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As expected the next expansion for World of Warcraft was announced today at Blizzcon.
I didn’t think I’d be too interested to tell you the truth, but as soon as I read about it, the wheels are turning. I’m thinking I’ll still advance my Blackwater characters, but because CRZ and Moonguard seem likely to stay in that realm no matter the connections, I’m not suffering any longer, I’m scooting to another server where I’ve got a couple of level 70+ characters and I’m just going to get those ready for the expansion.
One of the interesting features of the expansion will be that you can automatically advance ONE character to level 90. If you want to start anew on another server, or play elsewhere with people you know when the expansion comes out, go to the head of the class. I think it’s a really smart move.
Six new 5 player dungeons and a revamped Blackrock Spire are in the works. I think that is excellent news, because they are my favorite cooperative feature, far more interesting than scenarios or battlegrounds.
The setting is basically the Outlands from the past. Time travel city! A bummer to me is that the Alliance gets Shadowmoon Valley (that pit of despair) and it is always nighttime there. Kinda mean.
I think the Garrisons are an interesting idea. People are thinking this is player housing but it really looks to me as if it functions more as a player city (as in Galaxies but with much different functionality. It is the cooperative building/play aspect that reminds me of the player cities from long ago). Oops, except reading more closely the ‘followers” aren’t fellow players they’re NPCs. Not as good!
Warlords of Draenor: Take Charge of Your Garrison
In Warlords of Draenor, you’ll make a permanent impact on the world with a Garrison: your own personal fortress that you build, staff, and manage. You’ll customize your Garrison’s layout, appearance, and gameplay effects, and attract followers to operate it. The Garrison allows World of Warcraft players to own a larger part of the world than ever before, and opens up a wide variety of interesting gameplay decisions—with as much or as little micromanagement as you wish.
Your Garrison exists seamlessly in the world, but you won’t need to go into an instance portal to visit your home base—as you travel through Draenor, you’ll see your Garrison looming on the horizon.
Read on for more details.
Followers are NPCs (non-player characters) that you recruit to join your Garrison. You’ll send them on missions to improve your Garrison and earn loot for your character. You can also allocate them to complete tasks—things like crafting or gathering resources, which they’ll do whether you’re online or offline.
Followers have a character level, an item level, and traits that affect missions and tasks. For example, if they have the Mining trait, you’ll be able to assign them to a Mine in your Garrison to gather resources for you. There are common, uncommon, rare, and epic followers, and their rarity affects the number of traits they can have.
To run an effective Garrison, you’ll first need to recruit followers. Some will make their own way to your base, but you can also upgrade your Inn to attract more followers. You can also win followers to your cause as you progress through the game’s story, when completing quests, or simply by coughing up the right sum of gold to hire mercenaries.
When they’re not away on missions, your followers hold down posts at your Garrison, where you can visit them at any time. A major goal for the Garrison system is for followers to be dynamic and interesting—for example, if a follower fails a mission that takes place in a local dungeon, they might be taken prisoner; the next time you adventure in that dungeon, you’ll be able to rescue them.
You’ll send your followers on missions for varied purposes. Successful missions will give you the resources you need to keep developing your Garrison, but you’ll also have the chance to acquire powerful loot for your character, and your followers will gain experience for each mission they run.
The resources you’ll acquire during missions include both existing crafting reagents and Garrison-specific materials. For example, if you assign a follower to a mining mission, you could receive ore, but you might also unearth stone, a new kind of resource used to construct and upgrade buildings.
Though followers are great for solo play, the system also has multiplayer elements. When you dispatch a party of your followers on certain missions, you’ll also be able to join forces with your guildmates’ followers, even if your guildmate is offline.
Followers grow in power in a way that mirrors players’ progression. From levels 90–100, followers will gain character levels, which have a significant impact on their abilities and mission success chance. They’ll also increase their item level as you equip them with follower-specific gear; once they’ve reached level 100, equipment will have a larger role to play in their overall effectiveness.
Garrisons & Buildings
Buildings are the individual “pieces” of your Garrison—Stables, Farms, Mines, Armories, and more. They improve your ability to recruit, use, and train followers; to craft; to complete missions; and to run missions more quickly by reducing your followers’ downtime.
Each building in your garrison can be upgraded, which amplifies its mechanical effect and visuals. For example, an upgraded Barracks will grow bigger and more impressive, but it’ll also increase the number of followers you can send on missions at one time (for example, 5 followers at once for a level 1 Barracks, then 7 followers, then 12—though the exact numbers are still in flux).
