BlizzCon Keynote – WoW: Warlords Of Draenor Announced

By Nathan Grayson on November 8th, 2013 at 7:52 pm.

It was going to happen. Of course it was going to happen. World of Warcraft’s subscriber numbers might be deflating, but that won’t stop its loot-and-gizzard-laden frontiers from expanding. Blizzard mega-personality Chris Metzen took the stage to discuss WoW’s “next chapter,” sadly lacking his sunglasses that typically raise the convention’s net sex appeal by 400 percent. He went on to announce that the new expansion, titled World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, is rooted in the stories of Warcraft’s RTSes, Warcraft I, II, and III. Yep, we’re going back to the good old days – but, you know, in MMO form.

Metzen pointed out that the original RTSes – Warcraft: Orcs vs Humans, Warcraft II, Warcraft III – are the reason WoW’s here today. But there are a huge number of WoW players who never lived those events. Then he shouted at the crowd a bunch, because he is a human cartoon. “YOU ARE THE ALLIANCE. SONS OF LORDAERON. I CANNOT HEAR YOU HORDE ROOOOOOARRRRR.”

“We asked ourselves: what if those dark days could come again?” he said after stuffing his lungs back into his torso. “What if a pantheon of Warcraft’s most vicious villains threatened our homes and ways of life again? How would the Alliance respond? The conflict to come, I believe, will be the Alliance’s finest hour. How do you fight a savage enemy without remorse without becoming a savage yourself?”

“To forge a brighter future, sometimes you must confront the ghosts of the past.”

The expansion features a new world, Draenor, graphical overhauls for all character races, the ability to defend your own garrisons, a new level cap, and the ability to boost to level 90 immediately and go from there.

More soon.

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70 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge daphne says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I feel so good whenever a new WoW expansion is announced. WoW is not the game I’ve played the most, but as far as I’m concerned, it is the medium’s Citizen Kane. People are keen to find one among new crops of games as they come up, but they never seem to realize that WoW has silently been becoming ever more well-regarded with each year, and each falling subscription milestone.

    Very soon, a generation of gamers will start to literally tear up whenever Barrens Chat is mentioned. WoW may no longer have the clout it once carried, but there is no other title that has given as much people the idea that there might be more to this gaming thing than finishing the game or just winning.

    • kyrieee says:

      /s

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      I think there’s been a shift in the thinking about subscription MMO’s, given the recent success of FFXIV and the upcoming Wildstar and ESO.

      It’s not that people won’t pay a subscription, it’s that they won’t pay a subscription for dull shit.

      • malkav11 says:

        And yet they’re subscribing to FFXIV.

        (I kid, I kid. I haven’t actually played FFXIV. Just FFXI, which gave me no confidence whatsoever that Square Enix know the first thing about making a playable MMO, but doesn’t -automatically- mean XIV is terrible.)

    • Arglebargle says:

      WoW was a one time affair, right place, right time. Relatively competantly done, but not repeatable. I played it for a free week, thought it was pretty lackluster, with bad writing and pedestrian world building, and left.

      • skyturnedred says:

        I miss the days when 14/32/5 druid was a thing. I played WoW on and off for 3-4 years. After the first expansion “spam aoe” dungeons made things too boring. Vanilla WoW actually required tactics in dungeons.

    • Didden says:

      Loved it back in the day, but it went from being a nuanced game that could be mastered, that was fun for gamers, to more of a casual, smash buttons sort of affair where everyone wins and goes home happy or something. I miss those Halcyon days that seemed to last so long in Vanilla :(

    • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

      Gaming will never have a “Citizen Kane” for it is a different medium from cinema gifted not only of historical particularity, but also of unique potentials and limitations.

      Additionally: Citizen Kane is ridiculously overrated and I can cite a hundred movies better than it off the the top of my head.

  2. Jalaman says:

    They didn’t say anything about defending garrisons, only building and upgrading them.

  3. Premium User Badge RedViv says:

    The well-trained armies of the King maintained a lasting peace for many generations. Then came the adventurous hordes. No one knew where these creatures came from, and none were prepared for the terror that they spawned.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      That terror, of course, being Barrens Chat.

      • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

        And so it shall spread forever.

        [23:45:22] [128:PantsLordOfPants]: HA wat is this LOL so dark cartoony
        [23:46:11] [125:DestroyerGamor]: WTS Trouser Bottoms of Gul’Dan His Imp Friend
        [23:46:22] [128:PantsLordOfPants]: WTB your mother’s trousers LOL
        [23:46:42] [124:BurtiTube]: hey gusi anybody listen to nwe skirllex?

