Warlords Of Draenor – Outland, Housing, Naked Gnomes

By Nathan Grayson on November 9th, 2013 at 3:01 am.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is officially, incontrovertibly A Thing. But what kind of a thing? Well, it’s a WoW expansion, so don’t expect the world’s most immersive virtual minigolf park, a karaoke-based Annoy John simulator, or a really good hotdog. But it is pushing into *some* uncharted territory, and for the rest, well, there’s always time travel. Warlords of Draenor is headed back in time to the horde’s original home, Old Draenor – Outland before it was Outland. There, you’ll find the usual fare like a raised level cap and new zones, but also time-twisting storylines, a robust player housing system with NPCs that can run dungeons for you, revamped raid and inventory systems, and more. Words and video below.

Time travel is never a good idea, but – in the wake of his recent in-game defeat – Garrosh Hellscream has temper tantrum cryflailed his way right into it. Warlords of Draenor will begin with the former Horde warchief and a magical “friend” barreling into the past to prevent the Horde from getting cursed and ultimately setting the events of WoW into motion. Garrosh won’t be the final boss this time, but he will be a major player in the plot. His plan? To unite the various pre-curse orc clans and form his own Iron Horde. I don’t know why he calls it that. But, to be frank, unless you’re eight-year-old me, you’re probably not here for the story. I know grown-up me isn’t.

The result of all this space-time jambalaya stirring? A wholllllle newwwww wooooooorld (of Warcraft). Old Draenor – which ultimately rotted into Outland – is a “fully realized world.” During a feature-focused panel, Blizzard explained that it’ll have oceans, skies, and giants. “What kind of world forges a race like the orcs in the first place?” pondered lore master Chris Metzen. “It is a brutal place.”

In practical terms, this means seven new zones with heaps of familiar orc clans/faces (including Thrall, Ner’zhul, and the like) and some callbacks to Outland like Shattrath City and Zangarmarsh. I can’t help but worry, however, that the “new” zones might end up less new – more in line with, say, the Azeroth revamp in Cataclysm – than Blizzard is promising. We’ll see.

Undoubtedly exciting, however, is the ability to set up your own home base almost anywhere within the distant past’s future present. Garrisons are WoW’s take on player housing, but they’re far more than glorified trophy rooms. For one, they’re basically fortresses size-wise, and they house small armies of customizable, upgradeable NPCs. You’ll even be able to send your personal horde out to run dungeons, meaning that you really don’t have to do anything yourself at all anymore. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating (NPC runs often take days or even full weeks), but it’s a system that does seem to de-emphasize the whole “multiplayer” angle of massively multiplayer role-playing. And the “player” part. Sounds convenient, though. Trade-offs and whatnot.

Various Garrison buildings also give you access to professions you wouldn’t otherwise be able to use, and they do, in fact, occupy physical space in the game world. They aren’t just instances. Also, you can pick your Garrison’s location and move it at will. I’m wondering what’ll happen when the land is naught but Garrisons and world-weary old-timers fondly whistle out, “I remember when this was all fields. And lava. And ogres,” but Blizzard has yet to address the possibility.

(Also, an aside: it speaks to the weird Groundhog-Day-style permanence of WoW’s narratively impermanent world that everyone would go back in time to prevent The Ultimate Cataclysm and decide, “Welp, guess I’ll build a house for the first time ever right here. Not, you know, at home. Nope. Gonna do it while locked, tooth-and-claw-and-auto-attack-key, in climactic battle with the greatest evil this universe has ever seen.” I mean, I suppose the long-term “war” context makes it less preposterous, but it’s still kind of silly in a “this is definitely a videogame” sort of way.)

There are also seven new dungeons, including the ogre-themed, non-linear Bloodmaul Slag Mines, which sounds like a delightful place. Longtime fans, meanwhile, might be interested to hear that vanilla WoW mainstay Upper Blackrock Spire (aka, UBRS) is getting a complete revamp. I am willing to bet actual, germ-infested money that there will be an official Leeroy Jenkins reference in there somewhere. I am preemptively groaning, sighing, and puking in anticipation.

Blizzard didn’t go into much specific detail on raids, but the developer panel did note that all raids at all challenge levels will smoothly scale between 10 and 25 players.

On the PVP side, the big addition is Ashran, a gigantic sandbox of blood and thunder and – as is the case with most wars – fun (tee-hee gigglefart). It’s a persistent war that never ends, and my notes further read, “IT WILL OUTLIVE YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN. THEIR CHILDREN. THE SUN.” I don’t think Blizzard said that, but I clearly found it to be an important revelation a couple hours ago.

