World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
|World of Warcraft:
Warlords of Draenor
Craig Stuart Garfinkle
|Genre(s)||Massively multiplayer online role-playing game|
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is the fifth expansion to the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, following Mists of Pandaria. It was announced on November 8, 2013 at BlizzCon 2013. The expansion was released on November 13, 2014.
The expansion raised the existing level cap from 90 to 100 and introduced player-built, upgradeable garrisons, as well as upgraded player character models of those races released prior to Cataclysm.
The expansion allows players to level up to 100, an increase from the cap of 90 in the previous expansion Mists of Pandaria. It initially included eight 5-man dungeons and two raids. There was also a rebalancing of raid difficulty by the addition of a new difficulty called Mythic, which became the hardest version of the raid system that requires exactly 20 players, while the easiest is 25 player raid finder (or "Looking For Raid") and it expanded flexible raiding to include normal and heroic difficulty, allowing groups to range from 10 to 30 players and the enemies scale dynamically depending on the raid size. Players are able to build and upgrade their own garrison, a personal area in which they can recruit non-player characters (NPC) to carry out missions to earn the player or NPC experience and items. The garrison is assembled from the individual buildings like stables or armories, increasing their size and modifying their appearance.
The development team made a number of changes to the player versus player (PvP) aspects of the game. They altered the way that PvP items behave when players fight, reducing crowd control abilities, and added a new PvP-focused island area called Ashran containing various objectives and battles for players to participate in.
The proving grounds were updated for Warlords of Draenor. In order to queue in random matchmaking for a heroic dungeon, a silver medal from the proving grounds is required for the desired role. However, if a full premade group is used instead of matchmaking, the medal requirement does not apply. Challenge modes and the pet battle system were also updated to work within the new content.
The player stats of hit, expertise, dodge, and parry were removed from new items and new tertiary stats were added to give additional movement speed, reduction in area damage, indestructible or leech, which converts a portion of damage and healing into self healing.
Some item drops can randomly be upgraded. For example, quest rewards have a chance of being upgraded to rare or epic quality. Raid loot, heroic/mythic dungeon loot, baleful gear and epic crafted gear has chance to randomly gain tertiary stats, a bonus socket or an additional six item level upgrade called "warforged."
The expansion is set after the events of Mists of Pandaria and takes place in an alternate universe on the world of Draenor, the original homeworld of the orcs as it appeared in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, prior to its destruction in the ending of that game and the creation of Outland as featured in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Legendary characters of Warcraft's past, such as Grommash Hellscream, Ner'zhul, Gul'dan, and Blackhand appear.
At the end of Mists of Pandaria, Garrosh Hellscream is overthrown as Warchief of the Horde by a combined Alliance–Horde force and taken into custody by the Pandaren so that he can stand trial for the atrocities he committed in Pandaria. However, before he can be judged, Garrosh escapes captivity with the aid of a renegade bronze dragon (Kairoz), and travels to the orcish homeworld of Draenor in the past and interferes with history, creating an alternate timeline prior to the rise of the Horde. Garrosh changes history by preventing his father Grommash from drinking the blood of the demon lord Mannoroth, which led to the orc's corruption by the Burning Legion and played a major role in the events of the first three Warcraft games. Instead, the clans unite into an "Iron Horde" using technology Garrosh brought from his reality, beginning a war of conquest on Draenor, and leading to the building of a Dark Portal that would allow them to travel through time and lay siege to the Azeroth of the present era. The adventurers stormed the Dark Portal and with the help of Khadgar fought the Iron Horde Vanguard back into the alternate Draenor. The adventures used the Iron Horde's own weaponry to destroy the Draenor side of the Dark Portal but were subsequently forced to flee in order to evade the full might of the Iron Horde. The Azeroth Vanguard were forced to flee to the docks and split into two ships; with the Alliance following the Draenei and the Horde joining the Frostwolf Clan. Afterwards, the Alliance and Horde established bases with portals to Azeroth to bring in supplies.
