World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is the fifth expansion in the World of Warcraft series. While the WoW formula remains largely unchanged, Warlords of Draenor offers many graphical and quality of life improvements and allows you to build your own garrison to combat the Iron Horde. Blizzard loves to strike chords of nostalgia in their players and they do it very well. This time around you’ll defend Azeroth by entering the Dark Portal for a second time. However, you won’t end up in present Outland. You’ll be transported to a parallel universe 35 years into the past to Draenor. Draenor is Outland before it was torn apart in Ner’zhul’s attempt to save the Orcs from the Alliance. This allows players to interact with heroes and villains that either have only been talked about in Warcraft lore or that have already died in our universe. It seems gimmicky at first, but the end result is being able to explore rich lore and take part in events that fans of the Warcraft lore have only read about over the years, It really is World of Warcraft Gold.
The largest new implementation in this expansion is the creation and management of your own garrison. It feels like Blizzard is trying to make the player feel more integral to Warcraft’s story by making you a leader in either the Alliance or the Horde, depending on your faction. It’s true that as I’ve played throughout the years I’ve never felt I had any real impact on the story, but to be given my own garrison does help a little in that regard. However, the caveat is that 10 million other current subscribers have their own garrisons in the same spot as yours. Also, so many things, including quests and professions, drive you to your garrison so frequently that unless you’re meeting someone to trade an item there is no reason to go to major cities. This left me with the feeling that I was playing alone. MMOs shouldn’t be pushing players to spend most of their down time in phased off areas where they don’t see and interact with other players. Nevertheless, it is a new and interesting mechanic and I think the game is better off with it, but they need to take away some things like daily quests and leave that for major hubs.
One of World of Warcraft’s greatest strengths is the quality of the dungeon design and in Warlords of Draenor it’s as great as it’s ever been. One of my favorites is the remake of Upper Blackrock Spire which has new encounters in a well known dungeon that I hadn’t visited in seven years or so. Along with this dungeon they’ve introduced six others, each with unique esthetics and boss mechanics. Grimrail Depot takes place on a speeding train running through the Gorgrond. There are also heroic versions of each new dungeon that can be accessed at level 100. The boss mechanics are a little more complicated and they only take about half an hour with a good group.
Some notable improvements include reducing the size of numbers such as health, mana, and all other important stats. This is the first time Blizzard has done this, but with each expansion the numbers have grown exponentially. There is however, no relative difference. Players have the same relative health and do the same amount damage. Also, several character stats have been removed and a few new ones have been introduced. These include readiness, which reduces cooldowns; multistrike, which gives a chance for an ability to hit more than once; and amplify, which adds a multiplier to damage and secondary stats. There are also several new tertiary stats. On top of those changes, many abilities have been merged with each other or taken out completely. Upon logging on to your level 90 you’ll notice you have significantly fewer abilities. This is a good thing, as you’re just as effective and you don’t have to worry about so many abilities, especially the ones that are only useful in very rare and specific situations.
A problem I that stood out significantly to me was how long it took the current leveling gear to match up with my raid gear from the end of Mists of Pandaria. This won’t be an issue for everyone, but any players in heroic raiding gear can dismiss every new weapon or piece of armor until about level 95. Another problem is that questing is relatively unchanged. Which is to say that it’s still fairly boring. They’re better integrated with the main story but for the most part they’re still run of the mill fetch quests.
Overall, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is one of World of Warcraft’s better expansions. I’d even go so far as to say it’s as good as Wrath of the Lich King, and that’s high praise. The dungeons are well thought out, character textures and animations have been revamped, you can build a garrison and send followers on missions, and you get to experience an alternate
World of Warcraft history which can go in any direction. This is a long running game, now in its 14th year, and it’s still World of Warcraft. If that’s what you’re looking for, then it’s definitely worth playing. If you’ve wanted to try the game but never have, it’s never been more accessible to new players. However, if you’ve had your fill of the WoW formula, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor probably isn’t what you’re looking for.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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