Then I saw a naked gnome. OK, it was wearing a stylish loincloth undergarment, but it certainly stood out in a sea of largely clothed features. Why was he on the big screen? What was he trying to tell me with his enthusiastic undulations? Probably nothing, but Blizzard went on to explain that ancient vanilla WoW character models are finally getting a fresh coat of paint. The orc, dwarf, and gnome examples looked a little better than before, but the biggest difference will apparently be in faces. Now older races will have teeth and tongues and eyebrows. Take that, David Cage.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor looks like a decent expansion all things considered, but it’s largely par for the course. Also, its direction and the messaging behind it strike me as a bit puzzling. The “revisit characters and moments from Warcraft I, II, and III” angle sounds like a mushy, gushy spoonful of nostalgia – something that makes the childhood Warcraft lover in me squeal with glee – but I doubt it’ll do much for anyone else. I suppose, though, that WoW’s no longer looking to hook players of all cultures and creeds. This is maintenance, in a sense. Something to keep existing players interested and happy. And who knows? Maybe the focus that a smaller audience allows will be good for WoW in the long run.

Then again, 7.7 million is still a lot of people. It’s a strange place for a game to be, and WoW is undoubtedly navigating choppy waters. As for what happens next, who knows? Maybe WoW has a long life ahead of it as a mid-sized MMO. Perhaps, however, it’s already started circling the draen.

, , , , , .

119 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. SnowCrash says:

    Eh so there is more wow, i guess that’s a thing.. that’s about all the emotion i can bring up for it. I guess some people will go back for a month, probably a lot more will not.

    • Flopper says:

      2014 is all about that Wildstar tip son!

      Can’t wait to continue on the beta next month! All aboard the amazing train TOOT TOOT.

      • emorium says:

        Wildstar is trying to replace WoW with WoW 1.5. Played the first levels during an open weekend and it’s way overhyped. But maybe that’s just me being cynical after watching Guild Wars 2 barely make a dent in WoW with way better bullet-point features than these other “revolutionary” MMOs coming out.

        • Cactuscat222 says:

          I agree in that Wildstar probably won’t be the “WoW-killer” that many of its fans believe it will be, but I do believe it’ll do well enough. As an aside, Wildstar is still pretty heavily in development, so I wouldn’t take your one stress-test experience to be indicative of the whole package, especially because they are changing so many bits and pieces.

          • zachdidit says:

            Are people still trying to use the WoW killer term? I thought we learned that this was taboo after Warhammer and SWTOR tried to take a stab at it, but only managed to puncture themselves.

    • Faxanadu says:

      Completely off-topic: Does add-block remove video commercials from RPS? Because I could care less about Cilit-Bang Supercleaner full blast from my speakers every time I open a page. Best part is when it starts to play 2 video commercials with sound the same time. Like I’m summoning demons with my laptop.

      P.S. Wow something dropped to block my view while writing this. …wasn’t this intrusive before…

      • Premium User Badge

        PikaBot says:

        I’ve never seen anything like that, Adblock or no. Might be on your end, mate.

      • mwoody says:

        Yeah, your machine is infected with malware. Standard drill: Visit bleeping computer, download rkill, combofix, adwcleaner, malwarebytes. Boot in safe mode, run rkill, run combofix, reboot in regular mode, run adwcleaner, reboot in regular mode, run malwarebytes. Make sure to NOT opt to start the trial for malwarebytes when prompted.

  2. TuesdayExpress says:

    Christ, is anyone still playing WOW? Just kill this game already.

    • Noburu says:

      I quit way back before The Frozen Throne came out. Not long after I started playing on a very populated and well run private server that is vanilla aside from the increased leveling speed. I log in a few hours a month and still poke around.

      EDIT: Doh was suppose to be its own comment.

      • Bull0 says:

        Frozen Throne was a Warcraft 3 expansion. I think you mean Wrath of the Lich King. Shame you missed Lich King, in my opinion it was the best one!

    • Brocktoon says:

      It has 7.7 million active subscribers, so no, not really. I would have killed it at 10 million, but then again, I have no concept of people’s activities outside of my own.

    • 2late2die says:

      Sure, why not kill the golden goose, right? I mean here Blizzard have basically a money-printing piece of software but because some folks are tired of hearing about it they should just turn it off. Look, I haven’t cared about WoW for a while now, but to suggest that they kill it is they height of the absurd.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Treading mightily close to troll waters there.

      • GameCat says:

        Nope, WOW is the Lord of the Ring of MMO. Maybe it’s brilliant, but it killed almost whole genre turning most of its successors into dull, boring piece of cloned shit.
        So let it die already.

        • Bull0 says:

          Same line of thinking that blames CoD for identikit cash-in shooters. Blame people who think copying something is the route to success, not the guys who did something successful.

          • GameCat says:

            But in this case:
            “WOW is still selling good, therefore if we make WOW clone we will earn cash too!”

            Which leads to boring, dull bullcrap that will go F2P after few months.

          • Bull0 says:

            Yeah… I get it… I’m saying, blame those developers for thinking copying WoW is a good idea, not WoW for… being WoW.

          • gritz says:

            But… CoD sucks too? I don’t see the problem here.

