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Posts with tag Warlords-of-Draenor

Know Your Lore: Quests, story, and you in Warlords of Draenor

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

A new expansion is certainly about delivering new content, but it's also a vehicle for story progression -- and the end of Mists of Pandaria left behind plenty of questions waiting to be answered. Unfortunately, any questions having to do with Pandaria or Azeroth will have to wait, as we have other, more pressing matters to think about. In Warlords of Draenor, the Iron Horde looms just over the horizon, a threat eerily reminiscent of the old Horde that began the First War so many years ago. Except the Iron Horde is stronger, more organized, and bolstered by the knowledge of just what's on the other side of that Dark Portal they are constructing, thanks to Garrosh Hellscream.

That story, the story of Warlords of Draenor, is taking us in a different kind of direction, the likes of which we haven't seen before. While Mists may have pushed the button on innovation as far as max-level content was concerned, its seemingly never-ending cycle of daily quests upon daily quests quickly grew from entertainment to frustration as players quickly grew tired of the cycle of daily gated content and rewards. Warlords has none of that -- but it does have a whole host of new ways to make the story feel important, without overpowering how the player approaches the game.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains small spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Beta raid testing schedule for Monday, July 28

Raid testing for Warlords of Draenor will continue on Monday with two new scheduled encounters, according to a post made by Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas. As with last week's testing, both encounters will be on Heroic difficulty, allowing players to bring a group of anywhere from 10-30 people in order to test the content. To get in the raid, speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade, who is now also located in Dalaran, Shattrath, and both factions Vale Shrines, as well as Stormwind, Orgrimmar, and your garrison.

Oregorger from Heroic Blackrock Foundry will begin at approximately 10:30AM PDT, and the Twin Ogron encounter from Heroic Highmaul will begin at approximately 4pm PDT. Characters that participate in testing will have their effective level scaled to 100 for the purposes of testing, so no need to worry about gear or level. Keep in mind that testing periods are subject to change at any time -- so if you're interested in testing, keep a eye on the official forum thread for any updates.

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Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New login screen music

Adriacraft is at it again, digging up new models and music from the latest build of Warlords of Draenor. One of the more notable datamined pieces is a brand-new login screen track, labelled Siege of Worlds. While it bears resemblance and shares sections with the previous login track found on the beta, this version feels much more complete and includes several sweeping, intriguing themes right along with the now-familiar beat of the Iron Horde's war drums.

But perhaps the coolest part of the soundtrack starts at approximately 11 minutes into the piece. Long-time Warcraft fans should immediately recognize the familiar sounds of the human theme from Warcraft III, beautifully re-done with a triumphant flourish. It's a gorgeous new piece of music, but it's also a fantastic nod to one of Blizzard's beloved classics. Listen to the full theme above, and be sure to check out Adriacraft's channel for more from the Warlords beta.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Claws of Shirvallah cat form datamined

New female tauren aren't the only shiny new player character models this week -- our friends at Wowhead have datamined the new druid cat forms that will go along with the level 100 talent Claws of Shirvallah. The talent allows druids who take it to cast all non-damaging druid spells while in cat form, and the half-humanoid half-cat model is a visual indication of the talent's hybrid nature. The animations are fluid and certainly make the model look intimidating. The worgen snow leopard version is my favorite, however, I do wonder if the models will be available in all the same color variations of the normal cat form models, or if the colors displayed are the only ones.

While I can appreciate the skill and care put into these new cat form models, I'm not entirely feeling it, at least not yet. I just can't imagine my druid looking like that! Fortunately, it doesn't seem as if the talent is really relevant to my personal playstyle -- Lunar Inspiration seems more my speed -- but I can see how it may be very important for PvP'ers in particular. What about you? Are you going to grab Claws of Shirvallah at level 100? Is the model part of the reason why or why not?

Check out Wowhead for the full 3D models of all four forms in their modelviewer, as well as video of the new forms in action.


Filed under: Druid, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Beta raid testing rescheduled to Monday

According to Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, the Warlords of Draenor beta raid test that was planned for today, has been rescheduled for Monday.
Raid Testing Schedule - July 25 (CANCELED)
So, sometimes things literally catch fire.

