World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Returns to the Home of Draenei, Orcs

| 9 Nov 2013 13:00
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World of Warcraft addicts should be very afraid of the new Warlords of Draenor expansion. There will be plenty of new things to obsess over.

World of Warcraft will be getting the new Warlords of Draenor expansion some time in the undetermined future, and the story will be taking players to the past in an effort to yet again thwart Garrosh Hellscream.

Yep, despite all your efforts to defeat the maniacal Orc leader in the Siege of Orgrimmar, it appears he escapes justice by taking a portal to the past -- 35 year to be exact -- at a time when Draenor was still a world of beauty, albeit quite a bit of unrest, and well before the the homeworld of Orc and Draenei became the Outlands.

It appears Garrosh's goal is to unite the Orc clans to create a new regime bent on destroying the future of Azeroth. The time-travel mechanic will allow players to meet some of the legendary orcs of the various orc factions -- the Magnificent Seven, if you will -- including Kargath Bladefist of the Shattered Hand, Blackhand of the Blackrock Clan, Kilrogg of the Bleeding Hollow orcs, Ner'zhul of clan Shadowmoon, Gul'dan of the Stormreaver Clan, Grommosh Hellscream of the Warsong Clan, and Durotan of the Frostwolf Clan.

Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas is quick to point out that this is not really a time-travel expansion. "Time travel is a device we use to get to this setting and this world," he said. "We needed a way to get us to the characters and themes we wanted to explore. This is a return to the roots of Warcraft. It takes us back to a time when these legendary orcs walked the world and the time of the RTS games. There is an opportunity for a lot of rich story-telling here because many players who came into World of Warcraft may not have experienced the lore of the original games."

The expansion will drop level 90 players into Tanaan Jungle, which will eventually be transformed into Outland's Hellfire Peninsula. Tanaan is home to the Bleeding Hollow orcs and it is where the Dark Portal is being built. This is where players will begin the campaign by dealing with the Dark Portal first. Once that questline is complete, players will move off to the faction zones.

Alliance players move to Shadowmoon Valley and the Temple of Karabor, which becomes the Black Temple in Outlands. Players will run into the Draenei leader Prophet Velen, who is directing his troops in fighting off an attack from Iron Horde orcs. When we jumped into the game -- yes, the early zones are already somewhat fleshed out and playable -- Velen and his lieutenants gave us tasks to help repel the invaders.

We then jumped into a level 90 Horde character and were dropped into Frostfire Ridge, where Durotan and Thrall (of the Earthen Ring) were leading the Frostwolf orcs on an assault of Gormaul Tower, owned by the Bladespire ogres -- the same clan that will eventually inhabit Blade's Edge Mountains in Outland.

We attempted to avoid all the quests and explore the zones. The map of Draenor bears little resemblance to Outland, with only Nagrand and Shadowmoon Valley surviving as Outland zones. However, in Draenor, Shadowmoon is a rich lush grassland and quite the contrast from volcanic, shattered mess after the devastation. Some of Shadowmoon still had placeholder art and was populated with a few beasts and mobs, such as Ner'zhul's Shadowmoon clan and Gul'dan's Stormreavers. Frostfire was the same, and any attempt to head to the neighboring zones instantly teleported you back to where you entered Draenor. But it gave us a quick look and feel of what we can expect when we come to Draenor for real.

Other zones include Gorgrond, home to Blackhand's Blackrock clan. Players can expect to see a revamped Blackrock Spire once the game launches. Talador is home to Shattrath City and Auchindoun. The Spires of Arak are home to the winged Arrokoa and Kargath's Shattered Hand, and Nagrand is home to Grommash's Warsong clan.

Questing through these new zones will bring players to the new level cap of 100, and unlock a choice of three new abilities for each class when players cap.

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categories: 3d, fantasy
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