garrison Preview
- New Character Models and Animations
- 39 Facts About Warlords of Draenor
- Character model updates have been announced for all the classic races. The current plan is to update the original 8 races as well as the blood elves and draenei. After that is complete they will revisit the Cataclysm races (worgen and goblins) for another look and determine if they require graphical updates to match the quality of the pandaren models.
- In addition to the player character revamp, the expansion will also see updated models for races such as the arrakoa.
- The initial concept for the game was that Garrosh would go to Outland as it currently exists and would use a horn to resurrect the fallen warlords and invade Azeroth. The idea was changed in order to give players a new setting.
- According to Tom Chilton, the developers first began discussing Warlords of Draenor "a couple months before the launch of Mists of Pandaria" (roughly July 2012). The expansion wasn't announced until November 8th 2013, more than a year later. Ion Hazzikostas stated in the April 2014 WoW Source that the developers had been actively working on the expansion for "the past year and a half".
- The game was available for play by attendees at the 2013 Blizzcon.
- Tom Chilton confirmed that Grommash will be the final boss of the Warlords of Draenor expansion.
- Warlords of Draenor beta timeline - An ongoing charting of the major developments, stumbles and unfortunate bugs of the Warlords of Draenor beta
- ^ a b Warlords of Draenor Unleashed: Watch the Live Stream Now! (2014-08-14).
- ^ World of Warcraft expansion 5 confirmed: Blizzard 'geeked out' over concept. CVG (2012-03-02). Retrieved on 2013-05-29.
- ^ Fahey, Mike 2013-11-08. Warlords Of Draenor Brings The Original Warcraft Trilogy To WoW. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2013-11-08.
- ^ a b BlizzCon 2013 – World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, The Adventure Continues Panel Transcript
- ^ Warlords of Draenor™ Alpha Testing Begins. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-04-03).
- ^ Bashiok 2014-06-05. Warlords of Draenor Friends & Family Alpha (official forums).
- ^ Twitter / Bashiok: First #Warlords invite...
- ^ chaud 2014-02-04. 6.0 Raid Size Changes, Patch 5.4.7 PTR Notes Update, Blue Tweets, Blizzard Gear. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2014-02-04.
- ^ chaud. WoD - All Mounts Work as Ground Mounts, Launcher Feedback, Blue Tweets, TCG Art. MMO-Champion.
- ^ a b c d e chaud 2014-05-04. Warlords of Draenor - Developer Interviews, Blue Tweets, DLC #438. MMO-Champion.
- ^ a b Prepare for Battle: The Pre-Expansion Iron Horde Incursion (2014-08-14).
- ^ Celestalon on Twitter (2014-06-30).
- ^ Celestalon 2014-06-18. Warlords of Draenor Theorycraft Discussion (official forums).
- ^ a b chaud 2014-04-15. Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews, April 14 Hotfixes, Blue Tweets, Wowcraft. MMO-Champion.
- ^ https://twitter.com/Rygarius/status/480048337266425856
- ^ a b c WoW Source: Warlords of Draenor PvP and Class Updates. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-04-22).
- ^ a b Watcher 2014-07-01. Merged AH a feature of Warlords? (official forums).
- ^ a b Merged AH Between Factions in 6.0, SDCC Merch, Fury Feedback, Proving Grounds Scales with Item Level. Wowhead (2014-07-01).
- ^ Chris Robinson on Twitter (2014-07-31).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-07-08).
- ^ a b c d e f Warlords of Draenor: Equipping for Battle. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-04-29).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-08-28).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-08-07).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-06-25).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-06-27).
- ^ Alterac Valley on Twitter (2014-06-27).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-08-18).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-08-30).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-06-27).
- ^ Brian Holinka 2014-04-14. Twitter / holinka.
- ^ a b Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-07-08).
- ^ Brian Holinka on the official forums (2014-08-28).
- ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-06-25).
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter.
- ^ Chris Robinson 2014-03-25. Twitter / artofcgrobinson.
- ^ WoW Source: Warlords of Draenor
- ^ WoW Source Episode 3 - Warlords of Draenor PvP and Class Changes. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-04-22).
- ^ Vanion Gamescom 2014 interview