We were hoping we could get the servers up in time for the scheduled raid test, but that's looking unlikely. Servers should be up today, but I'd rather not speculate while everyone is waiting on the off-chance that testing will happen.

I'll post a new schedule for Monday testing, in a short while.


It's really unfortunate that the raid test had to be delayed - I was hoping to get a look at some of the new mechanics, get a feel for how raiding is going to work in Warlords, but I'll admit to understanding the motivation for postponing it. It's not likely that the servers will be as stable as one would hope, and sitting around waiting for them to be up doesn't make for a good, focused group to really test the content.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Is BlizzCon bad for World of Warcraft?

Okay, I'm sure with a headline like "Is BlizzCon bad for World of Warcraft?" you're already thinking this is it. Rossi has finally snapped. But hear me out for a second. We've had BlizzCons since 2005, before The Burning Crusade was even released. While they haven't happened every year (there was no BlizzCon 2006 and no BlizzCon 2012) it's been fairly regular since its introduction. Last year, Warlords of Draenor was previewed at BlizzCon 2013 - for many of us it's the source of pretty much every opinion we have on the expansion.

That, in fact, is exactly what got me thinking that it's possible that BlizzCon itself is bad for the game, for the game community at large, and for the future of the franchise. BlizzCon, by its very nature, is a hype machine. It's where we learn details about the expansion - its name, its features, its setting and goals - before they are even close to being ready for players. People play demos. Developers give talks about the games. In many ways it's very exciting. I've never been myself, but most of my coworkers and a lot of my in-game friends have. So my argument isn't that BlizzCon itself is bad.

But looking over the past year or so, in terms of Warlords of Draenor and player interaction with it, I start to wonder if having the big reveal at the convention does more harm than good, overall. Expectations are set at the convention - looking at the recent player reaction to the news that Karabor and Bladespire wouldn't be capital cities in Draenor, the issue can in part be traced back to the fact that we were told they would be at BlizzCon. Players (like myself) had months to get excited about the idea of Karabor as a capital city. Then, suddenly, we were told (almost as an afterthought) that no, the capitals were moved to Ashran.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The terrifying, living world of Draenor

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

We don't really know much about Draenor. Certainly we know plenty about Outland, the shattered remains of a world once called Draenor, but that shattered world is a mere remnant of what Draenor actually was. In the Warcraft cosmos, the only planet we are incredibly familiar with is Azeroth -- and even then, Azeroth holds plenty of mysteries and riddles that have yet to be solved. But Draenor bears very little resemblance to Azeroth, touted instead as a savage land on which we'll have to fight to survive.

That statement is far more literal than you'd think. And if you thought the Iron Horde was the biggest problem we were going to face on Draenor, you'd be very, very wrong. In a universe of benevolent Titans, bastions of order, what makes a planet fight not just with aggressive invading forces, but itself?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation based on known material. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Raid testing to begin Monday, July 21

Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has announced that the Warlords of Draenor beta will begin raid testing tomorrow with two Heroic encounters -- one from Highmaul, and one from Blackrock Foundry. As a Heroic level encounter, the raid will accommodate anywhere between 10 and 30 players. Players that wish to test the encounter can speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade in either Stormwind, Orgrimmar, or their garrisons, once the encounters are open for testing.

The Butcher from Heroic Highmaul will be available for testing beginning at 1:30pm PDT, and Gruul from Heroic Blackrock Foundry will be available beginning at 4pm PDT. Please note that testing periods are subject to change at any time -- if you're interested in testing, keep an eye on the official thread in case any changes are made to times or dates.

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Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Beasts of a savage land

Beasts of the savage lands
Zone previews have become an expected and anticipated facet of the news surrounding Warlords of Draenor, and now mob previews are being added to that mix. The first of them highlights some fearsome new creatures--some familiar, some not--that are to be found in Shadowmoon Valley. The hulking, rocky-skinned Riverbeasts are reminiscent of hippopotamuses, with their square snouts, pillar-like feet, and bad attitude. Podlings are creepy-cute evil flowers that will forever haunt my nightmares, and of course, the elekk should be familiar to anyone who's ever played a draenei--though these new models are definitely a step up in intimidation. Draenor ancients are tree-based forest guardians, the draenic equivalents of the treants we all know and love.