    • Premium User Badge Arathain says:

      The Warcraft RTSs, and in particular the third one, had a kind of neat world and background. It’s not the best written stuff in the world, but it has some pretty good character arcs in there.

      Since the MMO it seems like every single one of those arcs ends in “… and then a bunch of garishly dressed mercenaries showed up and killed them.” It seems rather a shame.

      • Joof says:

        They’ve gotten better at making it so it’s more Warcraft 3 like. Most big fights have Thrall or Vol’Jin or Varyion or some other important character doing a bunch of work and taking the credit. It’s no long, “Hey, you dudes, go kill Kil’Jaeden.” It’s more, “Hey you guys, back me up while I kill the Lich King.”

      • zin33 says:

        agreed
        what is also sad is that the pace at which “the baddies” die in WoW is incredibly fast to the point that they now have to come out with completely new continents for the expansions (pandaria) and even time travel since theres pretty much nothing left of the “original” threats
        i dont think there will be a WC4 unless its like 500 years ahead / before. the main guys are all pretty much done for

  4. Baconwhich says:

    So… I guess this involves time travel? WoW already had a Draenor expansion, it was called The Burning Crusade, and it was the first expansion. Outland is, as far as I remember, the remains of Draenor? All the heroes that got lost in Draenor were there in some way too?

    What’s going on here?

    Edit: Oh, I guess it DOES involve time travel.

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      Really just time travel, it would appear. Quite logical. I mean, what’s left upwards in terms of possible foes? If the usual ragtag bunch of adventurers brings down Sargeras, well. That would be somewhat of a letdown. Rather just send folks back in time and battle older foes. But this time not with hundreds of meat shields, but a few dozen brightly coloured jumping heroes.

      • Derpa says:

        They have plenty of foes they could still use

      • Premium User Badge lowprices says:

        It’s a shame they aren’t following up on the Kung-Fu Panda thing of the last expansion. I’d love to see a race of Wistful Old Men Who Are Going On An Adventure In Memory Of Their Dead Wives in Warcraft.

  5. Premium User Badge Smashbox says:

    That image set off a nostalgiabomb in my brain!

    • Horg says:

      If you divide the picture along the horizontal center, you can see that the teeth say ”DIE!” but the eyes say ”kiss me….”. Quite evocative of WoWs struggle with the whole inter-faction war and peace narratives over the years.

      • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

        Indeed. They have gone from the slight hatred in their eyes on the cover of Orcs and Humans, to the faint annoyance on Tides of Darkness, to this flirtatious-but-forced-to-resist look.
        Just give in, noble warriors. It is okay. To admit feelings is one of the bravest of things.

  6. particle says:

    Looks a lot better than that panda one.

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      They’re remaking pretty much all the textures and models. So it better.

  7. Unrein says:

    The crack daddy calls, and I must answer.

    For a couple of weeks.

    Then to wait for the next expansion!

  8. TheMopeSquad says:

    Is it just me or do they claim at every expansion announcement that this one will being Warcraft back to its roots?

  9. aliksy says:

    WoW is kind of toxic. There are huge chunks of players now who simply cannot imagine an online game that doesn’t have leveling up and gear progression.

    • Grygus says:

      To be fair: that was true before WoW released.

    • malkav11 says:

      I can imagine games without those systems, I’m just not sure why I would want to play them.

      • aliksy says:

        Because they’re fun to play? Do you honestly only play games to fill up bars? Are you dead inside?

        • malkav11 says:

          You name me an online game that’s fun to play absent any sort of progression elements, and I will concede that you have very different tastes in games than I do.

          • aliksy says:

            Team Fortress 2? Magicka? Guild Wars 2′s spvp? Left 4 Dead? I think most MOBAs?

            If you’re limiting it to only MMOs then there isn’t much (though there is gw2′s spvp, and it wouldnt be hard to imagine the world pvp using the same rules), since most of them rely heavily on cheap conditioning to hook players. But MMOs don’t need to be like they’ve been in the past.

          • Lemming says:

            I thought of a proper online RPG system that did away with leveling ( but not gear) so that, in theory, a new player could kill an older one even if it wasn’t very likely. Now all I need is my million dollar video game company and I’m set!