          • Bull0 says:

            Mm. It’s just, you know, a flatly illogical way of thinking.

          • HothMonster says:

            Let us never make a good game again lest anyone copy it.

        • Shuck says:

          You think that killing WoW would fix that problem? Ha, ha – no. It would make it so much worse – making a WoW-clone would suddenly be a much more viable proposition if you didn’t have to actually compete with WoW. And developers would still be making clones – when you spend MMO-levels of cash on a project, you have to make what you know works and is popular. And nothing has been as popular as WoW – not even close.

        • Strabo says:

          The Fantasy genre in books is more vital and diverse than ever, not only selling more books than ever, but also influencing culture outside of the book genre like never before (not even in the early Seventies). Only thing you basically never see any more: Tolkienesque epic Fantasy (even Wheel of Time did things extremely different from Tolkien later on). So maybe game makers should take a page from the genre authors and do something very different, because beating WoW by being a better WoW doesn’t work any better than beating Tolkien by being a better Tolkien.

    • Aphex242 says:

      Are you high? 7.7 million * $15 (monthly fee) = 115.5 million in revenue per month.

      *12 = Almost 1.4 BILLION dollars in revenue per year. Why would you seriously suggest any major corporation walk away from that kind of money?

      It’s idiotic. Although I’m guessing your post was mostly a troll anyway.

      • Shuck says:

        If you look at Activision’s financial reports, WoW accounts for a sizable chunk of their revenue, even now.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Some nitpicking:
        That “$15 x numberofplayers” is not accurate. It’s true for Europe, America, Australia etc. but that’s the minority of players.
        In S.Korea they get the game and expansions for free and just pay for time credit, in advance or alternatively for a number of days access.
        Similarly in China, where a lot of people use internet cafes to play, players pay for a CD-key to create an account and then pay for actual play time.
        Westerners pay more money per player straight to Blizzard or indirectly, through store chains via time cards and cd keys/boxes. Asian players are a much larger group but pay less per player and a chunk goes to the regional distribution licensee.

  3. Sam says:

    Interesting how much Blizzard’s recent announcements seem to be focused on exercising nostalgia for their own properties.

    Their MOBA has you playing as famous characters you remember from the olden games.
    Hearthstone is a collection of flash cards to remind you of things from WoW.
    Now WoW itself is being pitched as a vehicle for exploring the world of Warcraft before it became World of Warcraft.

    • frightlever says:

      Astute observation that. I wonder is it fan service or a marketing trick? Bit of both, probably.

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      Plus adding old games like Blackthorne to Battle.net…

    • BooleanBob says:

      If I were being a grumpy sod, I would say that they feel enough time has passed that they can now go back and spin the tale of their franchises’ origin stories, giving an official account that handily elides the fact that the origins of most Blizzard lore lies in other peoples’ work.

    • Horg says:

      “I… I do not remember your nostalgia, Blizzard. I have tried to. I have tried to recreate it, to spark it anew in my memory. But it is gone… a hollow, dead thing. For years, I clung to the memory of it. Then the memory of the memory. And then nothing. The Expansion took that from me, too. I look upon it and I feel nothing. I remember nothing but Metzen turning his back on me, along with all the others. Once my thirst for loot was everything. And now I hunger only for revenge. And… I… Will… HAVE IT!”

      – unattributed nerd, 1st Age of the Internet

    • Nibblet says:

      My guess is that they are trying to convince people they are still the blizzard of old even tho they have lost almost all of the original staff and are now run by the human cancer that is Bobby kotick.
      Incidentally a large number of the original team is working on Wild Star.

    • Strabo says:

      The whole games industry surfs the nostalgia train for years now, especially Kickstarter and Steam Early Access. We’re just getting a damn expansion to AoE 2 for some reason! Not really surprising that a company that has a treasure trove of great old stuff only second to Nintendo and Sega (who unfortunately mismanage it completely) would put it to use.

  4. bleeters says:

    In all honesty, the nostalgia angle probably would’ve gotten me hooked for a good long while had I not, y’know, quit a couple of years ago and deleted all my characters in the process.

    The followers system sounds interesting, at least. Not ‘this is actually a new idea’ interesting, but it at least seems they’re giving them more of a purpose than swtor’s Guys Who Follow You Around And Sort Of Help You Quest thing.

    • Azradesh says:

      You can level one character to 90 instantly.

    • Bull0 says:

      You could send your crew off to do gathering missions and stuff in SWTOR. I have a feeling that’s where a lot of the inspiration for this came from.

  5. Keyrock says:

    Oh look, they ran out of ideas and are recycling plots and characters from Warcraft 1-3. *yawn*

    • neurosisxeno says:

      Not entirely accurate. While it’s revisiting a lot of characters that were present during that time frame, the plot is vastly different. In WC1 you were fighting the Horde when they first came to Azeroth, this is more during the Rise of the Horde book, when the Orc’s united and slaughtered the Draenei. Think of it as a spin-off or alternate take on things since Garrosh is helping the Horde storm Azeroth stronger than ever and instead of blindsiding the Draenei they are fighting the full might of the Alliance.