I love this little sneak peak into the roaming creatures of Shadowmoon Valley. The zone previews have been some of my favorite promotional items for Warlords of Draenor, because they give you just enough information to let your imagination fill in the gaps. This mini-beastiary adds a few more set pieces to the landscape of Draenor, and I hope that some versions of these mobs are rare spawns that drop loot or at least bragging rights for the intrepid players who bring them down. I'm also hanging on every word about the draenei rangari, because so far we know relatively little about them but they sound like the most fascinating sect of the draenei by far. Check out some of the beasts of Shadowmoon Valley, and I'm certain we will see more from other zones in the future, as well.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New Hallow's End rewards in next beta build

Although we don't know if the holiday itself will be getting a facelift in Warlords of Draenor, it looks like fans of Hallow's End will be getting some new toys to play with in the next expansion. Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel posted on Twitter this week with a question for players: If they could dress up like one major lore figure for Hallow's End, who would they choose? A later tweet suggested he had found whatever answer he was looking for.


In-game holidays have long been a source of fun and sometimes frustration for players. Certainly the events are an entertaining diversion, but when you've seen the same event roll around year after year with no changes or updates, it tends to make the seasons seem a little monotonous. A new costume wand reward might not be the full revamp players have been hoping for, but at least it signifies that in-game holidays are still very much on the minds of the development team.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Mysterious portal appears in Stormwind

The latest beta build for Warlords of Draenor brought with it an odd anomaly with no explanation as of yet. A mysterious portal has appeared behind the mage tower in Stormwind City, one that bears a striking resemblance to every Emerald Dream portal we've ever seen present in game. At this time, there are no NPCs or anything present to indicate exactly what's up with the portal, however there is no Orgrimmar counterpart -- this is unique to Stormwind.

There's a few possibilities here. The most obvious is that this is somehow related to the Stormwind repairs mentioned last month on Twitter by Cory Stockton. After all, if you're going to fix a park, druid intervention sounds like a good plan, right? The other option is that this is somehow related to Draenor -- and those wild vines have the look of some of the savage greenery found on Draenor, while the tents have the same purple color as used by some of the orc clans. This seems sort of unlikely at this point, largely because there is no Orgrimmar counterpart.

While we don't know what exactly the portal is for, it's still cool to see additions and changes being made to Azeroth right alongside all the gorgeous new vistas and scenery we're checking out on Draenor. We'll have to wait and see what kind of NPC's pop up around the portal, or how exactly it's implemented as more beta builds are released. But for now, those hoping that this might be some sign of a future full-out Emerald Dream expansion -- I wouldn't hold your breath.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

The rise and fall of features in World of Warcraft

I've been playing World of Warcraft since its inception. As a result, I'm as likely to view the game through the lens of my experiences as any player. One of the reasons I'm so thoroughly anti-nostalgia is because I'm actually incredibly nostalgic. If I don't stop myself, if I don't actively make an effort not to, I'll drown in falling down the well of this is how it was and just spend hours annoying the crap out of people who started playing after me. In one guild, I remember doing exactly this - I would spend all raid reminiscing with the other old hands (there were like four of us) and driving the newer raiders crazy comparing fights to raids from BWL to Blackwing Descent. Remember - every fight can be compared to Omnotron. Every fight.

One of the ways this shows up is when any new feature is introduced to the game. As a writer for the site, I always try and stay objective about a new feature, and often, I come to love them - I'm a huge fan of transmogrification, for example, and when they announced reforging a few years back I knew immediately it was going to become a mandatory and huge part of gear strategy. But the fact is this - on an emotional level I hate every single new feature as soon as I hear about it, because they're not my World of Warcraft - it takes an effort on my part to be open minded and I don't often succeed.