The Alliance and Horde and their Draenor allies fight back the Iron Horde and ultimately confront the escaped war criminal Garrosh Hellscream in Nagrand. Garrosh lashes back and the forces were saved by the intervention of Thrall who challenged Garrosh to mak'gora - a duel of honor that can led to death. In the battle that followed, Garrosh initially has the upper hand and blames Thrall for Garrosh's own failures and Thrall countered that it was caused by Garrosh's choices. Thrall then proceeds to kill Garrosh by using his elemental powers.
With the creator of the Iron Horde dead, the Alliance and Horde adventurers and their Draenor allies set to dismantle the Iron Horde. The adventurers storm into the Gorian Empire's capital of Highmaul to defeat the Iron Horde's allies. In the raid, the adventurers kill the Warlord of the Shattered Hand Clan, Kargath Bladefist. They proceed to slay the creations of the Gorian Empire, including the spellbreakers and the Sorcerer King Imperator Mar'Gok.
Later the Blackrock Clan, led by Warlord Blackhand, challenge the Horde and Alliance to assault their domain; the Blackrock Foundry. The adventurers take up the challenge and storm through the forge, destroying important Iron Horde machinery, and blocking further growth of the Iron Horde's weaponry. Finally, the adventurers proceed to Blackhand's crucible and slay him.
In Patch 6.2, Gul'dan confronts Grommash and the remnants of the Iron Horde and offers Grommash the blood of Mannoroth. Grommash refuses, but with Gul'dan's offer of ultimate power Kilrogg Deadeye drinks the demon blood despite Grommash's pleading. The fel blood corrupts Kilrogg, turning him into a monstrous fel orc. Gul'dan assumes control of the Iron Horde and Grommash is imprisoned. It is at this time that the adventurers, with the help of Khadgar, construct a naval fleet to invade Tanaan Jungle and take the fight to Hellfire Citadel to stop history from repeating itself. In the Hellfire Citadel raid, the adventurers slay Kilrogg and remnants of the Iron Horde, free Grommash (who actually joins them) and finally kill Archimonde, who was summoned by Gul'dan. At the end of the battle, Archimonde in his dying moment flings Gul'dan through a portal to Azeroth of the main timeline, setting the stage for events to come.
For this expansion the development team changed the file format used by the game, moving from the MPQ file format used previously to a new file format called CASC. The game will also contain updated character models with improved textures and a higher polygon count; the developers have said they want to "keep the soul of the original characters" while upgrading them to the quality of the Pandaren race released in the previous expansion, and the Worgen and Goblin races released in Cataclysm. Game performance has been taken into account with this expansion, with the developers saying that there will be no big drop in performance as a result of the models and that there will be no reduction in the amount of visuals on screen during large fights.
Warlords of Draenor was playable at PAX East and entered alpha testing in April 2014. Blizzard invited players to enter the beta in June 2014. Players who order the game receive a free level 90 boost for one character. Subsequent boosts may be purchased for $60 each. Blizzard said they made the price high because they did not want to devalue the experience of leveling a character.
With this expansion, Blizzard once again expressed desire to begin creating expansions at a more frequent rate, as often as once per year.
During the launch, players attempting to log in experienced long queue times and issues with latency. Blizzard noted that they had experienced DDoS attacks during the launch day as well as unexpected issues from the high concentrations of players in various locations. Players received five days of subscription time as compensation for the issues.
Warlords of Draenor has been met with generally favorable reviews since its release, shown by its rating of 87 on Metacritic.
Warlords of Draenor sold over 3.3 million copies within the first 24 hours, and subscription numbers increased from 7.4 million to over 10.5 million. However, by the end of the first quarter of 2015, the number of subscribers had already fallen to 7.1 million; 300,000 subscribers fewer than before the release of Warlords of Draenor. By the end of the second quarter, the number of subscribers dropped to 5.6 million, the lowest number of subscribers ever seen in the game since 2005. By the third quarter, subscribers held at 5.5 million. After those subscription-based releases, Blizzard said that it would be the last time it would release them.
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- Official website (U.S.)
- Official website (E.U.)
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