          • airmikee99 says:

            RE: aliksy

            Guild Wars 2 most certainly does include leveling and progression, and lower level characters have a hard time beating high level characters, not that it really matters, because in order to get to spvp, you have to progress and level your toon.

            Most MOBA’s have progression, even if it’s only for the match itself, you level up a hero in LoL each game, and you earn points to level up your profile to make your heroes more powerful.

            Yes, there are a few games that do not include progression or leveling in order to reach later game content, but most of those games don’t sell anywhere near as well as ‘normal’ games. Magicka hasn’t even reached 1 million sales yet, Valve has made more money from in game sales than actual sales of TF2, as of 2012 Left 4 Dead has 11 million sales across all platforms, which means Sonic the Hedgehog for Sega Genesis had more sales on its one platform, and compare that to the king of video games sells, Wii Sports, at over 80 million.

            Maybe you’re right, maybe a game without leveling and progression would be more fun, but no one has been able to figure out how to make one that will sell better than a regular game.

            And WoW most certainly did not invent the progression model, that belongs to Dungeons and Dragons, available years before the majority of any video games.

          • Apocalypse says:

            Starcraft 1

          • malkav11 says:

            Yeah, see, I don’t find any of the things you’ve named fun, at least online. And yes, I’ve tried them. GW2 proper is frequently delightful. The WvWvW is even kinda sorta fun-ish. Straight PvP? No sir. TF2 comes closest, but even there there’s a gear collection aspect.

            It’s not that I need progression elements to enjoy a game, mind you. There’s tons of great singleplayer stuff out there that has nothing of the sort. (Although even there it’s usually mixing up and layering on gameplay over the course of the game.) But most of the tricks for making a compelling singleplayer game experience simply don’t work in the context of dozens of players running around simultaneously. So I take what they can give me and combined with a progression hook, I’m good, at least until that hook runs out and I’ve seen the story content. I never seem to last long at endgame.

            I don’t like competitive multiplayer, full stop, but the lure of advancing -something- even while I’m being smeared all over the map might be enough to keep me in the game if I happened to have some reason to pick it up in the first place, which I generally don’t.

          • aliksy says:

            re: 53 airmikee99
            GW2 sPvP. Structured PvP has no leveling and no progression. Everyone starts at 80 and there’s no cost for gear or respecs.

            We weren’t talking about “how to sell the most copies.” We were talking about making a game fun without vertical progression. Stop moving the goal posts.

            I wouldn’t say WoW invented the model, but it’s hugely successful to the point of it being the only game some people know. That’s distressing. (Reminds me of the time I tried to explain Mage to the guy who had only played D&D. ‘I can cast these spells whenever I want? That’s crazy. So unbalanced.”)

          • aliksy says:

            re: malkav11
            I’m sorry you can’t enjoy [some] games for their own sake.

          • Sian says:

            @airmikee99:
            ” because in order to get to spvp, you have to progress and level your toon.”

            No, you don’t. You have to get out of the tutorial, open the PvP window and click on the button that teleports you there. Actually, I’m not even sure if you have to finish the tutorial.

          • malkav11 says:

            I’m sorry that you can’t see that progression elements are an intrinsic part of those games’ gameplay.

            But seriously, no need to be sorry. I have literally hundreds of games I do enjoy to play, no need to worry myself about the dubious offerings of PvP games.

          • aliksy says:

            L4D and Magicka aren’t exclusively PvP.

  10. DatonKallandor says:

    Hey Blizzard news flash for you here: The reason nobody knows the old Warcraft RTS story and characters is
    BECAUSE YOU KILLED THEM ALL AND DESTROYED ALL THE STORYLINES BEFORE YOUR FIRST WOW EXPANSION CAME OUT

    You Killed the Warcraft Setting. There’s no bringing it back.

    • airmikee99 says:

      Huh?

      http://www.wowwiki.com/List_of_Warcraft_III_hero_units

      Most of them were killed in the Warcraft games prior to WoW, the rest weren’t killed until later WoW expansions.

    • Bull0 says:

      Not really true. Arthas, for example, stuck around until the end of the third expansion. And they keep reintroducing lore characters from the RTS, such as Zul’jin. Jaina’s still there. Sylvanas is still there. Do you mean the characters from Orcs & Humans and Tides of Darkness? Because you can’t really blame WoW for them no longer being around; they were quietly put aside for Warcraft 3. Even then, WoW has done a good job of dusting off those characters for raids and events, etc.