  6. Greggh says:

    karaoke-based Annoying John simulator

    FTFY!

  7. Dances to Podcasts says:

    When they did something new with Pandaria people weren’t happy. Now they’re going back to the old and people aren’t happy. There’s just no pleasing people.

    • bleeters says:

      That’s… kind of a ridiculously simplistic way of condensing a myriad of different issues people had with Pandaria, but sure.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Don’t blame him. Wow is seemingly a vortex that induces this kind of commentary. Try reading their forums.

      • vasek45 says:

        Oh come on, people were never totally happy with anything blizzard ever done, a vocal 15-20% were always on the forums to hate on everything :D
        Every patch, every new raid, there are always people who are unhappy, claiming it a doomsday and saying they quit and wow should die, except it’s still bigger than any other MMO game on the market and rocking.
        Back on the biggest russian wow forum which was woh.ru there was a local meme which was called “The Quintessence of Woh.Ru” which pretty sums everything about this topic up:
        They’re bringing back old content — bad. They’re making new content — bad. They’re doing nothing — bad. Fixing bugs — bad. More bugs coming — bad. A class becomes overpowered — bad. They’re rebalancing it so it’s not OP anymore — bad. They’re replying on forums — bad. No new blueposts on forum — bad. More news about future — bad. No new announcements — bad. They’re silent — bad. They’re talking — bad. They’re making money — bad, greedy bastads. They wanna make WoW F2P — bad, hell no. WoW’s current state is good — bad for everybody. WoW sucks — that’s too bad. Wow’s not cool right now but it’s gonna be — that’s not bad yet but no it’s fucking bad.

        • Soulstrider says:

          That’s kind of true, for the short time I frequented their forums there is always a vocal group of people who complain every single change.

    • Unclepauly says:

      All of the people?

    • Soulstrider says:

      Actually I disliked the concept of Pandaria, but after some friends convinced me It actually turned out to be a pretty good expansion.

    • Faxanadu says:

      I’m pretty happy they’re going back. I’m not going to go back, because Blizzard has failed and I don’t give second chances, but I’m still happy they’re doing the right thing. (One right thing, at least.)

      Pandaria was a failure. EVERYBODY knew it was going to be a failure. Pandaria cost Blizzard +3 million subscriptions. You don’t do “ILLIDAN EVIL DEMON OMG” -> “ARTHAS LICH KING ZOMBIES WOAH” -> “CATACLYSM HUGE EVIL DRAGON OOH!” -> “PANDAS…pandas”. You just don’t do it.

      I quit WoW @ Pandaria but not because of Pandaria but Blizzards awful PvP. I still go to WoW forums sometimes to check which class is horribly OP right now. It’s Warriors, btw. Yes. After 3 major expansions they still do the “this class is horribly OP for months” cycle. That’s why I quit. No excuse covers something like that.

      • Soulstrider says:

        Weird, I am pretty sure Pandaria was their most popular expansion after TBC despite the initial criticism.

        • Faxanadu says:

          So why did they lose all those subs?

          • Soulstrider says:

            Because the game is getting old and people loosing interest, and they always loose subs shortly after the release of an expansion?

            Honestly from most of the reactions I’ve seen from people I know who played wow and on the internet, this was the best expansion since TBC. As I said on another post here I also really hated the idea of Panda’s, but after trying it I came to really like this expansion since the idea was really well executed despite my skepticism.

          • Faxanadu says:

            Sorry, but no.

            Wow subs had gone up steadily to 12 million, (cept the plunge in wrath because banned in china) and when Pandaria came out, BANG, bleeding to death 100k a month.

            Pandas are to blame.

          • Philomelle says:

            Pandas are only to blame in that they showed how badly the rest of the game has aged, prompting people to question what they’ve been doing with their lives all this time.

          • Asurmen says:

            Correlation does not equal causation.

          • Nevard says:

            Pandaria actually had much better sub retention than Cataclysm, it was hardly a disaster at all
            Like, this is pure conjecture on your part not even the numbers support you (and if they did you still wouldn’t be able to say “definitely pandas”)

          • malkav11 says:

            Well, I know for me it sure wasn’t anything wrong with Pandaria (unlike Cataclysm, whose attempt at returning to “old school difficulty” made things a painful slog). I just get bored after a while. It’s happened with every expansion sooner or later. Pandaria had a lot of cool stuff to it, I just had other things I wanted to play more after a few months. I’ll certainly be back for Warlords of Draenor.