As an example - I've written multiple posts essentially defending the decision to remove flight for a while in Warlords' 90 to 100 zones and leave it out. But the fact is, flight was introduced back in The Burning Crusade and I've gotten used to it. I understand and I support the decision from a design perspective. But emotionally? Emotionally I have flying mounts and I want to fly on them. I just plain like being able to shortcut all the things on the ground, even while I get why the design doesn't support it. This divide between what's new and most probably better for the game and my own desires while playing the game isn't limited to wanting flight, either.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Gorgrond preview

Fresh on the heels of today's Talador preview, we get a look at Gorgrond, forbidding home of the Iron Horde's industrial machine. Gorgrond is the next step for fighting back Iron Horde aggression -- after you've fought them off in Shadowmoon Valley or Frostfire Ridge, it's time to take the battle to them, and Gorgrond is exactly where you're going to do just that. Smash them Iron Horde. Smash them good.

But they won't just sit back and take it. In Gorgrond you'll come face to face with some of the most powerful and destructive weapons the savage world of Draenor had to challenge you with.

After withstanding the Iron Horde's initial assault, you'll make your way into Gorgrond with a handful of allies to try to discover the Blackrock orcs' intentions and find a way to thwart any plans the Iron Horde may have. It's a perilous recon mission. Gorgrond is a land of giants embroiled in an epic struggle between creation and destruction. It's the kind of place you avoid unless you have a death wish.

If there's one thing I know about players, it's that they can't resist going someplace conce they've been told not to go there. It's like candy to them. I expect we'll all flood to Gorgrond as soon as we possibly can. I for one welcome our new Iron Horde victims, and everything else in the zone that gets in the way, too.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

NowGamer does Draenor/Outland side by side

One of the things I like the most about doing Shadowmoon Valley on the beta is the way it evokes the memories of Outland's version of the zone while clearly being a whole new place, designed from the ground up. Now the folks at NowGamers have put together a video comparing the two zones side by side.

It's cool to have because it does a much better job showing you how it is than telling you can. The way the new zone feels very much like the place before it got ruined, to the point where there's even places that were lost in the Outland version. And man, the elekks and talbuks in Shadowmoon make you feel sad for how much was destroyed and how only a few basilisks can eke out survival in the Outland version of the zone. Very much an elegy for a place destroyed when you see them side by side. Head over and check it out.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Talador preview

Talador
The Warlords of Draenor zone previews continue with Talador, the heart of the draenei civilization on Draenor. Associate Quest Designer Johnny Cash provides an overview of what promises to be a stunning zone. Talador is the original, pre-Burning Crusade version of Terokkar Forest, a lush, forested zone home to both Shattrath City and the sacred Auchindoun. In Warlords, we'll see Shattrath and Auchindoun in their full glory, along with other draenei outposts such as Tuurem and Telmor, however all is not well. Shattrath is under occupation by the Iron Horde, and it will be the player's job -- along with allies, of course -- to liberate the city. Similarly, Auchindoun is being threatened by the brutal Teron'gor (you may know him better as Teron Gorefiend, the very first death knight), as well as being threatened by demons from the Burning Front. Players will fight alongside Exarch Maladaar, leader of the Auchenai, and Lady Liadrin in defending the draenei's sacred mausoleum.
In addition, Talador will provide players with a choice between building an Arcane Sanctum or an Arsenal for their garrison outpost. Each will provide a means of support for the player--either an arcane orb that zaps enemies who get too close, or artillery strikes from mounted arsenal cannons. Furthermore, Talador holds plenty of secrets, like rumors of mythical Arakkoa, who have left their shadowy, ancestral homes in the Spires of Arak for reasons we can only guess at.

Talador is the zone I'm probably looking forward to the most, because Terokkar was my favorite zone in The Burning Crusade. I can't wait to see Shattrath and Auchindoun the way they were meant to be seen, and to fight alongside great heroes of the draenei in order to protect these precious cities. I'm sure Talador holds many exciting adventures for us denizens of Azeroth, and I look forward to experiencing them.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

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