Blizzcon 2013 – World of Warcraft Announcements

Usually I sit back of an evening and mull over what I want to write about. Is there something in the gaming world causing a ruckus? Maybe a new piece of hardware, or a developer with a masters in flamenco dancing? Finding the right piece to write about can be daunting. Then, you get days like the Blizzcon weekend, where information is flying at your from all angles at all times.

Fortunately, those are the best days.

I can’t stream Blizzcon because the internet in my flat over in Barcelona is a joke. Occasionally I find it hard just to post, because capping out at 0.34 kbps (a real download speed for a while the other day) is something which makes uploading images hard/homicidal-tendency-inducing. Fortunately my Twitter feed has been running like shit off a shiny shovel this evening, and here’s what I’ve gathered so far.

Prepare yourselves.
Prepare yourselves.

In a previous article, I asked if Warlords of Draenor was the next WoW expansion – turns out it is. Ex-Warchief of the Horde Garrosh Hellscream, who has been put on trial for his trespasses, escapes before the verdict can be drawn. He goes back in time (presumably through some impromptu use of Bronze Dragon magic) in an attempt to stop the Orcs drinking the blood of Mannoroth, which led the Orcs into the demonic blood craze. It’s also why any Orcs you play are green, not brown.

He hopes to forge the Iron Horde using technology and machinery from the present age, and lead an army into Azeroth. Garrosh’s father, Grommash Hellscream, will be making an appearance too. Grom fought alongside Thrall to kill Mannoroth and free his kin from the blood curse, resulting in his death, meaning that some madness in the established World of Warcraft timeline is afoot.

Characters will get to level to 100 rather than 95, meaning the previous model of 5 levels per expansion has been changed.

It seems this expansion is also going to spill into the next, as the story for the next few expansions has already been lined up.

Players will also be able to shoot a character up to level 90, which I believe so far is a one-time use per account.

Tier 10 Heroic not included.
Tier 10 Heroic not included.

Character models are also finally seeing an update, with new models revealed for Dwarves, Orcs and Gnomes – all male so far, but I’m sure Blizzard will be releasing more throughout the next few days.

Clothes hopefully included.
Clothes hopefully included.

A new world Player-versus-Player zone is being introduced, curbing Blizzard’s statement about moving away from zones like Wintergrasp and Tol Barad.

Raiding is seeing an overhaul by the looks of things too, with Raid Finder now being open to 10 player parties, a new raid mode called Mystic making an appearance for groups of 20 players, and the flexible 10-25 system of flex raiding seemingly making an appearance for all raid modes other than Mystic.

Yes, that was a confusing sentence, so here's a picture.
Yes, that was a confusing sentence, so here’s a picture.

A new feature called Garrisons has also been introduced, which is a feature some might see as Blizzard’s answer to the player housing debate. So far, we know that it lets players grow a small village up to a fully functioning establishment on Draenor, getting more lavish the more time and/or gold the player invests. So far, this looks like a pretty awesome concept.

Players can recruit followers of varying levels of quality (the standard uncommon, rare, epic, etc) which can do different things around your Garrison. If a follower has the mining trait, for example, he/she can go and mine you some ore. Gear can be crafted, potions can be made and other profession-related tomfoolery can be done at your whim. This takes place regardless of whether you’re online or not. Followers seem to level alongside your character’s level, as well as by completing tasks and gaining experience.

Blizzard are also hoping to make failure a possibility. If your Blood Elven herbalist fails a mission in Wailing Caverns for example, you will be able to rescue him the next time you head in there.

Lots of different building types exist too, as well as the ability to upgrade them. Doing so will not only improve their functionality, but also the way that they look. Inter-Garrison trading looks to be a thing as well, so any resources that you’ve amassed that your friend or a guildmate might need can be traded over to them in exchange for stuff that you might need.

Blizzard have released a blog post explaining the functions too, so if there’s anything you’re unsure about, take a look.

I wonder if this is account-bound? Ten Garrisons will be a lot of work!
I wonder if this is account-bound? Ten Garrisons will be a lot of work!

Blizzard have also released pictures of the zones of Draenor that players will be seeing. The Horde start out in Frostfire Ridge, home to the Frostwolf Clan. Shadowmoon Valley prior to the sundering of Draenor is also on display, letting you see how lush and beautiful it was before the whole planet went bang.

Frostfire Ridge - home to the Frostwolf Clan.
Frostfire Ridge – home to the Frostwolf Clan.
Shadowmoon Valley - not quite the demon-ravaged hellhole it is now.
Shadowmoon Valley – not quite the demon-ravaged hellhole it is now.

I’ll be updating this as I can, and adding to the information as it comes out, stay tuned!

Author: graemefinch

Teacher, avid Warcrafter, gifted Dungeons and Dragons character creator. Passionate about all things high fantasy and RPG.

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