Customizing Your Garrison’s Look
Buildings in your Garrison can be placed in a number of configurations. You can only place small-sized buildings (primarily crafting-related) on small plots; a larger building, like a Barracks, won’t fit. Bigger buildings can be constructed early on—even a “starting” Garrison has room for a large structure. As your Garrison increases in level, you’ll get access to more and larger building space, and increase the versatility and power of your holdings.
Garrisons are visually distinct depending on whether you’re a Horde or Alliance player, and you’ll be able to place your Garrison in one of several zones on Draenor. You’ll also specify your Garrison’s layout (the physical location of buildings within your Garrison’s walls), and select the buildings you’d like to include. Choosing to “spec” your buildings (more on that below) will also change cosmetic aspects of those buildings, like furniture types and decorations, in addition to imparting different gameplay effects.
Garrisons can be shown off to same-faction players in your party, who can walk around your base, converse with your NPCs, and appraise your layout. You’ll have a reason to show your Garrison off, too: trading resources. For example, if you have extra building resources, you’ll be able to bring them to a friend’s Garrison and exchange them for materials that you need.
When specializing your Garrison’s buildings, you’ll choose a variant on the bonuses and abilities the building provides. For example, one Mine specialization might make your miners gather ore faster by the hour, while another will increase the chance that your workers strike a rare mining node. Several buildings can provide you with access to professions that your character hasn’t mastered—though you won’t have enough plots to put one down for every profession.
As you begin building up your Garrison, we expect that you’ll interact with it quite a bit. However, over time, it’s expected that your interaction will become more casual. At lower levels, your missions are on shorter time cycles (minutes, hours or days); once your followers have reached high levels, it’s likely that you’ll send some of them off on longer raid missions for a week at a time. We want garrisons to be important, but our goal is a system that’s easy to enjoy without being extremely intensive.
Plant Your Flag on Draenor!
Your Garrison will be woven deeply into the storyline of Warlords of Draenor, beginning when your faction leader commissions you to establish a beachhead on this alien world—but the ultimate fate of your personal fortress on Draenor is entirely up to you.
Here is the FAQ on the expansion as of today. There is little doubt things will change as the release gets closer and testing has begun:
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor BlizzCon 2013 FAQ
World of Warcraft®: Warlords of Draenor™, the fifth expansion to Blizzard Entertainment’s acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game, sends players to the world of Draenor at a pivotal moment in history to fight against and alongside legends from Warcraft’s brutal past.
Across Draenor’s savage jungles and battle-scarred plains, Azeroth’s heroes will engage in a mythic conflict involving mystical draenei champions and mighty orc clans, and cross axes with the likes of Grommash Hellscream, Blackhand, and Ner’zhul at the height of their primal power. Players will need to scour this unwelcoming land in search of allies to help build a desperate defense against the Iron Horde’s formidable engine of conquest—or else watch their own world’s bloody, war-torn history repeat itself.
Q: What are the key features of Warlords of Draenor?
Some of the new content and features of Warlords of Draenor include:
- Explore a Savage World: Explore the hostile world of Draenor, home of the orc and draenei races, as it once existed, and adventure in all-new zones alongside characters central to Warcraft history.
- Build Your Garrison: Construct, command, and expand your own customizable stronghold on Draenor, and gather NPC followers to collect resources and embark on missions on your orders.
- Instantly Upgrade to Level 90: Boost one character of your choosing to be ready to adventure on Draenor, making it easier than ever to enjoy the latest content alongside your friends.
- New Player Character Art: Character models and animations for many of World of Warcraft’s existing playable races are being fully revamped in keeping with the game’s iconically epic style.
- Adventure to Level 100: Reach new heights of power and unlock bonuses to further enhance your abilities on your way to the new level cap of 100.
- …And More: Take on a wide array of Dungeons, Raids, Scenarios, Battlegrounds, Challenge Modes, and more—no matter what kind of content you enjoy, new adventures await.
Q: How does the Garrison work? What kinds of followers and upgrades are available?
To establish a foothold on Draenor and bolster your faction’s defenses against the formidable Iron Horde, each player will need to build and manage their own Garrison, a customizable fortress that serves as your personal base of operations throughout the course of the expansion. As you complete quests and win allies to your cause, your Garrison will expand and you’ll be able to choose which upgrades you’d like to construct from a variety of options. You’ll also meet and recruit NPC allies and followers who will join you at the Garrison, each providing different benefits.
For example, a miner rescued from a dungeon might take up residence and help gather Mining resources. A heroic warrior you quarter might embark upon quests at your command, with a chance to return with valuable treasures. Other characters might provide you with quests that expand upon their own stories or lead you to valuable assets in your campaign.
