Warlords of Draenor (World of Warcraft) - Preview

Explore the Orc home world, fortify your garrison and build an army of followers in Blizzard’s fifth WoW expansion

Release Date: 31/12/2013

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Preview for PC at GAME

Blizzard Entertainment's highly successful MMO, World of Warcraft, debuted on PC in 2004 and continues to reel in new players monthly. This is no surprise, given the developer's commitment to quality, regular updates and content-rich expansions. Its popularity will likely continue, thanks to the upcoming Warlords of Draenor. Set after the events in 2012's Mists of Pandaria, this feature-packed fifth expansion follows in the tradition of its predecessors with a plethora of game-changing features that should keep one of the industry's longest-running games in the public eye.

Orc On The Wild Side

As the title implies, players will explore the seven-zone continent of Draenor, home of the orcs. This presents the exciting opportunity to experience the creatures' world before they invaded Azeroth, when the union of different clans known as the Iron Horde rose to power. You'll complete quests within kingdoms comprised of tribes, meeting up with powerful heroes and villains like Blackhand, Durotan and Khadgar. In addition, you'll encounter various creatures in your travels. Among them, the spiky gronn and saberon.

WoW's visual style remains largely intact, but Blizzard still made improvements. Iconic races look better than ever, thanks to new details on teeth, bones, beards and other body parts, some of which sport enhanced animations. This takes into account eight classes with four apiece on each side; Human, Dwarf, Night Elf and Gnome on the Alliance, along with the Orc, Undead, Tauren and Troll for the Horde.

Arguably the biggest feature is the increased level cap from 90 to 100, though Blizzard took this a step further by giving players the option to upgrade one character to level 90 right away, instantly learning new skills without the expected level grind.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Preview for PC at GAME

Dungeon Masters

From there, the expansion will come with the following six new dungeons: Blackrock Depot, Iron Barracks, Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, Bloodmail Slag Mines, Auchindoun and Arakkoa Spires. Meanwhile, the familiar Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon will return and tie into the plot.

In addition, gamers will build a customisable garrison that serves as a personal fortress comprised of allies and various services, including an armoury, workshop, farm and plenty of other upgradeable resources. There's more to this than having a place to call home. Over time, you'll create trade routes, unlock a variety of items and quests. You'll even meet NPC followers (mercenaries, miners and more) who will in turn go on quests to bring back loot, some of which may take upwards of a week; followers gain experience over time. Keep in mind that not all quests will be successful. Weaker followers may be taken prisoner, forcing you to make heroic rescues. Later, you can exchange building resources with friends, thus introducing a fun social element to the experience.

WoW fans will also benefit from new user interface enhancements, beginning with an updated Quest Log better organized to display main story-arc and side quests. Then there's the Inventory System. With Warlords of Draenor, quest items will be removed from one's inventory and appear in the Quest UI. Players will also create bags for specific items of different types (armour, consumables, etc.), and craft right from their own banks, rather than withdraw these materials and then redeposit them.

Virtual hoarders, meanwhile, will be pleased to know that items reside in the new Collections system that is accessible by every player tied to that account. The system breaks down into Heirlooms and the Toy Box, which prevents gamers from having to delete things they would prefer to hang onto.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Preview for PC at GAME

Fighting t'Orc

On the PvP side, players will take part in a never-ending battle located off the coast of the Tanaan Jungle. Over the course of fighting, gamers will enjoy evolving objectives that increase in difficulty the closer users get to their opponents' bases. Quests may change without warning, with gamers on the attack suddenly having to go on the defensive in a desperate attempt to fortify their strongholds. On a side note, there will be chances to control vehicles like Iron Horde war machines during these skirmishes.

Meanwhile, Arena Tournament players can test their skills in the new Trial of the Gladiator, where they'll buy gear and other items from vendors before clashing with online adversaries. Gamers are free to practice 24 hours a day, but will only be able to earn ratings during specific times. Blizzard's goal with this is to offer superior matchmaking and a high number of opponents for users of various levels. For now, the developers continue to experiment to make sure everyone has an equal chance to rank up depending on their schedules.

All of this should make World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor one of the biggest expansions in franchise history. While Blizzard has yet to announce an official release date, we expect it to appear next spring or summer. For now, keep your blades sharp and prepare to continue the fight.

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