          • neurosisxeno says:

            You’re mixing up the facts. The game wasn’t at 12m people then suddenly Pandaria caused it to drop down to 7.7m, it was actually Cataclysm that caused it to dip down to like 8.6m, then Pandaria brought people back and they were at around 9.6m, and since then have trailed off to the 7.7m figure. That means MoP lost them at max 1.9m subs, but more accurately about 1m (ignoring the people that came back for Mists after the Crapaclysm) where as Cata lost them about 3.4m. Cataclysm was the problem.

            The quality of Mists was infinitely higher than that of Cata, but people couldn’t stop being pretentious and judgemental and took one look at it, said “oh my god Pandas” and wrote the entire expansion off. Mists had some of the best story telling, quest lines, and raid encounters I’ve experienced in an MMO to date (having done progression raiding through TBC and Wrath and parts of Cata). If you want to hate the game just say it’s not for you, don’t try and belittle it for people who enjoy the experience because, I hate to say it, but WoW is hands down the best MMO on the market when you look at the quality and quantity of content.

      • Philomelle says:

        I started playing WoW seriously because of Pandaria. I stopped because of what it didn’t have, rather than because of what it did. I enjoyed the concept of Pandaria, the characters involved in it were wonderful and exciting, and the continent itself proved to be fun.

        I stopped because of the lack of graphical updates. WoW is just so… ugly right now. I don’t usually judge a game by its visual condition – my HDD has the likes of Clive Barker’s Undying installed – but there is something about the grotesque gangly marionettes that are WoW character models that punches me in the uncanny valley with the force of a drunken tauren. The dissonance gets even worse because pandas are around and they are all brilliantly modeled/animated, and often a delight to look at. But everyone else looks bad. Like, really really bad.

        If Warlords of Draenor really does fix that issue, I just might come back.

        • malkav11 says:

          It sounds like you mean specifically the lack of updates to the player character models, because the rest of the game has certainly been updated and is frigging gorgeous, even if it doesn’t have the raw technical chops of a Battlefield or Crysis.

          • Philomelle says:

            Eh, I wouldn’t be quick to call it gorgeous, neither would I claim that they updated all of it. Blood Elf and Draenei areas still have awkward cardboard trees with piles of textured flat surfaces serving as foliage, while Outlands and Lich King areas are more stylized than pretty.

            That said, you’re right in that the character visuals hurt me much more than the game world. It just keeps bothering me how terrible some of them are. I enjoyed Blood Elf lore, for instance, but couldn’t play them because the skeletal rig in their arms is so loose that it’s more like seeing someone wave two grotesque arm-shaped noodles around.

          • malkav11 says:

            I’ve never in my life played a blood elf (aside from the one that got autoboosted to 80 by a scroll of resurrection) or draenei so I will bow to your superior knowledge of those areas. I will continue to assert the rest of the game is gorgeous, in its own cartoony sort of way, and Pandaria in particular certainly is. I have been open-mouthed in wonder at some times at how good this nearly decade old game still manages to look. And when you compare to its contemporary, EQ2… well, one sees the advantage of style over “realism”.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Art Direction: 5 stars
            Modernnes of tech: 3 stars.

          • neurosisxeno says:

            WoW has mediocre Graphics but phenomenal aesthetics. The art is very unique and coherent, where as other better looking games tend to just hack stuff together and it looks like a confusing mess. The best example I can think of is Rift. I love Rift, it’s a fantastic MMO, but despite having a lot of technical horsepower, it looks pretty awful. The character models are okay, but the gear all looks absolutely atrocious, and it hangs on your character in ways that don’t make sense, or is bolted to their skeleton in even more freightening ways. WoW is more enjoyable to look at than Rift, despite having “worse graphics”, because the aesthetics are so pleasing to the eyes.

      • Strabo says:

        MoP was a great expansion and actually stopped/lessened the loss of subscribers after the unfocused Cataclysm, that did nothing in this regard. Maybe not everyone liked Pandas (I do), but the quality of the expansion was top-notch, the theme (Asian) was a nice change of pace and I don’t really see many complaints about MoP in general, only about details of it.

        And WoW is losing subscribers since 2008, long before MoP (it started during WotLK, arguable one of the best expansions for any game ever, except the last few months of no new content for raiders). Attributing “3 million lost subscriptions” to any single expansion seems very odd.

    • Bull0 says:

      I’m happy! :D

  8. Wurstwaffel says:

    Man, I wish they would take all the content they accumulated over the years and make single player Dragon Age type game out of it, with a party of characters, strategy view, voice acting and a massive questline that spans all 100 levels. I’d pay good money for that.
    If they can’t be bothered to do it themselves they should find a way to make the game moddable. Wouldn’t that be the dopest?

    • InternetBatman says:

      I would play the hell out of that game.

    • Inzimus says:

      make that a hexagon/turn-based/tactical-combat-system and I’m all for it.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Clearly a 2D pixelated platformer is what’s called for.

      • Ibed says:

        Heh… I thought you meant Super Hexagon-like for a second, and while I have no idea what that would mean here, I’d play it!

