First Look Review: Warlords of Draenor

 

Earlier this week, I opened tbe  Battle.net Desktop Ap to find I had been given access to the Beta for Warlords of Draenor. Two days later, I dove right in. I played through the Draenor intro quest chain, the Garrison quest chain and a little past that. The content I tried is obviously unpolished but it is impressive, to say the least.

I copied 4 of my Level 90s from the live game to the Beta since they are the characters I would be using to traverse Draenor first (3 Alliance and 1 Horde). Like Mists of Pandaria, I can see myself enjoying the questing experience multiple times: You will hit level 91 within the first two hours of entering Draenor (You should hit level 86 on Pandaria by the time you finish questing in your second major quest hub in Jade Forest). If you level at a steady pace you should hit level 100 on your first/main character within about a week of playing time, which will leave you with plenty of time for you to enjoy the 10th Anniversary content coming out about a month after WoD’s release. My first character to 90 (My Alliance Paladin) took two months but only because of my real-life commitments at the time. My Alliance Warlock took a third less of the time mainly because of the Wrathguard (I quest as Demo) that could AOE mobs and then nuke them with my Warlock spells. Paladins are Melee based so…yeah.

In the beta, the Iron Horde Invasion Pre-Event coming to live in a few weeks was also featured. I didn’t do it but after doing the Intro Chain in Tanaan Jungle, it will give those who won’t see the Beta an accurate taste of what awaits them on the other side of the Dark Portal. The Iron Horde pouring out of the altered Dark Portal destroyed Nethergarde Keep and Orkril’lon Hold, the Alliance and Horde bastions against the demons that have emerged from the portal since The Burning Crusade. Alliance and Horde reinforcements arrived too late to save the outposts but they have set up forward camps from the eastern coast to mount a counterattack against the Invasion.

An interesting thing I noticed when I first arrived in the Blasted Lands: There is a Keeper of Time standing at the boarder between Blasted Lands and Swamp of Sorrows. Talk to her and you will go back in time to the Blasted Lands of before the invasion. The old Blasted Lands is presumably what pre-90 players will see by default. Once they hit level 90 they will see the post-invasion version instead.

As with every expansion, the pre-event patch I mentioned above gives players everything EXCEPT Expansion-specific content. In the case of Burning Crusade that was prettymuch everything but since then, Blizzard has been nice enough to throw those not quite ready to upgrade a little taste of what they’re missing. When Wrath of the Lich King was current, you got Inscription and Dungeon Finder when it was added mid-expansion. When Cataclysm was current, Eastern Kingdom and Kalimdor were redone so…yeah. In Mists of Pandaria you got Raid Finder, which was added at the end of Cataclysm.

For almost a year now, critics have noted that on the surface, Warlords of Draenor has the least amount of content at launch. For the last 6 months now, announcement after annoument of things being pushed back (Tanaan Jungle) or possibly even cut (flying on Draenor) have come from Blizzard. On top of that Bluzzard confirmed they are already working on the expansion that comes after WoD. It’s already bad enough for the critics WoD is the first expansion to not introduce a new playable class or race yet costs $50. Entitlement mentality and all that. Anyway, my prediction with WoD is for the first time since Vanilla, WoD will roll out chunks of new content with each major patch.

WoD is also the  bridge to the pre-event and the 10th Anniversary events. The Iron Horde Invasion pre-event–patch 6.0–will presumably come sometime early next month. It will also “Flip the Switch”, enabling everything related to WoD EXCEPT Draenor itself. This includes all of the following:

  • Item and Stat Squish: Origimally planned to be done with the  Siege of Orgrimmar content patch, Blizz decided to push the stat squish to 6.0 instead to give those gearing up for WoD more time with the existing stats. Visually, the numbers (HP, Mana, etc.) has been drastically reduced across the board for players and hostile NPCs but you won’t really notice much of a difference.
  • Tank Vengeance replaced with Resolve: Vengeance, which increases damage output by tanks each time they take damage has been removed from the game and replaced with Resolve, which increases Self-Healing, healing received from other players/NPCs and the effectiveness of absortion abilities ( such as Power Word: Shield).
  • Class Spell and Ability Consolidation: In a effort to reduce bloat, many abilities were removed while some were merged with other abilities. Core abilities for each spec have been buffed to compensate.
  • New Character Models for each race: FINALLY, the playable races have been updated to match the overhaul started in Cataclysm.
  • Regeant Bank Tab: For the low, low cost of 250G, you can purchase a shiny new 98-slot Regeant Bank Tab for your character. n addition, you can now craft things using the mats in your bank. No more having to clutter your bags with regeants!
  • Extra Void Storage Tab: You can now buy a second 80-slot Void Storage tab. Transmog collectors, rejoice!
  • Automatically learn a core Glyph: You will now automatically learn a core Glyph at level 50 if you don’t have them already for your spec and class. You do not have to have incription to learn it.
  • Toy Box UI: Just like how Mounts and Battle Pets have their own UI, now Toys do, too. What toys? Oh, you know: The Footballs, The Mini Zepphilin, stuff like those.

…And other stuff.

One other thing I forgot to mention: After WoD goes live, those who boost a character under level 60 to 90 will now have to do a brief tutorial during the Draenor intro quest chain during which high-level skills and talents are gradually unlocked. Speaking of the boost: As a reminder, when you buy or preorder WoD you get one free boost credited to your account automatically. After the free one, it’s $60 per boost. I’ve bought 3 boosts with plans for at least two more on my main account so…yeah.

Overall, I give Warlords of Draenor a 9/10.

I think Warlords of Draenor is the breath of fresh air many who quit years ago have been waiting for. It does its job of pulling you right in and with the Boost to 90, you can jump right into the Dark Portal without going through Azaroth and Outland first.

…The last thing I purposely left out is the controversy surrounding Flying in Draenor. I’m going to give that its own blog post XD

 

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This entry was posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, MMO, MMORPG, PC, Review, Serene Adventure, Video Games, World of Warcraft and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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