    • neurosisxeno says:

      Most of those characters were irrelevant to WoW, and died off before WoW even launched. Off the top of my head, the only characters alive at the end of WC3:TFT that have since been killed are Arthas and Kael’Thas. Illidan wasn’t killed, Deathwing wasn’t mentioned in WC3, none of the elemental lords were mentioned in WC3, the old gods weren’t really touched on in WC3, and a lot of the characters have been created for the series–or greatly expanded upon (Varian, Jaina, Cho’gall, Sylvanas, Lorthemar, Garrosh, the list goes on on).

      The reason most people haven’t played the RTS games is because the newest one is coming up on its 10th anniversary….

  11. Muctla722 says:

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  12. Werthead says:

    Deep in the mind of Kotick:

    New WoW expansion involves time travel. Using this, heroes can travel back to just after THE FROZEN THRONE and completely negate all of the events of WoW from ever happening.

    Blizz-ivision releases WARCRAFT IV: PILES OF CHOS as a new single-player RTS that picks up after WC3 and overwrites everything in WoW.

    Following the release of this game, Blizz-ivision releases WORLD OF WARCRAFT II.

    Profit.

    That is assuming the collective nerdrage from the Internet doesn’t melt the planet’s surface down to the bedrock in the process, of course.

  13. Premium User Badge Okami says:

    How do you fight a savage enemy without remorse without becoming a savage yourself?

    Probably by clicking on them, activating skills and watching cooldown timers…

    • BooleanBob says:

      Be wary, though, lest ye find yourself clicking on them savagely, activating skills without remorse, and watching cooldown timers with the cold, dead eyes of one who has gazed deep into the abyss and seen what lies beyond the moral event horizon!

  14. Bull0 says:

    I realise everybody hates WoW and that’s cool, but personally I’m really hoping this is the expansion that turns it around. I loved WoW, but they fully lost me at Cataclysm; the improvements to the old world were great, but the expansion content itself was missing a story. Pandaria is broadly the same. The possibility of taking the thing back to its’ roots with a reexamination of old lore has really piqued my interest!

  15. Chris Cunningham says:

    An expansion all about orcs. I’m absolutely certain that it doesn’t end in last week’s genocidal murderer, along with a bunch of present-time-dead genocidal murderers wiped out in the good old days pre-Metzen when playing as the Alliance presented a storyline, with the chance of redemption and rededication to the true values of the Horde. Y’know, killing innocents and poisoning whole villages.

    One of the things that made WoW good even in (basically) single-player back in the day was that there was an utterly enormous world full of wrongs to write and little bits of plot to advance. For both sides. Long, long gone. I dusted off my subscription for Pandaria to see if the rot had been reversed, but it’s pretty obvious that for players interested in the plot this isn’t going to offer anything more than the self-personifying wank from the lead writer that the last two expansions have.

  16. Sian says:

    Why Draenor? The thing that turned me away from WoW was the appearance of the Draenei – aliens with spaceships that nevertheless hadn’t advanced weapons technology past the dark ages. Oh, and the fact that the source of the Light used by paladins and priests was more bloody aliens.

    • Bull0 says:

      Pretty much everything in Warcraft is aliens. Something happened? Aliens did it.

    • Chris Cunningham says:

      Blame Metzen. http://www.wowwiki.com/Draenei_controversy#Dimensional_ship

      This was skilfully dealt with by the writing staff by completely ignoring the Draenei from the minute the player left Terrokkar Forest.

    • Asurmen says:

      Because it’s not their ship, and all it really is, is a giant teleporting structure.

    • Nevard says:

      Orcs have been aliens since the first game though, they travel through an interstellar portal to attack the humans
      The Exodar just has a mobile version of one of those portals, and it crashes and breaks as soon as it appears in game so no problem

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Yes, but the Exodar breaks down because of the Dark Eldar.. er.. Blood Elf spaceraiders trying to hunt down the Eredar/Draenei.

        The revelation of the so-called Draenei has ever called to mind that story isn’t Blizzard’s forte and probably comes last in their list of priorities (after designing Blizzcon gifts). But they are likely to do their utmost to make it look as good as they can.

  17. huldu says:

    I skipped Mists of Pandaria and I couldn’t care less about it. At least this expansion sounds a lot better. I guess we’ll see how good it is once it’s out, whenever that may be.

  18. mr.ioes says:

    Last video is broken, please reupload. And holy crap, could you please not send me back to the main page once I logged in? :(