        • Nevard says:

          One of the Brawler’s Guild Solo Bosses is pretty much just Super Hexagon!
          Except you have to play the game while performing your DPS rotation

  9. JonathanStrange says:

    I must me missing something, since when is 7.7 million monthly subscribers a ‘mid-sized’ mmo? I don’t play WOW anymore and for that matter I don’t actually know anyone who does, but considering there are more people playing wow likely right this very moment then there are inhabitants in the city I live I’d hardly consider it middling.

    • Stupoider says:

      Because that 7.7 million takes into account Chinese players who stop by their cybercafe and pay to play for a couple of hours instead of paying a monthly fee.

      There’s also the problem of the costs involved in running WoW. Now, either Blizzard’s servers are truly archaic, or the fact that you have to pay to switch realms (something most MMOs provide for free) is an example of unrestrained greed. They spend an unseemly amount on customer support. No doubt a lot of the downsizing is a result of the dropping subscriber base in the West. “Middling” is exactly the word for WoW as it keeps bleeding subscribers and reaches the end of it’s product lifecycle

      • Nevard says:

        I’m pretty sure even a really old blue whale on the verge of death would be describe as “enormous” compared to most other things, whether it is dwindling or not (even the word dwindling sounds weird for something that dwarfs all it can be compared to) that has literally nothing to do with the word used to describe it here

      • derbefrier says:

        Thats quite a lot of BS there that means nothing. WoW is still thew biggest MMO out there no matter how greedy you think they are or even if you don’t think Chinese are real people.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      As far as I know it’s still by far the biggest one out there. Nathan be trolling.

  10. Soulstrider says:

    Well as having played Warcraft since II and usually re-subscribing WoW for a couple of months per year, I sure love this nostalgia trip, however I really dislike the concept of making an whole expansion based on time-travel and re-using Garrosh, I mean I really liked time-travel when they used it on the caverns of the time but a whole expansion based on it? Seems a bit ridiculous

    I would have preferred for them to just have expanded outland and/or updated the current outland like in cata. Pity people don’t seem to have liked that a great part of cata was an update of the old zones, personally I absolutely loved seeing the old zones evolve with the progress of the story and check how things changed, even if the story of some was absolutely awful (I am looking at you redridge mountains)

    But then again I hated Pandaria when it was announced, and once I got into it I actually really enjoyed it.

  11. tasteful says:

    logging in to say i dont care

    • tasteful says:

      you didnt need to write this article because i dont care about it

    • tasteful says:

      still dont care

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Logged in to say I don’t care that you don’t care or will not be caring in the immediate future about this or whether I care that you care

  12. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Time travel eh?

    This’ll be them setting up for a reboot — meddling with the past will create a new universe where they can do Warcraft 4 as the original Warcraft again. They’ll probably call it Warcraft, just to be confusing.

    Either that or the time travel undoes all of WoW’s weird lore so they can do Warcraft 4 straight after the Frozen Throne.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      WoW – A wizard dreamt it. Warcr4ft picks up where The Frozen Throne left off.
      Don’t forget to buy all your hero gear in the auction house.

  13. killmachine says:

    i have sworn not to buy mists of pandaria but i recently did anyways. you kind of have to if you want your character to level to 90. can’t do this with just a trial period for your existing account. i wish i could have skipped this expansion but sadly this is not how it works. so, i’m kinda forced to buy all the expansions if i want to keep playing. don’t get me wrong, blizzard added some nice things to pandaria but i just don’t like the chinese theme.

    this new expansion looks promising though. finally housing, a re-work of one of my favorite zones, outland, and new player models. you can’t deny that world of warcraft changed quite a bit over the years. sometimes not for the better but it still is a very fun game i come back to maybe once a year.

    • Necroscope says:

      One of the captions reads ‘boost to 90 and play immediately’ which suits me down to the ground having avoided pandaria altogether. I could be warming to this new expansion…

  14. Noviere says:

    I’m lucky. At some point my account got hacked after I quit playing, so now every time I get the urge to play WoW, I’m faced with the obstacle of wresting control of my account via customer support(on top of every other obstacle of going back to an MMO after an extended break).

    Thanks hacker!!!

  15. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    I didn’t realise the landscapes in WoW were big enough for every player on the server to chuck down a fortress sized abode. I presume this new area is going to have huge open areas for that sort of thing. Mind you I only played for about 4 months after WoW’s initial release, so I have no idea what the hell it’s like now. Very likely almost a different game from the one I remember.

    Will it end up like SWG, with huge deserts full of empty houses like a gold rush ghost town.

    • Stupoider says:

      It’ll be instanced or phased, WoW’s themepark world can’t pull off vast empty lands in the same way. If everyone on a server had one, the zone would probably have to be bigger than Draenor in its entirety.

