I think much like the last expansion, I’m going to refer to this one by its first name. So Warlords it is, because WoD sounds so wrong. The expansion, however, sounds very right. I’ve had a chance to read up on some of the details (though there’s another panel today) and gotten a good night’s rest so that I may reflect on some of the details in a fresh manner.
First off, let me just say that I have not read a single complaint about the news that came out yesterday. That isn’t to say there aren’t any. I’m sure if I hit the forums, there will be moaning and groaning because that’s what the internet is for…for some. In the blogosphere, though, the comments have all been positive and exciting. Now, we can’t put the cart before the horse, as we have a wait ahead of us before what we saw is in our hands. So, some things could change or be completely removed (Path of the Titans anyone?). But if most of the changes happen, and I think nearly all of them will, then WoW may see a rebound in numbers.
The Story: So, from what I’ve gathered based on several comments by Chris Metzen is that we are indeed going back in time through the Dark Portal. Garrosh (surprise, surprise) escapes his trial and goes back in time to undo the drinking of the Mannoroth blood that tainted the orcs. We’re, among other things, supposed to stop him. Now, I know people are going to roll their eyes at old Peanut Head being the bad guy again. Even I could see him getting out of the trial a mile away and don’t really like it. But, if Garrosh is the thread that weaves Mists into Warlords, I think it will work. More importantly, the involvement with Garrosh should wrap up in the first half of your leveling. It just happens to be we discover a few other major issues going on (and who he’s working with) that cause us to stay to 100.
Instaboost: Good for you Blizzard. Genuinely and truly. As the saying goes, if you want a friend to play WoW, they’ve got a long climb to catch you or you’re making a new character. The latter isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but wouldn’t it be nice for someone to pick up the game either on their own or with the advice of a friend and be able to join in the “new hotness” alongside them? This grants that. Altaholics who aren’t worried about losing their connection to a toon can get them into Draenor as well without having to hit Outland, Northrend, new Azeroth, or Mists. It’s a great idea, even if it could have one significant drawback.
Obviously if you go straight to 90, you unlock a lot of skills and abilities. For some, learning how to use them is going to be a headache and a slow process. For the rest of us, who know our class and how to wield it, this is going to require a great deal of patience. Other than that aspect, I continue to think this was a brilliant move. I might even be able to pull some new friends into the world with this.
Player Housing: I understand the want for this for so many years. Personally, I shrug at it. I would much, much, MUCH rather have seen this for guilds. That’s just a “me” thing. As it is, the Garrison process seems interesting enough. I like the choices aspect in how you build, but part of what I read feels like an RTS…and man was I horrible at those. Of course, I said Pet Battles would be of no interest to me in Mists and look how that turned out…
BAG SPACE!: This is going to be one of those “little” things that turns out to be huge. Bag space has always been at a premium and the last few expansions haven’t helped that at all. In Warlords, we’re set to get Collections. That means things like Heirlooms (FINALLY!) and Trinket style toys will be kept somewhere else. They will also be accessable by all of your characters. At this point, this may or may not include tabards which is something I’ve been a strong advocate for. Back in the days of the key ring I couldn’t understand why they didn’t do the same thing with tabards. Other changes that will improve bag space include Quest Items no longer going in your bags and consumables/craft materials stacking to 100. Yes, dear reader, the heavens truly rejoice at this one.
No New Race Or Class: For the first time ever, a WoW expansion is not packing a new playable race or class. Me? I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m happy with the balance of both in the game (in terms of numbers). Plus, I’ll take the updates to the original races instead! These look fantastic. It’s a long overdue change, particularly when you look at the three newer races (Worgen, Goblin, and Pandaren). The others seemed dated. I think what I like most about the polygon and design upgrades is we aren’t losing how they look now. They’re just being made better. Fixing the old was better than bringing in the new.
Stat Changes: I no longer have to worry about being hit capped. Thank Illidan. Expertise is out the window as well. In their places are apparently new stats such as Cleave. It will be interesting to see how those pan out and what kind of adjustment we’ll have to make to how we play as a result.
No New Talent Tree: You know, as much as I still lament the Mists Talent Tree…I’m really happy they didn’t change it again. It was getting tiresome going through the new systems every expansion. Plus, I know a lot of people are actually happy with how things work now, so leave it be and focus your efforts elsewhere.
Plenty more nuggets have popped up about Warlords of Draenor, and I expect even more information today with the Q & A. I’d love to hear an estimated release date, but I won’t be holding my breath on that one. I would guess perhaps this time next year?