When it comes time to upgrade your Garrison, you might choose to build a Barracks to send more followers on missions simultaneously, an Inn to provide new recruits, or an Infirmary to speed up injured followers’ recovery time between assignments. You may instead decide to build a Smithy and recruit a Blacksmith to research new plans and craft valuable resources (such as those with daily cooldowns). You’ll also be able to invite friends to visit your Garrison to trade resources and see how your home base stacks up against their own.
Q: What new zones will I explore on Draenor?
The expansion sends players to Draenor as it existed before it shattered into the realm World of Warcraft players know as Outland—and while some of the names of these places might be familiar, we’re building them all from scratch for the expansion.
Here’s a breakdown of Draenor’s zones:
- Frostfire Ridge: Across snow-covered wastes and beneath towering volcanoes, heroes of the Frostwolf clan and the Horde unite to repel invaders from their homeland.
- Shadowmoon Valley: Amid rolling moonlit hills, the draenei at the holy temple of Karabor unite with the Alliance in a desperate fight for survival against the Iron Horde and Shadowmoon clan.
- Gorgrond: Deep within the desert canyons of Gorgrond, an arsenal of massive siege weapons built by the Blackrock clan is about to be unleashed upon the whole of Draenor.
- Talador: In the shadow of a besieged Shattrath City, the Auchenai Soulpriests actively seek to safeguard the countless draenei souls inside Auchindoun from a terrible demonic threat.
- Spires of Arak: At the height of their power, the regal arrakoa plot atop their high peaks, well out of the reach of the brutal Shattered Hand orcs and the wingless outcasts below.
- Nagrand: Among the fertile hills and outcroppings of Nagrand, the bloodied wolf-riders of the Warsong clan remain a threat not to be trifled with.
- Tanaan Jungle: Within the overgrown jungle home of the Bleeding Hollow clan, a Dark Portal is under construction . . . and an Iron Horde army makes grim preparations to conquer Azeroth.
Q: Why are you giving everyone a level-90 character boost?
World of Warcraft is constantly evolving, and these days players engage with the game in a wider variety of ways than ever. Some enjoy the process of exploring the world and leveling up. Others enjoy the challenge of raiding. Many simply enjoy playing with their friends, wherever they may be. One of our primary goals with Warlords of Draenor is to empower WoW players to quickly and easily be able to participate in the content they’re most interested in, and giving everyone a level-90 character upgrade right out of the gate helps make that possible.
One common piece of feedback we’ve received from new players and those who’ve taken an extended break from the game is that World of Warcraft requires a significant time investment before they’re able to “catch up” and play with high-level friends. Design changes such as speeding up the leveling curve and features like the popular Scroll of Resurrection and Recruit-a-Friend system have proven very popular, but the issues’s only getting more challenging with each patch and expansion we release. By giving players the option to boost a character to be ready for the latest expansion content, we hope to remove some of these entry barriers and make it so anyone can pick up and enjoy Warlords of Draenor right away, no matter how much World of Warcraft they’ve played in the past.
Q: It’s been a while since I’ve played WoW—will I know what to do with a level-90 character?
At the start of the new expansion, players will be thrust into an exciting introductory experience involving a desperate strike against the orc forces on Draenor. During this opening sequence, new and returning players will have an opportunity to get up to speed on the game before diving into their faction’s starting zone content—similar to the Death Knight starting experience in Wrath of the Lich King. We’ve also recently added features such as Proving Grounds, which help players learn how to tank, heal, and deal damage in dungeons in a solo “teaching” environment, to help ease the learning curve and prepare players for battle as quickly, efficiently, and enjoyably as possible.
Q: How will the included level-90 character upgrade work?
In regions where players purchase World of Warcraft expansions, each World of Warcraft account that you upgrade to the Warlords of Draenor expansion will receive one level-90 character boost (to be used once the expansion releases). You don’t need to decide which character to boost immediately. You can also create a level-1 character from scratch and then use the upgrade on that if you wish. The boosted character will also receive a level-appropriate set of gear (along with some other assistance) to make sure you’re set for adventuring. We’ll have more details to share as development continues.
For regions where players do not purchase expansions (including China, Korea, and Taiwan), we’ll have more information to share on our plans in the future. In the meantime, our goal for all regions remains the same—to give players a way to get straight to the action in Draenor.
Q: Why revisit the player races’ art now? Will I recognize myself in the mirror?