      • Bull0 says:

        Guarantee you’ll be able to see your own only, *possibly* with the option to temporarily switch to a party member’s stronghold instead but they probably won’t launch with that. It’s just an extension of the phased zones thing they’ve been doing since Lich King. I’m still quite excited anyway. I know it’s a theme park, but it’s a familiar, comforting one. Less Alton Towers, more Chessington. God, I love the Bubbleworks.

        • Moraven says:

          That is how they said it would work at the panel. I hope they include a guild house option.

          • Premium User Badge

            Rizlar says:

            Indeed. From info on the official page you can infer that it will definitely be phased, with the ability to show other people your garrison by grouping up with them.

      • Premium User Badge

        Chaz says:

        That’s what I thought too initially but reading the article above made it sound more like a SWG style housing land rush.

        Personally I suspect there’ll be reserved empty plots of land around the map, that ordinarily you can’t access until you decide to build your base there. Once you do, only you will be able to see and access it unless you share entrance to it with guild mates, friends etc.

  16. goettel says:

    So Worlds of Warcraft now? No end.

  17. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    They are also implementing what is known as the “item squish” — so for the first time, the numbers (damage, health, stats, etc) won’t be getting larger, and in fact they’ll be returning to something in between Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King levels. The existing curve will be retrospectively modified.

  18. particle says:

    This is the expansion that should have happened instead of that kungfu panda one.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    See, I’d love to try this out, but I haven’t bought an expansion since Wrath. And there is no way in HELL that I am spending 50 or so quid on THREE expansions and then level up past all the previous content to try this stuff.

    • Premium User Badge

      daphne says:

      I’m pretty sure your account gets a free bump to Cata, so only two expansions. And they are offering a free one-time character bump to Level 90 so you can get on with Warlords as soon as possible.

      Not trying to convince you, though — I too haven’t played since Wrath. Waiting for the inevitable F2P shift.

      • Premium User Badge

        Crimsoneer says:

        Free bump to 90, really? Is this a thing?

        • Premium User Badge

          daphne says:

          Sure, check it out: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/warlords-of-draenor/ (“Arise a Champion”)

          • Premium User Badge

            Crimsoneer says:

            That is kind of awesome. But it also feels like a bit of a hacked fix for the fundamental problem, which is that by raising the level cap every damn expansion they make 90% of previous content largely obsolete, and make it that much harder for new people to join the game.

            Grumble. I’ll probably still try it. But I can;’t help but feel that they should have just kept the level cap at 60-70 and just introduced more damn content as opposed to more grind. People paying to progress isn’t a long term strategy. Grumble.

          • Asurmen says:

            How does each expansion make previous stuff obsolete? Also, I feel you’ve got things the wrong way round. By not raising level caps, everything becomes a grind and pointless, as opposed to playing new content for the goal of levelling.

          • Moraven says:

            Most old content is obsolete each expansion. They did add battle pet drops to old raids.

          • Asurmen says:

            How is it obsolete? The content is still there to be experienced for the most part, apart from possibly dungeons and raids if the numbers of people of the appropriate level aren’t available.

          • Philomelle says:

            It’s obsolete because it hasn’t been updated since the original expansion’s release, so much of it doesn’t fit with the current lore, looks bad or grants you unsatisfying rewards that don’t help you progress.

            The lore aspect is particularly awkward thanks to Cataclysm, because areas no longer stack up timeline-wise. Vanilla continents were replaced by their Cataclysm alterations, while Draenei and Blood Elf home zones are still their old Burning Crusade selves. Meanwhile, the lore and quests in Outlands and onward weren’t changed, so traveling to that area for the first time involves more or less time travel. After dealing with the angry power-hungry Warchief Bloodstream for 40 levels, you’re confronted with the young unsure Garrosh who is still looking for his place in the Horde. It goes on from there.

            The end result is that while progressing through the game narratively should be WoW > Burning Crusade > Lich King > Cataclysm > Pandaria, gameplay-wise it’s more like Cataclysm > Burning Crusade > Lich King > Pandaria (and even more complicated if you’re a panda/spacegoat/blood elf). The whole thing is very awkwardly paced and structured, to the point where it tends to scare off new players.

          • malkav11 says:

            I agree with Asurmen. When I’m level capped, the game’s automatically a step less interesting because I can’t advance my character in the ways that are actually meaningful to me (gear is not). It’s not a winning strategy. And honestly, I prefer obsoleting the old raids and dungeons because, especially for the raids, it means I can see what they’re all about and enjoy the story elements and spectacle without having to find a whole bunch of other competent people and repeat fights dozens of times to get them right, neither of which are much fun.

          • Asurmen says:

            I see your point and agree, although I think obsolete is probably the wrong word to be using. Outland is probably the most difficult to deal with, but I believe at Blizzcon Q&A they’ve said they might move Outland to Caverns of Time.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            When a new expansion ships, the “endgame” content of prior expansion is made obsolete. This is true for a variety of reasons.

