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My Thoughts on Warlords of Draenor

So unless you’ve been hiding under an incredibly dense rock you know BlizzCon was this weekend. Unfortunately between homework and a two-day first aid course this past weekend I wasn’t able to give the convention much attention. Luckily I didn’t purchase a digital ticket before hand so no money wasted (those in-game goodies weren’t very appealing to me – I don’t understand why people actually like murlocs).

I have however been following on Twitter, and reading up on WoW Insider and the like, so I feel obligated to offer up my thoughts on the announcements about BlizzCon 2013, Warlords of Draenor, and World of Warcraft’s future.

Draenor and General Thoughts

So I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I’m not a huge lore person. I mean I appreciate it, and I get some of the more general concepts, though most of my lore knowledge has been passively acquired through game play (I don’t even read quests or dialog often).

I’m not super excited about this, I’ve mentioned before Outlands was my least-favourite content, but I’ve enjoyed World of Warcraft thus far, I’ll have to put some faith in Blizzard that they’ll pull through. I hope this means that after Warlords of Draenor we’ll get a Northrend reboot, I really liked Northrend.

I have to admit I was very disappointed we’re not getting any new races or classes, though I suppose it makes sense from a game development and from a story standpoint.

Garrisons

So I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Garrisons. I mean I like the idea, and it’s obviously the successor to the Sunsong Ranch we got in Mists of Pandaria (which I loved), but I’m not sure how it will fit in World of Warcraft. It seems a bit too…Simish? Does that make sense?

I guess my point is I love World of Warcraft, and I love the idea of Garrisons (Sim-like aspects), I’m just no sure if I like Sim *in* World of Warcraft, know what I mean?

I think it does have potential though, and I’m eagerly awaiting new details.

New Character Models

I am super excited about the new character models, I mean have you seen the old ones? Of course you have, and they’re atrocious. The new models we’ve seen so far look really good, and still hold true to the old models, so I am excited to see the rest of them. They will be updating the original 8 races in addition to Draenei and Blood Elves. I didn’t realize they would be updating Draenei and Blood Elves since they’re newer than the originals (obviously) but now that I think about it, I guess they do need some updating.

I have to admit that whenever I make a new alt, it tends to be the newer races. In fact, since Cataclysm, I don’t think I’ve created an alt that wasn’t a Worgen or (after Mists of Pandaria) a Pandaren. Maybe that will change when these new character models are released (likely in the Patch 6.0 before the actual expansion goes live, so we’ll have time to play with them first).

No Flying

Some people have taken issue with the announcement that we won’t be able to fly in Draenor until patch 6.1. Now in past expansions we haven’t been able to fly right out of the gate (Cataclysm the exception), but this time, the limit won’t be tied to player level, but rather tied to a patch. This will force players to experience the new content by the ground, which theoretically will give us all a chance to appreciate it more.

My question is, once Patch 6.1 rolls around, when will we be able to fly? I assume we’ll still need to hit level 100, but I wonder if we’ll be able to fly sooner on our alts.

Personally, I think this is a good idea, because Blizzard will be designing the new zones for ground mounts.

Raid Changes

One of the announcements making waves is the proposed changes to the way raiding. The graphic Blizzard produced summed it up nicely:

raid-hierarchy-6-0 So basically there were some name changes and now the three lower difficulties have flex aspects, they’ll scale from 10-25 players.

The biggest issues I see with the change to the new raid structure is the difference in raid sizes between Heroic (currently known as Normal) and Mythic (currently known as Heroic). Any raid team that wishes to pursue Mythic content will have to start with a 20-man roster in Heroic content, presuming that you will need to clear Heroic before you can gain access to Mythic. This change could cause some problems for teams that are thinking about transitioning to “Mythic” difficulty, since if they don’t start out with a 20-player team, they will have to adjust one way or another for the Mythic raid size. I see a lot of potential drama ahead.

This will also obviously cause existing 25 man heroic teams to shed 5 players, and existing 10 man heroic teams to have to pick up 10 extra players to keep going with the content difficulty they enjoy. That doesn’t really seem fair. I wasn’t around when they went from 40 man raids down to 25 man raids, so I’m really not sure what to expect here.

Additionally, there’s been talking about some tweaks to combat stats. Specifically, it seems that they want to do away with hit and expertise, and possibly replace them with stats players will enjoy more, maybe like something that will make you move faster. I think it’s an excellent idea. I mean, I don’t really play DPS so I don’t need to worry about hit and expertise except in my off-spec, but I think Blizzard is right in that players hate it, and removing those stats will better the game.

Boys Club

While Restokin wrote a good piece on this already (Lords of Draenor: Where are the girls at?) and at the time of this writing Apple Cider Mage’s post on the issue is forthcoming (though she’s been discussing it on Twitter (@AppleCiderMage) as best she can in 140 characters or less) I thought I’d add my two cents (Canadian) on this issue.

One of the arguments defending the “boys club” mentality is that it’s more realistic. Says who? The Blood Elf Mage that just took out a murloc with a fireball? Just because in our real-world history things have been done a certain way is absolutely not a reason for it to be done in a game. I mean, nothing else in the game is held up to that standard of realism, why should this one aspect of the game be? I mean you can hop on a flying dragon, meet a Troll mage, and have him/her create a portal for you to a city that is way too small to be a real city (among of a host of other problems) and your defence to the exclusion of female characters is “realism”? In an expansion where you’re using magic to go through time and space and across dimensions, you’re claiming realism? People clinging to this argument need a reality check.

Ultimately World of Warcraft is a game, something that’s meant to be enjoyed, possibly offering an escape from troubles in real life. If something as simple as writing some of your main characters as female (or including existing ones in promotional material), a change that would have no negative impact on anyone (or any impact on those already apathetic to it), can improve the game for a significant portion of the player base, than why not do it? I mean, what’s the harm? And the potential for good is tremendous.

Conclusion

So I’m not nearly as excited about this expansion as I was about Cataclysm (I mean, Ninja Werewolves, awesome right?) or Mists of Pandaria (Pandaren Monks are so cool), but I’m, let’s say, cautiously excited about Warlords of Draenor. I really hope Blizzard hits it out of the park with this expansion, it’s already been discussed to death but the subscription numbers are faltering and the game needs a jolt to get players back.

If you haven’t already seen it, The Godmother is running her So You Win (Again) contest. Basically entrants try and guess which Tuesday Warlords of Draenor will be released. I went with October 7th for no particular reason, just seemed like a solid date. I know World of Warcraft’s 10th anniversary is in November (of 2014) so I  feel like WoD needs to be released by then (and I don’t they’d do it in November, they’d want people to be settled in the new expansion by the anniversary).

I’ve slowly started easing myself back into the game now that I’ve settled into the routine of the whole university thing, so expect to hear more from me about World of Warcraft in the future.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.

2 comments

  1. jbenson2

    Wow, what a depressing report!

    It makes me wonder why the author wants to continue with World of Warcraft. Seems like a case of burnout or gamer fatigue.

    1. Eric Dekker

      There was a little bit of burnout, but I mostly stopped playing for a while because a collapse of my guild which happened around the same time I started this program at University, and I didn’t end up having much time or energy to put towards a fairly time and energy intensive game like WoW. I’ll probably find a new guild and that will get me playing more

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