As we’ve released new World of Warcraft content and expansions, we’ve received feedback that some of the earlier player character models and animations are no longer measuring up to the quality of the newer races. Because Warlords of Draenor takes players back to the homeland of the Orcs—one of WoW’s original playable races—it felt like a great time to update not just the Orcs, but other playable races that could use a refresh.
We know that many of you already strongly identify with the look of your current character, so we’re dedicating a lot of time and resources to make sure these updates capture each race’s iconic identity and personality. We’re still in the process of determining which races will be available upon the expansion’s release, but our goal is to update all eight of the original World of Warcraft playable races, along with the Draenei and Blood Elves, over the course of the expansion launch and subsequent content updates.
Q: What kinds of bonuses will my character earn on the journey from level 90 to 100?
Warlords of Draenor introduces a new bonus system that rewards players with powerful perks as they level up to the new cap. At every level from 91 to 100, characters will earn a major permanent boost to one of their their key spells and abilities (e.g. a Fire Mage might earn a +50% damage boost to Pyroblast or +30% boost to Scorch). Players will also unlock a new talent tier once they’ve achieved level 100, rewarding each class with three potent new abilities to choose from.
Q: What are the plans for new Dungeons, Scenarios, and Raids?
We’re planning 6 new 5-player dungeons for the launch of Warlords of Draenor, along with a revamped version of the classic Blackrock Spire. One of our goals is to make sure we’re giving players a good mix of “level-up” Dungeons along with some new, unexplored Dungeons to delve into at max level. The expansion will also give players a chance to earn awesome transmogrifiable weapons and other unique rewards in Challenge Mode Dungeons. We’re also planning a wide variety of Scenarios for launch, along with Heroic Scenarios for those who enjoy the extra challenge.
On the Raiding front, we’re planning 2 new raid instances around launch, as well as new world bosses. We’ll also continue to provide players with a wide variety of raiding options. In addition to offering four tiers of difficulty as in Patch 5.4, we’re also extending our Flexible Raid scaling technology to Normal difficulty raiding. We’ll have more details to share as development continues.
Q: What challenges await in the world of PvP?
Warlords of Draenor will feature a new world PvP zone that hurls Horde and Alliance players into an epic conflict fighting for control of strategic fortresses on Draenor. This new area will be seamlessly instanced, with the goal of providing better performance and a more balanced PvP experience than was possible in WoW’s earlier world PvP zones. We’re also planning several major PvP-related UI improvements, including updates to help you track and communicate with your team about objectives in Battlegrounds, along with enhancements to Arena and Rated Battleground enemy unit frames designed to relay key information more clearly.
Q: What’s in store for professions?
One of our goals in Warlords of Draenor is to make each of the game’s existing Professions more engaging and integrated into the gameplay. To that end, the Garrison will play a major role in your character’s Professions in this expansion—similar to how your farm was key to the Cooking profession in Mists of Pandaria, only on a much more epic scale.
Q: What can players expect while questing in Draenor?
We received a lot of feedback over the course of Mists of Pandaria about what kinds of quests and world PvE content players enjoy most, and we’re continuing to evolve the questing experience in Warlords of Draenor with that in mind. Our goal is to give players a wide variety of fun and unexpected activities, ranging from the kinds of quests they’re familiar with to new experiences along the lines of the exploration- and event-driven Timeless Isle introduced in Patch 5.4: The Siege of Orgrimmar.
Q: Will you be making any changes to what Stats are available?
One of our goals for Warlords of Draenor is to make the act of finding and collecting loot even more exciting for players. With that in mind, we’re adding some fun new stats to gear, such as Movement Speed and Cleave, which gives you a chance to do extra damage or healing to additional nearby targets. In addition, we’ll be retiring a few stats that players don’t find very enjoyable to manage, such as Hit and Expertise. We’re also making improvements to armor itemization that will make it easier to share armor pieces across classes. We’ll have more details to share as development continues.
Q: Will there be any updates to the graphics and changes to the minimum system requirements? Yes—we’re planning a number of tweaks and improvements to the graphics engine in this expansion, including some updates related to the upgraded player characters and the introduction of the Garrison. We’re also looking into updating other existing systems with an eye toward improving graphical quality and performance. We’ll announce the exact system requirements closer to the expansion’s release.
From Wowhead Warlords of Draenor what we know so far http://www.wowhead.com/news=223446/warlords-of-draenor-what-we-know-so-far
Wow Insider has a ton of articles starting with the announcement earlier today; http://wow.joystiq.com/2013/11/08/world-of-warcraft-warlords-of-draenor-announced/