            The endgame content is tuned for characters of max level with incrementally superior gear. However, this state cannot be achieved except via extremely artificial means.

            The endgame content is tuned for working hard at it for a period of time, not sailing through it effortlessly on the path to higher levels. Since the time-invested / reward payoff doesn’t exist without the level cap.

            For the above reasons, it’s very difficult to find 4 other players to join in the content when you’re at the right level. This is especially true for the 25 player and 40 player activities. For most people these things aren’t even possible.

            Yes, you can find people to do the content in a sort of jokey fashion when you are 10-20-30 levels above it. However you’re really just leafing through the story at this point, not really playing the game as designed. Essentially the content remains only in a pale imitation of itself, as a storybook not as a challenging game experience.

            So I think it’s fair to say that there’s *some* value in the antequated content, but it’s also fair to say that’s it’s obsolete.

            Blizzard has talked about introducing autoscaled challenge versions of old raids to de-obsolete them. We’ll see if it ever happens.

  20. Oathbreaker says:

    Make flying dangerous. Make PVP servers into something you can reliable initiate pvp on. Move the focus back onto world content at the expense of instanced content. Then maybe just maybe I’d be back.
    As is, good times it was back in the day. No more. You all enjoy.

  21. Lemming says:

    I feel like the better move here would’ve been to do a Warcraft 4 RTS that covers all the story so far in WoW, maybe another RTS that does an abridged version of the first 3 games and then go Emerald Dream for the WoW expack.

    With this expack, they’ve done themselves out of milking Caverns of Time dungeons forever. Ah, well.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      I’d love to see a Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness HD re-release. Raised unit caps, map size and a modernized UI with a camera zoom function.

  22. newprince says:

    Oh, WoW… such a combination of nostalgia and hate whenever I think about that game. I’m seriously wondering if the economic conditions hurt its numbers. I mean, I can’t even get time to play regular PC games anymore, let alone time suckers like MMOs. There will always be the valiant fools like my friends who insist on having a full-time job, kids, and ignore the wife every night so they can raid. I just don’t see that as fun. It was barely any fun when I was an underemployed scrub and running around (mostly standing and buffing) in Molten Core. I always loved Dire Maul, though. I still prefer DaoC over WoW, but I can’t deny that for a solid year or two after WoW’s launch, I did little else but play it. So that’s something.

  23. griff88 says:

    find it funny that people going wow is dead, despite it still having more subs than its next 5 competitors combined

  24. Premium User Badge

    Rizlar says:

    Keep reading about new features in WoW that already exist in GW2. The Timeless Isle thingy, which focuses on exploration, finding events and puzzles, soloable elites and (I think) level scaling sounds very much like GW2. In this new expansion various crafting/inventory features and randomised rewards are appearing, which sounds like more GW2.

    Not to say that WoW doesn’t offer unique elements as well, just that GW2 deserves some credit for doing this stuff first.

  25. HeroJez says:

    WOWFACE.
    Anyway, more Orc shit.
    ZZzzzzzzZZzzzz…. Why can’t we fight a big dragon in an expansion that really shakes things up….

    …. oh. Yeah. :(

  26. Oathbreaker says:

    It’s “multiplayer” for the people who grew up on Xbox and Playstation and instant access to anything they want to play. It’s also a successful business strategy and lets old people like me and you reminisce about the bad old days.

  27. malkav11 says:

    I’ve never had any luck finding (sufficient) competent, reliable people to do raids and dungeons with, and a lot of players have been in the same boat. The dungeon and raid finders make it so you don’t have to. That’s progress in my book. I’ve also never made friends or formed any sort of meaningful relationship in WoW or indeed any other MMO. That’s what outside the game is for. Maybe it’d be nice to have some incentive to make those sorts of bonds, but the flipside is that a lot of the internet is kind of terrible, so I tend not to play at all if I’m going to be forced to play with random people (or at least, play with them without a friend or two in tow).

    Anyway, Warlords of Draenor is going to make the raids flex from 10-25, so if you don’t already have a spot on a ten man raid team, it should be a lot easier to tag along anyway.

  28. Lemming says:

    I wouldn’t say it’s Burning Crusade nostalgia, so much as it is running out of ideas and going back to the Warcraft 1 and 2 well.

  29. newprince says:

    I feel sad about this. I formed great relationships, inside and outside the game, with a guild of people who really did care about each other and had tons of fun. Rigging it so you can achieve results in game with the excision of the social aspect doesn’t seem like a “success” to me… it just seems like an other online RPG. Sure, it probably benefits more people in the long run, but I dunno… it’s not really a world without the social aspects.

  30. malkav11 says:

    What I’m saying is there wasn’t a universally viable social aspect to begin with, but the game expected you to manage it somehow anyway. Removing that expectation is progress. People who luck into an experience like yours can still carry on – it’s not like you -have- to do Dungeon Finders or Raid Finders with random people – premades still work, and you have the additional option of proper raiding.